Nigel Atkinson Photography

Equipment reviews


I had intended to avoid writing about equipment on this site but it seemed a little hypocritical given that I read reviews on the web very regularly. I first posted these pages in April 2005 and within a couple of weeks they were getting almost as many hits as the home page. Iíd welcome feedback from anyone who has managed to read this far.

Please donít get your hopes up for any deeply technical tests. My comments are limited to what I use the equipment for and how well it works for me. Iíve no intention of justifying my expensive purchases (as even I realise its not possible), nor will I compare equipment against items Iíve never used.

Current Equipment

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 350D Canon IXUS 850 IS
Canon EF 24mm f1.4L Canon 17-40m f4L  
Canon EF 28-70mm f2.8L Canon EF 35mm f1.4L Canon EF 35mm f2
Canon EF 50mm f1.4 Canon EFS 60mm f2.8 Canon EF 85mm f1.2L
Canon EF 85mm f1.8 Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro USM Canon EF 135mm f2 L
Canon EF 100-400mm L Canon Speedlight 550EX  
Photo Software/ Hardware & Workflow Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED scanner Pantone ColorVision SpyderPRO
Epson Stylus Photo 2100 printer Epson Stylus Photo 1290 printer  
Equipment now sold  
Canon EOS 1V Canon EOS 3 Ricoh GR1V
Contax T3 Canon PowerShot S70  
Canon EF 15mm f2.8 fisheye Canon EF 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 Canon EF 20mm f2.8
Canon EFS 10-22mm    

On 19th June 2005 I went digital. Up to that day I was a determined film user and I had even bought two additional film SLRs on eBay during 2005. However the temptation to buy a digital SLR became irresistible and I decided to test the water by buying the diminutive Canon 350D on 18th June. On the 19th I took pictures at a Christening/ wedding anniversary party and the week after I listed most of my film gear for sale on eBay.

Why the prompt about turn? The answer lies in the picture on the right. In a dimly lit church I set the camera to ISO 1600 and tried to capture something of the service using one of my least expensive lenses (the Canon 20-35). The results straight out of the camera were outstanding - far better than I could have achieved on film. There is noise but its far less pronounced than film grain would have been and there's also much more detail in the image. All this from a camera so compact and easy to carry. And the truth is that with film I either wouldn't have bothered or would have had to use flash.

I'm now using a Canon EOS 5D as well as the EOS 350D. The image quality from both is better than anything I managed on film - including a brief liaison with a Bronica ETRS. I also have an IXUS compact for those places where an SLR is impractical/ stupid to carry or use.

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© Nigel Atkinson