touristguy87's reviews

  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Speed, good focus, good wide-angle
    just too short,

    This is a good lens but a little too fast and too short, really, the IS is just ok on it but like any lens on the 400D the limit is the focus accuracy, not the lens sharpness.

    reviewed August 6th, 2007 (purchased for $920)
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    nice zoom range, allows the 400D to stretch its legs
    the IQ and focus quality was just horrible under ~50mm

    This was my third attempt to find a good lens for my new 400D, my first DSLR...I found this to be a real hard lens to shoot while walking around downtown, it just clashed with my instinctive shot-vision...I ended-up having to leave a good # of shots alone and shoot only at scenes that were a block or two away, at least. It is just not very good for short-range work. The focus reliability is not very good. It seemed to come into its own beyond 50mm, and I got some very nice shots at 100-135mm that really made me have second thoughts about taking it back and not buying one. Even with the F3.5-F5.6 it was fast enough at night for handheld shooting, incurring a penalty of about a stop relative to the 17-55 F2.8 that I had at the time. Plenty of handheld 133mm shots at ISO800, no problem. It's a good midrange zoom. Just goes to show what Canon could do if they tried to make a "superzoom". But it is way too tight to shoot wide-angle of anything like a building inside of 30 feet. Very difficult to use close-up neglecting the focus reliability issue. I would just walk away and then shoot longrange and got much better results that way.

    reviewed August 6th, 2007
  • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    a decent "all-rounder" upgrade from the 17-55 kit lens
    just a little slow, the focus accuracy is not all that impressive

    This is a good lens, a good all-around value considering what else is out there for EOS mount. Like any lens on the 400D the limit is the focus accuracy, not the lens sharpness.

    reviewed August 6th, 2007 (purchased for $420)
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp at wide-open, good zoom range, focuses reliably
    no doubt F4 is slow but at least it's a flat F4

    ...this is a great lens. It is really crisp and sharp with good contrast, the 400D focuses well with it, the IS works really well, and the only thing wrong with it is that it doesn't have enough wide-angle to be a true GP lens. It's worth every dime. I took mine back because the place I bought it from sold it for $300 over 10 other places on PriceGrabber. But for $900 it's a great deal, given the currently available lenses. Yes at F4 its a tad bit slow but the IS is good enough to shoot it at 1/6s, 1/4s handheld. I will say that with any lens that you buy for the 400D, your bigger problem will be the focus accuracy.

    reviewed August 14th, 2007 (purchased for $1,240)
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    short and light, decent optical quality
    no IS

    This lens is vastly underrated and of course limited at night without IS, the new one with IS should be great. Like any lens on the 400D the limit is the focus accuracy, not the lens sharpness.

    reviewed August 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $150)
  • Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    zoom range, price, weight, size all good
    not an "L" lens :) I'd recommend this lens MAYBE depending on what you want it for

    Ok this is attempt #6 to write a review of this lens. Maybe shorter=better.

    First, I have to say that I have gotten a lot of good shots from this lens on a 400d and a 30d, at F8, using DxO. Even at F6.3 shooting 200mm handheld at night, it has surprised me.

    Second, I have to say that it has blown what *would* have been a lot of good shots for me, due to bad focus. It is decent in bright daylight, or at night when there are plenty of lights for it to focus on. It needs *bright* subjects (note that this does not equal "brightly-lit subjects"). It shoots ok in high-contrast scenes. If it is overcast or hazy in the evening then it will drive you nuts with focus-misses. But this problem is also partially the 400d, so don't be surprised if you see this with a 400d even if you don't get this lens. If you look at your shots closely.

    Still, if you get this lens, be prepared to go through the whole gamut of emotions, from pleasure to laughter to anger to frustration to tears. I would try the new Tamron 18-270VC first. I've shot the 18-250 and the 28-300VC and one very noticeable difference between them and the Nikon and Sigma equivalents is that there is no need to use a lens-correction module to get sharp shots out of them. I expect the same with the new 18-270VC. Also I would just sell the Rebel and get at least the 30D, yes the 30D is much bigger and you will lose a little resolution but you gain a very-usable ISO3200 and the AF system is FAAAARRRRR better (plus you get a real LED display and the battery life is much better too). The 30D makes the 400D look like an overgrown p&s. I shot the Sigma 18-200 DC OS on a 30D and it was almost a different lens, only reason I sold it was to get a D300 and ISO6400 but the Tamron superzooms are really the answer. Besides you can only do so much with ISO6400 on a subframe.

