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Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Review Date: Dec 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, light weight, compact, fast and silent Auto focus, Image Stabilizer
Flares easily, focus by wire manual focusing

A good cheap ultra wide lens for crop cameras! Image stabilizer works great, auto focus is fast and silent (just like the other EF-S STM zoom lenses) only negative is the lens tends to suffer from Lens flare quite easily so a lens hood is pretty much essential, focus by wire makes it difficult to manual focus (especially at night and trying to set it to infinity) also being a STM lens if the camera goes into sleep mode you need to re-focus again when the camera wakes up but other than that it's a great lens for the money.

If you are looking for a UWA lens on a budget then this is the lens for you!

Nikon D7000

Review Date: Dec 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, 39pt AF, 100% viewfinder, Dual card slots, Good Dynamic range, Good high ISO performance, good video quality, Customisation.
ISO Button, small buffer, no live histogram in live view mode, A bit small.

The D7000 is my 5th Nikon body.

The D7000 is a well built semi pro camera, it feels very solid and the buttons are positioned well, although Nikon should have used a dedicated ISO button.

The camera is a bit smaller then the previous bodies I've owned, although it's bigger and more comfortable to work with then the entry level Nikon bodies. The hand grip design could be improved upon though to make it a bit more comfortable to hold, but it does provide a good solid grip.

The autofocus is fast and responsive, although I would like to have the option of having the viewfinder points shown at all times (like on Canon cameras) but this is typical of all Nikon d/SLR's, and they do light up when they lock target. The 100% viewfinder is bright and it's easy to read the viewfinder information.

Picture quality is good, nice colours and good high ISO performance.

Video quality is good, and the D7000 gets full 1080p HD video.

I would like to see Nikon add live histograms (exposure simulation) in live view mode.

The buffer is a bit small when shooting in burst mode, especially when shooting in NEF format.

Overall it's a great camera and is highly recommended.

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX -Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 28, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: Cheap, good zoom range, VR.
Plastic mount, soft, vignetting, CA, barrel distortion, slow focus in low light.

Got this lens as a part of a D7000 kit since I couldn't buy a body only.

The lens was very soft, had allot of barrel distortion and vignetting. The build quality was ok for a kit lens. The lens hood supplied wasn't that great and is comparable to a cheap knock off hood you find on ebay and it is tight to fit and remove.

VR works well, but the focus is slow and tends to hunt in low light.

Overall, I can't really recommend this lens based on the copy I owned, If I was going for a kit lens, I would choose the 18-55 VR instead which is a smaller and sharper lens. The 16-85 VR is a much better lens if you need a good walkabout lens for your DX camera.

Canon EOS 60D

Review Date: Oct 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light Weight, Pentaprism viewfinder, Articulating screen, wireless flash controller, Top LCD Screen, Comfortable grip.
Mode wheel lock, No dedicated video mode button, Introduction of dedicated "B" Mode.

I've had the opportunity to use the 600D and the 60D for a while now so I thought I would just do a quick comparison between the two cameras. Both are decent cameras the main reason to get a 60D over the 600D would be for the brighter viewfinder, the bigger and more comfortable grip, the rear scroll wheel and more precise autofocus and faster frame rate other then that, there really isn't anything to different between the two cameras.

What I liked from the 60D is the better hand grip which makes the camera feel allot better to hold and the Pentaprism viewfinder is better when shooting in low light/night, when the light is good there isn't really a noticeable difference.

The 60D feels a bit more solid then the 600D, although the build quality of the 600D is also pretty good! The plastic body doesn't feel any worse then any of the previous XXD cameras I've owned (20D, 40D, 50D) the 60D still feels solid, and is also lighter then the previous XXD cameras with the metal bodies.

What I didn't like from the 60D was the new lock on the mode wheel, although this does stop accidental changes to your shooting mode, which I find happens when shooting with the 7D, but now you have to hold the button down, and then turn the mode wheel which does slow things down a bit.

