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  Reviews by: jrobichaud  

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Sony A9

Review Date: Dec 7, 2019 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: I have owned and shot the Canon 1DX and Nikon D5 series cameras for field sports and live dance performance events for many years. The A9 has surpassed both in af acquisition, image quality, ease of use, speed and of course quiet operation. It's the most amazing camera that I have ever used since I started shooting professional in 1978!
None really, the menu system is a chore, but I have everything I will ever need availably quickly in the FN menu, custom buttons and My Menu settings.

It's the most amazing camera made today in my experience. You will have trouble using anything else once you have shot with her.

Sony 400mm 2.8 GM

Review Date: Dec 7, 2019 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $11,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Unrivaled image quality, even with converters. Light enough to bring anywhere. I still can't believe the image quality when heavily cropped using a 2x and the A9.
Price would be the obvious downside, but really, it works so well with converters that I have no desire for a 600mm like I had to have with Nikon and Canon. So in the respect that is the only super tele I need, it has saved me money.

It took me over a year of primarily shooting Sony before I could make the purchase of this lens happen. During that time, I kept my Canon 400mm 2.8 IS II and a 1DX for field sports. This lens, on a Sony body is a real game changer! The resolution even with 1.4 and 2x converters far surpasses the equivalent Canon and Nikon systems that I've owned. I don't know how much of that is due to the amazing resolving capabilities of the lens and how much is due to the combination of the lens on an A9 and A7RIV. There is nothing like it on the market. Totally worth the expense.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG HSM OS "S"

Review Date: May 5, 2017 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Really sharp and great color
not much, it's not too heavy. I bought it mint used, so price was not a concern.

I'm a bit bewildered ! I picked this lens up specifically to use on my sony a6300 and a7rii and maybe A9 with the MC-11 adapter. I shoot canon primarily, bought her used and figured it would do a good job.
Well, I just did some critical testing with her against my 100-400mm II canon. I think the 1-4ii is the finest zoom ever made, and I've owned almost everything Canon and Nikon have made.

I ran identical tests on my 5Diii and the A7rii.
I just don't get it! At every focal length (150mm, 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm and 560mm-1-4iiw1.4iii)
They were either too close to call or the sigma won. Non of the too close to call images favored the canon. All shots were at f8, the A7rii images looked a lot better than the 5Diii as you would expect, but still, the sigma was the better lens.
Either I got an amazing one, or the Sigma 150-600mm sport is much better than the on-line reviews I checked before buying it. WOW!

PS I tested my 100-400mm II critically previously against my 400mm 2.8 IS II and the 300mm 2.8 IS and the 100-400II was right there with them, it's a killer as well.

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

Review Date: Jul 10, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: I can't believe what Canon has done with this lens, amazing
still getting used to the zoom location

I never liked the older 100-400mm, I really tried to, but every image it made would have been better with my 70-200mm 2.8L IS II or 400mm 2.8 L IS II. So I could never bring myself to depend on it even though it was so much more convenient than the 400mm 2.8. A friend lent me his 100-400mm mk II for an NCAA football day game to try out. Used my 2.8 mostly, but tried it when the action got closer like I would have used my 70-200mm. When I reviewed the images, wow! The 100-400mm II had the same color and POP that the 400mm 2.8 II, 300mm 2.8 and 70-200mm 2.8 II had. Except for depth of field, it was amazingly sharp on my 5D III, 7DII and 1Dx. It's one of the best zooms ever made. Check out Ken Rockwell comment when comparing the Canon 100-400mm II to the new Nikon 200-500mm VR:

Ken Rockwell:
"The Canon 100-400mm L IS II is much better; my favorite tele zoom of all time.

The Canon is a breakthrough professional lens that covers ultra-tele focal lengths, and also replaces all 70-200mm and macro lenses at the same time.

The all-metal Canon 100-400 focuses closer than any pro 70-200mm lens (just 2' or 0.84m), so it replaces all 70-200mm lenses as well.

Since the Canon focuses so close and zooms to 400mm at the same time, it's better than most macro lenses since you get the same close picture, but from far enough away to get a better perspective, not pester living subjects and not block your own light.

The Canon 100-400 does nothing for you if you shoot Nikon, but if you're on the fence between Nikon and Canon, I'd get the Canon lens and upgrade to the Canon system instead. Nikon's DX cameras are competitive, while I prefer my full-frame Canons over my FX Nikons."

