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Nikon 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF Nikkor

1940NAS_180
Review Date: Aug 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very compact for its speed, very sharp, fantastic colors and great contrast, price!!!!
Cons:
none

I recently made a change from an outdated Canon 10D to a Fujifilm S3 Pro, therefore I needed to change out my lenses (the few that I had). I first acquired the Nikkor 50mm f1.8, a rather standard walk around lens and one that I am familiar with, as I frequently shot the Canon 50mm f1.8. I must say that the build quality and image quality of the Nikon lens is far greater then the Canon, even through they both run about a $100 bucks.

My next lens was the Nikkor ED AF 180mm F2.8 which I purchased off EBay for $300 bucks and is in mint condition. The build quality is superior, while the overall lens size is rather compact for such a fast lens. The optical quality is excellent, as the lens produces razor sharp images that are contrasty and have vivid colors. Yes, the AF is slightly slow, but who cares, youíre getting one of the sharpest lenses made for $300 bucks, there must be a flaw somewhere. On the S3 Pro body the AF works fine and speed is adequate.

I honestly wasnít too sure about getting a 180mm prime since itís not really long enough for average wildlife, and its too long for portraits, however, it seems to work in many of my situations. It seems to have a rather large magnification for a 180mm lens, which is great to have for large wildlife and taking pictures of my kids as the play in the yards, etc.

I am in the process of buying a Kenko Pro 2x teleconverter. From what I have read, the glass within the teleconverter is great and will produce sharp images with this prime, while giving me a 360mm F5.6 lens that still has AF. No Nikon brand AF TC will work without modification.


 
Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

100-300if_1_
Review Date: Jun 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing build quality, razor sharp, great contrast and great (slightly warm) colors.
Cons:
..maybe that it doesnt have OS.

I think its rather funny that so many Canon ďLĒ lovers canít seem to appreciate that another manufacturer built a great lens. You should have heard what the sales people where trying to say about a comparison between the Sigma 100-300 versus Canon 100-400 IS L, it was comical.

Prior to the Sigma 100-300 f4, the greatest lens (by far) that I have owned was the Canon 70-200 f4 L. The performance of the Canon was stunning, razor sharp and slightly warm colors (just what I prefer). After buying a 10D, the zoom range was rather unusable, so I sold the lens.

Anyway, I have been searching for a longer range zoom for wildlife (not birding) and I was seriously looking at the Sigma 80-400, but then stumbled across the 100-300 f4. According to Photozone.de, its one of the sharpest lenses every tested. Itís sharper then the infamous 70-200 2.8, and by far sharper (almost embarrassingly to Canon) then the proclaimed 100-400 IS L. Its barely sharper then Canonís 300 f2.8 prime.

Yes, its heavy, but if thatís what it takes to produce great images then so be it. The only thing that I wish it had was the OS. If it had OS I would pay $500 more for it. And NO, I would not buy the Canon 100-400 for that price, its just not worth it.

This is my first Sigma and I must say that the company has undergone some serious engineering and quality changes. I wouldnít be surprised if they become one of the leading lens manufacturers over the next few years. The reason I say that is because Canon (makes great lenses by the way) hasnít move forward very far, while Sigma jumped 10 miles.

For anyone who is looking at this lens as an option, you would be a fool to pass it up for $900t. Itís a great piece of glass and under priced. Donít let the blind ďLĒ lovers derail you from this lens, its far better then many of the Canon Lís.