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Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Nov 5, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, great ISO performance, build quality, 10 FPS, battery life, responsive, price, customization, etc.
resolution, weight

Fast and accurate AF. I have owned several 1D3, serial number ranging from within recall to out of recall range. None has any AF problem. I feel the AF problem was largely exaggerated by the Internet.

Great ISO performance - I did side by side comparison between 5D Mark II and the two are extremely close at 100%. And it is much better than 1Ds II and 1D II. I shoot regularly at ISO 1600 - 2000, and the images are wonderful.

Burst rate is amazing, allowing me to capture a lot of precious moments.

Battery life is unbelievable! I got more than 1700 shots on a charge from a battery that has been used for more than 3 years.

Canon EOS 1D X

Review Date: Nov 3, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Almost perfect. I am blown away by the quality of the photos.
The power on/off button feels cheap for some reason when compared to former models. I always feel afraid that I am going to break it. The ISO button position is too close to the right edge of the body, making it almost impossible to press while having the hand strap installed. Fortunately I can redefine the set button to accomplish this. LCD often gives me a false impression that images are not in-focus. Poor dynamic range compared to Nikon/Sony's offerings. Battery performance is not on par with old models. Dual CF cards instead of SD cards.

Back to four-five years ago when I owned the legendary 1Ds Mark II camera, I was hoping that Canon would release a FF 1D serial body with 16MP and 2-3 stops better high ISO performance. Sadly, Canon answered me with the 21MP 1Ds Mark III, which sacrifices the ISO performance for the benefit of resolution. It is also slow, only 5 FPS. Then I turned to 1D Mark III, with less resolution, 1.3x crop, but better high ISO performance and much faster.

Years later, I got a chance to re-shoot a Canon FF 1D body again. I had had doubt of its high ISO performance before I pulled the trigger, given Canon's relatively disappointing track records in the past few years. Now I am pleased to report that this camera is in every aspect exceeding my expectation of image quality and speed.

I feel very comfortable to shoot at ISO 6400 or even higher, knowing that the noise is well under control. On the other side, I typically shoot only ISO 1600-2000 with the 1D Mark III.

The reduced resolution of 18MP is a bold move for Canon, but I applaud to Canon for this decision. I'd rather deal with smaller files with lower noise. And in exchange, we get higher FPS.

The second multi-controller button for vertical mode is brilliant. It was always a headache to choose AF point in vertical mode in the past.

The shortened shutter lag option is fantastic. It makes me feel confident while press the shutter button. Wink

Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 13, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic lens!
Weight & size & price

After owning this lens for two years, I finally decide to review it, after I sold it not long ago.

I bought the lens brand new two years ago. Every praise you read from the previous reviewers is true, period. I am not going to repeat those words here.

However, this is not the lens for everybody. I am not saying this for its price. Rather, I am saying this for its weight and size. It is a big hassle to carry this lens around. Not to mention the glares you get from other people around you.

So I end up only took it out of door once, and shot a handful of times at home. It sits in a dedicated lowepro lens bag for 99.9999% of the time. What a shame!

On the contrary, I carry my Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH lens, which by the way costs the same as this lens, everyday and shoot lots of pictures. To me, this is the lens to keep because it means to be used!

Reading other reviews of the lens makes me wondering if the sale is a wise decision. I think it is, for me.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, compact compared to 300/2.8, built-in hood, inexpensive, works great with 1.4x extender, fast and silent AF, distance limit, macro capability
IS is old, AF can be faster, weight is close to 100-400L, a bit long

I read lots of good compliments about this lens and have looked for it for a while. I am not disappointed. The lens is a solid performer. However, there are still some room for improvement in the next version.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: Apr 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IS!!! nice bokeh at f/2.8, and of course SHARP! better hood, lightweight.
when pointing down, there's strange loud noise when AF stops

Upgraded from 100mm non-IS USM and 180L, I have to say that this is a long over-due lens from Canon. IS is worth every penny over the non-IS version. When I look through the viewfinder, WOW, the subject is simply static (no wind of course)!

Every macro lens is great on sharpness, and this lens is no exception. As a plus, bokeh is stunning at f/2.8. And the new hood is much better than the old hoods - more resistant to scratches. I appreciate the fact that it is pretty lightweight compared to many other L glasses.

My copy sometimes has a strange loud noise when AF stops working and lens is pointing down. Not sure whether this is an issue.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Sep 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Crazy sharp wide open!!! f/2.8! fast auto-focus, distance switch improves auto-focus speed, IS works like a charm, build like a tank
2-stop IS, auto-focus can be faster, attract lots of eyeballs especially when the hood is put on

This is one of the dream lens that I'd never thought I would own. But now I own it! Woohoo! Everything good about this beast is true: sharpness, color, IS, speed, focus, build, etc. It is the best sporting lens for your young kid(s).

Given its age, I think Canon should upgrade the lens, and there are several things Canon can improve: use new IS technology to make it effective for 4-5 stops, speed up AF a little bit, and reduce the weight significantly. Of course, all should be done without compromising the image quality.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Jun 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp wide open, small, light, decent build, inexpensive
not USM, bokeh isn't ideal

I got this lens from a fellow FMer as a package deal. Owning a 35L, I didn't expect much from this little fellow. The first moment I received it, I was surprised at its size and weight. It is like a baby compared to its L brother. The image quality is excellent. At f/2, it is already very sharp from center to corner. Initially, I was planning to dump it. Now I have a second thought and keep it on a second body as a general purpose walk-around lens. It is a nice combo with xxxD or xxxxD.

