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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Dec 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness. Bokeh. Weight.

This lens is absolutely worth every penny. Tamron makes a lot of "junk", this one is a gem. People complain about the af, maybe my expectations were low, but the af is actually pretty good.

Unless money flows like water in your house, there is no reason to pay an extra $700 for the Nikkor version.

The build really is a little wimpy, as with all lenses, avoid contact with the ground.

Not much to say, it's a great lens, don't think twice about buying one. My copy was excellent, hopefully they all are!

Nikon D1X

Review Date: Oct 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very solid piece of hardware. Raw files are fantastic. Excellent tonal range.
Every aspect of this camera is a little slow by today's standards. I mentioned the camera being solid, but the little doors/covers suck. Tendency to underexpose. Auto white balance indoors is a joke, get used to setting custom. Not very many AF points make it a little tough for motorsports, but you would have bought a 1D is you were a budget minded sports photog right? Tracks most moving subjects well though. Poor battery life. ISO 800 is pretty yucky, stick with 400 max.

I bought this from an FM'er, she took amazing care of it. If you are reading this, you probably know most of the pro's and con's. Basically, I really like mine. I have owned a Nikon D80, and a Canon 30D for reference. I currently own a D1x, and a D1.

Something you may not know, there are 4k lines of horizontal resolution, so upscaling to a 10mp image requires only half the typical interpolation. Nikon Capture 4 makes upscaling easy, and is also a pretty decent starting point for editing RAW files. I cannot tell the difference in quality between interpolating the D1x files and my "old" Nikon D80 files with a 20x30 print.

I bought 4 knock off batteries, the poor battery life doesn't really effect me anymore. That was worth every penny(70 on eBay).

To summarize: Buy spare batteries, shoot RAW, use custom white balance indoors, ignore its speed, and enjoy the heck out of it. It is still a very capable camera.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to pay the extra money for a D1x, or a D1...the D1x is the only way to fly. The menu on the D1 makes the D1x worth the extra money alone. Okay, if you find one for 200, and that's all you got...go for it. Otherwise, the D1x is waaaay easier to use.

I marked this a perfect 10. Obviously it is not better than a D2x, but for the money, you simply can't go wrong.

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

Review Date: Feb 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 500mm for 1k new. Nice contrast, nice colors.
A little lens creep. A little heavy.

Theres not much more I can write about this lens that you haven't already read. I have carried this thing around in my hands for a couple hours, no big deal. I would say that my comfort zone for sharp photos hand held at 500mm is 1/200 of a second. When the sun goes down, I crank up the ISO to 1600(god bless you canon), and it's no big deal, shooting wide open of course.

I bought mine used on eBay for 750, man these things hold their value! The first thing I thought when I used it was...500mm still isn't enough!!! I may pick up a 1.4 tc, who knows.

I have only used a tripod so far for the standard moon shot:

This is about a 50% crop..

This lens also has wonderful dof . You know whats odd? I notice it most at full zoom when the lens is the slowest...

To sum up my feelings on this lens:
At first I was a little disappointed. The more I use it, the more I love it. Its been about a month now, and it will stay with me for a long, long time.

*Note - Occasionally, this thing squeals a little bit while focusing, just ignore it, its fine. Also, once mine did this wierd half assed focusing thing where it would hardly work. I just cycled the AE/AF settings on the camera