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Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

50_500EX_mdl_1_
Review Date: Mar 23, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $775.00

 
Pros: Sharp - Excellent contrast - Fast AF - Good ergonomics, make it easy to handle
Cons:
Zoom lock only @50mm. Lens cap does not work with shade.

Please read if you are considering purchasing the Nikon VR 80-400.

I purchased the Sigma after reading several reviews. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the lens right out of the box, the initial shots were marvelous. The handle / collar is well balanced and I found it easy to overwrite in manual focus if I needed to. I am old –fashioned and still like to use manual focus from time to time…

A contract with a rather large customer required me to have back-ups for all the equipment. Instead of buying another Sigma, I went with the Nikkor 80-400 VR at 2.5 times the cost of the Sigma.

I was looking to gain some flexibility with the VR feature and was especially looking to be able to shoot at lower speeds (at least that is what Nikon claimed). The Nikkor is smaller and lighter but that is about where the advantages end. The VR function did not work out of the box. I sent it to Nikon and it took them almost 10 weeks to return it. It still did not work and they claimed it was due to the Fuji S-3s that I use. I mounted it on Nikon bodies and still did not work so their explanations were not true.

The AF on the Nikkor is so slow, it is almost useless. The whole design is awkward and there are no good ergonomics to the Nikkor. I have placed the Nikkor side by side with the Sigma and find no image quality improvement with the Nikkor, in fact – I tend to find the image of the Nikkor flatter. Color is good in both lenses, sharpness is good on both but contrast is better with the Sigma.

The Sigma remains my lens of choice for this focal range. It is amazingly flexible and the image quality reminds me of lenses four times its price. I can understand that some modern photographers think it is heavy, especially if you are used to plastic / synthetic lenses but the lens is well balanced and that makes up for some of its weight.

On the Sigma; I only wish the lock would engage at all ranges not just 50mm. Also I do not care that the lens cap is not useable when the hood / shade is mounted.

So if you are considering the 80-400 Nikkor, look at the Sigma for a quality alternative that will save you some money!


 
Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

50_500EX_mdl_1_
Review Date: Mar 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $775.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp - Great contrast- Fast focusing - Quality built - Great ergonomics make it easy to handle
Cons:
Zoom lock only @50mm, lens cap issue with hood

Please read if you are considering purchasing the Nikon VR 80-400.

I purchased the Sigma after reading several reviews. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the lens right out of the box, the initial shots were marvelous. The handle / collar is well balanced and I found it easy to overwrite in manual focus if I needed to. I am old –fashioned and still like to use manual focus from time to time…

A contract with a rather large customer required me to have back-ups for all the equipment. Instead of buying another Sigma, I went with the Nikkor 80-400 VR at 2.5 times the cost of the Sigma.

I was looking to gain some flexibility with the VR feature and was especially looking to be able to shoot at lower speeds (at least that is what Nikon claimed). The Nikkor is smaller and lighter but that is about where the advantages end. The VR function did not work out of the box. I sent it to Nikon and it took them almost 10 weeks to return it. It still did not work and they claimed it was due to the Fuji S-3s that I use. I mounted it on Nikon bodies and still did not work so their explanations were not true.

The AF on the Nikkor is so slow, it is almost useless. The whole design is awkward and there are no good ergonomics to the Nikkor. I have placed the Nikkor side by side with the Sigma and find no image quality improvement with the Nikkor, in fact – I tend to find the image of the Nikkor flatter. Color is good in both lenses, sharpness is good on both but contrast is better with the Sigma.

The Sigma remains my lens of choice for this focal range. It is amazingly flexible and the image quality reminds me of lenses four times its price. I can understand that some modern photographers think it is heavy, especially if you are used to plastic / synthetic lenses but the lens is well balanced and that makes up for some of its weight.

On the Sigma; I only wish the lock would engage at all ranges not just 50mm. Also I do not care that the lens cap is not useable when the hood / shade is mounted.

So if you are considering the 80-400 VR Nikkor, look at the Sigma for a quality alternative that will save you some money and avoid the frustration of a slow focusing lens!


 
Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6D AF

1975NCP_180
Review Date: Nov 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $379.95 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness - Excellent color rendition - Good focal range - Well Balanced ** Superior to the latest Silent Wave version
Cons:
I wish it had better Macro capabilities.

I purchased this lens specifically for its sharpness and it has not disappointed me. Excellent image quality, probably the best Nikkor lens in this range to hit the market in the last 10 years.

Overall I have been very critical of the quality of Nikkor lenses in the last years, but this is the exception. It quickly became my main lens and I use it for 95% of all studio work. Nikon had an excellent thing going with this lens but once again they decided to mess it up and discontinue it just to replace it with the latest and inferior silent wave version.

It is a handy, lightweight and convenient lens. I only wish it had better macro capabilities and that the zoom would not push so much air through the barrel. I have quickly learned to zoom with moderate speed instead of slamming it from 120 to 24 in order to avoid dust from getting to the CCD, this has worked very well.

No complaints either on the construction quality. It holds up very well under constant professional use. I love the fact that I can shoot at f38 with it at 120mm with the Fuji S2 & S3.