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Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Review Date: Nov 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Tilt an shift, easy to use, decent price
Not as sharp as it could be. The lens hood needs a re think

For the money it is well wroth it as it does bring a genuine useful set of camera movements to the small format in a small and light lens which is (obviously) fully functional with an EOS body. No need for stop down metering like its rivals.
However it isn't as sharp at could be fully opened; it really needs better glass and the little adjustment screws are far to small especially if you are wearing glove or have cold fingers.
The lens hood also lets in a lot of flare when using shift...this maybe something that could be resolved with a better hood, or it may be something you just need to get used to.
Altogether it is far better than the hartbeli and other such lenses because it is much easier to use. However they have more movements and the image quality is nearly as it comes down to money. Given that, for what it is, the lens isn't that expensive, i would say if you want to try Tilt and Shift then get one of these on a .3 crop body it is a really usefull length for buildings, landscapes etc.. and surprisingly good, when an extension tube is used for near macro. The canon Macro flash also fits it with the adapter sold for the 180mm macro lens.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best standard zoom around
You can still get second-hand 28-70mm which is so nearly as good that if price is a consideration then go for the 28-70

I have to give this a perfect score, which is 1 more point than the older 28-70. This point is because it is weather sealed as I can't tell any difference in image quality on a 1D mk II, but I am willing to accept that on a 1Ds there may be some difference at the edges.
Every body should have one of these lenses they are the workhorse of photography and there really is nothing to fault about this. The weather sealing is the one important gain over the old lens as an extra 2mm on wide is really not that important to me.

Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast focusing well built top quality lens
Nothing at all other than they don't make it any more!

I am rating this as a second hand alternate to the 24mm-70mm. As that is how people come across it these days. As there are quite a few around I can only say buy one. I really cannot tell the difference between the images from this and the 24-70. I use it on a 1D mk II, perhaps on the 1Ds there maybe some differences at the edges; otherwise this is absolutely the best standard lens you can get.
I tell newcomers until you can afford this lens stick with something cheap and good like the 50mm f1.8 as until you use one of these you won't really get the best out of your camera with even the cheapest dSLR.
The reason this lens (and now its replacement) is in every working photographers bag is because it is so good. OK it would be nice if it was completely sealed (and I do take one point of for this as I feel all L lenses should be completely sealed against the body, it can't cost Canon that much) and even better if it was f1.8...but then it would cost as much as a small car!
A lens to use every day, it won't let you down and at less than 500 second hand thee days an absolute bargain.

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

Review Date: Nov 22, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: large range, light and cheap (ish)
Slow AF, f4, not very sharp,

I recently borrowed one of these to use for a few days as I required the extra range from my usual 28mm - 70mm and also thought it would be interesting to see what the IS was like. It was the worse L lens I have ever used. I ended up using a 100mm macro and swapping with my usual zoom. The IS is pretty pointless on a lens like this and the extra stop of light is really missed. I can see why this sort of lens would be popular on consumer cameras but giving it the L rating implies it is a pro lens, f4 is just not good enough on a 100mm lens.
Several of the pictures did not appear as sharp as I would expect and the AF was considerably slowed by the loss of light. In fact it was a lot slower AF than the 300mm it isn't just the loss of the stop.
Now this may have been a bad copy, but I would strong urge anyone considering this lens to think again. The 24mm - 70mm f2.8 is around the same price. If you need something longer then get a decent prime or save for the 70mm - 200mm f2.8 IS is very usful, but not as important as having a decent bit of glass that actually has a usable aperture.

Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX

Review Date: Aug 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: controlable lighting for macro, powerfull

I enjoyed the moans from the bloke who complains that this flash won't fit his non canon lenses! Can't he read?
I use this flash with Canons 100m macro (one of the lenses its made for); I also use it with the Canon 200m f2.8 and various extension tubes. Although it wasn't made for this lens, the adapter designed for the 180mm macro fits any lens with a 72mm filter thread. As my camera has a 1.3 crop (EOS 1D mk II) it dosn't obscure the sensor although I think it might on a full frame sensor.
I brought this to replace the ring flash as I had become increasingly disasified with the flatness of the light from that unit.
It is a wonderful piece of kit, allowing more or less total control of lighting for any subject. I don't think it could really be bettered.
However it is very expensive in the UK so buy it from Hong Kong.
As with all canon flash units it seems very fragile compared to the build quality of the cameras and lenses, yet I havn't managed to break it (yet!) and it gets a lot of use in all sorts of situations where breakages could maybe tougher than it looks. It also takes a lot of power to recharge it and really needs a better battery system as standard (this applies to all Canon flash units)

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Review Date: Jan 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very wide, avaliable as at a cheap price compared with anything else. Good build quality, good hood.
Obviously not a Canon L lens, but then it is a third of the price. Always the risk of a bad one given Sigmas reputation for quality control problems, I have been lucky.

