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Tasco Essentials 10x25 Compact Binocular (Black)
Tasco Essentials 10x25 Compact Binocular (Black)
Price: $12.75
44 used & new from $7.76

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good disposable emergency travel binoculars, November 29, 2008
Good disposable emergency travel binoculars

I bought these binoculars to leave in my SUV as an emergency backup when I forget my excellent Nikon 7216 Action 8 X 40 Binoculars. They are much lighter and smaller and I can leave in my map holder on the door or even in my pocket and forget I even have them which leaves the old saying binoculars are only good if you have them with you. And that's where these binoculars shine they are very tiny and very light.

They do bring things in close and after a little bit of focusing and adjusting width you can make things out if you have plenty of light. The little case they come with is pretty decent as well.

Now for the bad parts. The eye relief is pretty bad, you will have to prop your eye glasses above them and or remove them to use. Also they are pretty dim which of course a lot of cheaper 10x25 binoculars are. The strap is a small little string that does the job but is pretty thin. But hey for the price go ahead and purchase a couple one for your coat pocket and one for your vehicle oh and maybe one for your camera bag.

These would be a great pair to have children learn on as if they drop or abuse them its no big deal.

Pros:

Nice case
Super small size
Super light weight
Disposable price tag
Great learning binocular to hand to small children

Cons:

So so focusing
Just Ok low light ability
Just Ok optics
Not water tight or resistant

Verdict:

Purchase as disposable emergency travel binoculars and or as a toy for children to learn birding with and no more.

12-3-2008 Update:

Went to the store and tested a lot of different small bincoulars trying to find a pair that are almost as good as my Nikon Action 7216 8x40's and found the perfect one. If you need small and want a good view and a good price get the Nikon 7508 Travelite 8 X 25mm V Binoculars. They are: light (8.9 oz), fit the hand well are well made and very bright in the viewfinder for their size.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2012 1:20 PM PDT


BlackBerry Storm 9530 Phone (Verizon Wireless)
BlackBerry Storm 9530 Phone (Verizon Wireless)
5 used & new from $26.00

665 of 702 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool and smooth but not as smooth as my friends iPhone, November 25, 2008
6-22-2009 foreword:

I'm going to make this foreword short and sweet, after trying my friends iPhone 3Gs it just blows away my Storm, the little advantages I once had with the Storm (copy and paste, movie mode etc.) are now mostly gone and between that and the much better software execution on the iPhone I am now suggesting that you get an iPhone if you don't care what carrier you use. For those of us with Verizon I hear our iPhone is on the way next year.

For those of you still interested in my journey over the past half year with a Storm compared to the older iPhone or if you still really want a Storm read on.

If you have to have a Blackberry but you love playing movies, songs and showing photos this is the one. If you need to type out hundreds of e-mails a week with one hand typing and one driving you need the more traditional Blackberries.

5-2-2009 Screen Clarity update:

The screen on my Storm continues to impress! Did you take some photos you really want to show off? Photos of the family, or say photos of Hugh Jackman and the cast of X-Men Origins: Wolverine at the World Premiere. You will always have them with you on your storm and they will look very impressive indeed. Click this link to see photos I'm showing off on my storm [...]

4-3-2009 Battery update:

I've noticed lately after several months use that my Storm's battery is luck to make it through the work day now. Not sure if it's the way I have charged the battery or it's already losing it's power to hold a charge.

Introduction:

My old Verizon XV6700 was giving out and I needed a new phone.

I borrowed my friend's iPhone and played with it and loved it. But then I found out Verizon Wireless does not allow me to use an iPhone. And then my friend told me about the dismal coverage and dropped calls using AT&T so I decided to go with something that Verizon has.

Review:

My first thoughts were what a slick looking phone. The Storm fit well in my hand and my pocket and the screen looked amazing: sharp, bright and great contrast. The local Verizon Wireless store copied all my contact info over from my XV6700 and I was on my way.

I loved the fact that I could open the back and replace the battery; memory card and SIM card myself.

My second thoughts were what a slow phone. It got faster after a while and you might not notice it if and this is a big IF you had not just played with an iPhone. But turning the camera from portrait to landscape mode is not even close to the speed and smoothness of my friend's iPhone. In fact none of the menus are as smooth and fast as the iPhone.

Multimedia Experience:

Now this is where the Storm really rains all over the iPhone's parade. The screen is much brighter and sharper then the iPhone. So much so that you can actually see every detail of a photo and watch a video outside in direct sunlight. My friends iPhone was pretty dim in direct sunlight. The speaker phone just blows away the iPhone, it's no contest not even close. Both phones take headphones and both sounded good listening to music through the headphones. I really like the fact that I can download TV shows and video to the Storm right on to the video card without using iTunes. But if you want you can sync your iTunes to the Storm just like the iPhone. You can also import playlists from iTunes or create your own right on the phone.

Desktop Software:

Blackberry Desktop Manager
The initial software I got with the phone Blackberry desktop manager was very buggy both on the work computer (Windows XP) and my home computer (Mac OS-X Tiger). Surprisingly the Windows XP version was the most problematic. At least after loading the desktop manager on my Mac and working with Blackberry phone support I was eventually able to setup and transfer iTunes songs, my address book etc to my storm from my Mac. I still haven't been able to get my Windows XP to do a correct sync.

V CAST Music with Rhapsody:

I'm sorry this software is just junk! Don't bother loading this hard to use featureless software on your computer use the Blackberry Desktop Manager and iTunes instead.

Storm VS. iPhone:

Phone
Storm wins (Storm has great call clarity with no dropped calls and really loud speakers. No matter where in our work buildings I went I could always place and receive calls with the Storm. The iPhone at times had no reception deep inside the buildings and when using the external speakers the Storm was the clear and loud leader. Both had good features for looking up contacts adding photos to contacts and controlling incoming and outgoing calls. Also lots of ring tone options and features etc. are available for both with the Storm being able to add ring tones by simply saving files to the correct folder on the memory card.

Screen
Storm hands down winner! (Brighter, sharper, clearer, more contrast)

Menus
iPhone hands down winner! (Intuitive to learn screen selections, smooth, refined graphics, slick transitions)

Typing

Updated 12-3-2008
iPhone hands down winner (with just a little practice on my friends iPhone I was typing away pretty confidently with little fatigue) My Storm on the other hand took a lot of practice and I'm still pretty slow. And the click to choose has inconsistent pressure with items clicked in corners harder to push then in the center which takes some getting used to as well. Also, there is no cursor guide scroll button / device. Which means when you want to select a different area of text you just typed on your Storm it's a frustrating thing. My old VX6700 allowed you to tab through areas and select text with precision. Before buying you may want to stop at a Verizon store and try typing for yourself just to be sure you like it. I can see it being good enough for causal users but not good enough for the average business person.

Storm Typing Tips:

I learned if you place your finger over the area and highlighted it first then press until the screen clicks you are more likely to get the right letter or number. Also make sure your finger is actually over the middle of the number or letter. I had an initial tendency to get the letter below to the right instead of the one I wanted.

Copy and Paste:

Storm hands down winner (Storm has it, iPhone does not)

Speed

Updated 12-06-08
The iPhone is still the winner after software update 4.7.0.75 but the Storm is now MUCH faster then it used to be. The iPhone still seems like an extension of your brain but the Storm is almost as fast now. And after the update the Storm no longer just sits there when rotating the phone from portrait to landscape mode like it used to. Now it usually rotates in less then a second.

Speaker Phone
Storm hands down winner! (Blows away the iPhone)

Music
Tie

Size:
Tie both are close enough in size the iPhone a little longer but thinner. The Storm a little heaver and thicker.

Battery
Storm hands down winner! (You can buy an extra battery to take along to swap out and it lasts a little longer). And as a bonus it charges really fast!
12-07-08 Update
Made a two hour call last night on the Storm including looking up several contacts and looking around on the camera for almost half that time during the call. I only used 1 battery bar up during that time!! I had 4 bars left on the battery meter after the call! I'm very impressed my old VX6700 would have been DEAD after a two hour call.

