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Tamron 24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Review Date: Jan 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, good build quality, internal focus, no lens creep, portable and cheap.
Zoom ring a bit tight. Focusing speed a little slow and noisy (comparing to AF-S). Focus ring rotates during AF. Distortion between 55 and 70mm.

Zoom range is excellent for FX sensor (I use D700). Not ideal for DX cropped sensor.

The best walkaround travel zoom in its price range (in the used market).

Wide open center sharpness was quite good across the whole zoom range. Stop down will improve both center and corner performance to excellent.

Optically better than Nikkor 24-120 AF-D and AF-S old version. The new Nikkor 24-120 F4 VR may be the best in its class but it's way too overpriced!

No lens creep at all. The zoom lock is basically useless (good news for me). AF accuracy is pretty good. Macro mode is good enough.

Highly recommended!

Nikon 85mm f/1.4D IF AF Nikkor

Review Date: Aug 17, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Pros: Excellent build quality with metal outer barrel and metal hood Excellent bokeh. Accurate AF even at wide open. Sharp at F1.4 and very sharp when stop down 1 to 2 f-stops. Not heavy and relatively portable.
The M/A switch is the only thing that I dislike.

Comparing this pro grade lens against my 16-35 VR, the Nikon classical pro grade design (built like a tank) is better than the modern ones.

85mm is not limited to portrait. Stop down a little it can be a general purpose lens. Indeed I use it as my D700 kit lens.

Value for money when we compare it against the new G version.

Highly recommended!

Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Apr 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp! Ultra portable. Relatively cheap.
Not very sharp at F2 (but that's normal).

It is my standard and walkaround lens on D700. Focal length is just right (better than 50mm). Can do landscape, wedding, group, portrait and low light photography. Basically it's suitable for any kind of scenario except tele-photo.

When doing landscape, stop down to F7.1 or F8, you got absolute corner to corner sharpness. For portrait, F2.8 will deliver excellent center sharpness with enough background blur. F2 can also be used with care.

People saying the 35 F1.8 DX is sharper but I doubt. Anyway, there is no point buying a DX lens for D700 and end up having 5.1 mp only.

While different products serve different needs (I know), do we really need to pay so much more to get something like the Nikkor 35mm F1.4 AI-s (a pretty old lens) or a weather-sealed Canon 35mm F1.4L?? For instance, the AF-S Nikkor 24mm F1.4G is selling at a crazy price!

Nikon D700

Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The Superb 51-pt AF system (with 3D-tracking and skin tone priority) beats all the competitors. Excellent high ISO performance. With built-in flash.
Basically none

I switched from Canon 1DMarkIII. While the MkIII was a good cam, it was just too heavy for walk-around. The 45-pt AF system is not that powerful as it was advertised.

The 5DMkII could be an alternative. However the 9-pt primitive AF system drive me nuts (I also owned a 350D a few years ago). Putting a 21mp sensor in an ancient AF system is weird.

D700 is just fit. Excellent FX sensor packed in a portable camera body but still very good build. The 51-pt AF system is superior than Canon's 45-pt AF system. The ability to focus human face in auto-area AF is awesome. I never had a chance when using the MkIII.

12mp is enough. I don't want to pay more to get more mp. Even the newly released D3S is only 12mp. The built-in flash is also a bonus. It's handy when we need it.

All-in-all, very satisfied! Will use it for years.

Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6D AF

Review Date: Mar 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent sharpness on my D700. Good range when used in FF (but not attractive for DX bodies). Even though not equipped with Silent Wave Motor, AF speed is fast enough for car race focus tracking (this is a bonus).
Zoom ring is a bit tight. Difficult to focus in low light. Still too heavy.

Sharpness is comparable to Canon 17-40L and 24-105L. Good color. Can't see any C/A. Some people say their 24-120 AFDs are not sharp, I believe they got copies with focus issue. To be honest, this AFD version is way sharper than the VR successor. As it struggles to focus in low light, I mainly use it during the day. All in all, itís an excellent travel lens in terms of zoom range and sharpness. Just get a 35 F2 (or 50 1.4) when we need to shoot at night.

