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Tamron 150-600MM F/5-6.3 DI VC USD

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Review Date: Jun 13, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,069.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The range, colors, tonal quality, bokeh, relatively very lightweight (the weight of a 70-200), sharp
Cons:
None so far

Ok, let's be serious here- a $1000 lens that has a 600mm range, keeps F5 for a good portion of the range, is only several pounds, focuses quietly and accurately, with sharpness of your subject and out of focus elements fading out nicely. What is there not to like? Some of these reviews are trying to go in with expectations that are unreal. I would be more critical if I was paying $3000-4000 like the competition costs. The Sigma 150-500 and the previous 200-500 are a different league, not worthy of comparison, and you lose a lot of light because the variable aperture increases so fast on those lenses. This lens should be nicknamed the little-ma for it's relative size (don't expect prime, but maybe the smallest lens over 300mm I've ever seen). Sounds like some copy variance, but I got one that is spot on, I mean an amazing keep rate and I'm seriously in love with the colors and rendering. And, I have an extra $2000-3000 in my pocket.

 
Nikon 58mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor

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Review Date: Dec 20, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Build quality, Fast AF, pretty accurate AF, good range for portraits
Cons:
Muted colors, low contrast, average bokeh for the price, soft lens unless stopped down

Not sure if I've ever been so disappointed by a lens. First off, I'm not a pixel peeper, however for a portrait lens I want the point of focus to be sharp and a nice transition into a soft but full background. Nikon has for years not had a professional level 50mm lens, and for some photographers, a good normal reliable 50 is important. The 50 1.4D and G had less reliable AF, while the 50 1.8G fixed that but is not a caliber of lens that I would use all day. I even switched to Canon for a while just to shoot the gorgeous 50 1.2L. So when this lens came out, I was excited. But after doing some controlled tests with the Nikon 58 1.4 and the Sigma 50 1.4 at F/1.4, I really could not tell the images apart, except for the fact that the Sigma was sharper!

-Soft lens
First few shots out of the box were soft- and a different soft than what I've seen before. Quickly ruled out hand-shake by increasing shutter speed, and the amazing thing is that even on the LCD it looks like the whole image is soft. So I brought up the images on screen, and even on screen the first impression of the shot is that there's no point in the frame in super sharp focus. In zooming in, you can find where the lens hit, but it's not that much sharper than the rest. If I had to sum up, this lens has a lack of micro-contrast to draw attention to your image in focus. Just a flat looking shot- the lack of popping colors or really engaging bokeh doesn't help.

AF-
AF was nice and snappy, but did get fooled more than I was used to with Nikon.

Colors-
This is where I was shocked- the colors were awful in my opinion. There was a brown/green cast on the images, even images like reds and blues didn't pop out. It seemed like in order to try and compete as a portrait lens, Nikon created "soft focus" by muting the colors. Not really easy to edit in post-processing either. Yuck. Preferred even the $400 Sigma 50 1.4 over this.

Bokeh-
People were comparing this to the NOCT 58 1.2. Let's just set the records straight, not even in the same league. The bokeh is very flat (although round wide open), and there seems to be a lack of details in the highlights and shadows.

Sharpness-
Stopped down past f2, much better sharpness, and all of the above (AF, colors, bokeh) improve. But at this price point, you want to be able to shoot at f/1.4 (keep in mind I already calibrated the lens to my camera). The focus hits where it should, but just doesn't "pop."

Overall, I guess that's my criticism. This lens does not pop. And considering Canon has a $1300 50 1.2L that is sharper at f/1.2 than this lens is at F/1.4, Nikon shooters are still stuck with the choice of shooting with a sub-par 50mm lens, or just adjusting to shoot with the much-better 35G and 85G lenses. In short, not worth the money- I probably would not pay more than $500 for this lens.

If this was a $500 lens, I'd rate it a 7.


 
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD SP

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Review Date: Apr 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, quiet, accurate AF. Sharp!! Continuous AF is the best of any lens available for Sony mount.
Cons:
Size, zoom in the front

This review is mainly going to address autofocus performance versus image quality. For Sony shooters, there is no substitute. I switched to Sony a few years back because I loved the image quality. I immediately noticed with all Sony lenses (I've shot with every lens currently available), that as a wedding photographer, all the lenses lacked the ability to track a moving object moving towards or away from the subject. Sure, if you didn't care if the shot was soft, and slightly focused in front or behind your subject, lenses like the Sony 70-200 and 24-70 Zeiss were acceptable in good light, but move to low light or tricky light situations, and you couldn't get more than 1 or 2 keepers out of 10. The 70-200 would hunt like mad and the AF would slow to a crawl. Good luck trying to focus on a moving subject...

