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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L

Review Date: Feb 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good creative tool. Close focusing, Takes the 1.4x and 2x converters
Cost, can be soft at f22, not a beginners lens

For landscapes, shoot at f11 with hyperfocal set at 8 feet, no tilt or shift, and you will get sharp pictures with nice colour.

Expect a learning curve with this lens once you start to tilt and/or shift.

Tilting the lens means that less light falls on one side of the sensor/film, which makes metering difiicult and might require you to use ND grads on the light side to compensate.

Be careful when using shift, in that you don't over-do it and make the buildings lean out at the top (as I did on some film shots!)

f3.5 is fine for landscapes, but might not suit everbody.

Try using the shift mechanism for producing stitched panoramas - using wide angle usually requires more shots covering a small area, but not this lens.

Only minor complaints about this lens. The locking screws could be bigger as they are fiddly in cold weather and don't lock that strongly.

I've not experienced some of the issues that some people seem to have

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Review Date: Feb 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, build quality, dual cards, wide range of set-up, long battery life, and more
Astronomical UK price, but I got mine before the price rises, LCD could be better resolution at this price

I gave it an overal 10 for the IQ.

I knew all about the camera before I bought it, as it is identical in layout to my 1D Mk III. I shoot mainly landscapes, so useful features for me are:-

Live View - Good for checking focus point and DOF (especially with TS-E 24) when not working at f22 and using hyperfocal distance. The viewfinder is maybe better when setting ND grads, but LiveView provides a view for the resulting effect. Tricky to use at low angles and high lighting, where an Angle-Finder-C is of more use. Viewfinder light level adjusts after fitting grads or manually stopping down, which is great, as any viewfinder can get too dark to make sense when stopping down. Worth the effort of learning to use LiveView

7 image AEB - Useful for some HDR images when you need a lot of exposures quickly and taking them manually is too slow.

Twin cards useful on important shoots, where you can write to both cards when taking each picture.

Good build Quiality. Having fallen over on the odd occasion and put the 1D onto the deck, I know the camera is strong. Shooting at the coast or in rain can be an issue to less weather-sealed cameras.

21 MPixel, 14 bit, Full-Frame. An ideal combination of qualities for landscape, and the IQ is excellent.

LCD screen should be higher-res for the price of this camera.

Don't be lured by the built-in sensor cleaner - none of them work 100%. I find it means wet cleaning every 6 months to a year, rather than every 3-6 months as I did with my 5D and 30D. As always, you get dust spots built in from new. This isnlt a Canon problem, all dSLR's are the same

Some may find it heavy.

UK price now ridiculously high

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ -Good Colour Rendition, Contrast and Sharpness, Build Quality, Sharpness at wide apertures
Slow Focusing. AF issues with subject near minimum distance. Requires experience to use well, f16 max aperture

The lens arrived today and I immediately performed focus tests on my 5D and 1D Mk III. The only issues encountered were slow focusing, which I already knew about on this lens, and indecision with the subject at the minimum distance (and the red AF square indicating focus lock when it wasn't). As observed by others, moving back a foot or two cured that. Otherwise AF focusing was spot on.

Taking some test shots with both cameras provided images that required little in the way of post process, and the Raw files were nice straight out of the camera.

Easier to manual focus than the 35mm f1.4 L, probably because of slightly more magnification of the subject (using standard focus screens)

Not a beginners lens - you are better off with the f1.4, or 35mm f1.4.

I was wary about buying one after previous bad press, but I needn't have worried, the copy I have is a good one.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: May 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Light, Faultless IQ, Fast Focusing, Inexpensive for an L lens
Nothing - can't fault it. IS might be nice - but that's being picky

Very quickly people were telling me just how sharp my pictures are. OK I try to shoot f8-f11 if possible, but even wide open, this lens is good. The colour and contrast produced all help to improve overall IQ and lessen the need for post-processing.

I tend to use it on my 1D MK III giving about 171mm in 35mm equivalent.

The praise that everyone lavishes on it is deserved.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Feb 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: The obvious - frame rate, sensor quality, especially at high ISO, customisabilitym good battery life, nice Raw images - the not so obvious, 14 bit sensor, dual cards, easy to operate, not as heavy as expected it to feel, easier to learn than I expected. Camera recognised as a device in Vista x64 - you can even view images in Windows Browser. Live view image visible on a PC - Raw files at 14 bit work well for HDR images compared to 12 bit Raw on earlier cameras
After a few weeks, dust and hairs visible in the viewfinder/pentaprism. Expensive battery

I've previously owned a 30D, and the 1D now partners my 5D. I can put the 17-40mm f4L and 35mm f1.4L on the 5D for wide angle, and the longer lenses on the 1D for longer work.

Weight is less of an issue than I expected, coming from the 5D, the menu system isn't that much different, and easier to get my around than I expected too. If you are in a hurry to set the camera up with a rarely used option, you might struggle to do it quickly, and some of the button combinations could be better - one extra button on each side of the the top of the camera would have solve some of this.

Quality is slightly ahead of the 5D, but given the age of the 5D now, it isn't streets ahead on standard or flash shots.

The RAW files are generally pleasing, with little work required to bring out the full glory. I got a Canon certified camera, and AF has been accurate and consistent on servo, although not 100% on one-shot in low light (switching to servo mode solved that issue) with the 24-70mm f2.8 L.

It's difficult to pick out any major issues for use in my (amateur) work - a hard working pro might find a few.

At less than half the price of a 1Ds, 10 MPixels will be suffient for most, especialy for sports, where the gattling gun 10fps is desirable. I managed to shoot 50 frames in 5 seconds before the buffer filled, and even then, 3-5 shot bursts every recond were still possible as the buffer emptied.

