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Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF-II

atx840af2
Review Date: Dec 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great optics, compact, gets close to the action
Cons:
Slow auto-focus, high magnification ratio, long minimum focusing distance

Got for use with my 10D in wildlife photography, but have ended up using it for wildflowers more than anything.

Using it on flowers has made me want a lens with a closer minimum focusing distance (~6 or 7 ft) and lower magnification ratio, but optically it has done fantastic. I get great sharpness and nice bokeh, and I would compare the images I've gotten with those of L lenses. Has worked well on the occasional portait too.

The build is very good, though I bought it used and the focus ring is not especially tight. But it can take a fall and come out no worse for the wear.

Tough to shoot handheld unless it's daylight and the AF is fairly lousy. This makes it tough shooting wildlife near dusk. I think every photographer wants an L lens with all the bells and whistles, but this is a great option for excellent pictures at a fraction of the price.

If you want to shoot birds in flight, get an L. If you want to shoot wildlife in low light, get an IS lens. If you want to shoot macro, get a macro lens. But if you can take the time to set up a tripod or shoot in bright light, this is the lense for you.

If you can handle the limitations of what this lens can't do, and instead appreciate it for what it can do, you'll love it.


 
Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical

sp-af17-35
Review Date: Mar 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good quality for the price, good build, center sharpness
Cons:
none for the price

I strongly recommend this lens for the serious amateur. Like all serious amateurs, I want the pro quality stuff, but like most I can't justify the $$$$. The first pictures I got off this lens stunned me with the center sharpness. I haven't noted the far edges to be extremely sharp or soft, but I haven't seriously tested for that yet either. I read through various reviews, including Popular Photography, that the images you will get off this lens will be very comparable to the Canon 17-40L, and I would agree. Both are known to have good, but not great edge sharpness, great center sharpness, and good contrast.

The 2.8 aperture won't do much for you in terms of depth of field, but allows you to hand hold some shots on overcast days instead of getting out the tripod. So far, flare has not been a problem.

As a backpacker, I need the lens to be sturdy, and so far I am happy with the build quality. It's not a lens you'll want to bang around, but if you take some care with it, you should be able to take it on your adventures safely. The construction is very solid for a plastic build, and the controls seems tight.