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  Reviews by: AmbientMike  

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Canon Rebel T2i DSLR

Review Date: Dec 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $749.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast accurate af, great iq , it is quite compact which could be good, high iso's, pro quality video
5 shot buffer in raw, large file size, focusing may be tough in video, might be tough to get pro quality sound in video

Great camera, recently tested one purchased by a realtive. Sharper than 40d in raw. Af seemed fast and accurate. Kit lens was very sharp and a good one for this and other aps cameras. Very light and compact. Nice lcd. Iso goes to 12,800, although you will get some noise. Only gripes are 5 shot buffer (in raw, more in jpeg) and large file size, which is to be expected with 18 mp. This camera will probably be used for movies in Hollywood, video should be great! May be tough to get pro quality sound out of this and other dslr's, though. Also I don't think this has af in video, which could be difficult.

Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Aug 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, good iq, just love it. Live view is great. Durable and great ergonomics.

I love this camera. Don't use it much any more since I got 5d but this camera has been bulletproof, fast, and good/great iq. If you don't need ff good luck doing better than this camera. Shot in rain and dried it off by heating in oven. Whacked on rock still works. Great ergonomics. Much prefer 40d to 30d and 5d in general but like ff of 5d. If you can do better than this camera, you are doing very well.

Canon Speedlite 380EX

Review Date: Jul 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $76.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Inexpensive E ttl flash that works with digital. tough to beat if you only use one flash connected to camera, better than the one I was going to get (220 EX?) High speed flash if you want to use shutter speeds faster than flash sync
No manual except full power, needs cord for vertical bounce, no in flash trigger for off camera use

If you only want one flash to be used connected to the camera, it will be tough to beat this flash. Get the cord to take it off camera, about $40, to make it more useful.

No manual controls other than full power. Does not swivel, so you need cord for vertical bounce, so get cord. No in flash off camera trigger.

A lot of shortcomings on this flash but you know I tend to use it and like it. E ttl is great!

I was going to get one, I think it was the 220 EX, and I'm glad the guy at KEH told me about this one.

The high speed flash works with shutter speeds as fast as you want to go. Use 1/1000 and 1/1250 or higher! Lower power on high speed setting, though.

Looks to be about one stop less light than the 580 EX, so plenty of power. GN at 50mm iso 100 is 100 I believe, thinking the 580 is about 140 at 50mm and iso 100 in feet.

With cord, a very good flash.

Sigma 17-35 mm f2.8-4.0 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Jul 15, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


One more thing, I use this lens wide open. When I tested at 24mm the corners weren't that hot at the wider apertures, but the center was fine.

Sigma 17-35 mm f2.8-4.0 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Jul 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $225.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, solid build, relatively fast, great zoom range
Af doesn't work at wider than 28mm unless you're close, lots of flare,

This is a really good lens! I wonder if the bad reviews are from people depending on AF at the wider settings. Af isn't dependable wider than 28.

This lens, to my eye, on aps-c beat my 24/2.8 Zuiko at f/8! There is a dead spot on the right hand side, but I attribute that more to my rough handling of the lens. Haven't tested, but Seems comparable to my 21/3.5 Zuiko at that focal length, also.

Very solidly built lens.

The negatives are lots of flare, which usually can be fixed by holding your hand up and blocking the sun, and like most lenses, soft in corner on FF.

This is one of my most used lenses.

Canon EOS 30D

Review Date: May 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness in RAW the same as 40D, shoots at lower contrast, low price
Color not as good but can be bumped up in pp, Af probably not as good as newer bodies.

This is a good camera, even today. I think it would do well compared to the newest bodies when you use it in RAW.

I would much prefer this to the Rebel XT. More sharpness when shot in RAW. I might prefer it to the newer Rebels as well, even though it is cheaper, although I have not shot with them.

Sometimes I think the images might not be as good as the 40D. But bump the saturation and contrast up a notch in DPP and you might not see any difference. Haven't done too much side by side comparison. No sharpness difference in RAW even though 2 mp less.

pm me with questions.

Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Di LD IF Macro Autofocus SP AF

Review Date: Apr 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, build quality, people are impressed when they see you with this lens, 1:1 macro, 3.5 is pretty good speed, seems sharpest at f/4 so you don't have to stop down much, works well with 1.4 becomes good tele
Needs focus limiting switch

This lens has good, perhaps great, image quality. I use it wide open all the time in the macro range and closer to infinity with good results. It is good with a 1.4 teleconverter, which I have on mine perhaps most of the time. Turns it in to the 35mm/FF equivalent of 400mm on a 1.6 sensor!!! Plus 1.4x magnification in macro!!! Since a 400/5.0 is adequate for wildlife, this is a tele as well. Without teleconverter is about 300mm 35mm equivalent, so still a decent tele on 1.6 crop. A lot of people with 300/4 IS on FF. I probably lose some sharpness with the teleconverter as always, but it is usable even wide open.

Popular Photograpy said this lens was at its best in the macro range at 5.6. I think this is probably true, which is good for me because I use it handheld.

Did an informal test on a brick wall and f/4 seemed the sharpest aperture in the center at about 15ft. from subject. I've heard "ideal" lenses are sharpest wide open, so perhaps close to ideal.

I dropped this lens from 2-3 ft. landed on fake hardwood floor. Never sent it in for a repair. The manual focus is a bit goofed up but the lens Still works. Still sharp. Great build quality.

Love the 1:1 macro. Much better than half life size.

The AF on this lens can drive you nuts when it hunts down to 1:1 though. Needs focus limiting switch. Also would prefer an on off switch for AF, but the clutch has it's advantages, much easier to reach when using the lens.

Got mine from KEH for 525 when the Canon new was about 1100 so saved money, too.

Great for bugs and stuff, more distance from subject, good speed, plus good tele.

I recommend this lens.