Bstrom650's reviews

  • Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM SAL18135

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Lightweight Compact Quiet AF Excellent IQ
    Fragile build needs some care Slow lens speed

    Picked up one of these in LN condition from an eBay seller in Japan for half the the retail price. Awesome consumer lens that negates the need for more pricey glass if lens speed isn't a critical issue. You miss out on super duper bokeh and ramp up the ISOs a bit sooner but as a fair weather lens this is very adequate.

    Performs very well due to a good build quality for consumer grade - AF is very quick and quiet. IQ is like many lenses - wide open varies but stopped down it can take great images on my Sony a65 body. My sample even shoots well at the long end, where many long tele's suffer. Look for a good deal online as this model is still in production but has been around for a while. Another great optic from Sony.

    reviewed November 29th, 2016 (purchased for $250)
  • Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent IQ with sturdy build quality and smooth focusing
    A tad heavy but worth toting around

    Everyone's experience is true - this is a fine prime effort for the money. I can't afford pricey glass and this lens does everything I need it to. Can't bang this one around like some pro level lens models and it is a tad heavy but well worth it.

    Your skill level will have as much to do with the results you get as the lens. Every prime has it's own character, so learning this one's will be rewarding. Wide open softness seems to be a sample variation for some - mine is not a problem since I buy this variable quality of lens from retailers where I can return a sloppy sample. (I won't buy a used Samyang on eBay - too many substandard samples being pawned off by unhappy owners.) As an alternate to the OEM brands, Samyang/Rokinon's 12/2.8, 16/2.8, 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 are welcome additions to my kit.

    reviewed November 29th, 2016 (purchased for $400)
  • Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN Art

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Lightweight Compact Excellent optical performance
    None really

    Just received a fresh copy in March 2017. What can I say that hasn't already been said? This lens has the widest range of usable f-stops of any lens I own.

    The smooth metal clad focus ring doesn't get much use with me - I just swap AF settings for different subjects/situations. Mine mounts up almost too snugly but that beats slop any day. AF single shot and tracking performance is as good as any of my Sony/Minolta glass - and quiet enough for video. To preserve IQ, I invested in a pricier B+W UV filter.

    The pouch is a bit of a joke - they stuffed a lined 'pillow' into an oversize pouch that was meant for another lens? No biggie.

    Sigma is producing a quality lens in the 60/2.8. Time will tell on durability but it is all plastic essentially and requires appropriate care. This will be part of a three-lens hiking kit including its 19/2.8 DN Art sibling and a 50mm Takumar macro.

    reviewed March 11th, 2017 (purchased for $239)
  • Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS SEL18135

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent IQ wide open in centers and edges - corners sharpen a couple stops down OSS is a big help with a6000/a6300 bodies AF is quick and accurate Compact, light and easy to operate
    Slow optically Minimal bokeh potential

    The 18135SEL exceeded my expectations, although I hoped for the best based on this website's intial review. IQ is really quite good across the board - rare for such a long range zoom. While optically slow, it does not create much inconveninece for daylight shooting, and I'm already a tripod user so if that's what it takes I'm ready.

    Closeups of people are stunningly detailed, while infinity shots are very good at a high enough shutter speed, of courese. I apparently received a good sample. The OSS is a boon on my a6000/a6300 body kit and AF is quick, quiet and accurate.

    Construction is also very good - no wiggle or wobble when extended and smooth ring action. The mount appears a bit cheap so I'll take care, as always, in handling this prosumer optic. I added a 'replacement' rubber grip for another lens to mine for even better operation.

    I can't fault this lens in any way, taking it for what it is. IQ has definitely been improved over the A-mount design, which this formula does not come from. Would have loved a Focus Hold button on it but my back button AF technique is adequate for capturing the shots I take. A more demanding situation might reveal its weaknesses in sports photos, but I'm very happy with its performance and results.

    reviewed April 28th, 2018 (purchased for $498)