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  Reviews by: Johnny Bravo  

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Acratech ballhead

Review Date: May 31, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light weight
Fussy to use, compared to Markins

I got one of these in a trade. I've used the Markins ballhead for years. I've used this one for travel since it's light and I don't use a ballhead much (I use a gimbal for most of my shooting).

So, compared to the markins:

Much lighter--a joy to travel with.

Much more challenging to operate. It's not nearly as smooth as the markins in operation and it will creep after I think it's chinched down, while the markins won't move an iota.

Conclusion: Great little travel ballhead--but I I could have only one, it wouldn't be this one.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

Review Date: Mar 26, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low light/high iso performance on this camera is simply incredible. Speed, reliability, build quality--image quality! This body has it all.
It's a bit heavy

I've used the Mark IV since it was introduced and recently returned from a 90 day venture into the jungles of Panama where I used the Mark IV almost exclusively.

Build: Built like a tank. My friend dropped his on the street and it bounced twice. And worked without a hitch after we were able to breathe again!

Performance: About as good as it gets.

Image Quality: My Mark III 's' model has slightly better dynamic range, and more pixels, but I hardly used it on my trip as the speed and low light performance of the Mark IV is just sooooo sweet.

Price: This body is worth every penny.

Video: Especially amazing in low light. Give it a try when it's so dark that stills are a challenge. You'll be amazed.

Conclusion: Beats the socks off every previous Canon body as a wildlife/action camera. For 'still life' the 's' and the 5D2 have the edge in image quality, but it's a slight edge.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: Mar 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp--the IS takes this lens to a new level. VERY usable in the field. Light, very fast focusing.
No tripod collar

I've owned the Tamron 90, the Canon 180 and the MPE 65:

They've all been bought and sold, I expect this one to stay in the bag. It's utility, for those of us who are serious photographers but not macro specialists, wins this a place in the bag.

Amazing handheld macros--super easy to use--just put it on, get close and fire away. Life is good.

Makes a very nice portrait lens too!

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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

Pros: Terrific image quality, hard to tell them from the images I get from my 1DsIII (which cost three times as much!).
Give me the frame rate of a 1DMarkIII on a camera with this image quality and you'll be back in my good graces, Canon!!

This camera is phenomenal, especially when one considers the price point. The image quality is comparable to my 1DsIII, and the ability to take HD movies is really fun at times.

My photography is primarily birds and other wildlife. On a scale of one to ten:

Image Quality: 10
Low ISO performance: 10 (meaning--as good as it gets--but that will, of course, change with the next camera--ain't life wonderful?)
Frame rate: 7 (not bad, but more would be better)
Battery life: 9 (never needed more than one battery for dawn to dusk shooting)
Interface: 9 (the new menu structure is great. The live view button and the two button switch to HD movies is fantastic.)

As far as I'm concerned, Canon knocked one out of the park with this camera. It's versatile and a solid performer.

Weather seal one of these and up the frame rate, package it with the 'pro' battery and I'd buy a 'pro' version in a heartbeat.

Tamron 90MM F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF

Review Date: Feb 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp lens, fast focusing, I like the manual to autofocus switch method used on this lens. Great lens for macro, and fine results used as a 90.
A little 'plasticy' feeling, but given the cost, and the utility of this lens--not a worry.

I use this lens primarily for macro--it's very sharp. I purchased it on advice from fm'ers, and I'm quite pleased with it. It's also a very sharp prime that rounds out my focal length ranges. The rest of my bag is 'L' glass and this lens doesn't have to hide in that company. It's a great performing lens at an excellent price.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Aug 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, weight, zoom range.
Spotty results. Somewhat expensive for the performance ('almost' L-like performance at an L price)

Most of the time I love this lens, but backlit images can be pretty funky, and sharpness is spotty at the long focal lengths. Generally speaking, in my experience with it, it seems that: In good light, it's a great lens, in lower light levels it can be very disappointing. The 'strange' bokeh can be a really nice effect--I like it.

That said, this is one great 'walking around' lens. With this an my 17-40 I've got a lot of focal length range covered at a modest weight with only a slight sacrifice in sharpness compared to my 'white' lenses.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: May 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $705.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp. Did I say that this lens is sharp? It is. Great to have a reasonably wide angle on the 10D (but effective 17mm is still a dream) Great look and feel. Excellent build quality.
None noted.

My best indoor or crowds lens. Fast focusing and fast zooming. Very sharp results. A great walk around lens.

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

Review Date: May 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Flexibility--outstanding zoom range on a 10D, IS is excellent. Sharp optics at all focal lengths.
A bit heavy, but not bad.

My most used lens. Excellent in all respects. I'd like to find out where the 'dust' thing started...I wonder if that is more of an 'it might' rather than 'it does'. Worst case I'll get it cleaned if it ever becomes a problem and I'll STILL love this lens.