Canon 5D Mark II Real life Experience Review

Wow, the Canon 5D Mark II (kit with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) is an unbelievable camera and I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at this camera. According to dxomark, http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/DxOMark-Sensor the 5D2 is rank 4th among some very expensive cameras. Based on it score, I believe the 5D2 is a much better deal.

Now to be honest with you all, I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, but rather it just a hobby of mine. I have read many of the reviews and many of the comparisons between other cameras and I have to say my 3 weeks of experience with this camera certainly lines well with the reviews. I have no real way to compare the 5D2 with any of the more interesting camera such as the Canon 50D, 1D3, or the Nikon D3. There are plenty of other reviews available that covers this angle of the 5D2 story. I have not seen much real life reviews of the camera, so I figure I take this opportunity to write a review based on real life conditions. To put things in the proper context, I am upgrading from the Canon EOS Rebel XT. I had considered upgrading to the 40D, but I felt that it was not enough bang for me to upgrade. The Canon 5D Mark II offered the bang I was looking to achieve and I truly believe it was worth every penny. Continue reading Canon 5D Mark II Real life Experience Review

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Lens Review

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.
[table=7]

Introduction

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 011There are many reasons as to why you would find this lens in virtually everyone’s bag, it’s probably Canon’s best lens for its focal range, build quality, and sharpness. This lens easily becomes anyones favorite after one or two uses. It’s solidly built and very well constructed.

With a 1.6 frame of view (FOV) crop, the 70-200mm becomes a 112-320mm, quite a usable range. Whereas my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is my carry around lens, I find myself using the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM for outdoor and indoor events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Grand National Rodeo.

Weight and Dimension

This is definitely not a small lens by any means, its dimensions are 3.3″ x 7.6″ at a smudge under 3 lbs making it heavier than the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. With the 70-200mm attached on small SLRs such as the Rebel line, you find it is noticeably nose heavy. It doesn’t start getting balanced out until you attach it to a Canon EOS 1D line, but by that point, you’re holding onto more than 6 lbs!

As with almost all the other Canon L lenses, the filter size is the 77mm. I’m currently using a B+W 77mm MRC (010) UV Filter which The-Digital-Picture.com exclusively uses. Originally I was going to go with a Hoya Super HMC Pro, but kept hearing so much about B+W filters that I figured why not. If I was going to buy a Ferrari, I wouldn’t fill it up 87 gas.

Construction

Built like a tank, just like the other Canon L lenses. Every piece is so meticulously constructed, you could use this lens thousands of times and it would still look new. Even if you dropped it from on top of an elephant, it still works great! Also worth mentioning, the non-IS version is not weather sealed. Of the four Canon EF 70-200mm (f/2.8L, f/4, f/2.8L IS, f/4L IS), only the image stabilizer (IS) versions are weather sealed.

There is really not much more to mention about its construction that hasn’t already been said by many people already.

Field Test

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 014For day-to-day shooting, I rely upon my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L because of its semi-wide angle and allows me to get close up to subjects and objects and its limited macro capabilities. For events such as concerts, festivals, and what not, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L becomes the lens I use for many reasons, but usually because I need the extra reach.

The picture quality is superb on many levels. The colors are vibrant and jump out at you and the sharpness is next to none. This lens is definitely sharper than my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and has slightly better colors, contrast, and saturation using all the same camera settings. Very little post processing is needed when using this lens.

The bokeh achieved by this lens is nothing less than fantastic. The background is always nicely blurred out when using f/2.8 or a long focal range (100mm+) on a nearby subject. It is definitely not difficult to get great looking bokeh with this lens.

The AF on this lens is lightening fast and focuses accurately on subjects and objects. I rarely ever have cases where the 70-200mm is “hunting” for focus. Precision is very important, especially when shooting sports, which makes this lens a great lens for fast moving subjects or objects.

Overall Thoughts

There is only one reason I would part with this lens, to get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. While the difference in the price is quite a bit, it is very much worth it to get the IS version. This lens also attracts a lot of attention, being the trademarked “white” L lens and its size (especially with the pedal hood on).

The lens comes with a very nice canvas carry case, pedal hood, and most of all, a tripod mount which the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L versions do not come with.

Check out these shots (Cherry Blossom Festival and Grand National Rodeo), all made with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM and make your own decision if it’s worth it or not, in my opinion, it is worth every penny.

[rating:5]

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Specifications

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.