Memory
Storm hands down winner! (Again just like the battery you can buy your own memory cards and swap them out on the fly and even upgrade on the fly from the 8GB it came with to 16GB)

Service Provider:
Storm hands down winner (No comparison between the coverage and abilities of Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Camera:
Storm hands down winner (the photos look better and it does video as well, the iPhone does not do videos).
12-07-08 Updated
The Storm takes the best quality photos for a phone I have ever seen. With that said I must at least mention that like all other camera phones I have tried taking a photo with it is a slow process indeed both in getting the camera to appear on screen and in getting the camera to actually take the photo after you have pushed the shutter button. You will not want to try and take any action photos with it. And yes the quality is better then other phones but no its still not as good as a regular camera.

WiFi:
iPhone hands down winner (the iPhone has it, the Storm does not)

Navigation:
I'm going to give this one to the iPhone even though they don't have the coverage area that Verizon has. It's much easier to navigate and there are nice little features on the iPhone like the ability to put a push pin on your map and have the phone give you the address then navigate you there. Plus you can use standard map or topographical on the iPhone. If the Storm has this capability I couldn't find it. Plus the iPhone could be setup and actually navigating before the Storm even got to the Navigation screen.

Computer integration:
iPhone hands down winner!! (No one is slicker then Apple at integrating a perhipials with their computers, it's not even close).

Storm VS Verizon VX6700

The Storm wins hands down in all areas save for a couple so I will keep this short and sweet.

The Verizon VX6700 has WiFi
The Verizon VX6700 integrates well with Windows allowing you to plug in to your Windows based computer and automatically sync your Outlook Calendar and address book. The Software for the Storm is very problematic at this point and I never successfully synced on my Windows XP computer at work. I'm hoping a new software update will fix this in the future. Other then these two items one of which will probably be fixed soon I don't miss my old VX6700 at all.

Surprises:
I wasn't expecting a bedside alarm clock as I had never seen any commercial showing one but it's pretty cool and I found out both the Storm and the iPhone have it. When you plug your Storm into the electrical power charger cord it automatically goes into a night mode with a large bedside clock. You can set an alarm to wake you and can even change it between different formats like digital or analog and even and old style flip clock if you have a longing for some nostalgia.

E-mail is so cool on this phone. I can have up to 10 e-mails on this phone and the way it sets up is so cool. You can setup on your home computer then no matter where you are all of your e-mails automatically get pushed out to your phone with an alert. No longer do I have to request the e-mails like on my old VX6700 phone.

Also the Blackberry support person I talked to waited on the phone patiently for the over 2 hour period it took to try and troubleshoot my Windows computer and get the sync working. He gave me a lot of cool Blackberry tips while we were waiting between re-boots of the WIndows XP.

Verdict:

I like it and will keep it. You should probably try both the iPhone and Storm before you buy and check your coverage area.

Updates:

In the coming weeks I will come back and update my experiences with the Storm. I'm hoping that software updates will speed up the screen response time. And after some tips from the Blackberry support line I'm doing much better and really starting to love my phone er I mean Blackberry.

11-26-2008 Update:

Verizon sent me this text message update about a Verizon Blackberry Storm interactive training guide on the Internet. In just playing the introduction I found out the Storm has a neat pause un-pause feature button on the top right opposite of the screen lock button that I didn't even know was there. VERY COOL. I suggest that you go through every level of training as you never know what little thing you might find. It's located at [...]
11-27-2008 Update:

It's Thanksgiving and I have time to play. I setup my speed dials which is very easy to do I found out. Just click on the call button and when the dialing menu comes up hold down a number until the add a speed dial menu comes up asking if you want to add a number! Pretty cool.

And found out you can hold down the menu button then press the screen to get a switch apps menu.

Starting to really love this phone now. I think if you are coming from a Blackberry already then you really have an advantage knowing about the menu and escape buttons which are an integrated part of the menu system but I wasn't aware of when I first got the phone.

Also found out you can make home made ring tones by using the voice notes function. It's so funny you can record your friend saying "Hey, its me pickup" or something else funny then assign that recording as their ring tone and every time they call you get to hear them before they even pickup. Also assigned some of my iTunes songs as individual ring tones and a Led Zeppelin song as my default ring tone.

12-1-2008 Update:

Am a little frustrated lately. The Storm really is slow to operate for a minute or two after removing from the charger. Got a call from my sister and tried to answer with it plugged in like I used to do with my VX6700 phone but the Storm would not respond so I unplugged it from the charger and still would not pickup. By the time it started responding again she had already left a long detailed message on my voice mail and I had to call her back.

Thought this was a fluke when it happened again later in the day in exactly the same long delay.

Also found out when my Storm is plugged into the charger it is VERY slow to operate almost unusable. Good thing the battery life is really good.

Bottom line on charging, if you are expecting an important call do NOT charge your Storm and expect it to pickup like in normal operation.

Also, found out that when you get a call you had better have your Storm unlocked. My old VX6700 could be locked and one button would work, the green call button to pickup an incoming call. My Storm if locked will not allow you to receive a call either using the on-screen green call button or the main button on the phone. Hopefully this will be fixed in a software update. Bottom line on this one, hit unlock before you attempt to answer.

Still like the Storm and will keep it. It's got let's see... character yeah that's it character, kind of like the old Dodge 340 Six Pack T/A Challenger I used to own. Great performance when acting right but not so good when it doesn't.

12-3-2008 Update:

Storm getting a little slow, slower then normal. Try a re-boot, remove the battery for 15 seconds then re-insert. Usually revives mine back to it's original state.

12-5-2008 Update:

I'm really starting to get in the groove with my Storm. Also, I downloaded the latest software yesterday with the Blackberry tech people on the phone. No change in functionality yet after install. It's still slow and buggy and will update my Address book from my Mac to the Blackberry but not the iTunes songs. I still have to copy them manually which is easy enough to do but frustrating. It could be that I don't have the latest version of MAC OS-X as I currently have only Tiger OS-X with all the latest patches. I'm sure that Research In Motion is working on updates at a rapid pace.

12-6-2008 Update:

Software Upgrade:

This morning I got a notice on my Storm of a software upgrade availability of version 4.7.0.75. I currently have version 4.7.0.65. So I downloaded 4.7.0.75 and installed the update to my Storm. In the end it took almost an hour because I didn't know to reboot before I started.

My experience:

The initial download took several minutes but at least there is a progress bar running across the top along with the MB remaining to download. And they provided a Pause Download button at the bottom of the download screen should you need it. Pretty cool. When the download is complete you have to option of Upgrade Now or Schedule Upgrade. I choose to upgrade now. If you choose now you get a warning that you may not be able to use your Storm for up to two hours then it starts a verifying the upgrade then it gave me a message upgrade requires additional memory. Removing older data. Then I got an error message to delete 780 kb of personal data even though I had 4.6 GB of room available on my Sandisk. I guess it only uses the main memory on the Storm to do the upgrade. So I called Verizon support and they suggested a reboot by removing the battery for 10 seconds which I did. Then the update started running with two progress bars: 1 Over all backup progress. 2. Current database messages and an elapsed time window at the bottom. Total elapsed time shown was 1:34 seconds. Now the phone started an auto reboot. I am now a half hour total into the process however including the support call and reboots. After the reboot it started saying Patching OS and had a percent bar running across the middle. Then it said Patching Java with progress bar. Then it went blank again and then a Linking Java menu came up with progress bar. Then it went white and a progress bar started across the bottom. Then another overall progress menu came up. Then it came up with a setup wizard and I picked close. Then it asked you to auto or manually chose networks type and I picked auto.

Upgrade Results:

Total time taken was just under 1 hour so I'm glad I started with a fully charged battery.

Now the phone is much faster in all respects, browsing for photos, watching videos even rotating the phone from portrait to landscape. It's still not as fast as my friends iPhone but it's much closer then it was before. So I highly recommend going though the update to 4.7.0.75 just be sure to remove your battery for 10 seconds for a good reboot before starting and you probably won't have the problem I had.

12-07-08 Update
Very impressed after a two hour call last night had only used 1/5th of my battery power (see Battery 12-07-08 update above for more info) I could see talking for 5 or 6 hours on one charge. My old VX6700 would have been DEAD after a two hour call.

Also updated the camera info above. The Storm takes better photos then other camera phones but is still very slow to take a photo so don't buy it just to take photos.

