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Mens Winter Warm Shower Proof Outdoor Breathable Durable Russian Fake Fur Trapper Ski Hat
Mens Winter Warm Shower Proof Outdoor Breathable Durable Russian Fake Fur Trapper Ski Hat
Price: 2.89 - 2.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good hat for the price., 25 Nov 2013
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This is a great little fur trapper hat it you don't want to break the bank.‭ ‬I wanted a fur trapper hat that was rain proof but also didn't cost too much as I want it for working outdoors,‭ ‬walking the dog,‭ ‬and walking around nature reserves with my camera in the cold and occasionally damp weather,‭ ‬so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on one that has a fairly high likelihood of getting damaged.

My own head has a circumference of just under‭ twenty-four‭ ‬inches,‭ ‬which I think puts me into the higher end of the XL size range for hats.‭ ‬This hat only comes in one size,‭ ‬but on me it‭ i‬s snug without being tight.‭ ‬The only niggle that I have about it is that the clasp that joins the two flaps together around your face is not adjustable and a little flimsy,‭ ‬but for the price of the hat it's no real problem.‭ ‬Although in general these kinds of hats aren't great for rainy conditions,‭ ‬the main material is certainly waterproof enough to be resilient against light rain and drizzle for short periods.‭ ‬I've already put mine to the test when I took the dog for a walk.

Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate (PC)
Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate (PC)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buggy and does not work‭!, 24 May 2013
The first time I tried to do a project in this I had to activate an update for the software in order to open the file type,‭ ‬H.264.‭ ‬Within seconds of restarting after this update applied the program froze and stopped working.‭ ‬When I restarted the program it forced an option box on me for things like‭ `‬restore previous session‭' ‬and‭ `‬start new project‭'‬,‭ ‬but every‭ ‬time it did it would just sieze up and crash again regardless of which option I selected.‭ ‬I can now not get beyond that option box,‭ ‬and to really rub it in,‭ ‬it still appears on that same option box after re-installing the software. As such I can not use this software since all it does for me is startup, freeze and crash.

I have had no response from tech support,‭ ‬something which seems to be the norm from Corel based companies these days.

I am now out of pocket by the best part of‭ ‬100,‭ ‬and my plans to start a series of videos are now on hold for the next few weeks/months while I can be sure that I can save up and spare enough money to buy video editing software by a different publisher.‭ ‬I also question why it was necessary to activate an update for a piece of software that was already bought and activated once.‭ ‬Why it crashed after H.264‭ ‬I don't know,‭ ‬this video format is supposed to be one of the ones supported by the software.

If you are looking at buying Pinnacle Studio‭ ‬16‭ ‬my advice would be to take a chance on another piece of software.‭ ‬At the very least,‭ ‬check out the reviews for this software on not just here but as well.‭ ‬It has some five star reviews there,‭ ‬but also a lot of one star reviews too.

For the record, I was using a windows 7 computer, and all of my video drivers are up to date.

1 Coin Holder ,Coin Tube ,One Pound
1 Coin Holder ,Coin Tube ,One Pound
Offered by Lambland ltd
Price: 1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it says, 20 April 2013
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I wanted a little coin holder so that I can always keep a few 1 coins handy for giving out change while at work, without them rattling around loose in my pocket and letting everyone else know I'm carrying the equivalent of a handful of 1 coins. This holder does this splendidly and without fuss. Some of the gold has already worn off from the tube where the coins slide out, but this was to be expected given that metal coins are frequently grinding against it. I did have a minor gripe with it when I first got it because I couldn't actually get more than 14 in. However with regular use It has now loosened up and 15 fits in easily, hence the five star review.

Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
by 3DTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another excellent entry to the series, 10 Sep 2012
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Volume‭ ‬4‭ ‬in the digital painting techniques series has arrived,‭ ‬and just like its predecessors it is one of the best digital painting tutorial books on the market.‭ ‬Volume‭ ‬4‭ ‬has roughly the same internal layout as the others,‭ ‬though organise slightly differently.‭ ‬There are now less actual chapters than before,‭ ‬but they are still broken down into several individual tutorials.‭ ‬The chapters themselves instead serve to encompass more general principals,‭ ‬and I think that this is because as the series progresses they have had to start becoming more specialised than before in order to avoid repeating‭ ‬the exact same topics.‭ ‬Bizarrely the gallery at the end of the book is now considered a chapter in its own right.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬although a little different volume‭ ‬4‭ ‬still delivers just as many pages of information as before‭ (‬in fact every book in the series so far is‭ ‬286‭ ‬pages long‭).