I also don't like the "B" (Bulb) mode that Canon has now introduced to the XXD series which means if you want to shoot longer then 30 second exposures, you now have to turn the mode wheel to the "B" mode rather then just going from 30" to B when shooting in the PASM modes, I would like to see Canon add exposure settings down to 1 minute (or more) just like Olympus offers on their cameras.

As for the Articulating screen, after using it on both cameras I have to say that I'm not really that keen on it, the side hinging screen makes it a bit awkward to work with when shooting hand held, and I found I only really ever used it when shooting on a tripod. I think the design on the new Sony A77's LCD is much better.

The new multi controller located inside the rear scroll wheel isn't as good as the old joystick controller.

I also don't like the lack of a dedicated video mode button, to shoot video, I mainly shoot in Manual (M) mode and to shoot video means I have to turn the mode dial all the way to the other end to access the video mode, why couldn't Canon put the video mode just after the Full Auto mode and before all of the "Picture Modes" instead which would make accessing video quicker for both beginners who use the "Picture modes" as well as those who use the PASM modes! (It's the same on the 600D).

In conclusion, I would say getting the 60D over the 600D would come down to personal preference, there really isn't that much difference between the two, and picture quality is pretty much the same, if you have big hands or shoot fast moving subjects and need the better autofocus and faster burst rate, or need the brighter viewfinder for low light work then go with the 60D.

If your after a smaller camera that's light weight, and your just starting out, I would say go with the 600D and spend the saving over the 60D on lenses instead.

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Aug 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast focus, good and effective Image Stabiliser, Good build quality, sharp throughout the zoom range.
variable aperture, vignetting at 15mm and 85mm, lens hood not included.

I bought this lens when it was first released to use as a general purpose walkabout lens on my 7D.

The lens has a nice solid build quality and a step up from previous EF-S lenses. The lens is also nice and compact, making it ideal for travel and walkabout photography.

The Image stabiliser works very well! Canon claims 4 stops, and I think they are about right as it works very well.

The only real downside to this lens is the noticeable vignetting at 15mm and 85mm even with the peripheral illumination feature found on the newer cameras enabled.

This lens would have been even better if Canon had made it a constant aperture lens (f/4 would have been great) but it's only a small gripe. The lens is sharp, even when shooting wide open, and contrast and colours are good.

Overall, this lens would suit those who are looking for a good general purpose walkabout lens for a crop sensored camera, and don't need a fast aperture.

I have a more detailed review here:

Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight

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

Pros: Price, size, cheap slave flash to use with CLS.
The user interface could be a bit better, lack of stroboscope flash.

A good reliable flash if you don't want/need a SB800 or SB900.

Makes a good cheap slave flash to use with Nikon's creative lighting system (CLS) and isn't to big to add to your camera bag if you want to travel light and need a proper flash.

Nikon D90

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

Pros: Good feature set, nice build quality, good AF layout and performance, good LCD screen, video.
It would be great to see some manual video controls added though firmware. A external microphone input would have been good.

I had a D90 for a few months and was pretty impressed with this camera! Lots of features and a very customisable camera (In many ways better then a Canon XXD series camera).

The D90 has a good viewfinder, good AF layout and performance, nice solid build quality (For a plastic body) nice layout of the buttons and controls, good rear LCD screen (920,000 dot pixels) and nice ergonomics. The D90 also has a built in AF motor, so you can still use AF-D lenses with autofocus.

The wireless flash transmitter (Nikon's creative lighting system) works well, and it was great being able to have the freedom to use a external flash off camera!

The video quality was good, but it would be great to see some manual controls added via a firmware update.

Overall, the D90 makes a great first d/SLR or a nice upgrade from a entry level d/SLR. The D90 has enough features and picture quality to keep most photographers busy for a long time.

Canon EOS 7D

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

Pros: Good build quality, great viewfinder, very customisable! Wireless flash controller.
Not really a big fan of the new On/Off switch position.

The 7D would have to be the best Canon body I've owned so far!

