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Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM

Review Date: Aug 29, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Clarity, sharpness, low light capabilities, colour

Amazing lens, I sold both my Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8 L lens for two Canon EF 16-35mm F4 IS L lenses and have never looked back. I provide a commercial HDR Photographic service to my clients and you need a lens that has very little distortion as any imperfections are then multiplied by say 5 times when you are using 5 images for HDR.
The link below is from a set of images we did for a new Audi garage in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK. Use the 'full screen' mode by clicking on the 2 headed arrow to the bottom left of the gallery...

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Oct 27, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Clarity, quality, robust
A lack of understanding of this product, but that is not the products fault!

I have posted this before but any Canon service agent will tell that the so called 'back focus' issue is not down to the lens, but the setup of the sensors within the camera. With lenses over f/1.8 you do not really notice this issue suntil you hit the f/1.2 range. The camera sensors are aimed towards the centre of the frame but will need adjusting for lenses with such a tiny depth of field. The principle is the same as the famous 'bouncing bomp' used in WW2. Many cameras are setup for the main lens product range but if you plan to use a low f/ stop on a regular basis, you need to visit a Canon service centre to have the sensors re-aligned. Alternatively you can run a series of tests to acertain where the camera sensors tend to focus and make the adjustments when shooting.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Mar 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great feel, quality, clarity
the price, as usual with canon

Whilst this is an amazing lens i recently carried out a simple test by taking the same set of images with the EF 35MM F1.4 L, the 16-35 F2.8 L and the 24-70 F2.8 L. Both the 35mm and the 16-35 gave almost identical quality all around the frame area at every F stop i used. Indeed, it was the 24-70 that fell down in only a few areas. Obviously I set the zoom on both lenses to 35 to match the fixed prime 35mm. I had convinced myself that i needed prime lenses for my HDr work but now not so sure!! See... Most of these taken with the 16-35 F2.8 L lens.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Feb 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: quality, build, clarity, robust
None, just the usual Canon over charging, but what's new? Have you seen the price of the new USM II version!!!!!!!!

I read with great interest the recent report by 'Kevin Sherman' and agree that build quality is important, I mean just recently I drove my beautifull and well made Bently of a 200FT cliff and was extremely annoyed to find a scratch on the bumper. I will of course send this back to Bently ASAP!

On more sensible note, this is one of Canon's finest creations offering near 'prime' quality in a zoom body. It's built like a tank and the quality is amazing. As a great all round L lens, there is none better.

I have often met with press and commercial photographers in London who agree. Sorry Kevin but that was funny!!

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Sep 22, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Well built, feels good, looks good, it it worked, good price!
poor quality, poor images, very disapointing, see report below....

I recently posted a report on our experience with the new Sigma 120-400 zoom lens. As a user of many Canon L and Sigma lenses we have, in the past, been impressed with Sigma. Sadly our recent tests with our Sigma 50mm 1.4 has only made us more committed to NOT purchasing any more Sigma lenses.
We do tend to purchase most of the new lenses that Canon & sigma make as they come out and immediately upon getting them; we test them against lenses we know to be good. In this instance we used a friends old canon 50mm 1.8 version 1 lenses that cost approx 75.00 new.
We are not qualified test engineers but having been photographing for over thirty five years we tend to test lenses under real conditions. In almost every test we did the 340.00 Sigma failed against its much cheaper canon 50mm lens at just 75.00!
For example we first placed a canon 7D on a tripod and set the ISO to 100, the F stop to 1.8 and the camera selected the speed. Under these conditions the Sigma gave the better result with the Canon being more blue in its colour balance but also less sharp. Both lenses looked milky but the Canon lost out here. However, under all of the other tests the Canon won.
We set the Canon 7D to ISO 200, the F stop to F2 and photographed a landscape shot of the end of the garden. We used the same standing point and focused on a single apple thirty feet away. The Canon was relatively crisp across the whole image. The Sigma was blurred across the whole images in comparison. We repeated this exercise using different areas of the garden but got the same results.
Both lenses vastly improved from F 2.8 onwards but using the same areas of the garden we repeated the same set of comparative shots but using F 8. Once again, the Canon was far crisper.

We then setup a portrait shot and focused on this object nose using the centre red square. Using ISO 200, F2, The Sigma still fell short of the Canon on quality and detail.
Indeed, we so wanted the Sigma to win as it looks so bloody good and is built so well, we persevered all day to try and get the Sigma to take better shots than the Canon. Sadly, we failed and have now agreed to get our money back on the Sigma and buy a Canon 50mm 1.4 at 240.00.
We do have the Canon 50mm L 1.2 and whilst we love this and have left forum comments, we really cant see the point in spending six times the cost of the Canon 50mm f1.4 when the results are not that different.
We have had to ask ourselves juts how often do we actually need anything below F2.8 and the answer is, hardly ever. Why then spend so much on an L lens? You could say because its built like a tank and is weather sealed but who would use a 1,600 lens in the rain anyway?