About those side buttons, I have locked all but the volume control out because I would keep accidently activating them bringing up say the camera by accident when I was trying to surf the web or make a call. At least they give you the option to lock them out.

Visual Voice Mail, what an awesome thing! Especially if you get a lot of voice mails. No longer to do you have to dial in and listen to voice commands to access your voice mails. Once installed simply press the visual voice mail menu button and up comes a complete list of all your voice mails allowing you to listen, reply, call back and delete right on your Storm. At this time it's a $2.99 a month option. I recommend for all users that get a lot of voice mails.

12-08-2008 Update:
I've been messing with re-arranging the menu buttons but I keep accidently moving buttons to places I don't mean to or deleting them or putting them into a folder by accident. So I'm just going to leave them in the de-fault arrangement. Thank God there is a default or I would really be lost.

12-10-08 Update:
Strange thing since the 4.7.0.75 update seems like the Storm is just a little heaver on battery use like maybe 20% or so. Still it was worth it since it's so much faster. One other thing I do with for after seeing on the iPhone is the ability to quickly go to the top or bottom of a list or page with my fingers. On the iPhone the faster you flick upward or downward the faster and further the listed items will scroll. On the Storm there is only one speed.

12-12-08 Update:
Unlike a lot of other products I have reviewed, the Storm continues to create a controversy. I haven't seen any other reviews where the 1 stars and the 5 stars are equal. The Storm truly polarizes consumers. And I think that's the point, this is not a Blackberry for everyone. It's for those who want foremost and above all a great multi-media system with typing and business taking more of a secondary role. If you have to have a Blackberry but you love playing movies, songs, showing photos this is the one. If you need to type out hundreds of e-mails a week with one hand typing and one driving you need the more traditional Blackberries.

12-15-2008 Update:
My Storm is still very inconsistent when it comes to rotating correctly at times rotating pretty quickly and at times not, must have a mind of it's own. On the positive side it also still attracts a lot of attention and accounts for itself pretty well when showing off photos and videos. Still loving it and will keep it.

12-18-2008 Update:
The Storm comes with two games one of which is pretty cool called Word Mole. You are a mole in a yard with all these letters to dig up. By clicking on each letter the mole digs out a hole where the letter is. The goal is to try to dig up letters to make as many and as long a words a possible. Sounds pretty dumb but my daughter and I both are pretty addicted to it. Look for the games Icon in the menu area. Gives you practice with your touch screen Storm typing as well.

12-19-2008 Update:
I'm heading out on our annual Christmas trip tomorrow and won't be back until next year so I won't be doing anymore updates for awhile. Thought I would answer one more question about Windows Vista. I really don't know if the Storm can be synced with Windows Vista, I don't have Windows at home only Mac and Ubuntu (a form of Unix). I never did get it to sync properly with Windows XP. Hopefully a fix is coming soon. If anyone knows please feel free to comment. Happy Holidays everyone!

12-31-2008 Update:
Well my trip to Texas was pretty much a bust. I set up the push e-mail so I could access it on the road and in Dublin Texas and Brownwood Texas where I spent most of my time not only did the e-mail push not work but I had no Text Messaging or Internet. And I ended up having to do a hard re-boot after leaving the area to get all these items to work again. Also none of my phones worked at first to even make or receive a call in these areas until after working for Verizon tech support. No fault of the Storms I guess but it is frustrating non the less. If your plans call for being in these areas I did notice some people with iPhones that worked perfectly. The strange and sad thing was everything worked perfectly in the middle of no where between El Paso and Midland where there is absolutely nothing!

01-15-2009 Selecting Text Update:

I have always had a hard time selecting text on the Storm until I got an e-mail recently explaining how to do it. See below. It works really well.

This is courtesy of BJ Lewis
"When it comes to placing the cursor inside a text field, you do not have to click repeatedly until it's in the right spot or anything as difficult as that. Simply place your finger on the text field, without clicking the
screen for a few seconds without moving it at all. The cursor should change into a black outlined rectangle, at which point you can slide your finger across the text field to move it precisely anywhere you want within the text field."

Black Berry Storm tips 2-5-2009:

Here are some handy Storm tips and tricks I have learned over the last two months that save me a lot of hassle. If you just want to read the review please scroll on down to Review:

Select and Copy:
To select and copy text lightly hold one finger before and one after the text you want. Once selected click on the Blackberry key and click copy.

Access the Keyboard:
To access the keyboard quickly swipe a finger upwards from the bottom of the screen towards the middle. To hide the keyboard swipe quickly downwards from the middle towards the bottom.

Number Lock:
Ever need to enter a bunch of numbers? Tired of having to click on the number icon repeatedly? To use the number lock, go to the onscreen keyboard and hold down the 123 key for 2 or 3 seconds until num lock appears. The number keypad will stay on until you hit the 123 key again.

Zoom in:
Double tap

Zoom out:
Tap once on the bottom of the screen and choose the - sign.

Control a video:
Tap once on bottom of screen. Tap again to hide menu.

Jump between menus:
Hold down the Blackberry key until the Alt menu appears swipe left or right to go through entries then place finger on menu you want to jump to and click and hold the selection.

Attention Mac users!

Your Blackberry Storm comes with free Mac sync software right in the box but you will want to download the latest version from the web instead!

I'm seeing comments on here and the workers at the Verizon store told me that my Storm did not come with software that would sync my Storm with my Mac. This is NOT true! The PocketMac for Blackberry desktop manager for Mac OS-X is right on the disk that comes with your Storm. However it is pretty buggy and I had to download the latest version from the Blackberry site to finally make it work on my Mac with OS-X Tiger and help from the Blackberry support line. You can download the latest copy for free at [...]
Comment Comments (53) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2009 5:41 AM PDT


Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube For EOS Digital Cameras
Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube For EOS Digital Cameras
Offered by Photo Savings
Price: $105.04
25 used & new from $75.00

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Macro lens enhancer!!, November 17, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:

You can get much closer
Works with both EF-S and EF lenses
Auto focus still functions perfectly
Takes up very little room in your camera bag
Item looks about 3 times as large in photo using 17-40 Canon F/4 Lens

Cons:

A little tight to put on and take off of lens
Can no longer focus very far away let alone infinity

Review:

I purchased this Extension tube so I could take better Macro photos without having to purchase an expensive Macro lens. I've got so many lenses already.

I installed the tube between my Canon Rebel XTi and Canon 17-40 F/4 L lens and bang!!! Instant macro lens.

A photo I had taken without the tube of a penny using the Canon 17-40 zoomed to 40mm gave a so so image. Putting the tube on allowed me to focus so close the penny filled almost the entire view finder. Looking at the penny image taken with the tube you can see little details I never noticed before like each and ever step and little details like the little FG on the lower right corner on the back of the penny.

Verdict:

I highly recommend it's worth every penny!!!
Comment Comment | Permalink


Class Two, ANSI 2004 Double Striped Sleeveless, MESH LIME Safety Vests with Silver stripes -3XL
Class Two, ANSI 2004 Double Striped Sleeveless, MESH LIME Safety Vests with Silver stripes -3XL
Offered by Texas America Safety Company
Price: $26.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great price, great product, made in the USA., November 13, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:

Great price
Made in the USA!
Great visibility
Front zipper is really secure
Fits really good even on a motorcycle at speed

Cons:

Some people may ask stupid questions when you are stopped at the gas station, like "Do you work for the fire dept?" and "why are you wearing that vest?"

Review:

I bought this safety vest so people will see me when I am out riding my motorcycle at night on the freeway. It stays on really well even at 90 mph on my little Buell Lightning (small American motorcycle) which has 0 wind protection. It's easy to put on even over a large Joe Rocket leather jacket and stays put. I especially like that it has a real zipper in front instead of just Velcro like some vests.

And it's made in the good-ole USA.

Verdict:

Buy it you won't regret it!!!!


No Title Available

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's just Ok and over priced for what it is., November 13, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:

Does fit once you get it on
Protects the lens from dings and scratches
Provides increased grip and comfort when holding the lens

Cons:

Too hard to get on
Over priced for what it is
Area around the zoom /focus ring and lens hood keeps peeling off every time I put the lens into the camera bag and back out.

I bought this LensCoat lens cover to protect my lens from scratches and dings, have a better grip on the lens and to look cool when I am out bird hunting.

