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Nikon D600

Review Date: Jan 24, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: dynamic range, detail
live view, plastic front panel

i got the D600 as a backup body for my main workhorse D800. i bought it used, long after the D610 was introduced. my body had a very pronounced sensor dust issue. it had only 1600 actuations when i bought it. i dry cleaned the sensor using a blower and a VisibleDust cleaning kit, then ran the body through another 2500 clicks or so, and cleaned it again. 1000 more clicks and the sensor was almost pristine.

if you can get the D600 over the D610, do it, will save you soime money, and you get the same basic thing, albeit at a price of some dust, you can easily learn to live with (and even that might not happen)

other than that, it's a great and highly capable camera. IQ wise, it's as good as its bigger brother. same DR, maybe even slightly better high ISO performance above 6400.

I wouldn't trust its plasticky front panel as a main body, as i've seen some crack from seemingly slight bumps. but for a backup, it's more than i need

its live view is better than the D800, no more interpolation at high magnifications! i wish nikon fixed the exposure simulation issue as well...

Nikon 16mm f/2.8D AF Fisheye-Nikkor

Review Date: Jan 24, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, small and light, solid build
no weather sealing, no af-s

its a great little lens. i use it for landscapes where horizon doesn't matter, such as caves, tight canyons, etc etc. its sharp in the center from f/2.8, and the corners sharpen up nicely by f/5.6. at f/8-11 it's tack sharp with little need for focusing, unless you have extremely close foreground elements

not too expensive either.

Nikon D800

Review Date: Dec 26, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Increbible DR and overall IQ, solid build, good AF
live view still falls behind canons, rear LCD inaccurate and interpolation at higher magnifications

The only reason i made the switch from Canon. Well, that and the 14-24.

Being a landscape photographer, dynamic range and fine detail is crucial to me, and the D800 excels at those.

My only gripe is the still poor live view performance, which is very annoying when trying to achieve precise focus, but you learn to live with that.

Other issue, although not as dramatic, is the green cast of the rear LCD. it's really hard to get a feeling of what the final image will look like when in the field

I see people whine about large files and the camera being less forgiving to mistakes, well this is not a camera for people who don't know what they are doing. know its limitations and treat it with respect, and you will get the best image quality a 35mm sensor can offer today.

Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 13, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharpness, zoom range, VR, size, weight
build quality not as good as canon counterpart

after shooting canon for 8 years, i moved over to the other side. this lens was 2nd on my shopping list after the 14-24.

after shooting with both the 70-200 f/4L IS and the 70-200 f/2.8L ISII and getting used to the L build quality i was somewhat disappointed with the nikon counterpart.

the body feels plasticky, the focus and zoom rings are not as smooth as i was used to... don't get me wrong, it's good, but doesn't give you that "bulletproof" feeling when you handle it.

optically it's great. sharpness is on par with canon which is almost legendary, and the stabilizer is even better, at least by a full stop compared to the canon i owned

size and weight is about the same as canon, which is great if you like to go light. some people complain about the lack of collar ring, well, it balances just fine on my D800, while on a tripod

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 13, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Corner to corner sharpness, zoom range, sunstar
Weight, Front element, short focus ring travel

I'm a landscape photographer

I got this lens as an upgrade for my canon 17-40L. Even at f/22, way after the diffraction kicks in, this thing was sharper than the 17-40 at its sweet spot.

It also replaced my Samyang 14mm 2.8 which i used for nightscapes. same sharpness wide open but without the heavy vignetting and better distortion characteristics.

Among other things i love about this lens is its sunstar. i just love it.

now to the negatives.

weight is somewhat of an issue if you want to travel light, but then in my case it replaced 2 lenses with combined weight similar to that of 14-24.

the ability to use filters can be of high importance to a landscape photographer. i use fotodiox wonderpana system and overall i'm pleased with the results

last thing which is fairly common for AF-S wide angle lenses is the very short focus ring travel, which might be tricky when you have to manually focus in certain conditions, but you learn to live with it as you get more experienced with this lens

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Oct 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, build quality
no weather sealing, vulnerable knobs

I purchased this lens to become my main landscape workhorse (that is untill i can find a decent UWA with corner to corner sharpness and one that can accept filters).
Initially i was hesitant, after using 17-40L for a while and getting used to its wide angle. However the transition from 17 to 24mm proved to be less traumatic than i expected and it did provide a more natural perspective.
the ability to stitch panoramas with the shift function proved to be priceless while the tilt allowed to use the sweet spot of the lens without compromising the DOF
it's sharpness and contrast pretty much blew me away from the first shot compared to my 17-40L, no complaints there

my only complaint about this lens would be the lack of weather sealing ( i often shoot in less than ideal weather conditions that might include rain and/or sea spray, so i have to be extra cautious with that lens. the other thing are the knobs and lock levers on the lens which don't feel too reliable.

other than that its a great lens which fits my needs almost perfectly

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Apr 7, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: great IQ and contrast, good build, internal focus
tripod collar

i bought this lens used, 2 weeks after getting my first DSLR. it's been in my possession for almost 5 years now and i still love it.

the compromise between minimal working distance and the weight, when compared against longer macro lenses in the 150-180mm range is great. the lens is compact, relatively light, and a pure joy to use

the only downside i found to this lens is the tripod collar design. now, while none of the 3rd party alternatives don't feature it, this is another plus, but the design is not the best. if not careful the collar will slip off. but it a very minor con, and in most scenarios you won't need a collar anyway

here are some images I've shot with this lens (click on the thumbnails):

Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Review Date: Mar 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp across the frame
lens cap, no USM

not my most used lens but definitely a fun one when i DO need it. considering it's age, it provides excellent results even on today's demanding FF bodies. my copy is VERY sharp across the frame from f/5.6 to f/11
it's a real shame canon stopped making it, rather than introducing an updated version with USM

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: build quality, value, color/contrast
soft corners on FF body

I've had this lens for almost 2 years now. first i got it as an upgrade for my tamron 17-50 on 50D, when i was making lens lineup adjustments for my move to FF. needless to say it performed flawlessly on a crop body. both the build quality and the IQ were deserving it's L mark

After moving to 5D Mark II i realized what everyone been talking about. while the center sharpness is great, the corners are falling behind unless you close it down to around f/8.

I compared it to 2 copies of 16-35 II, the corners were just slightly softer on my copy but the center sharpness was identical, and when closed down beyond f/11, the differences are almost non existent

In the past year I've been using it as my main UWA for landscapes, mostly in it's widest (and optically the weakest) setting. When closed down to around f/11-f/16 it provides a very good corner to corner sharpness with very little softness in the extreme edges. the contrast and color rendition are great

It's a great option for any FF user on a budget