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I started taking photographs seriously in 1984, and I bought my first zoom lens in 1986. From then on, until I acquired this lens in 2004, I've always known that I had to choose between optimal quality with a prime lens, or flexibility with a zoom. Not any longer. With this lens, things suddenly jump closer. There's no extra haze, no discernible halo, no loss of contrast. If it wasn't for the fact that I often need to shoot wide, I probably would never take this off the camera.
How is this possible?
Basically, because Nikon chose to reject the received wisdom that a zoom lens is always a compromise. They reasoned that there was a market for ultimate quality, and the people who needed it were willing to pay almost any price and put up with any other difficulties in order to get their hands on it.
The result was this lens. To be fair, the price is nowhere near what it once was. The ED (for extra-low dispersion) optics in this lens are now being rolled out into Nikon's more budget offerings, and the street price of this lens has dropped to make way for the new flagship 70-200 VR lens.
The other difficulties are still with us, though - this lens is heavy, and it's enormous. And with a 77mm screw thread, any filters you need to buy will be costly too. What's more, unless you already have a very large camera bag, you'll need to replace it just to be able to get this lens in. This isn't helped by the fact that the relevant hood adds about another 5 cm onto the front - and don't think of shooting without the hood, or you'll suffer from unacceptable flaring from hot lights.
On the other hand, all the things that matter have been sorted out.... Read more ›
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