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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    2,175

    Thumbs up Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX Diagonal Fisheye - 9.5

    Author: ReF
    Is this lens worth the price? Yes
    Would I buy this lens again? Yes

    ------------------------------------------

    Pros: extremely wide angle (equal to about 16 or 17mm after 1.6x crop, even better on a Nikon 1.5x) for a low price, good build quality, quiet AF for a non-HSM motor, smooth focus ring, accurate AF, good lens cap design, low flare (very important for an ultra-wide). fisheye effect is easily corrected with free software with excellent results. very sharp at f2.8 - as sharp as my 50mm at 2.8.

    Cons: does not sharpen up as much my other lenses when stopped down to f4, AF/MF switch is stiff (but that's just nit-picking - no point deduction)

    Would I buy again? Yes. with affordable FF on the horizon the 10-20 and 10-22 lenses are not as appealing IMO. the 15mm would become even wider on FF, and the semi-fisheye effect is sometimes welcome or even undetectable (at least on 1.6x).

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,807

    Thumbs up tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR Di - 8

    note: this is a revised update to my previous review of this lens

    author: ReF
    is this lens worth the price? yes
    would i buy this lens again? leaning towards no - see below

    --------------------------------------------------------

    pros: extremely high sharpness and contrast for a zoom. Iím not kidding- it beats out my two L and even my ultra wide prime. second in sharpness and contrast under the 50mm f1.8 mk I out of the lenses i own. great price, good build quality, small and light - especially compared to the competition, decent macro performance for a lens of this type (though not at all comparable to real macro performance) AF noise level well controlled when the AF is not hunting. When it does hunt, the noise can be a little distracting, but is a lot quieter that some non HSM sigmas and non USM canons. An incredible value for itís price/optical performance.

    cons: slowish focusing, not alway accurate at 75mm. EDIT: I originally bought this lens for indoor use of moving subject and wasnít totally satisfied with it for this purpose, but I bought a bounce flashed and didnít use it much for this purpose since. Recently I was in a situation once again with dim lighting and moving subjects, but couldnít use a flash. For this purpose this lens failed miserably. Instead I opted to use my 17-40L f4, figuring that shooting a f4 and getting darker pictures is much better than a lens that would not AF at all. the 17-40L f4 on the other hand was VERY quick to focus and with it I was able to capture some very nice images that I was very pleased with. For this reason I bumped my rating of this lens down from 9 to 8. This used to be my most used lens but the AF was always hesitant, and it seems that the 17-40 always ends up taking over itís purposes due to the Lís superior AF capabilities.

    would i buy it again?: I donít know at this point. Maybe not. I think I might have to replace this lens with two fast focusing primes. Why? Because while the sharpness and contrast are incredible, but I keep missing shots with this lens. There really isnít any competition at this price though. The canon 24-70L f2.8 seems to deliver in the AF department but from the examples Iíve seen, isnít better than the tamron optically (except maybe bokeh) and costs about 3x more. Itís too bad - with good AF speed and accuracy this would be a killer lens, and on FF the focal length of this lens would definitely see a lot of use.
    canon 17-40 L, 70-200 f2.8 L, 400 f5.6 L, 50 f1.4 & f1.8, 1.4x TC, sigma 15 f2.8 fisheye, flash 500 DG Super, kenko extension tubes

    note to self: don't participate in sad, silly threads unless you're looking for sad, silly responses.

    "anti-BS filter" (from andy): http://dcresource.com/forums/showpos...94&postcount=4

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,807

    Thumbs up canon 70-200L f4 - 9

    note: this is a revised update to my previous review of this lens

    author: ReF
    is this lens worth the price? yes
    would i buy this lens again? yes

    --------------------------------------------------------

    pros: very, very fast and accurate AF outdoors even on cloudy days, slower indoors in dim light but still very quick, very good build quality, sharp wide open, light, comparatively small, cheap, nice bokeh. zoom and focus rings turn very smoothly. Short minimum focus distance is very useful, especially indoors. 70mm wide end on a 1.6x crop is a handy focal length (at least in my use) to have on this lens, focus limiter speeds up AF.

