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  Reviews by: Tobers  

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jul 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superbly sharp out of the box. Excellent colour and contrast. Build quality.

Prices in the UK have shot up following the bankers cocking everything up, but I needed the lens and actually found it really hard to get hold of one. In the end, only 1 store in London had a single lens in stock, and luckily I had the money to pay the price.

I'm immensely pleased with it. Image quality is excellent. Paired with a Canon 1DIII the photographs produced are of the highest level of quality. Highly recommended.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Nov 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning image quality, sharpness, build quality
Bit heavy

This review is for the NON-IS version.

Bought 2nd hand with a 1998 date code, so this is a 10-year-old lens. After a bit of tweaking of focus micro-adjustment to -12, this lens is stunning. Jaw droppingly good images that are sharp and crisp with great colour & contrast straight out of the camera. Focus is extremely fast. Way better in all respects than the Sigma 120-300 2.8.

Downsides - it's a bit heavy (I understand the IS version is 0.5kg lighter), and I'd like a longer tripod foot so I can use it as a handle to carry the thing.

However, if you want image quality, this is the daddy.

Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 17, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: Build quality.
Wont focus consistently, fails to track properly, only 10% (if that) keeper rate.

I've just returned the 2nd copy of this lens. The first one was truly awful - it wouldn't focus on anything. The sharpest it got was still a blurry mess. No amount of focus micro-adjustment could get the image any sharper. I concluded that it was optically incorrect at f/2.8.

The second copy was less bad, but still pretty awful. It simply cant keep up with the Canon 1Dmk3 at 10fps. In comparison to my Sigma 100-300 F4, which has a pretty-near 100% keeper rate (i.e. this isn't the camera's fault), the 120-300 is just really bad. It simply would not focus accurately in AI Servo mode.

You could see the focal point moving in front and behind the subject on successive frames of moving cars in a sequence. There was no consistency at all that might allow me to dial it out with micro-adjustment.

My suspicion is that the motor cannot handle the speed of focusing required to follow fast (40mph) objects. I went to see Sigma's calibration expert to confirm it wasn't just me and he saw the same results. We tried a third copy of the lens which was just as inconsistent. We then put on a 300 2.8 prime which was also pants, and then put the 100-300 F4 back on again to make sure we weren't going mad, and it again was pin sharp on each frame in each sequence.

Even shooting stationary objects would yield poor results, with focus in front of or behind the subject. Even when it was in roughly the right place, the sharpest area of the focal plane was still blurry and messy. And yes the shutter speed was high enough, and the 100-300 F4 returned excellent results even at a lower shutter speed in exactly the same circumstances.

I've handed it back and have asked for a 3rd copy (3rd time lucky) so I'll see how that goes, otherwise its money-back time and saving starts for a Canon 300 2.8 L IS....

Sigma 17-35 mm f2.8-4.0 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Apr 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Decent fast full-frame wide angle at a fraction of the price of the Canon 16-35. Softness at f/2.8 sorted with focus micro-adjustment. Build quality nice & solid.
Resolution is a bit lacking in the corners at 17mm but nothing to be overly fussed about for this price

I needed to replace my Sigma 10-20 now I have a 1D. The 10-20 vignettes badly especially with some Lee filters on the front. I was after a Canon 16-35 but they are very expensive. This Sigma seemed to fit the bill, with a fast f/2.8 and decently wide 17mm (I'd still like wider though...).

Having read the reviews here the first thing I did when I got it home was a focus test. Indeed it is soft at f/2.8 but nice & sharp at f/8. Being blessed with a 1D mark III, I used the focus micro-adjustment facility and set it to +18 to get a very nice sharp image at f/2.8 at 17mm, with no detremental effects at other apertures & zoom lengths. Result.

So I now have a nice fast wide lens for free funded by the cost of the 10-20 sale. I can use this happily whilst I save up for a 16-35.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Jan 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, responsivness, solid, feels excellent in the hand, build quality.
Vast number of custom functions making it easy to screw up your settings

I waited and waited until I could get one of the "good" serial number cameras well outside the faulty serial number range. I'm very impressed. Autofocus has been spot on in AI Servo mode - it focuses accurately and extremely quickly. The camera really is a joy to use. It is so fast and responsive, and makes my old 30D look and feel like a toy. Super bit of kit.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, build quality, looks cool
Would like IS but too costly

Got a great deal on a new one from eBay in the UK. A superb quality lens which has got me hooked on L-series lenses now. Beautifully sharp images and flawless build quality. A pleasure to use.

I'll be adding a 1.4x converter shortly as well.