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  Reviews by: Jonathan F  

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Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF-S

400VR
Review Date: Aug 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpest lens ever!
Cons:
Expensive, heavy and still uses the two-piece hood (though not as bad as the previous AFS I/II hood).

This lens I refer to as my insurance lens. If all else fails, this is the lens that gets the money shot! It is so sharp and renders pictures so beautifully, the only other lenses that matches it for exquisite images is the 600 f/4 VR & 200 f/2 VR. Mated with a 1.4 TC-14E II, this lens makes an awesome 600 f/4 VR. While I'm no fan of TCs, this is one lens that can easily use them with NO quality loss. I'd recommend getting a replacement foot with a smaller profile as it makes the lens a little easier to manage. This lens is probably Nikon's most versatile. On an FX 12mp body, this lens makes an excellent low-light/smooth bokeh lens. When mated to a DX body, it becomes a 600mm FOV lens in good light and with a 1.4 TC it goes even further.

Overall I'm very happy with this lens, and use it every chance I get. Highly recommended if you're looking for that one telephoto lens that does it all. If I could pick only one super telephoto lens in Nikon's line-up this would be the one!


 
Nikon 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED AF-S II Nikkor

2127_180
Review Date: Jan 19, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: This lens is sharp for sharp! AFS is silent and fast. This lens is built to pro specs and is best used with pro bodies such as the D3 and D3X. It's 'light' for a 400mm 2.8 lens, probably the lightest of the bunch. It's also the last of aperture ring telephotos which means if your AFS motor goes out, you can still use it as an MF lens.
Cons:
As others have chimed in, the two-piece hood is a real disaster. The worst hood I have ever had on any telephoto lens I have owned. I absolutely hate the hood. The locking screws are very fragile and prone to break or thread. It's a $35 repair at Nikon. Because of the hood, I' have to deduct a point to the overall rating of this lens, due to little or no alternatives.



 
Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

1929NCP_180
Review Date: Dec 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light and Compact. Built in Macro is handy.
Cons:
Non AF-S lens. Would be nice if it had VR.

This lens serves as a good intermediate lens between the consumer grade small aperture zooms and the expensive constant 2.8 pro zooms. While an older design, this lens really has no competition in the Nikon lens lineup. The real practical benefit of this lens is the 2.8 aperture on the wide end. This really makes a difference in focusing speed and it's ability to lock on subjects when shooting in low light. It's fairly compact and light weight. It also produces very sharp pictures and rich colors.

I do wish it was an AF-S lens though, but there aren't really much options when it comes to moderate priced Nikon FX medium zoom lenses. If you need a lens that is light/compact and has good low light focusing while on a budget, I recommend the 24-85 AF-D.


 
Sigma 500mm f4.5 EX Apo HSM

500f4_5EX_lg_1_
Review Date: Apr 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp telephoto lens. Excellent price. Good sharpness at f/4.5 Very good sharpness at f/5.6 and above. Light weight is a plus.
Cons:
Doesn't autofocus with teleconverters unless you resort to modifications to the the TC. Doesn't have VR/IS.

I've had this lens almost two years now. Probably one of the best values in super telephoto lenses. I currently shoot it with a D300 and D2X and the results are excellent. Despite being a non optical stabilized (OS) lens, the light weight makes it possible to hand-hold for short periods of time. I own the non-DG version. This lens is very rare to find on the used market. I also own a Nikon 200-400 VR. I've done side-by-side test and I actually found the Sigma to match the Nikon in image quality if not slightly exceed it. For the price, I find this lens to be the best bang for your buck 500mm on the market, especially if you can find one used!