10 out of 10 points and recommendedOS works well, image quality good, focusing good, PRICENon given that one knows the maximum aperture etc when one buys it.
One of the best purchases I have made. Image quality is good, not as good as my 80-200 at f4, but good non the less especially at F8. The OS is excellent (ok I can shoot most lenses hand held slower than many) I get very good handheld results from 150th upwards at 500mm (750 on my DX bodies) the moon handheld is a breeze at full reach. I have had good results as low as a 60th at full reach on a monopod and loose head tripod. Given its focal length range it is light, I walk around with it almost every week, it hangs from its strap upside down and I use the tripod mount as handle. Focusing is again well fast enough for the price. I have been usuing this lense very very frequently to shoot (90% handheld, 5% loose head tripod, 5% monopod):reviewed June 16th, 2011 (purchased for $1,240)
Birds in flight
other wild life
motorsport (both to freeze and pan for motion blur) panning for motion blur at 750 equiv is a challenge because unless the subject is very fast you cannot get the shutterspeed low enough (this however is a feature of the focal length and not specifically this lens.)
Long range landscapes.
I shoot this equally on a D300S and D7000, favouring the D7000 in low light conditions. I think the user should consider the following before buying, not only this lens, but anything in this focal length, especailly on a non-FX sized sensor. How good is your technique hand held ? If you currently struggle with a 200 or 300mm then think again unless you happy to lug about and set up a tripod for each shot, factor this by at what ISO your camera body will produce acceptable output. I have just won a local competition with an image grabbed at 500mm on my D7000 handheld.
Lenses like this often get a bad rep from folks who unfortunately just cannot leverage them.
I do not believe the USD to GBP conversion rate used by the gadet was anything near what is was when I acquired my copy so the USD value is over stated. I paid 770 GBP.
I plan to acquire a Nikon 300mm 2.8 (and converter) but I see that as complementary to this lens as I certainly would not "walk around" with that set-up.
I must confess that given the price differential and performance of this lens that I do not understand why anyone would go the 50-500 route.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedOptical sharpness, built like a tank,Price given no VR, not hood included hood screws on, screw thread on the lens is plastic, focus noisy
I acquired a new twin ring in 2010. I have not found any issues with CA on my D300S or D7000. I do not find my copy as soft wide open at 200mm as some have reported. Certainly it sings at f4. For wild life though the focusing mechanism sort of makes the the quiet release modes on my bodies academic, as it is so noisy as it snaps into focus.reviewed June 16th, 2011 (purchased for $1,300)
On a DX sensor giving 300mm equiv field of view I often use a monopod, significantly more often than I do with my 150-500 OS !
Having to order the hood post sale (like the 18-55 DX lens is hard to fathom. The issue is that the hood screws on and the thread on the lens is plastic, so I purchases a cheao 72mm UV filter and removed the glass, this is fitted to the lens full time and now when I fit the hood it is metal thread on metal thread.
I have used it for wild life, particularly if walking through wood land with variable lighting, which at times is quite low. I have also used it at birthday parties at "disco lighting levels" both with and without flash (externally mounted flash not pop-up)