Sat 01-Dec-12 04:35 PM | edited Sat 01-Dec-12 04:37 PM by avm247
Great lens for me as a walk around lens for my typical shots. I found that I rarely used my 70-300D ED lens when on vacation. I use this lens about 85-90% of the time. Brought my D700 28-105, 70-300, 24mm and 35mm with me on vacation. Never used the 70-300, it stayed in the hotel safe. I brought the 24mm with me on tour of the island (Oahu) and used it several times. Used the 35mm at a festival (fast speed + high ISO = LOVE )
I used this lens with film (N70, N80, F100) and now with digital (D700).
Things I like: 1) Build quality is high, not pro-f/2.8 level but, IMHO, its better than kit lenses - it just feels so solid. 2) With film, I built my filter strategy around 62mm fliters and step up rings for my primes (52mm). 3) Excellent image quality at all focal lengths, very slight barrel distortion at 28mm that is gone by 35mm. I can't see any pin cushion distortion at 105mm. Stopped down to f/5.6 at the wide end and f/8 and like all other lenses, it performs well. Great sharpness across the image, corner to corner at regular camera to subject distances. (See my Things I don't like for the exception - and it is minor!) 4) Close focusing from 50mm - 105mm resulting in 1:2 ratio at 105mm - note: working distance is quite small! BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FRONT ELEMENT! 5) Color rendition, contrast and sharpness is very good. 6) Balances well on all my cameras with or without grips. 7) 9 Rounded aperture blades make for pretty good (not great) bokeh making this a pretty nice portrait lens. 8) IF - Internal Focus group makes for quick AF (but poor MF). 9) It's a D lens so you get distance information and an aperture ring.
Things I don't like (and they are minor, at least for me): 1) The lens hood is a satellite dish! IT IS HUGE and round because... 2) The front element rotates when zooming, making use with a circular polarizer a bit challenging but not really hard. (Again, I find this minor. A "flower petal type hood" will not work with this lens.
On the positive side: if one uses a thin CPL, one can mount it with the hood in place and still rotate the CPL to adjust the amount of polarization. I think this is why the hood is as big as it is.
On the negative side: being huge, it works great at the wide end, but on the narrow end, I wish it could/would do more. One other thing I do is when I have the lens mounted with the hood, I will place it hood down to hold up my camera on a table when not using/carrying the camera; it makes a nice stand.
3) The close focus macro setting is great for flowers, not so great for flat subject reproduction. Great center sharpness; corners are poor with flat subjects. Positive: this is a great lens for flowers or insects where the subject is in the center. 4) Not an AF-S lens so AF is a bit noisy. 5) IF - poor MF, just doesn't have the rotational throw from minimum focus to infinity. (Of course very few AF lenses are as smooth as their MF counterparts, but the AF 20mm I borrowed and my AF 24 and AF 35mm are pretty good, my AF 50mm is decent and my AF 105 D Micro is pretty sweet.)
Bottom line: I'm a fan of this lens. 8.75/10
If you haven't seen it, please read JRP's review of the lens here. Don't forget to check out the performance of this lens on FX cameras here.
As much as I love this lens, I found that I would rather have a broad range vs a macro capability. To that end, I bought a used 28-200 G lens and I like it. As a one lens does most, I think it fits the bill quite nicely, image performance is on par with my 28-105 in similar focal ranges but the front element does not rotate with focus or zooming so it has a petal type hood. It does not have the macro feature. It does zoom out to 200mm which is significant increase vs a 105mm lens. Nice bokeh, too.
Not gonna get rid of either. Different tools for different situations.