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Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

1929NCP_180
Review Date: Jan 24, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatile mid range. Macro capability. Great image quality. Sharp. Light weight. Close focus capability.
Cons:
Plastic. No VR. Vignetting is a little heavy.

The Good: It's 2013, there are a plethora of mid-range zoom lens options, and some of them cost an arm and a leg. I found this used for $300 and gave it a shot. In a nutshell, I feel like this and the VR (3.5-4.5) versions are the most well balanced options. Compared to a couple of other zooms I owned in the past, this is actually the sharpest. It's not too bulky or heavy. Great for travel or general purpose. So far, I have no complaints about image quality, even at the wide end. It's distortion is much more controlled than some other wide angle lenses I've tried in comparison.

The Bad: It's 2013, and this lens was engineered about a decade or so ago, so it's showing its age. Not a great option for all. No AF-S motor, VR, special glass, or coating. Wouldn't recommend it for free hand videography. This lens is made out of high quality plastics, but feels like it'll damage easily if dropped.

The Ugly: Lens hood casts a shadow when using pop up flash. I recommend using an external flash unit.

Basically I'm happy with this lens. I use it on an FX camera and I'm pleased. I would recommend it for this price for a general purpose lens. There are better options for sure, but it'll cost ya.


 
Nikon 24mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

1919NCP_180
Review Date: Feb 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Possibly the sharpest lens I used. Great colors. Fast.
Cons:
Not a great length to work with on DX format

This is the sharpest lens I've ever used. Amazing. The colors look very nice too. I used it for taking pictures of architecture, of children, street photography, or indoor shots. The lens is fast, and I never had any problems with low light shooting.

I bought this lens with hopes that it could serve as a wide angle lens for landscape but it wasn't wide enough for my taste. My camera is DX crop, so this lens is 36mm which is more like general wide/standard length. That was my only disappointment, so I traded it for an ultra wide zoom. I'm happy with the ultra wide, but regret losing the 24mm. Thinking of upgrading to an FX format, and the 24mm would come in handy.

I'm not sure about the use of this focal length for DX, but if you want a general lens to walk around with, I'd recommend it. I think it would be great on FX. The price is okay. This lens may be overshadowed by the 1.4G, but this lens still has great optics.


 
Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

1902NCP_180
Review Date: Feb 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great combo of speed and image quality.
Cons:
Color is not horrible, but a little dull compared to a couple other lenses

This lens has some great quality. I use it all the time for anything... daily photography, food, portraits, events, travel etc.

Open wide, it's sharp. It's sharper than most other lenses I tried, including the 1.8d. Depth of field is pretty smooth. Bokeh looks good, but it isn't creamy like the longer telephoto lengths.

I only have one minor issue. For some reason mine seems to have a little bit dull color rendition compared to my other lenses (except 85mm 1.8d). It's not horrible (it's not even bad), but I have enough experience with it to be knit-picky. This is not an issue for portraits, because I turn down saturation. I like to bump up saturation on the camera settings for other types of pics anyway, so it's no big deal.

Anyhow, I'm overall pleased with this lens's quality and performance. It's great. I highly recommend it, especially over the 1.8D.


 
Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

1931NCP_180
Review Date: Feb 10, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Nice length for portraits, no distortion issues on DX, wide aperture
Cons:
My lens was particularly not sharp, slow AF speeds, minor ghosting issues, lots of CAs.

I wasn't very happy with how soft this lens was wide open. At f/2.8 it was tolerable. Compared to the 50mm 1.8D and 1.4D, the 85 wasn't as sharp at the same apertures. The 85mm 1.4D is much sharper wide open (but costs much more).

I had some annoyances with chromatic aberrations, so in combination with the softness wide open, I felt like this lens was useless for portraits. That is the intended purpose for most people who buy the lens.

Other performance issues I had included slow AF, even on the D7000, which my other lenses had no problem with. AF hunting was especially a nuisance in low light shooting, whereas I was fine with the 50mm 1.8D. Once in awhile I had some ghosting issues as well.

Bokeh was okay, a little rigid, not so smooth. It was not worth trying grab a shot of a subject with nice bokeh in the background because the subject was so soft. When you bump the aperture to f/2.8, the bokeh wasn't circular anymore.

Most of my complaints were from using the lens wide open or in low light activity. However, I do think it performs well in the daytime, for street photography, food photography, or landscape. I didn't have any issues from f/2.8 - f/8 with ample lighting. The lens is built well and adequate for general photography, just not astounding. I'm sure some people are confused by my ratings and not recommending it. That's because it didn't do well in achieving the results I thought it had the potential to produce. If the new G version has any improvements, at $500 it might be enough to make the D version obsolete. We shall see. Otherwise, I'd recommend the 85mm 1.4D or the 50mm 1.8D/1.4D over this lens.


 
Nikon 105mm f/2D AF DC-Nikkor

1932NAS_180
Review Date: Feb 4, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb images Tough build
Cons:
A little big and heavy.

This is the finest portrait lens I've ever used and I can't stop gushing about it. The picture quality is fantastic and it's increasingly more exciting to use everyday.

Compared to a handful of other lenses I've tried and used, this is by far the best. I read a few problems people have with autofocusing + Defocus control but I have been fine (using D7000 body). Autofocus is fast and precise for me.

The Defocus control can make your out of focus areas pretty smooth and soft, but if it's applied too much, then your subject will become softer. Otherwise, even down to f/2 the subject is sharp while the bokeh is creamy. Portraiture was my original intention of using this lens, but it works so well in general, I'm happy to use it more often.

The focal length of this lens makes it a challenge to use in tight spaces. Other shooting scenarios like portraits, fashion, or street photography works better than I can describe. I think everyone should at least TRY this lens once.