9 out of 10 points and recommendedgood range, FX compatible, fast at wide angle, fast focussing, sharpvery short focus range so hard to focus manually, slightly too much plastic
this is a very underestimated zoom which is capable of great image quality from about F5.6 onwards. Its slightly weak at 85mm. I have primes for 85, 50, and 28 mm but this lens loses little to these up to around F11. This is my go-to lens for most casual shooting - the only knock-off for Nikon is the fact that I cant see any reason to buy the 24-70 F2.8 but it sure doesn't bother me!reviewed November 2nd, 2009 (purchased for $850)
As mentioned in the cons section the construction says "consumer" and it has what must be the least amount of focus travel of any lens I have ever used - but this also results in really quick auto focus. Again, VERY underrated and its not a surprise that Nikon have killed their much later replacement lens and kept this one going.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedfantasic OOF blur, built like a tank, great image quality at all F/L at F4slightly soft at 200mm F2.8. With a D700 + MB10 handholding it for 4 hours tests your stamina...
The SLR gear review seems fairly accurate though I would love to see it tested on an FX too. if one always uses the lens at 200mm f2.8 its best to look at a prime but for everything else its fantastic. Its not the fastest focusing lens around (for example shooting flying birds) but its other strengths make up for it. I would be interested if SLR Gear did a FX review of the lens as I suspect its performance is better in FX mode and it seems to focus far better on a full frame.... I have used it with both a D300 and a D700 and my view is it performs best on the D700 both in IQ and focus performance. Who needs the 70-200 VR mk 1? I believe this lens performs better.reviewed November 2nd, 2009 (purchased for $1,000)
I enclose some links to my Flickr account - note that some of these were taken with a Tamron X 2 T/C installed which destroys the fringe performance but mostly leaves the sharpness intact. These Gannets can fly at around 140 KPH and then seemingly come up into the wind and just hover; these shots show both modes - top speed and hover.
the last ling was a shot taken with the Tamron X2 on - you can see the difference it makes to the DOF.
I enclose 2 portraits one shot at 125mmF4 @1/1600 which is tack sharp and another at 200mm/F4.5 @ 125th hand held and one can see the shallow DOF (the eyes are in sharp focus but the chin is not). Note the OF blur...this was in a busy street! It is a fact that this lens seems to make images really "pop" out of the surrounding blur.
Or for action see this
What a lens! I cant imagine ever selling it.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedInexpensive, great and consitantly great performance?
This is a cant loose lens. While doing a studio shoot with some guys a few months ago this lens earned its keep in company with a raft of F1.4 and Canon f1.2 85 mm. So the question was when shooting a F4 @ 250th, why do you need a 1.4 or a 1.2? The answer of course is that you don't...the little 1.8 was as sharp as all of them at that aperture and just 33% of the cost. yes it may not be as rugged but its still a decent lens and its works an absolute treat on my D700.reviewed November 5th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
I have an example below for anyone that wants to look.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedReally cheap, really good, really lightvery lightly built, very soft at F1.8-F2
Another no-loose Nikkor. The only thing that's wrong with it is the insubstantial build but then what do you expect for $125? if it breaks buy another!reviewed November 5th, 2009 (purchased for $125)
From f 2.8 onwards its stellar and stays that way to f16, so its great when you want some decent depth of field for landscapes.
It seems odd that my cheapest lens is my preferred one for doing large panoramas but I guess its because 1) its very sharp and 2) it has low distortion - what other requirements are there!
See the below shots - most of these range in size from around 18 - 70 megapixels and look fabulous printed between A2 and A0.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedsmall, light, very sharp centre resolutionsome distortion, not particularly robust
This lens is a bit of a sleeper as its quite cheap but does give quite good image quality once past F4.reviewed November 10th, 2009 (purchased for $280)
I recently decided to go with primes for all lenses under 100 mm - why carry around a 24-70 that weighs 1.4 kilos when I can get a 50mm, a 28 and a 20 that weigh just about 0.6 kilos between them and still take less room in my bag...and I normally have my 85 1.8 so everything is covered. Somehow there is this ray of clarity that primes provide: it may not show up in tests but I do believe its there. Problems: well I am looking at getting a 35 F2 now as I fell over while crossing a stream when out in the wild and the lens took a not particularly hard knock that rendered it "beyond economic repair" (or what call the "i cant be bothered") syndrome.
see here for a sample of what its capable of -1/80 @F11 , Nikon D700
9 out of 10 points and recommendedlight, great image qualitycould be better built
After reading some so-so reviews of it I am surprised by how good it is.reviewed December 21st, 2009 (purchased for $600)
Trying it in the store against a Nikkor 24mm and a Nikkor 17-35 F2.8 on my D700, it comfortably won over these lenses showing very acceptable /impressive IQ on the borders (not much point in looking at the centre IMO). It was soft on the border at F2.8 but sharpened up quite nicely by F5.6. By F8 it was tack sharp while there appeared to be slight softening by F16. In my experience there are limited uses for a wide angle at f stops wider than 5.6 so softness at F2.8-F4 simply isn't a big issue.
