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

2139NAS_180
Review Date: May 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,529.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, build, vibration reduction, contrast, bokeh.
Cons:
Could be cheaper, but pro glass (and that's what this is) costs money.

With Nikon's rebate program going on through the end of June '04, I decided to jump on this lens since I could double the $150 rebate for this particular product. I had only recently purchased a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (lovely lens), but I had heard so many good things about the VR system.

When my lens arrived, I was disappointed. I couldn't tell a difference in my pictures with VR on and with it off. And even then, sharpness was nowhere near what it was with my Sigma. I suspected something had to be wrong, and that was confirmed after talking to Nikon. Back the lens went, and my new one was on the way.

I got the replacement a couple of days ago, and the thing works beautifully. Need a shot at 200mm with a shutter of 1/10s? No problem, VR will take care of that camera shake. Want to shoot wide open? The sharpness isn't that much less than when stopped down. Shots at moderate apertures (e.g. f/5.6) are stunning. This is the only zoom I have in my bag, because I think it's 99% as sharp as primes in the same range.

Highly recommended - an amazing lens.


 
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

05_03_1_
Review Date: Apr 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $660.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Quiet, fast, sharp, excellent value
Cons:
Lens cap not quite up to par

This lens is a ton of fun to shoot with, and provides excellent image quality. It's a tremendous value compared to the alternative (Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR). Not because the Nikon lens is poor (far from it), but at about 40% of the price, the Sigma can stand right next to its more expensive cousin in probably 98% of shooting conditions. I have yet to put this lens through its paces with nature photography, but it works wonderfully when shooting sports.

 
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

2137NCP_180
Review Date: Apr 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, speed, cost, weight
Cons:
None at this price

If this lens cost four times as much it would still be a good value. At around $100, it's a must-have. It's great for portrait shots as well as low-light performance.