Not tried the dust delete data yet, or bothered to verify lens data for focusing - results achieved so far are OK

The overall rating wasn't worth 10. I knocked off a point for the minor niggles - Canon - get these issues sorted for the next version - this is all minor design stuff that has no real production impact - get more feedback from users than you do currently.

Sample images

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Oct 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Wide ISO range with great IQ. 99% similar to my old 30D - upgrading was easy. Price
Dust, less battery life than expected.

Adjusting from my old 30D to the 5D took a few weeks, despite being 99% similar (which was a bonus as there was not much new to learn, and it takes the same battery).

Formats a memory card quicker than a 30D, and I had to install the software that came with the camera as the 30D software would not recognise it.

Controls are where I am used to them, everything operates smoothly. The only operational niggle is that I often end up pressing a menu button when looking into the viewfinder. I wear glasses, so maybe I just my face at a different angle to others.

From new, it came preloaded with dust! I use a blower before every session, and try to avoid f16 or above unless I need it, which makes the spots more visible.

The viewfinder shows less than the full frame - I would like 100% reality, but it's not a major issue.

Battery life is less than my old 30D by 25% or so (I manually focus, so lens batter drain is irrelevant), but it formats a 4Gbyte memory card twice as fast. One charge should be enough for about 4-6 Gbytes or so of captures (less when using AF and IS)

The wide ISO range is great, and I use ISO 50 when I want a longer exposure (e.g. leaves drifting down a river to create patterns). IQ from ISO 50 to 800 is superb, and I use ISO 200 as standard.

Full frame is great. It turns my 70-200mm f2.8 L IS into a useful wide ranging lens, rather than a variable telephoto, as it did on the old 30D.

Nice to hold and use. I tried a friends 400D and found it too tiny for my hands, and too dim to focus manually (my usual choice).

I'll save up for a 1Ds Mk III, but even then, would keep the 5D as a second camera

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Oct 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good price for an L lens. Low CA, Low flare, good near focus, common 77mm filter. That red ring gets you noticed!

I moved up from a Canon30 and 10-22mm to the 5D and 17-40 recently. Since I take mostly landscapes, and having used the 10-22mm for several months previously, the f4 max-aperture wasn't an issue for my current needs.

The 10-22mm is not that bad a lens compared to the (non-Canon) competition, but the quality of the 17-40mm is noticably better, not least considering I am using it on a full frame camera. A recent UK digital photo magazine featured a pull-out containing about a dozen readers landscapes printed at A4. Over half of them were taken using the 5D and 17-40mm - so it is a performer in the field (literally!)

The 10-22mm has noticeable CA at the edges, whereas the 17-40 does not. CA on the 10-22mm was also exagerated when processing several images into HDR using Photomatix. Results with the 17-40mm are much improved.

I always use the hood to reduce flare, and even shooting into the sun creates very little flare using the 17-40mm compared to the 10-22mm.

The lens isn't heavy to me - you just fit it and away you go. All controls are smooth. I usually manual focus, but I've tried the AF, which works without hassle. Canon's Ultrasonic System always works well my work.

If money is an issue to you, the 17-40mm will not dissappoint. You will have to pay nearly three times the price for f2.8 and no noticeable improvement in quality

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Mar 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: 77mm filter size is common across a lot of my lenses
None so far

A recent addition to my lenses, so this really is an initial review, which is nonetheless positive. Similar plastic build to other EFS lenses, but does have internal focus and zoom movement. Takes a 77mm filter which ties in with my 17-55 f2.8 IS and and 70-200L f2.8 IS.

Not too heavy and a good travelling combination with the 70-200 when I don't want to take too much gear on a trip.

Images are acceptable thus far (only really used f8 as my recent outings on dull-ish, breezy days didn't include a tripod). I know that in the lab, tests do not compare as well as the Nikon equivalent, but the price is still a few hundred GB pounds less than the Nikon, although still a little expensive.

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

Review Date: Sep 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, good IS - great at low shutter speeds - even with 2x extender, internal zoom components
Well OK, Weight and Cost

After the disappointment of returning a dust sucking 17-55 (replacement OK so far), I've spent many occasions peering in the 70-200! I needen't have worried, so far this lens is a gem.

Shots are sharp, even handheld with the 2x extender in use, which, on a 30D max's out at 200 x 2 x 1.6 = 640mm equiv!

As I take landscape rather than action, not tried the IS mode 2 (panning) yet

With zoom action internal to the lens, polarising filter can be easily adjusted - except with the hood in place of course.

Build quality is good (Please put this amount of detail into the 17-55), and you get a lot of glass for the money!

I can also share filters with the 17-55 as they have the same 77mm diameter.

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Sep 4, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, fast, good zoom range on a 30D
Picks up more dust than a Dyson. Looks cheap

I had to get mine replaced within 2 weeks due to internal dust and other artifacts up to 1mm square, despite the lens being kept in a dry/clean metal cabinate drawer when not in use.

In the first few days of ownership, images taken in the same location within 60 seconds of each other displayed a small hair out of focus, then, more in focus, and lastly not at all. Shots a few days later also randomly displayed the same fault in the same place in images with this lens. I think these internal artifacts must already have been in the lens when purchased. Within 2 weeks, the level of dust was intollerable. The supplier was great and shipped out a replacement which arrived within 12 hours! and collected the original (Thank you Shopping4cameras).

On the plus side, pictures taken with the lens are crisp and clean (when new and no dust!). I also like the wide f2.8 apperture throughout the range

Canon should reduce the plastic and provide better build and seals - then the lens is a stunner at this price.