trentdp's reviews

  • Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good build quality and smooth operation.
    Back focus at Macro/Close focus

    I bought this product for about $400 a few months ago and posted a review at the time. I was excited and anticipated that the lens would perform up to my expectations given the reviews in other forums as well as this one. However, after shooting several hundred photos in a few days at lots of aperature settings and various focal lengths, I concluded that since I shoot a lot of closeup photos of landscape elements the back focus issue was just too much for me to keep this product. I very much like Sigma products but compared to the very inexpensive and suprising good performance of their 18-50 3.5-5.6 lense, this was a dissapointment for me. Sharpness in the center of the lens and good focus characteristics are prime characteristics for my work. I am an advanced amature photgrapher so you may discount my comments if you are better qualified. All other aspects of the lens were quite good and if you don't do much or care much about accurate focus at close distances then you may find this lens acceptable.
    I was somewhat reluctant to buy the lens in the 1st place because of a mention of back focus by a reviewer in another forum but disregarded my instinct and bought it anyway. I eventually returned it for a refund and Ritz Camera was 1st class in this regard.
    Since my original post, I have purchased a Nikon 18-70 lens with the D70s kit. The Nikon lens is definately better for my photo work and does not have the back focus problem the Sigma had.
    Maybe I just got a bad copy of the Sigma lens in regard to the focus issue but for $400 I expected this not to be an issue.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
  • Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED DX AF-S Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Really great light sharp lens
    Slow to focus

    You may pay a lot more for another lens but the bang for the buck on this one is just hard to beat! I had the comparable Sigma 50-200 which I paid about $175 for but it in no way compares in image quality to this Nikon. It is relatively slow to focus compared to other higher priced Nikon products but generally for static (particularly landscape elements) or slow moving subjects it is perfectly acceptable. I have read similar positive comments in other forums and can report that it is a keeper for me. Nikon just lowered the price on this lens and I suggest that you buy one if the focal range is what you are looking for. It is a great walk around lense if you predetermine that you will limit your shooting to the 55 to 200 range for that outing. You may find a cheaper price by shopping on the web, but for me Ritz Camera is one of my preferred providers as well as BH Photo.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
  • Sigma 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 DC

    6 out of 10 points and not recommended
    A cheaper alternative to other offerings
    Just so-so performance

    I owned this lens for about 6months and used it a fair amount taking several hundred pictures with my Nikon D70. I can't complain about it's overall performance but I found it was not a keeper for me and eventually sold it to my local camera shop for a substantial discount from what I paid.

    I recently purchased the Nikon 55-200 4-5.6G and can truly say the Nikon delivers substantially better image quality than the Sigma. Nikon recently lowered the price on the 55-200 and I would highly recommend you buy it for the small difference in price.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $155)
  • Sigma 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical IF Macro

    6 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Cheap price for long zoom
    Just so-so performance

    I actually owned an older version of this lens under the Quantary brand from Ritz Camera. I originally bought it for use on my Nikon N60 but was never really excited by the pictures. I used it again during July 2006 on my D70 while on vacation and other times before that. It is not a bad lens but not exciting for the price. I have not owned the Nikon 28-200 version but understand it is far superior in sharpness and performance. This lens is quite good in build quality and has a metal mount. You will probably end up selling the lens for a better one so don't waste your money on this one.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
  • Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    This is a very light weight sharp lens.

    I originally posted a review in November 2006, about one month after my purchase. I have now had the lens for about 3 months and am very pleased with it. I recently bought a new Nikon D70s, with the 18-70 kit lens, so I gave my D70 to my wife and put the 18-135 lens on it for her. She especially likes the fact that the lens is very light weight and has a good focal length range. She has now taken several hundred pictures with this lens and the results are excellent - very sharp with good color and contrast. You can't go wrong with this lens as a good walk around lens or for use on vacation. I like the 18-70 lens but this is more versatile with a better range and about equal quality.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
  • Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great walk around lens when you want to travel light

