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  Reviews by: E.Kase  

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Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED DX AF-S

Review Date: Apr 7, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp throughout the range. Cheap
Bad distortion on the wide end, no VR for the long end.

This is a sharp lens with a great range, but I sold mine due to a couple things I couldn't get over. The distortion at the wide end is horrible. I shoot alot of landscape/seascapes so this really bothered me. Corners are a bit soft wide open at 18mm too. Focus is fast and sure. Slow, so you generally need good light or a camera that can handle higher iso's. Not quite long enough to really make useful for many of natures applications, such as birds, wildlife, etc.

It is cheap on the used market and plenty sharp though. That given the extra range makes it a good one to keep on the camera for awhile.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Apr 7, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, great for low light
Focusing will be a little bothersome if you're used to SW lens, not as fast and doesn't seem as accurate

This is a super sharp lens, esp from 2 up. Plenty good wide open though. It is great for portaits, I prefer it over any other. Focus is a drag compared to new silent motor lenses, but it does the job. Nikon 50's are great, and I prefer this to my 35 1.8 DX because of the extra speed and lack of distortion. They're cheap on the used market which is great. Build quality seems good, but these lenses seem like they could be sealed up better to keep from haze/fungus. But really, this is a great lens purely for its IQ.

Sigma 20-40mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Mar 31, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, great range, very wide
FLARE, underexposed by 2-3 stops at 40mm on D300

I like this lens alot and find it useful both on DX and FX. It is alot of distortion on film/FX, but on DX it isn't bad at all. Very good low light wide-normal lens on my D300. Decent bokeh and great sharpness. I haven't seen much CA at all either, which is rare with a lens this wide. Its heavy and huge, 82mm front, which causes an unreal amount of flare and veiling. I've learned to be very careful with this thing because, esp inside, the flare can cause the contrast to go down quite a bit. Very good performance wide open though, def. very useful wide open. Very good stopped down, super sharp. It does have an aperture ring for older cameras as well. Mine focus fine and fast enough.

My copy has a strange quirk about it that is very annoying tho. It works fine on all the cameras I've tried it on. Then I started using it on my D300 and noticed that when I shot at 40mm it underexposed the image by a few stops. Everytime. I have no idea what causes this, and it only happens on that camera, but it really is a pain. Works fine on D80,D70, F100, N90s and everything else I've tried it on, just has problems with the D300.

All in all a great, hard to find lens that I'm sure I'll be shooting for awhile.

Tamron 11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Mar 31, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, very wide, distortion not bad from 15-18mm.
Slow focus, CA. Alot of CA if you don't have a camera that corrects it.

I love this lens, it is definitely my most used glass, tho it does have its drawbacks. First with the good. It is very sharp at all settings, I really am shocked at the sharpness from such a wide zoom. The distortion is drastic at 11mm, but at 18mm it is VERY good, way better than any Nikon wide-zoom I've used. I find myself using it between 15-18mm alot because of the lack of distortion. I shoot alot of seascapes and distortion is critical for me. Flare is very controlled, I rarely see any at all. WAY better than my full frame Sigma 20-40mm f2.8 EX. Zoom is nice and loose as is the manual focus. No aperture ring, which I don't like. You can use this on film/fx as well, I get decent shots down to 15mm, so this doubles as an FX lens for me as well, which is a big plus.

There are a few pretty bad negative tho. First and foremost is the CA. It really gets out of had shooting sunsets. It was unbearable with my D80, but my D300 corrects most of them, tho some still sneak thru. Next is the focus which is terrible on my copy. Super slow and hunts quite a bit. This suprised me as most WA's are quick. Can be quite frustrating at times. Also, I use ND and NDGRADS alot and I do get some vignetting with this at the wide end. Definitely no stacking or it gets bad.

All in all, the sharpness and IQ are good enough for me to deal with the bad in PP and not worry about it. I do wish it went to 24mm as well.

Sigma 24-60mm f2.8 EX DG Lens

Review Date: Mar 31, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, great range, compact
A little slow to focus in low light, but not horrible.

This lens is a sleeper IMO. Very sharp throughout the range and I had no focus issues whatsoever. It was also definitely the most compact pro-zoom I've ever used, which made me use it more. I was really happy with this lens all around, I think it is a very underrated lens. Loved the little extra of the 24mm on the wide end and I couldn't see any CA in my prints. I do hate Sigmas finish though, it wears off too easily from putting it in and out of my bag. I reluctantly sold it after I purchased Sigma's 20-40mm f2.8 EX because I just wasn't using it much anymore. That lens is a beast though, and at times I wish I still had the 24-60 solely because of its size. Excellent bokeh as well.