    So probably this lens is ok at F8 with some software-correction but it's still short now and I'd have to get it at a real discount. It truly sucks near wide-open, but sharpens-up abruptly at F8, another way in which the Tamrons beat it. But, if you don't need over 300mm effective and you want a cheap, light lens that you won't cry over if it gets scratched or breaks, if you don't mind the noise of the will take some decent pics at F8 if it gets a good focus. It's not a piece of crap. I wouldn't *avoid* it like I'd avoid the Nikon 18-200VR2.

    reviewed August 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $560)
  • Sony 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DT SAL-18250

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    great range, nice and sharp even at 250mm
    blooms a lot, with strong internal reflections (at least on an a700)

    ...this is a magical little lens and if wasn't for the strong haloing around lights at night, I would have no problem recommending it.
    It is very sharp even at full zoom, sharp enough to shoot without concern at F6.3 maybe even F5.6, at F8 is it almost perfect. I have gotten some 200mm shots from it on a Sony a700 at IS0250 that were literally the best-looking photos that I've ever taken.

    The one thing, the SSS system does make the Sony lens line seem almost too simple :) either the lens is good or not, and really the problems are more with the cameras than the lenses. but I know for sure taking the same shot with a D300 and the Nikon 18-200VRII that it is not as sharp wide-open but between the camera and lens, reflections are much better controlled.

    So in my opinion it's a great day lens that can survive at night if you aim it wisely.

    reviewed February 10th, 2008 (purchased for $500)
  • Sony 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SAL-75300

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    decent IQ, *real* cheap if you catch it on a rebate
    slightly soft images, short zoom range

    Can't say too much about it that's bad. It's definitely not as sharp as say an EF-L 70-200 F2.8 but it's not bad. If you're just looking for a cheap knockabout 70-300 lens with decent IQ you can hardly fault this one. Especially not at $135.

    SSS definitely takes a load off the lens. I think all alpha-mount lenses have to have a fudge-factor added onto them. If the cameras were better these lenses would be extremely hard to beat even with average IQ

    reviewed February 10th, 2008 (purchased for $135)
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    sharp, fast, good IS
    cost and weight but what can you say? :)

    Just about as transparent of a lens as I have ever had on my 400D. Long and strong. I rented it from a local store, I intended to get the F4 but they only had the F2.8. What a deal, $100 for a week. I would never actually buy one, it's just too long and too heavy for GP use, but it is fun to shoot.

    reviewed September 6th, 2007
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    good VR, very effective
    still only 18-200 :)

    ...let's just say this lens is of average sharpness even at F8, but otherwise it's a very good lens, with excellent VR and minimal reflection problems. Most of the time it is ok but there will be times when it simply isn't sharp enough even at F8 for a good shot at, say, 21" diagonal.

    You might want to try it at F11 a few times, once you get past 100mm or so. That's what I plan to do with mine. Supposedly that will cut the blur in half beyond 100mm. Still, that's really sloooow...'s not as sharp as a Tamron 18-250 and doesn't have the range, either. It does have good VR and that will count for about a stop as the sun drops below the horizon, and up to 4 stops at 200mm. I regularly shoot mine handheld at 1/15 or so at 200mm, at night. It's adequately-sharp and focuses well and it's stable in low light...pretty hard to beat for an "all-rounder". It's just not sharp or long enough during the day or fast enough at night, for every shot that you will want to take, so don't buy this thinking that you will be "set for life" with it. It's a good "starter lens", and, generally, it and one or two other lenses (depending on what they are) will fit in your bag with your DSLR, and make a good travel-kit.

    I would at least get the Tamron 18-250 for sharp day shots and save this one for short to midrange work in "less than perfect" light or that lucky long-range low-light handheld shot. The Tamron is smaller, lighter and almost half the price. Oh and did I mention that it's sharper and longer?, I was so impressed with the Tamron 18-250 even without IS that I took a look at my bag, which I had at one point stuffed with the 18-200VRII, the 70-300VR and the 80-400VR and the Tamron 18-250...yes, they all fit in a bag, along with the D300...I just looked at that insanity and traded the D300 and the 80-400 for a Canon5D and the Tamron 28-300VC, then sold the rest. Made a tidy profit. And now I don't have to run DxO at all.

