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Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Nikkor

18-55VR
Review Date: May 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: A miracle. See review.
Cons:
None at all.

First off I'd like to list the (Canon) kit I've had in the past.

-----------------------------

Canon 18-55mm Kit Lens (my first lens with the 300D)

17-40mm f/4L

EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

24-70mm f2.8L

70-200mm (both the f/4L and f/2.8L non-IS)

Canon 50mm f/1.4

300D

20D and 30D

5D

------------------------------

I had all that around 2 years ago, but had to sell the lot because I couldn't justify it on my CC!

Anyway, you know how it is... Spring comes around and you get that expensive bug we call Photography. I bought a Nikon D60 18-55mm VR kit with an absolute PROMISE to myself that I wouldn't get carried away like I did the last time.

Well I've no need to worry.

The Review:

All that expensive Canon glass. Surely, ANY low-end lens is going to be less-than-impressive in comparison? Not this one!

The 18-55mm VR has really knocked me sideways! I knew that Nikon made good glass, but blimey, this is a kit lens!

This lens is sharp across all focal lengths and apertures But it wasn't only the sharpness that got me - it was the contrast.

It kicks the Canon 18-55mm kit lens all over - no contest there. But that's not all; image-quality wise, it easily stands up with Canon's best L-glass. (no... YES!)

If I was to tell you that this Lens gives me nicer out-of-the-camera images than the 17-40mm 'L' ever gave me, you'd laugh right? Well, it does, even when viewed at 100%! And with LESS CA, too.

The VR is nice, but this is one area I get the feeling it's not quite as good as Canon's IS. Not that it doesn't do the job, just not quite as well as IS.

Build-quality is surprising, with a nice smooth zoom ring and hardly any front element 'wobble' at all. Feels very stable in the hand.

So I'm well pleased. For the money (practically free as a kit) this lens is a little miracle, and I won't be looking to upgrade any time soon.

For the price, it gets an overall 10. Build score: 9.

Get one!


 
Canon EOS 30D

Canon_30D
Review Date: Jun 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The 30D, like the 20D before it, is a superb dSLR bargain. If you're mulling over this purchase, don't. Just buy it.
Cons:
When the presence a print button is all you have to moan about, you know you've got a fine Camera.

As above, 10's all 'round.

 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Jun 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Everything's already been said. Indeed, the 5D is a very nice Camera. But...
Cons:
...It's a lot of money for what you get.

Ok. Well, the 5D does exactly what it says on the tin. But consider this...

Here in the UK, you can buy a 30D + 17-40L + 70-200 f/4L, all new, for the same cost as a new 5D. Now you have to ask yourself; is a few extra mm of silicon really worth two top quality 'L' lenses?

Mine has a very loose CF door. Out of my 300D, 20D, 30D and 5D, the 5D has the creakiest, loosest CF door of the lot. No big deal, sure, but one expects better from a Camera carrying such a premium.

Another reason I bought the 5D (other than FF) was for the better ISO and DR performance that such a large pixel pitch offers, only to be disappointed to find that it carry's practically no advantage over the 30D in these area's.

Sure, a 5D paired with a 50mm f/1.4 is a lovely thing, and to many, full-frame is the only way to go. But for me, it's not worth the cost over the 20D / 30D. Don't get me wrong, it's a super Camera, and if you're after full-frame then it'll be worth every penny to you... It's just not for everyone.

Build Quality Rating: 7 (9 if it wasn't for the CF door issue)

Price Rating: 6

Overall Rating: 9


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

ef70_200_28_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: It's all been said already. Phenomenal value. Perfection in a tube.
Cons:
Gives a false sense that all Canon 'L' zooms are this good. They aren't.

Canon have long since nailed their telephoto Lenses, and this one is no exception. Just don't expect to be getting the same quality from their wider 'L' zooms.

Some say it's heavy. But for what this Lens gives you, it's a lightweight. Easily hand-holdable all day long on a 20d + Grip.

I had the f/4 version. The f/2.8 gives better IQ and the focus is much better and more accurate in low light. I've never had it miss focus yet. Probably another plus of being f/2.8.

Can I not give this an 11 rating? A Lens you'll never want to sell.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Nov 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: A brilliant Lens which worked flawlessly on my EOS 300d.
Cons:
Back-focused on FOUR different 20d's.