Everything on the 7D is a nice improvement over a XXD series camera, the viewfinder is a huge improvement over the XXD series, the build quality also feels better, the autofocus layout and performance is allot better then the 9 point AF system and the addition of the wireless flash controller is a very welcome addition!

Picture quality is good, really nice colours, and the out of camera picture quality is really good! ISO performance is good for a crop sensored camera, and does a much better job then the 50D.

The video quality is good too, and the manual controls are great and makes working with video much better then having the camera control everything.

I'm not really a big fan of the new position of the on/off switch because now you need two hands to turn on the camera, which could result in missing critical shots if the camera is switched off (You could just leave the camera on and let the camera go into sleep mode I guess) it's only a minor thing, but I would have liked to see Canon position the on/off switch around the shutter button just like Nikon does.

Overall, the 7D is a great camera and makes a good upgrade for anyone looking for something better then a XXD series without moving right up to a 1 series.

You can read my more in depth EOS 7D review here:

Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i DSLR

Review Date: Sep 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good picture quality, Light weight, Good LCD Screen, Easy to use with good set of features.
Size (If you don't like small cameras) Dim viewfinder, No rear control wheel, Plastic body.

I bought this camera to serve as a light weight alternative and backup to my 5DMkII and to have as my crop sensored camera to use with my longer lenses. I was very unimpressed with my 50D, so wasn't willing to get another one, so chose the 500D just as it became available.

This is my second camera from the XXXD/Rebel line and the latest generation is great!

I have been very impressed with this camera, the picture quality is excellent, and the camera is easy to use for those who are just starting out, but is also a capable camera for the more experienced photographers too.

Paired up with the 18-55 IS kit lens, it makes a great light weight setup that is just begging to be used! The rear LCD screen is nice to work with, and I don't really miss the top LCD screen on this camera, and the long exposure timer on the rear LCD screen while shooting Bulb exposures is a great feature as it is much easier to see then the timer on the top LCD screens on the cameras higher up in the line-up.

The viewfinder is a good size, but is dimmer then the Pentaprism models, but it is still a good viewfinder, and much better then the cameras from a few years ago.

Overall, A great camera for just about everyone (maybe not those who don't like a small camera though) and highly recommended!

You can read my more detailed review here:

Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM

Review Date: Sep 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good zoom range, Good build quality, Versatile.
Big and heavy, No IS, Big Lens Hood, No focus limiter, Bit slow.

Picked up a good condition used copy of this lens.

This is my second Canon push/pull zoom lens, so I don't mind the push/pull design. The lens has a good build quality, typical of a Canon L lens, with good colours and decent bokeh and it makes a nice semi macro lens. It's a great all round lens for those times when you don't want to carry around a bag full of lenses, or you don't know what your going to encounter while out and about. It does have decent sharpness and colours, but don't expect prime sharpness, but that is to be expected since it's a 10x zoom lens.

I've written a more comprehensive review here:

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Review Date: May 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, Light weight, Sharp, IS, 58mm filters.
Slow Auto focus, Hunts in low light, No full time manual focus, Front element rotates, Manual focus ring rotates when auto focusing. Some CA, No focus limiter, no lens hood included.

Got this lens as a part of a 500D twin lens kit to use as a light weight kit.

This lens has good optical quality and is better then the other kit lenses I've owned (55-200 and 75-300 III). Build quality is ok, but not as good as Canon's "Gold Ring" consumer grade lenses.

The all plastic construction means it is very light weight, and when combined with one of Canon's plastic d/SLR's makes a nice light weight setup.

The IS does seem effective and offers about 2-3 f/ stops of hand hold ability.

The lens does seem to hunt allot in low light and the autofocus is noisy and a bit slow, if you plan on shooting anything that moves you should look at one of Canon's USM lenses.

The front element rotates when autofocusing, so using a polarising filter means you need to adjust the filter after you've focused.

There is some chromatic abbreviation, but this is easily corrected in post production.