I think it's way over priced for what it is. It's basically some painted foam rubber that you slip on some areas and stick on others for your lens. I kept having trouble with the stick on area around the zoom focus rings coming off and the area around the lens hood coming off every time I put the lens into the camera bag and back out.

Recommendation:

For:

If you have the money, want to look cool, protect your lens and have a better grip and don't have a tight fitting camera / lens bag this could be the cover for you.

Against:

If you are a little short on funds and carry your lens in a tight fitting camera lens bag most of the time then this it's not for you.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
Offered by ALBDEALS
Price: $2,299.00
55 used & new from $1,000.00

988 of 1,054 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Ever: Rent, borrow or use this Camera, if you do, you will have to own it!, November 12, 2008
Canon 5D Mark II

Never Ever: Rent, borrow or use the Canon 5D Mark II, if you do, you will have to own it. It's that good!

Pros:

Crazy high ISO performance
Fantastic amazing image quality you have to see to believe!
Great menus, sharper, brighter, easier to read then 40D
Video, did someone say video? I love it! You will need a tripod!
Fantastic rear LCD that you can check actual photo sharpness
Super low light high ISO photographic tool with 25,600 ISO!!!
Feels great in your hands, the grip texture is easy to hold and is well balanced
Low 50 ISO allows photos at F/1.2 aperture out in bright sunlight for shallow DOF

Cons:
No Built in popup Flash
A little slower shooting then the 40D
Very demanding of lenses, high end L lenses are a must have
Huge files: you will need larger memory cards and a larger hard drive
Ultra large bright sharp viewfinder makes my 40D finder seem dim and tiny
Hum... I'm thinking..

Intro:

I have had my Canon 5D Mark II for a little over two weeks now. And I'm having a hard time putting it down.

I tried switching back to my Canon 40D and the very first thing you notice is how small, dim and fuzzy the viewfinder on the 40D is compared to the 5D Mark II. Especially if you are older you will really appreciate being able to easy see and read information in the viewfinder not to mention you can actually manually focus with it. It reminds me of my switch from the Canon Rebel XTi to the 40D. It's that big a difference.

The Images are huge and quite simply stunning. Plus I find that I can get away with very low noise all the way up to 3200 ISO on the 5D Mark II where the 40D was very noisy. In fact I would not hesitate to say the 5D Mark II photos has less noise at 9,600 ISO then the 40D does at 1600 ISO.

Lenses:

I have never had the pleasure of owning a Camera that is this demanding of the lens you use. It's like an instant lens test. I haven't seen much in-depth lens as used on 5D Mark II information on the other reviews and decided this would be good to be included in my review.

All of these lenses are brighter in the viewfinder and focus much better on my 5D Mark II then on my 40D.

So, with that said after several hundred photos I can give you a rundown of my most used, most favorite, best performing and least used lenses that I have used on the 5D Mark II and a few un-expected surprises along the way.

1. Canon 200mm F/2 IS L lens. This lens is my new master of resolving power. Even wide open at F/2 it is sharper then any other lens I have ever used. I could go on and on but here's a few highlights: Lightening fast auto focus, F/2 speed at 200mm, unbelievable perfect 10 Images, public attention hog, otherworldly image stabilization, great build quality, weather sealed, fantastic perfect buttery smooth Bokeh and what a lens case! If you crave attention and demand the absolute best there is the do what ever it takes to get this lens on your Canon 5D Mark II. If you do not like public attention you may want to skip to number 2 in this list as I have never been asked so many questions about a lens as this one. But it's all worth it as the clarity, sharpness, Bokeh and colors are: otherworldly, insane, impossible, rare, perfect, out of sight, crazy!!

2. Canon 85mm F/1.2 II L lens. Without a doubt at F/4 (after the Canon 200mm F/2 of course) this lens delivers the clearest sharpest and most resolving power onto any photograph you care to take with the Canon 5D Mark II. The clarity has to be seen to be believed. At F/1.2 the Depth of Field (DOF) is scary thin and the edges are super soft which is great for female portraiture. The super soft creamy dreamy Bokeh at F/1.2 is much smoother on the 5D Mark II over my 40D. But stop this lens down to F/1.8 and it gets scary sharp and clear. Step it down to F/4.0 and it's at its sharpest and the only lens I have that gives you 100% pixel peeping razor blade edge to edge top to bottom perfect clarity in every single area of the photo. For some reason this lens is even sharper on my 5D Mark II then my 40D or Rebel, don't know why but it is. Guess it's getting the full resolving power to the 21 megapixel sensor.

Looking at a photo on my iMac taken with a 5D Mark II with this lens stopped down to F/4 is like standing there looking through an open window at the actual scene! You feel like you could actually open up the computer screen like opening a window and climb in!!!

The 85mm F/1.2 is your low light monster on the 5D Mark II, I don't have to harp too much on what an F/1.2 aperture and an ISO 25,600 can do for you at night. Let's just say you can go out into what appears to be a dark night and do hand held photos.

Not all is perfect as it's: expensive, heavy, and hard to focus wide open, focus lock does not work and it eats camera batteries at twice the rate of my other lenses. Also it doesn't focus as close on the 5D Mark II as it did on my 40D so you can't get head filling close ups. This isn't really a problem, as with 21 Mega Pixels I can crop no problem. However, all this is forgiven when I get back to my iMac and view the results. This is the very first lens I will reach for when using the 5D Mark II and the one that's on it 90% of the time. If I could have just one lens for a Canon 5D Mark II this would be the one! [...]

2. Tie! Canon 135mm F/2 L. It's small light and stealthy and has fastest and best auto-focus of any lens I have ever owned (after the Canon 200mm F/2 IS L). It even focuses pretty close on the 5D Mark II. This lens is amazing, the Bokeh looks like sweet candy and it's sharper wide open then the Canon 85mm F/1.2 II L lens is wide open and stop it down to F/2.2 and it's as sharp as any lens I have. It's not a zoom so it's not as versatile but it's a great waist up portrait lens out in public and in larger studios. It's one of my most used lens at outdoor public events along with the 85mm F/1.2 II L (renaissance festivals etc.) where I'm photographing people. For some reason this lens is a little sharper on my Canon Rebel and 40D I guess because I'm using the center of the lens and it's sharper on these cropped sensor cameras.

3. Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L lens. This is the second most used lens in my 5D Mark II arsenal. This lens was my biggest surprise of the group. Its Ok wide open but it's a monster of clarity at F/7.1 like it never was on my Canon 40D. It also becomes useable on the 5D Mark II in wider shot situations where on the 40D it was only usable as a longer lens. Sporting the longest zoom range of any Canon zoom this lens has to be without doubt the finest Zoo lens ever made, [...] You can frame almost any animal in almost any exhibit perfectly. This is also my lens of choice for taking photos of people at events with the 5D Mark II and is the King of versatility on a full-framed sensor camera. This is my sharpest and clearest zoom lens by a long shot (no pun intended. It's as close to the you are there feeling of the 85mm F/1.2 lI lens as any zoom lens I have. It's only drawbacks are it's a little heavy, is slow aperture wise (that's Ok with the 5D Mark II high ISO capability) and it gets a huge amount of attention out in public. I don't care it's all worth it this is a must have lens with the 5D Mark II. Again, for some reason this lens is even sharper on my 5D Mark II then my 40D or Rebel, don't know why but it is.

5-26-2009 100-400 update: So I came back from the Riparian Bird Preserve yesterday where it was rather dusty and I noticed that my sensor and mirror box were full of dust. I decided to do a test on my 100-400 lens and sure enough it does pump dust into the camera body.

If you turn the zoom friction ring all the way loose and zoom in and out with the bottom end cap off there is no resistance. If you put the bottom end cap on tightly and zoom you can feel resistance. Then if you loosen the end cap just a little you can actually feel air being sucked in and out around the end cap as you zoom in and out.

Thank God for my FIrefly digital sensor cleaning system! And be forewarned if you own this lens.

