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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Typically coverage from wide to medium zoom; f2.8 constant; build and weather sealed; nice colors and lens quality.
Reserving zoom - Lens barrel out when at 24mm and in at 70mm, a bit odd for me, needs time to get used to it.

When rumours of the mk 2 version surfaced, we had foreseen that many users would be selling away the mk 1 version and it came true. We were overjoyed when someone posted a mint copy for S$1400/- on our local buy and sell forum.

This is a time where we are upgrading the video setup to a Panasonic AF102 and this 24-70mm mk 1 of ours comes just in time. This lens is also able to be mounted to our Canon setup of 1Dmk3 and 7D as well.

We do not know why Canon wants to update a quality lens without an IS. But the odd decision is our gain. It has been sometimes that we own a f2.8 zoom, the last was the 16-35mm f2.8 mk1 many years ago. The large aperture is essential for our wedding business although we own the 24-105mm f 4 IS as well.

Image quality from L glass never fail us although there are a few bad L out in Canon lineup.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Oct 15, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built like a tank; lighter than the mk2; large LCD screen; fast AF speed; instantaneous preview of images after burst shots; one-touch preview like the EOS 7D; nice and crisp shutter closure sound
Well, its MP count...

By chance I got hold of an used 1Dmk3 at S$2200/- with around 28K shutter count. Tested the set at an event. The EOS 1Dmk3 has fulfilled what its built for - durability and speed. Fast AF speed and shutter lag are its main advantages. It is built for event photographers who need their cameras to be "on the ball" always. Another good point about the mk3 is that its big 3" LCD screen. A tremendous amount of improvements over its mk2 brother on the preview screen. Now with the mk3, whatever burst rate I shot at, I got to preview almost straight on thanks to its dual "Digic III" processors - another leap over the mk2!

Next, the ease of previewing. A touch on the "preview" button instantly show the images taken. Its bigger brothers the mk1 & mk2, need to hold down 2 extras buttons and turn the dial before you could preview the images recorded. Now, with the mk3, previewing of images isnt a tiring and heretic task anymore.

My set of 1Dmk3 is combined with use of the EF24-105mm f4 L IS USM. on this 1.3 crop body, it is neither too wide or too tight. The experience gained using the 1Dmk3, with a f4 lens, an all round coverage of any event is almost possible without the need of a backup body. But having said that, I always believe in bring an extra camera body and extra speedlite, just in case!

With that, how I wish I could have the 1Dmk3 when it was first launch. Its latest successor, the 1Dmk4, triumph the 1Dmk3 over the megapixels count and cleaner noise level at higher ISO. But still, I reckon that 1Dmk3 will still be around for many years to come.

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

Review Date: Jun 26, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: The range it covers, built like a tank, good weight to balance between camer and lens, color it produces and cool optics.
Hunts a bit in low light, a bit soft on wide end and IS needs to be switch off when used on a tripod.

I begin to realise I can no longer bring 2 DSLRs for event coverage like neighbourhood activities and weddings. My usual work cameras are 1Dmk2 with an EF 20mm f2.8, EF 50mm f1.8 and 7D plus EF 70-200mm f2.8 L. Since I am no longer young, I decided to go for a walkaround lens for these activities.

This EF 24-105mm L IS USM is what I need. Eventually I found a guy selling off this copy of mine still very much in mint conditions and flawless lens optics, just a bit of fading in the rubber. I solved the fading rubber by applying a few coat of black markers and immediately it looks new. Some more, the guy who sold me includes a B+W haze filter for me! I got a gem lens.

The second day bought in along to a beach for some quick test, on my 1Dmk2 with is 1.3x, it is not too wide unlike my 20mm and the longer focal length is acceptable in most conditions. Just like any Canon's wide angle, this one suffers a bit of clarity issues when using at f4 but a little unsharp mask will do the job.

On the 7D body, it fits well too. Onlt that I took sometime to adjust the AF adjustment; I had to test and set the AF to -7 before everything is working fine.

Image quality is superb then the normal lens I used. Comparable to my 70-200mm L.

Overall, it is a fine walkabout lens.

Canon EOS 7D

Review Date: Nov 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid body, 100% viewfinder, Weather sealed, Fast AF, Have auto focus function while on live view, Intergated Speedlite Transmitter, Slightly improved CF card door
Its a cropped body... Should be a 1.3x...

Greetings to all readers,

Bought a brand new EOS 7D body to act as a second body for my EOS 1Dmk2, this 7D features the new and improved functions for a cropped body.

First & foremost, the body itself is well built, fits well on my hands, reminds me of a 5D body which I had a few months ago. Although it is a cropped body, but it does not feel like a 1.6x. Oh manz, I thought it should have been a 1.3x for serious & semi-pro photographers. The pop-out flash area, it does not have the impression that a pop-out flash is there. Its well-designed ergonomics have covered the pop-out flash parts and when you touch it, there seems to be no lines felt between the flash and its main body!