‭Chapter 1 - Subjects.
‭The first section here is all about the painting of tribal warriors with the first four being Native American, Aztec, Viking and Maori. The fifth and final tutorial is for a fantasy Tribal warrior. Aside from the actual character designs, techniques include sub surface scattering for realistic flesh tones, constructing a face with shapes to figure out the lighting, picking colours, setting mood, to even painting tribal tattoos so that they wrap around the form of the body/limb. The second segment is about droids (or robots/mechs if you prefer), but here there is a greater emphasis upon the design aspects. This means figuring what kinds of tools and tech to put on the droid, how it uses them, working upon several thumbnails and developing them into more finished painted pieces. The next segment of vehicles is more of the same but obviously vehicles. The tutorials here vary in complexity from highly detailed to more like concept pieces. The final segment is environments, though really these tutorials are all for fantasy style cityscapes. The more detailed of these include sketching scene elements, figuring values, selecting colour, to finally painting them in the relevant environmental conditions (desert, coast, mountain and arctic).

‭Chapter 2 - Styles.
‭The first segment is all about pin-up art, but in this book it is more cartoony than overtly erotic and features four tutorials by Serge Birault. Second segment is about Comic art including sketching, line work and colouring. Final segment is for manga styled work. Now all of these segments give detailed instruction upon creating the featured art pieces, but they also mention the `rules' if you will for creating art along these lines and detailing what makes one genera stand out from others. Also while these areas will have a specific relevance for those interested in these areas, other artists will also find them useful.

‭Chapter 3 - Techniques
‭The first segment here is about illustrating fairy tales, and the pieces here are much darker in tone (figuratively, they are not actually dark as in near black). These read more as `standard' tutorials, but are interesting nonetheless. The second segment is about custom brushes, their creation and use. This subject has had two dedicated chapters in previous volumes already, but here the uses demonstrated are both more advanced and specific than before. At the very least they will give inspiration for how you can be creative with brushes. The final segment is a single tutorial that covers the principals of rendering different materials and reflections.

‭Chapter 4 - Project overviews.
‭As in previous volumes the last chapter is for more `complete' projects that not only cover techniques but also reinforce ideas covered in the book.

‭Chapter 5 - Gallery.
‭It's a gallery of art, not much more than that.

‭Digital Art Techniques 4 is a worthy addition to the series, and does go beyond the basics already covered in earlier volumes. This is good for those who already have these books, but newcomers to digital art might be better off buying the first volume in the series first. The previous three volumes include Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters: Masters Collection: Volume 1, Digital Painting Techniques: Masters Collection Volume 2 and Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3. Individually any one of these books will give you useful instruction, but as a set they build on top of one another. I've also posted up reviews/overviews of these books as well.

Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3
by 3DTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: 29.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The series is still going strong, 7 Sep 2012
This is the third book of the digital art techniques series of books from 3Dtotal, with the previous two being Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters: Masters Collection: Volume 1 and Digital Painting Techniques: Masters Collection Volume 2. However while the previous two volumes were more 'general' in their approach, volume 3 seems to be geared towards concepts for game art. Now don't get me wrong, this is still a valuable resource that will help you make better digital art regardless of the topic or purpose. But if you are an artist who is looking at breaking into the games industry to do concept art, then this book will have special relevance for you.

Chapter 1 is creatures from folklore. This chapter includes tutorials for painting an ogre, troll and a goblin, as well as for the actual cover art for the book (siren).

Chapter 2. This chapter is actually called 'concept art for games', though the previous and most of the following chapters could really come under this heading. These tutorials cover aspects of the same concept of a futuristic prison planet, and are broken down into specific areas such as the entrance, labor camps, prisoner transports (flying and ground) as well as character designs for prisoners and security guards. The chapter as a whole is a very good example of how many small concepts can come together to create a single large idea.

