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Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: May 21, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, very well built, good value for money
strong CA wide open...

This lens is a keeper in my arsenal. I used to have the Canon 1,2L II for a long time, then the 1,8 and now I have the Sigma which I find the best of them all. In my opinion it is the best mechanically and optically close to the L lens (better then the 1,8). Yes, the 1,2 L is slightly finer optically but it is very heavy, very expensive and I donīt like it mechanically- the front part with the hood rotates and the hood is actually very large - so much so that itīs quite problematic to accomodate in my bag. Also, it really is heavy and I didnīt like to take it with me for things like walking with the kids. The Siggy, on the other hand, is very reasonably sized without being too small (like the Canon f1,8 is- which can be good but to me it just doesnīt look like a serious lens:-))and I donīt hesitate to take it with me wherever I go. The AF is surprisingly good for a Sigma (or for any lens) and the tracking ability really surprised me. I would never even attempt to AF track anything with the Canon 1,2 L :-) but the Sigma has no problems with my 5d III. The CA on the Sigma can be really bad if you shoot into the light at f1,4. However, it is a common problem of all these 85mm lenses and it can be dealt with in LR relatively easily. So, of all the AF options available for Canon at the moment I find the Sigma the best. It is already sharp at f1,4 but I mostly use it at f1,8 where it is just a tiny bit better overall and I have been very happy with it. Highly recomended.

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Dec 25, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, compact, IS

I see there have been no reviews for this lens lately so I thought maybe I should contribute... Iīve had it for about a year now and itīs been a joy to use. I have it mainly because itīs seriously sharp and physically very compact. The IS can be helpful sometimes, too. This is not an exciting lens- itīs not very fast and 28mm is not exactly many peoplesīdream FL. It sits on the shelf a lot of the time but I really donīt want to part with it for two reasons- its small size and its optical quality. Compared to my "bussiness" lens- the 24-70 f2,8 II - the light fall off at f2,8 is quite strong. But the sharpness is probably equal- that means perfect.
And the small size does matter when you donīt want to carry
a large zoom lens. This one and the 35mm f2 IS make my holiday/ travel kit. So, if 28mm is you FL you wonīt be dissapointed with this lens- itīs much better then the 28mm f1,8 at large appertures and it has IS that can be really handy. If I had to choose between this one and the 35mm f2 IS Iīd choose the 35mm. But Iīm glad to have them both- theyīre both excellent and 28mm and 35mm are very different, enough so to keep them both.

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

Review Date: Sep 14, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, contrast, reliable autofocus
none..maybe I liked the design of the hood on Mark I better...

Unlike the reviewer bellow me I do weddings every week and also lots of other stuff and this lens has changed the way
I shoot. I would agree that the price is rather high but if
I remeber correctly Mark I was the same price when it first came out. The Tamron is certainly a better value and the only option so far for videographers but the Canon is simply the better lens optically so I donīt see the point of rating it 1...Anyway, back to the lens. If you are a proffessional and do any kind of shooting where this range is needed just donīt look left or right and buy it. When I first tried it I was amazed at what I was seeing at the back of the camera- you can very clearly see the difference on the display (at least on 5d III, on 5dc you see nothing:-)) It has excellent levels of contrast and is edge to edge sharp at all appertures. These things are kind of well known by now but... what may not be so well known is how good it performs when shooting on white background! I do quite a lot of product shots on white background and this is extremely demanding on the lenses I use. The contrast of the subjet is greatly affected by the quality of the lens used. Until now the best lens in my arsenal for this was my antient Sigma 105 Macro. None of my other lenses could compare until now- the 24-70 II is way better. When I was shooting my first job after I got it I tried it just out of curiosity and it beat the Sigma like nothing. The white overlit background seems to do nothing to diminish the contrast of this lens. Only trouble now is I canīt go back to the Sigma which can be a problem because the Canon is only 70mm at the long end and I can run out of background more easily. I have tried all my other lenses- 70-200 f 2,8 IS II-useless - great loss of contrast, 1,8/85mm- useless and the shorter lenses are useless for this because of perspective. Word of advice here- always take your UV filter off the lens when shooting in the studio on white background- it affects contract no matter how good it is. When I shoot weddings I hardly ever take this lens off the camera now. The range is perfect and I know I can always rely on the quality and also on the autofocus! The problem with Mark I (which is still a very good lens in good light) is it has very unreliable autofocus in poor light. In poorly lit receptions I could barely take a shot that was properly focused. I use a 5d III which is a great improvement in the autofocus department over the previous models but still that was a problem. Not any more. The new 24-70 has changed it and I can now use it all day long. Also, when you take a group shot of 200 really need an excellent lens to be able to see all the faces properly. No problem with the new 24-70. It just makes me realize how weak in comparison my 2,8/16-35 II is...will have to upgrade to the new f4 version. To conclude, a very highly recomended lens that is worth the high price. Mark I is very good but not as good as the primes. Mark II is every bit as good as the primes and in many cases better. I tried it against my 2,8/28mm IS and the zoom is just as sharp and has much less vigneting. I now use primes solely for subject isolation at large appertures. For overall quality, the new 24-70 is the king. For some distortion can be a factor but not for me. Anyway, distortion is easy to fix in post. But I can see the reason why someone would use tilt-shift primes for achtitecture or serious lanscape work. For weddings, however, this lens is as close to perfect as it gets.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A"