There is no focus limiter so the lens can become very out of focus and also results in the lens hunting. But this is only a small issue and wouldn't really be a problem for the shooters that Canon is aiming this lens at.

Colours and sharpness seem good for a consumer lens and better then the older non-IS kit lenses.

Overall it's a decent lens for those looking for something lightweight, or are on a budget.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Review Date: May 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, IS, Small, Light weight.
Cheap build quality, Rotating front, No manual focus ring, No full time manual focus, No USM.

I got this lens with my 500D to use as a light weight camera kit and so far I have been impressed with this lens! Picture quality is really good, sharp and contrasty and good colours. The IS is silent and works well.

The build quality isn't that great, but is better then the original 18-55 kit lens which I also own when I bought my 300D. It would have been nice if Canon put a manual focus ring on the lens too.

The front element rotates, so using a Polarising filter means you have to reset the filter after focusing.

The autofocus is ok, not as fast as a USM lens, and the lens does hunt in low lighting conditions.

It would be great if Canon put the optics from this lens into a better body (Like the 17-85 IS) or even made a USM version.

The lens is good if your on a budget, or just looking for something small and isn't going to draw allot of attention to you and has good picture quality.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Feb 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cheap, Decent build quality, Good picture quality.

A great lens at a great price!

I've owned the Canon equivalent and the Nikon version is much better.

Every Nikon shooter should have one!

Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S

Review Date: Feb 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good build quality, Sharp, Nice colours, Quick focus.
Size and weight.

I got a good used version of this lens and this is my first Nikon "Gold Ring" Lenses coming from shooting with Canon L series lenses.

The build quality of this lens is good, Very solid and quick and silent autofocus and produces nice crisp and sharp pictures with great colours.

A great lens for both DX and FX cameras!

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Dec 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good build quality, Good LCD Screen, Big and bright viewfinder, HD Video, Decent high ISO performance.
Viewfinder info can be hard to read if you wear glasses, Low light AF performance, Lack of a built in flash, Having to select Bulb mode to shoot exposures longer then 30 secs.

The build quality is good, The camera feels solid, And the camera is also a good size.

The AF Performance is decent in normal conditions, But the camera tends to hunt in low light.

The viewfinder is big and bright, However, If you wear glasses, Reading the viewfinder information can be difficult, And you should look at getting the EP-EX15 Eyepiece extender.

I'm not a fan of the Bulb mode where the user is limited to a maximum of a 30 second exposure, And you have to select the B Bulb mode if you want to do longer then 30 second exposures.

High ISO Performance under controlled conditions is good up to ISO 12800, But in normal shooting conditions, ISO 6400 would probably be the limit without strong noise reduction. ISO Performance at ISO 3200 is good though, And very usable!

Video mode is ok, But it has limited user input, And the built in Microphone picks up all noise, Including the AF and IS sound, So A External microphone would be recommended if you plan on doing any serious video work.

Picture quality is good, Even right out of the camera, With good dynamic range and colours, Even at the default settings.

Overall the 5DMkII has been a nice upgrade from my 40D And the 50D I had, And I can recommend it if your looking at moving up to fullframe.

Nikon D300

Review Date: Nov 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: 100% Viewfinder, Built in viewfinder grid, Fast AF, Good LCD Screen, Good build quality.
Colours could be better, Noisy at ISO 800+, Top LCD always on when battery is inserted.

I had the D300 for a short time and I've written a review here:

The camera was well built, Auto focus was fast and accurate, And the viewfinder was nice for a APS-C camera.

High ISO Performance was usable up to about ISO 2000, But after that, It started to get really noisy and required strong noise reduction.

The only real complaint would have to be the top LCD stays on showing the battery status as well as how much space you have left on the memory card thats in the camera. And also not being able to see the AF points in the viewfinder until the camera has locked focus, Which coming from shooting with Canon cameras does take some time to get used to.

Overall it was a nice camera, But not enough to make me switch over to Nikon completely.


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