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  Reviews by: Peter twohey  

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Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM APO

Review Date: Feb 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price,weight,bokeh,range.

I love the range on this lens-50mm at f/2.8 with the ability to get closer is so useful.The weight is a big plus-this lens is light particularly when compared to the Canons.The only time I need a tripod is when I add a 2x teleconverter-so I dont think the lens needs a collar.Build quality is excellent like all new Sigma EX lenses.IQ,colour and sharpness are also right on the money.This is a brilliant lens.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Nov 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $220.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ-Fast-Light and cheap.

I have this theory that when Canon produce really good lenses for little money people will always find something to complain about.The build quality of this lens is marginally up on the 50mm and down on the 20mm which has USM(and everyone moans about the price of that).Personally I would love it if all lenses were this good and for this sort of money.If I had paid $900 I too might complain about the noisy A/F-actually its not too bad and this lens is seriously cheap.At 35mm its a great field of view even on a crop and the image quality is excellent.Lenses like this are what photography should be all about,unfortunately though we have all been seduced by the convenience of the zoom lens.Well there is nothing wrong with convenience but let us not forget little gems like this lens and its 50mm sibling.Spend a day with this as your walkaround and I guarantee two things.1/You will take less pictures and 2/Your discard rate will be considerably lower-because you will have had to think more about each shot.
This lens is a cracker,everyone should have one.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Nov 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $95.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality and cost.
Seriously stupid optional lens hood.

When the price of this lens is taken into consideration there cannot be a single realistic criticism except for the silly optional lens hood.Great image quality and nice for potraits-good bokeh too.I love it.

Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

Review Date: Nov 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ,Build quality,USM.
Lack of hood.

There seems to be some very divergent opinions about this lens and where I see review scores varying from 2-10 it would lead me to suspect a QC problem and a batch of bad lenses at some point in production.To me there seems little point in reviewing a bad copy-so send it back and get a good one.Equally if you bought second hand-then try before you buy.
I would therefore propose to ignore those really low scores-and look to the rest for a realistic view of this lens.Bizarrely two of the most complimentary reviews have only scored it 6 and 7 apiece!
Nevertheless everyone seems to agree that this lenses strong points are 1/Sharpness 2/Colour 3/Contrast 4/Build quality and 5/Fast and accurate A/F-a pretty impressive list for any lens
Equally everyone seems to agree on the cons.1/Price 2/No hood 3/Soft edges and some CA (particularly full frame).Well the lack of hood is a perennial beef with Canon and the price is not too dissimiliar with the Sigma and for a lens of high build quality and USM, that seems reasonable value for money to me.Which leaves the soft edges and CA-- on a superwide prime-- pretty much to be expected and easily correctable in post.I shoot with a 40D crop body and these are non issues for me.
I really like this lens,it comes into its own in poor light and strong shadow.Images are crisp and sharp-colours clear and strong.I can thoroughly recommend this lens but definitely try before you buy.

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO

Review Date: Oct 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $390.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price,build and performance.
None for the money.

This has been my walkabout lens for the last 6 weeks and I have been astonished with its performance.Image quality is first rate and really sharp and crisp through the range.I had worried about f/4.5 at the long end but I have worried needlessly.This lens really delivers and is brilliant value for money.I have primes at 20,35 and50mm and this lens runs them close----thats how good this lens is!

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

Review Date: Oct 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fantastic value for money.Good IQ and a great range.
The oh so fiddly Macro.

Just like the Canon 50mm f/1.8 this lens is an absolute bargain.Ok its not the fastest but when stopped down particularly between f/8 and f/11 this lens takes nice sharp images.Once you have overcome the fiddly macro setting it also takes excellent macro pics as well.In good light with a 1.4 adapter you also have a very light 100mm-420mm lens.
This lens does get a bit soft past 200mm and does suffer a bit with CA but thats easily sorted.Astonishing value for money.

Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Oct 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality-Sharp-Sharp-Sharp.
F2.8 would have been really nice.

I have been looking for a wide angle for some time.I purchased this from ebay UK from a photographer who was forced to sell his kit and ascertained before bidding that it was a good example.Quite simply-I love it.It is brilliant in town at night.It is brilliant with architecture.It is brilliant with landscape and it is brilliant indoors.By the way-did I mention that it is brilliant!
Having read the reviews on FM I was clear in my mind that this was the lens for me.It sems that all the negatives surround QC issues and that if you can get a good one then it is almost perfect. It is very sharp throughout the range with a little softness creeping in at 20mm which is hardly a problem.For sure adjusting a polariser is fiddly with the lens hood on but that is true with most lens hoods.Build quality feels really solid and the lens has a quality look to it.Image quality is right up there with L glass.
If you can get a good copy then buying this lens becomes a no brainer.

Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Oct 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Tactile-feels good in hand-great speed for buck.
Could have been so much better.

What is it with Canon?They get so much right yet so much wrong.Its like we are tied into their lenses-so we must take their bodies!
There is a lot that is good about the 40D-It is tactile the finger notch on the grip is great as is the rubbery feel -it is fast -great for you sports fans and wonderfully smooth to handle.But I feel cheated.This camera could have been so much more.The reviews I have read must have come from die hard fans-or do we just need convincing that we have spent our money wisely?
The much vaunted LCD screen is crap. Sure its large -but the quality is dreadful.The ability to fine tune the important menus is also lacking--WHY??? Nikon have been able to do this in more basic cameras!!!!Come on Canon we are beng short changed.
Again the much hyped live view screen will be of little use to 99% of Canons core prosumer users particularly when you cant autofocus.
The buttons on the 40D are great--they are just in the wrong place for ease of use.The guys that designed the 400D got it right-everything is accessible with either thumb or forefinger-great design.
And yet there is much in the menus that is great and the custom functions are brilliant.
But intrinsically this camera is a con.The 400D will take just as good pictures for nearly half the cost---Not that it would have made a great deal of difference-but why not 12 or 15mp-at least there would have been some bragging rights!
I have got my 40D and I can live with it.I will even enjoy it.However I will be looking very closely at Mr Nikon from now on.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi (400D)

Review Date: Sep 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Alround ability,ease of handling(with a grip),price and intuitive controls.
None for the price.

Having just got my hands on a 40D I now realise what an awesome pice of kit its little brother is.For the money I defy anyone to find a better package.Sensor cleaning is a major plus.The on/off switch is simple and of sensible design-pretty much all the controls can be accessed by the right thumb and forefinger-which because of its light weight allows one handed shooting.I use it with a battery grip and palm strap and the balance(even with a 200mm lens) is superb.
For sure the build quality is not for assignment in Beirut and its size without a grip is a tad small--but that I feel is to miss the point-it is still a very well built pece of kit that provides professional capability in an amazing lightweight package.I love the new 40D but the 400D will always be in my bag--its a fun camera but with serious ability.