After shooting with every available lens, I started guessing it might be the lenses and not the camera, so I preordered the Tamron 24-70 for Sony A mount, since I knew it was a relatively fast and accurate tracking lens on Nikon/Canon mount. I've shot this on the Nikon (great option for that system), and Canon, so this was the perfect test.

Combined with the a99 in continuous AF, single point, fast-moving subject moving towards the camera, this lens was ridiculously more accurate than the Sony 24-70, 6/10 were right on, 2 missed because I didn't hit the focus on the subject, and 2 missed as the camera was refocusing. Not so great, you might say...but the Sony 24-70 and 70-200 had 1/10 or 2/10 in every test. So I would say this...Sony AF still has a lot of maturing to do- same test on the Nikon AF produced slightly more keepers (8/10), but that could be partially to do with Nikon's better predictive AF system. But if you are shooting weddings and care that your processional shots (especially in a dark church) are in focus, or you don't want your lens hunting for several seconds in continuous AF, this is the only lens of choice. The 24-70 Sony Zeiss has better colors, but this is sharper.

I'm now hopeful that the new Tamron 70-200 will be the long end solution...until now I've had to carry two systems- one for action and the Sony for portraits!


 
Nikon 28mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

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Review Date: Jul 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Skin tones, perfect focal length, low light, handles flare extremely well, AF accuracy
Cons:
AF slowness, needs micro-adjustment for f/1.4-1.8

I picked up one of these lenses used and was worried because of all of the reviews posted here. And, initially I experienced similar problems- the lens was soft wide open, and a lot of my pictures came out blurry.

I tried this lens on three cameras: d3, d3s, and D7000 and compared it to my 24 1.4g, and found that the color representation was stunningly better on the 28mm than the 24. And, that's saying a lot because I LOVE my 24 1.4g for its color, sharpness, and IQ.

So, I gave it another shot...spend 30 minutes or so AF fine-tuning (which is a must-have feature on a Nikon), and found the sweet spot. Now, the lens focuses spot-on sharp at 1.8 and above, and crazy sharp at 2.8 on my D7000.

For my D3 and D3s, it was spot-on out of the box from f/1.8 on, and needed some micro adjustment for 1.4.

The good:

- Amazing film color representation and great contrast. Shots just come out of the camera looking edited. The skin of your subject is a beautiful peach tone, vs most of the modern lenses that go too red or too orange. I've shot with almost every D and G lens in the Nikon digital lineup, and this one is the only lens that makes me think I'm still shooting film.
- Unlike most of the G lenses that handle sun flare by dampening it into this blue/green nasty look, this lens doesn't even need a hood- it just soaks in the sunlight and produces a fabulous image with nice warm tones.
- GREAT range. 24 can tend to be too wide for documentation, and eventually you get sick of everything looking super wide. The 28mm has a feeling of belonging as an every-day lens, but with the wide-angle sharpness and feel. 35mm tends to be too close and boxy, and shooting vertically on a 35 makes your subject's head look oversized.

The bad:

-It's about 60% as fast AF as the 24-70 and about 75% as fast as the 24 1.4. So, if you're going to use this to track subjects, shoot a lot. For wide portraits, objects, etc, this is an awesome lens. And, if you don't mind 1 out of every 5 shots coming out soft, AF is not an issue.
- You'll need to have AF fine tune (D3, D3s, D300s, D7000) because it'll need a little tweaking. But once you do, watch out.
- The price. Nikon doesn't seem interested in coming out with an update to this, so you either have this, or the junky 28mm 2.8. Most pros who like the 28mm range will have to bite the bullet at get this lens or shoot zooms. Thus the price. I got a pretty good deal on one, but still paid a considerable amount more than my 24 1.4g.


 
Nikon 24mm AF-S Nikkor f/1.4G ED

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Review Date: May 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, vibrant colors, fast wide with excellent IQ and AF
Cons:
As with any fast wide, it's a pretty hefty lens

I recently switched from Canon, which was a daunting task having shot Canon since I started shooting weddings at the pro level. At first, I was very hesitant because Canon's strengths are their amazing image quality, and I didn't want to affect the quality of my photos out of camera. Well, this lens made it all worth it. Having shot with every Canon prime L lens currently out, and specifically the Canon 24 1.4, this is one of the few primes that matches the dreamy-creamy nature of the Canon L lenses, and is superior in IQ and sharpness. Amazing.

When I'm not shooting weddings, I put this on my travel D7000 and I have an effective 35mm 1.4 lens for travel photography and video. This works so well, I'm selling my 35mm 1.4g, another amazing lens.

Some samples here:

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