Nikon 300mm f/4D ED-IF AF-S Nikkor10 out of 10 points and recommendedAmazingly sharpNot many, could be brighter
This is a killer deal for a 300mm prime. I have had this lens for two years and love it. Originally it was my solution to not being able to afford the 2.8 glass, but since its size has really grown on me. It is so small and portable, but just as sharp as it's 2.8 big brother. It excells at sports and bird photography, and performs very well with the TC1.7II, giving you a focal length of 510mm, plus the 1.5 DX crop factor and you're at 765mm for less than $1500. Excellent budget solution to bird photography. The focus is extremely fast, and even functions well with the 1.7TC. Awesome lens all around, the only thing that I've ever wanted was for it to be a 2.8 or to have VR. But you have to pay for those things!reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $900)
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF8 out of 10 points and recommendedAffordability, sizesharpness wide open
Excellent solution to not being able to afford the Nikon 17-55. Sharper than my Nikon 18-200VR at F4-F11, better contrast too. At 2.8 the lens softens a little, and that is the $1000 difference between this lens and the 17-55. Also, this lens weighs significantly less than the Nikon equivalent, making it a much better walk-around and all-day use lens. Awesome value. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a fast standard zoom.reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $350)
Nikon 1.7X AF-S TC-17E II8 out of 10 points and recommendedGood reach, works flawlessly with top-quality glassNot as sharp as 1.4TC
I would rate the 1.4TC as the only TC that will yield excellent results across the board. The 1.7 is a good compromise, but dont expect it to yield tack-sharp results on every lens. You need to stop many lenses down at least two stops when using this TC to achieve max sharpness. For instance, it does NOT function well with the 70-200VR when used wide open at full zoom. You need to either back off the zoom or stop the lens down to achieve really sharp images. You can see more extensive tests I conducted here:reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
It works very well with the 300mm/F4, and all the top-quality primes, but I would stay away from it on the zooms if you are going to be using them at the long end.