What really surprised me was how easily it beat the redoubtable Nikon 17-35. This also has the significant issue of severe (at least in the shots I took) vignetting at 17mm/F2.8-5.6. The 20mm 2.8 also vignettes at F2.8 but nowhere near as much. The 17-35 has the ultrasonic motor - but to be honest why bother on a wide angle? The only slight issue is with CA but I have seen much much worse here and its largely fixed within Adobe Lightroom. There is also some flare but this IS a ultrawide on FX after all.
I will update this as my images come in (see link below), but from my shots to date I am very pleased. Less so with its build quality - which isn't bad - but comparing with, say a Tokina 12-24 or (even better) the 11-16 2.8 its easy to see where construction could be improved - the Tokina lenses are built like a tank and this little prime isn't. And this of course is the challenge for the Photographer: a light, easy to carry (but fixed focal) lens vs the adaptable zoom that's a pain to lug everywhere. You pays your money and take your choice but as you can see here it has excellent sharpness right to the edge of the frame
I suspect that if people say its soft its because they are not composing properly. What do I mean? well put some foreground interest in, manually set the focus using the hyperfocal markings and then look. If one shoots "a view" it wont look good as small objects 10 metres away are too far away to look sharp. Try it.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedvery sharp, good focal lengthbuild quality
This is a very sharp lens and it is highly competitive with almost any other, whether for macro or landscape: see the following landscape:reviewed February 5th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
I would have any number of these and I know that comparing them with other lenses that I have they are around as good as one can get sharpness wise.
The main issue with it for me is that its build quality, while smartly presented (which is why I have given it 6) , leads to it being too unreliable as a day to day lens for a semi or pro photographer. As the lens trombones out during close focusing it has twice broken its internal plastic retaining lugs allowing the object lens to literal fall out. The fist time this cost me about $250 to repair, but the second time I have given up and it now sits in my cupboard unused and unloved. This is a shame.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp - even in the extreme corners on a full-frame, good value, silent HSMautofocus in macro mode not the best
This is a good value lens. It doesn't have the REALLY solid build of a Nikon 105VR but its not bad. I don't like the unique Sigma velvet finish as its seems hard to keep clean. Like any macro lens macro focusing is slow -but then compare its performance from 1.5 metres to infinity with say the Nikkor 70-200 and its fast...this is a more realistic test of focus speed and in this regard its as fast as any other lens I possess although I have yet to try its performance when tracking a subject at long distance. (I suspect that SWM / HSM lenses are quite susceptible to focus inaccuracy anyway - for tripod use focus manually its less hassle) it also shows some reluctance to auto focus on the last few millimeters down to 1:1 but I suspect that's down to lens shake when not mounted on a 'pod.reviewed February 16th, 2010 (purchased for $600)
Sharpness wise its good: its very slightly soft at F2.8 but improves until it peaks at F5.6 - but we are talking fractions here - its more than adequately sharp at F2.8 and this is a realistic aperture for portraits on landscape where its ability to produce great OOF comes to the fore. I have seen unattractive OOF but this was at F8 - generally I would say its excellent.
At 1:1 Macro mode it reports its aperture wide open as 5.6 - this is normal I guess. Even at 2 meters its F3.3. At 1:1 its reports its min aperture at F45 - and stays reasonably sharp here too.
You need to be aware, as Cliff notes below, that the DOF in macro mode is wafer thin...150mm is long so even at F5.6 the DOF is almost non existent so its performance at F22 and beyond is very relevant. some examples from my flickr page:
7 out of 10 points and recommendedNot expensive, sharp at reasonable apertures, solid build, easy to carrysoft wide open on FX
totally agree with the previous review; this lens is downright soft at F2 on my D700 but even from F2.8 things rapidly improve and by f5.6 to F11 its as good as it gets. Its light o carry which is a factor and while modern zooms produce better numbers there is more to lenses than pure numbers. just consider that while a lens can be rated theoretically at (say) F2.8 this is simply a calculation based on its FL- its real speed is dependent on the lens element transmission which is typically around 96% (about 97.5% for Pentax SMC by the way..)...the more lens elements, the greater the loss. Primes typically have 50-% less elements so their light transmission and contrast is superior. Just like this little beauty.reviewed April 21st, 2010 (purchased for $325)
It "only" gets 7 because its not as good value as the 50mm 1.8 - the latter being much sharper at f2.8 and less than half the price.
