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  Reviews by: AbramG  

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Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

Review Date: May 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Relatively inexpensive for an Ultra Wide, f/2.8 is useful in low light, bokeh (when the subject is definitely separated from the background) is actually really decent with the 6-blade aperture, build quality, overall size, +More!
Wide open vignetting (easily corrected in post), extreme corners are soft until about f/8, $45 "optional" lens hood (you need it, just buy it), does flare when light sources enter the frame.

I can't help but feel that this lens has an unfortunate reputation for being a piece of junk. I think that's a completely unfair assessment!

I've owned it for a couple months now, and while I had initially set my expectations low (based on the reviews) I've been more than pleased with what I've been able to get out of it. Heck, I sold a print taken during my first week of ownership that paid for the cost of the lens. Obviously clients feel that it's adequate!

Anyways, yes it does vignette wide open, and yes it has soft corners until you stop down, but so what! The vignetting is so easily correctable in post that it shouldn't even be a negative point anymore, soft corners I can deal with because after lens correction you'd have to seriously pixel peep the extreme corners to really find anything wrong in the image.

I bought this lens because it fit into my budget as I've had to scale down my photography equipment temporarily, I've previously owned such gems as the Zeiss 21mm Distagon and even the 17mm TS-E, while they are both obviously better lenses (I should hope so for how much they cost!) the EF 20mm is definitely a GOOD lens, I am confident that it will consistently deliver good quality images that I can present to clients.

I do wish Canon would finally start including lens hoods standard on all their lenses, it's really irritating to have to always buy them for the Non-L glass, but for this lens it is definitely necessary. If you have a strong light source in your frame it will flare, the hood does help though so I highly recommend it.

I know I'm just one voice in many, but take my word for it, there are definitely good copies of this lens available and for the price of entry, you really can't go wrong!

Here's the image I mentioned that sold to cover the cost of the lens:

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

Review Date: Oct 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp wide-open, fantastic bokeh, responsive AF, physically a small and compact lens for the focal length.
build could be more durable..

I no longer have this lens, but I really enjoyed it while I did. The quality it produces is really excellent. AF is very quick and responsive and it works great in low light.

My only complaint is that the build quality could have been better. When I sold the lens, it must have been dropped or something during shipping because upon arrival the focus ring was jammed (though my shipping box and materials were still perfectly intact)

Could have been a fluke scenario, I don't know, thankfully Canon fixed it up just fine and the new owner was happy.

Regardless of that issue, I would still recommend this lens to anyone, especially if they are interested in the 135L but can't quite afford it.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Oct 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstandingly sharp at all apertures/zoom levels, reasonable weight for a constant aperture telephoto. Solid build quality. F/2.8 at all zoom levels :)
No weather sealing (but this lens pre-dates such an available option), I have heard of some sample variation, but I have not experienced this personally. Lens mount get's a slight wobble after years of use.

I purchased this lens new in 2005 and it has never left my side since. I have used this lens for everything and it truly is wonderful. I have never once felt regret purchasing the Non-IS version, and only now do I feel the new mkII IS version would be a worthy successor.

This lens has provided consistent performance on every camera I have ever used it on and it has outlasted all of them as well! I have never had any issues with this lens out of the box, however I have noticed recently that the lens has the slightest (1mm side to side) amount of play at the lens mount. I haven't noticed this with my other lenses, but most of my other glass isn't as heavy either. I haven't taken it in because it just works so darn well!

The price on these guys used is practically a steal these days, that's probably my only regret was purchasing it new, you always wind up paying more!

If you're debating which of the 5 versions of the 70-200L to get, this is definitely the one to look at if you can't afford the new MKII IS version. I've heard great things about the f/4LIS as well, but I prefer to have f/2.8 available.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Brutally fast, awesome IQ, very usable high ISO, super rugged, great battery life
low resolution LCD, Bad reputation ;)

I absolutely adored this camera, I only traded it because I wasn't shooting sports as much and I wanted to try the 5DMKII out.

That being said I plan on buying another one ASAP!

This camera is just fantastic, it's sad to see that it has such a bad reputation because some of the early models had buggy AF, the issue got blown up entirely too much.

With the Canon sanctioned fixes my mkIII was working like a champ. I miss it dearly and I can't wait to buy another one!

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built like a tank, blazing speed, great IQ, dual memory cards, rugged rugged rugged!
ISO really only safe up to 1600, batteries don't last forever and are expensive to replace, the charger is an unwieldily monster.

