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  Reviews by: markgoldberg  

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Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great optics, fun to use, produces shots of great impact
Vignetting from filter

I had this lens in my film era and it was a favorite. For travelling light, I took a medium zoom plus this one, and I could do a wide range of things. The wide and plus 2.8 fstop made it great for existing light interiors. It was dynamite with a polarizer and made for some great church interior shots, too.

I speak past tense because in digital, it became a 30mm equivalent and I needed something wider. It was replaced by a 12-24dx as my working wide angle. For travelling light, I now take an 18-70 plus a 10.5DX fisheye for interiors.

I should have gotten a thin filter. With a regular filter, you will get some corner vignetting and small f-stops.

This is a great choice for 35mm photography, but it doesn't fit in my digital picture and I am sure it has a great home with its new owner.

Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-4.5G AFS DX

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great zoom range, makes nice images, light and compact for its capabilities
Hood blocks flash sometimes, some edge darkening

This lens came with my D70 kit and helped make for my introduction to digital SLR photography. Overall, I have had excellent results with this lens, and it is both versatile and fun to use. Along with the D70 it helped convince me to give up film and take the step into digital. Before this lens was offered, I would have had to by a 24-85 or put up with a narrower field.

When I have to travel light, or just grab a cam and go, this is the lens of choice. It has also served me for social event and portrait jobs and is a great all around lens. However, now I bought the 17-55 because I have gotten more critical, but that 17-55 would not be my choice for travelling light.

The accompanying lens hood is a nice touch, but blocks the built in flash at the wide end. The is some exposure fall off at the corners, although this has not been a problem. Other more expensive lenses like the 17-55 are sharper, but if anything has affected sharpness of my shots it has been focussing mistakes and not this lens.

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent range and optical quality. I like the tripod collar that Nikon has added, and like the case and shade supplied as standard. I do not have the AF-S version.
The lens now squeaks when focussing.

I bought this lens many years ago while still in film, so the $800 I paid is probably far off today's price. I got the one where the tripod collar was added, but I don't have AF-S.

The optical quality is great, and for me in digital is is equivalent to a 120-300. It continues to get great shots for me in important assignements, but is a little heavy and bulky to take on personal vacations that are not photo safaris. For travelling, my small 28-200 does has taken over for this one.

For some reason, the lens now makes a squeaking noise when focussing. This has been reported by others.

I think this is an excellent lens. I have no immediate plan to sell mine and will continue to use it for important work. However, if I had to replace it today, I would instead choose the 70-200 f2.8 VR.

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

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent optical quality and macro function, excellent build quality, very useful range for a variety of assignments especially social functions
I don't like the lens hood design; hard to carry in bag; would have preferred a soft hood

I bought this in 2000 when I switched my gear over to D-type bodies, metering, and flashes. It was mainly used on an excellent N90S bodies. I sold that body in 2004 after going digital.

I used this lens for a while in digital, but it was supplanted by my 18-70 having equivalent range for digital. I kept this around for critical shots and backup, but now since I have the 18-70, 28-200, and 17-55, this is better off with a new owner so it is up for sale.

In its time of active service with me, it was my main 35mm lens and the only one I had in its zoom range (unlike overlap in digital). Its macro function is really fantastic since it is a tele macro. Even though this is not an ED lens, the optical performance is excellent. It got most of the shots for my social event 35mm jobs and was on cam for personal stuff too. Prior to betting this 28-105, I had a 35-135 and a 28-70 (small version). It took over for both of those and had far better mechanical quality than the 35-135.

I see these going for about $325 street price, and it is a great value to the 35mm film shooter.

While I am ambivalent about letting this one go, I will be happy for the great results it will bring to its new owner, whomever that is.

Nikon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compactness, benefit to cost ratio, versatility
Plastic construction especially the mount scares me; a DX lens in this size would have saved even more size and weight; would have preferred faster than f5.6 at tele end.

This got recommended to me by an instructor in Nikon School. He said it was his travel lens but not well suited to professional work. I was going to Florida so I bought it to avoid toting my 80-200 f2.8 beast.

I was mainly interested in the 70-200 range since 70 and below is covered by other lenses. This is now my second smallest lens, but it does work far out of proportion to its size weight and cost.

It is a real sleeper and does far more than I expected. It is almost pocketable, and made the difference in me getting some stunning shots while on vacation. Even the shots at the far end have nice depth of field reduction, and I have been able to use it for some environmental portaits.

I was shooting a football game video and put this one on a D70 to occupy my 15-year old son, who in not an experienced photographer. Well, he came back with some amazing game shots -- real zingers by any standard.

So I call it "The little lens that could."

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

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: I like how wide this one goes and its constant aperture design
Pricey, hard to pack in my camera bag due to its flowered hard shade design. Some unusual distortion problems have been reported by testers; these would affect critical architectural photography.

I bought this after my changeover to digital, taking over the function that my 20mm prime had in my 35mm era. It was cheaper than what a 14mm prime which is what I would have needed to replace the 20mm. Now I have the equivalent of a 35mm camera's 18-36. I think zooms are more important in digital than in film because I want to reduce lens changes. Switching lenses makes for a danger or contaminating the sensor.

I had some post purchase regrets because the images were definitely not sharp. I was ready to return the lens, only to discover that one of my D70 bodies was off in its backfocus. The BF was fixed by Nikon and now I'm a happy camper. There were also some unusual M-type distortion problems reported which would affect architectural uses, but I am not doing those anyway. I have since obtained some correction actions in Photoshop.

My main gripe is that this lens is hard to carry in my small travel Lowepro bag mainly due to the flower design hard lens shade. It would have been nice to have a collapsible rubber or neoprene shade instead. This lens also required a thinner filter to avoid vignetting.

I have owned it about 17 months now, and since bought the 10.5 fisheye and the 17-55. When I look back over my social event jobs, at least 30% of the party and group shots got taken with this lens. That says something important. This lens works for me and puts money in my pocket.

Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S DX

Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent imaging and existing light photography capability, good wide angle performance
Size, weight, cost, limited reach

I got this based on some test shots plus overwhelming positive reviews from users. Experience showed that I needed lens that would make the most of my D70 bodies with regard to portraits and groups, particularly for enlarging. I was in a shooting situation wher using flash was a problem, and having a lens like this would have helped greatly. I can see it as a backbone wedding lens.

As to my numerical review ratings, I just put down some preliminary numbers because I got the lens yesterday.

Considering the MSRP of the lens, I am very happy with the price I paid and the service I received from my dealer, B&H.