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

l3a_copy
Review Date: Apr 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent color and very good sharpness, even at 12mm. VERY nice from 14-24mm. Good low price for the wide view(s). Solidly made.
Cons:
Hard lens for a slow learner like me.

This lens has a fairly steep learning curve compared to most. On a FF it vignetts (sp?) if the filter/lenscap holding ring is left on, for example. It took me a while to really appreciate what this can do for me.

I wanted a low level shooting position and a wide view for certain landscape type images I had in mind and this lens did the trick, even when used on 5D2 - the full frame. 12mm is awesome! It's a huge change from 16mm.


 
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

atx116
Review Date: Apr 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $585.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great feel to it; Smaller and faster than my Sigma 12-24mm (that's going on the block) Sharp lens and more than usable across the frame - even at 11mm.
Cons:
I'd love it to have a closer focusing capability. It'll focus at about a foot but it'd be awesome to get closer still. The MF to AF switch is done by sliding the focus ring back and forth with a click. I hope that used steel or allow for the clicklock or there will be problems if the lens is used both ways a lot.

I'll be trusting this one. It didn't need any microfocus fussing - sharp throughout right out of the box.

I like the build of it so much that I'm looking hard at my two remaining Sigmas. This one is no bigger than it needs to be, mounts regular filters without the shenanigans required by the sigma 12-24mm (77mm BTW).

I need more Tokinas!


 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: Mar 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Relatively light weight; can macro @ approx. 5 ft; excellent IS; very sharp and at it's best between 200mm and 300mm; uses 58mm filters; can be locked for transport at it's shortest overall length; excellent value.
Cons:
sliding tube within a tube design not my favorite (by a long shot).

This lens surprised me. I bought it used at a garage sale from a seller who couldn't give useful info about it's performance. Frankly, I bought it thinking it might be a usable telezoom for a student in our family who had expressed interest in photography and had bought an old 20D to that end.

But wait!, my first trial at 300mm, indoors in poor light rendered an amazingly sharp image of labels on cleaning products 15 ft away and the image stood up well to cropping out the center, maybe 10% of the overall frame. Hmmm.

Since then I've kept the lens and it gives very good results with both of my bodies, a 5D2 and a 1D2n. I feel awkward saying it in light of my original intent but this lens is too good to give away!

This one lives up to the description as a "sleeper" or "hidden gem" completely, IMO, and is well worth it's full retail price, again IMO.