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Introduction

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 001From the first time I heard about the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, I had a feeling it would be a lens I would really like. I was wrong. I am absolutely in love with this lens. It is amazing! From the feel to the picture quality, superb. There are few people who say this lens is way too overrated. Some aren’t as impressed as others and claim that the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 performs just as well for a lot less in price and is smaller, more compact and supposedly the Sigma AF 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DF performs about as good as the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and better than the Tamron. I personally have not used the Tamron or the Sigma and can’t comment.

This lens is my walk around lens. It may seem a bit *big* at first to be a walk around lens on a Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi (hell, it’s still not even considered small on the Canon EOS 20D or Canon EOS 30D), but you get used to it quite quickly especially after seeing the the sharpness and performance of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

The focal length of this lens on a 1.6 FOVCF (frame of view crop factor) SLR such as the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi is 38.4mm to 112mm, somewhat odd range, but still usuable.

Weight and Dimensions

This len isn’t small. It’s a bit longer than the Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and is only a bit shorter than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L. It weighs 950 grams (or 2.1 pounds), so it’s heavier than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L, but not as heavy as the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L. The actual dimensions are: 4.9 inches length-wise and 3.3 inches in diameter. It has 13 groups and 16 elements; definitely a lot of glass in this lens! With this lens attached to the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi, I find myself sometimes holding the camera/lens by the lens body rather the grip because it feels a bit more comfortable and I’m not as afraid of dropping this $1,000 lens. I see many people complain about the weight of this lens. It’s not light, but certainly not heavy like Canon’s super telephoto lens, the 500mm and 600mm. Those that complain of the weight don’t seem to appreciate the superior build quality and the picture quality achieved by this fantastic lens.

Construction

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 002Because this is an L lens, it is primarily constructed of magnesium alloy and most certainly feels like it can take a pounding and continue taking great pictures. The barrel that extends is also constructed of magnesium alloy and you can feel how well its built when the barrel is fully extended out. There is virtually no significant wobbling of any kind with the lens when the barrel is collapsed or fully extended. This L lens is black in color, unlike it’s bigger brothers, who are painted in the now famous Canon color, off white (or putty). Because of that, it may not garner glances as quickly as a white L lens usually does, people still notice that it is not a small lens either. When you attach the flower hood (EW-83F), it really stands out.

The focal length ring rotates smoothly and tightly allowing for precise adjustments. It feels great when you spin either the focal length ring or the focus ring. This is definitely an excellent engineered lens. One thing that many people may find a bit odd at first is how the focal lengths work. When the barrel is fully collapsed, it is at its fartherest focal length, 70mm. To use 24mm, the barrel is focused out. I believe part of the reason that Canon designed the lens this way was because of the huge hood. The hood attaches to the body and not the barrel like some other lenses does (for example, the Nikon AF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF) and if 24mm was when the barrel was completely collapsed, parts of the hood would appear in the shot. One added bonus is that with the hood on and the barrel fully extended, the barrel remains inside of the hood still, which is great protection in the unlikely event you drop the lens.

Field Test

I usually have the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM attached to my camera; as it is my walk around lens. There are a few times that I feel a bit limited by 70mm and want to be able to zoom more and other times I feel that 24mm isn’t wide enough.

The maximum aperture of 2.8 allows me to get shots in dimly lit areas, which is a great bonus. This is definitely not a lens I would use for shooting sports because of its limited focal range, but using it for portraits is very satisfying. It creates a very smooth and buttery blurred background (bokeh) at 2.8.

Auto focus is extremely fast on the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L because of ring type USM. It also2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 007 focuses accurately and does well under low light conditions.

I’m unable to use my built on flash with this lens attached because it will cause very noticable lens vignetting on the bottom center of the pictures. It doesn’t bother me too bad because I try to avoid using flash as much as possible.

Another great thing about this lens is the macro feature. It can focus as close as 1.25 feet, much better than my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L‘s 3 something feet. While this isn’t quite super impressive, it’s very usable for me. There are times I like to take macro images, such as product images and what not, so I need a good macro lens, which I previously was using the cheapy kit lens, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6.

It’s a great lens with decent focal range. Good enough to spend 85% of the time on my SLR body. The weight isn’t too big of an issue, you get used to it, especially when you see the image quality.

Overall Thoughts

This lens would be perfect if it had Image Stabilizer (IS) on it. There are just some times in some dimly lit areas (such as indoors) where IS would help quite a bit! I highly recommend this lens.

[rating:4.5]

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Lens Review

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.