Next, like all cropped bodies, the 7D is proned to noise as well, but performs better. All images, if well exposed, will have lesser noise. Picture are also vibrant and rich. Most of all, there is a better improved 'Live View' function which features auto focus even when live view is on. This a tremendous improvements over the 50D live view function. The 7D's live view is almost exactly to the picture taken. Great for taking landscape is that there is built in electronic lever to ensure the horizon is straight.

Auto focus speed is fast, if not quick. I have tried mine in an indoor theme park in Gentings Highlands, when indoor, it has fast AF and tracking speed. Have not tried darker areas but I seldom shoot in lowlight events. Its AF points, is selectable when you manually adjusted in the menu options.

A 100% viewfinder is introduced into this body, which is a major boost for small-eyed photographer like me. Also which I like to mention is that the grid can be added to the viewfinder for better compsition. Its CF compartment door is different from other cropped bodies and 5D series, It is more rugged but I think Canon can improve more. It also has an 'Integrated Speedlite Transmitter' which I have no time to try, but I think I am more to an event / studio photographer than strobist. I can say this transmitter is great for strobist. There is also a "Studio Version" called the 7D SV, for studio usage but I dont think in Singapore it is available.

We will go to the top LCD panel next. It has a new 4-bar battery indicator to show the level of battery remaining. Beware, some 3 party batteries might not have the battery indicator shown on the 7D, but newer third parties have this problem remedied. But a piece of good advice, never use third parties batteries. Even if you should, buy from a trusted shop. If not, use original.

The 7D is a ''truely different class'' to other cropped bodies.


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Dec 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight Marco Lens, Fast AF in open spaces, can be used as portrait & close up lens, silent focusing with USM, sharp from f4 and up, nice & vibrant colors
Tends to hunt a bit indoor, other then that no other complaints

Saw a mint copy lying in the used camera shop. Asked to try for it. Got a straight sharp picture. Good colors and fits my hands. Shop was selling S$580/- but I got it negotiated for S$550/- with an Emolux 58mm UV filter. I actually know it is a great lens to have as I had used it before for product shooting.

Thus when I saw it, I knew I got to act fast, for else, I might be paying for S$700/- plus for first hand. Then without thinking, I swipe my bank card and after my purchased of 1Dmk2 body last week, I bought another photographic product this week. I realised I used up all the bonuses received. However, thinking of the few times of S$550/- that I could make in the future, this marco lens is worth every single cent.

Now I got to look for more jobs Smile

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Dec 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Well solid built, ISO 50, good weight, large viewfinder, good colours with L lenses, good RAW qualities over Jpeg, nice shutter release sound, goes great with my 50mm f1.8, nice blue light on the top LCD display
No exposure meter on top LCD display, needs 2 hands over preview of images and set functions, needs USM on images (maybe partly due to my hands), can only tethered shooting with firewire

Camera Body --- A photobeast that has passed its prime? No way, it is still a monster. Decided to use some of my bonus to get a pro body. The 1DsMK2 & 1DsMK3 still way overpriced, and 1DMK2N is a bit pricey too. Saw an used set of this 1DMK2 body, well maintained, tried and bought it. Images are very sharp using studio lights from f8 to f22 on my 17-35mm f2.8 L & 70-200mm f2.8 L. It compliments well with my 50mm f1.8 too.

But the body is maybe too heavy, my hands cannot support well. All my walkaround images suffered due to mild handshake, maybe still not used to the weight of 1D series. But a speedlite solves the problem, afterall, I am shooting events which requires speedlites or location shoot which needs studio lightings.

Images Produced --- May need some smart sharpening or unsharp mask to sharpen image a little. But the colours produced are great, Jpeg images are softer while the RAW images needs a bit sharpening. Maybe its a downside a little due to sharpening. From ISO 50 to 200 usable, just that at ISO 200, image quality suffers a little.

Colours are nice with studio lights or speedlites, without them, only a well exposed scene produced nice natural lighting colours. They display well on my MacBook Pro. Needs little or no colour adjustments at all.

Like all Canon WA lenses - whether L or non-L WA - Wide images suffers from distortion and soft, but a good 20mm and above gives sharp images. I foresee I will shoot a lot from 20mm to 35mm on my 17-35mm L.

Functions --- No exposure meter on top LCD display, you need to view thru the viewfinder. You need 2 hands to operate the functions by pressing the buttons.

Overall --- My verdict on the 1DMK2: Still a monster that can produce stunning works (images). Havent really tried printing the images but I am confident with the right printer, nice and impressive prints can be produced.

Small LCD screen at back!!! No problem, if you can shoot, you can shoot. A good 3 to 5 times zoom in with see the images produced whether it is sharp or not. Digic 2 sensor!!! No problem, still a fast responsive camera. 1.3 crop factor!!! No problem, it is wide enough and goes well with my 5D too.

