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  Reviews by: Louis Otto  

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Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Built like a Tank, Silent Autofocus
Slightly too long focal length on cropped sensors, makes it hard to handhold. Not as sharp as I was lead to believe. AF hunts quite a lot.

The build quality is unparalleled, trust me. A tank would be an understatement.

The autofocus is generally nippy if you're quite close to the focus anyway, otherwise is will hunt for quite a while, especially in low contrast situations.

Personally I didn't find it as sharp as generally reviewed, it may have been that I got a bad copy but I was sad to see it go when I sold it.

I found that on a 350D the lens isn't too fun to use, it really makes the weight unbalanced towards the front and the focal length being around 230mm is hard to use handheld, especially working at such high magnifications!

At f/2.8 the lens is far too soft, but at around f/11 it becomes pretty decent!

Nikon D200

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Layout of controls, 10mp sensor, quality of results, user friendliness, build quality is fantastic, 2.5 screen is bright and sharp with good colour. Weather sealing.
Battery life isn't quite what it could be

I switched to this camera from using Canon 30Ds and 5Ds and I must say that this beats the competition right down.

The quality of this camera is outstanding. The body is just the right size and weight, and the magnesium alloy build is robust enough to withstand hard wear. Weather sealed compartments are another big bonus. Compartments are comfortably damped and solidly sealed.

This is every inch the pro's camera in my opinion, 5fps for sports, enough megapixels to cover a full magazine double spread and cover weddings and events easily. And the quality of the images is always reflected by your technique, it's very unforgiving!

The battery life isn't quite what it should be, certainly not long enough for a full day's shooting. Personally I prefer the feel of larger cameras like the Canon EOS 1D and Nikon D2X so I opted for the battery grip, which adds comfortable weight and size AND the extra battery life required.

I would HIGHLY recommend this for pros and enthusiasts alike, I have never enjoyed photography as much as when I use this camera!

Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great entry level, good quality, good range of lenses and accesories, cheap, great battery life
VERY plasticky, too small, prone to sensor dust

For an entry DSLR this is a good choice, it has enough features to teach anyone the basics of DSLR photography.

The camera is small in comparison to most other models, but not too small. My experiences with this camera have always been positive and I couldn't put it down for the price it costs.

With such a wide range of lenses and accesories it really makes moving up to the 30D or 5D quite easy though you will notice the change in size.

The user-friendliness is also great, the controls are in just the right place. Except why have a print button!? No one uses it, I know I never even touched it lol

Overall, if you want an entry to DSLRs as a complete beginner then this is your tool, but experienced film users would be much better off going straight for the 30D or 5D instead.

Tamron 90MM F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: SHARP, Recessed lens is its own lens shade, price
Noisy AF, extending barrel, deceptive apertures

This lens is as sharp as they say it is, truly. There are a few issues with this, it reaches its peak at fairly too wide an aperture, which is uncommon for macro lenses, but I find that at f/11 its still sharp edge to edge and perfect.

The bokeh is outstanding, 9 blades really do make the difference. Background blur is creamy and smooth, better than expected.

Autofocus is slow, and sometimes hunts a little. But that's common for macro lenses. It's also pretty noisy, and at only 90mm, sometimes that scares your subject away.

I do like the manual/auto focus mechanism, I find it so much quicker than fiddling to find a little switch.

Also, the aperture of the lens is considered a f/2.8, and at infinity focus it is, but as you close in to 1:1 reproduction, the aperture stops down to f/5.6. So at 1:1 you will shoot at a max aperture of f/5.6. So if you were considering using this lens with a 2x teleconverter, it may just end up being f/11 max at 1:1 (not entirely sure about this one, someone else will have to elaborate)

Don't let the negatives put you down though, honestly this is in my opinion the best macro lens I've used and I would honestly put it right beside the 105 VR Nikkor in quality.

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

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: SHARP!! Cheap, nearly silent and quick autofocus, non rotating front element, light, reasonably cheap.
67mm filter size is weird, distortion at 18mm, backwards focussing takes getting used to

Firstly, for a 7.7 review this lens is much better than it seems. As a walkabout lens it's brilliant, I chose it over the 18-55mm because I wanted the extra 15mm for slightly more coverage.

The built quality is fairly plasticky, but without it being horrible. Keeping the price down was the right move to make I suppose.

The sharpness of this lens is incredible, edge to edge it really does impress. Colour quality is great and there's hardly any chromatic abberations. There is slight barrel distortion at 18mm but at 20mm its practically gone, so no worries really.

A bit of a bother is that the focus and zoom rings are switched round, which sometimes catches you unawares, as you're manually focusing suddenly you zoom in a few notches and it ruins your focus Nah!

A good point of the lens is that the autofocus is snappy and also pretty silent, which is great in my opinion.

Overall I'd highly recommend the lens.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, optical quality overall, price
Rear lens cap is a tupperware cap!

I've been wanting a good 50mm prime for some portrait work for ages, I must say this Nikkor lens has surpassed every single expectation I've had! It's sharpness is amazing, at f/1.8 you have a brilliant mix of centre sharpness and diffused softness. When stopped down to f/8 or 11 things really become tack sharp.

I don't see why people put this lens down on its 'plasticky feel' yes I will make it clear, it does feel plasticky, but well built. And you have to ask yourself, how much damage are you gonna put your equipment through? I'm fairly sure if I dropped this lens it would survive (it's pretty light). Also, at the price you're paying you could easily buy a replacement if it did break.

Autofocus is actually pretty loud for this little thing, louder than I first thought it would be, and the focussing ring is just smaller than I would have liked it but they're such negligble aspects that they won't affect my view of the lens!

Overall, highly recommended. I've had no problems and the results have always impressed me!