f43tgv's reviews

  • Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 AF PRO DX SD

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    sharp, well built great price
    none yet

    Purchased to go with my Fuji S5. I know I wont use this wide a lens too much, so the Nikkor , despite its alleged good image quality was a non starter on price alone.

    I had looked at the Sigma 10-20, but dont like the feel or look of the finish on that lens.

    My local camera store in the UK bought a lot of bankrupt stock from another victim of internet selling, amongst which was the Tokina lens which I bought for less than the usual UK price by some margin.

    To date I have been pleased with it. It does seem to cause my S5 to underexpose by about a stop, I have no Idea why, but oterwise the results have been good. Sharpness is very good, distortion reasonable , and colour rendition as I expected. The lens is much more nicely built than the Sigma, but not as good as the old Tokina 28-70, which was built like a tank.

    Given it price, compared to the Nikon offering anyway, I think I have got a bit of a bargain, always a nice feeling.

    In the UK Tokina lenses dont get much attention, which is a shame, I am more than happy with mine.

    reviewed September 21st, 2007 (purchased for $440)
  • Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, Cheap
    Mock teflon finish

    I bought this lens from my local camera store to go with an EOS 20D, having decided to go back to Canon. I always buy seconhand, the savings are huge.

    I have used the 17-40L Canon lens a lot in the past, and have always thought it is a great lens.Very pricey though, not a lens I would stump up for at new prices.

    At first glance I was not over impressed with the Sigma, as new , in its box for less than half the cost of a new 17-40L.

    I really dont like the Sigma finish on the EX Lenses, it is almost impossible to keep clean, its almost tacky.

    However on the basis of "bring it back if you dont like it" I decided to give it a try.

    A smart move. The lens is smaller and lighter than the Canon without feeling too flimsy. It has a sensible size and shaped hood too, unlike the bucket like affair the Canon comes with.

    Having used the lens for a couple of hundred shots, I have to say I am mightily impressed.

    The lens is very sharp indeed , the colour and contrast are excellent, and the edges are fine.

    Clearly designed to work well with a cropped sensor, Sigma have got this lens right.

    It balances beautifully on the Camera and works well with the built in flash, ie no shading.

    I am happy with it, and having compared a number of shots I have taken with the 17-40L with the same or similar shots taken with this lens, can see no difference at all.

    At half the cost, I cant argue.

    A very, very good lens at a bargain price

    Highly recommended.

    reviewed November 16th, 2007 (purchased for $427)
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, wll built, great price
    Ugly hood

    I am now on my second copy of this great lens. I have to say I am not a fan of Canons consumer lenses. Having used both Canon and Nikon extensively, I am of the opinion that Nikons consumer lenses are both better built and superior optically.
    Somehow the trade off seems to be if you want a pro-spec Nikon lens you will pay for it big time. The Canon 17-40L is half the price of the Nikon 17-55 lens, just as good if not a touch sharper. One of lifes few geniuine bargains along with the remarkably priced 70-200 F4 L lens.
    There are no faults with the 17-40l, Canon got this lens just right. Buy this one with confidence and you will lift your Canon into a whole new league as far as colour contrast and sharpness are concerned.

    reviewed February 15th, 2008
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Price, quality

    This is another real bargain! I have used both the 70-200 2.8 and this lens, a copy of which I now own. The image quality is indistinguishable
    If you dont need the 2.8, buy this. Its lighter, easier to handhold, and sooo much easier to carry around all day.

    The test of this lens is spot on, you get so much more than the lowly ( well by canon L lens prices anyway) purchase price may suggest.

    I have not found it too slow in general use, nor have i ever thought that the addition of IS on its more recent sister lens is worth the significant price difference.

    The quality of the results is so good that increasing the ISO setting in poor light doesnt make you pay too much in terms of picture quality.

    If you are a pro, buy the 2.8, or the F4 IS, otherwise save your money and enjoy this superb lens.

    reviewed February 15th, 2008
  • Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light, sharp and cheap

    This lens is a little gem. Period. There is the unfortunate stigma, quite wrong that as this can be a bundled kit lens that it is somehow inferior. Nonsense, this is a sharp little cookie at a bargain price.

    I have used the Nikkor 17-55 2.8 lens which weighs a ton, costs a fortune, and to be frank apart from the 2.8 aperture has little more to offer. I could see NO visible difference in A4 prints.