Last but not least, it needs L lenses to produce good results, but a few good non-L like my 50mm f1.8 and future 100mm USM Marco will do the job. Highly recommended to photographer who would like to have pro bodies but on a budget. It is not entirely a budget 1D pro body afterall, is its qualities and work abilities that separates it apart from XXD & XXXD series of Canon bodies.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Feels great holding; Very sharp with my 16-35L f2.8 mk I and 70-200L f2.8; Sharp at all focal length (with tripod of course); FF means I can see more thru my viewfinder
Needs good lighting conditions; DUST, speckles of dust still could dance when I blew it with a blower; Poor battery grip shutter button (almost instantaneous shoot)

Bought as an used set with the battery grip. I was VERY worried that my 16-35L mk 1 could not work on this FF cam. It was due to I had recalibrate the mk 1 to a 1.6x crop body. Canon told me during my consultation that I might need to recalibrate back to a FF alightment on the 16-35L mk 1. But I took a gamble and it paid off. The results (after extensive shoot with and without studio light) were great.

The viewfinder is very bright and wide. Now it has become too wide, I might need to look for a 24-70L. Now I can see more and more reasons to get more L monsters...

Now ISO starts from 50-3200 means I might not need the 580EX flash but it is always safe to bring one.

The grip is good to have one as a balanced to my big hands. But, the major problem with the battery grip is that when I tried half press focus to recompose or lock AF points, the grip's shutter button will instantaneously fires of the shutter rapidly (even my 5D body not in burst mode?).

Also by turning the grip to 'ON', my 5D's body shutter button actually turns soft like the grip's shutter button. It also fires off almost instantaneously without giving me time to recompose. But turning the grip to 'OFF', the 5D's shutter button becomes as normal; as in I can half press lock shutter and recompose b4 fire off shutter. Perhaps due to faulty grip.

Dust can be a headache and now I need to bring along cleaning equipment for every shoot. But it seems no amount of cleaning could get rid of dusts in my viewfinder.

Overall, having upgraded from 300D to 30D and now a 5D, I think I will buy another as spare in the years to come when prices dropped further; or a 5Dmk2. But currently, this is my battle horse.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 30, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: A follow up after repairs... Very versatile to use; close focusing to objects. Now after calibrations, I can use it on FF too
Made me wasted another S$150/- for repairs

After some repairs works by Canon and I was still skeptical about this L glass. But during my test shots after repais, it got better and now this L could pave a path towards my FF.

Now I rate it a 7/10...

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Fast aperture, Fast focusing, Good weight
All pictures at all f-stop soft, with or without tripod or flash all SOFT... Since I bought second hand and I use it on cropped bodies; Canon Singapore recommend me to send to their service to re-calibrate this lens. I hope after re-calibration, the lens will be sharp as I do not want a whilte elephant. For now I rate it a 5 only.

My second L turned out to be a nightmare. Having lost my battery power on my laptop when I was testing the lens, I preview thru my 30D LCD and found it reasonably sharp. And I bought it, but turned out worst on the iMac monitor. Comments from my fellow friends were that this old lens are not suitable for cropped bodies and need a re-calibration.

I certainly hope that after the calibration it could change my views on this lens. I thought Canon L lens should be standard for all bodies, regardless film or digital, cropped bodies as well...

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Dec 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, Excellent Optics, Nice bokeh, Performs better than my EF 70-210mm f3.5-4.5 USM (which in some reviews similar to an L)
A bit heavy and all handhelds 70% turns out shaky (But its just my hands, not the glass)

When I was still a student, this is a lens that I hope to get. No matter how I had saved 3 years ago, the money just could not be accumulated and gave up saving for it. Now, as a working class drawing regular salary, I could finally purchase this amazing piece of glass. To me, it is finally a dream come true. This is my first L, and will not be my last.

Bought as an used copy from one of my closed friends, I was happy of this L. Tested its capabilities in my work place, I was delighted the optics and reputation performed to its best. I am a photographer for my company and I frequently need a long lens for sports and actions, as well as indoor studio works. I am pleased by my copy by its colour and bokeh as well as the weight. I think a monopod would be my next purchase.

Overall, this white L performs better than my EF 70-210mm f3.5-4.5 USM, which some says its comparable to L. My 70-210 now will semi-retire to loan out while this L will be my workhorse.


Tamron 17-35MM F/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF)

Review Date: Jan 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp at all focal length and f-stops (Maybe I am lucky to get a sharp copy), AF quite fast even in low light, affordable price, the build looks appealing to me, not to heavy or light
A bit noiser than USM but its ok to me, focusing ring in front

I am just turned semi-professional from freelancing. For this change of status, I have decided to get a wider angle lens to replace my EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 II USM kit lens for 300D and 10D. After some serious considerations between EF 17-40mm f4 L USM, Tokina's 12-24mm f4 and this Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4, I chose the latter.

I had got a used copy which is still in mint condition and the previous owner wouldn't mind selling at a cut price because he need funds for a new lens. Tested on site and felt ok. Got home and tested with some still life shots and to my astonishment, all shots at all focal length and f-stops were quite sharp, a little unsharp mask would finished the job!

Thanks to all the comments and reviews over here, I am able to choose carefully. I have never regret so far, but I will have to bring it out for assignments before commenting further.