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Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 AF PRO DX SD

atx124afprodx
Review Date: Nov 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent build quality, very good image quality, price
Cons:
12mm not as large as 10mm, but one can live with it

I bought this lens in Nikon mount, used in perfectly new conditions, while I was looking for a UWA lens that goes down to 10mm. Since I didn't want to pay the cost of the new Nikkor 10-24, I was considering the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 and Tamron 10-24, but eventually went for the better image quality and remarkable build quality of the Tokina.
I use this lens mostly to "play" with the perspective, and for this purpose the longer minimum focal length is not really that big of a limitation (you just try to get closer to your subject).
Build quality is top-notch, on-par with professional Nikkors. In fact, this is the heaviest UWA for DX, and it feels. Barrel is made mostly of metal and both zoom and focus rings are smooth and nice to use.
Image quality is very good already wide open. I read it suffers of CA, but in my experience it is not so bad to make you turn away from it at all.


 
Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

24_70EX_med_1_
Review Date: Nov 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, price/performance
Cons:
Slightly soft wide open

I found this lens for Nikon mount, used in excellent conditions, and gave it a try, although I had read some negative comments about it. In particular, some claim it is soft wide open and AF is slow and not accurate.
On my D200, AF is on-par with consumer AF-S lenses (such as the 18-70 or 18-200), both in speed and accuracy. Focus errors may occur with non-centre AF points, but that is true for most (wide angle) lenses on the D200 (and documented in Nikkors manuals). Provided one pre-focuses, I believe AF is fast enough for shooting moving subjects (from kids playing to cars on the street).
Sharpness drops from f/4 to f/2.8, but not as bad as one may think based on out-of-camera JPG's. There is a fair amount of CA and haloing at 2.8, which I believe is a common issue with fast lenses (certainly not as bad as with the Nikkor 50 f/1.4 AF-D), but these can be removed easily by shooting RAW and post-processing. Indeed, images taken at f/2.8 sharpen up pretty well.
I also read (minor) complaints about the zoom ring being small and stiff and the switch from AF to MF awkward.
The zoom ring is indeed a tad smaller than it should be, but becomes fluent with usage. And, although changing to MF is not as simple as on the Tokina's, the MF ring is a pleasure to use (frankly, much better than that of any of the AF-S lenses I tried, including the Nikkor 24-70 2.8).
Considering the price I paid (which is less than 1/4 the price of a Nikon 24-70 2.8 in Italy), this lens is a gem.