This lens has to score well because there really is nothing near it for full frame or 1.3 crop cameras.
I got mine when I sold my 10D and got a 1D mk II (about six months ago) and have used it loads since. In fact it is on my camera more than any other lens even though it is nowhere near as good as my other lenses. But it is my only zoom, and it can produce some really interesting shots.
It focuses close enough and is wide enough to get some really interesting angles on everything from people to trees and mountains.
It is strange if you aren't used to such wide angles (and I wasn't). Even though WYSISYG in the view finder of a 1D, often it is only when you see the image at a larger scale on your computer screen do you realise how strange the world can look thorugh a wide angle lens. Sometimes this is great, mostly not, it can tempt you into overusing the "wow" thats a strange angle factor when you first get one.
The images are no where near as sharp as my other Canon primes, but at this price you would hardly expect them to be, but the images are good throughout the whole of the frame (at the 1.3 crop of my camera, they may not be as good on a full frame).
For less than 400 quid you do get a lens that can get proffessional results, not every time, but enough to get by. It is also built to a very high standard and feels like a quality product; which is nice!
If only I didn't always have to take the quality control thing into account before buying Sigma, but I suppose these things are built to price and that is what happens.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

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

Pros: Fast, build quality, A/F, image quality
Having to change from CF to SD card manally (nit picing)

What a great machine!
A few months ago Canon launched the "new" MkII N. Some dealers redced their prices on the "old" model and I was "in like Flynn".
the well used 10D was sold to a new home and i got the camera I had been after for the previous 18 mths.
It is great. No more worrying when it rains, no more worries when it dings against a rock face when out climbing. This is built like the proverbiable brick shithouse.
I have used this climbing montains, at bike races and in the studio. It works as well teathered to a lap top taking macro pictures of flowers as it did last weekend in a snow storm snapping the British Cyclo Cross championships.
The battery has only failed after two days and 600 pictures (forgot to charge up that night). Coupled with a L lens its auto focus can keep up with the fastest action and the quality of the RAW files can't be beaten. This is one great camera.
Other than the moan above (which I think may have been sorted with the new N, the only thing I would wish for is a few extra pixels (but not at the expense of image quality).
I had to get a Sigma 12-24mm lens for wide angles so for a pure portrait, landscape photographer then this might not be the best, but for every body else this is the machine to get. I was horrified at the price, but have saved the difference between this and a EOS 1 film camera in film and processing costs alone, not even considering the costs of my time spent scanning.
This is the camera that spells the end of 35mm film for me.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Aug 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, sharp, very good glass and fast.
Plastic cheapness. No depth of field scale.

For its price it can't be beat. There is no way you can get a lens as sharp as this for less than three times the money from Canon, and I bet you would need to spend at least twice the money with Sigma.

If you are short of cash this is the lens for you, don't waste your money on a cheap zoom use this until you can afford something much better.
Its fast and great for low light level, you can actually see through the viewfinder unlike with the zoom lenses that are sometimes sold with Canon bodies.
The plastic mount looks cheap, but I used mine regulalary for two years and only recently sold it (for 48 when I got a 50mm macro), there was no wear to the mount at all. The glass was still perfect, but the outside of the lens was showing its age.
the lack of a proper depth of field scale on the lens is a bad move for a lens used by beginers.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Aug 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great lens, great price, best all round value for a Canon lens
Nothing at this price

For portraits, street, stage etc. this is hard to beat unless you are prepared to spend serious money.

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

Review Date: Aug 10, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Realaivly cheap and light, A/F is good and wide on 35mm film,better than a cheap zoom.
Poor build, not sharp and not wide on an APS digital sensor.

Brought it when I moved from cheap zoom's to cheap primes. The other primes I got at the time were the 85mm f1.8 and the 50mm f1.8.
This lens is in the same league as the others. It was a real disapointment and not much better than cheap Canon zooms. When I got a 10D it stopped even being a wide angle lens!
I don't use wide angles that much so I sold it (for as much as I paid for it which is good) and brought a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 zoom for not much more. The sigma is sharper, wider and a zoom.
Canon does make some good lens other than L's, but this certainly isn't one of them.

Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

Review Date: Aug 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, well built, comes with a hood, sharp, small.
Noise! and it won't be any use when I can aford a DS!

The only non Canon Lens I have, and the only zoom.
I wanted a "walking around" lens for snaps and stuff and wasn't prepared to pay the price of a L zoom. I have had bad eperiences with Canon zooms at the cheaper end so thought I would give it a go.
Its great! not quiet up to L standard in build or A/F, and it proberally wouldn't be as sharp with more pixals but on my 10D it produces first rate results. As a wide angle lens it is as good as none L canon primes.
The build quality is really good and once again superior to the Canon build (except for L lenes obviously).

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jul 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Its great,its sharp,its fast
I had to get a decent head for my tripod to hold it dead still! It could do with a lens collar to conect directly to a monopod or tripod.

I got this lens 6 months ago. After reading some of the reviews here. It was my first step into the wonderful world of "L" lens. I am a convert. It cost me the same as my EOS 10D (second hand) and twice what I paid for any camera or Lens before. It is worth every penny. Unlike the camera I will be still using this in 10 years.
It is built like a tank. It can take sports close up with any old light.It can take great portraits (stand well back with the 10D!).
Some head and shoulder shots have been better than my Canon 85mm 1.8 lens, and that is a great lens.
Unless you really need a zoom then this is for you