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Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S

2141NCP_180
Review Date: Sep 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Weight, sharpness
Cons:
Cheesy construction (though no problems yet because of it)

Chalk me up in the column that actually thinks this is a pretty good little lens. The build quality definitely does not inspire confidence. The barrel extends out when you zoom and you can actually jiggle around the extended part of the barrel considerably, BUT...... the lens is sharp, at any focal length! It is also seems pretty resistant to flare, though I don't use it a lot for into the sun shots. I must admit this is a strange focal length range for me on DX and I rarely use this lens, but when I do need it, it doesn't disappoint. I should qualify my appraisal by saying that the sort of subjects I photograph call for me to almost always use a tripod and to stop the lens down some for adequate depth of field, so I can't speak to it's performance wide open.

 
Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX

2144NAS_180
Review Date: Sep 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good resistance to flare, great color and contrast, sharp everywhere at long end and in center at short end
Cons:
Corners at short end are soft, doesn't focus nearly close enough

I purchased this lens used and had problems with really unsharp corners. I did some testing and determined the lens was de-centered. Sent it in to Nikon for repair and it came back better, but I still think the corners are soft at the wide end, even when well stopped down. Part of the problem appears to actually be do to field curvature. If you focus using the center focus brackets and then recompose to put your subject towards one of the corners it will be out of focus do to curvature of field, (this is only at close focusing distances, I can't really speak for how it performs at infinity since I never use it there). So now I always focus using the focusing area as close to where the subject will be placed as possible and that helps a lot, but corners are still noticeably softer than the center at the 12mm end. On the plus side only a photographer would notice the unsharpness. The lens has great color and contrast, so to most people the pictures look good! It's resistance to flare is better than any other wide angle I've owned too! I use this lens mostly for photographing reptiles and amphibians in the landscape and find that for many smaller species the lens does not focus close enough (12" mfd). I'd like them to be larger in the frame than what this lens can achieve at the wide end.

 
Nikon 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF-S Nikkor

1909NAS_180
Review Date: Sep 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, close focus
Cons:

I bought this lens used without a tripod collar and then added the Kirk replacement. The combo is fantastic on a tripod. I do mostly reptiles and amphibians and this lens makes a great compliment to my 70-180 micro for those times when I need a little extra working distance (wary lizards for example). I use this lens and the 70-180 roughly equally frequently and together they account for 80-90% of the pictures I take. The 5 foot minimum focusing distance is great and I've also used it with the Pentax T132 diopter when I need to get just a bit closer than that. I often wish it were a zoom, but the 80-400 vr doesn't focus nearly this close and the 70-300 vr lacks a tripod collar, so I'm not compelled to replace this lens with either of those.

 
Nikon D70s

D70
Review Date: Jun 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent picture quality, small and light weight, fantastic battery life.
Cons:
Really crappy viewfinder, (DK-21M magnifying eyepiece helps). Important controls like switching from AF-S to AF-C are buried in menus.

This was my first digital SLR. At the time I bought it I was using F3 and F100 film cameras. It had been a while since I had used one of Nikon's "amateur" cameras and I knew I would be stepping down in terms of usability. So I kept my F100 figuring I would use it when I needed a "real" camera. Once I started shooting with the D70s however the F100 just sat on a shelf gathering dust. Despite having a tiny, difficult to use viewfinder and important controls not always readily accessible the image quality and the fun of using the camera soon made me a fan. I would definitely recommend this camera to someone seeking their first digital SLR. I think it is a better choice for the serious photographer than the later D40, 50, or 60 models that lack important feature like depth of field preview or the ability to auto-focus older AF lenses.

 
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF

1986NAS_180
Review Date: Feb 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Beautiful image quality. Works well with 5t and 6t close-ups.
Cons:
Cheap construction of auto/manual focus clutch and switch.

I purchased this lens used about six months ago and have been really impressed with it's image quality. I use it mostly for close-up work with the nikon 5t and 6t close up lenses. On a DX camera there is no vignetting at any focal length. In fact I just leave the 77-62mm step down ring on the lens at all times and there is no vignetting at normal shooting distances either. Before buying this lens I had been using the older nikon 75-300, (the one with the tripod mount). I figured that since I shoot mostly at small apertures, (for adequate depth of field), I would see little difference in image quality between the two lenses. Boy was I wrong! The 75-300 was a good lens but images from this lens are noticeably better. Not sure if it is actually a difference in image quality, the beefier tripod collar, or more accurate focusing thanks to the larger aperture. I can definitely recommend this lens and the two element diopters as an alternative to a fixed focal length macro lens. My only complaint with the lens is the cheep way that the manual focus clutch is designed. There is a small t shaped metal piece held on by two tiny melted plastic tabs beneath the focus ring that engages the clutch for manual focus. Mine broke and I had to fix it with JB weld. Also the manual/auto switch broke on mine as well. The lens is still usable, but the poor design of these two features is surprising on this lens.