Thoppa's reviews

  • Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good quality overall. Tiny. 12mm wide is very useful.
    Build quality, not as sharp as 14-42 II, less than 3x zoom range.

    A very compact sharp lens. Not as sharp as the 14-42 II, especially in the corners so if you don't mind a larger lens and not quite as wide angle, the 14-42 II is likely a better choice. Although it has a metal mount, it doesn't feel as well made as any other Panasonic lens I've owned. It's still a keeper because it makes m43 cameras pocketable.

    reviewed May 16th, 2016 (purchased for $120)
  • Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G Vario

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    As sharp as any m43 zoom - better in some ways than my 12-35mm f/2.8. Very light. Very cheap. A no brainer.
    Plastic lens mount. Slow apertures. I prefer 12mm.

    I thought I'd try this lens simply to see if it is as good as the tests. It is. I compared it to the 12-32, 12-35, 45-150 and 42.5 shooting flat detailed objects at 5 metres. The prime lens wins easily and this comes.... joint second with the 12-35 and a bit ahead of 12-32 and 45-150. And for under $100 ! This has to be the bargain lens for m43 shooters.

    reviewed May 16th, 2016 (purchased for $90)
  • Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Flare control

    Flare control is the main reason to spend the extra for this lens over the other ultra-wides available. There are other reasons too of course but if you have ever had a shot spoiled by flare, then this will be enough for you. Flare defects are very difficult to remove in PP and they are quite a common problem with ultra-wide shots. Well done Nikon !

    reviewed December 6th, 2008 (purchased for $850)
  • Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Almost everything
    bokeh ?

    An excellent standard zoom.

    reviewed December 7th, 2008 (purchased for $525)
  • Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR Micro Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Apart from the obvious excellence, its made in Japan

    If only every lens was this good....

    reviewed December 7th, 2008 (purchased for $790)
  • Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Limited image quality

    It's a super-zoom so it needs f8 to perform adequately at the tele end. For non-critical work it's great but if you are fussy the quality will disappoint.

    reviewed December 7th, 2008 (purchased for $750)
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Quality is excellent
    AF-S has not made a significant AF speed improvement.

    This is an ideal short portrait lens on DX. If you don't mind the price then you won't be disappointed.

    I have no real complaints, however, the close focus distance could be better and the AF speed is not hugely better than AF-D, but it does seem to track a subject better in AF-C than the AF-D does.

    I quite disagree with the previous poster about bokeh and I'm not the only one who does :

    However, I quite agree about a new AF-S 35mm f1.8 - yes please !!

    reviewed December 15th, 2008 (purchased for $440)
  • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM

    7 out of 10 points and not recommended
    fast dx standard
    smeared (not blurred) bokeh, focus issues

    This lens has lots of good points. However, I bought it hoping it would have great blur and sadly it distorts the blur ever so slightly (either re-shaping or smearing depending on the highlight and/or edge) and creates faint ghosts/halos towards the corners. It is not unpleasant but it isn't entirely natural either.

    Focus accuracy was an issue too, with front focusing on my D90 with close (less than 3m) subjects.

    It over-exposed by about 1/3 stop but that was no big deal.

    The lens was not faulty but it just didn't meet my expectations so I sold it on Ebay.

    reviewed December 15th, 2008 (purchased for $400)
  • Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, light, fits in a pocket

    It's kit lens quality ; very similar to the performance of the 50mm f1.8 with better border sharpness but worse CA.

    There's the usual CA (PF) you might expect with a lens at this price point. However, at wide apertures and close focus, high-contrast objects in front of the field of focus take on a magenta/red hue, and those just behind have a green hue. This is almost impossible to completely correct in software and is an example of the lens' limitations. It reduces as I stop down but doesn't go away completely.

    However, if you avoid such silliness, and shoot everyday stuff, this lens is great value for money, a joy to use, and gives good results. It's also perfectly useable at f1.8.

    Flare control is okay. Shooting with the sun just outside the top left corner creates a small low-contrast green halo in the bottom right corner and I can just manage to get one small green sunstar. The hood doesn't seem to make much difference but to be honest I need to try more situations. Shooting with the sun in the frame results in huge loss of contrast; no surprise there.

    Although the 7 blades are rounded, looking at them opening and closing, they do not create anything even remotely circular. It looks more like a robot laid an egg. I haven't seen any weird bokeh shapes yet, but I expect they're there, given the aperture shape. So far, bokeh seems quite okay.

    It is a rear focus lens. Of the 8 elements, the rear four appear to be moving as a unit, although they might be geared slightly, that I couldn't say for sure. AF speed is adequate.

    It is possible to use a 36mm Kenko extension tube to get a 1:1 macro but the lens is extremely close to the subject. It also emphasizes the CA. AF still works but manual +DOF preview is better for macro work anyway.

    Price, well, it's a bargain compared to the AF-S 50mm f1.4 but not so compared to the AF-D 50mm f1.8. I expect it'll drop when the initial gushing excitement has receded and people see it for what it is; a DX kit prime.

