Lens Review

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/cardinal/public_html/cp.com/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR Lens: Compact and Competent

img_productNo lens has been more of a workhorse in the Nikon lineup than the mid-range pro zoom. Starting life as an 80-200mm f/2.8 lens for film, it has gone through many iterations until the current Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR II Lens version. However, its $2400 price tag, 8” length, and 3.4 lb. weight mean that it isn’t right for everyone or for every situation.

Enter the sleek, slender, but still well-built Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR Lens. At 1/4 the price and less than half the weight of its bigger brother, with a built-in focusing motor (AF-S) for fast focusing, the lens is a tempting alternative for travel assignments or everyday use. It’s extra range (300mm versus 200mm) also means that it doesn’t require a teleconverter to bring distant subjects into the frame. Read more »

Field test of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens: A pro lens at a prosumer price

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Lens for Nikon CamerasUnless you make a lot of money with your mid-range zoom lens, or are willing to spend what it takes to get the best, $1900 for the 2 pound Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a hard price to justify. For that price, you get an ultra-sharp, ultra-fast, lens, but you don’t even get VR. I’ve enjoyed using Sigma’s version, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that I reviewed in 2010. It is much less expensive, but not as solidly built and also isn’t stabilized. Until now there hasn’t been a value-priced version of a 24-70 f/2.8 that could measure up to the Nikon. That’s why I was excited to work with the new Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens, which not only featured a fast focus motor but unique among mid-range pro zooms, also has image stabilization….
  Read more »

Superzoom faceoff: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS versus Nikon Coolpix S9300

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera (Black)[NOTE: If you're looking for the Sigma 50-500mm lens review, click here. Sorry about that]

As impressive as improvements have been across the board in point and shoot cameras over the last few years, none have made greater strides than the superzooms. Formerly more of a novelty and avoided by anyone serious about performance or image quality, new models are finally worth serious consideration for anyone needing to isolate subjects with a small, light camera. For this project I borrowed a Nikon Coolpix S9300 and a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS and carried both around for a few weeks as my point and shoot camera. I knew that neither would live up to the speed or image quality of my personal favorite point and shoot, the Canon PowerShot S100, but of course that isn’t the point. These models have amazing zoom ranges, and actually cost less. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found… Read more »

Sigma 50-500mm Lens: Is it the Ultimate Superzoom? Field test on B&H Photo Walk at the Zoo

Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus LensSuperzooms have been the poor stepchildren of lenses nearly forever. Typically under-performing models sold to people uninterested in worrying about multiple lenses or great quality, using one was a great way to mark yourself as an amateur. So it took quite a bit of convincing – in the form of happy success stories and awesome images taken by my clients on various safaris with the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Lens – for me to decide to shoot with this latest entry in the “all-in-one” superzoom category. I’m glad I did…. Read more »

Value-priced Super-Zoom: Sigma 18-250mm OS Lens Review and Field Test

sp_usopen2011_0057Since its introduction the Nikon 18-200 has been one of the most sought after “super-zoom” lenses. Used not only by amateurs but by many pros for its convenience and high quality images the lens was and is best suited as an “all in one” lens especially for travel. But with time the price has continued to creep up so that the current VR II version is now $800 (and out of stock at many retailers), so it is certainly not a bargain anymore.

So for those with limits to their pocketbooks or without the time to wait until the Nikon version returns to the shelves I wanted to field test a couple of the less expensive alternatives. I’d already seen the images from the Tamron 18-270 that my clients Jim were using in Africa and was impressed by its small size and reasonable image quality. So for this comparison I borrowed a Sigma 18-250mm OS HSM lens. This new version not only has stabilization (OS) but also built-in focusing motors (HSM) although like all the other similar lenses it is designed for use only with APS-C (Nikon DX) format cameras as it vignettes substantially when used full frame—in Sigma parlance it is called a DC lens. [Full frame users can opt for the larger and more expensive Nikon 28-300mm lens as an alternate]

Read more »