wijnands's reviews

  • Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    cheap, nice form factor, optically decent
    Prone to CA, needs stopping down after 200mm

    OK, let's face it. At this price you won't get superior image quality and sharpness. So, what do you get?

    - A telezoom big enough to hold properly and yet not too heavy
    - A usable manual focus ring
    - Decent images, especially if you have light enough to stop down a bit
    - Nice looking Bokeh

    When shopping for a telezoom I also looked at Nikon's 55-200. However, this lens is hardly bigger than the 18-55 kit lens and I found it difficult to steady at maximum zoom. With this 70-300 I do not have that problem.

    Some common problems:
    Yes, this lens will hunt in low contrast situations. Solution to that is manual focusing or paying more attention to selecting an AF point that's over a more contrasty part of your subject.

    Simply put, at more than 200mm stop down to at least f7.1

    I mostly notice this when photographing aircraft against a clear blue sky. No real fix for that although using the supplied hood helps a little.

    All in all, a lot of lens for a very, very decent price. Don't expect 70-300VR performance from it and you will not be disappointed.

    reviewed February 28th, 2007 (purchased for $120)
  • Nikon 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

    6 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Lot of sharpness in a little package. Good portrait zoom on a digital body
    build quality, not as good as the D version

    I've had a copy of this lens and got rid of it to stay with my D version 28-80. If you are in the market for a 28-80 budget zoom see if you can't find a used D-version in good condition.

    OK... build quality, well, let's do ourselves a favor and don't mention it.

    This lens does continue nikon's kit lens tradition of offering a LOT of bang for very little money. It's sharp early on and stays there. Not much going on in the way of CA and flaring and other nastiness. Colors are good and on the warm side of neutral.

    All in all, not a bad lens but if you can get a D-version go for that!

    reviewed February 28th, 2007 (purchased for $50)
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    sharp, sharp, fast and did I mention sharp?
    the 1.4 is sharper wide open

    This lens is in Nikon's lineup ever since they started on Autofocus lenses in the mid-80s and internally it doesn't seem to have changed.

    I currently own a copy of the first version which is built like the 1.4. After that nikon made a version which looks like the D but doesn't have the distance chip yet. In my opinion that's the least attractive version to get second hand. The addition of a distance chip is a nice bonus but by no means a necessity.

    An aperture of 1.8 means that you can still shoot with ambient light while kit lens owners already need to flash. It also means you can play with rather extreme DoF. It's at these extreme apertures that the much more expensive 1.4 outperforms the 1.8.
    Stopping down a bit to around 2.8 and the difference is already much less noticeable. Getting to f4 and you'd be very hard put to distinguish these two.

    This lens really shines around f5.6. It's incredibly sharp, so sharp that a portrait will show even the smallest skin blemishes.

    It has a good minimal focus distance of about 45cm. Combine that with it's 1.8 aperture and you can do fun closeup shots.

    It's front element is already rather recessed so for protection a UV filter isn't really necessary. Consider what this lens will cost you. Then factor in that a really good UV filter (which this lens does deserve) will cost you about half of the price of the lens. Just get a lens hood to go with it, either the recommended HR-2 or, for that extra retro feel the old HS-2 hood.

    reviewed February 28th, 2007 (purchased for $130)