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  Reviews by: AshleyJones  

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

Review Date: May 16, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great for video; nice FL range; IS; Lightweight
F/4; Not über-sharp; wished minimum focus distance was a bit shorter

It's funny. I never really considered this lens. I have lots of L glass and didn't think F/4 would ever be of interest to me.

But I got this as a kit lens with the 5D Mark III (bit of a long story) and I think it's a smashing "walking around" lens. I also think it is dynamite as a video lens.

I have the 24-70 F/2.8 and I can't imagine I will really ever use it much again (this has really surprised me). While it may have the edge over the 24-105 optically, it's not as good as my primes. The 24-105 offers a lot in convenience, the IS is great for video and it's a lot lighter and cheaper.

I feel a bit silly coming to the party so late, because it really is a great lens that will take some beating as a travel/everyday lens.

That notwithstanding, it is a zoom and nowhere near as optically strong as the primes we all know and love.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Apr 22, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp at F1.2; bokeh; contrast; colour
Minimum focal length; not the fastest focussing

I have a few L lenses but I find it hard to find a reason to take the 85L off. I have had it for just over a year and no other lens has come close to making me as happy. I mainly shoot portraits and rock gigs and I am delighted with the results I get with the 85L combined with the 5DII. I got a good deal on the lens that I couldn't resist; I would never have bought one at the ful UK price. But now I have owned one, if I lost it I would have to replace it.

I also have a 60D and the lens is considerably less amazing on that body. I don't really understand why but I would stick with the (excellent but not as magical as the 85L) 85 F1.8 on a crop body. I would prefer it to focus a bit closer but - for me and the stuff I shoot - the combo of the 5DII and 85L is just unbeatable.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Review Date: Feb 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: On-camera menu control since 40D, rotation options, weather sealing, PC socket, build quality, power
Size, LCD menu seems a bit old fashioned and the on-flash UI a bit obscure.

I've had this about a year and I am so glad I went for it over the 430EX.

Mind you, the UK RRP is now £480: mind-boggling. That's US$686 today, but almost certainly the numbers will have done something terrifying by the time you read this. A global recession is bad enough, but our currency is in the toilet and the price of camera kit is doing insane things in the UK. (the Sigma 12-24 I bought two weeks ago went up from £425 to £729 overnight)

I bought a used 550EX as a slave and the feel of the 580EXII is so much better, especially the battery door. But the 550 works well in tandem with the 580 and, while I would like two 580's the 550 makes a perfectly good slave.

But I really value the fact that I can control the 580EXII from my 40D. I can't stand all that "look at the obscure icon and hold the button for one second" nonsense that you have to wrestle with when using the on-flash UI.

I do wish I could control my flashes wirelessly from the camera without having to have one sitting on the camera. I often have the 580 set as a master (because it is the easier flash to control) but disabled.

Don't skimp on your rechargeable batteries, I wasted time before I bought some decent ones.

I guess I would have to replace it if it got broken, but spending £500 on a flash would be galling.