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  Reviews by: Quentin  

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Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp from 1:1 to infinity; compact.
non-HSM focus; slightly rough bokeh, screw-in hood a little irritating (why not a clip-on?).

I purchased ths lens to compliment the longer Sigma 180mm HSM Macro. The 105mm F2.8 (latest digitally optimised version) is a useful focal length on my Kodak 14nx ful frame camera, and not too long on my Kodak DCS 760.

I use it mainly for stock tabletop and macro shots, at which it excels. The Kodak 14nx is fussy about lenses, and this has to be just about the best of the lot on this body.

I really cannot fault its performance at all. If I had to be hyper critical, then I'd say the bokeh is not as nice as that from the 180 HSM or my 85mm F1.4 Nikkor. But for most purposes, this is not an issue.

There is simply no reason to spend more on the overpriced Nikkor equivalent, and I'm glad I didn't.

Top marks are in order for one of Sigma's finest.

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Review Date: Feb 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Exceptionally low distortion, sharp almost to the corners (on full-frame Kodak 14nx DSLR), inexpensive for such leading-edge technology, build quality, weight
a little soft until stopped down to around F9.5, cannot use front filter, so no polarisers

This is only the second 12mm lens ever made that will cover the full 35mm frame (the first was a Voigtlander rangefinder I believe), and certainly the first zoom to do so. We are talking about exceptional technology here.

Even more remarkable is the minimal distortion at the wide end. there is a little pincusion distortion at 24mm.

I am using this lens on a Kodak 14nx full-frame dslr. True full-frame 12mm has to be seen to be believed, and with such low distortion, and good sharpness when stopped down, this is a fabulous high resolution architectural set-up unmatched below megabucks alternatives.

The downsides are minimal considering what Sigma have achieved here, but there is some softness, in the extreme corners only, on full frame.

A superb lens.

Nikon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF

Review Date: Aug 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp, particularly at the wide end; light, decent build quality, Proper "Nikkor" appearance.
Some vignetting on a full-frame DSLR (Kodak 14nx). Pincusion distortion at longer end; plastic lens mount.

Nikon have it right with this new lens. I was surpised to see it match my 17-35 F2.8 Nikkor for sharpness at 28mm at all but the very edge of the frame. It remains sharp throughout the range, just softening a little at 200mm.

A great walk-around lens capable of pro results, maybe a first from a superzoom. I recommend it highly.

Review format won't let me add price paid in GB pounds, but it is competitive with independent superzooms - and wouldn't you rather have a Nikkor on your F-mount camera, particularly as it is so good?

Kodak DCS Pro 14n

Review Date: Jan 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Exceptional resolution, sharper than comparable DSLRS due to absence of AA filter, great colour, value for money.
Poor high ISO performance (above 160 ISO), fussy about lens selection

You either love it or hate it. I love mine, while recognising its not the all-round preformer that Kodak originally promoted it as.

A great camera for many situations, including studio and portrait work. It will also work well for landscapes. Firmware updates have improved performance since the first reviews, and added long exposure capability.

The latest iteration of Photodesk is simple and excellent, with a selection of "looks" that suit different shooting conditions - but turn off the Photodesk noise reduction and sharpening. There are much better tools available as Photoshop Plug-ins.

Its a good idea to equip yourself with Quantum Mechanic Pro to remove colour aliasing artifacts that can appear due to the absence of an AA filter. Get to know rthe camera, treat it as a low ISO tool, and avoid certain lenses, and you have a camera that will deliver great and reliable results. Nothing available near the same price for this level of resolution.

Nikon 85mm f/1.4D IF AF Nikkor

Review Date: Jan 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, awesome image quality
Not AF-S

Possibly the finest lens I have ever owned. Optically superior to the Carl Zeiss equivalent I once owned. bitingly sharp even at F1.4, with hardly any light falloff. Fabulous construction. The ultimate portrait lens. If I had to quibble, I'd like it to focus a little closer.

Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

Review Date: Jan 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Reach, optical quality at the price
slight softness beyond 300mm

I'm giving this an excellent rating, because quite frankly, its a steal at the price. Focusing is slow, but the image is sharp, and the VR really works. Not as amazingly sharp as my 85mm F1.4, but sharp by any normal standards.

A regular in the camera bag.