example here http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/4559951426/
6 out of 10 points and recommendedCost, weightfocussing reliability, poor OS/IS/VR
This is a qualified yes - read on to see why.reviewed March 23rd, 2011 (purchased for $850)
I traded this lens with another photographer in exchange for my excellent Sigma 150mm Macro - is a shame to give this lens a negative review as it is a "try hard" attempt but there is no getting away from the issues. my main problem is that is it almost impossible to focus on a moving object at 500mm....the point at which most people will want to use it.
Having an FX full frame means I really want good performance at 500mm to make up for the lack of a DX crop factor. The fact is that it though that it performs worse than my nikkor 80-200 with a Tamron x2 on it, both in image quality and focus speed and most people are well aware that teleconverters do little for image quality and focus speed.
Yes it DOES focus at F6.3 and 500mm and yes it will focus on a moving object but only until it gets to about 25-20 metres but after this it gives up every time.
initial trials shooting Gannets in New Zealand were very disapointing and a Nikkor 80-200 on a d300 (even with a TC) just blow it away, although I will concede that the lens does seem to perform reasonably well from 150-300.
My main issue besides focus speed is that the image quality on shots taken at 1/1600 are poor even when the camera autofocus has locked on. This contrasts with test images shot with MLU on a tripod which seem to lack nothing. The conclusion here is that either handholding this lens is a waste of time even with OS, or, that the lens never quite catches up with what the auotofocus is asking it. To make the point, I can get sharp shots indoors handholding at 1/50--1/100th @ 400mm but its a world of differenece in the field trying to keep the target in focus even with the otherwise fantastic 3D tracking on my d700/mbd10.
Despte the impressive looking shots on show with other reviewers there is the world of difference in showing on a monitor at 72DPI and a full clour print, so let me also say that my main criterion is that I expect to be able to print my images at A3 or A3+ and feel satisfied as a potential purchaser.
So conclusions are that if you dont need fast reliable autofocus on moving subjects this lens might well ring your bell. Otherwise be prepared to be disapointed.
Having had a chance to use this on wildlife that move a bit slower, I can say that my feelings have improved a little. Its quite clear that it IS possible to get good IQ - see -
I think this supports my view that IQ is very dependent on the speed of focus: give it a chance to really lock on and when the subject doesnt move much, and at less than max zoom its capable of good results.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedunriveled image quality, build, really widefilters are impossible, front element very vulnerable
Not much left to say here...simply the world's best wide angle zoom bar none.reviewed April 7th, 2011 (purchased for $2,000)
If you can live with the very real issue that you can't add a ND or GND to it then it offers the best image quality its possible to obtain on a full frame DSLR.
The only problem I struck was using it at night was in high humidity but clear conditions - the huge front element was prone to misting over on exposures in excess of a minute or more but this is a fairly rare or exotic occurance and I still managed to get some decent results...
Some advice to Canon users: get yourself an adapter and buy this because there is nothing in Canon land to match this.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedWide, big aperture, solid and well built - pro standardsome CA, small zoom range, flare
It is hard to believe that this lens sells for the same price as a F4.5 10-20mm sigma here in New Zealand because in my mind its a no-contest. Sure it doesnt have the same factor 2 zoom range but who cares when its so sharp and fast?reviewed July 5th, 2011 (purchased for $690)
Down to specifics the IQ in the centre is very high at any setting. image corners are soft at F2.8 better at F4 and sharp sharp sharp beyond that. IQ generally seems better at 11 mm but there isnt much in it between that an 16mm. A bonus for me is that it works from 16-14mm on my D700 FX with some very slight corner shading at 14mm. No the corners are not sharp on an FX but its certainly handy to be able to use it in the right circumstances.
Build quality is simply outstanding for the money. The zoom is well weighted and the focus ring feels slightly damped - its just right. No, its not quite at the standard of the 14-24 Nikkor but then it is only 40% of the price.
The level of integration with the D7000 and d700 is great....for example use trhe push/pull manual focus ring and it disengages menu functions as it should.
You might read here that it focuses slow. What? No way - its fast and just why do you need it to focus from 1m - infinity in 1/20 second instead of 1/10? Autofus is also reasonably quiet - but face it guys - who needs it when everything between 1m and infinity is in focus at 11 mm and F8....But if video is your thing then my advice is get and external mike.
