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  Reviews by: Frank Eleveld  

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Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye

Review Date: Sep 4, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, good contrast, resistance to flare, build quality
Really bad CA, variable aperture

The Tokina 10-17 fisheye is an interesting special-purpose lens. I really love wide-angle and fisheye lenses, but I decided to skip the Tokina AT-107. Reason for this is that it has severe problems with chromatic aberration in high contrast areas. I've tried a Canon version of this lens on a 30D and color fringing was visible even in 4 by 5" prints. A Nikon version was equally bad. LCA can be easily corrected in post-processing, so for some this issue might not be something to loose sleep about. It's not a bad lens, but I'd rather use the more expensive Nikkor 10.5 instead since its optical performance is just a slightly better - just enough to justify its extra expense, in my opinion.

Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 AF PRO DX SD

Review Date: Sep 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, pro-grade build quality, constant aperture, price
Prone to flare, CA

At around half the price of the Nikkor 12-24 f/4, the Tokina AT-X 124 seems a very attractive lens. Its pro-grade build inspires confidence and this lens is a joy to handle, although Tokina's clutch mechanism to switch between manual and autofocus isn't everyone's cup of tea.

The AT-X Pro 124 (well, my copy at least) renders sharp, contrasty images. Vignetting is not a problem even at its widest settings unless a normal-sized filter is used. With a B+W MRC polarizer it will vignette below 14 mm, so you'd need to use slimline filters to overcome this problem.

The one thing this lens has problems with is having bright light sources in the image; it's quite prone to flare and ghosting. Supposedly this is a weakness of Tokina lenses in general, and it definitely requires care and attention when composing your image.

Other than that, I highly recommend this lens; it's excellent value and a more than capable performer.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor

Review Date: Sep 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, sharp, good contrast, cheap, lightweight, diminutive size

I got mine used, although the street price of the 50 mm f/1.8 new is around $ 120 or so.

For the money, this is incredible value since this lens is sharp and contrasty from f/4 upwards (until diffraction kicks in at f/13 or so). On DX cameras it makes a good portrait lens, with pleasing bokeh, whereas it's a great savior in low light situations. It's so small and lightweight that it's permanently in my bag. I don't use it very often, but when I do, I know I can rely on it and that it gives me very sharp images.

Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-4.5G AFS DX

Review Date: Sep 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price/performance ratio, AF-S, sharp, lightweight, almost no CA
Vignetting and distortion below ~22 mm

For the price, this is a great lens. I found my copy to be sharp and contrasty unless shooting directly into a bright light source. For best performance it needs to be stopped down to between f/5.6 and f/11. AF is swift, precise and quiet, and being able to manually override it a useful addition.

Build quality isn't the best, but it's acceptable for a $ 300 lens - it's certainly not a toy lens. If you want something that lasts and gives marginally better performance, you'll have to buy the 17-55 f/2.8 instead. For those on a budget wanting to get an allround DX midrange zoom, the 18-70 is definitely worth the money.