colinjames's reviews

  • Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    very sharp in center at all apertures, great close focus, price
    vignetting @ 17mm, dust gets in (front element easy to remove though)

    An excellent choice for for an wide/normal 2.8 zoom at this price point. Forget the Nikkor equivalent (too pricey for DX imho). I've printed 16x20's from 100% crops taken with d300 and have been delighted. Great beginner lens - I probably used this 80% of the time my 1st two years shooting. Not great for IR. Looking at reviews on various sights I feel this outperforms the new stabilized version...

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
  • Tokina 17mm f/3.5 AT-X 17 AF PRO Aspherical

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Build, 77mm, close focus, ok distortion considering
    use correctly or images are FLAT on FF, goofy flare artifacts, SOFT until f5

    I purchased this lens after careful review to replace (yes replace) my Nikon 14-24mm on D700. It was nice seeing that many of the reviews online were published in the film era. It was my first Tokina - and build quality is superb. IQ is quite soft at 3.5 - I almost always stop to f5 or further. People gripe about the af/mf clutch mechanism on Tokinas - it is pretty lame. Leave it in AF - it's very fast and accurate - even in low light (on D700). This lens loses its appeal on aps-c cameras - but I believe it is the best bang for buck full format ultrawide. It's compact, accepts filters (no huge bulbous front element), and a rare blessing in the $100-$200 range. I recently replaced this with the Nikon 20-35mm 2.8 ($300) and am much happier...

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $150)
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Sharp from f2 & beyond across the frame
    Contra lighting a huge obstacle, hunts

    This was the 4th 50mm I've owned from Nikon - I'm giving up on this focal length unless a future 50mm 1.2 is done right or a Sigma 50mm 1.4 is given to me. The most annoying part about owning this lens is its propensity to hunt. It's af-s is a joke. Worse than a funky 3rd party macro. IQ is superb when it takes pictures. Shot on D700 - I had this lens since it came out and sold a couple months ago and I'll never miss it. I played with 3 samples at the camera store so I feel I got the best (minor variation on this particular lens I believe). This one showed apparent aperture blades in oof at 2.8 only - all other apertures were nice and round. C'mon! LOca's weren't too bad in its defense...

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, great focus ability, tiny
    LOCA, wish it focused closer

    Great lens for the most part. Sharp. Annoying green and magenta aberrations until f5.6+

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $350)
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Tank Murdock, bokeh, Sharp from 2.8+
    too soft, blooming, loca's

    With all the excitement of new fast 85mm lenses coming out I decided to review some old shots I took with this lens on my D700 and D300. They make me glad I sold it. Looking forward to the Sigma or 85G when I get back in the country...

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $900)
  • Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Incredible on FF, sharpness across the frame
    not too practical (FF), babysitting gangster glass, pricey but worth it ?

    An amazing lens I don't regret selling - replaced with Tokina 17mm 3.5 lol - have since let that go and now have 20-35mm for practicality. My wide angle fixation has kinda worn out though. Many will adore this lens - there are no equals in terms of IQ. Watch the flare...

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $1,400)
  • Nikon 105mm f/2D AF DC Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    sharp, bokeh, price, hood, rear element, recessed front element, build

    Superb IQ - FAST, Nice size, contrasty, built in hood a huge plus. I have owned several of Nikon's fastest lenses (85 1.4, all the 50mm's, 80-200, etc) This lens is special. You could do a photoshoot in a landfill and not take a bad picture. 105mm on full frame gives you more freedom than 135mm by far, and has better repro ratio and sharper wide open than 85mm as well. 1.4 is a hot mess for headshots - you always have an eye out of focus - heaven forbid you get the tip of the nose in focus oh jebus. Blows away 105mm VR.

    reviewed August 7th, 2011 (purchased for $775)
  • Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, fast 2.8 , build, focus is fast and accurate
    2.8 at 28mm, flare with long exposures

    Tokina did a great job with this lens. Debated a long time over Nikon 17-35mm - but landed here. I previously owned the Nikkor 14-24mm, so carrying this around is no problem. save your money over Nikon. Newest version has nice cap and ass gasket. Wish 28mm @ 2.8 performed like 16mm - but prefer the wide end to be sharp. Really useful focal length for DX. Close focus is great, but of course be wary of bulbous McGee. Zoom is stiff - may ease up but remains to be seen.

    What else for the same money? A used 16-35mm f4 or an old 200,xxx serial 17-35mm 2.8? Perhaps primes for half the price? I think this lens is money well spent.

    Looking at samples from new full frame Tokina 17-35mm f4 indicates some intense CA - the 16-28mm handles it well happily and is easily corrected in LR. Will keep an eye on the newcomer from tokina. Build and size/weight resemble one of my previous favorites - the Nikkor 20-35mm - but let that go due to poor close focus distance...

    reviewed October 21st, 2011 (purchased for $800)