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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: May 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, fast, inexpensive.
Cheap build.

I purchased this lens as an inexpensive alternative to the Canon "L" variants. My copy was used on a Rebel XT and 30D.

Image quality is great for the price photos are as sharp as the Nikkor 70-200 VR and Canon 70-200/2.8 IS. I've used all three.

Color could be better, but casts and murkiness easily can be handled in post-processing.

HSM works great the autofocus motor outlasted the manual focus functionality on my copy. It's not quite as fast as Canon USM or Nikon SWM, but focus is notably faster and quieter than non-USM lenses.

While I've heard that front- or back-focusing is an issue on Sigma lenses, I never had a focus issue with the 70-200.

Build quality is iffy, but consumers won't complain at savings of $200-$400 over similar Canon or Nikon lenses. You get what you pay for.

My copy literally fell apart after three years of professional use, but I have nothing bad to say. This lens is perfect for consumers who want a fast, medium-length lens sans the weatherproofing or robust build quality of a top-end Canon/Nikon.

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp and contrasty. Fast, sleek and quiet.
Mechanized hood, needlessly intricate foot.

The paper that I shoot for owns multiple copies. I used this lens affixed to a D2Hs covering sports and general news for the better part of a year and have virtually no complaints. It's a great choice for an all-around, go-to medium-length lens.

Image quality is impressive, even by Nikkor standards. Yields always are sharp and contrasty.

The build is tough this lens can and does stand up to professional abuse and adverse shooting conditions. It also manages to be relatively sleek and light for 2.8 glass with an image stabilizer.

Focus is fast and accurate on a D2Hs great for tracking while full-time manual focus and AF-stop buttons improve the lens' versatility.

Nikon uses a locking mechanism with a push-button release on the lens hood, as opposed to a hood secured by good ol'-fashioned friction. For me, the button is too easy to bump and the design is a bit finicky.

The lens foot is a composite design that doesn't fare well with dust or dirt. At times, the latch must be washed with compressed air or water or it will freeze.

Despite these minor complaints, the lens fares well against competition. I've used the 70-200/2.8 L IS and the Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX APO, but the Nikon is just a shade better.

In fact, it easily is the greatest zoom lens that I've used. This lens is a pleasure to work with an a necessary part of any Nikon shooter's kit.