Farewell, Canon 85mm lens

I sold my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens to a buyer on Craigslist. I haven’t used it regularly in a long time, and preferred it live with someone who does.

I’ll always remember our moments together, old friend. Fare thee well.

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Sold my Canon EF 28-135mm lens

I finally sold an unused lens (Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM), which I bought a year ago from my friend, Noel Kleinman.

Why?

I dropped the lens last April while I was borrowing it from Noel. Fortunately, he was cool about the situation and let me buy the lens.

I haven’t really used it since then.

A few weeks ago, I went on an eBay selling streak and sold all my bass guitar pedals[1. I bought a Line 6 Bass PODxt Live pedal board, so I didn’t need them anymore.].  Those sales gave the courage to finally post the lens for auction on eBay.

After eBay and shipping fees, I broke even from when I bought the lens. Other than being a little cautious with a new eBay user with zero feedback, everything went well.

I’m glad that most camera lenses don’t depreciate like everything else[2. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens that sold for under $80 USD (two years ago) currently sells for almost $99.99 USD.].

P.S. I bought a used Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM on eBay a few weeks ago, so don’t ask me what I’ll do with this money. 🙂

Next at All Narfed Up – Tips for better sales on eBay

OEM batteries for my Canon EOS 40D

In April 2008, I bought a Canon BP-511A 1390 mAh equivalent battery from SuperMart for $5.23 + $6 shipping (USD). It held a decent charge  for a year before decreasing in charge capacity, with no damage to my camera.

Now, I’m going to try buying from SterlingTek. I would’ve gotten the two-pack, but I don’t need that many batteries yet. At the moment, their Canon BP-511A e2000 mAh equivalent battery is $11.99.[1. For comparison, Canon’s BP-511A battery pack costs $49.95 at Samy’s Camera.]

The difference is that SterlingTek has a 1-year warranty, a phone number and good feedback. SuperMart has a 6-month warranty and a PriceGrabber storefront.

Side note: If you’re interested in getting the most out of your batteries, head to Battery University.

Goodie #3: Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens

A new lens - Sigma 30mm f/1.4
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Since Jason Ng (appleguy on Flickr) let me try his Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens on February 28th, it was in the back of my mind. I know I rented and talked about the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens, but I think I’ll get more use out of this one.

Once my tax return got deposited, I ordered the lens. While I’ve only had it for three days, I’m pretty much in love with it.

Initial thoughts and observations

  • It’s solid. My Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II feels like a toy compared to it.
  • Focusing is quick, smooth and quiet.
  • Taking portraits wide open (f/1.4) creates awesome bokeh.
  • Lighting which would usually require ISO 1600 with my 50mm f/1.8 lens is doable at ISO 800.
  • The lens and hood look slightly glittery.
  • The lens cap design is better than Canon’s.
  • I don’t think I have focusing issues. That’s a relief.

I’m glad I got it over the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. On a crop body (1.6x), 30mm looks good.

The first photos from my new lens

Fine, don't wait for me
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More jolly than ever
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I know, right?

Time to get out of this funk and make some more awesome photos. 🙂

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Cleaned the sensor myself, baby

After being disappointed with Canon’s sensor cleaning, I finally did it myself.

I bought Sensor Swabs[1. Type 2 for my Canon EOS 40D.] and Eclipse E2 sensor cleaner. After watching a video of Thomas Hawk cleaning his sensor, I carefully followed suit.

I took a before photo, made one pass with a fresh swab, took another test photo, made a second pass, then a last test photo. Finally, I took the above photo of the box of Sensor Swabs and Eclipse E2.

There’s still a couple dust spots around the edges, but I’m 99% sure it’s because I didn’t emphasize those areas in my swabbing.

Don’t be scared. It really is simple. Just exercise caution and you’ll be awesome[2. Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for any damage you cause to your camera.].

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Additionally

Had my sensor cleaned by Canon

Camera sensor cleaned by Canon

While I was in Irvine yesterday, I stopped by Canon Factory Service Center to get my 40D sensor cleaned for free. (via Chris Lin)

The process was a breeze. They told me I could pick it up in two hours, which wasn’t a problem.

I returned a few hours later and it was ready to go, wrapped inside a bag with a plastic temporary body cap and a tag with the technician’s initials. Attention to detail has to mean it’s pristine, right?

When I got home to check out the sensor:

Sensor dust AFTER cleaning by Canon
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50mm, 3.2 sec at f/22, ISO 100

Um, what happened? If I had to ship my camera in for this service, I would be way more upset.

It looks like I’ll be going the DIY route in the future. (Marcus recommends the Copperhill method.)

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens review

A new lens - for two weeks (270/366)
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Photodoto announced that BorrowLenses would hold a lens rental giveaway for a free 2-week lens rental. I wrote:

I think I’d want to try a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 because I’m very much into street photography right now and my 50mm is too close for comfort. 🙂

Max at BorrowLenses chose me! As a cool ego boost, he liked this photo blog, too. How awesome is that?

In the course of two weeks, I took over 600 photos. As of now, 67 of them are uploaded to Flickr.

My simple review

My expectations were already high. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is slow. While the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is an inexpensive, fast prime lens, it takes a long time to focus in low-light situations. It’s pretty noisy, too. (For the price, it’s still really good, though.)

When I received the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens, I was very pleased with the build and feel of the lens. I immediately took a self-portrait [above] to test it out. Awesome. Of course, since the Canon EOS 40D has 1.6x field of view crop factor, it’s like a 136mm focal length.

I don’t pixel peep, so don’t expect that analysis here. Just know that for basically all the photos I took with it, I loved the quality and bokeh it produced. At 19% the cost of the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM, I wouldn’t even hesitate.

My picks from the two weeks using the 85mm lens

James, our drummer
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You did well
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Kate (273/366)
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All that matters after a long day
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Kristina from The Breakup
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Extended rush (281/366)
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You can view all the photos I took with the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM lens at this Flickr photoset.

Thanks to John at Photodoto and Max at BorrowLenses.com!