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single lense for Nikon DSLR - help please

single lense for Nikon DSLR - help please

Old Oct 30, 09, 11:01 am
  #1  
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Post single lense for Nikon DSLR - help please

OK.... so after not buying any Camera stuff for over 4 years, I bought my Nikon D300 a couple of months ago... and Im now in the market for one nice new lens. I do have quite a bit of glass in my camera bag but the newest pieces are already 4-5 years old, so Im not being able to use all the functionality of my camera body.... hence its time to upgrade !!!

I would ask the resident Nikon experts to point me in the right direction..... here are my guidelines for what Im looking for:

a) zoom lens with a solid fixed max aperture

b) I dont mind a heavy/bulky lense - I want top quality glass & specs

c) Im quite flexible with my budget

d) VR is highly desireable

e) Im looking for a zoom that includes proper wide angle coverage (a low teen zoom range would be good)

So... what say the experts...??? What are the top 2-3 options for something like this...?

Thanks,
Gaucho100K

Last edited by Gaucho100K; Oct 30, 09 at 11:11 am
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Old Oct 30, 09, 11:12 am
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Nikkor 18-200

Check out the Nikkor 18-200mm. I use it as a travel lens since it does a little bit of everything, so no need to carry both wide angle and zoom lens. Works great on a D90!

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni....page?pid=2159
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Old Oct 30, 09, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
OK.... so after not buying any Camera stuff for over 4 years, I bought my Nikon D300 a couple of months ago... and Im now in the market for one nice new lens. I do have quite a bit of glass in my camera bag but the newest pieces are already 4-5 years old, so Im not being able to use all the functionality of my camera body.... hence its time to upgrade !!!

I would ask the resident Nikon experts to point me in the right direction..... here are my guidelines for what Im looking for:

a) zoom lens with a solid fixed max aperture

b) I dont mind a heavy/bulky lense - I want top quality glass & specs

c) Im quite flexible with my budget

d) VR is highly desireable

e) Im looking for a zoom that includes proper wide angle coverage (a low teen zoom range would be good)

So... what say the experts...??? What are the top 2-3 options for something like this...?

Thanks,
Gaucho100K
There currently are no "top quality" "fixed aperture" lenses with "VR" for the Nikon DX format.

Whether you go with Nikon or aftermarket you will have to give up at least one of those features.

For Nikon you have the 17-55 f/2.8, which in terms of image quality is their best lens for DX but it is heavy, expensive, and does not have VR.

Then there is the 16-85 f/3.5-5.6. No constant aperture but is does have Nikon's very effective VRII. It is an excellent lens with a great range that is light, compact, and well built and from about ~f/5.6 on has nearly the same image quality as the 17-55

The Nikon 18-200 I/II f/3.5-5.6 has the same features as the 16-85 though the image quality of the 18-200 is not as good as the 16-85 [particularly at the wide end] nor is it built as well as is the 16-85.

As for aftermarket lenses [Tokina, Sigma, etc.] there are currently no constant aperture wide zooms with image stabilization.

You could of course, if you can find one, buy the $2,000 FX 14-24 f/2.8, which is, hands down, the best zoom Nikon currently makes and is my personal favorite for FX [D700, D3/s, D3x].

On a DX camera though that translates into a zoom range of only 21-34, be aware also that this lens is very heavy, has a very limited range, and the front element of that lens is massive and sticks about an inch from the front of the barrel, cannot take filters, and is easy to scratch if one is not careful.

My choice would be the 17-55 or the 16-85 though unless you know that you really need the f/2.8 maximum aperture of the 17-55 then I would choose the 16-85 as it is more versitile and makes a much better travel lens IMO.

Last edited by anrkitec; Oct 30, 09 at 11:37 am
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Old Oct 30, 09, 12:11 pm
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Thanks.... Im only considering Nikon glass and at this point, based on your comments I guess the 16-85 is the top choice.

The FX 14-24 looks very tempting... but despite my budget flexibility Im not sure Im willing to shell out that kind of cash for camera glass at this point....

Thanks very much for the pointers.
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Old Oct 30, 09, 12:43 pm
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Out of curiosity, why do you want a lens with a constant maximum aperture?
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Old Oct 30, 09, 5:02 pm
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I have that 17-55mm mentioned above and it is very nice. Because its relatively short focal length and being pretty fast, lacking VR is not really an issue.

In addition to comments above, you will want an extenral flash since the on camera flash will leave a large vignette in the lower center.

For a low teen super wide, I have the 12-24mm constant aperture but there is a newer 10-24mm now which is not constant aperture.