    ...this is still a decent lens except that it has significant geometric distortion at wid-angle and a lot of blur around 130mm on the lens. I took a lot of good shots with it, though. But I can say the same about my old Sigma 18-200DC OS. This was far better but still not really good enough.

    reviewed December 30th, 2007 (purchased for $750)
  • Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and not recommended
    good VR, very effective
    not all that sharp if you look closely

    ... now that the Tamron 28-300VC is out for DX mount I have to downrate this lens. It isn't good enough (sharp enough away from center) to be worth the loss in focal-length range relative to the very-good Tamron. Not only that it won't work with a teleconverter. The 28-300VC (which, by the way, is a full-frame lens) on a subframe will give you a FOV that is a little tight even at the widest setting but it's no worse really than a 35mm wide-angle, giving a magnification of just under 1.0. Even so that's way better than the 110mm wide-end from the 70-300. Combine that with the 450mm+ long end that you get at F5.6 no less and there's no way that this lens can stand up to that. It's ok in and of itself, not all that sharp, but correctable and smooth-handling, but in the overall market Tamron just let the air out of its tires. It's about the same price, smaller, lighter, works just as well, doesn't need DxO lens-correction and has a much wider focal-length range. The only problem I see with the Tamron 28-300VC is that it telescopes on its own when the lens is pointed down while I'm pretty-sure the Nikon 70-300 (I've long since returned it) is an internal-zooming lens. Certainly I don't remember having to worry about locking the lens.

    Still the rest of what I say here still holds for the Nikon 70-300VR (and even the 70/110mm wide-angle isn't *awful* if you have enough space to work in)'s just that in the context of the Tamron 28-300VC it's not worth buying and so any other comments are superfluous unless you need an ultra-quiet 70-300mm lens (as the Tamron 28-300 doesn't have USM). Or it might be worth buying and carrying if it were laser-sharp when shot wide-open (and/or you could put a TC on it, or it was at least a fullframe lens) and that's definitely not the case with this lens. The Tamron 28-300VC *is* a fullframe lens, but it won't take a TC at least not in EF mount. All-around it's just a better buy so I changed my purchase recommendation from "yes" to "no" for this lens.

    reviewed February 23rd, 2008 (purchased for $550)
  • Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical IF Macro AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    excellent value, light, small yet sharp even at F5.6, very good at F8
    well, aside from the lack of VR not much

    ...all I'm going to say is that I've bought 5 of these lenses.

    Well ok I have to add that I routinely get keepers at 1/50s handheld at 375mm effective with this lens on a Sony A200.

    reviewed February 24th, 2008 (purchased for $400)
  • Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    great zoom range, good IQ, good VR, not too big or heavy, the tripod collar comes off easily
    it could be AF-S and cost half as much and make less noise, too.

    ...I keep having to rewrite this because I bought both it and the 70-300, but in the end the 70-300 is a smarter buy, unless you need, say, 600-800mm on a subframe, because you can't put a TC on the 70-300 and this will at least take the TC-201 (a 2x TC with no AF support). It's very portable, indeed it fits into a 6-pack sized bag with my d300 and 3 other lenses. But it's twice the weight of the 70-300 for only slightly-more range. At 3x the cost.

    Literally the difference between two fingers and 3 fingers of FOV.

    However if you get the TC201 the economics change drastically.

    The TC201 is $250 at B&H in Manhattan. Plus it will cost you 2 stops and you will need a real tripod. And now you have paid $1800 or so to get 3x the FOV of the 70-300, at 3x the price. It literally only makes sense this way...but you are still staring at the $1800 just to do it.

    Actually the VR still works well this way, yes you can take handheld shots at "800mm" but they have to be shot at high ISO even during the day.

    So, this then becomes an "either-or" situation to the frugal photographer (is that an oxymoron?). Either get the 70-300 or this lens and the TC. Except for the savings in size and weight meaning that you might occasionally want to pack the 70-300 but not the 80-400, there's no need to have both. They both are very-good lenses, and they both can be carried conveniently and shot well handheld. But only one will get you past 300mm and the difference between 800mm and 300mm is quite significant, but the 70-300 is much easier to deal with than the 80-400 due to the extra weight and the need to use a separate tripod mount.

    reviewed March 1st, 2008 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF D

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    very compact, good images, nice tripod collar
    ...wish that I could remove it :) definitely misses VR

    ...there are two versions of this lens, the old AF lens and the new AF-D lens. The previous review is talking about the old lens. It keeps popping up on eBay. For what the guy wants for it, and the others like it, I just decided to go ahead and buy a new one.

