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Tamron 28-300MM F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC AF

28-300vr
Review Date: Feb 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Relatively sharp for a superzoom, huge zoom range, Vibration Compensation works extremely well, lighter and smaller than other (better) lenses.
Cons:
Ugly bokeh, visible chromatic aberration in the corners, slow f/6.3 at longest focal length, suffers from zoom creep (though a Lock switch prevents this), zooming out to 300mm extends the lens 3" more.

If you're looking for a full-frame superzoom, this Tamron fits the bill. It's not as sharp as my pro-level Nikon zooms, but the sharpness is acceptable -- good in the center wide open, and good throughout the frame stopped down to f/8, though there's chromatic aberration at all focal lengths in high contrast corners. I've seen worse distortion, but this won't be your first choice for architecture. Contrast and color saturation are fine.

I've heard complaints about cameras hunting for focus due to the small apertures of this lens, but my D700 has no trouble at all. In short, this is a fine choice when you want a single, superzoom for full frame cameras.

Drawbacks: Though you can lock the lens at its widest focal length, if you switch off the lock, gravity will zoom the lens out its full length -- very annoying. Finally, its bokeh is especially ugly.


 
Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX

2144NAS_180
Review Date: Jan 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $949.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast and quiet auto-focus, great contrast
Cons:
more chromatic aberation than I would like. larger and heavier than I expected. pricey.

It's wonderful to have a DX ultra-wide, and the 12-24 zoom range is just right to make this a lens that I leave on the D70 for days at a time (only swapping it for the 18-70 for the occasional tele shot). To my eye, it's as sharp if not sharper than the 18-70 kit lens, and the contrast is top-notch throughout the range. The distortion at 12mm is perfectly acceptable (keep faces in the middle!), though chromatic aberation rears its ugly head with high contrast subjects at the edges of the frame. Those into filters should know that this takes a 77mm.

All in all, what a fine lens, though of course I'd rather have paid $500 than $1000.