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  Reviews by: LeifG  

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Nikon 200mm f/4D ED-IF AF Micro-Nikkor

Review Date: Sep 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb optics, excellent build, huge focus barrel, solid tripod mount.
Hood costs extra, fiddly AF/MF switch, not weather proofed. Not cheap but competitively priced for what it is.

NB: Tested on a D200 body.

This lens has outstanding optics, both in the macro range and at large distances. Images are astonishingly sharp on axis and at the corners, even wide open and stopped down. There is a slight softening at F16, and noticeable softening at F22, though the latter aperture is useable when DOF is needed. The macro image quality is a match for a 60mm F2.8 AF micro lens. The bokeh is smooth due in part to the long focal length and round (not angular) out of focus highlights.

By virtue of the long focal length this lens produces smooth backgrounds and has a large working distance, making it suitable for photographing wary subjects.

The lens has excellent mechanics with solid build quality. The focus barrel is large and easy to use. The tripod mount is very sturdy, and permits rotation of the lens though any angle. The AF/MF switch is fiddly to use and made of plastic (there are numerous reports of it cracking, which seems to be a design fault, which may or may not have been rectified). The focus limiter switch is easy to use, and restricts the focus range to either distant or close up. It's only really needed when using AF.

The only real issues are the lack of a hood, which costs extra, and which is required, the fact that the hood screws on, rather than the more recent and convenient bayonet fit, and the lack of weather sealing.

Oh yes, and the lens is fairly big and heavy, and the autofocus is slow, though that is not an issue for macro work where manual focus is the norm.

As a macro lens, this is superb, and I suspect that it is at least a match for anything on the market today. As a medium telephoto, the optics are very good, but there are more suitable choices with faster AF and a faster aperture.

I have numerous images taken with this lens on the World Photography Forum web site gallery under the user name Leif.

Nikon 60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor

Review Date: Jul 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb optics, beautiful image quality in the micro range, large focus wheel, solid build.
Out of focus highlights can appear harsh and angular. Quite big and heavy for a 60mm lens. Antiquated and hard to use MF/AF switch. Slow AF.

My sample is very sharp, has high contrast, and a flat field, throughout most of the aperture range. I see slight softening at F16, and even more at F22 but the latter is useable at a push. I have not noticed CA, distortion, flair or ghosting. The only aspect I don't like are the often rather harsh out of focus highlights so I try to avoid them. I find that this is a good lens for copying work, or where space is at a premium, but it has very little working distance and so it is not ideal for wary subjects such as active insects. The lens is quite big and heavy due to the mechanics of allowing enough extension to reach 1:1 so I do not recommend it unless you want the superb micro capabilities.

Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX

Review Date: Jun 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb between about 18mm and 24mm. Flare resistant.
Far corners at 12mm are awful even at F11 and don't improve until 14mm. Slight softness at the wide end, even stopped down. Only F4 so focussing not always easy.

This lens has lovely image quality between about 18mm and 24mm where contrast and sharpness are excellent between F8 and F16. Sadly the wide end is not so good. At 12mm the far corners are very poor even when stopped down, though I suppose they can be cropped, and sharpness is not really as high as I would like. By 14mm the bad corners have gone, and sharpness is improving. There is a little CA at the wide end but it is easily removed by Nikon Capture. Similarly distortion can be removed with PTLens. A nice lens, but not the APS answer to the 17-35mm F2.8 AFD. Not quite a home run.

Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S

Review Date: Jun 17, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Light, good contrast, not much CA.
Not sharp at any focal length of aperture.

I bought this as a general purpose lens. Online reviews suggest it offers good performance for a modest price. I was not impressed with it on a D70. On a D200 I find slight softness at all focal lengths even when stopped down to F8 and F11. It is not a patch on my 28-105 AFD, 60mm F2.8 micro and 75-150 F3.5 lenses. Please note that the tests were done using a tripod, remote release, and mirror lock up to try and eliminate vibration. Otherwise the lens is as reviewers suggest. Small, light, a fair bit of distortion at 24mm easily corrected in software if need be, and only a bit of CA, again easily corrected in software. Pity about the sharpness, or lack of it. I suspect mine is a lemon.

Nikon 28mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Nov 21, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, light, small, sharpness and contrast okay. No flare/ghosting problems. Mechanics work fine.
Optically disappointing, with significant chromatic aberration, especially in out of focus areas.

This small moderately priced lens appeals to anyone who wants high quality images at a modest price. The lens has a polycarbonate casing, and metal interior, and seems well made, but nothing special. The focus is smooth and the aperture ring works okay, though it will not be used on most modern bodies. There is a DOF scale and other markings are clear and easy to read. I used my sample for landscapes between F8 and F16, and was almost always disappointed with the results, mainly due to obvious chromatic aberration. I usually saw CA in the out of focus areas at high contrast regions e.g. leaves against the sky. I have one photograph of a huge ring of large mushrooms (Agaricus macrosporus) in a field, and the mushrooms are surrounded by obvious colour fringing easily visible on an A4 print: quite unacceptable. Maybe I had a bad sample, but I am not impressed. By all accounts, the better zooms can outdo this lens.