My most recent addition is a 35mm f/1.8. This is a very low cost and fast lens.
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Old Oct 30, 09, 5:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
a) zoom lens with a solid fixed max aperture

b) I dont mind a heavy/bulky lense - I want top quality glass & specs

c) Im quite flexible with my budget

d) VR is highly desireable

e) Im looking for a zoom that includes proper wide angle coverage (a low teen zoom range would be good)

So... what say the experts...??? What are the top 2-3 options for something like this...?
stabilization isn't that critical at shorter focal lengths, and based on your criteria, the nikon 12-24mm f/4, 17-55mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 vr would fit. i wouldn't worry about the missing 55-70mm range, although there's a lot of overlap at the wide end.

for a lot less money, the 16-85mm vr and the 70-300mm vr are both very good lenses, but not constant aperture.

the 18-200mm is certainly convenient, but it's not a constant aperture and it's not top quality.

Originally Posted by wiredboy10003 View Post
Out of curiosity, why do you want a lens with a constant maximum aperture?
the exposure doesn't change if you zoom, which is particularly important if you use flash or studio lighting, they're generally faster than the variable aperture lenses which means more options when taking a photo especially in difficult lighting, and they're generally higher quality lenses.
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Old Oct 30, 09, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by CaribAA View Post
Check out the Nikkor 18-200mm. I use it as a travel lens since it does a little bit of everything, so no need to carry both wide angle and zoom lens. Works great on a D90!

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni....page?pid=2159
But it's really a 28-300 once you count the cropping. That doesn't meet his "low teen" requirement by quite a bit.

I do love the lens but it's not what he's asking for.
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Old Oct 30, 09, 10:18 pm
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I assume it's just new toy syndrome (I have a D100 I bought in 2002, the 700 is looking really nice!). I'm not sure what features of the new camera would require new lenses...convince me .

On choosing lenses, my decision criteria would be:
- As was mentioned below, the autofocus will be faster and not hunt as much with a 2.8. This is not as important on the shorter focal lengths. This is the biggest PITA for me on my existing lenses.
- The 2.8 helps on the wide lenses if you like to use a polarizer as you lose 2 stops.
- The DX lenses will be thrown away as more of us get FX formats.
- The VR is only important at longer focal lengths.
- I try to make the filter sizes compatible with what I already have (77mm).
- On my trips, I keep the long lens on the camera, usually the surprises that require a fast shot need a longer lens. There is usually time for the wide angle shots to switch lens. I also don't see the point in having an SLR if you want one all-purpose lens.

In my dream world of "flexible budgets", I would go for multiple lenses in this order:

1) 24-70 2.8G ED AF-S (Have a cheap one in this category - would like to upgrade)
2 ) 70-200 f2.8G AF-S VR (Have the non-VR version, my fave!)
3) 14-24 2.8G AF-S (or maybe the 17-35 2.8G)
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Old Nov 24, 09, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
OK.... so after not buying any Camera stuff for over 4 years, I bought my Nikon D300 a couple of months ago... and Im now in the market for one nice new lens. I do have quite a bit of glass in my camera bag but the newest pieces are already 4-5 years old, so Im not being able to use all the functionality of my camera body.... hence its time to upgrade !!!

I would ask the resident Nikon experts to point me in the right direction..... here are my guidelines for what Im looking for:

a) zoom lens with a solid fixed max aperture

b) I dont mind a heavy/bulky lense - I want top quality glass & specs

c) Im quite flexible with my budget

d) VR is highly desireable

e) Im looking for a zoom that includes proper wide angle coverage (a low teen zoom range would be good)

So... what say the experts...??? What are the top 2-3 options for something like this...?

Thanks,
Gaucho100K
Hi there, new to this forum, but not that new to Nikon. I think its already been said but regardless of what any one lens will give you in features there will always be compromises.

If i had to pick one lens to pair with the d300, it would definitely be the nikon 17-55 af-s dx 2.8. However that combo would be pretty hefty, and you havent even gotten to a speedlight yet!

For the longest time what I did was just use the 18-55 vr for a majority of my everyday stuff, and then the new 35 1.8 af-s if i really needed to get some lowlight shots. in between, Id use my sb600 for bounce flash indoors.
Id say the 18-55 range took care of most of my focal length needs. and i just walk closer or further as needed

Besides the 16-85, I would like to suggest the older 18-70 af-s. it doesnt have vr but it does have a higher max aperture. (4.5 vs 5.6 iirc)

id say if you could swing it, get a midrange zoom like the 16-85 and supplement it with a nice prime like the 35 1.8 or even the new 50 1.4.
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Old Nov 24, 09, 10:36 pm
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D5000

I recently bought a D5000 and looking for another lens...Rumor has it that Bing cash-back will be as high as 35% on black friday for several online merchants, including e-bay and walmart......Online, walmart has a nice assortment of lenses---a little cheaper than the box-camera outlets......
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Old Dec 9, 09, 3:11 pm
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There can be only one.

