hdhani's reviews

  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    build quality, sharpness wide-open, 67 mm filter thread
    no weathersealing, focus ring attracts dust, otherwise it's a stellar lens

    This lens is a HUGE improvement from Sigme!!! Focus is fast, silent and very accurate. I've never experienced any back- or front-focusing problem. The focus ring is well-damped; manual-focusing felt great. However, the rubber easily cathches dust, but it's minor problem.
    Picture quality-wise, I found this lens to be very sharp corner-to-corner, with minimal fringing. Bokeh quality is great IMHO. Buid quality is top notch; felt more like a CZ lens. Regarding the weight, this lens is heavier compared to other 35 mm f1.4 lenses but it handles very well.
    All in all, a wonderful lens at a bargain price!

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $880)
  • Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality, build like a tank, focus ring, weight
    No IS

    This is one of the sharpest lens i've ever owned. It's not the most versatile lens, but it's very great for tight portrait shoots; background blur is creamy IMO; one of the best 'bokeh' lens. Image quality is great, it is tack-sharp wide-open even though for partraiture, a little bit of softness is needed. Built quality is wonderful, focus ring is well-damped. The only reason i sell this lens is because of versatility. I mount it on my APS-C camera and the focal length literally becomes 216 mm, which is too tight.
    Otherwise, on FF body this lens is wonderful.

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $700)
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality, focus ring, AF speed (for a macro), weight
    The body is made of polycarbonate NOT metal

    This is, as Bryan Carnathan at Digital Picture mentioned, a fun-per-dollar lens, and i wholeheartedly agree with him. Mounted on APS-C body, it becomes 160 mm lens which is great for taking candid pictures; if chances present itself you can shoot close-up without changing lens. However, this lens will mostly act as a second lens, accompanying standard zooms/ primes. Detail shot is where this lens shines. Corner-to-corner sharpness is wonderful. The Hybrid IS is useful IMO for handheld macro shots.
    For anybody looking for Macro lens which is versatile enough, this lens is worth consideration.

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $700)
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Price, bokeh quality, weight, 58 mm filter thread, manual focus override
    corner sharpness wide-open

    This is one of my favorite lens... before i replaced it with 100L mm macro. For the price, the build quality is good, if not outstanding. Focus ring is decent, but there other lenses with better focus ring. The focal length is great for blurring background, in which this lens shine even though it cannot matched the bokeh quality of 135L, but hey it's far cheaper. At 85 mm (which translates to 136 mm on APS-C body), this lens is not the most versatile.
    Filter thread size is easy to find; 58 mm and not the most expensive out there.
    This is a great lens, if you need 85 mm lens. The 85 mm f1.2 does cost you a fortune!

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $325)
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality, build quality, weight, 67 mm filter thread, IS, price
    No tripod collar, 'only' f4

    This is one of the best and most versatile tele zoom lens i've ever used. This lens won't give you back pain by carrying it all day long. Image quality is wonderful; at 200 mm, it can give you nice background blur. For candids, this lens shines.
    Low-light, non-flash photography is where this lens lags behind, but it's an f4 lens. You should've aware of this before you buy it.
    If you don't need f2.8, this lens will serve you good.

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $800)
  • Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Lightweight, price, constant f2.8, 17 mm at wide end, price, 67 mm filter thread
    Focus ring turns while focusing (it's bothersome), no manual override, no USD

    This is 'budget' standard zoom lens with constant f2.8 and wider 17 mm. 17 mm is wiiiidddeeee enough for various shooting situation. If you need wider focal length, the only option is to buy 15-85 mm which has variable aperture or ultrawide lens, which is not as versatile.
    Build quality is adequate IMHO, but for the price you get what you pay for.
    One thing i don't like is that the focus ring turns while focusing.
    This lens will be a significant upgrade from the kit lens, which is on par with the company's standard 17-55 mm image quality-wise. You also save a hefty sum of money in your pocket to be invested on other equipments.

    All in all, a wonderful lens for photo enthusiasts...

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $325)
  • Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    UWA with constant f2.8, build like a tank, image quality is surprisingly good, 77 mm filter thread
    Only for APS-C, one touch focus clutch mechanism

    this is an UWA built exclusively for APS-C camera body. Mount with FF body and heavy vignetting will occur.
    Tokina is wll-known for build quality which felt like a tank.
    It's the only UWA lens for APS-C with constant f2.8, which makes it a great low-light lens.
    One thing of note is that UWA is a specialized lens because it creates distorted perspectives on objects, hence it is a great lens for landscape and architectural photography.
    Sharpness is surprisingly great for a large aperture UWA.
    In conclusion, if you need large aperture UWA for APS-C body, this lens is for you

    reviewed March 26th, 2013 (purchased for $500)
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Versatility, IS really helps a lot, top-notch build quality, MFD
    Not as sharp as other Canon L-series lenses (but that was expected), distortion at 24 mm (but it can be corrected in post)

    Anyone who compares this lens with Canon 24-70L f2.8 should be aware that this lens is wildly popular due to its versatility. Zooming in from 24 mm to 105 mm IS HUGE... You can cover almost any genres of photography from landscape, portraits to formal events. Image quality is great, unless you pixel-peeped (but I doubt people aprreciate your photography artworks by pixel-peeping).

    If f4 is too slow, you can always compensate loss of light with an external flash. If you own Canon 6D, 5D MKIII or 1Dx, then pushing your ISOs higher (6400) won't be a problem at all.

    Many people said that at 24 mm it is distorted, but to my eyes it is highly usable. If critical, you can always use a little bit of post-processing to correct the distortion.

    All in all, this is one of the most versatile lens with great image quality canon has ever made... and it is price accordingly, especially if you buy it bundled with an SLR. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...

    reviewed December 13th, 2013 (purchased for $650)
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Build quality (it handles well and very robust), relatively compact size and lightweight, takes 67 mm filter, highly versatile, MFD
    Variable aperture

    Used to be undecided between this lens and 70-200 f2.8 IS, but finally settled on this lens due to its relatively compact size and lightweight. It balances very well with a 7d, 5D, 1D and it's build like a tank.

    This is a great family/ walkaround/ travel/ zoo lens... The only drawback is the variable aperture, but at 70-300 focal length you should've expected this (ever wondered how much a 70-300 f4L IS USM will cost you?). There's always trade-offs somewhere. You can always compensate the exposure with external flash or raising you camera ISOs.

    The image quality is great, unless you pixel-peeping. Zooming in at 300 mm and keeping the subject distance at 1.2 m yields a wonderful bokeh IMO. If you need CREAMY bokeh then 85L and 135L will definitely serve you better.

    reviewed December 13th, 2013 (purchased for $1,100)
  • Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    ALL-METAL build, focus ring is a JOY to use, takes 58 mm filter, surprisingly compact and lightweight
    It's manual focus only, soft at f1.4, crappy lens cap

    It is a MANUAL FOCUS ONLY lens, so this lens is not for everyone. I'd recommend using this lens with a FF body due to its brighter viewfinder. Personally I don't prefer shooting with live view mode (it's just counterintuitive and less enjoyable).

    Once you hold this lens, you will feel the quality. The focus ring is a joy to use and it makes you think more about your subject and composition compared to autofocus lenses.

    It's very compact and lightweight... just throw it in your bag and off you go...

    At f1.4, images were rather soft (sometimes I had difficulty differentiating whether the softness were caused by missed focus or the lens' behavior).

    In the end, I sold this lens because MY EYES cannot provide good focus judgment (I'm short-sighted and astigmat). Still, the pleasure of using this lens left in my memories...
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who LOVE manual focus...

    reviewed December 13th, 2013 (purchased for $800)