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Sep 18, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Amazing clarity

I have previously left a lenghy post on this lens. I thought it wise to just cover the points that a major UK Pro Canon service agent told me. Every pro camera that is supplied has it's sensors responsible for focusing, factory set and pointing at a pre designated area of the screen, hopefully close to the centre. However, in many cases these are just a few percentages out. When using normal lenses from say F1.8 upwards you would not notice any difference. However, on a lens with F1.2 that has such a deffined DOF you will then become aware of the this problem with the sensors. The lens itself is also specific to a point and two different manufaturers making F1.2 lenses may also have a variation.You can have Canon reset the sensors to point directly at the centre of the screen, or if you like in the middle of the centre red square.
I have used both the 50mm 1.2 and the 85mm 1.2 extensively and have had no issues what so ever other than human error where i may have moved just after foscusing and got a blurred picture. Despite Canon charging way to much, I feel these two lenses are the best I have ever used and I have been lucky enough to have a wide range of L Lenses. Forgive the spelling I can't find my glasses!

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Review Date: Jan 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: great quality all round, crisp, good colours, increadible clarity, good build
battery problems

I wondered if any users of the 1DS Mark III may have had any problems with battery life. My 1DS tends to just die after taking only a hand full of images. I have used two new batteries made by canon. Am I the only one?

Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

Review Date: Jan 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: crisp for non L lens, good colours
zoom range to long, at 250 you need a large ISO that only then creates noise

In sunny climates you may be able to use this lens on full zoom with only an ISO fo 500. However, in the UK in our dismal gray cloudy summers, you need approx 640 to 1000 ISO just to stop the shaking. I posted a review on our disapointement with the noise levels on the Canon 40D. With this lens and the 40D we feel you may as well forget photographing anything! Indeed, we are selling our two month old Tamron on ebay! Sad, as when you get a good image, it look great but the zoom range is just to big.

We feel it is better to have a shorter range and thus lower ISOs. The trouble with noise is that if you have any asperations of selling your images, this will kill your chances.

As for evening phorography forget it. Sure, on wide open shots at the 18mm end of the lens, you get OK results. I understand the lens is designed as a 'one stop' solution but when this is at the sacrifice of really crisp noisless images, it is not worth it in our opinion.

Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Jan 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great build quality, well thought out controls, crisp images, good feel, good pric ein the UK, 700
bad noise levels

I have always been a big Cannon user and use these for our work as both web designers and photographers. Having been lucky enough to have had every DSLR model that Canon has produced we have gained a good insight to the product.

Whilst the 40D has some advantages over the 30D, we have been very disappointed with its noise levels. In reality most 40D users will probably not have an 'L' lens attached which probably means they will have a lens that starts at f3.5 upwards. Thus they will probably be looking to keep their ISO around 400-500 as a minimum, particularly if you live in northern Europe.

Whilst the colour reproduction is good and the megapixels are OK, at anything over ISO 1500 we found the images to be poor particularly if you have a dark background. Even when using the Canon 50mm 1.2 L lens, we still got a lot of noise. The images were crisp but certainly unusable in a commercial world!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Jan 10, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


My answer to the previous comments are as follows..

First, there is only so much room in which to post and answer and my previous comments were kept as short as possible.

When calibrating any camera to a specific lens, the camera becomes faithfull to that lens. Most other normal lens with smaller F stops will still work fine. With regard your 85m 1.2 lens, you may just be lucky that it works OK. If you had your canon dealer clibrate your camera to accomodate both the 50m 1.2 and the 85mm 1.2 you would be probably be OK.

In rear situations, and depending on your camera, you can have the actual lens calibrated as well to fit the camera. The trouble here is that the lens might not work on another camera.

My previous points were basicaly trying to point out that certain specialist lenses do need setting up to work correctly. Many people simply sell their equipment hoping that they will find an alternative lens else where when in fact all they needis a specialist to calibrate their equipment. Canon could not sell this lens if it were as bad as these posts suggest.

Canon make regular minor improvements to their equipment and in certain cases where you have a new lens with a six month old camera you may get different results if the camera were only 2 days old!