With the constraints of a single zoom VR lens for travel with a Nikon DX camera, the only choice is the 18-200mm.

Loren makes a critical point that this lens will not go ultra wide. I have found this to be a bother on some occasions. However, the 1.5X sin is inherent in the DX format. They are simply the wrong choice of cameras for wide-angle photography. Nor are these cameras the right choice for printing posters. The 18-200 has all the sharpness needed for excellent 8x10 prints or 1800 pixel wide web images.

There are other troubles. The lens is slow (f3.5), heavy, and bulky. It doesn't close focus for micro photography either. I had to buy a special long snoot, soft case to protect it on my D200.

However, for travel it gets the job done like no other. Over a 10 trip to D.C., I made thousands of exposures of tight museums, dim train stations, huge monuments, active performances, and wide vistas. The 18-200 never came off. We were walking 5 to 10 miles a day and left the camera bag at the hotel. So I spent zero time luging/juggling camera accessories, and far more time enjoying my trip.

I also use this lens for my New England waterfall excursions, gardening, and culinary images. Can't beat it for skiing and boating. It went with me for a week of bread baking school at King Arthur. It was just fast and long enough to capture speakers at an astronomical conference at CalTech.

Recently I caught a conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter by bracing against the bulkhead of a ferry crossing Lake Champlain. Howbout that for VR!

One last word about the utility of vibration reduction. Unlike Dorien, I find it useful at all focal lengths. Especially hiking around at this dreary time of year, VR lets me get sharp images at 1/8 sec shooting freehand. Even zoomed out to 18mm, it means not losing a nice image to motion blur at sunset.

Regards, Fred
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Old Dec 9, 09, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by FlVt View Post
With the constraints of a single zoom VR lens for travel with a Nikon DX camera, the only choice is the 18-200mm.

Loren makes a critical point that this lens will not go ultra wide. I have found this to be a bother on some occasions. However, the 1.5X sin is inherent in the DX format. They are simply the wrong choice of cameras for wide-angle photography. Nor are these cameras the right choice for printing posters. The 18-200 has all the sharpness needed for excellent 8x10 prints or 1800 pixel wide web images.
It's the only Nikon glass I own--and I can't think of any other lens I would normally carry even if someone gave it to me.

There are other troubles. The lens is slow (f3.5), heavy, and bulky. It doesn't close focus for micro photography either. I had to buy a special long snoot, soft case to protect it on my D200.
Agreed, although it beats the 28-300 I had for my old Minolta in all of those respects.

However, for travel it gets the job done like no other. Over a 10 trip to D.C., I made thousands of exposures of tight museums, dim train stations, huge monuments, active performances, and wide vistas. The 18-200 never came off. We were walking 5 to 10 miles a day and left the camera bag at the hotel. So I spent zero time luging/juggling camera accessories, and far more time enjoying my trip.
Exactly. I doubt it's ever coming off my D80 unless something needs repair or gets upgraded.

One last word about the utility of vibration reduction. Unlike Dorien, I find it useful at all focal lengths. Especially hiking around at this dreary time of year, VR lets me get sharp images at 1/8 sec shooting freehand. Even zoomed out to 18mm, it means not losing a nice image to motion blur at sunset.
1/8? I got away with 1/2! (Not intentionally. With my glasses on I can't see the exposure info through the viewfinder and without them I can't read it. Someday I'm going to get a corrective eyepiece but my eyes keep changing too much.)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3949437486/
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Old Dec 9, 09, 10:14 pm
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I'm also confused by the issue of a 4 year old lens that can't be used on a D300? What lenses are you talking about here and what are the issues? A D300 should have no problem with older lenses.

Your wish list basically can't be met by anything that is currently available.

If you want a do it all zoom I really like the Tamron 18-270 VC. I like it better than the Nikon 18-200 VRII. But it is not a constant aperture or especially fast.
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Old Dec 18, 09, 2:00 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Thanks.... Im only considering Nikon glass and at this point, based on your comments I guess the 16-85 is the top choice.
I bought the 16-85 ten months ago and love it as an all-around DX ens.

Compared to the 17-55 it's lighter and cheaper. The 17-55's constant f/2.8 aperture is useful for certain types of photography, but VR is more appealing to me because I shoot primarily in the daylight and want smaller aperture for better depth of field.

Compared to any 18-XX lens it's really surprising how valuable the extra 2mm of focal length on the wide end are. I also own a Sigma 10-20 that I used to use frequently for wide-angle landscape shots. Since buying the 16-85, the 10-20 stays in my bag a lot more.

I find the 85mm end offers enough telephoto reach for most uses. I have a Nikon 70-300 that I use for maybe 5% of my shots overall.
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