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  Reviews by: misanthropic a  

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Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Jun 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic lens and build quality, sharp wide open and even more so stopped down a bit. Fast AF, smooth manual focusing, weather seals are a nice touch too.
Heavy, zooming while pointed towards ground or sky can be a bit harder, price is pretty high, no filters, minor distortion at extreme corners at 14-16mm. Minor quibles though.

This lens is the king of wide, and built like a tank. It's resolving power is nothing short of amazing, and it's color rendition is simply gorgeous. Wonderful contrast mixed with a suprising amount of flare resistance make for a simply incredible lens that pairs very well with either a 24-70 or 28-75.
It's limitations are limited, mainly weigh a good amount and can unbalance a D700 without a grip. It has some minor distortion at the extreme corners at 14-16mm, sort of a bemdng and pulling of the scene like a fun house mirror.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor

Review Date: Oct 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $85.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, cheap, light and well built. Far better built than it's Canon cousin.
Bit big, far larger than it's AI-S cousin which is kind of odd seeing as they are very similar.

Everything that has been said about this champion of the wallet lens has been. It's cheap, light, smallish and built very well for it's class. Focus is smooth, though a bit light on the touch for me. It is odd that it is so much larger than it's AI-S cousin, almost twice as tall.
Don't have one? Go, now, and get one, you won't even think of regretting it.

Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Oct 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $280.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great lens on full-frame, sharp as a tack from wide-open onward. Good price and great performance, just as sharp as the 50mm F1.8.
Slower AF than the USM Canon equiv, though for a screw-drive lens its quick. No hood included, but the optional metal hood is bullet-proof (could even be literally!).

Originally purchased this out of curiosity, as I had never used a 35 before, always either a 24 or a 50. After using it for awhile now, it barely ever leaves my D700 anymore, this is the ultimate walk-around lens for me. I bring this and an AI-S 50mm for the ultimate pocketable( at least the lens') for street work. I can't forsee ever selling this little gem, it is a superb lens at an incredible price.
OOF areas are fairly smooth, not Rokkor 58 F1.2 good, but no slouch either. Looks better to these eyes than the 50mm F1.8 or 1.4.

Nikon D700

Review Date: Oct 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built like a tank, controls are superb, weather-sealed, FANTASTIC AF, metering is very good, incredible low-light abilities, great LCD, overall fantastic camera.
Heavy for its class, only 95% viewfinder (though it is very bright and the status LCD inside is VERY bright and easy to read), thats about it.

This camera is about as perfect as a camera can get. Its lighting fast, built like a rock and has more features than most anyone could possibly use. I moved from a 5D, and the AF on this thing leaves that camera so far in the dust its amazing, and its dead-on accurate. This is a shooters camera, true Nikon fashion.
Some will claim that 12mp is too low, well unless you need something over a 20x30 or crop like a fiend, 12mp is plenty for most any type of use. More mp means more file size, using a fresh 8gig card and NEF lossless+Fine JPG, you can only squeeze 274 pics onto a card. Double your resolution with say the A900 or near double with the 5DII, and your talking 150-210 pics per card. For weddings, that could be well over 40gigs/wedding, time to get a could terabytes a season....
Truly, I have yet to find ANYTHING I don't like about this camera, there are a few quibbles such as it's heft, and it is noticeably heavier than a 5D. You can't bind the Fn and DofP button to two different things (1 bind is for just a press, another press+control wheel movement), liveview is kinda slow, though I have used it twice in the 2 weeks I have owned it, both times just to show it off.
In low-light, the AF at ANY point is better than the 5D even at the center, and the center points beat the socks off that camera, low-light for me being in a poorly lit gym or church. Brighter light, the thing is uncanny at tracking.
Overall, of all the sub 3k cameras out there, I can think of none that will keep up with this hotrod of a camera, either in speed or in low-light. Get off the fence and jump into the pool, the water is fine!

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Oct 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as a tack, great color/contrast, IS, FAST focus speeds, F2.8, fairly light (about the same weight as a 28-75 Tamron, sharper too)
Bit steep for a non-L, dust, 77mm filter size can be a bit annoying.

