aviatorbumm's reviews

  • Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharpenss and focal range, economical price
    Poor build quality, distortion, lack of VR

    This lens is extremely sharp across its entire focal range and produces pictures with excellent tone and color qualities. In regards to sharpness, I completely agree with the SLRGear tests and have found this lens to be superior to both the 18-200 and the 17-55.

    Distortion is significant, though manageable for the type of shooting I do. I have not yet found CA to be a problem.

    Build quality is nothing less than annoying - I'm not sure what Nikon was thinking. In particular, the tendency for the end of the lens to wobble (extended or not) is inexcusable. This, plus the plastic mount and lack of distance ring, is likely to put off a lot of potential buyers.

    Nevertheless, given its economical price and truly exceptional image quality, I do highly recommend this lens for general "walk-around" use.

    reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $399)
  • Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO Macro

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharpness, constant f2.8 aperture, build quality

    This lens is PERFECT in all respects (I use it on my Nikon D200). If you are at all interested in macro photography, get one.

    reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $600)
  • Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Focal range, sharpness, VR capability
    Tripod collar design, slow AF speed

    I love this lens and am very happy I purchased it. Sharpness, tonal qualities, bokeh, CA and distortion are all good to excellent.

    I find that the VR works well handheld (or on a monopod) down to about 1/200 (beyond 300mm). Below that, the pictures are hit or miss. f8 to f11 or higher gives the best results.

    Pictures at 350 to 400mm tend to soften a bit, but a tripod will help considerably in this range. In fact, put this lens on a good tripod, and you have a very sweet combination.

    reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,450)
  • Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharpness, constant f2.8 aperture, build quality

    I have owned this lens for about a month and am really pleased that I made this purchase. It is hands down the best lens I have owned.

    It is super sharp wide open to mid aperture, with great color and contrast. Focus is fast, and though it is a large lens, it balances very well on my D200.

    I have made a relatively thorough comparison between this lens and the Tamron 17-50, Nikon 18-200, and Nikon 50mm F/1.8 prime (all lenses I have owned in the past). My 17-55 copy met or exceeded the performance of these other lenses from an IQ and build standpoint – in some cases by a significant margin. I like it much better than the Tamron from a color and contrast standpoint. Also, the Nikon is noticeably sharper than the Tamron (I tried two copies) from F/2.8 to about F/4. From there on, the two lenses are on par.

    There is NO comparison between this lens and the 18-200. It is nearly impossible to tell pictures apart taken with this lens compared to the fabulous 50mm F/1.8.

    I love the ability to shoot at wide open to mid-aperture without fear of appreciable softness anywhere in the frame. The 17-55 range (26mm to 83mm film) offers enough flexibility to get solid wide angle “expansive” perspective to slight telephoto “compression”. This short telephoto effect at 55mm works very well with open apertures for DOF subject isolation. For me, it is perfect for most landscape and still-life shots. As well, it makes a great “normal” perspective lens and is well suited to portraits. It is not a wildlife (except maybe road-kill) or sports lens.

    Three things I don’t care for – first, the lens will flare very easily in most backlight situations. Second, it is big enough to cause shawdows when using the built in speed light on my D200 at wider focal lengths. Last, there is more distortion than I would have expected at 17mm. This goes away quickly, however.

    Bottom line for me - Truly great lens!

    reviewed March 12th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)