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  Reviews by: cdryall  

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Canon Extender EF 2x III

Review Date: Nov 11, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cost effective solution as works superbly with my 70-200 2.8 Mk11, much better contrast / saturation and tighter fit than Mk11 version
Images are slightly degraded and will always be compared to equivalent length alternative lenses

When I first tested this against the Mk2 extender for IQ with static indoor test subjects, I thought I had made a mistake in spending so much in that the differences in IQ other than in the mid / corners did not seem that different.

However now that I have had an opportunity to use this with both my 5D2 and 1D111 bodies in the real world I have to report that the improvements are actually significant. With the old Mk2 I had serious contrast and saturation losses, now much improved.

And strangely - although this may be just my copy, I did not need to make any MA adjustment for the new extender and the AF especially with my 1D111 is bang on whereas the Mk2 was somewhat of a hit or miss affair - again this may just be my perception, but I've got to say I am much much happier with this version and can finally just carry around my 24-105, 70-200 and the extender and have most of the range i need well covered.

In summary with a Mk2 70-200 2.8 this makes a very useable and arguably cost effective solution

Canon EOS 7D

Review Date: Feb 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Well built, excellent FPS, long battery life, great new features including electronic level, quick menu and wireless flash transmitter - overall very good value for money...
The AF - whilst the number of options were great I could never get it to be consistently accurate with my longer L lenses 100-400 and 300 2.8 - which my 5D2 and 30D were, but more importantly noise, noise and noise

I really, really wanted to love this camera - after all I have been an APS C fan since the 300D and have been through a 30D, 40D, 50D to the 7D. I have also have had a 1D3 in the past and have a 5D2. Given business / family aspects, I no longer have the time on my hands to use my kit as I should, only really shooting wildlife and a small number of events (weddings etc) these days. So after early reviews I was hoping that the 7D would finally allow me to keep only one body to cover my requirements.

To be fair it is a well put together unit with great functionality and form. Even the battery grip design is far better than in the past. Whilst the breadth of AF functionality was clearly superior to prior APS C models I never really felt 100% confident of its consistency and it did not match the 1D3 (which despite its reputation I found superb) for birds in flight etc.nor should I have expected this given the price difference.

However I probably could have perservered with the AF aspects and found the time to get this working for me, but at the end of the day I just could not live with the noise - at high ISO's it was not too bad actually but when I was using low ISO's I found it offensive and struggled to get the noise reduction / sharpening balance to be acceptable. Its not a FF and I accept this, but to me its just too many pixels for the sensor at this stage of CMOS development - and so it's had to go...

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Jun 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Compactness, inauspicious, nice travel lens, quick and accurate AF and great IS
Heavy, flare, given contrast issues need to use hood at all times and this takes away versatility of size. Zoom lock necessary but again makes handling difficult but overpriced

Definitely better than 70-300 IS at longer settings in terms of sharpness and colour and IS very good, however does not match 100-400 or like at equivalent lengths. Capable of taking nice pictures when stopped down.

My biggest gripe was that the primary reason for getting this lens was as a versatile travel companion, but if you have the hood loaded backwards on lens for compactness, cannot get to zoom lock and if in place (as necessary for contrast) the lens ends up being longer than 70-300, so close but no cigar I am afraid....

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Sep 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great sharpness from pretty much wide open through to mid apetures, build, great colour - just a great option on a full frame
Only really cost - but gives primes a run for the money in range...

Great lens - have only had for a short time but improvement over 17-40 on full frame clear to see - really a great option - highly recommended....

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Sep 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lovely colours, great centre sharpness, REAL value for money
Soft on the extreme borders with full frame great on APS - H upwards

One of the best value for money lenses in the Canon lineup, great colour and centre sharpness - recommended especially if an APS H or APS C user, on full frame 5D2 edge limitations do show up....

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, speed of focusing, IS, colour, absolute lack of CA, how well it takes a 1.4X TC and even a 2X acceptable - as good as it gets for me..
Not cheap, can't remain inconspicious, maybe a black version would be an option?

IQ, IQ, IQ, finest lens I have ever had the pleasure to own. Wanted one for a long time but could not bring myself to part with the money. Can now really understand why pro's who make their living from such lenses turn to such...

May not be as versatile as a zoom and the price may be too much for many, but then again why do people (who shouldn't) buy a Ferrari or even a Bentley for that matter...

One of those items that brings the aaahh factor long after the price is forgotten.......

Canon EOS Rebel XSi (450D)

Review Date: Feb 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Bright light images and resolution, ease of use, value
Too small form - even worse with battery grip, AF seemed pretty average, noise, noise, noise

Bought as travel backup for 1D111. Capable of producing very good images and saturated pictures, but small form was an irritant for someone with average size hands and was even worse with the battery grip. For me I never felt it was up to levels that so many have raved about, especially on AF and noise aspects. Sorry guys, noise may well be up to same levels as competitors but for me 30D was far superior and 40D much better especially coupled with ergonomics, build and FPS.

Offerred to my daughter who still preferred to keep her 400D given low light IQ which I thought was strange given live view etc. but on reviewing results of both bodies with 100-400 lens only one winner and that was the 400D....

Still, even though now gone, cannot deny better resolution and that results obtained with UWA (Sigma 10-20) were excellent, but at the end of the day wished that there were two options a small form and a base version for larger hands along the lines of a 300D replacement - just a thought........