Chapter 3 - monsters. These tutorials cover the creation of environment specific monsters such as sewer dwellers, seas, mountains and volcanoes. Aside from interesting creature designs they also provide a lot of information for how to render there environments, as well as how creatures appear underwater, to texturing the brickwork of sewer walls.

Chapter 4 - Sci-fi cities. As you may have guessed, this is all about things such as cityscapes as well as specific areas such as markets and plazas. This isn't so much about matte painting, just more about the concept design of the piece.

Chapter 5 - Futuristic marines. If you are familiar with games such as Halo, Crysis and Starcraft you probably already have an idea what this section will be like. These tutorials are about the concept and painting of future soldiers that are wearing futuristic combat suits with additional futuristic gear and weapons. The tutorials still give good instruction upon the painting of these pieces, though I feel this chapter is still more about the design aspect.

Chapter 6 is about painting steampunk. The chapter starts out with a tutorial as to what steampunk actually is, and then over the chapter moves onto concepts and actual painting.

Chapter 7 is about painting portraits, an area that is closer to the format of the first two books. These tutorials are very detailed and clearly illustrate how to block the face in and then steadily work in the features and details.

Chapter 8 is a return to matte painting. The tutorials here are all based around the creation of a single piece, but broken down into specific sections. These include blocking in shapes, adding sky, adding elements (such as ground photo ref), lighting the scene, to finally changing the lighting of the piece to indicate a different time of day.

Chapter 9 is the last chapter and once again the last chapter is reserved for complete study projects, from concept to final piece. I noticed a printing error in my copy of this book in that the final two of the three tutorials are actually listed in the contents section in the wrong order, though as far as I can tell they are both still there in their entirety so no real problem.

The final few pages as usual are dedicated to the inclusion of a small gallery. I consider volume 3 of this series to be an excellent addition, although its clear that future volumes are going to have to be more specific in content than earlier volumes. This is because all of the very basic techniques such as brush creation have already been covered in detail in earlier volumes and continued to be covered within the context of more complete tutorial sections. There is still a wide scope of more specialised subjects that could still be covered as well as earlier subjects covered again but in more specific detail. The digital painting techniques series still continues to probably be the all round best collection of tutorials available in any one place, and it will be interesting to see how the series continues with the nearby release of Digital Painting Techniques Volume 4.

Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters (Masters Collection)
Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters (Masters Collection)
by 3dtotal.Com
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will take you to the next level of digital painting, 7 Sep 2012
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Digital painting techniques vol 1 is without doubt one of the best tutorial books about digital paint currently on the market. Also, although the overview of the book is geared mostly towards fantasy, sci-fi and portraits, the techniques in this book can be applied to any genera of art.

The book is broken down into chapters of specific areas, and while you can flit between chapters and tutorials, I would recommend going from start to finish in sequence the first time you read this book. This is because even though the tutorials are well written and easily explained, the later chapters will require you to have a working knowledge of the techniques explained in earlier chapters.

Chapter 1 is all about custom brushes, specifically how to create them and how to use them. This is probably the most important chapter to learn since most of the later chapters rely upon the creation of custom brushes and adjustments of the standard brush settings. This is probably the easiest chapter of the book to learn though and I dare say most people will have a working understanding of these settings within a few hours at most if they were previously unfamiliar with them.

Chapter 2 covers speed painting, creating pieces that convey a sense of the overall picture without getting too caught up in fine detail. For those not in the know, speed painting is essential for concept work where ideas have to be worked out in order to figure out problems, solutions as well as having something to show to a prospective client before you begin work upon a highly detailed piece. The tutorial also covers areas such as thumbnailing, blocking in shapes and even using the aforementioned custom brushes to speed the job up.

Chapter 3 is Matte painting, the art of creating photorealistic scenes that can be used as a backdrop (many film makers rely upon high quality matte paintings to create visual backdrops for scenes, especially before the advent of 3D computer technology). Tutorials include features from sampling photos for reference, to correct scaling and perspective to make elements fit into a scene.

Chapter 4 is all about painting creatures. These tutorials feature how to design creatures, to complete paintings, to more specific areas such as painting fur and animal eyes.

Chapter 5 is about painting people, though most of the tutorials are about painting specific features such as eyes, lips, nose, hair and skin. There is also one complete tutorial which shows you how to create the portrait that appears upon the cover of this book.