Review Date: Jun 16, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Great build, perfect optics, looks sexy maybe..:-)
Unreliable autofocus:-(

I had great expectations about this lens and thought this would finally be my ultimate 50mm lens. Mechanically it is truly amazing- itīs like handling an old Hasselblad lens, all metal and glass! Optically this lens really delivers, too. Itīs much sharper than anything from Canon I have owned (1,4/50, 1,2/50). It doesnīt suffer from the usual aberations when shooting wide open and the pictures at 1,4 are razor sharp and crystal clear- when it does focus properly...However, my copy had very inconsistent autofocus. If I took 3 photos of the same scene (portrait or just about anything it this distance range) one would be perfecly sharp, the next one would be out just a bit, the next in focus again and the next out again. I was using it on 5d III with the focus point directly on the subject, so no focus and recompose...I tried it on two weddings and after I went through the pictures I returned the lens. All my Canon lenses are way more reliable and predictable. Even my old 1,4/50mm. Itīs no way near as sharp but it does focus more reliably- and thatīs saying a lot because itīs not an easy lens:-) At the end of the day, a perfecly focused photo from Canonīs 1,4/50 is better than a slightly (or not so slightly) out of focus one from the Sigma. I hoped Sigma finally sorted out the AF problems and gave them a chance but it just didnīt work out for me.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: May 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: small size, lightweight, sharpness, unobtrusiveness, price...
none really

This is such a sweet little lens! I got it because I found the 35mm to be the perfect focal lenght for "snapshots" of all kinds- especially family shots and travel and all other situations where I want a camera with me but donīt want to lug around the heavy big f2,8 zooms (and donīt want to look like a photographer). Before I got this lens I often prefered not to take a camera with me at all because with the zooms it is just too big and heavy. This 35mm sweetie I have no problem to take wherever I go (in combination with a gripless 5d). The large aperture is also a very welcome bonus. Thanks to this the lens has a very pleasant bokeh, too. Funny thing is this: I never take this lens with me on commercial shoots (weddings, portrait sessions, etc.) and I rarely use other lenses for family snaps, even if I do take some with me:-) I find it strange because at weddings I couldnīt live without a 50mm f 1,2 glued to one of my bodies and other "serious" lenses at the ready on the other body or in the bag. But if I want to make "serious" pictures of my family it just doesnīt work and the 35mm f2 usually does the whole job, and very well too! I quess it just suits perfectly the kind of pictures I want to take...This reminds me of a very clever article by Mike Johnston ( about why we should not use zooms. Just read it, I find it spot on!

