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  Reviews by: Steve Langton  

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Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM

Review Date: Dec 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, weight, sharpness
Price, contrast

I got hold of a used but 'nearly as new' copy of this lens a few months ago. The main advantage of this lens is, of course, its size and weight compared with a non-DO equivalent lens which makes it easier to carry and handle. My copy is certainly very sharp indeed, just as you'd expect from a top Canon prime lens. It also works very well with a 1.4X converter. The main image quality trade-off, being a DO lens, is contrast - straight out of camera images are just a little flat compared to, say, the almost perfect 300mm F2.8 but in all honesty this can be very simply corrected on the computer. The fact that it is 'only' F4 may be an issue for some, although this is again part of the trade-off for handling and ease of transport.

Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Apr 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, even wide open F2.8 120-300 range very useful for sports and wildlife
Heavy! No stabilisation/vibration reduction system

I use this for sports and and animal photography, including several African safari trips in recent years, usually on a Canon 1D Mk III.

I've heard mixed reports about image quality on this lens but I have no complaints at all about the images taken with my copy - sharp and contrasty. Most importantly, it's actually very sharp at F2.8 (I can't see the point of an expensive long lens with a F2.8 maximum if it's not sharp at that aperture). The focal lengths covered are very useful for a sports or wildlife photographer. It focuses quickly and accurately.

On the negative side, of course it's heavy (what did you expect?) and does not have IS/OS, which would really be a big advantage, and I had an issue with the back of the lens becoming loose, which was easily sorted by simply removing the lens mount (3 screws) and tightening the internal screws that hold the lens together. Not an ideal situation but not a disaster, either.

Overall, excellent for its versatility and image quality.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, light, IS very effective
Not F2.8 but not much else

Upgraded to this from the non-IS version. Thought very long and hard about whether I would have preferred an F2.8 version and in some ways that lens would have been better. However, no problems at all with this lens, the image quality really is good, the latest IS system seems to be very effective and the lens is conveniently light and portable. With the Canon 70-200s the main question is just how much do you need F2.8 because if you accept the limitation of F4 maximum aperture (or don't need any more) this lens won't disappoint.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Oct 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp Light Relatively cheap Built-in lens hood Works well with 1.4X converter

I've had this lens a few years and it's one of my favourites - VERY sharp, light, relatively small. Hardly any loss of quality with 1.4X and keeps AF. Fits easily in a smallish camera bag. Highly recommended.

Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Oct 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 6.5 frames per second Large screen Viewfinder information
'Only' 10 megapixels More noise at high ISO than my 5D

I bought this camera as a back-up for my 5D and also to use for wildlife photography - I basically shoot travel and landscapes but also enjoy some wildlife photography, the fast frame rate was a major positive point as the 5D only shoots 3 fps. No problems so far, although it seems to have more noise above ISO 800 than my 5D. Overall very pleased.