Best lenses.

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    What are your favorite off-brand (non-Nikon, non-Canon) lenses? What lens do you walk around with? Which ones are your fav’s for specialty work?

    If you must talk about you Canon/Nikon baby – go ahead, we’ll listen.


    Here is the set of lenses I would get if I was buying into a new system:
    Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 (Ultrawide angle)

    Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (My “normal” lens, it is slightly telephoto on an SLR, but is a VERY good lens. This lens is the one that is most frequently on my camera. This is a full frame lens, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a cropped lens, and isn’t quite as good.)

    A fast prime, like a 50mm f/1.4 or 35mm f/2 (Pentax brand for me. Canon and Nikon make really cheap 50mm f/1.8 lenses that are very much worth getting.)
    My current telephoto lens is a Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6, but that is a cheap/poor lens.

    A 100mm or 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens is useful for getting pictures of small things. The Pentax version is so bad at autofocus that I really consider it to be a manual focus lens.

    I have a Tamron 18-250mm f/slow, but in the Pentax mount that lens has horrible focus behavior when it is longer than 200mm. A Lensbabies 2.0 or newer is a good lens for when you are going out purely for “fun” photography.

    The only lens that I mentioned here that I would rate as a must buy is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, since it is so small for its incredible quality and capabilities.


    I second the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Incredible value for the money. Excellent optics and fast enough for indoor use without flash.

    I also like my Tokina 12-24 f/4 for wide angle stuff. I was considering the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, but Sigma quality control can be sketchy, and I liked the constant aperture of the Tokina.

    For fun, I also second the Lensbaby. I have a Lensbaby 3G (I think they overhauled the Lensbaby line, so I’m not sure if that exact model is still available). It’s built well, offers a lot of creative options, and is generally just fun to shoot with. But it’s definitely not a constant-use kind of lens.


    I looooves me my Sigma 10-20.


    I have the 18-55 Kit lens and a Sigma 70-300 APO macro lens. I want the 50mm f1.8 by canon, supposed to be an incredibly good lens and less than $100

    If I had a more Fundage Id start going for IS lenses…


    I looooves me my Sigma 10-20.

    Yeah, but it is a hard lens to use well. But, the only substitute is stitching, and that doesn’t always work.

    I didn’t like it until I went to Arches National Park, and then it was one lens that I always grabbed when I got out of the car. (The other lenses were the Tamron 70-300 and the 14.3-71.5 f/2.8-4.8 of the Sony R1)


    Tamron 90mm macro. I actually have 2, the f/2.5 adaptall that goes to 1:2 and the f/2.8 AF that goes to 1:1. Both optically excellent, and decently built. Sharp, sharp sharp, except (as you might expect) at the edges wide open. The AF version (at least for Nikon) has a sensible AF-MF mechanism unlike many sigmas that require a switch change on the lens and camera.

    Sigma 300mm F4 Tele-Macro. No longer produced, and not that common used. Also very sharp, goes to 1:3 magnification, not very nice bokeh, but most of the time you can blow the background so out of focus it doesn’t really matter.

    Sigma 15-30mm. Decent full frame ultrawide. Kind of pointless on a small sensor DSLR as it’s huge and can’t accept front filters. Flare can be a problem, but a very decent film/full frame wide angle that can be had pretty inexpensively.

    Sigma 28mm F1.8. Just got it, have hardly used it, but I like it a lot on my D70. 28mm is pretty close to the true normal on it. I’m not sure it works as well as a full frame wide angle prime, though.


    Damn you all, now I want to buy lenses. 🙂 I just read through the Sigma, Tamron and Tokina product lines and there’s lots of interesting options out there. Obviously the right answer it to have many lenses so no matter what you’re shooting you have the perfect glass ready to go. But until I have unlimited funs (and a sherpa to haul my gear!) I’m going to have to pick wisely. So this sort of feedback is invaluable.

    Also, for what it’s worth, got my first DSLR about 7 months and only have two lenses. The kit lens I got is a Nikon 18-55 VR which I dislike for some reason. So within a week of getting the camera I bought an inexpensive tele-macro, the Tamron 70-300 that corsec67 mentioned. That’s pretty much all I use at the moment and every digital shot I’ve submitted here was with that lens. It’s been a good learning lens for me since I like to shoot outdoors while walking/hiking in the daytime, haul a tripod around with me and generally use manual focus. The macro on the Tamron (only kicks in 180-300mm) has been lots of fun too. I don’t have anything to compare it with, but with a tripod I found it quite usable. You can get detailed shots without having to be close to what you are shooting, which makes setups easier for me. But I want something that works better while handheld in lower light situations. The Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is on the short list at the moment…

    I also would like a +300mm telephoto lens too since the views from the hills in the SF area are extraordinary and sometime you just want to zoom way out there. But nothing I’ve found in that category is close to affordable, so that will have to wait!


    Most of these photos:

    are with the Sigma 10-20. It’s my go-to lens for photographing cars.


    My new favorite 3rd party lens is my Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/2.8
    It’s got an excellent build; made of metal and wide rubber focus and zoom rings(internal focus!) and a nice big 82mm front lets in a bunch of light! And it was only 125 dollars and it’s sharp!

    Still haven’t gotten to try it in good light =(


    Most of these photos:

    are with the Sigma 10-20. It’s my go-to lens for photographing cars.

