9 out of 10 points and recommendedVR quality, portable, great performance in the range 70-250, fast focusperformance degrades in the range 250-300
I am reviewing this lens after playing with it over a year. This is an excellent lens. If I could change anything about it, I would limit the zoom range to 70-250. Alternatively, I would try and make the lens sharper at 300mm length at the expanse of 70mm length (if that is at all possible). I would not touch anything else.reviewed February 27th, 2013 (purchased for $500)
To objectively evaluate this lens one has to look at it in the context of its competition.
- In my opinion, the aperture of 5.6 and even 8 is quite adequate for the VR capabilities.
- Image quality is great up to 250. I would not zoom any further, as it is better to stay at 250 and crop for further magnification.
So, if you were to look for alternatives, where would you look?
- 300mm or 400mm primes. These lenses will give you sharper images at larger magnifications. Where you will loose is in the abilities to quickly take photos. Those primes do not have VR (unless you pay premium), so image quality is better only if you use tripod and have time to setup.
- Longer zooms. For example Nikon 80-400mm VR. Note that from that lens you can get good performance up to around 300mm vs 250mm on this lens. In addition you pay about double the price.
This lens is not perfect in terms of its performance but it is the best lens in the market in being exceptionally balanced.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedcheap wide angle for FX, fast (for the money), very small, solid builddoes not come with a hood, overlaps the standard 14-24 and 24-70 zoom ranges
I recently bought a used earlier version (non D) of this lens for my newly acquired D700 and I am very happy with it.reviewed September 23rd, 2013 (purchased for $200)
I wanted a cheap fast wide angle lens for FX to take pictures of the stars and the Milky Way to utilize the superior low-light performance of full frame. Until I saw this lens for sale I was considering Tokina 16-28 f/2.8. The later goes for around $700 and long-term is a much more flexible and better lens (and much heavier too).
I have both DX and FX cameras which I use side-by-side:
- On FX I have a vintage 35-70 f/2.8D, which is a very good cheap (~$450) alternative to its modern counterpart 24-70 f/2.8 (~$1,500).
- On DX I have a proper ultra-wide angle 12-24 Tokina f/4.
So, I "needed" a lens mostly for one application. This lens was a perfect solution:
- Fast at 2.8 and cheap ~$200.
- Solidly built.
- Extremely small (compared to other UW zoom lenses) non-intimidating. It is about the size of 35mm and 50mm f/1.8 lenses. There is something very satisfying about having a very small lens on the camera.
- Sufficiently sharp.
- Focuses fast without focus-hunting, has a hard infinity stop.
The reasons you may want this lens:
- It's a cheap good quality solution for the range and aperture.
- It is very small and relatively light.
- Perfect complement to the 35-70 f/2.8 lens.
The reason you may NOT want this lens:
- Once you sacrifice your limbs to get either of the dream 14-24 or 24-70 lenses (unless weight is an issue) this lens will become obsolete.