8 out of 10 points and recommendedalready at f/2.8 very sharp uniformly from edge to edge, 1:1 w/o accessoriesnot very saturated colors, not that contrasty wide open, lens barrel extends
Although this lens and it's VR brother are the least sharpest members of the Micro-NIKKOR family, they still are very sharp. There simply is no Micro-NIKKOR that can not deliver pin-sharp images. The 105/2.8 reaches it's maximum sharpness much earlier that the 60/2.8, which needs to be stopped down at least a full stop.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $460)
Bokeh is neutral at most. Highlights in the sharpness transition near DOF are rendered quite ugly. This is a non issue when you can control the background (e.g. black cardboard).
The lens is equally good at infinity and at it's near limit. It has virtually no distortion and very low CA. On a D200 or D80 it should not be used at f/16 or slower unless DOF requires so. Manual focusing is a bit fiddly at infinity but there are macro lenses that are much worse in this domain.
As all modern Micro-NIKKOR designs this lens uses a trick to minimize barrel extension and maximize effective aperture when focusing all the way down to 1:1. But this trick comes at a cost: The effective focal length decreases significantly. This can be very annoying when you try to do macro work on a tripod without a macro focusing rail.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedvery sharp, 1:1 w/o accessories, beautiful bokeh, no barrel extension, VRno aperture ring (G lens design)
Although this lens and it's non-VR predecessor are the least sharpest members of the Micro-NIKKOR family, they still are very sharp. There simply is no Micro-NIKKOR that can not deliver pin-sharp images. The newer VR version has more sharpness falloff to the edges wide open than the non-VR version. But it delivers better contrast and has a more colorful image rendition, which compensates much.reviewed November 27th, 2006
The bokeh of this lens is marvellous. This and the much better color rendition are the main advantages over the predecessor. The VR feature is nice at normal distances but not much of use doing macro work. AF is surprisingly fast, macro work still involves large amounts of manual focusing, tough.
The lens is equally good at infinity and at it's near limit. It has virtually no distortion and very low CA. On a D200 or D80 it should not be used at f/16 or slower unless DOF requires so. Manual focusing at infinity has improved since the non-VR version.
As all modern Micro-NIKKOR designs this lens uses a trick to minimize barrel extension (absolutely zero extension in this case) and maximize effective aperture when focusing all the way down to 1:1. But this trick comes at a cost: The effective focal length decreases significantly. This can be very annoying when you try to do macro work on a tripod without a macro focusing rail.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedstunning wide open performance, AF-S, fast, ergonimics, weather sealslittle susceptible for flare and ghosts
This lens is optimized to be shot wide open at near to mid distances. And it does this impressively well. It's only shortcoming is stopped down performance at infinity. For landscape shots, the 17-35/2.8 at f/8 is visibly sharper.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,770)
Bokeh is neutral, but better than 50/1.4. Color rendition and contrast are excellent. The build quality is very good, but the lens barrel extends while zooming to either end. It is shortest around 35mm.
The 17-55 is simply a lens that does not suck. All focal lengths and f-stop combinations between f/2.8 and f/11 can be used safely without harming image quality. Choose your aperture according to you pictoral needs and not wrt lens quality issues.
I use this lens as often as I can. You have to pry it off my camera.
If you are looking for a large aperture standard zoom and you are not primarily a landscape photographer, this lens is for you.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp even wide open, very low distortionpush-pull design, floppy manual focus, very susceptible to flare
This dinosaur was the pro lens of the 135 film era. It's range is not that useful on a digital crop camera, but it may be used as a portrait zoom.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $460)
The lens is sharp even wide open and improves even further up to f/5.6. Unfortunately it is very susceptible to flare and ghosts, for strongly backlit situations it is nearly useless. Always use the lens hood and keep direct sunlight off the front lens.
Color rendition is good, contrast is a little low at 70mm wide open and very good otherwise.Bokeh is neutral. My sample had slightly undercorrected spherical abberations at 70mm wide open at the near limit, which could be used reasonably for portraiture, but it may also confuse auto focus.