    I am pleased with it so far, it is a very powerful lens for its size, it is an inch longer and slightly heavier than my 70-300VRII, maybe 2 or 3 inches longer than the Nikon 18-200VR, but almost the same diameter as the other two, so they are quite interchangeable in my bag. Though of course the VR lenses can be shot handheld down to 1-8s at full zoom (though normally it would be at least 1/250). The Tokina needs at *least* 1/750s at 400mm, shooting handheld. Though that's easy to get even at ISO200 F8, during the day.

    This lens is going to work well during the day but the sun won't have to go down far before either it will need a tripod or you'll have to shoot at such a high ISO as to defeat the purpose of using the lens. Which is why I kept the 70-300VRII anyway. I would prefer a 300mm shot at ISO400 to a 400mm shot at ISO1600. But 300mm is not really long enough for daylight outdoors shooting even on a subframe so between the two I have a good 24/7 combo to 300mm+ for about $1100.

    One other thing, don't forget to send the f# ring all the way around to the green number, or the camera won't be able to adjust the F# internally (eg d300).

    reviewed February 29th, 2008 (purchased for $550)
  • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical IF Macro AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    light, good zoom range, very cheap compared to the 28-300L
    hm, so far haven't found one yet.

    I've shot this lens with great experiences on a 5D, a D700, a N80 and a D70. In terms of the zoom-range, speed, sharpness, size, weight and cost, there's nothing close on the market in fullframe. I'm not even sure there's anything close on the market for *subframes*.

    It's a metal-barrel lens with rubber rings. If you want a solid lens then this fits the bill. I have bought and sold 2 and now have a 3rd one in Nikon-mount. They are selling on eBay for $350+ in mint condition. I've been watching them for a while, even though it's at least 3x as much as I wanted to spend on a camera-lens, I broke down and bought yet another one at $340. I think they're that good.

    Worst thing you can do is buy one on eBay, not like it and want to sell it, you will probably get your money back out of it and if you actually like it you'll have saved yourself, what, $1750 over a Canon 28-300EF-L IS? Were it not for this lens I would never, ever have bought a fullframe. I'm not carrying a 5-pound lens around just to take pictures or shooting with a prime and 24-135 just doesn't cut it.

    "Seemed soft towards the edges at both extreme focal distances at f/3.5 and 6.3 respectively."

    ...why yes, like most superzooms, most lenses even, it needs to be shot at least a stop down for good sharpness across the frame. Generally F8 or slower.

    That is why Canon, Nikon, Tamron and even Sigma still sell plenty of F4 and F2.8 lenses, which likewise need to be brought-down at least a stop for optimum sharpness across the frame.

    That is the case for just about every lens except for a few specialized primes. Probably the most common disappointment in a DSLR after the occasional misfocus is spending all that money to buy a big, heavy camera and lens, shooting it wide-open like a point & shoot and getting shots that are noticeably soft in the corners. These are not point & shoot lenses that we're talking about here.

    One other thing, I would say that even buying this lens isn't a cure-all even for "walking-around" photography, I'd still check out the Tamron 19-35 and 17-35. For $100 and $200 on eBay they make a great companion for this lens, indeed they will rival the 28-300 for time on your body. The 19-35 is actually smaller and lighter, the 17-35 about the same size & weight as the 28-300 but both are in 77mm vs 62. Still all of the four fit in my jacket pocket with the hood on them.

    reviewed March 9th, 2008 (purchased for $600)
  • Konica Minolta 50mm f/1.4 AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    a decent $300 prime
    very very very limited-use

    This looks remarkably like the Sony 50mm F1.4 that I bought and tried on a 5D, and returned, so maybe this is at least halfway-legitimate.

    I just wanted to say that light flare of the type mentioned here is pretty common, the lens that I tried had it at first, pretty bad, until I took the UV filter off the lens and then it went away.

