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  Reviews by: RexGig0  

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Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T*

Review Date: Jul 19, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, smooth bokeh, excellent control of aberrations.
None! OK, so I replaced the lens caps with 77mm Nikon lens caps.

I cannot add much that has not been said. I bought a 2/135 APO Sonnar ZF.2 in mid-2015, and started creating my sharpest images, ever. Manual focusing was found to not be difficult, largely thanks to the long, smooth throw. When I added a 5Ds R, in January 2016, I soon added a 2/125 APO Sonnar ZE.

I saved a considerable amount of money by buying both of these in pre-owned, gently-handled condition.

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

Review Date: Jul 12, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: AF speed and accuracy, at least when on my D3s. Image Quality. Ergonomics and handling, at least for my hands. Build Quality, and durability, well-proven when it fell several feet onto a ceramic tile floor, at home.
Well, the corners and edges of the newer 70-200/2.8G VR II are presumably better, but I did not buy this lens to shoot images in which corners or edges are a significant concern. I have a Zeiss 2/135 APO Sonnar, and macro/micro lenses, for the times when corners and edges are important.

Nature compelled me to try this lens, a very well-preserved pre-owned copy, at a large pro-oriented camera store, when a severe thunderstorm made driving away a bad idea. AF speed and accuracy were found to be so very good. Sharpness is an over-used, and imprecise term, but, well, this lens was, and is, so very sharp on my D3s. I had been considering adding a Nikkor 70-200/2.8G VR II, during Nikon USA's June 2016 instant rebate sale, to complete my f/2.8 "pro" zoom Trinity, or perhaps a Canon EF 70-200/2.8L IS II, as I also shoot Canon, but instead, I saved several hundred more dollars by acquiring this pre-II version of the Nikkor 70-200/2.8G VR.

Nikon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D AF

Review Date: Feb 4, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low distortion, quite good macro ability, relatively light and handy for its versatility, a very useful zoom range for FX and 35mm film, and a wonderful value on the pre-owned market.
Considering its performance level against the amount I paid, I find no faults. A "pro" build would have been nice, but would have added to the price.

I shoot Canons at work, for evidentiary/forensic images, and can do everything with my EF 100mm 2.8L Macro, and 24-104L; the latter distorts so badly at 24mm, I use it from 28-105mm. (I am required to upload OOC JPEGs; no post-processing allowed.) Wanting to be able to use my Nikon cameras if something were to happen with my Canon equipment, I acquired a Micro-Nikkor 60mm 2.8G, and this 28-105mm D lens.

I have been using the 28-105mm D as a walking-about lens, on a D700, for a few weeks, and am thoroughly enjoying its low distortion, light weight, high-end consumer build quality, handy size, and ability to get really close to insects, flowers, and such. This lens punches above its weight, by a considerable margin.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Sep 12, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Accurate, fast AF, with a very useful range of focal lengths for my needs, including a very useful short MFD, and weather-sealing. A very good value pre-owned, in early September 2014, with a successor rumored to be announced soon.
Distortion at the 24mm end, but I knew that before buying, as indicated below, so not a con for me.

I needed a high-quality, weather-sealed zoom primarily for the 28-80mm range, for crime scene/evidentiary/forensic shooting, using my 1D Mark II N and 7D cameras. I learned my Crime Scene Unit colleagues had recently been issued this lens, to use on their 7D and 50D cameras. Working patrol, if I want a DSLR, I have to provide my own, and it seemed reasonable* to use a lens equal to those used by the Crime Scene folks. A beautiful pre-owned specimen of this lens fortuitously appeared at a local camera store, with a low $775 US asking price, and after a short test session, it came home with me.

A test shoot at home, indoors and outdoors, as the sun went down, confirmed I made a good choice. AF is quite fast and accurate, at least on a 1D II N body. The quite short minimum focusing distance will be very useful. This lens plays well with a 600EX-RT Speedlite, in E-TTL, with the expected -1 Flash Exposure Compensation being needed at close range.

This lens had never been on my wish list, but I had not known, until shortly before the purchase, that it was weather-sealed and had such a short minimum focusing distance. I had previously noticed that plenty of professionals and serious outdoors enthusiasts used it, in spite of the pixel-peepers not necessarily being happy with this lens. (I am not bashing pixel-peepers; some of them are friends of mine!)

This lens will join my 100mm and 60mm macro lenses as daily (nightly) working companions. It may not have f/2.8, and may have some crazy, complex barrel distortion at the wide end, but it has what I need, and will also be a good choice for some of my personal shooting, especially travel and walking-about.

I intended this review to be practical, not technical.

*When selecting an item of police equipment, credibility in the courtroom can be an issue, especially when being cross-examined by the opposing attorney. A lens selected by a large agency for digital image evidence at homicide scenes is a good choice for a patrol officer working for the same agency, who will be testifying in the same courts.