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  Reviews by: radiodenver  

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Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Jan 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $290.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, inexpensive, sharp
Corners a little soft on full frame.

Purchased this lens for my D300 kit. Plastic build is not a concern, seems robust enough. Sharp wide open, stays sharp. I tested it on full frame and it gets a little soft in the corners but on the DX body, it should not be a factor. Autofocus is quiet and fairly fast. Manual focus is smooth. Bokeh is pretty good. For the money paid, it's a very good lens.

Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

Review Date: Jul 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $235.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, inexpensive

For the money, you can't get a better 50mm prime lens. It is solid, great sharpness, focus speed is fast, and distortion is almost nothing. I've been using this lens on my 5D and 1DsMKII and I use it more than my L lenses. On the 1DsMKII, normal landscape shots come out with critical sharpness and I've been getting prints up to 44 inches that look incredible. Can't do that with a zoom lens! If you need a 50mm prime, this is one to consider.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good general purpose lens, not too heavy, IS works great, sharp

I purchased this lens as a general lens for my 5D. When you look at the available lenses in this focal range, this lens sits at the top of the hill. The wide zoom range makes it a great walk around/general use lens. The IS works very well for hand held shots and the L quality build makes it rugged. It isn't the perfect lens though. It does show a little vignetting on the full frame up to about f5 below 50mm. One could also wish for a little more arperture, but I really can't complain too much...I didn't buy it as a portrait lens. On the 30D, it is simply outstanding in every regard.

Tamron 200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)

Review Date: Mar 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Inexpensive, light weight.
Hey, it isn't a L prime lens. You get what you pay for.

In this price range for this type of lens, you have Sigmas and Tamron. I've tried all the Sigma/Bigmas and they are bulky compared to the Tamron. The Tamron is also a little sharper optically than the Sigmas. The rotating front filter ring is a nice feature, it allows the use of a circular polarizer with the lens hood attached. The lens lock is handy for keeping the lens from drifting out while it is strung over your shoulder. Autofocus speed is not that bad actually, faster than the Sigmas I think, and much more quiet. Sharpness is pretty good up to 400 mm and not bad at 500mm. This lens makes a good budget wildlife lens for the crop sensor camera. It is also very light, so I don't have an issue lugging it around as much as I did with the Sigmas. As with any telephoto, I'd recommend using it with a monopod or tripod. Is it worth the money? Yeah, I think it is and then some. Don't waste time on the Sigma/Bigma, get this one instead, you'll be more satisfied in the long run.

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

Review Date: Feb 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good build, versitle, good optics.
Price, poor locking mechanism.

Another one of those lenses from Canon that gets no respect. Many people complain and call this lens the "dust-pump." I gave this lens a test drive about a year ago and had no problems shooting with it during that test in the mountains of Colorado. After a recent debate in the forums here concerning this lens, I decided to purchase the lens. I'm happy with my decision. I use it on the 5D, 30D, Rebel Xt and the EOS 3. It works fine on each of these bodies and gives good results. Not quite as sharp as the prime lenses, it nonetheless performs as expected for L grade glass. Vignetting on the full frame body is minimal and no where near as bad as the Sigma 80-400 OS (which is about the only competition for this particular model.) This lens is a little less heavy than the Sigma, is sharper and autofocus is a cut above the Sigma.

Overall, there is no better lens on the market for this range with IS and good optics. Highly recommended by me.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Feb 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast autofocus, very well built, good image quality

This is one of those loveit/hateit lenses it seems judging from reviews. Personally, I like this lens alot. I use wide primes for landscape work, but for what this lens can do, no other zoom lens in the focal range comes close. Especially on the full frame camera body. On the 5D, It's a cut above the 17-40L in my opinion. It vignettes slightly at f 2.8, and gets better from there on out. If I were shooting a 30D or 1.6 crop most of the time, I'd probably go for the 17-40L as a cheaper alternative. For low light work on the 5D in confined areas, no other zoom can compete with this.

This lens is built like a tank, it's easy to handle, doesn't weigh too much and I can carry it around on a 5D all day and not bother me at all.

The contrast is good, sharpness is good too. I've seen people report problems with this lens sharpness, but I think it's mostly a case of not knowing how to use the lens properly. You're on the extreme edges of focal performance with a lens of this nature and knowing what it can and can't do is key to enjoying it.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Inexpensive, Sharp, Solid

A perfect general purpose medium telephoto lens. Built like a rock, sturdy, light and handles well. Autofocus is fast and accurate.
For the money, this is as good as it gets. Full frame performance is excellent.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Jul 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast. Sharp. Excellent Bokeh.

Absolutely stunning results using this lens. I have yet to find a negative about it. I use it on the 5D and 30D. The autofocus is very fast and very quiet. Shots are so sharp, they don't need touching in post processing. This lens will make a 5D sing a lovely song with portrait shots. Excellent for medium range landscape shots too.

Tamron 70-300MM F/4-5.6 LD Macro AF

Review Date: Jun 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Works great on a full-frame (5D). Very affordable. Decent macro results.
A little soft on the long end, but hey...for the price it's better than anything else on the market short of L glass.