4. Canon 17-40 F/4 L lens. This is my sleeper lens. A so so walk around lens on my 40D becomes a wide angle monster on my Canon 5D Mark II. This lens is soft wide open at F/4 but sharpens up noticeably at F/4.5 and becomes a super wide angle take it all in landscape and interior monster when stopped down to F/9 on a Canon 5D Mark II. This is a lens I always carry with me now since I never know when I might see a wide angle opportunity. Doesn't have the you are there feeling when viewing the photos on my iMac as much as the above three lenses but it's closer to perfection then you will ever see on a cropped sensor camera. I keep hoping that Canon will make a wide angle zoom that matches the performance of my Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens. This lens has a similar sharpness on both the Canon 5D Mark II and cropped sensor cameras like my 40D.

5. Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L lens. This lens is actually about even with my Canon 100-400 IS L Lens in the zoom sharpness and clarity department but it's no where near as versatile on my 5D Mark II as the 100-400. Still it's a must have lens when shooting weddings when you need the super Bokeh background melting power of an F/2.8 aperture and lower light power of an F/2.8 aperture. The sharpness and clarity at F/2.8 that was Ok on the 40D is much improved for some strange reason on the 5D Mark II. And the Bokeh is much smoother creamier and richer on the 5D Mark II.

Just have to mention a great alternative lens the Canon 70-200 F/4 I/S L lens which I think is a sharper and better lens then the 70-200 F/2.8 as not only does it have a fluorite element but I did some back to back testing with my friends F/4 and my F/2.8 and the 70-200 F/4 was indeed better and at a great price. Additionally it's much lighter in weight and smaller physically. However keep in mind at F/4 it is a slower lens.

6. Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L lens. This is the lens I reach for when I'm shooting closer photos at a wedding and I need the versatility of a zoom. It's also the lens I reach for when shooting videos with the 5D Mark II. If I could shoot all day with the Canon 85mm F/1.2 II L I would. But at a wedding where you can't always zoom with your feet I reach for the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L. Its good on the 5D Mark II but not as good as the 17-40 L but has better reach then the 17-40. But it does not have that uncanny you are there feel of the first three lenses on my list. The Canon 5D Mark II clearly out resolves this lens and that is very disappointing for an L lens that costs over a thousand dollars. Thank GOD for the auto peripheral as this lens is a Vignetting monster when shot wide open on a 5D Mark II, it was not on the 40D. With the Vignetting control built into Digital Photo Professional (DPP) and the on-board 5D Mark II auto control it's perfect and Vignetting is not a problem. This lens is also very fragile and has required sending back to Canon for recalibration but is a must have in my arsenal only because I do weddings. I'm hoping Canon will come out with an Image Stabilized improved version that has that you are there feel of the 100-400 zoom. Once again it seems like this lens may be losing it's calibration and I am starting to lose my patience. If you need this lens then get it just beware of possible maintenance problems.

7. Canon 50mm F/1.8 II lens. This lens which was pretty decent on the 40D and Rebel XTi comes completely apart on the 5D Mark II. No surprise since it's only $89. I guess the surprise was how well it had worked on a Canon 40D and Rebel XTi. If you own a 5D Mark II then don't bother. If you own a cropped sensor camera its a great little lens.

8. Canon 17-50mm F/2.8 EF-S L lens. Why am I mentioning this lens here? It's a shame this cropped sensor only lens can't be used on the 5D Mark II. It's one of my most used and sharpest lenses on my Canon 40D and Canon Rebel XTi. In fact it's my daughter's favorite lens on those two cameras. Because it's such a great sharp low light monster because of the Image Stabilization (IS) it would be fantastic on the 5D Mark II. Canon please make us a wide angle L lens with IS. It's been very reliable un-like my 24-70, I highly recommend if you have a cropped sensor camera!

9. Canon 15mm Fisheye! This lens is a hoot on the 5D Mark II. A full 180 degrees of wide angle fun! Put it on and shoot the inside of a small car, or airplane, or take it to your local baseball diamond or anywhere you would love to see a 180 degree shot. And the curved effect on a full frame camera makes everyone who sees one of these photos go oooohhhhhh yeah cool shot. I listed this lens last because its one of those lenses you don't want to over use but one that you just have to just have to have. It's pretty sharp wide open but gets sharper at F/4 and reaches maximum sharpness at F/8. It has the old style focus system that's a little noisy and slow but it really doesn't matter as there isn't much focus range anyway everything is close to infocus at 15mm.

Three old 5D complaints answered:

1. Vignetting or peripheral lighting issue
2. Dust on the sensor
3. The rear LCD

1. Vignetting:

You can either have the 5D Mark II auto-correct peripheral illumination on board for JPEGs or adjust images using Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software that came with your Mark II. I have noticed on the full framed 5D Mark II my Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L lens with the peripheral illumination correction turned OFF the 5D Mark II images will severely vignette or be dark in the corners when shot wide open (F/2.8). It's almost like looking through a dark tunnel. It's especially noticeable shot wide open with the sky as a background. Auto-correct to the rescue!! With the peripheral illumination correction turned ON it's almost magical the darkening in the corners is gone! If you want you can even shoot in Raw mode and adjust the amount of Vignetting or darkness in the corners for effects such as when shooting portraits and you want to emphasis the person in the middle of the photo. Just open the Raw photo in DPP and click on the NR/Lens / ALO tab and select Lens Aberration Correction Tune and adjust the peripheral illumination to suite by dragging the slider or entering and amount. Or select all the photos in a directory and you can correct all your photos at once.

2. Dust on the Sensor:

The old 5D was a dust hog, no-one ever said it was not. The new one though now as a new fluorite coating and ant-dust shake. I did get some dust on my sensor after going out and switching lens in the field shooting birds but un-like my 40D I successfully blew off all the dust using my Firefly Digital Dust sensor cleaner. This new fluorite coating must make it much harder for the dust to stick to the 5D Mark II sensor then the sensor on my 40D.

3. Rear LCD

This has to be seen to be believed. The rear LCD is so sharp and so bright its shocking. The one on the 40D is now just OK. And I could never be sure if I got the shot or not. On the 5D Mark II you can zoom in an check fine focus. The only thing you may want to turn off is the auto light level adjuster so when walking in and out of shaded areas the brightness level does not change when the ambient light levels change. Some people may like it some may hate it. I like it myself as I can now see the image out in the sunlight unlike on the 40D where it's totally washed out. Thing is Canon lets you decide and you can turn it on or off. When off it stays the same no matter the ambient light.

LOW ISO:

Holy cow 6400 ISO I can shoot at F/4.5 in a dark room!!!! Took some night shots in and outside of the house and downloaded. Booted up DPP and WOW!

Photos are great at 3200 ISO even in Raw mode with standard noise reduction. Once you apply the correct amount of noise reduction and converted to 17inch JPEG's the 3200 ISO photos are AWESOME!!! The night shots of my Christmas tree at 3200 ISO on my 40D are almost unusable. But with the 5D Mark II they are fantastic. But my 24inch iMac seems a little slower looking through the photos... In fact it seems to be crawling! I ended up having to upgrade to a Firewire 800 external hard drive to fix the problem.

Black Dots:

I finally got a single photo with black dots by shooting at 25,600 ISO at night around some Christmas lights. You have to zoom in to 200% and pixel peep to see them. That's one shot out of several hundred night shots! Still haven't found any dots in day time photos.

Memory Storage:

I'm going to have to buy larger Compact Flash Cards my 8GB card only holds about 267 shots when the 5D Mark II is set to Raw only. But it's worth it especially for high ISO shots. At times I'm hard pressed on-screen to tell 1600 ISO from the 5D Mark II to the 100 ISO out of my 40D. It's that GOOD!

Video:
I for one never thought I would be in this love for video. But this camera is awesome, low natural light great Bokeh low depth of field video. Just in time for the holidays. The only thing is after viewing the videos back on my iMac computer no matter how steady you hands are you will need a tripod. The tiniest movements when playing back on a computer or TV seem to be magnified no matter how steady I try and hand hold the camera.

40D to 5D Mark II transition:

Well, it looks a lot like my Canon 40D but the controls on the back are on the left instead of the bottom.

Has a similar feel and weight to me at least maybe just a touch bigger and heavier then a 40D. Focus is better in low light for sure. Looks great with a Canon 17-40 F/4 L lens mounted. Maybe a little more rubbery grip on the grip.

This will be a much easier transition coming from the Canon 40D to the Canon 5D Mark II then my transition from the Rebel XTi to the 40D as the control placement and use are very similar unlike when I switched from the Rebel to the 40D and everything was in a different location.