I can't quite agree with it replacing all 70-200mm's but if you don't need 2.8, then yes. For me, it replaces the 200-400mm f4. Much less expensive, just as sharp (I've compared them) and very much more compact/travel friendly.
If you are thinking about getting one, just do it!

Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS SEL35F18

Review Date: Jun 10, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Oh my gosh it's sharp! Thank you Sony for a second quality lens for my A6000 (70-200mm f4)
Can't think of any.

I have been a little disappointed with the optic selection for my travel camera (the A6000). I love the A6000, it's not my 5D III or 1D IV, but it's IQ is very good and it's so much less to carry around for travel. The 70-200mm OSS has me very impressed, even against my 70-200mm 2.8L IS mk II Canon.
I've used several fast primes (Canon FD 50mm 1.2 L and more) with the A6000, just received this 35mm 1.8 OSS and I am blown away with it's sharpness and contrast at 1.8. Very much better than all the 1.2 primes I've tried with the A6000 and the oly m43 cameras.
Bravo Sony! Great lens. I wish that I felt this good about my Zeiss 16-70mm. It's a good lens, but this 35mm will live on my camera.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Corner sharpness and overall IQ, 77mm filters, great IS
Not a one

I've been waiting a long time for this lens! Have shot and owned the 17-40mm, 16-35mm (both versions) Tamron 16-28mm 2.8, Zeiss 18mm and 21mm. All of them let me down with edge IQ, especially with large groups of people. I just had to make it work with the 24-70mm 2.8 II (which is amazing).
I've had the new 16-35mm f4L IS about 3 weeks, a gazillion images with her on the 5D III and am very impressed with her.
Everything else is up for sale. Thanks Canon.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding IQ, easy to travel with
zoom/focus rings reversed

Traveling by air, I decided to bring only a lowe pro slingshot 200 for my camera gear. I about decided not to bring a tele other than the 100mm 2.8L. My 70-200mm 2.8 II wouldn't really fit, and the 300mm 2.8 and 500mm f4 were obviously out of the question. I hate owning really good glass then shooting with cheap stuff just for the sake of travel space. The 70-300mm focal length had never really interested me because none of them are sharp.
Researching this lens lead me to give her a try. Wow! what a great image maker! In need my 2.8 glass for events, but for travel, this 70-300mm L IS is perfect. much smaller than my 70-200mm and I can bump the ISO up on my 5DIII to cover the speed issues. I ended up marrying this lens to a 70D giving me even more reach (although the ISO is more limited that with the 5D) and the 16-35mm f4L IS on my 5DIII.
Worked great on Maui. Love the lens!

Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD

Review Date: Jan 1, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wonderful sharpness edge to edge even at 16mm! Best at f5.8
front filter usage it expensive

I shoot Canon, and Canon currently makes nothing to compete with this lens. If the Canon 16-35mm 2.8 mk II cost $699 and this Tokina cost $1500, I would recommend the Tokina every time! I use the Canon 17-40mm for when I need front filters or a more compact WA. Optically, it's no worse than the 16-35mm MK II and I use the Tokina 16-28mm when image quality is critical on the edges or sharpness is critical.
Both these lenses combined cost $200-$500 less than the inferior 16-35mm mk II.

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

Review Date: Jan 1, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: 2.8 and uses front filters
poor IQ wider than 20mm

I am so disappointed in this lens! I have owned 3 different versions and all are unusable on the outer 25% wider than 20mm with groups of people. At no focal length or aperture can this lens compete with the 24-70mm 2.8 mk II. (or compete with the Tokina 16-28mm 2.8).
Please Canon, do something about this! Nikon's 14-24mm blows this away to the point that it makes more sense to give up AF and open aperture metering if edges are important.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jan 1, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Absolutely the finest optics that I have ever used, including primes!
82mm filter size, I guess no IS

At $2K this lens is a bargain! with high res full frame cameras like the 5D III, every flaw of a lens is magnified. Like many others, I have experimented with Zeiss, Nikon and Canon primes to achieve the best results possible. I often need to make images of large groups of people (over 200). Detail and lack of distortion is everything. I was blown away with the IQ and detail of this lens when it first arrived, and every time I use it, I'm blown away again! No more primes in this range!

The improvement that Canon made on the 70-200mm IS with the mkII (which were substantial) pale when compared to the improvement they made with this 24-70mm. It is spectacular in all regards. Now, is there any chance that Canon can do something about the 16-35mm mk II? It's miserable by comparison, unusable on the edges wider than 20mm.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM

Review Date: Dec 29, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $9,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Noticeably sharper than my V1 and that is saying a lot!! Much better with converters than V1.