Chapter 6 is how to create different environmental conditions. Most of these are based around the same piece of art, but repainted under different conditions such as rain, sandstorm, snowstorm, tornado and heatwave. There are also two further tutorials for a rainy street and waves upon the open ocean.

Chapter 7 is loosely labelled Sci-fi & Fantasy. At this point the tutorials are siginificantly less, but they each go into more detail than before and cover the subjects of painting armour, space art and and a sci-fi concept scene.

Chapter 8, the final one, has three complete projects that take you from the initial sketch all the way to the final result. These serve more to give you an idea of the painting process, but also have helpful hints and reminders.

The final section is covered by a short gallery of art to give you even more ideas as to what is possible with digital art. One area which is lacking from this book is art theory (colour, perspective, composition, etc) though areas of this are briefly touched upon. This should not be taken as a negative however since this is a book about actual physcial techniques, not theory. Also remember that some of the resources featured in this book such as custom brushes are also available for download from the 3Dtotal website.

Not only would I recommend buying this book, I would also recommend that you get the others of the series which are currently Digital Painting Techniques: Masters Collection Volume 2, Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3 and Digital Painting Techniques Volume 4.

Digital Painting Techniques: v. 2: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters
Digital Painting Techniques: v. 2: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters
by 3DTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The excellence continues, 7 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the second book in the 'digital painting techniques' series from 3Dtotal, and builds well upon the tutorials established by the first book Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters: Masters Collection: Volume 1. The tutorials are still detailed but easily explained with every step and brush setting clearly laid out. There also seems to be a greater focus upon tumbnailing and thinking up ideas, though this is still a book that is predominantly about the actual painting technique.

Chapter 1 is all about creating characters. Not only does this demonstrate techniques for getting a character down on paper and painting them, it also demonstrates who to evoke feeling through expressions and body language so that the character actually tells a story.

Chapter 2 is science fiction though to be fair it is mostly about the design and painting of spaceships. Aside from the actual design though, you do get tutorials into painting the platework, explosions to whole battle scenes.

Chapter 3 is fantasy, and is more architectural since these tutorials are about the creation of fantasy cities and streets. These of course give you instructions about portraying architecural details that are both near and far.

Chapter 4 is vehicles. Although only two turorials long, they are both highly detailed and cover everything from desining a vehicle from different concepts, drawing it in perspective, to rendering different materials, such as chrome, painted metal and rubber.

Chapter 5 is speed painting, a subject that was covered in the second chapter of the first book. These tutorials serve as different examples of speed painting techniques but seem to be more orientated around establishing a mood of a piece, or at least that is the impression that I have.

Chapter 6 is custom brushes. Again this subject was covered in the first book, but this time the tutorials are a touch more advanced and include the creation of brushes for such things as floral patterns, rock and metal textures, leaves and trees to even crowds.

Chapter 7 is all about painting on top of a scene base established by 3D software. This is no different from painting on top of a sketch, its just that the 3D software has already established things such as lighting and perspective for you. The 3D software used is Google sketchup, though today this is called Trimble sketchup (Google sold the sketchup program to Trimble). At the time of writing the basic version of this software is still free so there is no excuse to try variants of these tutorials for yourself.

Chapter 8. The final chapter is once again dedicated to complete walkthroughs of pieces that show the whole design and painting of a piece. Working knowlege of software such as Photoshop is required for these, but if you have been following the earlier tutorials then these projects will not be that difficult to understand. The final pages are also once again devoted to being a short gallery section of other artists work.

I would reccomend this book for anyone who is serious about getting better at digital art, especially if you already have the first book in the series. You should also consider the the next two books that are currently in the series, Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3 and Digital Painting Techniques Volume 4.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
by 3DTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: 29.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect book to get you started, 31 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Digital painting is becoming more and more popular, but the problem with many tutorial books is that you need to have working experience of software like photoshop in order to make sense of what you are reading. This book however assumes that you do not know anything, and this is its strength.

The first section of the book is more about how to actually set up photoshop to be suitable for digital painting, something that is very simple, but often not considered by many users. This quickly moves into covering the most commonly used features such as setting up brushes so that they can be used for painting.

