ppk's reviews

  • Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    compact, sharp

    I sold my jewel of the 1980's and 90's a 35-70 AF 2.8 metal nikkor. With the DX format, the old 35-70 just did not have a desirable range. So i moved on to the 18-135 DX mm and then the 24-85 AF and then on to the 16-85 DX mm.

    The construction of the 16-85 is tight, has a substantial metal barrel, and no play as the lense extends. As i mentioned, this is my fourth lense in this range, and while not constructed on the level of the 35-70 2.8, it is much superior to the other mentioned lenses.

    Sharpness is very good, and between the four lenses, it is the best. When you have the camera pointed at an object, focus just snaps in there - and you can see the clarity right on the viewfinder. No hunting around for focus with this lense!

    Color is great! We are really making some headway in the medium cost lenses today. I have seen none of the problems of chroma with like the 18-135 exhibits. Distortion is also only noticable at the 16 mm to 20 mm or so area. But, not near like the 18-135 mm.

    This lense is not cheap, but it takes as as good a photo on a D80 as the 35-70 2.8, and shoots as good a photo on the same subjects. Two different eras, but if you are going DX, and there is no reason not to, the lense if probably the best of Nikons offerings.

    reviewed November 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $699)
  • Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very bright, good contrast and substantial build
    heavy, slow focusing, battery hog

    My hunch was that the 70-300 VR was a good lense, but that the 80-400 VR would be better. For those of you with this same thinking - go ahead. I have found that the old 70-210 f4.0 AF from the 90's is indeed sharper and with less color problems than the newer 70-300. Of the three lenses, the 80-400 takes the longest to focus, and the other two about the same.

    But you really can't compare the sharpness of the 300 to either of the other two. It's just not there, and that's one thing with sensors getting more dense and dense, you have to address to get top performance. I got $375 for my 70-300. A good deal.

    When i go on long hikes, i take the 70-210 push pull. It is just as sharp as the 80-400 and has one advantage over both it's VR cousins; batteries last longer with no VR feature.

    I take the 80-400 whenever i need top color; sharpness and the extra punch the long lense provides. Sharpness falls off after 350 mm or so, but stopping down mitigates the issue.

    You have to stop it down most of the time anyway, it has such a reach, you need f/8 so that depth of field is not an issue.

    the 80-400 is much heavier, stouter and with the 77 mm main objective a pretty impressive piece of equipment. much better pictures and status than the 70-300 VR.

    I also like the 70-210 push pull from the 90's. Between those two lenses and a D300 you just can't do much better.

    reviewed June 23rd, 2010 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    quite a bit tighter barrel than my vr I and sharper.
    not really any other than distortion that needs a in camera editor to straighten up

    have had a VRI for some years on D80-90-7000 cameras. decided to have a backup setup and purchased the VRII from 42nd. This VRII is sharper and tighter than the old model.

    Actually, my sample VRII is very sharp, and using the in camera D7000 distortion control you can clean up the only weak area of the lens.

    i traded in a 16-85 which was sharper than VRI and equal to VRII. There are sharper lenses but not really more convenient ones. I have an 80-400 which if you can hold it still shoots better, but you get one good shot out of 5. The VRII nails it every time.

    the lens also is a lot less sloppy in the barrel when zoomed to the 200 mm position.

    i looked at tamron and sigma, the nikon has a bigger 72 mm objective and the others are smaller. i thought the tamron 18-270 might be as good, but the focus is nowhere near the nikon system.

    the lens is not quite sharp enough at the edges to reach d7000 limits. but on the other hand i have 4 meg pix photos that still look great. it's about color, not always about sharp pixel peeping details..

    reviewed October 4th, 2011 (purchased for $729)
  • Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Amazing all in one.
    Heavy. but not as heavy as the 80-400....

    Wow! I reviewed the 80-400 VR on this site and in comparison with that.. the 18-300 is better. In fact it replaces nearly all my current half a dozen nikkors. It is a lot better than the 18-200 VRII. Don't know why I bought that one, now...