I haven't owned my mark II for a couple years now, but when I did man was that thing unstoppable!

The IQ was excellent in all but the lowest lighting conditions, and it was SUPER fast, especially in the AF department.

I still think it is a very capable camera by today's standards, and I know it's still regularly used by journalists and sports photographers around the world.

I wouldn't even mind getting another one myself!

Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight, durable, pretty solid IQ, now inexpensive.
pretty slow AF, tiny tiny LCD, not too great high ISO

I'm writing a review now for a camera I owned over 4 years ago. The 10D was my first DSLR, and at the time it was the best available (the 20D wasn't out yet) I got a great deal on a used one, and it began my transition from film to digital.

I really enjoyed working with it both in and out of the studio and at the time it was so great to be able to review my images in the field. (new concept to me at the time)

These days there of course are newer and better cameras out there, but I still think the 10D was and is a great crop sensor camera. If you got a real great bargain on one it would make an excellent backup camera, or even if you are learning photography on a budget that's a great place to start! Leaves you with more money for lenses.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Relatively light weight (w/o grip), very clean high ISO, awesome resolution, 1080p video (keeps getting better with each firmware update), great LCD, better build quality than old 5D.
The AF is still only 9 points, and only the center point is truly reliable, a little bummed that it only does 3.9fps, but that's not what I bought it for....

I have been using my 5DmkII now for about 6 months, it really is a wonderful camera! The video ability is not something I thought I would really use, but as it turns out, I've been shooting a whole lot of video! Not to mention the fact that the video quality is SO GOOD.

This is most definitely not a sports camera, but what it excels at is portraiture. It is a dream in the studio, and pretty affordable too!

The 21mp resolution files are pretty huge, you will need to adapt to that by increasing your storage capacities, not just memory cards, but also hard drives for your computer!

I most definitely recommend this camera to anyone looking for the finest quality portraits, or the finest quality of 1080p full-frame video!

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Aug 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: I like that it is quick to focus, sharp, light weight, and compact.
The colors don't necessarily JUMP out at you, but it's not a big deal, easy to fix with PP.

I was actually surprised (based on what I've read) to find such a gem of a lens! It's very usable wide-open and great from f/2 onwards. I've been using it mostly on my 5DmkII, but it's also very usable on a 1.6x body (I've tried with my 40D). I will quite often take just this lens and the 5D w/o a grip out shooting and I'm always happy with the results.

Don't be afraid to try one out!

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Apr 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible sharpness / color / contrast / bokeh / build quality / wow factor
expensive... but worth it. ( im not a fan of the lens hood, but i use it regardless )

If i could write a book about the pure joy owning this lens has brought me i would.

for me it was more of a personal conquest though! as was mentioned here in another review ( i dont want to repeat the same things ill be brief ) if i could only have or take one lens. this is it. hands down. THIS IS IT.

on my recent trip to New Zealand, i got the most kept images from this lens and the 5D combo. i cant even begin to describe to you just how awesome the sharpness and color rendition are.

and when shooting black and white. dear lord its a thing of beauty

<a href="">click this for B&W sample</a>
<a href="">click this for a color sample</a>

it really is a beautiful lens, and is definately without a second thought, my personal favorite of my lineup. i highly recommend that if you can afford it, or if you get a good deal on one that you get it. really. its just so worth it. i dont feel any regret over the cost at all, i would gladly pay the same price or even a little higher all over again.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Review Date: Feb 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp , light-weight, well built, decent AF , oh and. sharp. corner to corner. enough said.
Light weight ( i know.. i just like heavier lenses :) ), a better MF ring would be nice, like the one on the 50 1.4 even, and MAYBE ( this is being picky here ) an f/2 aperture?, and USM would be nice of course.

I was in the market for a good workhorse wide prime, and a good friend recommended i look at this particular little gem over the 24 L ( which i was craving ) . and man am i glad he did! The colors are fantastic on this little lens, and when you shoot b/w. simply stunning. its, light-weight, easy to carry in a bag, and does everything i want it to do.

After all the tests i did with it, it has yet to let me down, its completely sharp, has very good corner to corner sharpness, contrast is pretty good ( but not amazing ), but overall, its fantastic as a good user lens, and i would recommend it to anybody with a full frame body. ( i never really tried it on a 1.6x ( guess i should while my 10D is still in my posession )

bottom line:

if you need a solid wide angle prime lens, and dont really want to spend oodles of dollars, have a look at this lens. i seriously doubt youd find a better buy.