    Some discard this in favour of the 18-200VR, why? The 18-200 is SOFT beyond 135mm and costs a lot of money. Buy yourself the older 70-210 4/5.6 zoom which is far sharper than the 18-200, they are available for silly money, and have a great low cost two lens combo.

    Dont believe the hype, great pictures dont require the latest, most expensive glass!

    reviewed April 8th, 2008
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp,extremely well built, future-proof
    very expensive

    I have recently bought this lens in the UK to go with a Canon 5D, as the cheapest way into full frame, even though I am at heart a Nikon user. Cant run to a D700 sadly.
    I have used a 17-40L before on crop Canon bodies and first impressions are that it is at least as good, the extra 1mm of angle does make quite a difference.

    I note there does seem to be some sample variation from other posts, the same with all marques I am afraid, QC seems to have gone down the tubes in the last few years, wonder why?

    The lens is sharp at all apertures, some vignetting at the wider end, and colour and contrast are all you could possibly ask for. Canon always seem quite a little cheaper than Nikon for their pro spec lenses, even so I would not have paid the new price for this lens, my copy is mint used, as is all mt gear.

    In short, if you want a wideangle for full frame Canon there is effectively a choice of two, this and the 17-40 L. Cheaper lenses really suffer on full frame, dont be tempted to go there.

    reviewed October 1st, 2008
  • Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    light, sharp, holds price very well.
    Expensive , ugly hood also very expensive!

    I have had this lens for a couple of months now, using it on a 30D body. I have owned a Sigma 10-20 (2 copies) before and always felt a little disappointed with them despite the hype in many magazine tests. I always found edge sharpness to be poor and colour not to my taste.

    This cost a fair bit more, even secondhand, but was a wise buy. The lens is very sharp, comparing very favourably with the 5D 17-40 or 16-35 combination I have also used, at a much lower cost.

    The colour is exactly as it should be , no casts, and I am quite happy with it.

    For a 1.6 crop Canon this is probably the best option if you are more than just an occasional wide angle user.

    reviewed January 19th, 2009
  • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

    5 out of 10 points and not recommended
    wide range
    poor sharpness, expensive for what it is optically.

    I purchased this lens with my 30D not having used a copy before. I regret that choice. I know QC issues seem to be fairly rampant at the moment, perhaps I was unlucky, but I soon parted with it.

    I liked the focal length range, and the IS is very nice, a pity that the image quality was so poor.

    The lens just never got sharp at any aperture and chroma was very visible at 100%, maybe ok on a budget kit lens, but this isnt one.

    I got rid of it as soon as I could, I shall use the excellent 10-22 USM and add a 70-200F4, a known quantity, with maybe a 50mm to plug the occasional gap.

    Not really good eneough Canon.

    reviewed January 19th, 2009
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Cheap, sharp, IS
    not much

    I bought my first copy of this lens quite recently, secondhand to use as a longer lens on my 30D, I have the 10-22, and as a lens to use on my Eos 1 with film.

    I dont pay to much attention to lens reviews in magazines, the disparity in their conclusions does make me wonder if they do actually test them at all, preferring to draw my own conclusions.

    For not a lot of money this has been a pleasant surprise, giving the equivalent of 216 at the long end on the 30D, long enough for me , and usable IS of about two stops which is very useful.

    Results on film are very good too. This may be an old lens but a very good one, excellent value for money which is important at the moment and in view of its versatility a keeper. Dont underestimate this lens!

    reviewed February 18th, 2009
  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro APO

    6 out of 10 points and recommended
    You get exactly what you pay for

    I have recently used a copy of this lens. Lets be honest, it is a very cheap lens, so I had no real expectations of anything special from it.
    Used on a Canon EOS 30D, the results are at best mediocre.
    I am not a regular Tele user so have no need to splash out for an expensive lens with IS.
    However, unless you are prepared to ALWAYS use a tripod or only shoot in bright sunshine , I would forget it.
    To be sensible , expecting to handhold a lens giving 480 mm on a 1.6 crop camera is unrealistic, whatever ISO you might use, the laws of physics alone preclude that.
    So, up to 200mm in bright conditions, you have a useable lens, it never really gets sharp in the corners no matter what F stop you might use, and focuses slowly, sometimes baulking unexpectedly. Cropping your images will be required.
    The build quality is quite good at the price point, no grumbles there. As a cheap secondhand lens it might fit your needs, however I would not buy one.
    If money is tight, the Canon 55-250 IS is a far superior lens, with IS as part of its spec for not an awful lot more money. You would have a lens you could use all year round rather than just during the three month UK summer. A no brainer really!

    reviewed April 1st, 2009
  • Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X 235 AF PRO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Beautifully built, cheap secondhand, very sharp
    A little heavy

    I have never used a Tokina lens on Digital.

