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  Reviews by: Jay968  

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Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Oct 21, 2018 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, compact, easy to use, and well built. Bad image stabilizer.
Lacks contrast and needs a good deal of post processing to take advantage of what it can offer.

I've tried 3 copies of this lens since it was first introduced. At first, due to its weight and size, I felt that this lens was one of the reasons to own Nikon. Eventually though, I became aware that images lacked contrast and needed a good amount of post processing to make this lens produce good images. Otherwise, my old 180mm F2.8D lens trumps it by a big margin. I'd recommend that anyone considering it, be aware that it may take some effort to get it to really shine. Once that effort is made, it produces some very nice images.

Nikon had a firmware update to correct some stabilization issues but that proved to be marginal at best as it does not do a good job at some shutter speeds

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 19, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great sharpness, contrast, color, build.

Although the 1.8G lenses that have recently been introduced have gotten some pretty good reviews, the 85mm F1.4G is one example of why a lens costs over 4X more. I have done some comparison shots with both the 1.8G and 1.4G and just find no comparison between the two. Yes the 1.8 is nice and sharp, but there is more to a lens than just sharpness. The color, contrast, bokeh, overall rendering, and build quality of the 1.4G is just absolutely gorgeous. Not everyone is going to care about the difference, not everyone is really going to see it. But it's there, and to someone who has shot for many years with some of the finest lenses made, the difference is absolutely worth the extra cost.
The 85mm F1.4G has become one of my very favorite lenses.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Feb 13, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great portrait lens, specifically designed as such. Smooth contrast, very flattering for portraits.
Slow focus, big and heavy, expensive, not as sharp wide open as I would like.

I have a love/hate relationship with this lens. On the one hand it is a great portrait lens, both for the shallow depth-of-field one can achieve by using its large apertures, and also due to the fact that its contrast seems to be perfect for skin tones. It is a tad bit soft in that regard (contrast-wise) and faces, especially if the subject matter has a lot of blemishes and/or wrinkles can look wonderful when photographed with this lens.
Aside from that I do not agree with the general opinion that it is ultra sharp wide open. It just is not. To me, while it is acceptable wide open there is a big difference once it is stopped down to at least F2.
It is also very slow to focus, big, and heavy for what it is.
Unless you want this lens specifically for portraits, you just may be better served by the 85 F1.8 Canon lens as that one is 1/5 the price, smaller, lighter and focuses MUCH faster. I have done comparisons and find that aside from the contrast, they perform very similarly.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: May 1, 2013 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Tried another sample...great sharpness
There may be some quality control issues with these lenses

I have now one through 5 samples of this lens. One did not fit tight on the camera's lens mount. Another once made a terrible grinding noise when IS was engaged, so I finally settled on one with superb sharpness but there may be a slight problem with the IS (it occasionally causes the image through the viewfinder to lurch a slight bit...not sure if this is normal or not). Apparently there seem to be some quality control issues with the current crop of these I will keep my rating at 8.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: Apr 24, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very fast and accurate AF. Very good IS.
Not as sharp wide open as I had expected. Overpriced.

Somewhat confused concerning this lens. After reading countless reviews, I decided to trade my non IS version for this lens only to find that even after trying 3 copies it is just not as sharp as I had hoped for when shooting wide open. Yes, the corners are better than those from the non IS but that's about it. It is big, it is heavy, and I am just not impressed with its F2.8 capabilities. I think that the non IS at $1000 less is a far better value.