langier's reviews

  • Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    The wide angle lens that make the DX format useable
    Not many...

    I've had this lens since it became available in 2003 and have taken tens of thousands of images with it so far using the D100, D2h & D2x. I've even used it on the F5 (18mm and longer).

    This lens has made the Nikon D series cameras finally useable.

    My workhorse lens for many years was the Nikon 17-35mm lens, not only relatively fast, but quite sharp. It was heavy and had some weird moustatsh distortion, but lovely ghosting when shot into the sun.

    Coupled with an F5, it was unbeatable for a wide angle combo.

    The 12-24 is the DX equivalent. Though it is a stop slower, that isn't a problem with the variable ISO we enjoy with digital. It is lighter that the 17-35 and even on film, does a great job at 18mm and longer.

    Coupled with the D2x, this is the wide angle combo equivalent of the F5+17-35, but lighter in weight and less distortion.

    Its only draw-back seems to be that it has a little red-cyan chromatic abberation wide open and at wide focal lengths. Not a real problem since you can correct this problem using ACR.

    Image quality is excellant, even wide open. I've made many 20x30 prints from this lens and am quite amazed. Even at this magnification, the quality is better than film with the 17-35mm and I feel I can probably go to even 40x60 inches before starting to push this lens. It is quite amazing!

    Next to the 70-200 VR, the 12-24 is probably one of the sharpest lenses I've used in 30 years of Nikon shooting.

    If you shoot wide angle, you need this lens!

    reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $1,100)
  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    One of the sharpest Nikon lenses
    Larger and heavier than the 80-200 2.8

    No doubt about it. This is one of the sharpest lenses in the Nikon line-up.

    I've had many Nikon zooms, starting with the old 80-200 4.5, the second-gen 80-200 2.8 ED and the two-touch. The two-touch was my choice of zooms when I last shot film. It was nice and sharp and well built.

    Then I bought the 70-200 for the VR. Wow! Even on film with an 8x loupe, you can see the snap of the 70-200. On the D2x, it is even better!

    It does have a little red-cyan chromatic aberration at certain focal lengths and at wider apertures, but this is minor and is easily corrected in ACR with a slight adjustment.

    Even with the TC-14e, this lens is hard to beat. Next to my 12-24, this is one of my workhorse lenses.

    reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great for film and a bargain compared to the 70-200
    Not quite the 70-200

    This is my second version of this lens. I had the original AF version (one-touch) and replaced it with newer a number of years ago.

    For film, this is an excellent lens. With digital, not quite as nice but more than adequate. If you can't afford the 70-200 VR, this is a nice lens to have for telephoto shooting.

    It is rugged and well constructed and fairly sharp throughout its range. On film, there is a slight vignetting on the corners. Digital doesn't seem to be affected by the vignetting and is pretty well minimized.

    I still have this lens as a back-up and still use it occasionally. I prefer the 70-200 for its slightly wider range on digital, but this lens does not disappoint.

    reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $700)
  • Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Small and lightweight
    Not the best build for heavy usage

    This is a Nikon sleeper in the league of the 36-72 and 70-150 Series-E lenses.

    Cheap and optically sharp. Light weight and compact.

    Not a bullet-proof build, but much cheaper than the 17-55. A good range with a 35mm equivalent of about 27-105.

    Even on a D2x, this is a very good lens and covers a very adequate range with a longer reach than the 17-55 at less than 25% its cost.

    reviewed November 5th, 2005 (purchased for $250)
  • Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    One fun lens!
    Soft on the edges when corrected for distortion

    This is one fun lens!

    It is sharp and if you are careful, you won't notice the barrel distortion.

    Its only draw back is that when you correct the distortion in Nikon View, the edges are soft and you are stuck with red-cyan CA on the edges.

    Keeping the image distorted and imported via ACR, the CA is easily corrected.

    Rather than fight it, I leave the images distorted and just have fun.

    If you want a fun lens, this is it. Just watch for your feet, fingers and hat when you shoot with this lens!

    reviewed November 5th, 2005 (purchased for $500)
  • Nikon 24mm f/3.5D ED PC-E Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp and built well
    Expensive and bulky.

    The 24mm PCE on an FX camera is the next best thing to a view camera without the bulk and inconvenience. It works with both FX & DX formats but really is designed for the D3 and D3x. Image control is not quite as versatile as when using a view camera but for most applications, it does a fine job.

    Compared to most DX lenses, this lens is big and bulky especially compared to both the 28mm PC and the 35mm PC from the 20th century. Compared to both, image quality is a generation ahead.

    It's sharp and a joy to use, though there are limitations to rotation and shift when using this lens on the D700 and D300 bodies, making it a PIA when you need to shift in certain directions. You need to be aware of these idiosyncrasies.

    Out of the box the tilt is at 90 degrees to the shift. Officially, you must send this lens to Nikon to rotate title and shift to the same axis. With a cross-point driver and a little care, it takes but a few minutes to change the tilt vs. shift axis.

