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  Reviews by: shooterdad  

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Sony A9

Review Date: Oct 11, 2021 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fully working electronic shutter, no more rolling shutter issue. Stacked sensor makes AF tracking and eye AF fully working. JPG engine is the best.
Mechanical shutter is a bit slow at 5 fps. No lossless compressed raw. No small one point AF. Weather sealing is not the best.

This is a life time camera. Not only the mechanical shutter life is 500K, but you hardly use mechanical shutter. You use e-shutter most of time.

After used A9, you know what mirrorless camera should be. All lower cameras like A7 series are unfinished products. In A7 series, you can only randomly use silent shutter. Mechanical shutter is still the main shutter for serious work. For A9, you mainly use electronic shutter. Mechanical shutter is used only for flash. It's A9 that makes you believe mirrorless is better than DSLR. A7xx only do a half job.

It is the first generation, some cons are unavoidable, but the core is the sensor, that makes it the top notch mirrorless camera.

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Review Date: May 14, 2020 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: . Largest zoom range . Consistent performance along the whole range . Lightest 400mm lens . Tap-in console compatible . Silent AF motor
. Tuning at multiple focal lengths required . Lens creep

I got a Canon version and tested on my Sony A7R iii camera, so I skipped the challenging AF tuning on this wide range and super tele lens. The adapters used are Metabone smart adapter mark v and Sigma MC-11. Both working quite well, except that you can't obtain a confirmed focus use AF-C at the wide end. But AF-S works fine with both adapters.

You don't expect prime sharpness from this super zoom lens, I am pretty happy with the results. Wide open in all focal range, the center sharpness are all good to very good. Comparing to Sony 18-135 lens, it wins in 18mm all frame and 135mm center, there is only a small lag in center sharpness between 18mm and 135mm. The edge and corners are lagging more, can't catch up even stopped down. It may be copy variance, my copy of 18-135 is good at the middle range, and this lens is good at the 18 and 135. The best is at 200mm, it is close to excellent there. 300mm and 400mm are good wide open. Stopping down to f/8 make some improvement. In comparison, center/corner sharpness at 400mm/f8 is almost equal to Canon EF 70-300mm mark ii at 300mm/f5.6. I am very satisfied for 400mm and 18mm/f5.6. I believe when I bring this lens out, it's the both ends of the focal range that will be mostly used.

I tested in handheld only. Both adapters works better at the tele end. In the 35-100mm range I can get some blurry images occasionally. I can't tell it's my hand or the gears, but the tele end results are pretty consistent.

The Sony camera may not be good for birding because the small AF area is still too large, and easily blocked by the foreground branch or leaf. For the birds in the sky it also focuses quite slowly, travelling for a long journey and cannot confirm the focus when the target is far away and look small. I am considering to obtain the Tamron tap-in console and finally use it on a Canon DSLR.

In summary, the lens is in good to very good rating for most of the focal lengths. Comparing to the best consumer zoom lenses like Canon 70-300mm mark ii and Sony 18-135mm, the lens optical performance is only lower a little bit at the long end, lagged a bit more in 35-135mm corners. 400mm is very positive. As a lightest 400mm lens, I highly recommend this lens.

Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

Review Date: Sep 21, 2018 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Long range, light.

Bought it used, and found it's grey market. But firmware updated to be used in new Canon cameras.

Need some micro adjustment for AF, and that's quite easy. Performance is quite consistent and stable, much better than the crop 16-300mm. On full frame, the IQ is very satisfied. It's not up to the 70-200L but not by far.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Apr 6, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Full frame, L, center sharpness, build, weather proof, light weight, anti-flare.

My copy was bought used and cheap ( $300 CAD). So even some de-center issue, no complaint here.

On my 7d mark ii, the lens quite bad at left side of the frame. I have to stop down to f/8 at 17mm, f/5.6 at 20mm to get decent sharpness. In actual use, it's better to down one more stop. I'd expect f/11 on full frame.

But considered the price I paid, I have no complaint.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Feb 6, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Large aperture, Bokeh, Focus Accuracy, Focal length more usable.
Open rear element

Here is a review from a happy daddy, who bought the lens mainly shoot against the kid for fun.

I bought it second hand in a great discount. After this purchase, I sold the 85/1.8. Now this is the lens sticking with my 6D camera.

When I used 85/1.8, I felt I still need a flash for the baby when shooting indoor at night with home lighting, because the ISO easily going up to 6400. With this lens, flash is not needed. This is the main reason I keep it. You don't want to use flash against the kid if you shoot at him very often.

Focus is accurate. After MFA, it's very sharp wide open.

With AI Servo mode, there is a hit rate for the moving kid. If he just sitting still, then the One Shot mode with continuous drive would be better. This is not an action lens, Ai Servo mode makes sense for slow moving kid, not for running, not for standing still.

The only thing I have to mention is, the habit is something difficult to change. When you install the lens to the camera, don't do it as you did with other lenses. Hold it over the mount, turn while not in touch, until it accurately matches. Don't put and spin to match.