Setup:

Put the strap on while I'm waiting for the dead battery to charge.

Ok battery is charged now, put it in, turn it on and set the time and date.

Then plug into the Mac and set my preferences under the styles and choose my lenses under the peripheral illumination correction. Very nice and very easy.

Put in the owners Information and copyright info. Gotta love that it's automatically on every photo now!

Menus:

Menus are a little different, but hey they are much sharper, this LCD is really sharp and bright!!!

Who the heck put 10 images as the default for skipping on review!!! That's another one of the first changes to go!

Bottom line:

Bottom line is if you own a big L lens collection and do any shooting at all in the dark without flash and don't have a full framed camera the 5D Mark II is a must have addition!

1-11-2009 Update:

I installed firmware update 1.0.7 which is supposed to correct the black dot problem and now I can't get it to make a black dot photo at all. So hopefully this was the fix we were all seeking.

This full framed sensor camera continues to impress me and the sensor continues to be dust free!

4-1-2009 Update:

This full framed sensor camera continues to impress. Just got back from shooting the 2009 Arizona Renaissance festival where I shot both the 40D and 5D Mark II and looking at the photos the 5D Mark II just walks all over the 40D in image quality. So much so that I don't reach for the 40D much any more the 5D Mark II is that much better. Got one spec of dust from lens changing at the Renaissance but it was easily blow off with my FireFly sensor cleaner.

4-27-2009 I just got back from photographing the World Premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and once again the 5D Mark II was awesome. I ended up mainly using two lenses the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L zoom and Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens. When you have only one chance to get Hugh Jackman riding by on his Harley you want to make sure you have reliable quick focusing equipment.

6-25-2009

Still very in love with my Canon 5D Mark II. See photos and videos I have taken with this camera at [...]
Comment Comments (85) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2014 9:11 AM PST


Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Price: $1,699.00
58 used & new from $889.00

80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Zoo and Event Lens ever made bar none!!, November 2, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Verdict:

If you need 100-400mm on a Canon EOS camera, buy it! This is your best bet!!

If you need 300mm or 400mm and are on a budget, buy it!

If you need a Zoo or air show lens this is it, buy it!

You won't be disappointed!!

4-27-2009 I just got back from photographing the World Premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and once again the 100-400 IS L lens was awesome. I ended up mainly using two lenses the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L zoom and Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens with most photos taken with the 100-400. When you have only one chance to get Hugh Jackman riding by on his Harley you want to make sure you have reliable quick focusing equipment. Plus a lot of times you just can't get any closer to the action like at a World Movie Premiere, it's times like that when you absolutly need a zoom and the 100-400 IS L is one of the best! [...]
01-03-09 Canon 5D Mark II Update:

Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L lens. This is the second most used lens in my 5D Mark II arsenal. This lens was my biggest surprise and is not only tied for second place with the Canon 135mm F/2 for sharpness but is amazingly sharp wide open. It's a monster of clarity at F/7.1 like it never was on my Canon 40D. It also becomes useable on the 5D Mark II in wider shot situations where on the 40D it was only usable as a longer lens. Sporting the longest zoom range of any Canon zoom this lens has to be without doubt the finest Zoo lens ever made. You can frame almost any animal in almost any exhibit perfectly. This is also my lens of choice for taking photos of people at events and aircraft at air shows with the 5D Mark II and is the King of versatility on a full-framed sensor camera. This is my sharpest and clearest zoom lens by a long shot (no pun intended. It's as close to the you are there feeling of the 85mm F/1.2 lI lens as any zoom lens I have.

After an extensive battery of tests both hand held and tripod mounted I have come to the following shocking conclusions.

The Canon 100-400 L zoom is almost as sharp at F/8 as my Canon 85mm F/1.2 at F4 and that's saying something!!!

Slightly sharper at F/8 as my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 and that's saying something to!!!

I may have a very sharp copy and I hear there are soft copies out there. Make sure and buy yours here at Amazon.com where you can return the lens if its not as sharp as you thought.

Pros:

Super Sharp!
Very versatile!
Great Contrast
Good bang for the buck
100-400mm SWEET!
This is the perfect Zoo lens
This is the perfect Air Show Zoo lens
This is the perfect Renaissance Festival lens
Attracts a lot of attention, you will be asked if you are a pro
Image stabilizer lets you get away with crazy like shutter speeds
Sweet Bokeh at subject filling close range and at all ranges on full frame sensor camera
Raw photos respond well to sharpening and contrast / colors in Canon Digital Photo professional

Cons:

Can be heavy for the uninitiated!
Does draw dust into your camera when zoomed!
Old style image stabilizer must turn off on tripod
Zoom locking ring is attached to the manual focus ring.
No weather proofing, a strange thing for an out door lens
Attracts a lot of attention, you will be asked if you are a pro
Pulls dust into lens around the zoom ring when zooming in and out
Slow auto focus compared to other L lens, slower then all of them except my Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II
Strange black hole if you take a photo when jerking the lens to track a bird
Lens sometimes seems to slow cameras response when taking a photo
On cropped sensor cameras only strange variable looking Bokeh at some distances especially when stopped down and in sunlight with contrasting lines like branches. Wonder bokeh no full frame camera (5D Mark II)

I gave it only 4 Stars because of the crazy way the zoom friction and manual focus rings are together and lack of weather sealing and variable Bokeh. It takes a dedicated photographer familiar with the lens to get consistent because of the variable Bokeh. Separate the manual focus and zoom friction rings, give it weather sealing, updated IS and great Bokeh at all settings and ranges and I would have given it 5 stars!

Introduction:

Longer range and versatility that's what I needed for my Canon 40D. What good is a prime if you don't get the shot at all? I mean I love my Canon 135mm F/2 it has the best Bokeh in the world along with my 85mm F/1.2 but it's a little short for birding even on a 40D and after renting a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS you know what the meaning of heavy (8.5 pounds) and specialized mean.

Plus there's nothing like having a zoom, take time to change out that lens during a renaissance festival and you just may miss a once in a lifetime shot.

My 70-200 F/2.8 L is a great lens but the zoom range is way too short at times like these. I want something with much more zoom capability.

I wanted something I could take to the zoo and gets shots both near and far and the same at air shows and the renaissance festival and maybe even a football or soccer game or rodeo and all without a time consuming dust introducing lens change. At the festival you can go from a knight and damsel group portrait shot to a close up of a bird of prey flying by in a second and without changing lens. At an air show you can be shooting the crowd waiting in line to board a C5 Galaxy cargo plane and in the same minute swing up and get an F-16 cockpit shot as it roars by. On a cropped camera you are at 640mm and into serious birding territory on a full framed hey you still have 100-400.

First shots:

OK, I must have gotten a really good sample because after sharpening the Raw files in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) this lens is sharp at all zooms and very sharp indeed stopped down to 7.1 between 300 and 375mm. No complaints there that's for sure!! It's very close to my Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 in it's sweet spot.

Zoos:

WOW!!! I visited the Phoenix Zoo this last Saturday with my Canon 40D and this new Canon 100-400 IS L zoom and all I can think of is wow!! Where have you been all of my life? With a zoom range of 160 to 640mm when mounted on my Canon 40D you can't go wrong. And with the image stabilizer IS you can literaly stick this camera in auto ISO and walk through the entire zoo with just one lens and get great closeup shots of everything. Need a portrait of that Tiger while he's walking the back wall as far away as he can get? No problem, zoom out to 400mm which equals 640mm, here kitty kitty kitty. And how about the Flamingo's right up next to the fence and you want the whole group, just zoom back to 100mm and bingo!

I wonder why I hadn't purchased this lens from the start. No dust educing, time eating lens changes required, just go through every exhibit with the one lens picking off animals one by one or in groups. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, yeee haaaa!!!

Notes:

Seems sharpest at 375mm and F/7.1 and F/8
Variable Bokeh, can be the best or worst depending on use (see Bokeh below)
Air (and dust) seems to enter and exit around zoom ring as you zoom (NOT into and out of the camera sensor as some would have you believe).

Review:

This lens takes some getting used to, it's different: longer, more complicated, push pull zoom and IS make it a little more complicated then the other lenses I have.