This Lens is everything everyone is saying about it. Unfortunately, in my experience, this Lens just doesn't perform reliably enough on a 20d. This forced me to upgrade to the f/2.8L version which works perfect with the 20d.

So, I would highly recommend this Lens unless you're using a 20d, where I would be inclined to give the Lens a damn good testing before committing to a purchase.

I'm giving this Lens an '8' but it was a definite 'perfect 10' when used on my 300d.

Brilliant value when it doesn't back-focus.


 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Oct 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Almost as good as Canon's 'L' W/A zooms image-quality wise...USM focusing as good as it gets - Great price! Better value than any 'L' Lens in a similar zoom range. Light weight.
Cons:
Probably best to stick to the 28-80mm range. Can get soft(ish) @ 105mm - Would be nice if build was just a tad better, but waaaay better than the 18-55mm 'Kit Lens' it's likely to replace.

Just to echo most of the other reviews really. A super little Lens and fantastic value. I'm rating it a '10' not because it's the best Lens in the world, but because it's the best Canon W/A zoom you can buy at this price! (probably)

Buy one even if you don't need one!


 
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

efs60_28macro_usm
Review Date: Aug 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb. Don't tell Canon, but I would have paid double the price for this Lens. Wonderful for shooting anything and everything.
Cons:
My zoom Lenses suddenly became crap.

I used to think that soft images were just an inherit part of dSLR Cameras...WRONG! It was my zoom Lenses all along, and the EF-S 60mm Macro proves it.

This is my first Prime, and nothing prepared me for the sharpness and realism a Lens like this offers. it's sharper than my 70-200mm f/4L, and the image quality is so good that it has become my first choice 'walk around' Lens on my 20D (with 1:1 Macro as a major bonus!)

While the AF can be slow, I haven't witnessed any of the low light focus problems noted elsewhere. Build quality rivals 'L' glass.

Buy it. But be warned, it's SERIOUSLY addictive, and if you've only ever used zooms, even 'L' zooms, be prepared to dump them for a life of prime(s) It's true, it's THAT good!


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Aug 30, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Well built. Fast, precise focusing. Ermmm...
Cons:
Horrible image quality @ 40mm f/4. Not brilliant stopped down. WAY too big and heavy for this range/speed.

Well what can I say. I bought this Lens with pretty high expectations. To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement...

Now maybe I just got a bad copy (in which case it still deserves the '2' rating for the bad QC) But this Lens was simply terrible wide open, REALLY soft. Stopping down to f/4.5 improved things greatly, but still it wasn't what I'd expect from an expensive 'L' Lens (580 in the UK !?!)

I also own the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX and as crazy as it sounds this Lens is sharper @ f/2.8 than the 17-40L is @ f/5.6 throughout the entire range. I wish I'd done some comparison shots but I couldn't get the thing back to the store fast enough.

This Lens is slow enough already without having to stop down to get a reasonable image.

I have the 70-200mm f/4L and the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro and these are exceptional Lenses. The 17-40L is not. If you're looking for a Lens in this range for your 1.6x crop dSLR, do yourself a favour and go with the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX instead. It's a whole stop faster, a whole lot smaller, a whole lot sharper and a whole lot cheaper.


 
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

18-50f28
Review Date: May 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: A superb Lens in just about every respect. VERY useable wide open.
Cons:
Perhaps just a tad too much CA @ 18mm (?)

This really is a great Lens...Sharpness, contrast, realistic 'vivid' colours, fast, quiet and accurate focusing. This one has it all.

This Lens has what I like to call the "L" factor. Images have that eye-popping quality and sharpness of Canon's L Lenses.

One thing that did bother me at first was CA at 18mm. After having shot 500+ shots though, it really isn't bad at all; nothing like as bad as the 18-55mm 'kit' Lens - You really have to look for it. Given the great quality everywhere else, I can definitely live with it. And besides, find me a Lens that has none at 18mm!

Some have been comparing this to the 18-55mm 'kit' Lens. NO COMPARISON, full stop.

Bottom line: If you're thinking of buying the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L or similar, you should definitely give this Lens a try first. It is 95% the quality at 1/3rd the price + you get an extra 15mm at the long end to boot! Just make sure to buy it from somewhere with at least a 7 day return policy just in case you get a bad copy.

A very definite 10/10.