My main point is before you dump your equipment, which by its nature is specialist, you need to source the correct advice or you will lose what is extremely high quality equipment!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Jan 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: high quality large apature lens, tough body and crisp images
no weather seals

I have read all of the reviews on this lens and without wishing to seam rude, I feel many of the users have misunderstood the lens completely. I would like to explain why some people experience focus issues.

All moderns digital SLRs take their focusing from the inbuilt sensors. Often, these sensors do not actually place the focus area in the dead centres of the lens or over the focus point you chose. This is normal and on lenses with apertures in excess of 1.4 you will not notice focus issues, or in reality your cameras sensor misalignment.

However where you have an F stop of 1.2 you have such a small depth of field that if the focus point is slightly out the image will appear out of focus. The best way to test this is open up the lens to F1.2 and put the cameras on a 45 degree angle and focuses on a news paper. If the centre of the image is in perfect focus, then your SLRs sensors are set correctly. If, however, you notice that the centre of the images is blurred and the foreground or background is in focus, then your cameras sensors need calibrating.

This is normal. It is only because you are using such a large aperture that you may notice a problem with the focusing. It is not the lens; it is your camera that needs calibrating.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Review Date: Sep 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: The finest DSL I have ever used, and I have used most of them!
None, but I feel I should say something so here goes...its too high

I am always amazed that when reading the reviews on Canon DSLRs that everyone say they are heavy. Young children are heavy when little babies but we carry then everywhere. All they do is poo and make a mess, yet we do not complain. Your Canon, however, needs no feeding, no bathing, no patting on the back and unlike babies, they can make you money and also make you look important. The Canon 1DS MII is the most important looking camera around and does produce stunning results especialy when shooting in low light situations like concerts. They handle noise very well and if the users of these cameras read the manual, they will discover some fantastic and important features that really help you capture great images. An example of this would be the 'focus lock', the '8 point exposure control', the multi controls for both portrait and landscape images. It is heavy because it is durable, strong and can be abused without any issues.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Sep 15, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: The canon 5D is a fantastic camera with its full frame, 12 mp and so forth. It has superb colour balance and handles noise really well. It is quite when shooting churches where a noisy shutter can be embarissing.
The down side is the dust, this camera is bettre than a vacume cleaner collecting every dust particle it can from any area you pass by! We have given up with it and ar enow replacing our %ds with the newer 40D. I have never expereinced anything like it, even when changing the lenses in a relatively clean area under the perfect conditions, the 5D will still get dust. I am convinced the 'D' in 5D standsd for DUST! We use Canon 1DS MII's and they have very little dust problems even when changing lenses on th eface of a dusty volcano, we still get hardly any dust.

I love Canon and have had every digital model they have made. We are Pro photographers and regularly use the 1DS Mark II's and they are fantatsic. We hoped to use the 5D's as backup units. However, thanks to their ability to suck up more dust than a 10 ton digger, we have ditched them completely. even uder the perfect lens changing conditions, they suck up dust fom anywhere. NASA should use them on Mars as they could collect far more than the mechanical arm!! Sad, as the actual image quality, hidden behind the dust, is great and the image quality is great. The camera is a fantastic unit that is totaly blow apart due to its dust problems. We are now changing our 5Ds to canon 40Ds as these should perform like the 30Ds which are great. If, like us, you have the FF 1DS M IIs, you really do not need the 5Ds.

Sigma 24-60mm f2.8 EX DG Lens

Review Date: Apr 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light, cost, build quality, good optics. I shot a number of images using my Canon 24-105 L ens and then took the same shots, with a Canon 30D, using the Sigma 24-60 lens. The Sigma shots actualy looked better than the L lens. I could not see any distortion around the outside of the images. The colour reproduction was as good, if not better, than the L lens!
My initial reaction was that th efocusing was a little soft in 2.8 but in reality most lenses are. Even the L lens is.

Unless you are a pro photographer using in exses of 12 megapixels, it would seam silly to purchase a Canon L lens over the Sigma. We use all Canon L lenses and this Sigma is our only 'non' Canon lens and we love it. The auto focus sytem is slighlty slowwer than the Canon's but unless you are a sports photographer, it will not make any difference!

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Nov 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Nice feel, solid. fast, megapixls
no good without an "L" lens or good USM

If you have a 10D already, take our advice forget the 20D. We use a 1DS, 1DMII and 20D, the 20D is no good unless you have a Canon "L" or USM lens. This is due to the slower focusing on the non canon lenses. Trouble is, the Sigma range of lenses is better than the standard Canon range! The 10D is extremely reliable and rugged. It may take slightly longer to fire up, but once is has we feel it is a better support camera than the 20D. Thus we have sent our 20D back to the supplyer and recently purchased some new 10D's.