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  Reviews by: Conrad Tan  

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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: May 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,140.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding color, contrast, and image quality. Second to none at this focal length! NO noticable degradation in IQ with the 1.4TC attached! Amazing!
Fairly heavy, a lot of momentum for swinging around for in-flight shots. A sturdy monopod is highly recommended.

I have been shooting with the 400mm f/5.6 for a couple of years now, and every expectation I had for this 500mm was met and exceeded. Not the best tool for in-flight shooting as it has much more trouble acquiring AF than my old 400mm for some reason, but if shooting static objects, there is no better tool for the job! Worth every penny!

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Mar 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp when in the right hands. Mine shake a bit, but I'm getting better results with a bushhawk-style monopod. Extremely accurate AF and terrific colors. Great reach for anything about the size of a duck under 40 yards.
I suppose it could use IS for still birds (as opposed to BIF) but one can't have it all at this price!

Two weeks into bird-in-flight photography and I'm extremely impressed! My 100-400mm is dog slow compared to AF of this little gem! Its light, fast, accurate and cheap (compared to its 500mm and 600mm cousins) Highly recommended for the beginning bird/wildlife photographer.

Canon EOS 50D

Review Date: Feb 23, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: In order of importance (to me): 6+ fps, liveview, high-rez LCD, low-light ability, 15mp (more cropping ability)
Very difficult to get the sharp, clear images I see with the 40D. Very hit-n-miss AF system. Very noisy images from 1600 and above (relatively easy fix with pp)

I really wanted to love this camera. I heard so many good AND bad things about it and wanted to see for myself. Well both were all true. It shoots fast, it is built very well, the lcd is clear and bright, cropping is a joy, but at a cost. The images I've gotten have been very noisy, and I only have L glass so I hoped that I wouldn't suffer the same soft images I kept hearing about, but I did. My glass shines on my 5DmkII but is less than acceptable on my 50D. The AF system is nothing to write home about.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Jan 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Hands down the most beautiful portrait lens I have ever used (if you can get your subject in focus).
Really having a hard time with the focus-by-wire feature. Its faster than my buddy's Mark I version, but its no 85 f/1.8 with regards to speed.

The keeper rate with someone of my skill level (been shooting for a year) is very low. I am just not used to the ultra paper thin DOF at f/1.2. And the almost 1 meter minimum focus distance keeps me backing up often to get my shots, but both of these "flaws" are really more of my skill level at using such a lens. My keepers are amazing. Bokeh is so beautiful I cannot help but stare at just how creamy it is. Don't think you can just pick up this lens and it will start producing great pictures. It takes lots and lots of practice! I'm still practicing every day!

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Dec 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.99 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very good build quality, big LCD screen, bright viewfinder, terrific HD video and very decent Auto ISO performance.
I do not recommend anthing higher than 6400ISO. It is pretty noisy after that. For those with big hands I recommend the grip if you don't mind the weight.

Sell your old camera. Get this one! You'll never need another.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp even wide open! IS works wonderfully!
f4 is only good with good to moderate light. Once it get's dark I pull out my 16-35mm f2.8.

Get one! It'll be your favorite daytime walkaround lens!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,769.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack Sharp! IS saves shots! f2.8 Stops action very well!
Heavy... real heavy. Better hit the gym!

I agonized over this lens for almost a year. Now I don't know how I went so long without it! I loved my f4, but it pales in comparison to my copy of the f2.8. Go get one! You'll never look back!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $315.00

Pros: Suuuuuuuuper fast! Bokeh is excellent! Price is very reasonable for the results you can get.
Feels cheap compared to an L lens... but that's ok considering the price.

This baby lets me shoot in near dark conditions, not as well as my buddy's 50mm f1.2L, but I get JUST AS GOOD results as he does IQ wise without paying for the f1.2L price! Luckily my copy is super sharp. Go get one, you'll love it!
This was taken in near darkness!

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jun 3, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,549.00

Pros: So so on a 30D.... but now on my 5D... HOLY COW!

The soft images I experienced with this baby on my old 30D completely went away when I put it on my 5D. Now... I have vignetting, which I can easily fix in PP. It is so wide on a FF. I never knew landscapes could be this fun!

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: May 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: See my sample... enough said!
Pretty tripod dependent...
Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: May 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Full Frame; 12 megapixels; Quiet shutter; Lightweight (compared to the 1-series); Terrific color; L-lenses are now all "perfect" (they were great before)!
3 frames per sec-the only thing wrong!

I agonized over this camera for 2 years. I wanted one but chose to get a 30D instead. Now.. I miss the 30D's machine gun shutter, but that is all I miss. Everything else about the 5D is head and shoulders better than the 30D. Sometimes I miss the 1.6X crop, but most of the time I don't even think about it or notice it. (unless I'm shooting birds) Even then that is more of a lens issue. If you are wondering what to get, this one is a keeper. Get the 5D, you won't look back!

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: May 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,529.30 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp especially after f5.6 through f11 (on my copy).
So so on bokeh... very expensive for the average photographer (but worth it)

I took some shots at f2.8 right out of the box, and it was a little soft. Then I tried more shots at f5.6 and f11, and WOW... razor sharp. I put it on my 30D and then on a tripod and tried some landscape shots. Very good with the 1.6 crop, but I'm sure it is much better on a full frame. Highly recommend if you can afford one.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Jan 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super Sharp... on a tripod
High Learning curve...

This is more of a commentary on Macro photography in general. If you are new, be prepared for a relatively steep learning curve. This NOT like landscape, wildlife, etc... it is not easy. That being said, if you still want to try Macro, there is no other lens better than this one for the price, bar-none!

Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Dec 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $428.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp Image in most all focal lengths. Great price.
Almost unbearable noise from auto-focus.

I have had this lens for 3 months now. It is my primary walk-around lens. It takes great shots 99% of the time. Low light is sometimes an issue. Autofocus is noisy as heck. But for the price, it's a winner.