AF speed is fast for a screw driver type AF.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedvery sharp, good color & contrast, value for moneyno AF-S, little high CA, purple fringing, susceptible to flare
The 12-24 Tokina is a lens with much value for little money. I would prefer the Tokina over the 12-24 Nikkor, even if I could get the Nikkor for the same money. The Tokina has more sharpness and contrast than the Nikkor and it's distortion is less annoying. The Nikkor wins over the Tokina in backlit situations, where the Tokina has much more flare, CA and sometimes pruple fringing than the Nikkor.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $590)
So it depends on your general shooting style whether you would prefer one or the other.
The 12-24 Tokina is already very sharp wide open with little fall-off and improves slightly up to f/8. It renders images with high contrast and vivid colors. Without distortion correction software it has a barrel distortion with a little waviness at 12mm and virtually no distortion at 24mm. The distortion at 12mm is much easier to correct than the distortion of the 12-24 Nikkor or the 10-20 Sigma.
The main problem of this lens may catch you in strongly backlit situations, where not only lateral CA but also longitudinal CA and PF may occur. If you can avoid these situations or don't mind the CA/PF, the Tokina is hard to fault.
Build quality is ok, the outer barrel is plastic and so is the filter thread. You will get dark corners with a slim B&W polarizer and 12mm, which are gone at 13mm.
Speaking of focal length: I doubt that the wide end is really 12mm. On my D200 it has the FOV much more like a 20mm and not a 18mm which you would expect on a 1.5-crop camera.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedgeneral image quality, contrast/color rendition, light weight, zoom range, VRconventional AF (slow), no IF, flimsy tripod collar, little softness at 400mm
This lens is for you if you really need reach and depend on small lightweight ultra-portable gear.reviewed November 28th, 2006 (purchased for $1,300)
Optically the lens is hard to fault. Images are rendered with vivid colors and excellent contrast. Just at 400mm a little softness sneaks in. This lens is not generally soft at 400mm but it is simply not as sharp as the 200-400/4 or a good 400mm prime. My sample is definitely sharper than my 80-200 with TC. Contrast is excellent even at 400mm which compensates some of the missing sharpness.
Light falloff, CA and distortion are controlled very well.
The AF is the conventional screw driver type and it is slow. Really slow. Using the focus limiter can be a great help. The lens has no IF design, so the whole front barrel moves in and out while focusing (at least it does not rotate).
The VR does it's job. Strangely it is much more efficient on my D50 than on my D200. In non-VR operation on a stable tripod the wobbly tripod collar prevents sharp images at 400mm unless you use MUP.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedwide, sharp, very low CA, flare resistance, near limitugly distortion, slow (aperture), AF problems, ugly aperture highlights
This ultra wide lens is usable on 1.5-crop DSLRs only. It is the widest rectlinear lens for my D200 -- 10mm vs 12mm resembles a huge difference.reviewed January 2nd, 2007
The lens delivers sharp images from corner to corner when stopped down about 2 stops. But it is slightly less sharp than the Tokina 12-24 or the Nikkor 12-24, but only pixel peepers will observe this. It's strengths are virtually no CA and very good resistance to flare. The near limit is excellent for this focal length.
On the down side there is the signature of distortion, which I do not like at all. While the center part of the image is almost free of any distortion the border areas are afflicted by hefty barrel distortion. This signature makes it very difficult to correct in PhotoShop. Although the lens is HSM equipped, the AF hunts quite a lot on my D200 even in non-critical light conditions.
If you like ultra wide perspectives and you can live with the distortion signature and the small aperture you should give it a try.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedvery sharp, colors, contrast, rapid AF, VR works well, nice tripod collar, ergonomicsvery slight softness at 200mm wide open, G-lens i.e. no aperture ring, very expensive
This lens is incredible. It is as good as a 70-200/2.8 can get.reviewed January 2nd, 2007
It is very sharp at any aperture and focal length and outstandingly sharp from f/4 to f/8. At 200mm there is the slightest softness when shot wide open compared to other focal lengths, which vanishes already when stopped down to f/3.5. Contrast and color are nothing short of perfect.
