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

05_03_1_
Review Date: Aug 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent pro-grade build, extremely sharp & colors are near perfect, fast HSM AF, tripod collar, 77mm filter size, works perfectly with Sigma 1.4xTC make a fabulous 150-420mm F4 (with DSLR cropping factor)
Cons:
None to date.

I am a professional photographer and I have been shooting nature, wildlife and portraits for years. Got into sports photography a couple years ago and picked up this lens in lieu of an older push-pull 80-200mm
f/2.8 ED Nikon glass. I have been SUPER impressed since day one with the entire Sigma EX HSM line including this extremely fast and sharp model. I use it on my Nikon DSLRs and immediate get the 105-300mm (1.5x cropping) f/2.8 capabilities and I use the Sigma 1.4x EX
Teleconvertor with absolutely no loss of sharpness to provide with an extremely versatile lens. With the 1.5x cropping for DSLR and the 1.4xTC it quickly becomes a nice ~150mm-420mm F4 lens. More than capable of producing -quality- shots for nearly any venue out there. With starting prices for MINT units going for ~$550-650 you simply CANNOT go wrong here. I have used both the Nikon 80-200mm (non VR) and this lens and you are not giving up anything to go with this one. Trust me on this --- get this lens & use it. SHARP, FAST, QUALITY-BUILD.

Truly an amazing piece of glass to own and use.
-Andy


 
Fuji FinePix S2 Pro

Fuji_FinePix_S2_Pro
Review Date: Jul 4, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 12MP interpolated mode. Extremely strong & accurate colors and tone handling built in the camera itself. Onboard firewire support & compactflash, smartmedia, etc. Sturdy, well-built - handles all newer Nikon & Sigma lenses. Simply a joy to own & use! The best!
Cons:
The battery configuration. (AAs and 123s)

A good friend had a D100 and I read every single review from this side of the world around again before making such a important decision. I managed to get this camera and a lens + (2) 1GB microdrive units for the fabulous price of $1800.00 including shipping. (This was several months ago now) It is true that for the same picture, with the same lens, at the same time with the same technique, the S2 will take the prize over the D100. In its native .jpg mode, (which I tend to shoot a lot in for simplicity reasons) it is an -amazing- machine. This was a huge expense for me and my nativity with photography and my advancement from a N65 and Casio QV-3000 unit. I have learned so much about myself, photography and the skill involved in composition --- not just about the most expensive equipment on someone's shoulder bag.

The D100 and the S2 are both extremely good DSLR units and therefore I admire both of these tools. I have learned that the S2 like any piece of
photographic equipment is mearly a tool like a chisel to a woodcarver.
I would not be any more gifted nor my photographs any more well-composed using a D100, 10D, D60 or a D1x. To that end, I am cognizant that the S2 provides me all of the advantages of the modem DSLR in an extremely well-built and well-managed package. I would definately purchase one again over any other DLSR in the ~$2000 range. It is simply that good! I love my S2!!!!!!!!!! You will too!

HTH,
Andy


 
Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

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Review Date: Jun 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lens is solid, well-built and has fabulous depth for taking wildlife shots. The action is smooth and the HSM is silent and effective. Best bang for the $ anywhere. Toss on a Sigma 2X TC and you got an really effective lens (100-1000mm) For DLSRs even more! :-)
Cons:
The weight is a consideration for some. I find that the lens is well-balanced overall. The QC of some Sigmas is questionsble, but I have had nothing but good luck with mine.

This lens has produced some really good shots of wildlife for me during my many expeditions. For the price, this lens cannot be matched and I have been pleased with the quality and stability of this lens. Obviously unless you want to introduce a large amount of noise, shake and visual distortion in your pics, you are going to want to steady this unit with a nice tripod. I find the tripod collar and unit to be very sturdy and well engineered. This lens covers the wide range 50-500mm quite successfully and even wide open the quality is very good. I had some obvious reservations when a lens tries to "do too much" and cover too much range, but in this case I have been very encouraged by this quality piece of glass. All in all, get this lens and you will be delightfully surprised! Better yet, go grab a 1.4x or 2.0x TC and you have a MONSTER ZOOM that may not compete with the icy-cold egotistical gabby of your local professional "name brand only" groupies, but it will make you smile and let you keep some of your $$$ for other things --- like food, batteries and an extra set of hiking boots! :-)

I hope that this helps.
Thanks,
Andy