    cons: sometimes flare spots appear when shooting bright objects off center, and sometimes they don‘t. when it does flare though, there are two flare spots, one is smallish, and one is HUGE. I see this problem more when paired with the canon 1.4x TC. I would have given this lens a 10 if not for the LARGE flare spot. My 17-40 and 15mm also flare when shooting bright light off center, but the flare spots are tiny and much easier to deal with in post processing. Maybe large flare spots are a characteristic of long focal lengths? Either way, trying to save images with spots that big is very difficult.

    Comments: The 3 main reasons I bought this lens were small size/weight, closest focus distance of all the lenses I considered (for shooting indoors), and that “L” quality look to it’s images. So far none of the competing lenses offer the same optics/performance in a weight and size that comes close. Size/weight is a big deal to me, a guy who sometimes carries a bunch of gear on his back all day. Since I take my gear bag anywhere there might be a good photo opportunity, I didn’t want a lens that I might leave at home due to it’s size. A major downside to f4 instead of f2.8 is that the lens becomes f5.6 (quite slow) when used with a 1.4x TC. It would also be nice to have the extra blur of an f2.8 when using this lens for portraits. of course, you would already know it's f4 before you buy it, but those comments are just there to remind potential buyers.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comparisons between the f4 and f2.8 (non-IS) versions: I’ve added this little comparison section to make it easier for those shopping for a lens and are having problems deciding (I assume that‘s what these reviews are for)

    Note: this is the same comparison listed in both the canon 70-200 f2.8 and f4 reviews.

    - in terms of sharpness and contrast at f4, both lenses are pretty much identical

    - compared to the f2.8, the f4 lens so small and light that it’s simply a real pleasure to use

    - the f2.8 lens focuses faster in dim conditions

    - the f2.8 comes with a tripod collar, and you’ll need it. The f4 does not come with a tripod collar, which I don’t feel is necessary as the lens is so light anyways. If you want to get a collar for the f4 lens it will cost an extra $120 (you can get a black one for a little less). I’ve used the collar with the f4 lens (it’s the same one that came with my 400mm f5.6) and while it’s real nice to use on a tripod, I still don’t feel that it’s necessary. For some reason that little collar makes the f4 look AND feel and lot bigger (IMO).

    - the minimum focus distance of the f4 is about a foot shorter than the f2.8. The min focus distance of the f4 feels just about perfect for indoor use, while the extra foot needed for f2.8 lens sometimes causes me to back into objects or forces me lean backwards into awkward positions to get enough distance.

    - the f2.8 lens obviously provides greater background blur and extends the creative possibilities beyond the f4 aperture.

    - since stopping down beyond one stop usually causes out of focus highlights against dark backgrounds to show slight edges, the f4 lens will render rounder highlights at smaller apertures.

    - the extra stop afforded by the f2.8 lens can make a big difference in dim or slightly dim lighting. The extra stop is also very noticeable when using a 1.4x extender - used on the f4 lens you end up with f5.6, which can easily be too dark at 280mm in even slightly dim lighting (shutter speeds too low or ISO too high).

    - The larger aperture also means you get a brighter view through the viewfinder. When shooting in any of the following situations or combination of situations listed below, the extra stop can mean a world of difference when attempting to locate the subject/compose an image or manually focus:

    *in dim lighting

    *using a TC (even worse with a 2x TC)

    * using a polarizer

    *using neutral density filters - solid, graduated, whatever.

    *using extension tubes

    Note: At first when I only had the f4 version, I thought that having a smaller aperture would cause a lot of miss-focus problems with portraits, etc. due to DOF that is too shallow. However, with the excellent AF speed and accuracy of the f2.8 (and better Canon lenses in general), I find that I am very consistently getting spot on focus at f2.8. Now I realize that the reason I believed the f2.8 aperture would be unusable and therefore unnecessary was because at the time I was using the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and Canon 50mm f1.8, both of which are very slow and unreliable/inaccurate with Autofocus.