    This is not a bad lens but it suffers from the same problem as all primes. This is a decent prime. I can't comment on the build quality, to me it is "plastic body" and looks nice but easily scuffed and the coatings seem adequate, the lens is definitely clear with good color and low distortion. I doubt that it is all that great of a value at the $300 retail price that I paid for one...unless you were to compare it to the $1200 prime which it could be, I guess.

    I could see carrying one of these in my pocket for those portrait/museum shots, especially on a KM/Sony camera with body IS. That's about all that it would be good for, but a generic zoom will have way too much distortion at wide-angle for museum shooting and need to be stopped-down to F8 to match the sharpness of this lens at F4. On the other hand you could shoot it at a moderate focal-length to minimize distortion, and then the only problem would be the 2 stops of speed lost to excess DOF...given a *great* body or good light this is not a problem, and I think that in general primes are really going the way of film for this reason. They are really of use only when the shooter needs either a very-short DOF with decent center-sharpness (because the lens is not going to be sharp across the frame even at F2) or the absolute minimum of distortion at a fixed, moderate focal-length. That's, like, "orthogonal" to my usual needs, but I can see the utility of this lens. It would be fun to shoot landscapes with it and see just what it would take to match the overall IQ with a decent zoom lens. But it would never be as stable as a shorter lens in low light, or give me the FOV, longer shots and tighter crops that I now take for granted with a good superzoom.

    Given the price, size and scope of this lens, as a prime in and of primes, it's a good deal. If a prime makes sense, a decent $300 F1.4 prime makes a *lot* of sense. It is not going to be legendary either for its sharpness near wide-open, or for the hit on your credit-card balance. The resale value of a $300 lens, I wouldn't worry about too much. Last but not least as the front element is recessed pretty far down into the lens, it's not all that easy to scratch but still it could be done. But hey if it *does* get scratched, it's a $300 lens and now that Sony has picked up the line it's about as generic a prime as they come. No problem. Definitely a good second-lens.

    Actually apparently now the thing to do is to read on the Internet and find an old prime, like a KM Hexanon prime, and adapt it to fit your camera, so if you don't mind MF and you want a good prime really cheap there is quite a market for them on eBay. Definitely worth looking into if you like primes.

    reviewed August 1st, 2008 (purchased for $300)
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

    8 out of 10 points and not recommended
    the pros are just not all that great for the cons
    the obvious: size, weight, limited focal-length range...cost...

    I had this lens for a week. It's just not all that much. Aside from the obvious stuff like the weight (it's about the weight of a freaking cinderblock) and the size (it's like carrying around your forearm, though it will fit in a backpack), it has a few sneaky cons to it. But I will sum it up by saying that if you need this lens then you will deal with the cons (and they are numerous), if you don't really need this lens, then you will happily return it.

    The question is, how do you know that you really need this lens before you actually buy one and hump it out to the field and take shots?

    Well, the only outstanding reason I can see to buy this lens is if you need a 70-200mm F2.8 zoom and nothing else will do. The IS is superfluous because while it's neat to take 200mm handheld shots at F2.8, handholding this lens gets old fast, and with good technique you can do that with a Tamron 28-300VC at 1/8s or so, which is a far more friendly carry than this lens. So it's the sheer speed and bokeh at F2.8 that justifies this lens. Or maybe you're shooting film, for some reason, and need every ounce of speed that you can get. And true, at F2.8 wide open you get some extra focus-precision with Canon cameras. So yeah if you need a good 200mm F2.8 lens, then this is the ticket.

    Otherwise the 70-200 F4 and a whole lot of other options make more sense.

    In which case you're just going to buy it regardless. Unless you're thinking of switching to Nikon, because if you're that hung-up on SNR you're probably going to switch to a D700, D3 or D3X too. I think, though, that after lugging this sucker around a few times & dealing with its limited FL range you will try very hard to find another way to get the shot without using this lens. Or else you will wish for the 200mm F2.0 or even the F1.8 (at...$4500 new). But I think that most shooters will want either a faster, shorter lens or a faster, cleaner camera or a combination of the two and some NR.

    reviewed September 12th, 2009 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II DX AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and not recommended

    Rewriting my response in terms of the question from the guy after me...

