davidgarth's reviews

  • Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    small, lightweight, good image quality
    softens a bit past 200mm

    I am a recently retired part-time pro photographer with high standards of image quality. Now that I'm retired, I wanted to have a lens to take on pleasure (non-$$) trips that was lighter and smaller than the 70-200mm f2.8 and 300mm f2.8 lens I've owned for years. I'm just too old to lug the heavyweight stuff around unless someone is paying me. (Well, the truth is I'm too old even if they are paying me.)

    This lens has exceeded my expectations. From 55 up to nearly 200mm its sharpness is very comparable and only slightly less than my 70-200. At these focal lengths it's sharp wide-open and very sharp stopped down a bit. At 200-300mm it's noticeably less sharp than my 300 f2.8 but still very usable for most things. (But that's comparing $5,300 lens that weighs more than 6 pounds to a $400 lens that weighs in at just over a pound) The VRII is noticeably better than my VRI lens.

    It's light and small enough that I can always include it in my "pleasure-trip kit": a Nikon D5100, 12-24, 50mm f1.8G, and 55-300. That lets me take high quality stills or videos from 12mm to 300mm (18mm-450mm full-frame equivalent) in a package that weighs only about 5 pounds. Amazing! I highly recommend this lens.

    reviewed March 29th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
  • Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Super sharp Great color and contrast Small and light Fast, almost silent autofocus Price/quality ratio
    Occasionally, I wish it were one stop faster.

    I've been so impressed with lens in both controlled testing and actual field use. Wide open it's very sharp in about 85 percent of the image, and only slightly less so in the extreme corners. Stopping down one stop to f4 sharpens the corners nicely. At f5.6, it's uniformly bitingly-sharp corner to corner; it's the sharpest of the seven terrific Fuji X lenses I own. I really like everything else about it too: the size is small, it's lightweight, the aperture ring has just the right amount of friction, and the focusing is buttery smooth.

    It appears in reading other's reviews of this lens that not all samples are this good. My experience has been that there are significant sample to sample variations in Fuji lenses. Some are poor, some good, other samples are great. Even though I think Fuji lenses in general are better quality than the Nikon lenses I previously used, this sample to sample variation has been more noticeable. I hope Fuji improves their quality control.

    reviewed September 2nd, 2017 (purchased for $399)
  • Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    • Fun to shoot with • Good image quality • Extremely lightweight • Very compact • Fast and quiet autofocus • Very inexpensive • 15-45mm zoom range is very useful • OIS
    • Power zoom?

    I am an old, retired professional photographer still active in my mid-seventies. I switched to Fuji-X from a lifetime with Nikon SLRs because I got too old to lug heavy equipment around, especially since Im just shooting for my own pleasure. Im always looking for ways to cut my equipment weight load. But my quality standards are still quite high.

    I was intrigued by this lens because one of my Fujis is a small X-T20 and I thought this lens might make an excellent combo when I wanted to carry the very least weight. I havent been disappointed. This lens combines a lot of features into an amazingly light and compact package at a little low purchase price. The image qualitysharpness, contrast and coloris way better than youd expect, and very adequate for most uses, even some critical ones. The light weight is possible because everything except the optics is made of high quality plastics. (It is not going to take a lot of abuse.)

    I haveread several reviews complaining about the power zoom, specifically that the zoom does not remember where it is when you turn the camera off and back on, and that its difficult to control with the zoom ring. At least on my bodies (X-T2, X-T20 and X-S10) the zoom can be precisely controlled using the front focus ring if the AF-MF setting in the menu is set to off. It also goes back to the same focal length when turned back on and shows in the viewfinder where in the range it is set.

    Overall, this is an amazing value.

    reviewed February 3rd, 2021 (purchased for $175)