Introduction

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM is perhaps one of Canon’s most favored lenses by professionals and serious amateurs alike. Great range, internal focusing, weather sealing, great build quality, heavy duty, and a maximum aperture of 2.8 makes it a great lens for portraits, sports, and even landscape.

The two major reasons why anyone would choose the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L‘s little brother, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L is: 1) weight and 2) value to cost.

Weight and Dimensions

2007-01-21 - Canon EF 70-200mm L USM - 001The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM weighs in approximately at 705g (1.6lbs) versus its bigger brother, the f/2.8L at 1,473g (3.24lbs)! So the f/4L is definitely a lighter and more convenient lens to carry around especially if you’re going hiking or doing a lot of walking.

This lens is almost 7 inches long (6.8 inches) with a 3 inch diameter with a 67mm filter size, unlike the normal 77mm filter sizes on all the other Canon L lenses. This lens fits snuggly into my Lowepro AW 200 slingshot backpack with the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi attached. The 70-200mm by itself fits perfectly in, making it easy to pack along as an additional lens and still have room to bring a few other lenses.

Construction

As with all of Canon’s L, or Luxury, line of lenses, it’s almost exclusively made of magneisum alloy making it very durable and able to stand up to punishment. I personally would never want to do a drop test to see how rugged it is, but if Ken Rockwell’s test on Karl Grobl’s dropped Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM is any indication of its well built quality, then I’m sure this guy will take a bit of a beating and keep on kicking.

The only major difference between the f/2.8L (IS version) and the f/4L‘s construction is that the f/2.8L (IS version) is weather sealed while the f/4L is not, but the f/4L IS version is. This may not make a whole of difference to most people, but worth mentioning just in case.

2007-01-21 - Canon EF 70-200mm L USM - 002Another thing I’ll mention here is the color. I have always been under the impression that all of the L line lenses are white (except for the smaller focal lengths), it’s not paper white. It seems (I’m not 100% sure, based on observations) that the only paper white L lenses are the 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L and f/4L are more of a putty color. Originally I thought maybe it was because it was an older lenses or faded, but I’ve compared it to other 70-200mm both f/2.8L and f/4L and they are in fact all putty color. Odd. If someone knows the answer to this, please email me with the explanation as I’m curious. I do in fact know why Canon makes the L lenses “white”, what I’m not sure of is why some are putty and others are actually white.

Field Test

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM is a great carry around lens because of its size and is almost as good, if not just as good, as its big brother, the f/2.8L. The most amazing thing about this lens is the bokeh produced. The background blurs to such a smoothness that I could never quite achieve with any of my Nikon lens, even the Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF.

The pictures taken with this lens is very crisp and sharp and the colors are excellent. The Fluorite elements, in terms of the picture quality and clarity, are absolutely amazing!

Because this lens has the more expensive ring USM focusing (versus the micromotor USM), focusing is superbly fast and precise with FTM (full time manual) focus. If you’ve never used a ring USM lens, once you try it, you’re sold.

The major drawback of this lens for me is the maximum aperture of f/4, while this is not super bad considering you are getting f/4 through the entire range, it does have limitations in low light such as indoors photography. This probably wouldn’t be an ideal lens for indoor sports photography, but it is still usuable, the ISO just has to be increased to 800 or 1600 to get speeds necessary to hand hold at f/4. I have seen pictures of people using this lens at indoor high school basketball games and what-not and it seems to be fine, but grain is noticeable at higher magnification. But out doors on a sunny day, it works great!

Overall Thoughts

This is a great lens to have, especially for its cost in relation to its value. It’s relatively light, built like a tank, optically superb, and definitely draws stares and gawkers because of the famous “white” Canon lenses.

Even though I have the 70-200mm range covered with this lens, I will eventually get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. There are many situations in which I need a higher maximum aperture than just f/4, such as indoor sports photography or just indoors shooting. The image stabilization (IS) definitely doesn’t help do stop action sports photography, but will definitely come in handy for pictures of singers at concerts. And even though I would get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, I would still keep the f/4L because it’s a great lens and more portable than its f/2.8L brother.

By the way, I highly recommend getting the Canon tripod ring. It doesn’t come with it, and will set you back another $120, but it is well worth it because it keeps the lens and camera more balanced on a tripod. You could get a black one, it cost some $30 less, made of the same material (magnesium alloy), but doesn’t look as appealing. The Canon tripod ring also fits the Canon EF 300mm f/4L USM. It also comes with a nice Canon suede pouch to carry the lens in.