    To the question about why this lens is rated lower than the original, that's for several reasons...when this lens first came out there wasn't much competition, the Tamron 18-270VC wasn't available, the only choices were the Tamron 18-250 *without* IS and the Sigma 18-200 for Nikon-mount (which also is a dog away from F8 and uses really-poor glass in my opinion). There also wasn't a Nikon fullframe so there wasnt a Nikon match for the Tamron 28-300 (which doesn't have IS but is a nice, decently-sharp superzoom). So there weren't any real options other than to get this lens if you wanted a superzoom for a Nikon camera and thus it was rated against nothing for quite a while. The only real competition for the combination itself was the Tamron 18-250 on the Sony subframe, either an A100 or A700, and Sony really screwed the pooch there for a while with cooked-raw (but that combination is what exposed the weaknesses of this lens for me). I think that people were happy to get a decent Nikon superzoom for subframes (and remember that was their entire market back then), as they were at least able to get shots with it over a wide focal-length range (which you have to admit does count for a lot, especially with a DSLR), and then over time as they shot the lens and compared the results to what they got with other lenses on the same cameras and other lenses on different cameras (like, the Tamron 18-250 on any Sony with body IS, the Canon 18-200 EF-S IS on a Canon, etc, shorter-throw zooms that are sharper) they realized just how bad a lens it is. And of course some did not expect much out of it compared to say a $1500 zoom or a prime, and some did not really know to expect more, and some didn't care to update their review.

    So the early lens was rated against the absence of any real competition, this new lens is definitely rated in the face of stiff competition.

    I still say that the new one may be great for you, so you should at least buy it and try it if you are at all interested in this lens. Get it and the Tamron 18-270VC and have a shoot-off. I got a lot of good shots out of my 18-200 when I had one, but I got sick of the blurry fine-detail and feeling that I had to shoot it at F11, tried the Tamron 18-250 on my D300 and never looked back. I have not bought a non-Tamron lens since. You want an extreme comparison, try shooting a landscape scene of decent complexity and fine-detail with a Tamron 18-250 on a Sony A700 at low ISO and compare it to any Nikon subframe with this lens. Shoot 'em both raw, using the same lens settings & the same focus-point, even use the old V3 bios on the A700 and your favorite raw-converter. Just for fun try using a tripod. The Nikon combo will give you better color and maybe a touch-better focus, but the Sony/Tamron combo will give you 50x more fine-detail even using the old v3 cooked-raw bios with a lot less geometric distortion. Below ISO800 it won't even be close, at ISO800 and above I'd prefer the Nikon combination simply because at high ISO fine-detail is already lost to noise anyway, especially in a subframe and I'm probably shooting wide-angle wide-open anyway & neither lens is going to be sharp across the frame then.

    But with the Tamron 18-250 I can get decently sharp shots at F5.6 not to mention F8 and it never sees F11 in my hands. The Nikon 18-200 pretty much starts to be "ok" at F8 and needs to be shot at F11 to get it to be flat-sharp across the frame away from say 50mm on the lens. Even then it just does not get "sharp" in my opinion. Sure I could ue DxO or Bibble lens-correction which definitely helps, but still the Tamrons are *way* easier to shoot in my opinion, but to be fair, you really have to try these things for yourself to know for sure. As long as it's a plausible candidate for your bag. Everyone has an opinion.

    reviewed December 14th, 2009 (purchased for $600)
  • Sony 35mm f/1.4 G SAL-35F14G

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    can't really ask for more from a $300 prime
    not nearly flat-sharp at wide-open

    This is a decent lens, mostly plastic yet decently-made.
    Not great, not bad.

    I got one for $300 from a mall store that didn't know what to do with it. Returned it a few days later. It wasn't sharp enough and fast enough to be worth the trouble. Yes you can generate bokeh with it but not much of a 3D effect if any.

    reviewed July 21st, 2010 (purchased for $300)
  • Tamron 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    light, small, rugged, good sharpness and color...and have I mentioned, "cheap"?
    plastic construction & limited zoom

    I'm giving it an 8 rating across the board simply because I don't want to seem like I'm overselling the lens.

    But good grief this lens does everything that I really need it to do. It's sharp (and quite sharp) across the frame at F8-F11 maybe even F13 at least on a film camera, which is pretty-much what I'd expect from most D/SLR lenses. I'm shooting it on a Nikon N80 which I picked up on eBay for $25, bought this on eBay for $40, got a multicoated UV for it for $8.50.