Bokeh is beautiful most of the time but it may become harsh at the long end stopped down to f/4 or more with specular highlights in the background.
Handling and ergonomics are perfect and the lens seems to scream "Handle Me!". AF is accurate and very fast.
This is the perfect fast tele zoom (even though it won't work on my F3 and it is very expensive).
9 out of 10 points and recommendedvery sharp stopped down, small, light, inexpensivesoft in the corner on film SLR unless stopped down, ugly barrel distortion
This lens is the 17-35/2.8 for the fiscally challenged. I used this lens on film SLR only, so my findings may not apply to DSLRs.reviewed January 11th, 2007
The lens is compact and light. Build quality is fair. The barrel extends while zooming. It has in IF design, so nothing outside moves while focusing.
You have to close the aperture about two stops to get sharp corners, but that is acceptable to an ultra wide zoom. At 18mm it has an ugly barrel distortion with a wavy signature. Vertical lines directly at the left or right border are still straight, but as your line moves a bit off the border, it gets heavily distorted. This is no lens for shooting architecture.
Nature photography is where this lens really shines. Contrast and color rendition are excellent (ED glass, yeah!). Flare resistance is ok.
7 out of 10 points and recommendedoutstanding optics, cheap, small, lightpoor mechanics, AF problems
I tried the Nikon version of this lens to check if it could replace my large and heavy Nikkor 17-55/2.8. Weight and size is what bothers me most with the Nikkor. This is no issue with this Tamron.reviewed January 11th, 2007
Optically it really is almost as good as the Nikkor. At f/5.6 and f/8 it may be even slightly sharper in the center. Corners are a little behind the Nikkor, but not much. Shooting contrasty scenes you may get in trouble with CA and purple fringing.
The lens has screwdriver type AF and obviously the same sloppy AF mechanics as the Tamron 28-75/2.8. The lens has severe auto focus problems, which often ruins image sharpness completely.
If Tamron could manage to build an AF-S type ultra sonic motor into this lens and compensate the AF offset errors it probably would be the best APS-C standard zoom under 1000$ for a bargain price.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp wide open, extremely sharp stopped down, fast AF, cheapbuilt like a plastic toy, no IF, no CRC, no AF-S, longitudinal CA, mediocre bokeh, flare
Some people call this lens soft wide open -- I think they are wrong. Ok, contrast is low wide open, you can see a slight degradation in resolution at near limit and in the corners. But detail is plenty. Maybe photographers who call this lens soft at wide open have a bad sample -- maybe their f/1.4 images are not focused properly. The DOF at f/1.4 is ultra thin -- a few mm at 45-70cm distance. The slightest subject or camera movement renders a very soft image.reviewed November 19th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
From f/2 on contrast and corner sharpness are very good, increasing up to f/4. From f/4 to f/11 the image quality is all you can wish for.
Keep the front element aseptic: The lens already has bad flare and ghosts in backlighted situations, and even the smallest dust spot makes it even worse.
There are very few lenses that are performing better (optically) under real life conditions, but not enough for a score difference. So I gave this lens a 10- (optics).
You are a fan of large aperture lenses? Then the 50/1.4 is a must.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedexcellent performance at wide stops, small, light, smooth bokehlongitudinal CA, purple fringing, screw-in hood
Excellent wide open performance for a spherical design. Very good color and sharpness, slight veiling effect in bright light at f/1.4.reviewed May 7th, 2009 (purchased for $1,300)
Purple fringing can be troublesome at point light sources and wide stops (depends on focusing). Also longitudinal CA can compromise image quality in certain situations.
Really shines on FX. Highly recommended.