Yes the Samyang 14mm is possibly sharper (definitely on a FF) but then it is a prime and putting filters on is a no-no, and the Tokina goes to 11mm on a DX. You pay your money and take the choice.
Conclusion? If you are interested in great IQ and a well-built piece of kit at an almost consumer price this is the ONLY option. But beware of flare!
8 out of 10 points and recommendedLightweight, good IQ for the $, effective VR, fast auto focus in most conditions, easy to carryCould do with more heft, slow even at 200mm its at F5.6
Not top-drawer but for a consumer zoom its excellent. It could do with more weight on a heavy body like a D700/MB 10D but works well with a D7000. I have noticed sharpness deterioration at 150 - 300mm. It focuses fast and sure enough on a D7000 - I recently tried it out with some birds in flight in New Zealand and have never got so many keepers, so I guess that says a lot. VR works very well indeed...I was able to keep my D7000 at 500 ISO compared to the D700 and a Sigma 150-500 OS where I was operating at 1600 ISO (albeit at much lower noise levels despite the higher ISO)reviewed November 7th, 2011 (purchased for $750)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall, quite light, very well built and very sharpF4...
I bought this lens despite the reviews. All I can say is that on my A7R sharpness is super and I see very little difference between F4 and F8 in the cornersreviewed January 15th, 2017 (purchased for $900)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall, light and sharp, focuses quite closedoes not feel bomb proof. A bit slow
I bought this as my kit lens for the A7R.reviewed September 5th, 2014 (purchased for $860)
IQ seems very consistent through the aperture range. If find it as sharp as I need at F2.8 and the contrast is excellent though it has a distinct 2 way look to the Bokeh, sometimes looking smooth and sometimes harsh. Now I am waiting for a 24mm F2: something tells me I have a long wait, so it looks like the Metabones is going to house a few Nikkors.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedBuild, acuity, range, quality feel, nearby bokeh, close focussingdistant Bokeh
This lens successfully out resolves the sensor on my OMD M1. The build quality is on a different level to many other 4/3 lenses and is a pleasure to use.reviewed April 20th, 2014 (purchased for $900)
Being realistic I cant give the lens a 10 as its probably not as sharp as, say the 75/f1.8 but for a zoom it is outstanding. The only issue is distant bokeh, where the "real" F2.8 becomes an effective F5.6 and it can look very busy compared to my FX. Interestingly, out of focus areas in the near fore and background look great. The fact is this is a great landscape lens where DOF is important, it focuses as close as 150mm from the lens and is certainly good enough for a quick portrait against neutral backgrounds. Spending $900 doesn't get better than this.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, sharp, cheap, good OIS. Unbelievable....? Speed
The performance of this lens is hard to believe. I have the Oly 12-40 F2.8 Pro. This lens is half the weight 20% of the cost and has 90% of its performance. Period.reviewed April 20th, 2014 (purchased for $200)
I bought this with the Panasonic GF6 as its kit lens. It converted me to M4/3 so I got an OMD M1. This lens is responsible!
9 out of 10 points and recommendedWide open performance, build quality, size, weight, price, bokehA little long for a portrait lens
I would love to give it a perfect score....but Olympus won't get one from me until they stop asking for another $100 for a lens hood....You will see that I have put price above in the pros list. The thing is have you purchased a lens that performs at this level from Canon or Nikon? Look up the price of a 135mm L lens or a 85mm 1.4. They cant touch the little lens that can. The only negative for me is the focal length as Portrait length is anywhere between 50-135mm with a preference towards the long end. But it does create some issues particularly indoors. So I would have loved a 52-67 F1.4, but I will take this just as it is thanks. A real Goldilocks lens, not too heavy, not to light, not to big and not too small, in short, just right.reviewed April 27th, 2014 (purchased for $1,000)
9 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, sharp, fairly cheap = great value here.no damned lens hood again........
I don't give away 10s because otherwise manufacturers might get complacent, but this IS a terrific lens. I have marked it down for construction and there s no damned hood and its mainly plastic but in other terms its well crafted all the same. the plastic focus ring is a little coarse for me when making small autofocus adjustments. thats it. The bokeh is fine and about the same as an 85mm full frame at f3-5, but it sharp, cuttingly so in fact.. . The format needs good lenses and its generally true that its got them with examples like this. I just wish there was a bit more to come from the sensor.reviewed May 5th, 2014 (purchased for $375)
9 out of 10 points and recommendedBokeh, definition, DC control, perfect portrait length on FX IMO. Did I mention Bokeh?Lacks contrast at F2.0
I am lucky enough to have this often misunderstood lens. I dont know of any other lens offering such smooth creamy Bokeh. The thing is, that you never have to work for it: if you know what you are doing the bokeh just happens provided you work the DC control properly. I also own a Olympus 75mm 1.8. The Oly is much sharper has heaps of contrast and good bokeh but you have to work for it paying lots of attention to working distance and subject placement. But even then is lacks the little bit of magic the 135 F2 brings.reviewed May 24th, 2014
To give you an idea I recently made a shot of some wine in a kitchen with an Oly M1 in focus. The bottle was just 2-3 inches behind. Not only was it completely out of focus the blur was smooth as can be, while some background kitchen cupboards 9 ft away were completely indiscernible - just a smooth wash white colour.