    The combination is not fast, doesn't have an ultra-wide or even medium-long zoom, doesn't even have IS, but boy does it take nice landscape pics with ISO200 film handheld even after the sun goes below the horizon. *Plenty* of speed in anything resembling decent light. I can't say much about the bokeh but if that's not really your bag this lens is just fine especially for the price. The *most* that I've seen it for is $80 retail. Another "winner" from Tamron, just goes to show that a basic lens, done right, really doesn't have to be all that big, heavy, fast or expensive to perform well.

    Just don't ask me how well it works in a rainstorm.

    reviewed November 22nd, 2010 (purchased for $40)
  • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    zoom-range & compact size
    it's a tad heavy compared to the average kit zoom I'm going to vastly streamline this review.
    Let's put it this way: I'm happy with the lens, even if it doesn't have IS and only cost me $150 on eBay. In fact having had both the VC and non-VC versions I prefer the non-VC version. It's much lighter, a little smaller, a fraction of the price, doesn't draw nearly as much power and I rarely need IS anyway. Even so it's just better to avoid needing to use it. Trying to take handheld shots when it's so dark that I need to use IS, that's not a great way to get good photographs. On this I have to chalk one up for "old-school" lenses. They force me to either use good technique or not bother to take the shot.

    Telescoping isn't a problem with the lock and having checked-out the Nikon and Canon options this lens actually looks the best, in terms of overall performance. I don't know why SLRgear hasn't tested the Panasonic 14-140 OIS & Tamron 28-300VC but for the money this lens is a steal. It just pays to know how to get the most out of it, and to realize that at the longer focal-lengths you're going to need to shoot F13 or so to get a reasonably flat-sharp shot and a decent DOF. I'd go through the blur-chart and note the F#s of lowest blur at each FL. I wish that I could just program those into my camera.

    Beyond that, buy and enjoy.

    reviewed December 15th, 2010 (purchased for $150)
  • Tamron 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    light weight, reasonable size
    a bit short of zoom range

    The question for a lens like this is, what does it need to do well, or have, in order for it to be a good lens?

    This isn't a $1500 lens. It's a $150 lens retail. Is it worth the money? LOL

    Could you be happy with the images it gives you?
    Only one way to find out, isn't there. And at that price how can you turn it down?

    I think the big question is whether to get this for $100+ or the 17-35 for $200+ or your "factory" wide-angles for 3x as much or more. The rest is academic. It's wide, features will be relatively small, distortion high if the lens is not held level & square to target. Will the resulting blur and CA be acceptable to you? Only one way to find out.

    I can say one thing...this makes a *great* walking-around lens, if you're talking about walking around shooting landscapes with an SLR-sized camera and it *really* shines indoors and in confined spaces. I bought it thinking that it would be nice to try but now I'm worried that I would rarely want to take it off, unless the distortion just proves to be too much since it is so critical to shoot this lens square on the subject. It's the flip side of a 28-300. I almost wish that I had bought the 17-35, this is great, but that is supposedly a better piece of glass, this one is a bit dark & slow even wide-open, 17-35 is a better zoom range, it's only 3/4" longer, the same diameter & takes the same 77mm filter. Of course the 17-35 is twice as much for a lens that you may find yourself yanking off fairly often but if this makes sense then in the long run the 17-35 would probably make more sense (along with a DSLR with LiveView & a flip & twist LCD). It's a tough call. But the 19-35 is the right price to try and see if you really want to use this focal-length range and/or swap lenses in the first place, then upgrade to the 17-35 later.

    reviewed December 30th, 2010 (purchased for $100)
  • Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    combines an 18-250 and a 70-300 for DX cameras
    still not wide enough, is outrageously expensive and weighs > 800g

    ...since we're here rating lenses that we don't actually own, speaking in generalities...this lens would be great if it weighed say 400g instead of 800. At 800g it requires true really have to need it to want to carry-around that much weight. To me it's just a good argument for a 4/3rds camera and a matching 14-150 IS lens. Carry this around for a week and a CX camera with a 10-120mm IS lens will make you drool. If not a good p&s with a matching effective range like the Coolpix S9100.

    but in any case, in my opinion 28-450mm effective is only 2/3rds of the battle. What about 17-50mm effective?

    What about a real DOF at long focal-lengths?
    This lens won't gie you either, even at F13 the DOF will be measured in yards at the long end.

    reviewed July 26th, 2012