From this the book starts covering the basic areas of art theory such as colour mixing, composition, atmospheric perspective etc, but not in any great detail. Some may criticise the lack of information in these sections, but you have to remember that this is a beginners guide intended for people have little to no experience of these subjects. They are still illustrated and written in a complete enough manner to convey the points and principals in question.

Beyond this the book starts to bring all these things together in the way of tutorials, that some people might find a bit challenging at first, but how so would depend upon a specific individual and their desire to progress forward. The main focus of these early turorials is more to give people an idea of the workflow involved in creating a piece of digital art, while also revealing quite a few techniques to get the job done.

The final set of elements cover the painting of specific things such as trees, clouds, planets, reflections etc. These tutorials are much shorter, than the earlier ones, and may be confusing to new digital artists since they gloss over the processes so quickly. However like with all such short tutorials, the idea is for people to actual try the principals for themselves rather than just copy what see. From here they can then adjust and apply the method to whatever they are painting.

Since this book is marketed towards beginners, artists from a moderate skill level or above would actually not benefit that much from owning this book, but again, its not marketed towards them, its for people who want to learn the basics fast. Anyone who is interested in more advanced techniques but explained in a simple way would be better off looking at the 'Digital Painting Techniques' series of books that are also published by 3dtotal.

The 3dtotal website also has additional support and resources for people who are reading this book with a free download package that includes video tutorials, custom brushes and even a fibonacci spiral (read the composition section for use) to help new artists get started.

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Camera - Black (Body Only)
Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Camera - Black (Body Only)

195 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camera, nuff said., 24 Aug 2012
I recently bought one of these from a local dealer and I have to say this is the best camera I've ever used. My requirements were I wanted a camera that was still set up for excellent still work, but could also switch to taking videos.

Still work
The 18MP sensor is all I need for helping me to take incredibly detailed shots which even of subjects at a distance can easily be cropped and or blown up to help reveal the detail (I'm a wildlife photographer mostly, though not all the time). The fast shutter speed also helps with taking sharp images of moving subjects such as birds in flight.

Video work
This is the main area of expansion for me, although I don't use any of the dedicated canon series of lenses for video work. Instead I've mostly connected my 100-400 EF lens, which thanks to its extra width allows for more light to enter the camera which is perfect for taking high definition videos of distant subjects that you simply cannot get close to. An additional bonus with this camera is when I add the canon EF 2x III extender into the mix. Normally an extender added to a canon 100-400 EF lens will result in the loss of the autofocus working, but when I switch the 650D to video mode, the autofocus WORKS! (and without taping the pins) I don't know exactly why, it just does, maybe its the firmware inside the camera. Still photos can of course still be taken when in video mode, but you need to look at the screen instead of through the viewfinder.

Video can be recorded in brackets of several seconds which can then be watched in order to give the impression of a continous effect. Usually so far I just film with the standard settings (at 1080 high def) which results in a file that is just a bit short of thirty minutes long. If you run over this time though I think the camera does instantly create and start recording to a second file (this is in the manual, I've not actually had to put this to the test yet).

Because video work brings a whole new dimension to this camera you do need to consider a few things. One is that recording videos on the max quality setting will result in some large file sizes, so you will need a memory card to accomdate these. I would not consider anything less than 32GB which is what I have now, but I'm giving serious thought to replacing this with a 64GB card in the near future. Two, if you don't already have one get a tripod, especially if you are filming things at high magnifications. With still work you can get away with a little judder by using a fast shutter speed, but video will always show it in detail. Of course another advantage of a tripod is that you can be in your own films! You also have to consider the sound pickup from the microphones that are on top of the camera. Even when you turn their sensitivity down they can still pick up unwanted sounds such as the autofocus motors for the lens that you are using. Canon has timed the release of two lens to coincide with the launch of the 650D that have extra quiet motors for video work, but unless you are using these always consider the noise of the lens as a factor. If you manually focus though, you'd probably get little to no sound from the lens at all, and depending upon your subject and its location, manual focus might actually be preferable. You can also fit a second external mic into the jack on the left hand side of the camera which should overide the feed from the fitted mics as soon as it is connected. The kind of mic to use would depend on how you want to record sound, but I myself am looking at getting a decent shotgun mic since this will mostly pick up sound in a narrow arc in front of it, and the subjects I've started filming are usually some distance in front of the camera.