My recommendation is to buy one and see what it can do for you. Just match the DC control to the aperture you are using in either F or R (Front, Rear) to emphasise the blur either behind or in front. Hay presto. If you cannot see the difference the DC control provides then you are probably more interested in making test shots than taking real photos of real things.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, sharp, sharp Bokeh quality is decent Very inexpensiveBuild is light and unsubstantial Sigma should reserve "ART" branding for lenses of highest build, not just performance
On first acquaintance the build quality is a bit iffy and the lens rattles with what sounds like autofocus mechanism (not the motor) but that reduces as soon as the lens is mounted and the activated.reviewed April 29th, 2017 (purchased for $200)
When it comes to optical performance when mounted on my A6000 this lens is simply out of this world and is capable of resolving photographic detail that eludes much more expensive lenses of German heritage. There is little to no distortion, little vignetting and even the bokeh is smooth. At F2.8 it is flat sharp across the entire frame: the peak appears to be between F4 and F5.6 and then declines fairly gracefully but is perfectly usable at F11. This is the sharpest lens in my bag which also contains 2 Zeiss branded full frame lenses and a full frame Nikon 50mm 1.4 which I use on my A7R.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedInexpensive, light to carry, good image qualityA bit flimsy feeling
I bought this as a 28mm equivalent lens for my A6000. Performance is pretty much in line with the review though in my own tests it does not reach the admittedly dizzy heights of its 60mm brother, with the edges staying a notch below the centre. Manual focus feel is not the best; rubber would be preferable to the shiny metal surface and would also give the lens a bit of heft. But seriously, at this price there is nothing to really criticize: it even manages some decent bokeh!.reviewed May 19th, 2017 (purchased for $150)
Please Sigma: more E and FE mount lenses please?
5 out of 10 points and not recommendedLight, almost userful macro, neat finish, very good OSS.Image quality
At the end of the day for me it comes down to image quality or output from the camera/lens combo. There is no easy way to say this but Sony is ripping people off with this lens and I find it very discouraging that a company such as this has the gaul to create outstanding camera bodies and then puts crap like these on them. What are they thinking? Performance at 16mm (if you ignore the huge vignetting) is appalling at the edges of the frame: at no point do these improve...just a smeared mess of pixels. Performance improves marginally to 50mm and the lens focusses close, but image quality remains iffy. The OSS works really well but what use is it when the basic image quality is so useless?reviewed May 19th, 2017 (purchased for $175)
9 out of 10 points and recommendedCheap, Sharp, lightFeels slightly cheap and insubstantial
Both this, the DN 30 and DN 60 are probably the sharpest lens one can find for an A6x00. Not the easiest lens to use manually as the cover is slippery. While it bears the "Art" label its not built to that standard which is a shame - I would be willing to pay more for something more solid. When not on the lens rattles like mad - its the autofocus mechanism... Still, one get what one pays for which is simplicity and good resolution.reviewed July 26th, 2017 (purchased for $200)
Not as sharp as the DN 60 but then, that lens is sharper than any Zeiss or other lens I have used on my A7R by some margin
9 out of 10 points and recommendedCheap, Sharp and lighttoo light and unsubstantial feeling
Both this, the DN 19 and DN 60 are probably the sharpest lens one can find for an A6x00. Not the easiest lenses to use manually as the cover is slippery. While it bears the "Art" label it's not built to that standard which is a shame - I would be willing to pay more for something more solid. When not on the lens rattles like mad - its the autofocus mechanism... Still, one get what one pays for which is simplicity and good resolution.reviewed July 26th, 2017 (purchased for $200)
The thing about these lenses is they are sharp from wide open. yes the aperture is a bit small, but then so is the price. It gains in sharpness until about F5.6 but in reality there doesn't seem to be much difference from F2.8 to F8. At F11 it starts getting soft as diffraction sets in but its still quite usable here. It focuses quite close so its possible to get some quite nice Bokeh here.
Not as sharp as the DN 60 but then, that lens is sharper than any Zeiss or other lens I have used on my A7R by some margin