Summary- get this lens if you take the kind of pictures mentioned above and youīll be hapy, especially at the price:-))

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Apr 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: bokeh wide open, sharpness, relatively light and compact

As the reviewer bellow wrote this lens has been unfairly dismissed by many. Even I was rather apprehensive due to so many unfavourable reviews. However, I was able to test the lens in a shop in Viena and found no focus problems with it whatsoever. I was very possitively surprised by its sharpness wide open. So I took the risk and found a used one on e-bay and had it shipped from the USA. I was lucky because I got a perfect copy of the lens and all is as should be.

This lens has quickly become my favourite - and I already own practically the whole "league of the best" -1,4/24, 1,2/85II, 2/135, 2,8/70-200, 2/100...I increasingly find that I can do much more with just this lens than I originally thought. I am not saying it repaces any of my other lenses but they are definitelly used less often now. 50mm is such a nice lenght and the wide apperture adds yet another dimension. I can get better bokeh from this lens than from say the 70-200/2,8. The background is all there but transformed to something surreal. With a longer lens you pick less of the background and consequently it can look less interesting, even if it is nicelly out of focus. I now use it for weddings and outdoor portraits and think it is more practical than the 1,2/85mm. It is smaller, lighter and the shorter focal length and close focusing ability make it more practical.

Although I love the 1,2/85mm I have not used it since I got the 1,2/50mm...The sharpnes is practically the same + it has all the above mentioned advantages. Unlike the 1,2/85mm this lens can stay in the bag as a general purpose lens. I even like its design better- nothing goes out of it when close focusing and the front part is not loosely rotating like it is with the 1,2/85mm (not to mention that when you have it close focused and taken off the camera thereīs no way of getting the protruding front bit back other than putting it back on the camera and focusing on infinity...)

The 1,2/50mm lens is a very special tool and is definitelly ment to be used wide open- this is where it excells and the results are spectacular. I practically never use it stopped down and so I havenīt seen any shift focus issues. It is sharp wide open even at infinity...which is of no use to me but itīs rather nice:-)

Highly recomended- get this and a couple of 2,8 zooms and thatīs all you need. (at least for some time:-))

Some exaples found on my web page:

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

Review Date: Jan 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: quality, cheap
none really

I bought this lens only after I already had all of the Līs (85 f1,2, 135 f2, 70-200 f2,8...) more or less out of curiosity. All I can say this is such a nice lens! Very compact (especially when compared to the 85 f1,2:-), very fast AF, sharp rihgt from f2. The close focusing ability (0,9m) is another bonus over the 85mm f1,2. Since I bought this lens I rarely use my 135 f2 because the 100mm is smaller and equally good and the focal lenght is often better suited for my needs.

It produces excellent background blur wide open. Of course the 85 f1,2 is better in this respect (it is probably the best of all)but given the price difference one would kind of expect it:)

All in all this is an exteremely useful lens, especially as a complementary lens for zooms. If you cannot afford the 85 f1,2 and want a medium telephoto for portraits then donīt hessitate and get this one. I used to have the 85mm f1,8 and I think the 100mm is better overal, which is not to say the 85mm f1,8 is a bad lens at all. At the price it can be had for either new or second-hand itīs a must-have lens for every canonist.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Sep 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, FF
all the well known things- not an action camera, no wether sealing, no sensor cleaning...

I have used 5d since it was introduced in 2005 and have always been happy with it! It has served me so well and earned so much money that I have nothing but praise for it. I knew it was the right thing for me the moment I first put it to my eye- finally a large and bright viewfinder! And of course, full frame! The resulting files are a joy to work with. Crop format sucks if you do not need your lenses to be longer.

Now that its successor has been announced I thought I would get one. But....a new grip, new batteries, probably new software...all that makes 5d II guite expensive compared to its older brother. I donīt need the extra pixels, let alone the video. So what I have done is bought another 5d in very good shape second hand for next to nothing. I am sure both my 5 dīs will serve me well for another couple of years.

PS: I am getting another 5d because mine has had quite a history and I am expecting shutter failure any moment....but it is still not coming and everithing keeps on working perfectly even after 3 years of heavy proffessional use!

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jun 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness right from f 2,8, well built, reliability...overall quality
I donīt like the fact that the front barrel goes out when zooming towards the wide end. In this respect I much prefer the 17-40/4 that stays the same when zooming. On the other hand, this design helps to make the best use of the deep lens hood.

