Archive for the ‘Nikon Nikkor 17-55 Reviews’ Category

Nikkor 17-55 Lens Review

July 20, 2008

Nikkor 17-55 Lens Review

“A lens that makes a difference”

nikon nikkor 17-55

After one year with my trusty D80 I finally jumped and got this lens.
I have to tell you that probably some of you will argue that for less money people can get a f/2.8 Tamron (click here:Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens with hood for Nikon-D DSLR Cameras) or a f/2.8 Sigma (click here: Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR), but such comparisons are completely off track.

First of all, a $800 difference it’s not just marketing. It is reflected by a totally different image quality, a better build (metal and sealing), the speed of the AF system and the overall feeling of holding a real pro lens.

Secondly, the Tamrons I was contemplating into buying all had some problems with flash overexposure on TTL and TTL BL modes on my SB800 + D80 combo. I am not quite sure why it happened with the Tamron, but I have no such problems with the DX 17-55. Moreover, Tamron has inferior AF speed and this can be observed especially in lowlight. Try focusing with the 17-55 in ambiental light from a 60W light bulb and you will have no problem. Then try the same with a Tamron and you will.

Another thing that is annoying is the CA I’ve noticed with the Tammy, even when the lens was stopped down. I personally hate strong CA because it makes my photos look very P&S-like.

However, the 17-50 Tamron is a good contender and may be an option for anyone on a tight budget. Please keep in mind that I saved for the Nikkor and I got it actually one year after my first decision, but I believe the waiting was worth every penny.

Now back to the 17-55DX:
My experience with it is connected to a D80 camera.
The lens is very, very, very sharp, even wide open at 2.8. It is almost too sharp at f5.6 which should make you never use the in-camera sharpening at other setting than normal and this may create some problems for portraiture work if you will like, for example, to soften a bit some undesirable details on your model’s face… The sharpness is due mainly to the superb optics of the lens but also to the excellent microcontrast this lens is able to render. The overall microcontrast translates into very natural-looking images and excellent rendition of difficult hues and tones as skin tones have (for example).

Under direct bright sun, it tends to exhibit a slight magenta cast but this is easily correctable either with a filter or by postprocessing (pp) when using raw (NEF) files. I’m not sure if this is due to the lens alone or – more probable – the lens + antialising filter + sensor of the D80, so results may be different with other nikon cameras. The lens is quite obviously coated for neutral gray rendition on a 6000K color temperature, the one you will get with flash, for example. BTW, it is a good ideea to use manual white balance on 6000K when using D80 + 17-55DX + SB800 and A mode on the flash. I got best results with these settings.

Also about camera settings, the 17-55DX is a very contrasty lens so this may give you some hard times when shooting jpegs on a bright sunny day with huge image dynamics. My advice is to set your camera tone settings on low or lowest (-1 or -2) and mode I or III sRGB. No problem on raw as dynamics could be corrected in Capture NX. These issues are nonexistent with filtered or diffuse light (cloudy, diffusers etc).

Overall, this lens makes for each penny you spend with it. It has a superb build quality which will impress you from the first moment you’ll hold it in your hands, excellent sharpness, color rendition and image quality that equals the actual scene characteristics in naturalness and color. It is environmentally sealed (internal and at the flange with a rubber ring), the AF runs extremely fast and it is a good investment in a superb optical system.

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Nikon 17-55 Review

July 15, 2008

Nikon 17-55 Review

“Why this lens. . . .”

nikon nikkor 17-55

Reviewers below have already described how great this lens is — I add my voice to the choir but wanted to write here about the decision process that led to 17-55. As others have also said, choosing the camera is relatively easy but choosing the lens (or lenses) is mind boggling. I spent the better part of two weeks researching online and going to photo stores. The 17-55 was barely in my peripheral vision when I started. Of course the first thing I considered was the 18-200VR. All the reviewers like it — Rockwell was practically orgasmic — and softly bashed the 17-55 as a heavy, expensive and overkill for most. I looked at many options and kept coming back to the 18-200 as the best all round but something wouldn’t let me pull the trigger. And it’s this: I like natural light. Many of my photos are references for painting, and I do a lot of portraits and some landscape. Getting the best color, in natural light is my highest priority. In amongst the 18-200 reviews there were a few hints about it being a bit dark at the 200 end (even with VR allowing slower shutter) and about “creep” of the lens when held vertically. I liked the possibility of a one-lens for all situations but began to wonder if I would get my use out of the 200 end without flash or tripod. Came to the 17-55 and dismissed it several times until finally tried it in a photo store. In retrospect, the reviewers suggest focusing on your priorities and for me the 17-55 made the most sense. I admit that I am partial to the simple feel of the lens — phrases like “built like a tank” carry a lot of weight with me. I’m careful but do use the stuff. I also got an 85 1.8 for portraits so for the two lenses spent double the price of the 18-200VR — not what I had planned on. But this selection focused the dollars to the heartland priorities and perhaps eventually I will bracket these with a 12-24 (third party) and a longer Tamron. The value of SLR, it seems to me, is to choose the options that match your needs.

