Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

This professional quality, mid-range zoom lens has been designed specifically for the ‘APS-C’ sized sensors used in all of Nikon’s DSLR cameras and is quite a different beast from the 18-55mm lens supplied with the D50 camera reviewed in this issue. Covering a picture angle equivalent to 25.5~82.5mm on a 35mm camera, it maintains its fast f2.8 maximum aperture throughout its zoom range, giving it a big advantage over the cheaper optic for photographers who shoot in dim lighting and those who require a high level of depth-of-field control with differential focusing.

Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED Lens

Purchasers of Nikon DSLR cameras that come with 18-55mm or 18-70mm lenses will probably want a long zoom to extend their shooting capabilities. The recently-released AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED has been designed specifically to meet this need. Available in black or silver (to match the D50), it can be used for subjects as diverse as candid portraits, sports, nature and wildlife photography.

Sony SAL135F18Z 135mm F1.8 Sonnar T* Lens

9 Rating

A fast, high-performance telephoto prime lens with above-average close-up capabilities.One of the first Carl Zeiss lenses to go on sale for the Sony DSLRA100 camera, the 135mm F1.8 Sonnar T* is relatively large and heavy, with a massive front element. It’s also extremely well-built, as you’d expect from a high-quality prime lens with a longish focal length. The T* designation indicates special multi-layer coatings on the lens elements to maximise light transmission and contrast. Claimed as the brightest telephoto lens in its class, it has nine aperture blades which close on a circular aperture, providing outstanding bokeh (out-of-focus blur).

Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM Lens

8.5 Rating

A new prime lens for general photography makes a welcome addition to Sony’s ‘Easy Choice’ lens range.The DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) was one of three new lenses announced by Sony in July, 2010. Designed to provide an affordable, compact and lightweight prime lens with a popular focal length for both entry-level and advanced photographers it’s less than one fifth of the price of Sony’s other 35mm prime lens, the SAL35F14G, which retails for $2,699 and is the only in line-up.

Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM Lens

8.5 Rating

A fast 50mm prime lens designed for Sony’s Alpha DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors.The DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens was introduced as one of four lenses announced with the A230, A330 and A380 DSLR cameras in early May 2009. The DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens is the first DT prime lens Sony has introduced and it’s being promoted as a ‘portrait’ lens. This is logical because it provides a focal length equivalent to 75mm (in 35mm format) when mounted on ‘APS-C’ camera bodies.

Sony DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 Zoom Lens

8.8 Rating

An extended-range zoom lens that covers a useful focal length range and provides above-average optical performance.Scheduled for release in October, at around the same time as the new Sony DSLR-A700 camera, the DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 zoom lens covers a 14x zoom range that is equivalent to 27-375mm on a 35mm camera. This well-built optic weighs only 440 grams and is reasonably compact. It can focus down to 45 cm to give a close-up magnification of 0.29 times.

Sony DT 11-18mm f4.5-5.6 Lens

8 Rating

A capable wide-angle zoom lens for Sony’s Alpha DSLR-A100 camera.Sony’s DT 11-18mm super wide zoom lens represents a minor evolution of the 11-18mm lens released by Konica Minolta in mid-2005 for the Dynax 5D and 7D cameras. Its DT design is ideally suited for the APS-sized CCD imager of these now defunct models – and also for the Sony Alpha A100 camera. Used on the A100 it provides angles of view between 104 and 76 degrees, which is equivalent to 16.5mm to 27mm on a 35mm camera. This is quite wide for the smaller sensor.

Sigma AF 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens

9 Rating

A capable ultra-wide lens for DSLR cameras with APS-C sized sensors.Announced at PMA 2010 in February, the new Sigma AF 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM lens is designed specifically for DSLR cameras with APS-C size image sensors and boasts the widest angle of view of its type. It covers angles of view equivalent to a 12-24mm lens in 35mm format (12.8-25.6mm on Canon cameras) and features a number of exotic glass elements that help to keep its size compact and weight relatively low.

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Lens

8.5 Rating

A large aperture, standard zoom lens with image stabilisation for DSLR cameras with APS-C sized sensors.Sigma’s 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM lens is an upgrade to the AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro lens released in 2006. Designed for the smaller imaging circle of cameras with APS-C sized sensors, it is slightly larger and heavier than its predecessor and has a more complex optical construction. It also includes Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) technology for fast and quiet autofocusing.

Sigma 10-20mm 1:3.5 DX USM Lens

8.5 Rating

A fast, almost silent wide-angle zoom lens that is well-built and relatively flare-resistant.Sigma’s new 10-20mm 1:3.5 EX DC HSM replaces an earlier, slower ultra-wide zoom lens that was released late in 2004. Designed specifically for DSLR cameras with ‘APS-C format’ sensors, it is offered in mounts to suit Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax models. As well as having a wider maximum aperture, this lens is distinguished from the earlier model by providing a maximum aperture of f/3.5 throughout the entire zoom range.