    They do work, very well, despite the lack of Hyper-Nano coatings et-al!

    I did have the 28-70 ATX Pro for film long ago, a truly great lens.

    I am not a great user of mid range focal lengths and there is no way I could justify the expense of something like a 17-40L for my 30D, especially given the amazing price hikes in the UK in these strange times.

    I located a copy of this lens used at my friendly local Camera Store and took a chance.

    It is excellent. Sharp, contrasty and flare is no problem at all. Weak at 2.8 , but no surprise there. From F4 on it is very, very good.

    At one third the current price of a 17-40L I have to say I am delighted. It is up there on the same level in all but focusing speed and close focusing ability.

    For only a little more than the price of an 18-55 kit lens I have a fast well built third party lens that wont disappoint.

    Find a used one and you have a real bargain!

    reviewed May 1st, 2009 (purchased for $160)
  • Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Cheap and surprisingly usable
    not much if you dont expect miracles

    I recently bought a secondhand copy of this lens with a view to using it on days out when changing lenses frequently would just be a pain.

    I was lucky enough to be able to buy it on an if its rubbish bring it back basis so I took a chance.

    Having made 60 or 70 shots with it and printed a fair few to A4 I have to say its pretty good, certainly better than reviews would have you believe.

    The drawbacks of what is a slow lens with no IS are fairly obvious, but with care and common sense it is possible to get some pretty good results from it, and it is damn convenient.

    It serves the purpose that its manufacturers intended it for very well, and it has a zoom lock which does prevent the irritating zoom creep that just about every superzoom I have ever used suffers from.

    In short for days out or holidays where convenience is preferred to ultimate quality, and you wont miss shots lens changing it fits the bill admirably.

    I wont be returning it.

    reviewed May 22nd, 2009
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Probably all you will ever need honestly

    I have used one of these lenses off and on over the last 4 years on a variety of Nikon bodies, and a Fuji S5.

    I have also, when I have been unhappy with what I have produced, tried a Tamron 17-50, Nikon 17-55, Nikon 18-70, and Nikon 18-135, all of which have fallen short of perfection in some way or other. To be honest 90% per cent of what I thought I wasnt seeing was probably down to me and poor technique.

    I have over this period of time also noted the Photographic press have a slightly snooty attitude to so called " Superzooms" in general , of course writing about lenses isnt quite the same as putting your hand in your pocket and paying for them with your hard earned cash.

    I am also rather baffled with the pre-occupation of a large number of what are clearly Hobby Photographers lusting after fast 2>8 Zooms of varying lengths costing as much as a passable second hand car!

    The lenses once acquired will in most cases never be used anywhere near their intended limits, be far in excess of an amateurs needs , and beyond improving fitness levels due to their weight, be largely wasted. Each to his own of course!

    To illustrate the point, I recently attended an Airshow and met up with a friend who was doing both days. On day 1 he had used his 70-200 VR and on day 2, for a rest, his wifes 18-200.

    He was amazed at the quality of the shots he was getting with this humble consumer lens, so much so that he half jokingly remarked that he could have saved a fair bit of sweating on what had been a hot first day.

    The point is, Nikon dont make any bad lenses these days, your choice is degrees of excellence.

    The most significant thing this lens has in its favour is of course VR.

    This, to my mind , is one of the truly significant real steps forward with modern lenses. Handholding a 200mm lens is now truly viable. Lugging clumsy tripods around is largely history.

    The fact is that for most of us who are not working pros in need of something special to impress clients, this humble much maligned lens will exceed your expectations by some margin and probably be all you will need for 90% of all the shots you are likely to take.

    It is , all round, the best of its genre, and testament to the skill and common sense of Nikon , who are primarily after all a Lens manufacturer.

    This lens alone has led more Photographers into the Nikon line than any other that I can recall.

    Its minuses and plusses are well documented in other reviews.

    All I can add is that I wont be parting with mine for a while yet.

    As a post script, I have just borrowed a 17-55 2.8 from a friend and run a few varied shots from both lenses through as JPEGS, using the same processing parameters for both lenses.

    I asked the owner of the 17-55, a semi-pro, to identify the prints made with his lens. He couldnt, and neither could I, without sneaking a look at the marking I had put on the back of the prints.

    Food for thought isnt it.

    reviewed September 9th, 2009