    I am reasonably impressed with the build quality but the mount initially felt too tight a fit for my D90. All the other lenses I have fitted perfectly straight from the box but this one has had to settle in. It makes me wonder about the long-term reliability of the lens.

    My lens is well-centred and focus is spot-on, as is exposure. So although it's made in China, it seems it is well-made in China.

    I had a Sigma 30 f1.4 and I sold it when I heard this lens was in the pipeline. The Sigma had weird "smeared" bokeh, over-exposed by 1/3 stop and front-focused. Considering this lens is half the price, it is much better value than the Sigma. However, the Sigma does control CA better.

    Overall, it's a great little lens, but it's Achilles heal is the CA. I wish it had an ED element and a focus scale; I'd gladly pay more for these, but of course, that would miss the point of the lens; a cheap-ish standard prime for D40/60 users.

    For reference, I have a D90, Nikkor 12-24, 16-85VR, 70-300VR and 105VR micro. My wish list is a 45-140mm DX VR f2.8G, a 300mm VR f4G, 180 f2.8 VR and a 70mm DC f1.8G.

    reviewed March 13th, 2009 (purchased for $210)
  • Tamron 60mm f/2 Di II LD IF Macro 1:1 SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality, working distance, fast aperture, macro/portrait lens
    AF/MF action not quite as good as Nikon AF-S; and some PF CA

    EDIT : April 2010. I've been using this lens for five months now and I had a problem with the focusing which I assumed was the lens but has turned out to be the body so I have revised my comments again.

    I have seen comments about exposure accuracy problems but this has not been an issue at all with my D90. In fact, I get almost exactly the same exposure using a grey card with this lens as with all my Nikon glass.

    My original review :

    This is an awesome lens but perhaps a little overpriced.

    At f5.6 it is ultra-sharp across the frame and gives amazing resolution even at 100% viewing. At f2 the centre is almost as sharp as f5.6 but the edges are soft - fine for portraits with a shallow dof and blurred background. By f2.8 the edges are sharp again. At f16 it is getting a little soft again, so using this lens from f2-f11 gives great results. f16 is fine for good dof macro. f22 is useable too.

    Macro use is great - the front of the lens is about 10cm from the object so there's no shading from the lens. I can use the built-in flash on my D90 without problems, although I don't use the lens hood so I don't know if that would be an issue. I usually use a remote flash but being able to use the built-in is very useful.

    There's very little CA for an f2 lens, ( although there is some purple fringing ), mild vignetting wide open, great colours, and good-ish bokeh. The best is at f2.8 where the bokeh is fine - just a blur with no obvious doughnuts or halos or smearing. There's slight distortion in the corners but it isn't distracting at all.

    There's no obvious barrel or pincushion distortion.

    It displays the true aperture in the viewfinder. Beyond 3 metres it is f2, then focusing closer it goes to f2.2 and smaller and eventually reaches f4 at min focus of 23cm.

    It feels light and a bit plasticky but that isn't too bad as it seems quite well made. It is made in Japan. For an F/2 lens, it's very small and light.

    The one drawback of this lens is the AF/MF. It isn't as good as the best USM/AF-S but it isn't awful either and much better than any other Tamron lens I've tried. It focuses at a similar speed to the Nikon AF-S 35mm DX. In quiet situations, you hear it whoosh/whirr a little but it isn't loud. Almost 100% of the time it snaps into focus but every once in a while it hunts a couple of times before it locks on. Focus is accurate. I doubt it could do sports but for portraits it is fine. It is certainly a lot better than I expected.

    For macro (initially mostly manual adjusting of the auto-focus) it will focus, which I then correct just like a rougher version of an AF-S "instant manual" lens. The rougher (than AF-S) focus action and an occasional refocus are the main detractions of this lens. However, the light switch to MF is very convenient so it is hardly a serious issue and no reason not to strongly recommend this lens.

    Here's a review :

    and another

    and another in Chinese :

    Given the choice between the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 af-s micro, the 85mm f/3.5 VR micro and this lens, I'd still choose this lens.

    The Nikkor 85 doesn't have the bright max aperture that can defocus the backgrounds for portraits. The VR seems like a good idea but it is mostly ineffective for macro focusing distances (I already owned the 105 VR micro) and the darker aperture and longer focal length make it less versatile for portraits. However, the lens is lighter and the macro working distance is the same so really if the bright max aperture isn't on your wish list I'd get the Nikkor.

    The Nikkor AFS 60 is great but the working distance is much shorter so it's hard to capture insects and avoid shading things. Plus it isn't as bright so portrait backgrounds aren't as well blurred.

    So all in all, this is a versatile lens with good image quality so I think it is a very good choice, especially if the price comes down.

    reviewed August 20th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
  • Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 ASPH LEICA DG SUMMILUX

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharpness, contrast, AF speed, aperture ring, AF/MF switch, build quality.
    Distortion, no OIS, expensive for what it is.

