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  Reviews by: dstraton  

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Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED NIKKOR AF-S

Review Date: Apr 6, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp from edge to edge, corner to corner at small apertures. Fast accurate focus. Beautiful build quality. Great colors and micro contrast.
Slightly long physically. Might be slightly softer just left of center versus rest of the frame - or it might be me.

I never loved the Canon version of this lens when i shot a 5DII though it did have great overall contrast and colors. Very heavy and I felt a bit clunky.

This is heavy too, but I think balances a bit better on my D800, being a bit narrower though longer I think it handles more nicely. You can feel a slight hitch while zooming through the range (presumably when the retracting lens barrel reverses direction around 35mm), but overall very smooth. Focusing great with almost no play.

I think that in general, build quality on Nikons is a bit better than Canon - though it may be just a matter of finishing styles...tolerances seem a bit tighter.

Images do have distortion as expected, especially on wide-end.

My experience with this lens, and my D800, is that the files can withstand a lot more sharpening than my Canon kit - the detail is staggering across the frame and even into the extreme corners on my copy, great contrast, micro contrast and color. I think I may see some very slight softening between center and the left corners versus the rest of the frame, but have noticed this only on the wide end and only Extreme pixel peeking at 100%.

Overall a great zoom that exceeded my preconceptions of the zoom range.

Nikon D800

Review Date: Jun 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,999.99 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Shadow detail has to be seen to be believed. Features galore. Responsive. Glorious dynamic range.
ISO button still difficult to hit while shooting...that's all I can think of.

I sold my 5DMkII last year in anticipation of the MkIII. I then stumbled upon this beast, and it's very, very nice. The MkIII pricing I felt was just wrong, and the spec (beyond the AF) was kind of disappointing...still a great camera, but I think the value here has now tipped in Nikon's favor at least for me.

Detail of course is amazing, it is almost impossible to blow highlights, the metering is spectacular. But I am able to push shadows 2 stops with virtually no increase in noise and amazing detail - something one could not do on the MkII and evidently not the MkIII either. Very cool.

So I guess I am a Nikon guy now...but either are really great tools.

Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

Review Date: Oct 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,283.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp - outresolves my 5DMK2 at f5.6 - f8.0. Color POP. Wonderful rendering from sharp to blur. Manual focus, quality.
I suppose price or AF, but that's not why you're reading this, right?

I bought the 35 f2 and 21 f.2.8 the same day - originally I was just going in for the 21, but bought the 35 f2 on a lark. Suffice to say, I now LOVE the 35 f2 more than any lens I have.

So, the 21 did not disappoint either...and I officially had the bug. So I bought the 50.

I am not going to reiterate everything you've already read, beyond that it is all true. Compared to the razor-sharp eye-bleeding sharpness at f8, f2 seems a tad soft, but it is still I can affirm, very sharp. Colors are to die for - my Canons are all warmer and less realistic - these pop out of the camera just right.

use Unsharp Mask or any other sharpening method at your own risk, you may find you don't need it.

BTW, I am selling every Canon lens I have save the 24-105. Who needs them?

Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

Review Date: Oct 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,732.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outresolves my sensor (5DMk2), amazing color and clarity, presence. Sublime build. Amazing.
Seriously? None. Maybe AF but I don't miss it.

I have had a number of wide angles, and this mops the floor with them. It is a special lens. The "3D" effect posted by almost all users does exist. Sharpness is exemplary, right to the corners pretty much from 2.8 up.

My poor, poor 17-40 didn't stand a chance. While sharp in the center, the edges are no match for this lens...the 21 is in fact so sharp that even a tiny bit of sharpening cuts through the anti-alias filtering and you can't start to see some pixelation on very very fine details - I have no doubt that this lens is "future-proof" in terms of resolution.

Green and blues are amazing, and I find this lens renders colors much more accurately in the subtle tones than even my L lenses. Hard to explain, but it's there.

Price? Well you get what you pay for.

Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

Review Date: Oct 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,004.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Color "Pop", build quality insanely good, rendition of fine details fantastic
Seriously? None.

Believe everything you hear.

I wasn't really in the market for a new lens, and the 35/2 was not even remotely considered. I was researching for a wide-angle replacement for my 17-40 which I like, but have never loved due to it's edge performance which shows up in large prints.

The Distagon 21 was my real target and then I started reading about the 35 f2, and Zeiss in general. It piqued my interest. I bought this and the 21 today, brought it home and snapped 100 photos or so on my 5D MkII.

I stayed at f2 a lot - yes there is vignetting. I was expecting it. But I don't care because at f2 this thing is sharp pretty much to the edges without PP, the colors are insanely saturated, and the fine detail was amazing...I have nothing in my Canon arsenal which compares except maybe - maybe- the 135L. f8? Whoa.

Well - I haven't even tried the 21 yet - and it is supposed to be even better. I can't even fathom that.

I don't care if I ever see another zoom or AF unless it is on a telephoto lens.

Next up the Makro 50mm f2...

Canon EOS 7D

Review Date: Jan 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, features, AF, great video and better ease of use
Still need somewhat more simplified video use, but this is minor

After feeling a little let down by the 40D, I skipped the 50D to go for the 5D Mark II. I wasn't keen on the pedestrian AF and general pokiness of the 5D Mark II (plus it is a sensor dust magnet), but love everything else, including the massive 21 MP 14-bit RAW which make even radical edits achievable...but having a kid and photographing wildlife once in a while does make you crave some things (particularly when Nikon seems to have it).

When I heard 18MP, like everyone else, I thought BIG mistake, but guess what? This camera is great. Like all crops, it is a bit less forgiving to bad exposures, but if I do my job, it delivers really excellent files. The speed is fantastic, the AF is fantastic once you learn it. It really demands a lot of your lenses, but I really have no dogs (the 17-40 is the weakest, and it is still pretty good). You have to have good technique, it will show the slightest motion blur.

Diffraction is really a non-issue - yes it is there, but it is there in all sensors, they just can't resolve it. At comparable print or screen sizes, you will see no difference, and in fact, it is still resolving more detail in my experience.

Ergonomics are incredible, and I will gladly sell my 5D2 for a 5D3 if they include these goodies - it is a blast to shoot with, and as a camera I like it better. Great job to Canon for (finally) getting serious in this segment.