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  Reviews by: Joe A.  

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: Oct 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $960.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Absolutely excellent image quality, very versatile as a 100 mm prime with IS, works on a full frame camera, relatively fast at 2.8, not too heavy

I had the non IS version of this lens and used it rarely. When I heard one of my pro friends praise the Nikon equivalent, I sold the non-IS and bought the IS version.

With the IS version I can use this "macro" lens for low light, no flash portraits at a wedding....which I did last month. Then I can handhold the lens and with better light, shoot "macro shots" like the guest book, place settings, centerpieces, cake, etc. When my 40 D died right in the middle of the wedding toasts, I used this 100 mm on a little XSi to shoot them...many came out. And this 100 mm macro lens is absolutely sharp and rich as can be on my 5D Mk II.

The IS on a 2.8 lens at 100 mm--makes this a very versatile lens that is relatively light. I love this lens.

Canon Speedlite 550EX TTL

Review Date: Oct 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Works well
Plastic foot is weak.

The only problem I've had with this flash is that the plastic foot broke. Canon dealers can order the part for you. The part is cheap and I replaced it myself.

If I use bad technique I get a bad "flash-like" image, if I use good technique in either a fill flash or primary light source situation the flash delivers good results.

It's powerful too and I do use the "catch-light" tab for events.

Canon EOS 40D

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

Pros: Improved in all ways over the 20 D and the 20 D was my workhorse and favorite camera.
They could get rid of that absolutely stupid "print" button by making it a programable button--I would love to program it for mirror lockup.

In comparison to the 20 D:

1) Shutter noise is much less
2) The anti-dust feature is very welcome,
3) High ISO performance seems a tad better
4) Feels a bit better in the hand, actually feels close to perfect in the hand.
5) The "two-speed" burst modes (3 and 6 fps) are a real improvement over the 20 D, (Although the 30 D had this.)
6) Auto focus remains good or is perhaps even better,
7) Custom settings are immediately helpful.
8) Somewhat higher resolution although I've yet to notice this much in the less than 900 shots I've now got on the 40 D. (5 days old)
9) Viewfinder image seems somehow better and
10) ISO is displayed in the viewfinder.
11) Shooting controls are almost exactly the same as the 20 D--no need to re-learn "in hand" controls. (Selecting focal point, exposure lock, exposure compensation, DOF preview, etc)

Generally a very nice improvement over the 20 D--a camera which remains capable of incredibly good pictures.

The 40 D also accepts the 20 D and 30 D grips and of course uses the same battery--thus making it easy to travel or work with 20, 30 or 40 D backs in combination. This is a real plus when shooting events or weddings where a backup or second camera is really necessary.

The price is good too--$200 less than a 20D in 2004.

Tamron 200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)

Review Date: Sep 28, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: 200-500mm range, light weight, relatively low cost, good image quality if close to the subject in good light
Extremely poor (slow and hunts) AF even in bright light, unusable for birds in flight, sports or any situation which requires good AF.

I have almost stopped carrying this lens into the field. I use the 100-400 Canon instead.

The AF is so bad I only use this lens on a tripod.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Apr 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $540.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Much faster focus than the 75-300, better image quality

Basically this is a great improvement over the 75-300.

The 75-300 took so long to focus and was unacceptably soft at the longer end of it's range. The new 70-300 is better in both respects. The IS is a major plus.

The combination of IS, huge range, small size (relative to L series lenses) and reasonable price make this a good buy.