    On a DX camera, this lens is about 36mm in focal length and is similar in focal length to the old standard 35mm PC on a film camera. On FX, you get a bit wider than the old mainstay 28 PC.

    On an FX camera at full shift along the long image axis, you will have vignetted corners at full shift, 11.5mm. If this is a concern, reduce the shift to 8mm. Full shift should be fine on DX.

    For panos, this is a cool lens in either direction. No muss and no fuss when you assemble the pieces. Best bet is to take a top-middle-bottom or left-center-right to have lots of overlap.

    Using a modified TC-14e, this lens is still quite spectacular, though a full stop slower, about f/4.5. You won't get the undated data, but it works pretty well and without the shift limitations imposed by the over-hanging viewfinder.

    With the electronically-controlled aperture, this lens is fairly easy to shoot hand-held with practice, but best results are of course obtained using your camera on a tripod and using a spirit level to properly level your camera.

    Compared to making your geometric corrections in Photoshop, this is a much better way to go. Get the image right at the start and spend less time pushing pixel later with the bonus of outstanding image quality.

    Compared to using both the original manual focus and preset 28mm and 35mm PC lenses, this is a little more complex yet easier on today's digital bodies. Compared to the 85mm PC (not the current PC-E), it's a step beyond in ease of use.

    By the way, this lens focuses to within a few inches of the front element so it can be used pretty tightly.

    In the overall scheme of things, this is one sharp lenses, especially once you get over sticker shock. Another home run for Nikon!

    reviewed June 18th, 2009 (purchased for $1,700)
  • Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    SIze and range
    The rubber focus ring is sloppy and and be a PIA, could use a little more range

    This is one of two lenses that I use on a regular bases with my GX7 bodies. I've had mine for a year and bought it used and in great condition.

    I've used this lens for many things, from landscape to portraits to general shooting. Compared to my full-frame and DX all-in-one lenses, this one is better constructed and is pretty sharp throughout its range.

    I've used it in low-light and the stabilization seems to help in hand-holding.

    All in all, this is a great basic lens for an M43 system where speed isn't needed. What would make it even better is to either be a couple of mm wider (12mm) or perhaps a little longer, more than 150mm, but wider would be my choice.

    The only issue I've had with this lens is that the rubber focus grip became sloppy in some hot weather and is still loose months later. It sometimes becomes an issue when I need to zoom and the rubber is askew.

    reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $365)
  • Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Size and quality
    Paint issue and infinity focus

    I've used fisheye lenses for most of my career and for the past 20 years have had to learn to use the circular fisheye lenses for one of my clients.

    The Nikon 8mm 2.8 fisheye was the best during film days, but finding one years after discontinuance makes them pricy. Also, the Nikkor 8mm 2.8 is a humungous and heavy optic.

    The Sigma 8mm lens is both compact and lightweight. It has little flare with point source lighting which is a plus and stopped down to f/11 or so creates a nice star effect.

    For my application, Serbo-Byzantine iconography, this is my go-to lens to shoot entire church interiors and domed ceilings. No other lens will do.

    I use mine on a D800 for maximum image size and quality. My f/3.5 replaces my f/4 version for a couple of reasons, mainly that the image circle gets very close to the edge of the frame. The f/4 is about 1mm smaller in diameter and since every pixel counts, this lens covers the frame better.

    However, like my f/4 version, this lens has a focus issue in that infinity focus as marked isn't infinity focus. Both my circular Sigma fisheye lenses achieve infinity focus about 1.5 meters instead of the marked infinity.

    Knowing this and that the lens has such great depth of field, one only needs to be aware, turn off the autofocus and wing it with zone focusing, just like the good old days, thus nailing the sharpness at its prime.

    reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $591)
  • Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 ASPH LUMIX G VARIO

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Size and sharpness
    Not much to dislike

    This is one of my workhorses for m4/3. I bought mine 2nd hand and it was like new.

    Now that I have a year on this lens, I can say that it is one of my favorites. I have the Nikon 14-24 2.8 and the only advantage over the Panasonic 7-14 is that it is one stop faster. However, with that extra stop and having to cover a 35mm frame means that it is large, heavy and subject to lots of lens flare, even when the source is out of the frame. The 7-14 flares less and on my Panasonic GX7 bodies is just right. Flare is well controlled, it's sharp and it is just the right size and weight.

    On a GX7 body combined with this lens, It is smaller than my 14-24mm and weighs less!

    When I traveled to Serbia this year, this lens was an ace in the hole for some of the photos I needed to crate in a tight space. Combined with the GX7, the size was just right. I had to photograph in a tight space and the full-frame camera with my normal workhorse lens, a 17-35mm was not quite wide enough. The 7-14 saved me for these photos.

