Canon lense quality

“SLR Gear”: has a good analytic review set for lenses. Canon is a focus here, but they have Nikon too of course. Unlike many reviews, this one is quite quantitative with good recommendations for what aperture and focal length to use for maximum sharpness:

“Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM”: Image quality 8.61/10. Best results at 100-135mm at F/8 or 300mm and F/11. Corner softness at 200mm, but keep it at F/8-F/11 and you won’t see blurring. Undetectable vignette on sub-frame sensor and some on full frame when you are at F/5.6 and below. Very low distortion less than -0.2% pincushioning at most.

“Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM”: On my 350D, this is too slow, but on a new 5D Mark II, it will be great because it is slower than F/2.8 for available light, but the 5D is so sensitive, it doesn’t matter. 8.97/10 image quality. F/4 to F/8 the lense is very sharp at 24mm. At 105mm, it is slightly soft and best at F/5.6 (either end is soft again). Vignetting is virtually nonexistant. Moderate barrel distoration at 24mm (0.6%) and slight pincushion at 50mm+ 0.2%. Basically a superb lense and expensive too at $1,100!

“Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM”: is amazing at 9.47/10 image quality but costs $1660. F/4 and above has no blur at all and it is very sligth at 135mm and F/2.8. At F/16, diffraction limiting causes a tiny blur only. Chromatic abberation is low and then become medium toward 200mm. Essentially zero distortion at 0.2-0.16%

For a full frame geek, this is a great set that gets you an everyday lense (24-105), a zoom for those birds and soccer games (100-400) and medium shots too in low ight (70-200), the only one missing is a true wide angle which is the

“Canon EF 16-35mm F/2.8L II USM”: which is another amazing 9.67/10 lense. Main bummer is it takes an 88mm filter instead of the 77mm that all of the other lenses above take. These big wide angles tend not to be too sharp, but this one is very sharp wide open at F/2.8 and then gets software at F/4-5.6. The sweet spot appears to be about 24mm at F/5.6. If you zoom out to 20mm, losts of softness goes away. On a full frame sensor thought, it has lots of issues with corner sharpness even at F/8 and there is quite a bit of chromatic aberration at 16mm but does best at F/2.8. It also vignettes quite a bit with a full frame. About 1.75 stops at the corner darker. Low distortion is at 22mm on full frame.

With a fast camera like the 5D Mark ii, the “Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L USM”
“Canon EF 17-40mm F/2.8L II USM”: which is another amazing 9.67/10 lense. might be a better choice because it is half the price at $680 vs. $1300.

h3. Subframe sensors

If you have an APS-sized sensor like the 50D or the 450D, then there are a bunch of very nice lenses that take advantage of the smaller frame size:

“Canon EF-S 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5 USM”: 8.82/10 quality. Its maximum sharpness is between F5.6-8 at 10mm and F8 at 14mm and 22mm. Chromatic abberation is a little high at 10mm. Shading is a little high as well at 0.85EV at F/2.8 and 10mm but drops to 0.5EV at F/5.6. Distortion is actually kind of amazingly low.

“Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM”: 9.41/10 image quality. It is very sharp at F/4, but at F/2.8, it is OK. Chromatic aberration is a week point, with high CA at 17mm. High vignetter of 0.85 EV at 17mm and F/2.8 but drops at half at F/4. Distortion is modest at 17mm, but gets high at 20mm. Good for available light shots with older generation Canons like by 350D.

Finally point if you win the lottery and want to do really great wildlife or available light soccer games, then the $5000 “Canon EF 500mm F/4L IS USM”: If you can manage the 13 pounds of weight. You pretty much want to get a 1.4x convertor and use a fast camera like the 5D Mark II to get those wildlife shots at dusk.

Preordering the Canon 5D Mark II

Well, you don’t get any discounts, but a few places now have it for the $2700 list price… according to “”: which include Ritz Camera ($2699 body),Calumet Photographic ($2699 body), Wolf Camera ($2699 body, $3499 kit) and J&R ($2699 body, $3499 kit)

Amazon and Adorama are not. The price is $2700 body only and $3500 including the 24-105 F/4L ISM (which I already have, so don’t need). (See for a review on this lense that shows it is really very good.

Here is another glowing preview at

Canon 5D Mark II

I’ve never preordered anything, but I am sure tempted with the Canon 5d Mark ii. It is available in November, but the rumor is that the demand is amazing. Preorders now at “”:

Byt preorders have been turned off at Adorama and Amazon already!


My buddies really like it but what if you are overseas and don’t have the Sprint network around. Then apparently there is a USB download option where you can download to your PC and then use the USB 2.0 cable to put it on the Kindle.

Sunday Salon: Reading on the Kindle

What I think is really silly about my owning a Kindle is that I have no wireless access overseas meaning I have to download everything via USB whereas people in the U.S. in the wireless coverage area can download directly to their Kindle from (what seems like) thin air. In essence, my purchase

Unlocked iPhones

OK, you can now find these in “Hong Kong”: Not prices you can love, but the 8GB iPhone is $695 and the 16GB HK$6200 or $800 US Dollars. In comparison, the original iPhone was $599 and dropped to $495.