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

Review Date: Jan 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent image quality across the range, fast AF in good light, versatility, build quality, not too bulky to carry, can take a 1.4 TC with a 1 series with not too much effect, IS although older version still invaluable.
Heavy, only 5.6 at long end but thats what you pay having the size / veratility mix, friction ring to close to manual focus

I took a while to decide whether to get this or the 400 5.6 prime as really want to use it most of the time at max length. Well to be honest for me the IS and image quality across the range in hindsight made this very much the right choice for the money.

The push pull is very convenient except fot the friction ring, the IQ at 380 - 400mm is still excellent. The one thing I have noticed is that it cannot be used with a UV filter as this seriously degrades the IQ.

I have other L lenses that produce slightly better quality results especially in lower light levels (70-200 2.8; 300 2.8) but strangely enough if I had to get rid of all my equipment this would most probably be the very last lens to go - its that good a mix.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Sep 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ from images even at higher ISO's,speed of operation, accuracy of AF, build, comfort in hand, incredible battery life, ability to customise
Quality and sharpness of LCD, cant hide....

Perhaps I have been very fortunate as I bought this body some time back second hand, serial no 529XXX, upgraded the firmware to 1.2.3 and to be honest am blown away by the quality of the images I get from the camera and the speed and accuracy of the AF (and this is without any sub-mirror fix).

Admittedly I am just an enthusiast and no working Pro but living in a desert region and operating in very hot and challenging conditions I find the AF far, far better than anything I have ever used before. It makes my old 30D seem very pedestrian. Coupled with L lenses like the 300 2.8 IS with the 1.3X conversion, one gets a superb wildlife and sporting combo.

What I have noticed however is that my 3rd party lenses, even my very good ones like my 100-300 F4 Sigma just could not cope with this body's demands - and so all of them have now gone and replaced with genuine USM based OEM lenses. The only aspect I personally can fault is the LCD screen which is disappointing for a quality system like this. Often when I have reviewed photos in the field they appear soft but when I download these, it is virtually never actually the case!

One last issue which unfortunately can happen when you use such a body - you may find security personnel looking to limit usage as it is often assumed (well at least here it does) that you may be a Pro working without permission ;-)..

Some may say resale value could be an issue ahead. Maybe, but for me I am going to have this stunning body for a long time to come, its been a wonderful purchase I can recommend without hesitation...................

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Sep 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Stunning IQ, great bokeh wide open, beautifully built, worked very well on both APS C and APS H bodies
Lack of IS, heavy - unless need for sports then F4 I/S today may be better option

Bought this some two years ago and was immediately pleased with the quality of the images on my 30D. Is heavy though and as one gets older - well lets put it this way IS is a very useful aid. As a result have now sold for IS version.

However as the better application of high ISO through new technology continues to emerge, this lens may experience a resurgence in popularity and find its way back into many photographers hands, especially those young guns keen on sports....

Definitely pretty much a classic.........

Canon EOS 30D

Review Date: Aug 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, speed, wheel adjustment, ease of use and fit - just an extension of my arm..
Would have loved weather sealing, in body stabilization, sensor cleaning - but of course thats all for the future - at the time I bought it, this was as good as it gets for the price.

Bought this to replace my 300D - which I loved but handed down to my daughter (so could justify to wife). Soon became apparent that the ease of operation, speed of image processing, LCD, spot metering,AF focus etc. made this a great step up and well worth it.

As I live in a desert and enjoy wildlife shooting bought a 400D as well so I didn't have to switch lenses so often etc. Yes I know its the cheaper, but later model and 10 vs 8 etc. but within a short time realised my 30D was clearly still my No. 1 choice mainly for ergomics, noise, accuracy of exposure and speed but at the end of the day it is just 'a good fit'. ..

To cut a long story short gave the same daughter the 400D and took back 300D as my backup as I knew that the only way I would be happy would be a future move up to a 1D / 5D/ 30D replacement because the XXXD versions just don't do it for me - and they are going to have to be really special. Hmmmmm, have to consider my wife friendly long term upgrade approach soon - but for now old 30D remains my best mate and a great buy.......

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

Review Date: Sep 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, IS

First L lens - initially not that impressed but over time have realised both the contrast, image sharpness and the accuracy, speed and consistency of the autofocus with 30D are a level up on my other lenses. Most used lens I have today. Best feature for me though is the IS which has been a revelation.

Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: May 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 2nd Copy I have is stellar - just continues to amaze me - would have been a 10 rating if not that first copy had the common right defocussing issue - Sigma has to get its QC issues corrected! Still - get a goodie and you will NOT be disappointed. Excllent build, value and side to side resolution....
QC????? thats almost all............

Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

Review Date: May 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $790.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Best lens I have, stunning resolution especially 100-200, HSM superb, very well built, works very well even with 1.4 TC, incredible value for wildlife photography especially with 1.6X digital SLR's
Heavy and no IS

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: May 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $395.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: To be honest this is a it of a sleeper lens review. At first I felt the focus ring was too stiff, the clutch mechanisim very strange and the autofocus a little hit and miss - all probably still very true but when I review the quality of the good / very good / great pics I get from time to time I have to be honest and say what more could one expect from such a lens? F2.8 capability, very well built, stunning resolution and contrast at times at such a price!!!
Bulky, strange design? no HSM - why Sigma?

A real conundrum.....