    I recently got this lens with the D70s Kit so I estimate it cost about $200 based on a market rate of $600 for the bare camera. I have only used the lens briefly but every good thing I read about it appears true. I have not had any problems to report. It takes really sharp pictures and focuses almost instantly.
    As an aside from this review, I highly recommend that you pickup one of the D70s kits before they are all sold out. For my large hands, the D70s is a much better fit than any of the newer models except the D200. Ritz Camera and other online sellers, sell the kit for about $800 which is an incredible value. I paid $750 for my body only D70 about two years ago.
    If you read the DPReview of the new D80 and see the photos comparing the D80 and D70, to my eyes the D80 only has larger photos which would be relevent for prints larger than 8x10. I am aware of the other D80 features, but for me the SD storage was the deal breaker.
    The 18-70 lens still retails for $300 - $400 most places so this is a good opportunity to get one with the close out D70s kit.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent vacation lens
    A little bit heavy and lens creeps when camera points down

    I bought this lens in August 06 and have taken over 2,000 pictures with it. As you get older, like me, you discover that your hands are not as steady as when you were younger. Accordingly, the image stabilization in low light is worth it's weight in gold to get good pictures at slow shutter exposures. I am able to hold the camera at 1/30 sec using the IS and get good pictures without flash! This is really great for we old duffers who don't like carrying around tripods or other stabilizing equipment.
    Unless you are an absolute perfectionist, you will be very satisfied with the pictures you get from this lens. At a price of about $750, there is simply nothing else on the market, even from other camera manufactures, which provides this flexibility and quality in equipment and pictures with IS.
    Sigma is suppose to be manufacturing an OS lens but it has not been released as of this review.
    Don't hesitate to buy this lens and try it. If you don't like it, it is easy to sell on e-bay for about what you paid for it if not more.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $750)
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good build quality and smooth operation. Very Sharp in center.
    Focal length a little to long for APS size digital SLR cameras

    All the posts are pretty much right on target with their assessments. I had the lens for about 12 months and used it periodically, but decided for my use a zoom lens was more convenient. There is no doubt that you can't go wrong buying this lens give it's price. Maybe as I mature in my picture taking, I will buy another copy of the lens in the future. I sold my copy because I just did not use it frequently enough.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $125)
  • Sigma 18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 DC

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great walk around lens when you want to travel light
    Rotating lens

    I must have been fortunate enough to get a really good copy of this lens because it has been a pleasure to use and the quality of pictures is much better than you may have read from other reviewers. I like this lens much better than the Nikon kit lens on the D50 as it has much better build quality and comparable image quality.
    If you are on a strict budget, don't hesitate to buy this one as you will most likely not be disappointed. You can buy this lens used for about $70 at your local camera shop so this is a way you can limit your investment and still have a good lense to get started.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $125)
  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro APO

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Pretty good value for long zoom

    I owned an earlier version of this lens on my Nikon N60 but only sparingly. I used it for a while on my D70 but was not particularly impressed by the sharpness even when stepped down to F8-F16. If you are anything like me on buying a lens, you will end up buying and selling several lenses before finally realizing it was a waste of time and money. Eventually, you will have to bite the bullet and spend the money on a much better lens to get really good picture quality. An alternative would be to buy a really good tripod with ball mount head and you can get away with these low cost lenses for a while before eventually buying a good one.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $250)
  • Olympus 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ED Zuiko Digital

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great for birding especially with an Oly TC 1.4
    A little soft at 300 mm unles shot at F11

    A great lens at an affordable price especially now while the Olympus promotion is valid. I us an Oly TC 1.4 with the lens for an effective field of view of 850 mm! The SLR Gear review is right on accurate with my field experiences. Very sharp 70 to 150 stepped down one stop from wide open and very acceptable at F8 @200 mm and F11 @300 mm even with the 1.4 TC. The TC does not degrade the IQ to any noticeable degree which attests to the quality of this attachment.

    I hope SLR Gear does a review of the Oly 1.4 TC at some time as this is a superb IQ accessory for Olympus DLSR users.