    I stopped by a camera store on the way home and checked out the Tamron 28-75mm. The guy helping me raved about the performance for the money too, so I guess it’s one big love fest for that lens. I asked what other lenses he would consider recommending for that zoom range and he said nothing else was close for the price. I was good and walked out empty handed. While it’s definitely a good value it’s still too much for an impulse purchase for me. He tried to tempt me with the “10% mail in rebate from Tamron” ploy, but I still escaped. 🙂

    I also asked about the Sigma 10-20 and he said he liked that lens too but that a new Tamron was as good or better for similar situations. It’s full product name is “SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical [IF]” which is a real mouthful. Here’s the link to the product page on their website in case you want to read the propaganda and specs.

    Tamron 10-24mm

    The weight, size and feel of both lenses were very good. But they were closing in ~5 minutes so I didn’t have time to try them.


    Most of these photos:

    are with the Sigma 10-20. It’s my go-to lens for photographing cars.

    Drooooooooooooooool…………. Tell me you own at least one of those…..

    Now that that’s out of the way,

    So, since most of my lenses fall under the Nikkor stigma, I’ll spare you the thumping…… except my walkaround lens is an older G-series 28mm prime f/2.8 AF. The D-50 and some of the higher end Nikons that have the internal motor can use the autofocus, but anything like the D-40 or 60 that requires AF-S is manual only. I also loves my Nikkor 70-300mm f/stupid slow VR Di ED keep-adding-abreviations-till-rapture. Mostly for the A/M feature. Even in auto focus, you can grab the focus ring and adjust as neccesarry. If you do this, as long as you keep the shot button on the camera halfway down, it will remain in a manual mode while telling the camera that it’s focused. As soon as you release the shoot button, it returns to normal autofocus mode. As far as non-nikons, here goes:

    (Dad’s walkaround lens) Tamron 18-300 f/???
    Heavy, loud motor, bulky, not very sharp at wider ranges. But – good focal range (18″ to infinity), good color reproduction. Probably decent quality overall, but the motor noise alone is enough to disgust me.

    Lensbabies 2.0 – Still playing and learning. I like so far, but it seems everyone else here can currently give more accurate info.

    Loreo lens-in-a-cap – Fun, especially when combined with the loreo loupe for extreme macros. You’ll see one example of this combo on the up-coming B-sides contest. Also fun by itself as a pinhole, but gets a weird flare-like effect when pinholing with bright light. Haven’t found a use for the larger arpetures outside of combining with the loupe. Requires use of full manual mode (not a big deal to me, but may be to some people)

    Loreo 3D lens-in-a-cap – Again, lots of fun. Still looking to find practical application outside of cool photos to show off to your friends (with proper viewer) or to convert to animated gifs/flash files that flicker back and forth for 3d effect. Also, apparently good for archiving neat vacation photos to get your family to talk about you a hundred years later (previous thread)

    I also have a set of quantarray close-in filters (+1, +2, +4) I use these with my 18-55 or 55-200 nikon. Too much diopter combined with alot of zoom will give a wash-out effect, but overall I like what I got for $30 as compared to buying an actual macro lens. To prevent vignetting when stacked with other filters, I purchased 58mm filters and use an adapter to fit the 52mm threads on the nikon lenses.

    Also, about 8 years ago when I was still using film, I had a pentax MG vintage 1982 where my walkaround lens was a sigma ???-200 with built-in macro that I absolutely loved. Can’t remember details of it, but it gave great color, sharpness, and when using the macro ring, had a focal range of 1″ to infinity. Someday a contest might allow me to post some of my old film shots that were made on this lens (the only film shot I’ve posted so far was with my other lens, that I don’t remember a damn thing about other than it being a pentax lens).


    I have the Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens. I have found it to be a great lens – really sharp and beautiful bokeh.

    Contest photos taken with the 150:
    Eyes have it

    I just got the Sigma 70-200 f2.8, the Sigma 12-24 f4.5-5.6 and a Sigma 20mm f1.8 to follow for Chrissy (it was these or either a Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 or Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR).

    Looking at reviews and technical details, the Sigma and Nikkor 70-200 lenses were close in sharpness (the Nikkor is slightly better but not 2.5 times the price better – hopefully! VR would also be nice). The 12-24 seemed to be the only other full frame capable wide angle lens out there that I could see.

    I want the 50mm f1.8 by canon, supposed to be an incredibly good lens and less than $100

    The nifty 50 is a great lens. That was the lens that really got me into photography. Seeing the things that you can do with certain lenses really opened my eyes (and made me realise how rubbish the basic packaged lenses were!)


    My current telephoto lens is a Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6, but that is a cheap/poor lens.

    when i bought my maxxum 7D that lens was out of stock at whatever discount camera place i stumbled on and they shipped me the 75-300 f/4-5.6 instead. it was cheap and while i won’t say poor it won’t win any prizes. it’s a film lens and on my DSLR has a 1.5 crop factor the merits of which you all can debate.

    i have found that to produce critically sharp photos takes both a lot of light and a mono pod. OTOH it’s the first lens of that length i’ve had so i may be unduly harsh in what i expect of it. there is also the chance that the camera/lens auto focus is a bit off. testing auto against manual produced inconclusive results.

    when i was shooting film i usually had a 70-210 mounted on the camera. with this camera and lens combo i find that doesn’t work as well and keep the 18-70 on most times instead.

    the 18-70 is a konica minolta kit lens AF DT 18-70 f/3.5-5.6 and while adequate obviously needs a fairly bright day too. oh, and it’s also a film lens so there’s that whole crop thing.

    i’m a minolta fan boy but will admit that i’m less than blown away by their digital stuff.

    i did have Soligor zooms for the film cameras and they were great but since they are no longer made …


    forgot to mention i have a set of these

    and while they aren’t really a lens they are a great add-on.

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