You can also buy unlocked iPhones from Belgium and Italy at the same outrageous prices:

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

Unlocked iPhones are available since july in Italy, prices are 499 EUR for 8 Gb and 569 EUR for 16 Gb version

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

iPhone is being launched today in South Africa 🙂 and can be purchases for:
$790.00 8 GB
$940.00 16 GB

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

The iPhone 3G has been on sale in Belgium since July 11 and it’s always been unlocked (615 Euro for 16 GB, 525 Euro for 8 GB). The online Mobistar store is currently out of iPhones (again).

At current exchange rates this is $770 for the 8GB!

Playing 5.1 audio from a MacBook

This Much I Know – » 5.1 surround sound playback on Mac (and maybe Apple TV)

QuickTime doesn’t come with an [tag]AC-3[/tag] codec by default. There is an open-source QuickTime component available, called A52Codec, which enables QuickTime to open, import and export AC-3 audio. (It does this using a free AC-3 library called liba52.) A52Codec provides some form of support for working with AC-3 under QuickTime, at least for file conversion and export. What the A52Codec can’t do, however, is to enable applications to stream encoded AC-3 data straight to the optical output on the Mac.

Apple’s DVD Player application – included for free on every Mac – can play the 5.1 AC-3 audio from a physical DVD directly through the optical output of your Mac. DVD Player does this by streaming the encoded AC-3 straight from the DVD to the optical out, bypassing QuickTime. Some other players – notably VLC (which also uses liba52) – will stream AC-3 straight to your optical output, too. But any application which uses QuickTime for its audio playback – and this includes Front Row, iTunes, and QuickTime Player – works by first decoding audio into its discrete channels, before outputting it to your system audio device. The AC-3 encoding is lost in the process. So if you want a Mac Mini and Front Row to run your home theatre, with 5.1 sound from third-party movie files, then it’s not so easy.

Powerpoint shortcuts

Here is the official list to learn. The main difference is Option is used instead of ctrl which is a little wierd since there is a CTRL key on modern mac systems:

Help and How-To for Microsoft for Mac Office Products | Mactopia

PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts

Here are the keys ones I useHelp and How-To for Microsoft for Mac Office Products | Mactopia

One character to the left


One character to the right


One line up


One line down


To the beginning of a word or one word to the left


One word to the right


To the end of a line


To the beginning of a line


To the beginning of a paragraph or up one paragraph


Down one paragraph


To the end of a text box


To the beginning of a text box


Mac Excel Shortcuts

Here is the official list from Microsoft

The strange things are they are different. For instance F4 is paste whereas in Windows Excel is it change relative to absolute. And F2 is edit cell whereas it is cut text. And again, there is this strangeness that you use the Option key where you use the Ctrl key in windows even though there is a Ctrl key on new Mac keyboards.

Equivalent of Windows Excel F4 key in Excel 2008 for the Mac

Navigating in Excel
Switch between Worksheets fn-CTRL-PageUp/fn-CTRL-PageDown
Switch between Workbooks fn-`
Select entire worksheet Cmd+A
Move to the beginning of the line. fn+left arrow(home)
Go To fn + F5
Move a Sheet/Copy a Sheet Alt-E-M
Change Zoom Sizing Alt-V-Z

Entering and editing data
Complete a cell entry and select…
Delete cell and then get inside the cell DELETE
Delete cell/selection. fn+DELETE
Edit inside a cell (edit cell mode) CTRL+U
Once inside edit cell mode (F2)…
…Start a new line in the same cell. OPTION+CMD+ENTER
…Delete the preceding character. DELETE
…Delete the character to the right of the insertion fn + DELETE
Spell Check. fn + F7
Insert a comment. fn+SHIFT+ F2
Undo the last action. cmd+z
Redo the last action. cmd + y

Selecting, grouping, inserting, and deleting cell
Ungroup Rows or Columns SHIFT+ALT+LEFT ARROW KEY
Clear the contents of the selected cells. DELETE
Delete the selected cells. CTRL+MINUS SIGN SAME
Insert blank cells. CTRL+SHIFT+PLUS SIGN SAME

Copying and Pasting Shortcut
Copy, then Paste Special Formats Alt-E+S+T
Copy, then Paste Special Formulas Alt-E+S+F

Formatting Data Shortcut Example
Display the Style dialog box. CMD+SHIFT+L
Display the Format Cells dialog box. CMD+1
CTRL+SHIFT+! 1,254.34
Currency format: 2 decimal places (negative numbers in parentheses): CTRL+SHIFT+$ $1,254.34
Percentage format with no decimal places. CTRL+SHIFT+% 125434%
Exponential number format with two decimal places. CTRL+SHIFT+^ 1.25E+03
Boldface CMD+B
Italicize CMD+I
Underline CMD+U
Strikethrough CMD+SHIFT+_
Apply the outline border to the selected cells. CMD+Option+Arrow Key
Remove the outline border from the selected cells. CMD+Option+Arrow Key

Enter and calculate formulas Shortcut Example
Start a formula. = (equal sign) =F45*G12
In a formula, display the Insert Function dialog box. fn+SHIFT + F3
Recalculate all worksheets in all open workbooks. F9
Anchoring “Fixing” Cells F4 – must be in edit cell mode (CTRL+U) =$F$4*G125
Go to precedent cell(s) CTRL-[

Naming cells, Hyperlinks, inserting time and dat
Name a cell. fn+CMD+F3
Display a drop-down list of the values in the current cALT+DOWN ARROW