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Nikon AF 17-55mm Review

June 20, 2008

Nikon AF 17-55mm Review

“Great but BIG!”

nikon nikkor 17-55

Super lens. No question. I purchased my D200 with the kit 18-70mm and was quite happy. Ignorance is bliss. After a time I found myself questioning the quality of the camera as all my shots required some sort of post processing to get to a point where I thought the shot looked like through the view finder. Frustrated, I turned to Amazon. I started reading reviews and checking prices. Like another reviewer stated, I was ready pull the trigger on the 17-200mm but reviewers on the site convinced me I would be making a mistake, at least at that moment in time. On the other hand, everyone who had bought the 17-55mm lens seems universally happy with their decision.

I’m one of them. This lens is incredible. When you hold it up against the kit lens, there is literally no comparison, both physically and perforance wise. Physically its MUCH bigger – its a brut. Performance wise, it really doesn’t compare. This lens is a technological marvel. So there in lies the trade off. Tremedous performance or compactness.

I was recently in Honolulu, a place I go often. I like to hike Diamond Head, a great hike if you haven’t done it. The thought of tugging this camera and lens along was daunting. I decided not to. I’d taken the pictures from the site with many different cameras over the years so my motivation wasn’t as strong as it would have been had it had been my first climb. Still, I’d think twice about dragging the lens/ body out for just any old event. If its special, well, yeah I will, otherwise I’m back to a NEW Canon point and shoot!

If your focus is the highest quality you can get and don’t mind the girth – don’t hesitate, buy it. You won’t regret it.

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Nikon 17 55mm Lens Review

April 12, 2008

Nikon 17 55mm Lens Review

“It helps me take better photos more than any camera body could”

nikon nikkor 17-55

I bought my 17-55 last month with my D200 – I had intended to get a 18-200 but they were out of stock in Indonesia. I had previously had a F3 and also a F90X and more recently also a D70 all of which were stolen. I used prime lenses with the F3 and lightweight zooms with the F90X.

At first I was shocked by the weight and considered trading it straight back in … but my wife pointed out that the photos it took were simply stunning … and compared to my 18-70 on my old D70 the results are wonderful – with superb definition amazing colours and contrast. It’s fast too which means that the viewfinder is bright – this really helps composition in low light – and it’s sharp all the way to 2.8. Remember kit lens are only really sharp from f8..

It helps me take better photos more than any camera body could. I love the lens now and would trade it for nothing else.

Now there are reviews out there implying this is a very expensive lens offering no real improvement over the excellent Nikon kit lens costing far less. As far as I can see they are unsupported by tests and should be read with extreme caution.

The 17-55 a piece of beautiful engineering and is a joy to handle and on reflection not so heavy . But the real beauty is inside where Nikon have done something almost magical……..

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Nikon 17-55 2.8 Review

February 2, 2008

Nikon 17-55 2.8 Review

“One of the best Nikkor lenses ever built…but Pros and Cons”

nikon nikkor 17-55

I have been using Nikon cameras for 30 years, and their digital SLR’s for the past 5 or so…this is far and away one of the best Nikon lenses I have ever used – amazingly well built, excellent image quality, fast focusing, wonderful glass. The downside is primarily the price — it’s as expensive as a full camera, and the weight — this is a two pound lens. If your budget can accomodate this lens, get it, you will be thrilled. If your budget can not, get the Tamron 17-50 which has similar image quality, weighs less than a pound, and sells for 1/3 the price of this lens. But wow…once you try this lens, you will kick yourself for getting anything lesser….Warning: filter size is 77, so most of your existing filters probably won’t work, and do your self a favor and get yourself an UV filter/lens protector out of the box before you put your fingers on your 1300.00 lens.

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