It's kind of hard to determine the attitude behind an online post. For that reason, I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt or at the very least, observe how they have handled things in the past.
This is a very good and sincere post.
I don't really want to take sides here because I appreciate the time and effort Jack put into his article. That said, I've read many of Tom's posts over the years and he's someone whose posts I've come to value.
Well, I have taken the time to post useful information, while Tom has "hinted" he has experience, but basically said nothing of usable value.
I've looked at Tom's site, some of his images, and it's clear he's an outdoorsman with experiences to share, but he's not yet bothered to say anything truly relevant or useful here yet.
Most of us don't have the luxury (read: budget) of buying the real expensive lenses to try them all out. For that reason, we have to rely on the testing of others..... as well, as the first hand knowledge others can give us. Take me, for instance...... my dream lens is the Canon 500mm f/4 IS II... why? Because I've seen so many people using them and have seen many images posted here on POTN that excite me. I've also read several birding books where the Canon shooters in said books used this particular lens. I can't afford one at the moment and I have one lens to buy before I can start saving up for it (the 24-70 f/2.8 II). I may have to sell one of my custom Petros acoustic guitars to be able to buy the 500, but I have two of them, so that might be just fine with me.
I have been shooting the 50D, then 7D (and several different macros) since only about 2008.
I have been waiting for Canon to re-establish themselves as the premier camera system, but they simply have not.
They have been creating some incredible new lenses ... but then set the prices sky-high ... and back them up with cameras with outdated, so-so sensors.
Because of this, and with the advent of the Nikon 500D I have jumped ship. I am expecting my D810 Tuesday ... and my pre-ordered 500D "whenever" ...
I have also been really studying longer lenses to add to my portfolio.
Based on my direct experience, Sigma offers the overall best, commercial macro lens offered today. I have shot multiple different Canon macros, and (while I realize different styles of macro shooter need different things) the Sigma 180 macro has everything, across the board, and lacks nothing.
This caused me to examine some of the longer lenses, as I want to "branch out" and use some multi-purpose lenses.
I tried my best to review as many sites/reports as I could, check some of the statistics pages, and create my own tables identifying, quantifying, and chronicling each and every important trait that I could see before I made a decision. (To my knowledge, no one has ever done this ... and I figured others might like to see "it all laid out" like that too.)
That is pretty much it: just thought I'd share.
Anyway, I would like to see Tom's experiences detailed on this thread... not to cause a problem but to hear his experiences and those he knows who have used the lenses listed above.
As would I.
Again, good post.