    I do go to alaska each year and have drug the slow focusing 80-400 each year... along with the 18-200. The 18-300 is the new single lens.

    I cannot tell any difference between the 80-400 and the 18-300 in sharpness or color at f8 at full telephoto. At f5.6 the 18-300 is a little better, with better contrast, too. My example is posted on the Nikon site...

    I got mine at B&H for $699 and it came with 77mm filters, UV and polarizer. YOU CAN NOT BEAT THAT!!!

    I have a 12-24 dx that is sharper in the overlap by a bit at 24, but 18 both are the same. and that lens was $599. ..

    Good color, better than the 80-400 at full telephoto. Get it while it is on sale - you have only one week left!!!

    reviewed February 23rd, 2013 (purchased for $699)
  • Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Weak at 105mm

    18-105 bought from Adorama as a refurb white box deal. Cheap and worth it. This is the lens i put on my D7000 when my wife is using it.

    Sharp from 18-about 90 or so. Not any better than 18-200 that i can tell. Very light, simple and cheap. I don't even have a filter on it...

    I also have 5 other nikkors... so in comparing if you can spring for a longer zoom, go for it. I have had this lens for 3 years and it serves a good purpose for family gatherings, with VR and low light shots... And don't be afraid of the white box jobs. They are ok even though the warranty is one year instead of five. The only lens that has let me down was an 18-200.

    The 18-105 is a good sacrificial lamb if you have to share your camera with others, too.

    reviewed February 23rd, 2013 (purchased for $265)
  • Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    light, fast focus, sharp, a status symbol...
    its expensive..

    I never had a status symbol kind of lens. Always bought nice mid range zooms and have tolerated the weak telephoto sharpness in every single lens. And I have had many lenses... Traded 80-400 and 18-300 in on this one. The 300 is premium. Fast, light, sharp, and takes great 300 mm photos without compromise. if you want the best... get it. The downside is it will make all your other lens look weak, heavy and old.

    reviewed August 20th, 2015 (purchased for $1,999)
  • Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    4 out of 10 points and recommended
    Nice Build
    Not as sharp as it could be... or

    Going to Alaska.. wanted a smaller and lighter lens for some hikes in Juneau.. This lens had good reviews on a number of sites.. Handling of the lens is quite nice, somebody who is not so picky may be satisfied.. with the pics. I tried every aperture, manual and auto focus with my D7100. It does okay only at f11 fully extended at 300mm even then it is not as good as my heavy 18-300. And that is not a high bar to reach. At least it was cheap! I would say take a pass on this one. Am currently jogging two miles a day to prep for carrying my 80-400.... ah well..

    reviewed April 18th, 2015 (purchased for $225)
  • Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED DX VR AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light and good zoom range
    Will not survive a drop or big bump

    I have had nikons for a long time, back to 1990. There were tests, but not near the concern that there is today for metrics on performance. Basically you looked at the pics to see how the color and sharpness compared.. And following on that some of my sharpest digital pics are from 2006-7 with my D80 and kit lens 18-135. The pics.. Looked three dimensional.. I traded the 18-135 for a weak 70-300 vr. I missed the 135 lens after it proved to beat its replacement hands down. And I looked for a new one the last couple of years. Then...

    I bought the nikon d7100 with the 18-140 kit lens for $500 off list... So it is hard to compare an old lens to a new one with a 24 mp sensor.. My pics look a lot sharper with the 18-140 than many other lenses I have had.. This lens is a notch sharper than my 18-300 or 18-200 vr dx nikon gear. I believe that to be a fact. Another attribute is that the lens seems to have a better vr than the older lenses. The 67 mm filters are more common too. I also have an 18-105 lens that is put on the camera when my wife uses it. Make you a deal on that blurry mess of a lens..

    Looking at others' reviews and numbers it performs better in my book than what is indicated above. It will break in two if you torque it any.. But what doesn't? I think it is sharp at wide and tele in the center and edges..

    Seems to capture detail and color the other super zooms blur out. Call me crazy, but less is more.

    reviewed April 2nd, 2014