c_4's reviews

  • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical IF Macro AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    compact size, excellent sharpness, very effective anti-vibration mechanism
    very slow autofocus, F6.3 at long end

    Got the Nikon version of this lens; I also have the Nikkor 18-200VR but the Tamron's zoom range is more appropriate to the types of shots I make. The Tamron is sharper throughout the range than the Nikon lens and IMO, the VC vibration reduction mechanism of the Tamron is much more effective than the Nikon VR.. The down side however is that the autofocus speed is significantly slower and hunts quite often. This is partially to do with the fact that at the long end, the lens aperture is a tiny F6.3, which presents a challenge to most DSLR autofocus sensors, which are only rated to f5.6..

    What this means is that the lens is not great for fast action situations where you need a lens that just snaps into focus at any arbitrary focal length, but if you can pre-focus and track the action, then the focus will track along effectively, but the image quality is well worth the tradeoff..

    Lastly, the lens is also full-frame, so it is fully compatible with Nikon full-frame FX cameras: the D3 and D700.

    reviewed July 8th, 2008 (purchased for $649)
  • Sigma 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG OS APO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Extremely sharp at all focal lengths, very effective stabilizer
    very heavy, noisy focus motor, turning on OS makes it noisier

    I bought this lens 2nd hand because I wanted something with extra reach over the Nikkor 70-300VR; the optical stabilizer was also a desirable feature because I like to be able to go handheld in some situations.

    In testing, this lens turned out to be absolutely tack sharp at all focal lengths, even at minimum aperture- I am extremely impressed with the sharpness. The optical stabilizer is also amazingly effective- I've been able to take sharp shots at 400mm focal length with just 1/15th shutter speed, which is incredible given the weight of the lens and the focal length.

    The only drawbacks for me are that the focus motor is very noisy (but it is reasonably fast- things don't snap into focus immediately, but if you're able to pre-focus into the region where you know your subject will be, or use your camera's continuous focus tracking mode and follow the subject, this lens is quite usable for action/sports). For some reason, turning on the OS makes the focus motor even noisier: the OS itself is very quiet, about the same as the Nikon VR, but you get some additional noises when the OS kicks in: first, there's a whine/buzz as the moving element unlocks, then you get the expected quiet 'hissing" of the OS. While the OS is active, the focus motor seems to be much louder in operation than when it is turned off and then when you've taken the shot and have let go of the shutter button, after a second, there's another buzz/whine as the moving element locks in place again. Due to this and the physical size, you are quite conspicuous when using this lens, and it is probably not ideal for wildlife photography or in situations where the noise might be distracting.

    It's too bad that this lens is discontinued, but if you are looking for a sharp, stabilized long telephoto, you might find a good deal on this lens on the used market as I did..

    reviewed September 15th, 2009 (purchased for $800)