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Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Nikkor

18-55VR
Review Date: Jun 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, light-weight, well engineered & designed, SHARP, smooth operating zoom, VR works very well, silent AF, excellent fit and finish
Cons:
Plastic mount

This little lens is a GEM! It is so small and light-weight. Hard to believe a kit lens can be this good; it is pretty amazing. It is plenty sharp, and I really like how smooth the zoom ring operates...there is none of the "stickiness" like that of the competing Canon 18-55 IS. (Yes, I have both) Look at and compare both these lens side-by-side and handle them both. You'll see the Nikon is the better-made of the two. The Nikon engineers have done an outstanding job designing this one. It may be plastic, but it is not "cheap". Inexpensive, yes, but not cheap...there is a difference. The fit and finish is excellent: there is virtually no "slop" in the movement of the barrel or zoom ring. The AF is plenty fast, I have never had it "hunt" on me, and it's dead silent...you can't hear it at all. If I ever break this lens, I'm going to go right out and get another one just like it...for the price you just can't go wrong. GET ONE!

 
Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

50_500EX_mdl_1_
Review Date: Mar 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $879.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: NOT WHITE!, build, fast HSM focus, very sharp, very stury tripod ring
Cons:
Zoom ring a little stiff when new, but seems to be loosening up with use. No real complaints.

This is an excellent lens, among the best for the money...build is excellent. Yes, you can buy better, but I am among those who just do not have $5000 in loose change in my pocket...I could barely afford this one. I find it to be very sharp and contrasty throughout it's ranges, which at 50-500 is amazing. The HSM motor focuses very quickly, usually less than a second with my 20D, and I rarely can hear it. Focus seems to be "spot on" at all zoom ranges. The only exception to this is when I used a 1.4X teleconverter, which tended to slow down the focusing...in some cases low light conditions with the teleconverter caused the focus to "hunt", which made me resort to manual focusing. This is not a remark against this lens, it's a characteristic of most telephoto lens with a teleconverter in poor light. I do not find a tripod to be "mandatory" as some have mentioned. Yes, a tripod definitely helps, and I recommend one, but if you don't have one then lean on a rail, carhood, tree branch, etc, and you'll do just fine. My lens does not "creep" when pointing down, as some have mentioned...maybe the DG version I have has some sort of refinement to fix this (?) Overall, it's an excellent lens which I refuse to part with. Last, but not least, it's NOT WHITE!!! Why on earth the Canon engineers decided to make most of their "L lens" series white I'll never know....but it sure makes for a miserable, gaudy looking combination on a black camera body....I for one will NEVER buy one! That's one of the reasons I went with Sigma.