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  Reviews by: tom s  

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Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye

Review Date: Jun 3, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast and silent focusing, sharp, great macro ability (1:1.3), nice bokeh (unlike most fast wide angle lenses), price
Hood is of limited use (more suitable for storage than for providing shade or protection), can't accept filters.

As the only fast fisheye for a Canon 1.6x crop cameras, this lens is great and fun to use.

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S

Review Date: Oct 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, inexpensive, excellent color rendition, good ''macro'' performance, fast & silent autofocusing
Plastic feel, extends while zooming, bokeh is just average (due to slow aperture: f/5.6 at 300mm)

This is one of the better products in Nikon prosumer range, it's good on both 1.5x crop and full frame. It's relatively compact and discrete, so you can use it for candid portraits.

While the lens has 4 stops of VR, it is not a low light lens (although you can get nice low light shots of static urban scenes at its widest end [70mm]). Highly recommended!

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Sep 29, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: f/2, nice bokeh wide open, focuses down to 0.9m, great colors, pretty compact, nice sharpness at f/5.6, good sharpness wide open in good light, fast focusing in good light, ok price for an L lens
focusing ring very loose, prone to blooming and purple fringing, focusing can be tricky at f/2, focus hunts in low light, occasional soft focus in low light, auto-focusing (and sharpness) in low light depend heavily on battery life/status, don't even bother with 1.4x extender (it's very soft and ''dreamy'' wide open) unless you want/like a soft-focus-effect, not very versatile, no IS, bulky hood

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

Review Date: Feb 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp wide open, great color and contrast, 4stops of IS really work, weather-resistant
pricey, bokeh of f/4, f/4 can't stop low light action, not suitable for close-ups (not sharp at 200 mm wide open when focusing close to MFD: 1.2-3m; reproduction ratio seems overstated)

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Jul 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: price, size, fast focusing (ring type USM), sharp from f/2.5-f/11
not very sharp between f/1.8-f/2.5, not good for close ups, nasty purple fringing wide open (f/1.8-f/2), average bokeh

This lens is a nice inexpensive lens. It's an improvement over lowly 50 f1.8 and 50 f1.4 USM. It has better bokeh (although still in the average category, it's not as creamy as 135 f/2L or 70-200 f/2.8L), and ring type USM. But, it has pretty low magnification ratio, so forget about close-ups with this lens (you can buy extension tubes, tho'; the results can be really nice)...Also, purple fringing is the real problem with this lens...This is a special type of CA, and not that easy to correct...It appears when there are shiny objects in your pictures (water, lamps, jewels...) and large apertures are used (f/1.8-f/2.8).

The lens is somewhat soft wide open, so I don't use it that much for natural light portraits, but it gets really sharp by f/4 and remains sharp up to f/11. The best setting for portraits is f/5.6.

Overall, it's good, but there are better portrait lenses around (135 f/2 is much sharper at f/2, it has better colors and microcontrast, and bokeh is so creamy).

But, if you shoot portraits in studio at f/5.6-f/8 and need an occasional indoor sports lens, 85 f/1.8 will be the perfect choice for you. It's cheap, so why not?

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Jun 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, inexpensive, nice bokeh between f/1.8 and f/2, good colour and contrast, it focuses close (40cm)
no USM, hunts in low light/contrast situations, average bokeh between f/2.2 and f/5.6, plain looks

Canon EOS Rebel XTi (400D)

Review Date: Jun 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: high resolution, accurate colors (in ''faithful'' mode), low noise up to ISO800, sophisticated AF
no spot meter, small viewfinder, average battery life

Canon keeps rebelling against competition. Rebel XTi (also known as 400d here in Europe) is a fine entry level camera. It should not be compared to in-house cameras (like 5d) but to other entry level cameras (like Nikon D40x or Sony A100). Highly recommended!

Don't forget to get a nice lens for this baby.
Recommended lenses: 17-40 f/4 L, 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8, 70-200 f/4 L, 135 f/2 L, 200 f/2.8 L.