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  Reviews by: Stephen Byard  

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Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Nov 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing IQ, Sharp, Fast focusing - works great with the 2xTC, focus preset
Weight and cost - but you knew that on the way in, right?

I was very lucky. A sports photographer had acquired a decent copy, but preferred his 300 f2.8, so put it on eBay. I snapped it up without a second thought.

Although a bit long for some field sports, it is an ideal nature lens. Coupled with the 2xTC, my first outing caught some decent, sharp, and colourful red grouse.

I use the Wimberley Mk II gimbal, which balances the lens perfectly, and i can set the tripod up in the car, then just sit and wait. Yet to try the bean-bag and hand-held approach.

AF is fine on a 1Ds Mk III (even using the 2xTC), as is MF using live-view and 10x magnification.

The cost of this lens was less of an issue (buying secondhand), but the weight is something you need to be aware of. Not tried it on my monopod yet - the Wimberley makes it so lazy to use, I'll probably just stick with that

Bokeh is good, and the hard case supplied is fine - although I can't close the top with the wimberley plate fitted

A lens to cherrish

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Oct 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, good conrast and colour, no flare, independant shift and tilt, less vignette when using filters than Mk I version. tilt lock at zero
Price, knobs still small and fiddly (Winter will be fun). No shift lock at zero

I used the Mk I version for my landscapes for 18 months, producing sharp results with good IQ.

The new Mk II version moves the standard on, with good control of flare and excellent IQ and sharpness all round.

Everything is just that little bit better, although I have minor gripes about the small knobs, which will be worse in Winter!

Could not find one in the UK for love nor money, and ended up getting one from Hong Kong.

82mm filter thread not an issue as I use Lee filters, so it just meant getting the correct ring. I use a 2-filter holder and Lee 105mm polariser. Vignette start at higher levels of shift, but quite acceptable. As with a plate camera, larger tilt will cause under-exposure on the side opposite where the lens is further away from the sensor - so you just grad for this if required.

The metering can be out by up to three stops, so best to use Live-View when metering. For non live-view cmaeras, set expsoure prior to tilt/shift