    Another side benefit rarely mentioned is the Macro Focus feature when in Manual Focus mode.

    reviewed December 9th, 2009 (purchased for $250)
  • Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent vacation lens
    None I can personally attest to

    I use this lens on my Canon 40D in the same way I use the Nikon 18-200VR on my Nikon D200. It is a great all in one lens when you only want to have one lens on your camera for your outing.

    It is suggested that any interested potential purchaser of this lens navigate to the following link for a very good and accurate assessment of this lens. I based my purchase on this assessment and do not regret my decision at all.

    This is a very good lens for it's intended use. It is not excellent in any given category but when you evaluate the entire package, it has no peers in the Canon stable or from other 3rd party providers.

    There may have been some early release problems, but for the most part I believe Sigma has stepped up to the bar and corrected the initial problems with this lens.

    I highly recommend it to someone who wants a great "vacation lens" for use on canon products.

    reviewed January 12th, 2008 (purchased for $429)
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Reasonably priced, very good optical quality 55-200, Good 250, light weight
    None, considering the price and target market.

    If you don't want to spend a lot of money for an Image Stabilized Canon Brand lens in this zoom range it just can't be beat. It is an excellent value for what you get with nearly excellent image quality. Photo Zone does a very accurate and fair review of this lens as does SLR Gear.

    When I first received the lens, it was placed through my standard testing procedure to varify performance. The first lens was good in most respects but demonstrated considerable "off center" focus characteristics. What I mean by off center focus is the apparent center focus point was considerably to the right of the picture center particularly at 200 to 250 MM. The right 3/4 of the picture was very sharp but the left 1/4 to the edge was noticeably blurred and out of focus.

    Since I live close to a Canon Service Center in Orange County, CA I reasoned no big deal just drop it off and get it adjusted in a few days. WRONG.

    As it turns out the 1st lens was at Canon for about 3 weeks including a trip to the NY main service center. The NY office was concerned about this problem and wanted to review the lens as it was the first one to report a problem on this relatively new release in the U.S.A. Kudos to Canon for wanting to ensure Quality Control of a fairly new product manufatured offshore. However, Shame on Canon Customer Service for making me wait more than 3 weeks before finally sending a brand new lens replacing the first one I bought.

    I share this story with you so you may wish to run a few tests to check for perfomance especially center focus as soon as you get it.

    This off center focus problem is quite prevalent as I owned the Canon 70-300 IS for a short period and it suffered from the same problem eventually correcting it at the local Service Center. This is not unique to Canon as a Sigma 18-200 OS I owned has a very similar problem at the extreme zoom end with very soft blurry corners on one side of the picture.

    I am pleased with the replacement lens from Canon as it tests out just as it should in all respects. The Canon Engineers in NY said my first lens was defective with a bad circuit board and zoom/focus motor.

    This lens appears every bit as sharp as the Canon 70-300 IS I previously owned but is definately not up to the build quality or apparent ruggedness of the 70-300 IS.

    If you are gentle with this lens I believe you will be very pleased with it's overall performace. I highly recommend it to the average user.

    reviewed June 16th, 2008 (purchased for $230)
  • Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 ED Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent sharpness entire range wide open
    High geometric distortion - however, NOT unique to this lens

    This is a great Ultra Wide lens for the 4/3 system at a bargain price. DPReview tested this lens and rated it Highly Recommended which matches my personal results.

    The only concern is it is f4.0 minimum so requires higher ISO in low light setting and/or an external flash to prevent a shadow from the lens. The internal flash on any of the Oly 4xx, 5xx, or 6xx cameras is too low and results in a shadow at the widest setting (i.e. 9 mm).

    This is very light lens which makes it nice as a carry aroung provided you are limiting you shooting to the range of the lens. However, combined with Oly 14-42 or 40-150 it makes a compelling light field combination especially with the new Oly E-P1 using the 4/3 to M4/3 adapter.

    reviewed July 22nd, 2009 (purchased for $600)
  • Olympus 18-180mm f/3.5-6.3 Zuiko Digital

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Nice light general purpose vacation lens
    It would be nice at 14mm on the wide end

    My wife uses this lens on her Olympus E-520 and likes it very much. It covers a nice range and is great for general photography which we do most of the time.

