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Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X 535 AF PRO DX

Review Date: Nov 27, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $530.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness and color rendition Relatively compact size (for zoom range) Build quality
Not the fastest focusing Non detachable tripod mount collar

A spectacular lens that should be in the bag of anyone who uses a DSLR with an APS-C sensor, providing your camera is compatible with the AF (Nikonians take note - no built in AF motor). It is quite simply a bargain for the $$.

The images are sharp with good color and contrast even wide open and razor sharp by f/4. Due to the fast aperture and excellent image quality, images become almost three dimensional, similar to using quality primes.

My only real complaint is that the tripod collar cannot be removed. I set it at about 1 o'clock to get it out of the way.

On my D300, AF is reasonably fast and positive though an AF-S design would be preferable.

The lens is also a little sensitive to contra light. I don't particularly like the included hood and purchased collapsible rubber hood instead.

That's about it for negatives.

I have no idea why Tokina discontinued this lens. One of the very best on the market. Unlikely I would ever sell mine unless I migrated out of DX photography.

Sigma 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5 Aspherical IF

Review Date: Oct 10, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Surprisingly good results if you understand and workaround its limitations. Excellent value for a general purpose walk around lens.
Not the sharpest lens at max aperture. Zoom creep. Consumer construction. Relatively large and heavy.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. This is not a pro level lens. It has its own warts and flaws. But it doesn't cost $1,000+. Saying that, the lens is a bargain and capable of delivering excellent results if you work within its strengths. My experience with the lens underscores the truth that you don't need expensive gear to capture great images.

I have used the lens on both DX and FX with good results. As you would expect, the lens shows its weakness at the extremes of the zoom range. Corners are soft and visible distortion on the wide end. Anything over 110mm is soft at max aperture. The lens excels in the 30-100mm range. Stop it down 1-2 stops and it delivers sharp photos with good color and contrast.

My satisfaction with the lens is so strong that I have purchased it in 2 different mounts: Pentax and Nikon. If you are on a budget or want a general purpose carry lens, this lens will serve you well.