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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

atx116
Review Date: Feb 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $535.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Absolutely sharp wide open, wonderful color reproduction, fast autofocus
Cons:
focal range is a little lacking, but nothing a few steps forward or backward can't fix. Also, would like the minimum focus distance to be shorter.

I absolutely love this UWA lens. Once you get the hang of the exaggerated perspectives on the edges, or correct the slight distortion in post, this lens will probably stay on your camera for a while. I've used it for landscapes, group photos and low light situations and events, even portraits, and this lens does a bang up job of them all. Once zoomed out to 16mm, the distortion is hardly even visible to the naked eye.

After having tried both this and the Sigma 10-20mm, I'd have to stick with this one. While the 10-20 has a longer focal range and a closer focus distance for some really exaggerated portraits, the sharpness and low light ability of the 11-16 make it my preferred choice of lens.

If you're looking for a reasonably priced Ultra Wide, go with this one. And don't worry about the fact that it's not made by Canon/Nikon/whoever. Even though Tokina is a third party lens maker, their build quality is amazing. No plastic bodies and flimsy rings here.


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

24_70EX_med_1_
Review Date: Jun 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very affordable as far as lenses go, IQ is sharp, especially when stopped down
Cons:
Not as contrasty as other lenses, extending barrel can be annoying, autofocus is a bit slow

First off, the negatives. The first thing I noticed about the lens is that color reproduction seems to be a bit off. Colors seem to be a little more washed out on this lens. While it can be fixed in PP, I prefer a little more vibrance in my colors.

Also, the autofocus is pretty slow. I expected as such from a motor driven lens, but it even slower than I had originally thought. It'll do for concerts, if the subject is more stationary, but it'll be a lot harder to get focus quickly when it matters, like sports.

Lastly, the placement of controls on this thing are just really awkward. The zoom ring is too small, and the focus ring is too big. Maybe its just my tastes, but it took some time to get used to the controls on this thing.

Now for the positives. And these outweigh the negatives in my opinion. First off, IQ is comparable to its Canikon equivalents. Maybe I just got lucky and got a good copy the first time, but when stopped down around 2 stops, this thing is tack sharp. Even at 2.8 my copy is pretty good with sharpness.

Also, at an average price of about 400 bucks, this lens is definitely worth picking up if you don't have the 1500 to spare for the Canon or Nikon lenses. At the very least, you get a definite bang for your buck. If you're looking to upgrade from your kit lens for the first time, this is the perfect lens to do it with.