    Only small drawback is 18 mm is a little narrower than we would prefer but definately not a deal breaker.

    It is a nice balance on the E-520 and we can whole heartedly recommend this lens to anyone who wishes to have an all-in-one lens for vacation or just personal use.

    reviewed August 6th, 2009 (purchased for $428)
  • Olympus 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ED SWD Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp across the entire focal range even wide open
    Just a little bit heavy but balances nicely on the E-30

    I recently purchased this lens from BHPhoto/Video using the current promotion by Olympus. I was somewhat reluctant because I already have the Oly 14-54 F2.8 I and was very happy with it especially for the price I paid a year ago. However, as most users of the 12-60 attest, this is an incredible lens very sharp and super quick to focus accurately. On both my E-620 and E30 it performs brilliantly. Add the Oly 1.4 TC and it increases the versatility of this lens even more without any appreciable loss in IQ.

    If you are in the market for this lens, as of the date of this posting, BHPhoto/Video has it for sale at $787. It is completely worth the price as it provides a level of performance for 4/3 users unmatched by other DSLR formats. Read the reviews by SLR Gear, DP Review, and Photozone as they are completely accurate assessments of this incredible lens.

    reviewed December 9th, 2009 (purchased for $787)
  • Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very good sharpness at all focal lengths.
    More cheaply constructed than 14-45 (plastic mount, rough zoom)

    Considering this is now the standard lens with many of Panasonic's newer cameras, it is really very good in terms of Image Quality through the entire focal length range. For the average user, this will be a nice starter lens for both still and video recording. I use it on my GF2 which makes for a nice light weight combination with a good focal range. It is also a good choice on Olympus M4/3 cameras especially for video as it focuses very fast and silently. Unfortunately, the OIS does not work on Olympus cameras thus the camera IS has to be used. This is fine for still shots and great for continuous AF in video but be aware of the "digital IS" of Olympus cameras during video recording.

    reviewed August 10th, 2011 (purchased for $125)
  • Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent build and ergonomics
    A little soft at 140

    The IQ from 14-100 range is very good as indicated by the tests at this site. I agree with comments of other raters. This is the supreme 10XZoom lens for M4/3 cameras for video recording as nothing else compares with it's smooth/silent AF during video and relatively quick acquire of focus. It is a bit heavy on the smaller cameras but great balance on the G1, GH1 and GH2. It gets a bit front heavy even on the new G3 and all the Olympus M4/3 cameras. Many reviewers consider the lens a good fit on the GF1 and GF2 but a little out of proportion on the GF3.
    It is my perfect vacation lens.

    reviewed August 10th, 2011 (purchased for $640)
  • Panasonic 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent sharpness entire range wide open
    None, considering the price and target market.

    The best choice for going light on all the M4/3 line of cameras. When I want to keep it light, I use it on my GH1 due to superior optics. It works well for video with silent AF and relatively smooth zoom (much better than the 14-42).

    This lens is perfect on the entire Olympus M4/3 line for video recording due to quick/silent/accurate AF, and the OIS which is switch selected on the lens as opposed to the Pany 14-42. Digital IS during video is the achilles heal of the Olympus line of lenses.

    reviewed August 10th, 2011 (purchased for $210)
  • Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-5.6 MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Nice light general purpose vacation lens supplement to the 14-45.
    Soft beyond 125 mm

    This is a good zoom lens for the price. Works well in video on the entire M4/3 line of cameras. The Pany 100-300 appears to be much sharper in the equivalent focal ranges but costs about 2X as much. It is a personal choice is the price difference warrants your use and how often you use this lens. I found my shooting preferences are from 9 mm to 140 mm so this lens did not offer enough incentive to keep it.

    reviewed August 10th, 2011 (purchased for $325)