    Later in my trip, I simply left the full-frame behind and shot with the 7-14 and a 14-140mm on the GX7. This lens looks too small to be professional, but everywhere I used it, I was able to shoot without drawing attention to myself and size was one of my stealth measures. Even in low light, shooting hand-held with this small lens was easy, much more than with my other system.

    For both street shooting and tight spaces, one could not go wrong with this lens. The only drawback I can say is that at f/4 it's a little slow, but then the lens would be larger, heavier, cost more and probably have flare issues.

    I've also used this lens for landscape work. It's liberating not to have to deal with the size and weight of a full-frame camera and lens yet still get very good image quality.

    Overall, this lens is a good balance when one needs an ultra wide angle lens that isn't a fisheye.

    reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $720)
  • Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    *Size *Weight *Good value *Quite adequate image quality *Can nearly replace two of the holy trinity lenses *Good balance *Well matched to the Z 6 sensor
    *Seldom in stock *Slow aperture range, especially at 200mm *Hard to tell focus in really, really dark conditions *Probably not as durable as other Z lenses, especially when the lens is at maximum length much like problems with the 18-200mm DX lens suff

    I'll break the ice and report my findings...

    When it was announced, the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm seemed intriguing. It covers both ends of a normal bag full of lenses in a form factor not much larger than the 24-70mm Z bundled lens. It seems just a little slow at the long end but size and was tempting!

    Ive been trying to find the right lens for travel with my full frame bodies, first trying the 28-300 which wasnt too bad, but it was big, bulky, heavy. Though the photos were fine on a tripod, I dont always have that luxury when Im on the road or in the street. I also prefer wide, so it was replaced with the 24-120 f/4 and that worked well except I sometimes need a little extra reach

    So I put my name on a list hoping to eventually get my hands on one (And now nearly a month later, the lens is still not in stock by a major vendor :-( )

    Then the virus struct and the lens was delayed from release. I eventually found an online vendor that listed the lens as in stock and ordered it. The day it was scheduled to arrive, they emailed that the lens was on back-order and several weeks away... So I headed to eBay to see what I could find. The search pulled up the usual junk accessories for the lens and a couple that were priced at 25-30% premium, but hidden away was a listing from a legit vendor at the announced price, including shipping.

    I made my purchased and waited. Surprisingly, the vendor shipped the lens two-day so kudos were noted on their eBay feedback. The lens arrived and the box opened... What a gem, not much bigger nor heavier than the 24-70 Z f/4, but three times the focal length and quite well balanced on a body. I took some test shots at different focal lengths to see how the images looked and make sure there were no other issues. I was not disappointed!

    Every test image looked nice from the center to the edges on my Z 6. But testing in the studio just confirms the lens works according to specs. It's what one gets using in real life, in the field that counts.
    I took it out for a spin at some local "macaroni-and-cheese" landscapes and put it through its paces. At wide, medium and maximum lengths, the images looked good. I didn't practice my best craft of using a tripod and cable release like I would normally do for the ultimate IQ but with its VR combined with the body VR on the Z 6, it was worth shooting it like there's no tomorrow.

    After downloading these images and starting post production, I saw that sloppy-technique was nothing to be worried about. The VR did its job and the chosen photos were sharp enough throughout the frame. The lens made the mark of adequacy!

    The following week, it was time to start making this lens pay for itself. I had a Senior portrait session and once again, one camera, one lens and a happy grad and her mom. Sure, you're not getting shallow DOF to isolate, but with proper lighting during the blue hour this wasn't that major of an issue.

    Last week, it was a wedding as its next gig, but not the norm gathering of lots of family and friends, but with lots of "social isolation" from the afternoon and into the evening. From the wedding party and family groups to ring shots to nice candids of the bride, groom, guests, this lens came through, even as the light faded away.

    Is it as sharp as my primes or less radical zooms? Not by a long shot. However, absolute sharpness is but one factor in photography and not always at the top of the list. Having a single lens replacing a bag full to fulfill a cinematic approach to an event or to travel lightly when on the road, is priceless. Taking less time in swapping lenses and not dragging along a bag full is priceless.

    Bottom line, AFAIC, Nikon has hit a home run with the 24-200mm. It's size and weight are phenomenal for its range. With a Z 6, this package is not much larger than my m43 system with similar configuration, yet comes with the advantage of better sharpness and image quality along with better reliability than either of my m43 combos.

    I've not shot a second wedding with this lens. The only issue I could find was that it was a little more difficult to focus or confirm focus as the wedding went into the evening.

    I've also have tried some macro work with late summer wildflowers and the classic Nikon 6T doublet close-up lens. It works quite well and using this wide-range zoom made framing quite easy. No problem with sharpness with this combo, either.

    Nikon got so many things right, including the ever important image quality, to make this a lens with which to judge similar lenses to years to come.

    Well done, Nikon!

    reviewed September 7th, 2020 (purchased for $900)