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Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor

Review Date: Mar 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp, fast, small, light, good color, contrast
cheap plastic build, slow-ish focus

can't beat it for the price. great glass, very lightweight.

feels cheap (because it is). focus could be faster for such a short travel, but this thing was introduced with the am200, so i doubt nikon knew how to make it fast.


Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF

Review Date: Mar 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: super-bright, super-cheap, much less susceptible to ghosting and flare than expected, rear focus, and if considered "20mm f/2.8 with emergency f/1.8," it's extraordinarily sharp; if considered f/1.8, it's the best low-light lens that exists today
soft and dull at f/1.8 (center is ok-ish), giant freaking diameter, loud and slow autofocus, heavy for a 20mm (comes with being big)

great lens, epsecially for the price. soft and dull at the edges and corners at anything brighter than f/4, and especially so at f/1.8. center sharpness superb except at f/1.8-2.8, where it's ok-really good.

phenominal low-light: handheld 1/30s @ f/1.8 @ iso1600 on my d70 means stiff darkness still makes useable images, especially if converted to b&w. i just have to remember to keep important stuff away from the edges.

manual focus ring feels a little cheap.


Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

Review Date: Mar 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: SHARP SHARP SHARP, fast aperture, good focal length for keeping slightly away from the subject, virtually zero ghosting shooting directly into the sun
lens hood, focus speed, focus travel (comes with long macro territory), loses more contrast than expected when shooting into the sun

i cannot say enough good things about the glass contained in this tube. it's the tube i have complaints about.

i did an mtf test on mine. it kept almost perfect contrast all the way out to all four edges at f/2.8. total dropoff from center to edge was less than 5%. diagonal contrast dropped 10-15% (hard to get an exact number by eye) at the very corners. phenominal. just gorgeous. and it only gets better as it closes down.

now, for the tube: long macro = long focus travel: thank god for the focus limiter, but i'd be happy with a three-way switch instead: inf-1:4 (or 1:3?), 1:4 (or 1:3?)-1:2, 1:2-1:1. instead, with inf-1:2, if the focus misses in regluar photography, it goes for a loooooooooong time before it cycles back around to try again.

also, the hood: what is this crap? it screws into the filter threads and is terminal: you can't put anything over it. it hasn't any threading at its end (if it did, it'd be like a giant step-down ring), so it must be removed to change filters or to cap the lens. pain in the rear.

lastly, focus speed: kind of slow. it'd be nicer if it had faster focus to somewhat make up for such long focus travel. any macro ~90mm or longer should have faster-than-normal focus so total focus doesn't feel as slow.