The only pity of the lens is lack of creamy bokeh like 35L.

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

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

Pros: Very sharp from center to border, superb build quality, super wide, distortion is well controlled, light weight, a joy to use
expensive, cannot use filter

I already own a 16-35L II and had never thought about this lens till the day an once-upon-a-life-time deal showed up accidentally. This lens is an incredible piece of glasses! At 14mm, it blows away my 16-35L in terms of angle of view, distortion control, and sharpness. Build quality is top of the line. And it is surprisingly small and light. I have never been a fan of super wide angle lens, but this lens changes my mind. It is so much fun to use it!

The resale price is crazy, fortunately I get it much cheaper. Thus, my only complain is that it cannot accept any filter, so I have to be very cautious of using it.

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: May 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very good image quality up to ISO 800. solid build, 5 fps, easy to switch AF point with multi-controller, fast and flexible operations
shutter button tends to fail and stuck (shutter is fine), small LCD screen, the far left and right AF points are less precise, not FF.

I've owned this camera since 2005 - a very nice upgrade from 300D. It is my primary (actually only) DSLR camera in the past four years. Overall, it is a great camera. I love almost every aspect of the camera except the following issues:

First, the 1.8" LCD is so small according to today's standard, and the AF is not as good as 40D/50D. Secondly, the shutter button stuck, and I have to switch to AE lock button for AF. It seems to be a common issue for x0D. Thirdly, the far left and right AF points are not precise, I would say they are almost useless. Lastly, it is not a FF.

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

Review Date: Mar 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: SHARP SHARP SHARP!!! Build like a tank.

100 USM macro used to be the sharpest lens I've owned in comparison with 35L/85L/135L, now this 180L is no less sharp than that. Color rendering is stunning. Build quality is the best in class. AF is reasonably fast even though this kind of lens is built to manual focus, and it is extremely accurate. The only complain is the price tag. Fortunately I got a very good deal of it.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 20, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $635.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: build, 16mm, size, f/2.8
soft at 35mm

My copy is second hand. I noticed immediately that it is very soft at 35mm - softer than any of my other L zooms such as 24-70L, 24-105L, 70-200L f/2.8 IS. Stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 does not help much.

Other than the softness, everything else about this lens is positive even though I am not a fan of wide angle.

I am thinking about upgrade to Mark II, but its 82mm and price tag really piss me off.

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

Review Date: Nov 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: bokeh, IS, build, color
big and heavy and white!!!!!!!!!!! a bit soft at f/2.8

nothing new to add for this great lens. just hope it is lighter and smaller, and is black. I've decided to sell it and get back f/4 version for now.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Oct 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp from f/1.4, amazing bokeh, color, and everything about image quality
build quality not as good as other L such as 85, no weather seal, focus can be tricky

Get this lens second hand. Everything positive about the image quality of this lens is proven true. My copy is sharp from f/1.4 - if I focus correctly of course. Bokeh is amazingly smooth. I used to expect such bokeh from only telephoto lens.

I find that focusing of this lens is very tricky. Of course, thin DOF contribute to this issue. But there's something unusual about this lens. Often it focuses at somewhere that I never understand, and produces complete blur images.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Apr 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Razor sharp from f/1.2!!! Fast AF.
Expensive, fragile rear element

I have long been dreaming for this *MAGIC* lens since my addiction to L glasses. Recently I have got a unbeatable deal to buy this lens in pristine condition second-hand. Being used to the image quality of sharp 100mm macro, 135L, and 70-200mm f/4L IS, I am still thrilled by its performance. At f/1.2, it already beats many Canon primes and L zooms I have owned. I have no hesitation to shoot it wide open, and feel incredibly fun to use it. There is no need to repeat the praises in the other posts here - all they have said are true. It worths every penny! So if you can find a deal like mine, do not hesitate for a single second and hurry for it!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything
hope it is bigger, or shorter ;-)

This defines the "dream lens". IQ is even better than many L primes I used. Really, nothing to complain about it. If I have to, I hope it is either a little bigger or shorter because I feel I am holding a chalk stick in my hand!

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Mar 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharpness in close range, build quality, f/2.8, USM, color
Heavy, heavy, heavy! Softness in long range. bokeh, loose zoom ring, 70mm is a bit short even on APS-C DSLR, no IS

I already own a 24-105L, but f/2.8 is sooooooo attractive that I finally decided to buy it when I found a pretty good deal to get it second hand.

First impression, it is as heavy as a brick - compared to 24-105L. As the seller said, I can feel a lot of glasses in it. I noticed that the zoom ring is pretty loose - perhaps because it is 3 years old? When I hold the lens, I always have a bad feeling that my hand may accidentally move the ring. When the subject is just a little bit far away, I could not get a single sharp image even stop down to f/4 as I expected from my 70-200/4 IS. This is quite disappointing and makes me wonder whether I get a bad copy. And I feel 70mm is a bit short even on my 20D. No IS like 24-105. Bokeh not as good as primes.

Now the good things. Build quality is superb. f/2.8 allows me to take photos indoor without flash. Focus is silent and fast. Color is great. As I get used to this lens, I found that I can produce very very sharp images when I get close enough to the subject - even at f/2.8.

Now I am struggling to keep it, or keep both 24-70L and 24-105L since I really love my 24-105L. Or hope Canon has 24-105/2.8L IS some time. :-)


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