    Hard to fault this lens but the distortion is a little more than I expected for the money, and it's not as sharp as some of the other cheaper Panasonic primes. OIS would have been great - then it'd be a keeper for sure. However, after six months use, I sold it because it's not that much sharper than the best of the zooms, so I didn't use it much.

    reviewed September 22nd, 2015 (purchased for $400)
  • Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    SLR Gear review is dead on. It's a great lens.
    No aperture ring, OIS mechanism rattles when powered off.

    This lens is an absolute gem - super sharp, OIS, small, light - a bargain short telephoto prime with decent close focus abilities. Optically, it's excellent and my sample tests the same as SLR gear's review so it seems build quality might be reliable too, although the clanky rattle of the OIS when powered off is a little disconcerting.

    The close focus and focal length makes this lens suitable for use with extension tubes to do macro shots about 24mm wide and still keep a reasonable working distance for lighting.

    The 37mm filter thread means a very small lens cap which is a little fiddly with the vanity ring on the front so it's much easier without.

    I also have the Leica-designed 15mm with an aperture ring so I wish this lens had an aperture ring too, but considering the price and overall quality, I can't complain. I got a grey import for US$300 and I expect that price might drop a little more in time making this lens a real bargain.

    reviewed September 28th, 2015 (purchased for $300)
  • Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    What's not to like about a sharp constant f/2.8 OIS zoom that weighs 300 grams ?

    SLR Gear's review matches my lens' performance exacly, and mine is a production lens, a grey import from Japan, with a slightly pearl-black-purple finish.

    The OIS is very effective but adds a momentary delay in AF when it activates. No big deal but worth mentioning I think.

    After 2 years use, I sold it. I found the 14-42mm II to be just as sharp, and although it's 2 stops darker, I don't actually miss the brighter aperture because I was always stopping down to f/5.6 for maximum MTF.

    I also don't miss the dof control because I switch to f/1.7 prime for that.

    reviewed April 10th, 2014 (purchased for $750)
  • Panasonic 45-150mm f/4-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Small, sharp, light, fast AF, inexpensive.
    Min focus distance

    This is a real bargain lens. I have no complaints about its performance and I'm pretty fussy. It's as sharp as the Nikon AFS 70-300 VR I used to own and a fraction of the size and weight. I got mine in a white box from a kit so it was silly money for a lens this good.

    reviewed April 10th, 2014 (purchased for $150)
  • Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 ASPH LUMIX G

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Ultra small and light, sharp, inexpensive
    I'd love an f/2.0 version.

    My lens tests the same as the SLR gear review - f/2.5 is okay, but from f/2.8 I have no complaints. Although less CA would be good, it's mostly corrected away anyway.

    Also, it works very well with the Panasonic DMW-LW46 0.75x converter to create a 21mm f/2.5 eq lens - both have a 46mm thread and seem to be made for each other, even though they weren't. Converters are generally horrible things with mad distortion and CA, but this a good combination even without software correction.

    reviewed April 10th, 2014 (purchased for $150)
  • Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ M.Zuiko Digital ED

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Versatile - does it all.
    Unspectacular - doesn't do anything very well

    The power zoom and focal range make this a great video lens, and it also doubles as a decent macro lens too. Weather sealing is good but image quality for stills is a little disappointing and f/6.3 is just pitiful. So for stills, it doesn't satisfy me - thankfully, I have the 12-35 too.

    I suppose it shouldn't matter, but think it is poorly proportioned - way too long and thin. They should have made it fatter and at worst f/5.6, and better f/4.5

    It's very versatile but if you want a stills lens, look elsewhere or don't pay as much as me.

    reviewed April 11th, 2014 (purchased for $250)
  • Panasonic 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH POWER OIS LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Made in China.

    I bought this lens as a Japanese import with a one year shop-only warranty - so I've tested it thoroughly to make sure it's a keeper - it is! There are some online reviews of this lens available already - Photozone is the best so far - all of which say it is optically excellent and as good as the best of the m43 zooms, and I fully agree with the reviews. It works best stopped down one to two stops but is very good wide open, especially at the wide end in the centre. Wide edges aren't so sharp wide open but still decent. As expected, the tele end is also a little bit less sharp but not disappointing and stopped down a little makes it fully sharp across the frame. There's no problems with fringing etc. Other Leica-Panasonic lenses I've owned are made in Japan but this one's made in China, however, the build quality is very satisfying with a beautifully damped zoom action. The action is a tiny little bit lighter from 12 to 18, and the lens starts to extend at 18mm when it adds a little more resistance - I'm nit picking. It's still very easy to zoom smoothly despite this slight change. Power OIS is very effective and the aperture works well at fine control of exposure in video too. Overall, I have no complaints and can see this lens staying on the camera (GX85) 80% of the time since this range is ideal for me.

    reviewed April 8th, 2017 (purchased for $670)