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Fast Telezoom Lens Reviews

Photography Monthly Magazine (September 2007) has a handy review of fast telezoom lenses that gives comparisons between 10 different options on the market.

The review shows that if you’ve got money to spend that you can definitely get improved results – however most of the lenses tested produced excellent results despite the variation in prices.

Following is a brief summary of each lens reviewed, it’s rating and it’s Pros and Cons. For the full reviews with more detail check out Photography Monthly’s September 2007 edition.

1. Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

Rating: 92 out of 100
Description: “Just as desirable as the Canon f/2.8 version, Nikon goes a step further by giving two Vibration Reduction modes for Normal and Active use. “
Mounts available:
Pros: Excellent image quality, very fact focussing, vibration reduction options.
Cons: Tripod mount tricky for some quick release systems

2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Rating: 91 out of 100
Description: “As you would expect from a lens this far up the price ladder, the optic keeps the same orientation throughout it’s operation with internal focusing and a non-rotating front element.”
Mounts available:
Pros: Fast, accurate, able to be used with teleconverters due to it’s f/2.8 aperture.
Cons: Issues with attaching tripod collar, mid range in terms of cost.

3. Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG

Rating: 87 out of 100
Description: “The lens is a fast prime with the ability to zoom out – an excellent concept. It does have superb optical performance.”
Mounts available:
Sigma, Canon, Nikon
Pros: constant f/2.8 through full range, great optics and fast focussing.
Cons: Big and heavy, poor close focussing, price (most expensive tested)

4. Sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG

Rating: 86 out of 100
Description: “Optically this is a nice performer with consistent centre to edge figures that are surprisingly close together.”
Mounts available:
Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony
Pros: consistent performance throughout zoom range, good handling
Cons: 100mm might be too long – especially on crop sensors

5. Sigma 50-150mm F/2.8 APO EX DC HSM

Rating: 85 out of 100
Description: “As a lighter weight alternative to the traditional pro-spec lenses, this optic scores well and the results it produces are first class.”
Mounts available:
Canon, Nikon and Sigma
Pros: Smaller than some models, good construction, fast performance, constant f/2.8 throughout full focal length range. It scored well on the value for money category.
Cons: Not as long at the long end as other lenses in this comparison.

6. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Canon 70-200mm f/4 L USM
84 out of 100
Description: As a low cost L lens or a compact alternative, this lens rates well against both its brethren and the competition.
Mounts available:
Pros: light, compact, well priced, good optics.
Cons: slower autofocus than f/2.8 version

7. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM Macro

Rating: 84 out of 100
Description: “Stabilization apart, this lens is up there with the best of them, and at a considerable saving.”
Mounts available:
Sigma, Canon and Nikon
Pros: Quality construction: fast, value for money and macro (not true macro).
Cons: Lack of stabilization and soft at widest apertures.

8. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8

Rating: 83 out of 100
Description: “If you have opted for the Sony system then this is a very nice lens., but you are going to have to pay for it.”
Mounts available:
Pros: solidly built, good opticals, slightly less weighty
Cons: fell down in the value for money rating category. Fell off slightly at 200mm end of focal range when used at maximum apertures.

9. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM

Rating: 82 out of 100
Description: “If you feel you need Image Stabilization and heavy-duty build quality without stretching to the f/2.8 version, this optic is quite usable despite the disappointing long end.”
Mounts available:
Pros: robust build quality, fast focussing, reasonably priced.
Cons: drops in image quality (resolution and softness) at the 200mm end.

10. Olympus 50-200mm Zuiko Digital f/2.8-3.5 ED

Rating: 76 out of 100
Description: Optically the lens is disappointing with just a passable performance.
Mounts available:
Four Thirds
Pros: Light and compact – gives an extra 50mm at the wider end.
Cons: Lower quality optics, chromatic aberration, edge sharpness lis lacking.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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