9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, quick focus, good rangeNon constant aperture: f5.6 is a bit slow
I have had this lens for one and a half years, and it has been a nice mate for my camera.reviewed June 12th, 2014 (purchased for $800)
It is great: very sharp from 15 to 85 mm (although not so much in the corners at its widest aperture), very good at f11 for landscape photography.
I must say that I compared it with the 18-55 and general differences are not so obvious, but colors are great and sharpness is better so if you can afford it and take photography seriously, I would recommend it.
I was a bit concerned about using it for portraits, but when zooming at 85mm you get excellent sharpness and a pleasant bokeh, plus great colors; quite similar to the nifty fifty (the cheap but great 50mm f1.8).
Corner shading is noticeable, but as I always shoot in RAW it is easy to correct with Lightroom; sometimes I don't do it because I like the vignetting in that particular picture.
IS is great too: I have taken pictures at even 1/2 second that look sharp. Barrel distortion is there but you can always fix it with a click in Lightroom.
I guess that everyone knows it when buying it, but it is not so practical for shooting in manual mode with available light because of the variable aperture, and it is a bit slow when shooting indoors, so you should probably use a flash or set the ISO to 800 or higher. But, aside from that, it is a great lens and I am very satisfied with it.
Some photographs taken with this lens(some with the help of filters too):
9 out of 10 points and recommendedGood sharpness, good range, cheapFocusing might be a bit slow for moving subjects
I have had this lens for three years now and I am very satisfied with it. Altough it might not have the superb image quality of the 15-85 (at least for the colors), is sharp even at 250mm wide open. Bokeh is generally fine unless there are objects in the background that can make it harsh (like branches or so).reviewed June 12th, 2014 (purchased for $200)
Build quality is not great and you have to care with the focusing ring when in autofocus, but hey for this price you can't complain.
Of course it is a bit slow and you have to set the aperture at 5.6 or higher if you want to work on manual mode. Autofocus is a bit slow sometimes, mostly when trying to get things that are moving very fast like birds or so. For not so fast objects it works fine.
Macro capabilities are quite great, plus at 250 the background gets "closer" and nicely blurred so it will probably interfere less in the picture. You have to be at 1 meter or further from your subject, which is generally fine and better than having to get very close to it.
All in all, you get good value for the price.
Some shots taken with this lens (some have been slightly cropped):
9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, cheap, lightweightPlasticky, sometimes misses focusing at 1.8, rounded shaped bokeh highlights only at 1.8
A great lens to start with. Sharpness and colors are excellent. My lens is sharp at the center even at 1.8 if you can nail the focus, although it does have some dreamy effect.reviewed June 12th, 2014 (purchased for $90)
With an APS-C -if you have a full frame you will probably be able to afford the 1.4- the equivalent focal lenght is around 80 mm, which makes it perfect for portraits.
What bothers me about my copy is that focus sometimes misses target at 1.8; but for the price you can't complain. Sometimes I use 2.8 because focusing works much better -although is noisy and slow-, but then if you have highlights in the background they will appear as pentagons instead of nice circles, which is not so great.
Despite that, it is a little great lens and extremely cheap for what you got!