The first few shots I took with it were rather disappointing but then I started finding the groove for this long-range photographic weapon and when used in that scope you can score some really fantastic jaw dropping photos.

Overall my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 seems to make a slightly more pleasing photo at times and at other times the 100-400 does. The 70-200 as more consistently pleasing Bokeh. But the 100-400 200mm longer. The physical size when the 100-400 is at 100mm is very close indeed and the weight feels close to the same in the hand with the 70-200 feeling slightly lighter.

The strange thing I find too is the zoom locking ring and manual focus ring are attached to each other and change position as you zoom in and out. This makes for a little confusion when reaching for it at first as you never know where it is when quickly reaching for it while keeping your eyes in the viewfinder. That and if it's tight at all you have to take both hands to release the tension and move the zoom where you want.

The Groove:

Make sure you have the IS in the ON position
Shoot with plenty of light and hold her steady
Shoot between 300mm and 375mm at F/7.1 or F/8
Make sure focus limiter switch is in the correct position
Shoot in Raw and process in Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
Don't be afraid to push the sharpness and color way up in DPP as needed
Practice Practice Practice if you are shooting digital then you can practice plenty.

Image Stabilizer (IS):

I have taken HAND HELD SHOTS at 1/10s and 1/6s even zoomed out to 400mm of the neighbors house and car down the street and they came out so well you can read the license plate! I set my 40D to 3200 ISO and wide open aperture then simply propped my elbows on top of the trash can and took some night shots to see what this lens could do. I couldn't do it every shot only about 1 out of 5 to get my breathing and the timing of the shot right but the fact that I could pull these shots off at all is incredible!!!

To get consistent shots I in better lighting conditions I have found with my elbows propped I can consistently pull off 1/30 second at 400mm which works out to 640mm on a 40D! With un-propped arms I could pull of 1/60 second at 400mm. This alone should be a good reason to buy this lens.

Bokeh:

On full frame cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II the Bokeh is great. At close range it's almost as good as any lens I have. Well except for maybe the Canon 85mm F/1.2 II L. But over all it's great.

But, if you are using this lens on a cropped sensor then be sure to read the next paragraph.

How could one lens have such fantastic Bokeh in one shot and such strange horrible Bokeh in the next? Up close with frame filling subjects near wide open aperture the Bokeh is a dream, but shoot at further distances with a cropped sensor camera like a Rebel or Canon 40D/50D etc with branches as a background stopped down so you can see some detail there are weird lines around each item. Shooting aircraft or birds in flight this is no problem as the background is just sky, but distant birds in trees with some leaves and limbs out of focus and the photos can look very strange.

Lens Vignetting (Light Fall-off)

Light fall off in the corner of your photos or vignetting is no longer a problem for any Canon lens on the newer Canon Digital Cameras like the Canon Rebel XTi, XSi, 40D/50D, 5D Mark II as the Vignetting can be corrected automatically in-camera and with Raw photos in Digital Photo Professional (DPP). You can even adjust the amount of correction to your photos as needed with Raw photos in DPP, sweet!!!

In flight tips:

Shooting in-flight birds and planes with this lens then follow these tips.

Shoot in bright light
Set minimum focus switch to 6.5 meters
Turn Off IS if you have enough light, the auto focus seems a little faster without it
Set Auto Focus Mode to AI Servo and Drive mode to maximum frames per second
Set exposure compensation to +2/3 stop especially for darker birds or bird will be underexposed
Make sure shutter speed will be at least 1/500s or faster set aperture and or ISO as needed I usually end up on Auto ISO on my 40D
Pre-focus on something similar to the distance of the target bird or plane
Pull zoom back to 100mm to ease acquirement of target bird then zoom as needed towards 400mm while tracking
Start shooting as soon as a decent focus and composition of the bird is acquired (DON'T wait for the perfect composition)
If needed try looking over the top of the camera and down the top of the lens barrel and try to acquire the bird first then look through the lens.
Once acquired hold down the shutter and keep firing off photos as you never know which shot will be a keeper.

Push / Pull Zoom

This is a love / hate affair because I love the way I can quickly zoom from 100 - 400mm very rapidly, but...

The friction ring to adjust the tension of zooming is attached to the manual focus ring. This means you can't simply reach forward and grasp the friction ring and adjust it with one hand. No you must hold the lens with two hands one holding the focus ring and the other the friction ring and then adjust.

The friction ring and manual focus rings both move back and forth with the front part of the lens when you zoom. What this means is when you are in the heat of battle you can't always reach forward by feel and do a manual focus as the distance out on the zoom where the focus ring is located is highly variable.

I don't know if it's possible but if it were I would have Canon redesign the zoom ring and the focus ring separate. This would allow me to reach up and adjust the friction ring by touch without having to hold the manual focus ring to keep both from just turning. And to adjust the manual focus without tightening up or loosing the friction ring.

Anyway the whole process takes a little while to get used to especially for those of use coming from say a 70-200 F/2.8 zoom where I can always just adjust the zoom of the lens a little with no thought and without taking my eyes off the subject from the viewfinder.

Uses:

Any outdoor photography where you need a wide focal range in a really short amount of time and can't always get really close to your subject but need a close up of it. Zoo's, Air Shows, Renaissance Festivals, Rodeos, Football, Baseball, Soccer I can think of lot's of tests in the coming weeks for this lens and I intend to hit every one of them.

Verdict:

If you need a zoom with more reach then your 70-200 then this is your best option. Try it and you just might like it.

Updates:

As usual I will be coming back to this post and giving updates on my use of this lens. I have Canon a 5D Mark II on order and will update with how this lens works on a full frame body. Should be a whole another world.

11-04-2008 Update:

I have found that by taking the tripod mount off the lens is much more comfortable to hold and you can get to the zoom friction lock ring and the manual focus ring much easier. The IS on this lens makes a tripod an option not mandatory and when out photographing wild life hand holding is much easier.

11-05-2008 Update:

I put all my longer lenses up against the Canon 100-400 in a battery of tests both hand held and tripod mounted and was amazed at the results. At F/8 where it's sharpest Zoomed to 135mm and 200mm it's as sharp as my Canon 135mm F/2 prime and my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 zoom. And it has better contrast then the 135mm F/2. Both the 135mm and 70-200 have better Bokeh though but I was surprised how useful the 100-400 with IS can be in low light as long as the subject is motionless. I have found with practice and bracing I can consistently get good sharp photos at 400mm at 1/30 second and have scored a few shots as slow as 1/6 second by bracing both elbows putting the camera on high speed and shooting 6 shot bursts. One or two of the middle shots are always sharp. Simply amazing!! So if anyone is telling you this lens is worthless on a darker day or at sunrise or sunset they just don't know this lens. I have found even getting pretty sloppy you can get consistent shots at 400mm at 1/200 second. Next earl morning shoot at the bird sanctuary this 100-400 is the lens I am bringing.

11-07-2008 Update:

I have found that you can actually rotate the tripod mount up 180 degrees so that it is facing upward and out of your way but still have it on the lens. Could be handy if you want to have the mount with you but not in the way when using the lens.

11-12-2008 Update:

The more I use this lens and get used to it the more I love it. I can't see myself without it now. I am totally used to the push / pull zoom and now actually like it better.

12-2-2008 Update:

Found this interesting information and thought I would pass along.

The Canon 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 L IS also has fluorite and Super UD-glass. Fluorite has very low dispersion so the 100-400 exhibits less chromatic aberration than if it were made of ordinary glass. The fluorite lens element aligns the points of focus of the three primary spectral colors of red, green and blue to meet at one point for ideal correction of chromatic aberration. Also included is UD-glass, which is a special type of optical glass whose properties nearly match those of Fluorite.

Bottom line on the fluorite and Super UD-glass, you get the best possible image even though you get a huge 100-400mm zoom range!

1-30-2009 Update:
I just bought a new Zoo membership and took my daughter with me on my second visit to the zoo. She brought another lens along and quickly wanted to borrow the 100-400. There was no going back she didn't want to give it back and clicked off one perfect photo after another including the Male Baboon photo I posted with the photos here. I am so sold. Can hardly wait to try this lens at the Renaissance festival next weekend.