Got this lens as a replacement for the 28-75 Tamron. Was finding that for weddings, on a crop camera the tammy was just too long and I would be constantly swapping down to my UW lens'.
This lens was the only option that had a faster focusing motor, as the 17-50 like the tamron is a bit too slow for catching running flower girls.
Cost is a bit steep, but its features are great. The IS is stunning, can shoot at 1 second exposures zoomed all the way in with no blur.
The dust issue can really be one if you are doing landscapes, I've had it for about a month and it has quite a coating inside already. I've read that putting a filter on the end and never taking it off prevents the dust from entering, as it seems it comes in from behind the ring around the front element.
Overall, a fantastic lens marred only by a propensity to consume copious amounts of dust.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic sharpness, great color, solid build and fast AF. Everything that is to be expected of an L.
IS is a bit noisy, sort of clunks when it first starts. Minor nitpick on an otherwise great lens.

Absolutely phenomenal lens. Not that heavy, included tripod ring makes use with a pod easy. Typical L build and quality, the IS though its rated for only 2 stops makes handholding down to even 1/30th possible, though at those speeds only if necessary. Most everything great about this lens has been said.

Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

Review Date: Oct 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredibly sharp wide open, contrasty, inexpensive, light, good build.
Slow AF especially in low light, have to find a good copy.

Purchased as a walk around lens on a 1.6x crop camera. Great lens, though it took 2 to get a copy that focused correctly. Also don't forget to check focusing on these, they tend to not always focus correctly (which may be the reason some people say they aren't always sharp).
Zoom is fluid and firm, with mine (Japanese model) the zoom lock isn't really needed unless I am running or some other such nonsense like that.
Super sharp even wide open, definetly L sharpness (compared to a 24-70, which seems to be this ones main competitor of sorts), without the weight. The colors are good, though not as good as an L, but its still darn good for the price of entry, and its a third of the weight.
Overall a fantastic lens for its price, and one that would be VERY hard pressed to be beaten at this price point.

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Mar 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $335.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great range, IS, USM, decent macro, inner focus.
Plastic, price, stiff zoom, not a linear f-stop across range.

Purchased as a walk-around lens, which it does decently. The colors are ok, contrast is a bit lacking though. The IS is very useful for people like me with shakey hands, though the IS takes some getting used to, though it does force you to slow down your shots instead of just snapping. My copy isn't that sharp wide open, but even wide open has almost no CA and stopped down gets decently sharp. Mine seems to also have a very stiff zoom ring, and is kind of "jerky" and very much not smooth in its action. Overall, for a walk-around, it does its job well.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good reach with a 1.6x, deathly quite, tack sharp, solid as a tank. The colors and contrast are spectacular.

This is by far my most used lens', its great for portraits, great for sports, pretty much anything. The action and feel of it are silky smooth, and the AF is super fast and quiet. Definetly a super bargain lens, that does a better job than many far more expensive ones.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Feb 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $69.99 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, ultra sharp, ultra light, ultra small, dirt cheap. A must have lens.
Plastic, loud and slow AF, tiny MF ring, but its a 70 dollar lens...

Paid 70 bucks for this lens, and its tack sharp, super light and discreet. The AF motor is very loud and when seeking can grind a bit, but for this price I knew I wasn't getting a "pro" quality lens. The glass is what counts and its incredible, even wide open.

Canon EOS Rebel (300D)

Review Date: Oct 21, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $630.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, performance VS. price, weight, easy of use for novice, features and the ability to unlock even more features. EF-S is nice too.
None for the price, but...Body construction could be less plastic, weather-proofing would be nice, built in flash is power hungry, low light AF uses said flash instead of just a normal light. Bigger buffer would be really nice, if it came in black in the US....

Purchased this used, very good condition though.
Fairly novice still, great camera to learn on, especially for the price.
I love its weight, it isn't as heavy as other camera's in this range that I have held (10D, 20D, D70), feels very nice and balanced in my hand. The grip for it makes it feel even better, though it does add some heft to it.
Most everything has already been said about this camera, recommended 100%