mark's reviews

  • Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Critical sharpness, accurate focus, bokeh, solid build
    slow focus, chromatic abberation

    This is a special tool. Under controlled settings, the sharpness and image quality is unbeatable at this focal length for macro shots, portraits or other photos showing high level of detail. I have only compared this to Canon and Nikon macros and primes between 50 and 105 mm, and this lens is sharper. High praise indeed as those are also excellent lenses. Near infinity focus is also excellent compared to similar macro lenses. AF was found to be slow but spot on, and it is also extremely accurate when used on cameras in Live View modes. Build quality does inspire confidence- solid but not sexy. All of these comments apply to both cropped and full frame sensors.

    What do I mean by controlled settings? Take time to make sure exposure is correct. Near blown-out highlights results in purple fringing. Also, AF, while accurate is slow, so this lens is not a quick portrait tool or a modest telephoto for sports or performances. For those purposes, 50 and 85 mm primes and 70-200 2.8 zooms respectively are better.

    So, if you have just a little time to exercise control, you will get the sharpest photo at this focal length that any product can offer. This is one of the few third party lenses that can truly compete with the major brand names.

    reviewed February 5th, 2010 (purchased for $450)
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    High quality f/1.4 telephoto, sharpness, contrast and bokeh bokeh bokeh

    This is an excellent lens on DX and FX. Whatever the criticisms about this lens, I find that my 'keeper' rate is higher for this lens than just about any other.

    Comment to SLR Gear- on a D700, a 2 year ago purchased (new) lens gave sharper performance wide open than you indicate. IMHO, you should take down the full frame test performed with this lens adapted to a 5D and retest the lens with a Nikon FX DSLR.

    reviewed February 10th, 2010 (purchased for $1,000)