cputeq's reviews

  • Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SAL-70400G

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great image quality, weight, lens features
    Slower AF, hood tends to crossthread

    I use this lens on the A850 camera for birding and wildlife work and so far it's great, but not without some gripes.

    The image quality is very good, and the silver color of the lens isn't as shiny as some web pics make it out to be - it's almost a matte finish that really doesn't "bling" like I feared it would.

    Weight-wise, it's what I expected this type of lens to be - not a full day's easy carry, but not horribly heavy either. The lens tends to be very sharp from 70-300, and sharp from 300-400.

    In casual testing, I really haven't noticed much IQ improvement going from f/5.6 to f/8, so I just shoot it wide open unless I'm concerned about DOF.

    My only real complaints for the lens - the lens hood almost acts like it wants to crossthread every time I put it on - very different than the sure connection I get from my CZ 24-70.

    Also, the lens doesn't AF very quickly. It's not slow, but it's certainly not quick, and can have problems tracking at times, though I've managed to pull some birds in flight just fine.

    reviewed February 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,550)
  • Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality, VR, accepts filters
    Large-ish, distortion on the wide end.

    I bought the 16-35 lens as an alternative to the very popular 14-24 f/2.8. For me, it was very important to have the ability to use filters, as I'm addicted to my B&W 77mm circular polarizer. Also, I thought VR II would be more useful than an extra stop of light, in the instances I would want to do landscapes hand-held.

    I must say overall I am very impressed with the lens. It lives up to all my expectations. Very sharp images, autofocus is decently fast (not like you need fast AF in an ultra-wide angle lens). Construction is very good.
    VR II works awesomely. Additionally, the lens is very good with flare - I actually see flare in my viewfinder that I DO NOT get in the final image - it's almost immune.

    My only complaint, if you want to call it that, is the distortion. More specifically, distortion at 16mm and closer-focused targets. The lens can throw some crazy distortion on near targets - far targets, like landscapes, are FAR LESS PRONE to the distortion, though you'll notice it.

    For landscapers or anyone else, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest this lens. For architecture or people that really need the straightest of lines, I would probably avoid this lens.

    reviewed August 30th, 2010 (purchased for $1,300)
  • Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, fast, good weight for what it is, nice tripod collar, decent macro
    Can hunt in certain situations (blame it on the camera?), bokeh can get busy

    My background : Shot Pentax (K200D, K20D), Canon 40D, Nikon D90, D300, D700, and Sony A850. Advanced amateur.

    I bought this lens along with the 14-54 II when I moved to Olympus and let me tell you, it's great.

    So far I've only gotten to use this with the E-30 (rental), while awaiting my E-5 camera to arrive.

    The lens is sharp. Really sharp. As in, I never worry about stopping down sharp. It's a joy to use and I really like the range.

    Some people used to cheap kit lenses may think it's heavy, but for me this thing is almost a featherweight (I'm coming from a D700 + Bigma combo: now that's heavy). I have no trouble hand-holding this for longer periods of time with no problems, though I prefer to brace my elbows and sit if possible.

    Focus is very fast, but can be unsure and jumpy, especially in AF-C mode. This could very well be a fault of the E-30 AF, though, and not the lens - I hope to update this review when I get my E-5 on Oct 22.

    As a bonus, it's a great macro lens. Not 1:1, but gets pretty close, I think 0.5x in 35mm equiv. The other great thing is you can slap a 1.4x on this thing and *still* be at a faster aperture than Canon and Nikon's 70-300 lenses - of course this one costs a bit more.

    A highly recommended lens if it fits your needs. I use it for all sorts of shooting. Either this or the 14-54 cover pretty much every need I have (maybe I want a fast prime but that's it...okay and the 50mm macro)

    I have a gallery up, check out http://jl-smith.smugmug.com and click on the "Olympus Test Shots" for pics from either this or the 14-54 II on the E-30.

    reviewed October 20th, 2010 (purchased for $999)
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Fast, accurate AF. Sharp throughout range. Decent used pricing now.
    Not as sharp as the MK II at 200mm, MFD is only decent, weight after a while.

    I picked up this lens used from the FM B&S forum a couple of weeks ago. Seller had lost the tripod foot, but lens was in good condition and the price was right.

    I used to own the 70-200 2.8 MK II, so I had something to compare this lens with. I have also owned the Tamron 70-200 on Sony A77, the Sigma 70-200 HSM II Macro on a D7000, and a Pentax 50-135mm on a K20D. I also owned, for a very short while, the Nikon 70-200 VR I on a D300. Needless to say, I'm not a complete newbie to this range of lens.

    Build quality of the Canon is very good, AF is fast even with my 5D Mark 2. I haven't tried it on a better-performing AF body.

    OS is very good, not as good as the MK II version, but still very good, and I easily hit 1/60s exposures at 200mm.

    Image quality is very good, though not as sharp as a MK II wide open (that lens is simply unreal). Still, it's not like the MK II makes this lens BAD - this lens is still very good and can be found used for a good price.

    The only minor complaints I have of this lens is that at 200mm and f/2.8, it's not tack-sharp. I might need to use FoCAL on my setup to see if it requires MA, but it's known to be a bit less sharp at this setting and SLRGear's tests confirm this. Still sharp enough for most people's usage (and sharpens up nicely in post), but I wouldn't attempt to use a TC with this lens.

    Still, the results at 200mm are still SHARP, just not eye-bleedingly so.

    Weight is something to consider if you don't like heavy lenses - after a while, this lens starts to make its presence felt.

    Overall, a great buy on the used market, and I'd rather have this lens than the Sigma OS variant.

    reviewed June 29th, 2012 (purchased for $1,300)