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  Reviews by: justruss  

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Sigma Electronic Flash EF 500 DG Super

Review Date: Nov 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $189.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Powerful, wireless, good exposures, great value
plasticky (less than the canon offerings though), recycle time

I was looking at a flash for event work-- mostly weddings-- and it was between this and the Canon 550 EX (this was before the 580 EX came out). I went for the Sigma for prices reasons, and couldn't be happier. Having used the 550 EX, this felt better built, and the exposure accuracy seemed very close.

With the money, I'd buy a 580 EX this time around, but for anyone looking for a great flash at a great value, take a look at the sigma EF 500 DG Super. I'd get this again over anything Canon offers besides the 580 EX.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: May 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: build, sharp
f/4... fine for most things

No qualms really. I wish I had something faster and wider (sold a Sigma 14 f/2.8, which was amazing)... but for the cost of this thing, I can't complain. Highly Highly recommend a CP for a lens like this.


Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: May 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Gorgeous colors, sharp wide open (my copy), f/1.4
no real complaints for the money

I really don't have too much to add that hasn't been said before. But what stands out to me is the color that this lens produces. Saturated, crisp and beautiful. I'm comparing this to a 135L, and while wide open it's not 135L sharp (though it is fairly sharp), its color is perfect. I want to reiterate-- my copy, at least, is plenty sharp at f/1.4, I never hesitate to shoot here if I need to.



Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything. Color, contrast, sharpness, speed...
zip, zero, ziltch

Not much to say really. One of canon's best lenses, up there with the 85 1.2, and 200 1.8.

Pretty much a razor at 2.0, thin dof, bokeh to die for.

Focues on a dime, great build. It's my benchmark lens.


Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF

Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $339.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 20mm and fast, solid feel, "dreamy" at f1.8, price, sharp, color
AF-noise, dual-clutch AF, pretty sharp by f1.8, super sharp by f2.8

If you want a fast 20, you don't really have choices.

At 1.8 this lens can have a "dreamy," soft-focus feel to it that can really be annoying if you want a super sharp, low light shot, but can really be beautiful if used with intention.

I'm lucky to have a copy that is very sharp... perhaps just a great copy (Thanks to Tom aka Intero), buy I've seen samples that are unuseable at 1.8.

My main complaint is the dual-clutch AF and the AF noise. Without HSM, this thing can really sing if it searches and AF performs well, but not quickly.

Flair hasn't been a problem, colors are wonderful and overall well worth the price.

I use this alongside some good L glass, and it's no slouch.

Sigma 14mm f2.8 EX Aspherical

Review Date: Sep 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: WIDE! Close Focus, good control of the usual WA problems. Nice double hood.
Flares like crazy. Some CA, but overall very well controlled.

On a 1.6 crop camera this thing is a miracle worker. The first time I looked through the lens I nearly fell over and definitely had a little rush. The build quality is extremely high and the focusing is smooth. Gorgeous front element and once I get the lens less than 7 inches away (yes it stays focused to about 4 inches) I get a nice semi-fish thing going on that gives a great effect. Ability to create nice out of focus areas and small DOF.

Like any WA, but more than most (it's wider and faster afterall) this thing flares super easily. I too am learning to take shots with one hand so that the other can block the sun... which is highly effective when the sun is out of frame, even with the extended hood attached. I've though about adding a piece of cardboard or something to the hood because it seems that all it needs is half an inch in the right place and it wouldn't cause vignetting.

I'm not convinced of the ability of a 6mp camera to make good landscapes without stitching, but this lens does perfrom nicely at that capacity. Where it really stands out, however, is in shooting interiors or cramped corners. The low light ability, great lack of distortion and super wide perspective allow some truly stunning interior shots. I echo that your clients will love it.