ReverendOlaf's reviews

  • Tokina 28-80mm f/2.8 AT-X 280 AF PRO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Built like a tank--ney, better
    Could be sharper wide open

    I snagged this lens to fill a void in my arsenal and to dabble in the realm of f/2.8 zooms. Nikon glass was out of my budget (even the humble 35-70/2.8), and I was leery of a used Sigma, thus it was down to the Tamron or this beast. I figured if nothing else the craftsmanship of the Tokina would make it indestructible, so the decision was made.

    With that (and the $300 price) in mind, I'm very impressed. It's a great constant f/4 lens, and a serviceable f/2.8 one (especially portraits). AF is snappy, yet loud, and it does miss at times (more than even slower Nikkors), but not enough to be an issue, and it's always close (ie it's the DOF and technique as much as anything). The manual focus clutch is a wonderful feature, as is the overall MF feel. Flare is an issue and a hood is strongly recommended. The Tokina one is excellent, and I suggest finding a copy with that. The Tokina caps, well not so much. Spring for the Nikon ones.

    What's awesome--the build and feel

    What's not--the wide open performance, and a positively awful aperture ring lock

    reviewed December 19th, 2010 (purchased for $300)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Super wide! Great performance at 10mm 5.6+
    Not much of an upgrade from the original version

    This is the only Sigma lens I purchased online (fearful of legendary Sigma QC), and I can't see the issues that others complain of. It could be due to luck, or perhaps I'm less demanding than others. Anyway, here's my $.02

    I sold my 10-20mm f/4-5.6 to purchase this lens in some quest to get the ultimate 10mm lens, and while I may have found it, I'd just assume have the other lens and $200. That being said, this is an outstanding lens. From f/5.6 on up it's outstanding, and I rarely need to use it faster than that. Typically I shoot at f/8 with this lens, where it's even sharper wit gains mostly at the edges. When I want or need to shoot wide open, it's rather sharp in the middle. Rarely is this an issue, but if it's something that will bother you, perhaps you should try before you buy. Distortion isn't that bad, nor are CAs an issue.

    Handling wise, the HSM is comparable to the best AFS lenses, and the zoom ring is well spaced. The build is solid, but I'd rather the body gain 10mm and have the zooming happen internally. As others have mentioned, the hood is a wreck. It desperately wants to fall off, and since the wide field of view makes having the sun more likely to be an issue, that's a problem.

    So, if you're new to wide angles, I'd suggest the Sigma, but if you're on a budget, go for the older 10-20mm f/4-5.6. It's just as good at f/8, and 77mm filters are way cheaper (I love using a grad nd with this lens).

    reviewed December 19th, 2010 (purchased for $650)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Awesome value and insanely wide
    Once you get the wide angle bug, you'll never shake it

    I was scared to let this lens go (to "upgrade" to the 10-20mm f/3.5), and I still miss it. Granted my f/3.5 lens is just as good, but it's not better (save for having some aperture choices this one lacks).

    10mm is crazy wide, and not only does this lens go there, it's quite adept at doing so. Wide open it's sharp in the center, and stopped down a bit (not a huge deal, since a relatively slow shutter is possible at 10mm) it's wonderful. I typically shot at between f/8 & f/11, but I never found shots taken at f/5.6 objectionable. CA and distortion are no worse than average, and frankly neither are an issue for my uses. Build quality is top notch, and the 77mm filters aren't so bad (I often used a grad ND on this bad boy).

    D40/D5000/D3100 users note that the Nikon version does not have the AF switch you see in the photo, which isn't an issue with bodies with an AF motor (thus an AF switch), but will make full time MF impossible. You can still override things.

    If you're interested in dabbling in ultra wide angle lenses, this is the lens to get if you have a cropped sensor camera.

    reviewed December 19th, 2010 (purchased for $475)