The other major conideration is battery life. Over a six hour period of combined still shooting and video work where I might take up to an hour of video and have around 150-200 stills, I'd probably use up around half the battery. This is okay for a limited shoot around a local area but not so great if away for the day since at some point you are likely to exhaust you battery depending upon the lens, settings and how much video/stills you take. A second battery would be a very good idea if you are likely to be spending upto a full dawn till dusk day shooting.

Other features about the 650D are the touchscreen display which has easily recieved the most attention at the launch of this camera. I have tried this, and I do find it to be very responsive, but to be honest I don't rely upon it and rarely use it. Touch screen would mean getting my fingerprints (or rather smudges) on it and this is not desirable when you need the screen clean for video work. You can still navigate around the screen by using the buttons like on all previous Canon models. The processor inside the camera is also very fast and is capable of locating and playing back recorded high definition videos with no lag or delay whatsoever. Optimum ISO for video work is I think as high as 6400, but it might be possible to go beyond this but at the expense of picture qaulity. ISO for stills is significantly higher than this. What I do like about the screen though is that the screen can be angled and positioned so that you are effectively shooting at angles. For example if your subject is low, you can put the camera down on a bean bag and then tilt the screen so that you can focus in from a crouched posistion instead of lying flat on the ground (a real bonus if the ground happens to be wet!).

In conlcusion, while the 650D is technically an entry level camera, it is my opinion a game changer that in the right hands can match and in some repects such as video exceed many of the more expensive professional level models from both Canon and rival camera companies.

-Additional note about some early production batches-
The launch of the 650D was marred by the discovery of a faulty production batch where the rubber grips would turn white because of contamination by a build up of zinc oxide which can also be a skin irritant. To the best of my knowledge cameras of these batches are now off the market (replaced by Canon) and all new 650Ds do not have this problem. The dealer I bought my 650D from was able to confirm that it was not one of the earlier production batches with the problem, and you can always check this for yourself by entering your cameras serial number on the Canon website.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2013 6:23 PM BST

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Price: 1,255.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A workhorse lens for wildlife photography., 24 Aug 2012
I have owned one of these lens for just under two years now, and out of the four lenses I currently own, this is the one that gets the most use. With this lens I can take very good shots of all kinds of animals, from birds to insects and get great well defined shots nearly ever time (as long as the camera settings are correct of course!). Aside from the wildlife work, I also use this lens for aviation photography where it gives me superlative performance in capturing aircraft that are pulling high speed maneuvers. The zoom range also allows me to get detailed shots of aircraft coming in at a distance to actually landing. Throughout all of the time I've been using this lens, it has been absolutely reliable.

A lot has been said about how this lens sucks in air and dust, but you have to bear one thing in mind, all zoom lens suck in air. If they didn't they would create a vacuum inside the lense that would just suck the lens back in as soon as it was extended (assuming you would be physically capable of defeating the vacuum in the first place). My lens has had regular and prolonged use in all kinds of environments from forest to grassy fields, farmland, coasts in all seasons and weathers, and within a time frame of just under two years I now have one tiny piece of dust which is just visible on the inside of the lens. This piece of dust is both so small and so close that it doesn't show up upon any of the photos or videos that I take through this lens. For comparison I have an older 'twist-barrel' telephoto zoom that I've had for just over three years, but it has several pieces of dust on the inside of the lens, though again, these flecks of dust do not affect the final image outcome.

A note about using this lens with extenders

For wildlife work I usually combine this lens with Canon Extender 2x III, and like most people who have used this configuration will tell you, you will lose autofocus (unless of course you are one of these photographers who 'tape the pins', though I'm not saying that you should do that, it may void the warranty if you develop a malfunction). However I recently purchased a Canon 650D, and when I combined this lens with the extender and switched the camera to video shooting mode I got the shock of my life when the lens autofocus actually kicked in and started focusing upon whatever I pointed it at. From what I can figure, this only happens when in video mode, though you can still take still shots, you just have to look at the live view on the screen instead of the viewfinder. I don't know why this works with the 650D, but I think this camera was designed to have a greater focus on video work than previous Canon cameras, so it may be the firmware of the camera is configured for the lens too, but I'm not certain.

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