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  Reviews by: SilkyStrings  

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A"

Review Date: Sep 5, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, beautiful saturated colour and contrast. (For me) very pleasing bokeh.

Up to buying this lens I'd established a pattern with every Sigma lens I'd bought - namely, they ended up on Ebay within a short space of time. There has been so much positive info published about this lens I decided to go for it. From the look and feel of the lens you certainly feel like you're getting your money's worth. Straight on my 5D3 it was obvious that a focus adjustment needed to be made. After half an hour with a chart +13 was dialled in on the mfa. I used it for the first time at a recent wedding and it literally stopped me in my tracks. The sharpness was incredible, the colour rich and vibrant and the isolation wide open was almost like a 3D effect. A lot of people have criticised the bokeh but I personally find this very pleasing, smooth and creamy in character. It's true, no other 50mm I've ever used comes close to this.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Sep 11, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Finish, weight
Focus problems, poor performance

I REALLY wanted to like this lens. It looks gorgeous, it's weighty, looks the business but unfortunately (for me) it isn't. Not useable at f1.4 because what you focus on won't end up being in focus. I'm sure the bokeh has the potential to be absolutely gorgeous but for that to work your intended part of the frame has to be in sharp focus. It's been back to Sigma once. I've tried MA on my 5D2 but it's not consistent and drifts over time. I know mastering shooting wide open is a bit of an art but I've had plenty of practice with my EF 85mm mk II f1.2! The real shocker came recently when I was using it and thought I'd double up the shots using the plastic fantastic (Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II). In terms of sharpness & accurate focus the Canon floored it, even at smaller apertures. Like I said, I REALLY wanted to like this lens but simply can't rely on it to ever deliver the goods!

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Review Date: Aug 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, light, very affordable.
Nothing major at this price!

I find myself using primes a lot more generally at the moment. Already proud owner of EF 85mm f1.2 II & EF 35mm f1.4, I really fancied a 24mm. Looked at the options, 24mm L would have been nice but house maintenance has swallowed most of available funds. Thought about the Sigma but there was a lot of negative comment generally surrounding focus issues. Then I started to read up on this little 24mm f2.8 from Canon. I so trust my fellow photographers on FM and decided to look out for a fine used example. One came up on ebay and I bought it. Attached it to my 5D mkII body and took a number of shots. Bearing in mind that the full frame is less forgiving on lenses I was ready to make all the allowances necessary. I was very pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Really sharp, detailed, contrasty images. Focus was bang on. I took more & more with exactly the same conclusions. This is without a doubt a brilliant little lens that can really deliver the goods. Did have the 35mm f2 once. This is in a different league. Thoroughly recommended!

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Mar 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Handling, AF, Build, Twin Card Slots, IQ
(Maybe if I'm being unrealistically picky) Screen Size

Up to acquiring this I had a 5D (mkI) and 40D with a variety of L glass, prime & zoom. I worked out that I could sell the 40D & grip and an EFS and have enough money for one of these. Found a mint (totally as new) example with 1900 actuations and bought it. I can't begin to tell you what a joy it is to use. Lightning quick AF (truly in a different league), superb handling and surprising IQ. I have my own personal theory that although technology marches on the larger pixels employed in this camera (8.2 um) go a long way to providing the IQ along with the APS-H sensor. For me this is in a different league to the 40D. I took the plunge recently and used it alongside my 5D for a professional portrait session and was very pleasantly surprised at the outcome. On a calibrated 22" monitor the files from both cameras are startlingly close, plus, the 1D's handling in the studio is superior. I now feel I have the perfect set up in the 5D mkI and 1D mkII. If you are in the same position I was in, I can thoroughly recommend bypassing Canon's current mega pixel/video strategy and going for one of these beauties, particularly at the prices they can be bought for at the moment. Forgive me quoting one of the most used phrases on these forums but once you have tried a 1D there is no going back. If I get up in the middle of the night and can't sleep I check on it and just handle it for a few minutes (maybe it will wear off in time, but as a confirmed camera 'nut' perhaps it won't). Sad, I know, but unfortunately true!

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Dec 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp pictures with great colour. Fast AF and IS is superb. Zoom ring is smooth. Build quality is actually pretty good IMHO
Hood is an extra. No dust yet, time will tell.

After reading such a negative evaluation I had to post my own experience with this lens. Having just completed a wedding using this optic and a 20D body I can only say that the results are everything I could have hoped for. Super sharp photos with great colour. The AF is very quick and the IS was brilliant for atmospheric shots with available light. This lens is sharper than my 24-70 f2.8 L without a doubt. Build quality is not the same as the L but is still pretty good and with care will still be delivering the goods in years to come, I'm sure. I purchased largely on the strength of reviews and opinion and have not been disappointed. It's a great lens and well worth the price I paid. Like many fellow photographers out there I do plan to go full frame at some future date. I like this lens so much that even if I do I will always retain an EFS compatible body so that I can continue using it. For me it's that good.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Oct 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp. Great colour, good range. IS is well worth having. Lighter than my 24-70. Works well on my 20d and 400d bodies. I can do a wedding with this on one body and my 17-40 on the other.
None, it's a great lens.

A sharp, contrasty lens that delivers the goods. The IS is a valuable asset. I shot a wedding for a friend a few years back and by word of mouth seem to do 4 or 5 now through the summer months. There is one shot at weddings, the signing of the register where I normally leave the tripod and hand hold. It's nice to know that when shooting at lower speeds I will not suffer camera shake. No excuses at a wedding, you simply HAVE to get all the shots required. IS is a welcome insurance. I know a lot of people see the 24-105 and the 24-70 as an either/or situation. For me the 24-105 doesn't replace my 24-70 but rather compliments it. I can certainly see the 24-105 becoming my 'holiday lens'. The only thing that would really rock the boat is if Canon ever produced a 17-105 f2.8 L IS. Then we'd all potentially be making those guys at Ebay EVEN richer!