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  Reviews by: M.Sears  

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Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX

Review Date: Feb 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, light, easy to use with lots of features. Nice color from the flash tubes and all the functions work as advertised. The light is very soft but works great with other 580EX strobes to light the background or other areas of the photo. Just found it to be everything you would expect of a ringlight. All my exposures were very accurate using it with the EOS 1DMKII.

Ringlights may or may not be your taste for macro lighting, but this one does everything you could want and gives great exposures. I use it with at least 1-580ex most of the time as a background or side light, but it gives great light on its own as well when used within its limitations. Its not a people light, but it does flash fill tiny objects in daylight very nicely or by the light of the strobes alone. Lighting is indeed soft, which is why I use it for the overall light and then add other lights to create highlights if needed etc. Its pretty lightweight too. Feels just like a 580EX when mounted.

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

Review Date: Feb 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very Sharp! Any difference between this and my 400 5.6L is very small indeed and the IS on the Zoom more than makes up for it. I was shocked just how good it is after hearing all the moaning about it. This lens give you a great variety of options on subjects that you can not predict what will happen or where. It is an outdoor only lens of course.

The only reason more photojournalists dont use it is its size and the requirement it can only be used outside. Also the price.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Nov 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp sharp sharp even pretty sharp wide open.
Should come with a lens hood.

Very very pleased with sharpness of this lens. Its as good as everyone said. I bought this lens for macro work, landscape and portraits that I want very very sharp. It sure seems perfect for that.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Oct 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, quiet and fast focus, great build quality.
None so far.

This lens is fairly compact, fast focusing, lightweight and a joy to use. Its sharpness and contrast and color are noticeably better than most of the other lenses from canon that I have used, save maybe the 300 2.8 and 400 2.8 but thats hard to judge as they are so much longer in focal length. Out of focus backgrounds are just beautiful and subjects really pop out of them from F-2.0 - F 4.0 Its everything I was led to believe it would be by reading the reviews here. Since its so fast being F 2.0, its tempting to use it in really really low light. Just remember it is 135mm and as such you really probably need to keep shutter speeds to 125 of a second, minimum unless your really paying attention to holding still. A 60th of a second with this lens is a lot tougher than it is with the massive 70-200 2.8 IS, with the IS activated. That lens spoiled me into using very slow shutter speeds for the focal length. The 135 is so light that even on a MKII body its easy to move it around if your not careful and get some soft images. A 135 F 2.0 with IS, now that would be a low light terror.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Oct 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,095.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Lightweight, compact, very sharp with good contrast. Fast focus speed. Works well with a 1.4 extender on pro-bodies like the 1DMKII.
F -5.6 but of course thats why we get the compact and lightweight. No IS which would really put it over the top.

I love this lens for any 400mm aplication that is not in dim light. In those cases you have to lug the 400 2.8 IS which is a world beater, but just so heavy you cant move around much. For fast moving news assignments and daylight sports this lens is just excellent. Great lens for wildlife in action as well. The freedom of movement it allows is incredible and I dont think other than being an F-stop faster the new 400 F-4 DO canon lens has any sharpness advantage over it either. The 400 2.8 is a bit sharper at 2.8 than this lens at 5.6, but not all that much. Build quality is excellent. Very very hand holdable. Just keep the shutter speed at or above 1000th. Not that I have not used it much lower on occasion, but its best to stick at least to a 500th hand held. It works with the 1.4x converter on pro-bodies and you lose very little in auto focus speed. Still very sharp.
It is not super close focusing, so if you want to photograph small birds closeup, the shorter Canon extension tube makes that easy, while still maintaining the ability to focus at middle distances. Since buying it the mobility this lens allows has got me several really nice photos, in situations where I would not have had this focal length along otherwise.
Makes a great daylight lens for covering golf as well. With the low noise levels of the EOS 1DMKII maximum aperature of 5.6 is not much of a handicap. 400 ISO and 800 ISO are very usable.