pc998's reviews

  • Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD SP AF

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp even at 300mm. Good AF speed and color. VC is extremely effective.
    USD is not silence enough but not an issue

    It has absolute focus accuracy with D700 using 51-pt auto area or single focus point.
    While the USD focus speed is fast (but not the fastest), we can still hear the focus noise. In contrast, Canon USM is near silence. The VC is extremely powerful. It seems to me that the stabilization effect is even better than Canon’s IS and Nikon’s VR.

    For many other 70-300 zoom lenses over the market, the resolution drops starting 200mm and onward. However, this SP lens has excellent performance across the whole zoom range even wide open. Corner sharpness is almost the same as the center. For instance, the performance at 300mm is particularly good and looks even better than its 70mm. I think the XLD (similar to fluorite) is really powerful.

    In general, this is the highest quality Tamron SP zoom I have ever used. It outperforms the Nikkor 70-300 VR much.

    reviewed September 24th, 2010 (purchased for $479)
  • Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp even at F4, VRII, closest focusing distance is around four inches (from front element)
    Too long (lens dimension), distortion (but can easily be fixed)

    Build: Pro grade lens with Nano Crystal Coat, magnesium alloy barrel and weather sealing. The ability to accept filter is important. Lens and hood are made in Japan. The new 24-120 F4 VR is made in Thailand but still selling at pro grade price level. This is one of the reason why I buy this 16-35 F4 VR. 680g is not heavy and 77mm filter size is excellent. Lens elements are extremely clean (can’t find any dust particles). I like the hood because of its size (small enough). However, is it necessary to make the lens 4.9 inches long?

    Focusing and related features: For an ultra-wide angle zoom, VR is more useful than F2.8. AF-S is fast and quiet. Low light focus capability (using D700) is very good. Focus holds while zooming. Internal focus, no external movement during focus. Internal zoom, the optics move inside the barrel. The very close focusing distance is an added bonus and indeed very useful.

    IQ: Very sharp even at F4 across the whole zoom range. It seems the best aperture range is between F4 and F8 with maximum center sharpness at F5.6. There is distortion but it can automatically be corrected during NEF conversion in Capture NX2.

    Overall impression: It’s a very capable ultra-wide angle zoom. This is the first of its kind that has image stabilization. Last but not least, it’s a more affordable alternative to 17-35 f2.8 and 14-24 f2.8. I gave a rating of 9 (not 10) because of the length of this lens. Would it be, longer is better (in terms of IQ)?

    reviewed October 17th, 2010
  • Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent sharpness between F4 and F8 (on FX)
    Focus ring moves during focusing (but just a minor issue)

    On D700, center sharpness is good even at F2. To attain peak performance, use it between F5.6 and F8.

    Although I have other zooms like 16-35 VR and Tamron SP 70-300 VC, for ease of portability, I did take this with D700 as the only combo for a 5 day travel. This lens is very reliable and highly recommended.

    reviewed March 12th, 2011
  • Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical IF Macro SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp lens
    Distortion at tele-end

    An extremely portable all-in-one FX travel lens with very good optical performance across the whole zoom range. It always delivers excellent center and border sharpness even wide open (the performance at wide-end is better than the tele-end). Extreme border sharpness can be improved by stopping down 1 to 2 f-stops.

    The lack of VR and AF-S is expected. But then it would be more durable and long lasting. So far, the major drawback is the distortion at the tele-end. Though it can be fixed during RAW file conversion (I only shoot RAW).

    One score was deducted for the sake of distortion at the tele-end. All in all, it's a real SP level zoom. This is my D700 kit lens!

    reviewed June 18th, 2012
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent sharpness and built like a tank
    No macro

    Elegance lens design with metal outer and inner barrel. Everything was made in Japan including the hood. Very usuable at F1.4 with excellent sharpness at F2.8 and onward. I've skipped the so called 50mm standard lens coz I think 85mm is a better focal length for use with FX sensor as a general purpose walk-around standard kit lens. The lack of SWM and VR might be good if you want to use it for decades. There were incidents reporting that the SWM broke down in just a few years.

    Among the other alternatives (85 1.4G, 85 1.8G and 85 1.8D), it has the highest score in terms of price/performance ratio. An excellent match with my D700.

    reviewed May 27th, 2012
  • Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Excellent sharpness through out the entire zoom range even at wide open
    Not MIJ; F5.6 at the tele-end is a bit slow

    It's the best kit lens (in terms of IQ) ever released by Panasonic. Highly recommended!

    reviewed March 25th, 2015