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  Reviews by: LotsToLearn  

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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Jul 8, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Internal zoom, internal focus, large constant maximum aperture
Seemingly very subject to flare, black finishing easily peels

I have a Nikon mount non DG version of the lens.

I have to give the lens a very low rating because of what seems to be very poor performance under any sort of potential flare conditions. I find the lens produces very soft images, either having a tremendous haze effect or with alot of aberrations, whenever there is any subject in bright light. I get some pretty good results under subdued and flash lighting though, so it's not an overall lens issue.

I have other Sigma non DG variations of lenses and have not encountered this problem so I don't know whether to chalk it up to better reflective coatings on DG lenses or just a really poor copy of a lens.

Regardless, I have to review on my experiences and unfortunately those experiences are not good with the Sigma 70-200 non-DG lens. When I have the funds I will look into upgrading to one of the newer versions of the lens.

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

Review Date: Jul 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IS, constant maximum aperture, internal zoom, internal focus
too easy to accidentally move one of the switches

I really only have praise for this lens. It is my go-to lens for the vast majority of my shooting events. Everything positive that needs to be said about the lens really already has been said. I love the focus speed, IS, sharpness, large aperture, and even the weight.

I had to think hard for any sort of con and the only thing I can come up with is the relative ease in accidentally flipping one of the switches by mistake when moving the lens in or out of my bag. Even that is not a biggie to me because I had already grown accustomed to checking settings on things like that.

I do think it's a little bit pricey but that's subjective and it doesn't help that I bought mine when the CDN dollar was extremely low. But relatively speaking, I do believe that you do get what you pay for.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens to any potential buyers.

Canon EOS 1D

Review Date: Sep 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, speed, file size.
Battery life, LCD quality, lack of auto image orientation.

This is still an outstanding camera given it's age.

I bought my 1D shortly after I bought and fell in love with my first 1 series, the 1DIIN. I wanted another 1 series but wasn't able to spend similar money again on another more recent 1 series and I also wanted to evaluate the 1D's images firsthand after reading so many glowing reviews on it. Everything people say about it's image quality is right on. Exceptionally detailed images with good colours. I haven't been concerned with high ISO noise as long as the images are properly exposed. Any noise there is is manageable.

Relative to today's technology, the only real things that bother me about the 1D are the battery life, the LCD size/quality, and lack of image orientation. But even those aren't enough to detract from it's overall value to me. Apart from those, none of its supposed other issues impact me.

This has become my 'casual' use camera. When I'm not going out on a pre-determined shoot with my IIN, I like to carry this camera since it produces very manageable file sizes and performs exceptionally well.

Tamron 70-300MM F/4-5.6 LD Macro AF

Review Date: Mar 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light weight. Great optics for the price.
No stabilization or focus motor. Barrel extension.

I have this lens in a Nikon mount and I would say that overall it is excellent value for the money.

It produces sharp images with great colour rendition and contrast. It's lightweight and easy to handle. As is a typical complaint with many consumer telezooms, it would be very useful to have stabilization and a high speed motor but you're getting what you pay for here. In fact the quality of the images is better than what you pay for. Perhaps Tamron will re-issue it later now that they have their VC technology.

Optically, this is a great option for a telephoto zoom if you're on a limited budget. I'm very happy with it and if used within it's limits, you would be too.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II N

Review Date: Jan 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focus speed and accuracy, physical size, sharpness, colour rendition, and responsiveness.

This is by far my most favourite camera to use. I moved up to this, my first 1 series body, from a 20D after growing a little frustrated with the 20D's focusing abilities.

This camera is nothing short of amazing to me. I can't say enough about it.

My lenses found a new life on this body. Comparatively, my 135L would take it's sweet time trying to lock onto something with my 20D, but on the 1DIIN it's locked on before I'm even ready for it to be. It absolutely just sings on the 1DIIN. And it's super accurate. The variety of focus screens available also let me go to a split prism so it's easier to do manual touch ups. I also appreciate it's extra stop of AF functionality to f/8.

It's ability for some in depth customization of personal functions is extremely useful. There's alot more than I personally need.

The overall handling is great for me. I prefer the heft to something small and light. It's superbly built body balances very well in my hand.

I do find mine underexposes by 1/3 or 1/2 a stop but that is no big deal. I also would have liked it to have the card full over flow feature now in the 1DIII, but oh well. At least it supports part of the dual card functionality.

After having used this for nearly a year now, I decided to pick up a couple of the older 1 series as well since I love the similar design concepts, handling and performance shared amongst them. None have disappointed. I only wish I could afford the newer III's.