This is a must lens if you are an event photographer using a FF camera- this and the 70-200/2,8. With this combo you are able to do practicly anything. On an Eos 5d this lens is extremly useful for general shooting. What I like best about it is the fact it never lets me down and I can always rely on its performance even wide open. I use it at f 2,8 very often and the reults are always sharp. I am not a pixel-peeper and judge by real-life photos. I actually find it sharper in the corners at f 2,8 than my EF 28/1,8. Also the build quality is very good and it has served me well ever since I got it some 5 years ago. If you stop the lens down to some f8-11 you get really impressive sharpness throughout the frame. One aspect I find a little annoying is its weight-not for hand held shooting but when used on tripod vertically- the whole set-up is then very heavy and unbalanced. For this reason I practically never use it on tripod vertically and prefer the lighter 17-40/4 or primes. The 70-200/2,8 has this problem solved by the rotating tripod collar.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jun 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpnes at all apertures, bokeh, buld quality, close focus ability

I have to agree with all the good reviews here- this lens is a gem and a joy to use! It is relatively small (especially compared to 2,8/70-200) and very well built. I bought mine secondhand some 5 years ago. It was so much used that all the writings near the red ring had practically disappeared- I could hardly say what lens it was... But you know what? I bought the lens and it performs absolutely flawlessly no matter how much the barrel is worn! If you want the best bokeh and think 135mm is the right focal length for you then look no further. On a FF camera this lens is perfect for people shots- from cloce up head shots( including small babies)right to full length shots. It gives you comfortble working distance without being too far away from the subject. - Unlike on a crop camera, then you are rather too far away for posed full length shots- the people canīt even hear what youī re saying! After I bought the 2,8/70-200L I do not use the 135 so often but when I donīt need the zoom capability and want the absolutely best possible quality or need to focus closer then I reach for my beloved 135/2 L. Overal, definitelly one of the best lenses in all aspects.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: iq, build quality, versatility

For a long time I thought I did not need this lens- I was using 85 and 135mm primes for my wedding and portrait shooting. Then one day I became a bit lazy and tired of changing lenses all the time and finaly got the 70-200/2,8. One thing I will tell you- I should have had it from the start! The quality is amazing even when comparing to primes ( the 135mm f 2 is better wide open and at 2,8 but not that much and it is not a zoom...) and the versatility it gives me is truly liberating. This lens has the best bokeh I have seen in a zoom- amazing! My standard lens now in combination with the 24-70/2,8 and the 85mm f 1,2. The 85 f1,2 is another fantastic lens I should have had from the start but it is not a rival for the 70-200. They do different things and do them extremely well. Excellent work Canon!

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Apr 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent sharpness combined with even better bokeh
none....maybe the focus ring that strangely rotates togetger with the hood:-))

I find all aspects about this lens possitive... The sharpness is truly impressive but where it excels is the background blur or bokeh- the unsharp areas are really pleasingly out of focus. This is the biggest difference between this beast and its smaller brother- the f1,8 version. I have them both and both are my favourite lenses, although I do not use the f 1,8 lens very often now...only for travel when weight is important. The sharpness of both is about the same and if I was interested in sharpness alone, I wouldnīt bother to buy the f1,2 version- both lenses are very, very sharp, well made and the f1,8 version even has less distortion! What sets them apart is the bokeh- what you can do with the big one at f 1,2-1,4 is just fantastic and you really cannot do it with the f1,8 version- itīs just far inferior. However, if you are a "safe shooter" and use your lenses in the f4-smaller range there is absolutelly no point in spending so much more for the bigger lens- unless you want to impress! I longed for this lens for a very long time and now that I finally have it I not only donīt regret the purchase but wonder how I could have lived without it for so long! One thing though- I mainly do portraiture so this lens is perfect for me- combined with 70-200/2,8 and 24-70/2,8 and 135/2. If your main interest is something else, this lens may not be so useful for you, especially given the cost. For example, I never take it with me on travel- too heavy, big, too specialist, too expensive to get stolen.