zalan's reviews

  • Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    price and size

    In short, it is a pro quality midrange zoom for the DX format. I bought it after selling my 24-85G and it was a significant step up in every way except for flare, where I can see similar results. The lens is optimized for wide open or near wide open use in close or medium distances, so it is best for an event type of work. There are better landscape (stopped down, focus to/near infinity) lenses out there, but it is still very capable in this area. The sharpness, color rendition and contrast are all very good, but you will see some distortion and little chromatic aberration here and there. Generally I'm very happy with this lens, the small problems it has are only important for the pixel-peepers. One note however, there were some quality control issues with this lens along the way, so you might find some negative comments generated due to this.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor

    6 out of 10 points and recommended
    build quality

    This was my first ever lens and the only one for a while, so I used it extensively and for every possible subject. Performance wise it offers good value, sharpness is good even wide open, color rendition and contrast are ok and you will see some distortion at the extremes even on a DX body. Flare and ghosting can be a problem if you have light sources in the picture (think night cityscapes) and also you will see some purple fringing in the high contrast areas. Generally the lens performs better on the long end, you will see some performance decrease in the wide end. The same applies for close focusing, the lens has an excellent 0.38m minimum focusing distance, but the pictures are a bit soft, though perfectly fine for an occasional close-up. Focusing is quiet, fast and accurate, no complaint here. On the other hand I was disappointed in the build quality, it started to creep and wobble just after a month use and filled up with dust pretty quickly. The strange thing is that it did not seem to affect image quality, so it is not as big problem as I first thought. I sold this lens for one reason, I did not like the focal lenght on a DX body. It is not wide enough for a mid-range zoom, and not long enough as a telephoto. Considering all the lens choices we have for the DX format, I see no reason to buy this lens for a digital body anymore.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $700)
  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    price and size

    This is Nikon's current top of the line telephoto zoom lens and it lives up to the high expectations. The sharpness, color rendition, contrast, bokeh and autofocus are all suprisingly good, the pictures made with this lens has that special "pop" in them. VR works like magic, you can get razor sharp pictures handheld at low light levels as well. Probably the only weak point is the flare and ghosting due to it's complex design. Other than that is is hard to find problems and I expect to use mine for many years to come.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $2,200)
  • Nikon 1.7X AF-S TC-17E II

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    good compromise
    jack of all trades, master of none

    I only tried this teleconverter on my 70-200 VR, so all the comments are about this combination. My feelings are a bit mixed about this TC. I'm not happy with the wide open or near wide open performance, but stopping the lens down will eliminate most of the problems and it brings out the magic from the 70-200 VR. At f4.8 it is very soft, the contrast is noticably lower than usual and I see some chromatic aberration, around f8 the lens becomes very usable and at f11 it is excellent again. Personally I need the reach for shooting wildlife (mostly birds) and I was hoping that adding a TC to my telephoto will give me an affordable and perfectly fine solution. At f8 (which I consider the starting point due to performance issues mentioned before) it is a slow lens, I have shutter speed problems regularly, and also the isolating capabilities are not as good as I hoped since the depth of field is quite big.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $450)