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  Reviews by: Matt Hunt  

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Tamron 70-300MM F/4-5.6 LD Macro AF

Review Date: Aug 13, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Range (in theory), size of grips for focus and zoom. 1:2 macro
Too light, needs manual focus when in 'macro' mode and the manual focus ring is too highly geared making to hard to achieve accurate focus

OK, I've tried this on a Canon 30D since my wife is interested in taking close-up pictures, but not always true macro. I had hoped that this lens would give her a passable street lens with which she could also photograph textures, patterns etc.

Ergonomically the lens is not too bad, however, on an overcast day in the street the lens did not want to focus on a man in a white shirt against a dark building and insisted on focusing on various peripheral focus points instead. In the macro mode, the closest focus is some three feet away and you need to fully extend the lens. Since it is so light I found it hard to keep steady (I do not have unsteady hands) and the AF hunted. In manual focus the focus ring is light and highly geared so despite my best efforts to move the ring a fraction at a time, I kept overshooting my focus point.

I can see that if you want a lens for pictures to shove on facebook for example, this might well be adaquate but otherwise it is too flawed.

Nikon D300

Review Date: Apr 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ergonomics, ease of use, picture quality, monitor quality, ISO performance up to c. 1200. The autofocus is very reliable.
Very minor niggle:I wish there was a fast way to select 'Shoot' modes.

This is my first DSLR and I spent some time debating if I should change systems and move away from Nikon. When I went camera hunting I wanted high ISO performance, reliable AF, build quality and weatherproofing and the D300 offers this in spades.

It just fits into my hands and nearly everything is within easy reach.

It is intuitive to use too. I sat down to read the manual and found that I was really just checking that what I thought I was doing to the camera was indeed correct. The images that it produces are wonderfully sharp and the colours are excellent although the 'Vivid' setting is rather garish for my taste. Monochrome images with the in-camera filter effects are also good. Shooting in raw the buffer offers around 17 frames which is ample for me.

The only issues with the AF is when one of the extreme out-lying AF points to the left or right is selected over something that is not very high contrast, but then this is not a 100% fair test of the camera and happens at wide angle only so far. Moving in just one AF point solves the problem.

I wish it had a cable release socket, although the shutter delay option works perfectly well.

Since I brought this home, my F80 has shot only 19 frames....

Example images shot so far:

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

Review Date: Nov 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Focal length range, feels solid, sharp one you are 2-3 stops in past the minumum at whatever focal length you're at.
Too soft (unusable) at the maximum aperture. Creeps to 135mm when hanging off the shoulder so easy to bump into things if you're distracted.

I bought this as a travel lens after my 28-100 was too short for a trip earlier this year. I really like the weight and build of this lens and once I am in around 2 stops, the thing is sharp.

The zoom ring is firm but not stiff and manual focussing is also OK.

What drives me nuts is that it is not just soft at its max aperture of f2.8, but at longer lengths you still need to be about 2 stops 'in' from the minimun to ensure results.

As a result, when I have some more money, I will seriously consider replacing this with Nikon's 24-120 VR.

Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Review Date: Apr 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp and bright. Feels well built and has a good weight to it. Tripod collar easy to loosen when moving from landscape to portrait.
Just tow niggles. It is fiddly removing / replacing lens cap when hood is on. The focus ring is feels a little 'rough' unlike Sigma's 100-300mm.

When I was looking for a macro lens I looked at Tamron's 90mm, Sigma's 105mm and this one.

I found the other two lacked the reach that I wanted and Sigma's 105 took and age to focus. I also found it fairly hard to focus.

The 150mm sits well in my hands and has a solid weight that I find very helpful when not using a tripod. The broad focusing ring means that when used with the tripod collar on, there is no obstruction of the focusing ring. Yes, it does not have the fastest AF, but as already said in other reviews, it does not really need it and the limiter is useful.

The lens hood really obstructs removing the cap but I am not sure how that can be avoided.

I have used this lens a great deal in the 3 weeks I have had it and it is probably my best purchase. Well recommended.

Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

Review Date: Apr 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: For the money paid, the build feels very solid and it moves smoothly but with a reassuring feel. It focuses well, it is the only lens around this length I've tried that did not 'hunt' when testing. It is heavy enough to hold solidly but not tiring and when fitted with the 2x converter the balance is still good.
Slightly nose heavy which may be off-putting, the collar can sometimes get in the way - but then it can always come off. Nothing else for the value.

bought this after reading the reviews here and though I've yet to get images developed I am already adoring this purchase. It fits the hand well and as mentioned in the 'pros' in heavy enough to hold stable for hand shooting but not arm fatigingly so.

The front ring for manual focusing comes easily to hand and offers a good firm grip, only the zoom ring is prone to obstruction by the collar.

For the money spent I am well pleased with the result.