5-26-2009 100-400 update: So I came back from the Riparian Bird Preserve yesterday where it was rather dusty and I noticed that my sensor and mirror box were full of dust. I decided to do a test on my 100-400 lens and sure enough it does pump dust into the camera body.

If you turn the zoom friction ring all the way loose and zoom in and out with the bottom end cap off there is no resistance. If you put the bottom end cap on tightly and zoom you can feel resistance. Then if you loosen the end cap just a little you can actually feel air being sucked in and out around the end cap as you zoom in and out.

Thank God for my FIrefly digital sensor cleaning system! Be forewarned if you own this lens you will need to take care in dusty environments.

6-27-2009

Still very in love with this lens. You can see a lot the photos I have taken with it at a web site called flickr. They won't allow me to put a link here anymore but you can go to flickr and search for my name Grant Brummett then look through the photos. I used this lens for the majority of the photos in my Wolverine X-Men movie premiere set.

Lenses I currently own:

Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!!!
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach, will pump dust into your camera body.

My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: _Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever
Comment Comments (25) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2012 5:08 AM PDT


ACER V173B ET.BV3RP.001 17-Inch LCD Monitor
ACER V173B ET.BV3RP.001 17-Inch LCD Monitor

112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bang for the buck, October 17, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I rated this monitor 5 stars because of the bang for the buck.

Pros:

Sharp
Great price
Very bright
Great refresh rate

Cons:

Does seem a little small if you have been on a 24inch iMac but what doesn't?

Review:

I bought this monitor for our backup computer which is an old Gateway PC running Ubuntu (free computer operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux). The old CRT monitor was over 10 years old and was fading into history not to mention it was huge, hot and took a lot of energy.

This computer is mainly used to check e-mails, surf the web etc. and I use it to check how photos I re size on the big iMac look on a smaller screen. So I thought this little 17" should be just the ticket.

Setup:

I unpacked it plugged it in and bang it was up and running!! No need to do anything all the settings were perfect right out of the box.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for an easy to setup 17" LCD monitor and want bang for the buck this is it!!!

I highly recommend.

10-27-2008 Update:

This little monitor continues to impress me. It seems almost as sharp and bright as my 24inch iMac which has always been my bench mark for the perfect monitor. But it's a heck of a lot cheaper. How do they make the price this low and the quality this good?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2009 10:40 AM PDT


Oral-B Triumph 9900 Toothbrush with Smart Guide
Oral-B Triumph 9900 Toothbrush with Smart Guide

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like you just got your teeth cleaned at the dentist!, July 31, 2008
Pros:

Feels like you just got your teeth cleaned at the dentist!
Timing helps you maintain brush timing per side
Get's your teeth clean!

Cons:

I felt a little traumatized the first few times I used it.
Battery life could be longer.

Overview

I bought this system when my dental hygienist suggested it because of my lazy brushing habits and slow brush replacement time (what you're supposed to replace your tooth brush?). I had 6 crowns and one root canal in one visit so enough is enough.

The first few times I used this system my gum's bleed but to be honest I haven't brushed very well in the past and this system gives your mouth a real workout.

My teeth continue to feel like I have just come from a cleaning at the dentist so that's what I'm looking for.

I hate brushing and the work of brushing and with this system you just place it more or less against your teeth and gums and it does all the work for you. The timing device really works well to let you know when to change to another quadrant of your teeth as I always had trouble timing how long I was brushing.

I will continue to update this review as time goes on and I continue to use the system and see if it's true what the hygienist says that she will have very little work to do with my 6 month checkup.

9-9-2008 update:

My gum's have totally gotten used to this toothbrush now and I have found that if I just leave the brush in the charger the battery charge is more then good enough. I am very pleased with my purchase.


Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5.0-6.3 Di LD SP FEC (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model A08E)
Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5.0-6.3 Di LD SP FEC (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model A08E)
Offered by Beach Camera Same Day Shipping
Price: $949.00
9 used & new from $654.85

89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light weight, good price, sharp at F/7.1, slow autofocus, slow max aperture, June 16, 2008
See Nov 2008 Updates below for comparison between this lens and my new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS

Pros:

Relatively light
Great bang for the buck
Pretty sharp at F/7.1 @ 500mm
Small size when zoomed to 200mm
Nice tripod mount that allows you to rotate the camera and lens

Cons:

Slow autofocus
No Image Stabilization
Cheap plastic build and feel
Slow max aperture especially at 500mm
Works best at long zoom settings on a tripod
Not as sharp as my Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens

I wanted more reach to photograph birds and the moon using my Canon 40D so I borrowed this lens for a few weeks from a friend while he borrows my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L.

The first things you notice are it's pretty light and long especially when extended to 500mm with an even longer hood attached out past that. The hood seemed a little flimsy but attached firmly and stayed in place throughout shooting so I have no complaints about it.

My first shots were of the moon at 500mm hand held on manual mode at ISO 400 1/800th second at F/7.1. I was very pleased with how sharp and what great contrast this lens produced when I got back inside and downloaded to my Mac.

When attached to my monopod or tripod I liked the built in lens tripod mount as it easily allows you to rotate the camera and lens together easily without having to change settings on your tripod. I used this lens mainly on a monopod while shooting birds and this worked really well. I mainly used the lens at 500mm where it seemed really sharp at F/7.1 but pretty sharp wide open as well. Will try some more shots at shorter ranges and post later.

Conclusion:

If you are in the market for a 500mm lens especially one that's a zoom and in this price range and you don't need the speed of a faster lens then this may be the lens for you. I recently purchased a new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens and find it much more useful especially since I am not tied to a tripod because of the freedom of the Image Stablizier. If you can afford it get the Canon 100-400 if you are on a budget and you don't mind using a tripod and having images that are softer then get the Tamron.

6-29-2008 Update

Despite being a really sharp lens, and a versatile one, there area several other things that make a lens a pleasure to use.

1. Fast auto-focus, this lens doesn't have it. After awhile of trading my Canon L lens back and forth with this one there's just too much I miss especially birds in flight. With a Canon L it's a snap.

2. Fast aperture, F/4 maybe I could put up with but when you get above F/5.6 you are getting into really slow territory.

I thought about getting a Canon 400mm F/5.6 L but this may be just a little too slow. I think I will continue to save up for the Canon 300 F/2.8 L. I know it's in another league from this lens, but I just can't give up the even better quality, fast aperture and lightening fast auto-focus. I'll buy a 2x multiplier to get out there further.

11-5-2008 Update:

I just bought a new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens and there is just no comparison, The Canon 100-400 just blows away the Tamron lens in all areas except for reach which is another 100mm on the Tamron. I compared my old tripod mounted test photos with the Canon 100-400 test photos using the same settings and the 100-400 is shaper has better contrast and most importantly has image stabilization which allows me to use a much slower shutter speed and still get great sharp photos. The auto focus on the Canon is also faster.

11-14-2008 Update:

It was a full moon the last two nights perfect for taking my best shot of the moon with my new Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L lens. I wanted to compare the best moon shot I got with the Tamron 200-500mm with my new Canon lens. The moon was full and night clear and I took a hand held shot at 1/400s F/7.1 ISO 100 with the Canon 40D same camera I used with the Tamron test. I then downloaded and processed the Raw photo using the same settings I used for the best moon shot I ever got with the Tamron.

Results: The Canon 100-400 had enough resolving power and was sharp enough where I could actually zoom in enough on the moon shot taken with the Tamron 200-500mm at 500mm and it was slightly better. The shots at 400mm with the Tamron were a step down from the 400mm shot with the Canon 100-400.

The other thing I noticed after looking through the directory with all the daytime Tamron 200-500mm vs the Canon 100-400 was how many shots I got with the Canon 100-400 lens that would not be possible with the Tamron because the Tamron has no Image Stabilizer and the Tamron focused much more slowly. The Tamron is more of a tripod bird perched on a branch lens the Canon 100-400 I can actually do bird in flight photos!

Verdict:

If you are on a budget and don't mind shooting from a tripod at motionless or near motionless subjects the Tarmon 200-500 can do, but... if you have the money at all you need to get the Canon 100-400 you will be getting more shots and with more resolving power even though the Canon is 100mm shorter.

Lenses I currently own:

Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!!!
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach!!
My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: _Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2015 3:19 AM PST


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