David Stockton's reviews

  • Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Bright, sharp, fast, built like a tank
    Heavy, looks intimidating with the hood on

    F/2.8 gives a bright viewfinder image and helps focusing, both manual and auto. Autofocus is very fast -it makes only a tiny "tunk" sound and it's there. You can turn the manual focus ring or hold it at any time, friction clutches mix manual and motor control.

    Handling is a dream, controls are in the right places for comfortable holding. It balances well with an F5 body.

    Image quality can be beaten by the best primes, but the gap isn't big and Nikon haven't put their AFS motor in primes of this range. Someone has designed an artful compromise variation of slight pincushion/slight barrel across the zoom range.

    The build quality is "Scientific instrument" grade. The matching hood is rather large, but effective. The front element moves forward at the wideangle end so the petals' shading effect is a better fit to the field of view range.

    If you don't mind the price and the weight doesn't drag you backwards, I can thoroughly recommend it.

    I've shot sunrise from Phoenix Arizona, with very little trouble with flare. I'm not sure that you can get more "Contre jour". Mine has been backpacked up damp Scottish mountains, travelled on quad-bikes across the Sonoran Desert, and been on horseback* without problems. Heat, humidity and vibration testing in a user review :-)

    The hood bayonet doesn't seem to be as strong as the rest of the unit. Mine is still OK, but I treat it gently and I still sometimes mis-start the lugs.

    *This lens on a large camera needs the big Lowepro zoomster with the body harness to carry it and anchor it against the movements of English riding (Western is much smoother). Reckon on 10 seconds before the first wisecrack about the rider carrying more harness than the horse....

    reviewed October 23rd, 2005
  • Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D ED-IF AF Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Superb performance for the price, light
    Medium autofocus speed, hood does little

    This lens produces superb, ultra-sharp images with good contrast range and good geometry. For this performance, the price makes it a bargain.

    I've used one for five years without any problems, shooting landscapes and interiors on film. The combination of wideangle and good geometry shows up on interior shots. You can shoot flattering images that make rooms look larger than reality

    It takes a 77mm threaded filter, and the business end does not rotate when zooming or focusing. It can share filters with the F/2.8 zooms.

    The limited aperture gives an average viewfinder brightness so manual focus ease is average, as is low-light autofocus.

    Build quality is good but not excellent. The manual focus ring is a bit too free turning and a bit too quick acting, but this is the norm for autofocus lenses. Because the maximum aperture varies widely over the zoom range, this lens really needs a TTL metering body. You have to keep your fingers off of the focus ring when the autofocus drive is engaged on the camera body.

    Flare susceptibility is about normal for a wideangle lens. The hood is pretty much useless except at the wide end because of the large change in field of view across this zoom range. You need to look for flare in the viewfinder, and sometimes need a helper with a sunshade

    I like this lens a lot. It produces remarkable images and has worked hard for me.

    This little brother to the 17-35 F/2.8 AFS works so well that I feel little urge to "trade-up"

    reviewed October 28th, 2005