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Jun 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build, focus speed, f/1.4, sharpness, price
DC lens

I bought and have used this lens for indoor available light use. I have not been disappointed in the least. It is the perfect focal length on a crop body for my indoor use and it's large aperture is naturally built for available light photography.

My copy is sharp and focuses accurately even in dim lighting. Naturally the DOF that f/1.4 provides allows for alot of creativity and the need for decent technique.

The only 'off' thing I would mention is that my copy seems to produce slightly overly warm colours. Other than that, I have no issues with this lens and I'm glad because I read a lot of scary things before finally deciding to buy it anyway. I originally wanted the Canon 28mm f/1.8 but I'm very happy with this and the price was much better so I'm glad I did buy it.

Tamron 28-300MM F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC AF

Review Date: Jun 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact. Great zoom range. Sharp.
No IS. 'Slow' lens.

I have the pre-DI version. I originally bought this to use as an every day walk around lens and cover off the range that my 75-300IS turned out to be very disappointing in for digital. That was also all before I started investing in really serious glass.

Contrary to alot of what I've read, for me this lens was superb. Images were extremely sharp, almost overly so if possible. Colours were vibrant and accurate. Focusing wasn't superfast but it met my needs accurately.

The only 'negative' I found was that the zoom ring was fairly tight. The build could also be nicer and by that I mean sturdy. It's somewhat plasticy.

I only don't still use it alot because I favour my L's now for most of my shooting. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an every day/travel lens and/or on a budget. Even though I really don't need it, I will actually consider picking up their new version with stabilization once it's available here since I found this one to be so satisfying.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Jun 5, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Image Stabilization. Useful zoom range.
Lots of focus hunting. Very soft images on digital. No internal focus. No zoom lock.

This was the first lens I bought when I got back into photography and bought my Elan 7E film camera in 2001. That's also why the price paid is high! I gave it a higher rating now than I currently think it deserves only because it worked very well with my original film camera. Now that I've gone digital though, I find a lot of issues with the lens that weren't apparent when used with the Elan 7E.

It has a terrible time focusing in anything but the best of light on my 20D. Images are extremely soft wide open and at the longer lengths. Images also exhibit alot of CA. The build quality is decent for a consumer lens. The IS is useful and does work as well as it could given it's the first lens made with it. Oh, I also hate the fact it has no zoom lock.

Again though, the lens does seem to perform well in the right circumstances as I had none of the above issues, or they were much less evident, when shooting film. Well, all except the zoom lock peeve.

I can only recommend this lens if you're shooting film and are on an extremely limited budget and can find a really good deal on one otherwise get the newer 70-300IS or try any thing else that is in that range or has IS if that's what you're after.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Jun 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp. Great DOF. Fairly solid build.
None yet.

This is another lens along with the 50 f/1.4 that I wish I would use a little more. I picked up my copy second hand at a good price for my area from a fellow FMer.

For most of what I find myself shooting, it's a little long indoors at home and a little short outdoors. Also, I usually have my 135L on my camera. However; since I've recently upgraded and added a second body with a different FOVCF, I hope to get more use out of this apparent little gem.

The times I've used it on my 20D, it has produced really sharp images with superbly rendered colours. The bokeh is beautiful and the focus is quick and accurate. It's too bad it's a little long on the 20D for my cramped indoors because it's f/1.8 has been great for low light.

Although similarly built to the 50 f/1.4, I guess because it's a little larger it doesn't feel too flimsy in my hands.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jun 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small and light. Great for low/available light.
Small and light.

Although I haven't used my copy a lot, I've found it to be a great little lens when I have. At times I found it a little long on my 1.6x 20D for how I was using it but now that I've upgraded to a 1.3x I'm going to try it out some more and see if I can get better framing.

My copy has provided sharp results even wide open. It also produces accurate colours. I love the DOF it can provide.

I joke that it's a plus that it's small and light but also a con because I have large hands and so I like things to feel heavy and/or sturdy in my hands generally. I guess it's kind of hard or not necessary to make it of much more solid materials since it's so small anyway.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jun 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quick to focus, accurate and sharp. Beautiful colours. Strong build.

Amazing lens. When I don't absolutely need a zoom and when I'm not in my home, this lens is on my camera at least 90% of the time.

I originally found it quick to focus on my 20D and now that I've upgraded to a 1DIIN body, wow is it quick.

It produces beautiful colours and when focus is on (and it only isn't when it's my error), is extremely sharp.

This was my first L lens and makes me truly appreciate their quality. It's a great one.