    Important note for those new to indoor shooting: f2.8 does not afford very high shutter speeds inside houses, etc. lit with the usual light bulbs, fluorescent lights, etc. unless it is VERY bright. So if you are planning to shoot in these environments I’d suggest either using support like a tripod, monopod, bean bag, getting the IS version, getting a larger aperture prime lens, or using an external flash.

    My personal reasons for upgrading from the f4 to the f2.8? I sold the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 due to the AF problems I was having with it and needed some kind of large aperture replacement to cover the 75mm range. I figured that if I went with a canon 85mm f1.8 lens I’d leave it at home too often to be worth the $$$. The 70-200 f2.8 would not only cover for the tamron, it would improve the bokeh in my portraits and provide a larger aperture at the telephoto end (really needed when using the 1.4x TC). I “settled” on the f2.8 lens because I simply cannot afford the IS version (IS costs an extra $550!). And to address the weight/size issue that i mentioned in the f4 review (as a major reason for choosing the f4), well i got used to the weight and size rather quickly so it isn't an issue. the 70-200 f2.8 lens also doesn't really weight any more in the bag than the 70-200 f4 and tamron 28-75 f2.8 combo that it replaces either.
    Last edited by ReF; 01-12-2006 at 02:34 AM.
    canon 17-40 L, 70-200 f2.8 L, 400 f5.6 L, 50 f1.4 & f1.8, 1.4x TC, sigma 15 f2.8 fisheye, flash 500 DG Super, kenko extension tubes

    note to self: don't participate in sad, silly threads unless you're looking for sad, silly responses.

    "anti-BS filter" (from andy): http://dcresource.com/forums/showpos...94&postcount=4

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    Thanks to everybody for the reviews. Keep them coming!

    I will reconstruct the Lens Reviews threads in the respective manufacturer forums as soon as possible.

    And thanks to Jeff for promptly allowing this reorganization to happen.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    I've finished reconstructing the Canon Lens Reviews thread and posted it up here.

    The Nikon lens reviews thread will go live once we actually get some Nikon lens reviews.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,008

    Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8

    Author: George Riehm
    Is this lens worth the price? Yes
    Would I buy (rent) this lens again? Yes (rented)
    ------------------------------------------

    Pros: A very sharp and accurate mid-range zoom. Contrast, color, and bokeh are what I would consider ideal. This is the best lens I have used from any source including the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (above f/2.8). Focusing is very fast and accurate. This is truely pro-grade lens construction and should last for several lifetimes. Note: The 28-70's that I have rented are several years old, and all work like new.

    Cons: None mechanically or optically. A little expensive, but worth it. Fortunately I can rent it when needed.

    Would i buy (rent) it again? absolutely yes. I do rent this lens frequently when I want the best quality I can get right out of the camera.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,008

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

    Author: George Riehm
    Is this lens worth the price? Yes
    Would I buy this lens again? Yes

    ------------------------------------------

    Pros: A must-have for every Nikon camera owner, film or digital. Easily the best lens Nikon makes for under $350. Very good color, and contrast, and even the newer lenses from China (like mine) seem to be very good quality. As good or better than the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (which I sold in favor of the f/1.8).

    Cons: Mechanically and optically none. May be too long for interior shooting when used on digital cameras (75mm equivalent).

    Would i buy it again? yes
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    Thanks George. I'll setup the Nikon Lens Reviews thread right now.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,008
    Quote Originally Posted by Rex914
    Thanks George. I'll setup the Nikon Lens Reviews thread right now.
    I'm hoping that it is ok to use rental lenses for review. If nothing else it proves the robustness of the lens.

    I will add the Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8, 35mm f/2, and 70-200 f/2.8 VR when I get a chance, and the AF-S 18-200 VR when I get one (if you don't beat me to it)
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    Oh, one thing you forgot. Add ratings for the lenses. I have tentatively given them ratings of "10," but you're the only one who knows.

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