Tokina 20-35mm AT-X 235 AF PRO

Review Date: Feb 17, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Quite sharp (when in focus). F2.8 is usable. Stop down a bit will get excellent resolution.
Out of focus (with work around)

I've been using more than 6 lenses on my 1DMarkIII without any focus issue except this one! Tried 3 copies and they were always out of focus when using the center AF point. However, the focus issue can be resolved when I switch to multi-point AF (ring of fire). When in focus, this lens is quite sharp.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Mar 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ, noise control and body build! High fps. Very good battery life. Structured menu system layout, Mymenu is great. 1.3x crop factor is very handy, a good standard between FF and APS-C.
10.1 million pixels seems a bit small. Back LCD display resolution not high enough. Anyway, these negative aspsects are negligible.

Considered to get a used 1D Mark II n or even 1Ds. At last, I decided to get something with current technologies like Digic III, 14 bit A/D conversion, sensor dust cleaning.

It's too bad early batches have AF issue ... QC issue! My copy was manufactured in Jan 2008 and AF performance is pretty impressive. Images are Sharp, Sharp, Sharp! My recommendation is, try not to be early adopters.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Mar 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: A bit soft wide open. Starting at F2, very sharp in my 350D and super sharp in my 1DMark3.
The softness at 1.4 is the only negative aspect. But this is expected. If it's super sharp at 1.4, the price would be in a different class ... leading to a 50 1.4L

It outperforms my 24-105 F4L at equivalent focal length. Focus is fast and silence. Very handy as a super light and high quality walk-around lens. Suitable for portraits and small group shooting. Looks like a must have fixed focal lens.

Initially I wanted to get the 35 F2, but the USM and F1.4 made me to change my mind.

Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

Review Date: Aug 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: F2.8 is usable with good centre sharpness. Very sharp between F5.6 and F11 across the whole zoom range. Very good build quality. A high quality kit lens with true F2.8.
Focus ring rotates during autofocus. Don't know why the design does not follow other EX lenses such as the 10-20 with a distance window. No HSM (but they released the HSM version for Nikon!)

Always felt my 24-105 L is not wide enough. Recently got the macro version for my Canon 350D. The sharpness is comparable to Canon L glass. Excellent sharpness at both centre and border when stopped down. Color and saturation are good. But Canon L is a bit better, fair enough. Build quality better than Tamron. No front/back focus issue, fast and accurate focus. Very satisfied with the overall performance. I need a standard kit lens with very good wide angle performance and large aperture, this is the one. Will be in my camera most of the time.

Something to mention, the 18mm performance is much much better than the 17mm of my first Canon lens, the 17-85 IS (of course sold).

Never tried Sigma product before. Good impression. Highly recommended.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Mar 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, color and contrast are comparable to my 24-105 f4L IS. In general, very sharp even wide open across the whole focal range. Very effective IS and ultra compact.
Difficult to zoom in or out. Very heavy. A bit pricey.

Have read a lot of negative reviews. As such, I've prepared to accept average IQ and bought it merely for its portability and IS. Unexpectedly, the image quality is so great! In general, I got very sharp images across the whole focal length even wide open. However, it's true that the weak spot is at 300 f5.6.

I've tested the infamous scenario of shooting many white objects at 300mm f5.6. The result is very impressive. In the 100% crop from the original image, I couldn't see the so called 'a faint white halo around the object'. May be there is a way to reproduce the problem. But for normal field test, I can't see any of the problems mentioned. All in all, I'm very satisfied with that DO lens.

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

Review Date: Mar 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very good sharpness even wide open. Very high build quality. The highest grade of walk-around EF lens in the market so far.

Bought this lens in Apr 06 and it has been over 90% of the time attached to my 350D. Excellent walk-around lens. Very effective IS. Very good sharpness across the whole zoom range even wide open. Color is great. For instance, its 24mm is comparable to 24mm prime.

At 105mm, the resolution drops a bit (still good) when wide open but improves a lot when stop down to f5.6. Totally not an issue.

I would expect to keep it for years.