When I purchased my 5D, it didn't expect this lens to get much use. After a few weeks, I pulled it out of the bag, slapped'r on the camera and did a few test shots. worked great. Very little vignetting, decent sharpness, very little distortion. I couldn't believe that a lens that costs less than $200 would work so well on this camera. The build quality is not bad, it's easy to operate. The only thing I wish about this lens was that it was a little sharper at the long end and it could be even better if it were faster. The results though are quite usable, and the sweet spot on the 5D works out to be between f10-f13, so for a walk around daylight lens it's as good as anything on the market. At lower fstops, it gets a little soft also. On a tripod or monopod, the results are very good. Not great in low light.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Jun 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent image properties, nice and sharp, good bokeh, very little vignetting on full frame 5D.
Lens hood is made of dime-store plastic. A tad softer long but still good.

I compared this lens on my EOS 5D, head to head with the similarly priced Canon 24-85. It smokes the canon lens in every regard. I needed a decent walk around lens for the 5D and this one is highly recommended. No focus problems, no vignetting unless you're at 2.8 and 24mm, and still it's not terrible there. This lens stays on my 5D for general purpose shooting.

Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG

Review Date: Jun 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cheap, sturdy, functional.
I don't like the bottom straps for the tripod, it would be nicer if they were quick disconnect types...otherwise, no gripes.

Hey, it's a camera pack, not a mobile photo-lab.

I take it with me everywhere, holds two slr bodies and a few lenses plus other stuff. Holds everything I need for day trips.

I snipped the Canon logo off so it wouldn't attract attention. Nothing worse than advertising to the world you're full of camera gear. A theft waiting to happen. I keep a pair of underwear in the back pocket so it looks like a pack full of dirty laundry to the casual observer. Might replace it with a book of poetry though, I'm running low on shorts.

Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Review Date: Jun 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $990.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: L Killer, built like a brick, great optics.
Slow autofocus

I really like this lens. Optically, it does an outstanding job. The optical stabilization works great. The build quality is very good. For the price, this lens smokes the Canon 100-400 IS.

It is heavy but handles well.

The only gripe with this lens and the only reason I don't give it a 10 is the autofocus. While accurate, it is slow. If Sigma could make the focus faster on this lens, it would be the perfect lens in my opinion.

Save your money, don't get the L glass, go for this one instead. You will not regret it.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Jun 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,849.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent quality photographs. Easy to handle, uncomplicated but still quite configurable.
Very brutal on bad lenses. A little over-priced and crippled functionality.

I like this camera. With a good lens attached, nothing short of the MKIIs will match the absolute resolution and picture quality of this body. I use it with the EOS 30D and the two cameras complement one another well.

You've probably read everywhere that this camera requires good lenses and I'll confirm this fact. Consumer grade lenses are a waste of time on this body. Even top notch optics will be stretched to their limits in some cases. My best results are with prime lenses. Vignetting is evident on anything less than perfect glass and arpetures below f4.

The only real problem I have with this camera is that it feels crippled. A camera in this price range should be able to do 5 frames per second. Another minor gripe is the ISO setting not being displayed full time on the readout. Last little gripe, and everyone else complains about this too, the mirror lockup function is burried in the menu and not assigned a full time button on the body. Canon thinks it's more important to have a print button, which I think is absolutely obtuse for a camera of this nature. Save the print buttons for consumer cameras. This lowers the value of the camera in my opinion.

Generally speaking, this camera will make a darn good photo if you have the sill and the proper lenses.

Canon EOS 30D

Review Date: Jun 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid performer. Easy to use.
None yet.

I have the EOS 30D and the EOS 5D. I like the 30D for the 1.6 crop and it complements the 5D very well as a second body. I can move back and forth between either cameras with ease. Both cameras are of similar build. The general performance of the 30D is exceptional and in some regards better than the 5D (5 fps vs 3 fps). Probably the best 8 meg-pix camera on the market and a highly recommended buy. It will produce excellent photos and won't break your budget.

Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

Review Date: May 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $379.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build. Very sharp images from f3.5 on up to f14, quite usable below and beyond.
As a macro lens, nothing to complain about. As a portrait lens, the focus is a tad slow.

This is an outstanding lens. A bit different from other lenses operationally, but once I got used to the functionality, it was not problem and in a way it is growing on me.

I get very very sharp images from this lens. The bokeh could be better but it's not horrible. I wouldn't try using it on fast action scenes that require a quick focus. In macro mode, it can't be outdone.

A very good buy and worth the price. If you're looking for a good prime lens in this focal range, stop looking.

Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 Tripod Legs

Review Date: May 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Versatile and very configurable.

I have the BPro version. A solid tripod, but not for big lenses. Can get a little tiresome lugging this one around but not a back breaker. If I'm hiking, I'll leave it at home and take something lighter. It works good with my pistol grip.

A 500mm lense is hit or miss depending on the wind, anything smaller and it stays stable.


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