The 500mm f4 IS has been my all time favorite super tele from canon for over a decade. The improvements in weight were more significant with the 400 and 600mm lenses, but that's because the 500mm was already close to ideal. For weight alone, the upgrade wasn't worth it, it's noticeably lighter, but the real reason to upgrade is optical performance. It really is better than the wonderful mk1, but with converters (III) it really kills the mk1. It's more manageable than the 600mm and 800mm, and with the 1.4III and a 70D it's got all the "reach" I need.

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: Mar 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The size/weight is amazing! I never would have thought that Canon could make this lens this light
Not a negative, but the image quality is not improved from the IS MKI like they were able to do with the 70-200mm 2.8 IS mkII and the 24-70mm 2.8 mkII but it's not fair to expect that kind of upgrade.

I was able to secure the 400mm 2.8 IS mkII through the cps loan program. I've had a decade long battle between the need for 2.8 for football and the need for a good nature/travel lens. The 500mm f4L IS seems to be the best compromise. The new 400mm is the exact same weight as my 500mm IS mkI, balance is a little different since it's shorter and has a bigger FE, but it's about the same to carry or hike with. That aspect of the lens simply amazes me!

In securing the loan from Canon, I wanted to see if the IQ was an improvement along the same lines as the mkII 2.8 zooms of late. I can not believe how much the IQ was improved on the 70-200mm and the 24-70mm! For $11.5K I was expecting maybe the impossible. I've spent a couple days doing fairly critical comparisons between my 500mm f4L IS and the 400mm 2.8 IS mkII with the 1.4III converter on my ID mkIV and 5D mkII.

For me, the IQ between these two setups is a draw and where a difference existed, it favored the 500mm over the 400mm II with the 1.4 III. Now I know that you might think this is an unfair comparison, but that was the comparison that would have prompted me to make the purchase. I mention it here, because I know that there are others debating between the 500mm f4 IS mk I and the 400mm IS mkII with converters.

I should also mention that the 500mm with the 1.4 III beat the 400mm II with the 2xIII in all of my tests, resolution, contrast and overall sharpness. All my shots were with the lens stopped down 1 stop.
For me, the new 400mm 2.8 IS II is a fantastic lens, but optically on par with my 400mm 2.8 non IS mkII and my 500mm f4 IS. If reach, weight and IQ are big concerns for you, and 2.8 is a need at times, the 400mm II is a great option! As an alternative you could make the choice that I am making and have the 500mm f4L IS, the first version 300mm 2.8L non IS (a truly amazing lens, that compared favorably to the others with the 1.4 and 2xIII's) and still have $3500 in your pocket!

It's fairly easy to find the 500mm under $6K (paid $4700 for mine)and the 300mm at or under $2K (Paid $1300 for mine), and the 400mm 2.8 IS mkII is $11,500.

I should also mention that without converters, the new 400mm is on par with my old 300mm 2.8L and my non IS 400mm 2.8 mkII but not better to any noticable degree. Certainly not like the improvements made with the 2.8 IS zooms.

I hope this info helps someone with their decision, it sure made mine easy.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: Dec 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focuses fast, tracks great, but most importantly, IQ is near legendary.
This is where I would say that it's not $1000, but in truth, it's worth $3000.

Initially, I poo pod the idea of an upgrade to my 70-200mm 2.8 IS. It performed very well, and sometimes I think Canon upgrades just to sell more lenses because you can get 10-15 years use out of these. Well, I had the opportunity to upgrade for just a few hundred dollars, so I did. Never really thought that I would see any difference image wise. I was wrong! With this lens on a 30D or 1D mkIIn on my shoulder on the sideline, I would use her when the action came to close for the 400mm/500mm. As I combed through the first few games I found a striking difference in sharp useable images from the IS I. 8 games later, I am completely convinced, this is the finest zoom and one of the finest lenses that I have ever used! Rivals the 300mm 2.8L, rivals my100mm 2.8L, I've never seen anything like it. I had no idea what I was missing with the IS mkI. Focuses faster, tracks better, but most importantly, IQ is near legendary.

Canon EOS 7D

Review Date: Oct 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,685.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: speed, size, IQ and easy video
none so far

I should premis by saying that I primarily shoot 1D series cameras. I was anxious to try canon's newest af system and was not dissapointed. I shot a NCAA game with her in place of my IIN. She performed very well.

All that said, the 7D will not replace my IIN or mark III, but it's a great $1700 camera!