A good walking arround Zoom for Nikon

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Steven Green, May 25, 2008.

  1. Steven Green

    Steven Green Guest

    Me again.

    I am leaning heavily toward the D300 for my first DSLR.

    I went to a camera store and did a more complete side-by-side comparison
    of the D300 and 5D. I liked the 5D more than I remembered, but the side
    of the screen on the D300, sensor cleaning, and weather resistance
    pointed me back to the Nikon.

    I still plan to buy at the end of the summer/beginning of fall, assuming
    no full frame announcements, But am trying to figure what my final budget
    needs to be. I still plan to get a full frame in the future so I don't
    want any DX lenses.

    I figure I won't be able to afford any of the lenses I really want until
    the next year (will need to save a bit), but I obviously want something
    to use while walking around and hiking. I want a full-frame lens that I
    won't feel the need to replace if.when I get a full frame DSLR in a few
    years. I really want a wide zoom and a tele-zoom so I figure I need
    something in the middle range.

    Any recommendations for a less expensive prime or zoom in the standard

    Steven Green, May 25, 2008
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  2. Steven Green

    Paul Furman Guest

    Fast normal like a 35mm f/1.4 manual or f/2 AF? Full format fast wide
    zooms will be big & expensive: not practical on APS.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, May 25, 2008
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  3. Steven Green

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Nikkor 18-200mm VR.
    Rudy Benner, May 25, 2008
  4. Steven Green

    Bruce Guest

    The OP stated "I still plan to get a full frame in the future so I
    don't want any DX lenses". So why recommend a DX lens?
    Bruce, May 25, 2008
  5. Steven Green

    Steven Green Guest

    Its OK, if the best affordable lens is a DX and there really isn't a good
    full frame alternative I will definitely look at a DX, but it will hit
    ebay when I finally get my FF camera :)

    Doing a little digging I am looking at the Nikon 24-120mm the price seems
    reasonable at BH or do you think the range is too small.

    Steven Green, May 25, 2008
  6. Steven Green

    Bruce Guest

    Earlier versions of this lens had very bad distortion, plus issues
    with light fall off and lack of sharpness. Thom Hogan suggests this
    version is better but still not a great optic.

    "I was prepared to be very disappointed with this lens. The previous
    24-120mm is one of my least favorite recent lenses, with substantive
    compromises all over the place, and barely adequate performance at the
    extremes. Fortunately, this new version manages to crawl over that low
    hurdle and provide some reasonable, if not outstanding, performance.
    So I'm not disappointed, but I'm also not overly impressed."

    Not exactly a strong recommendation, but do read the whole review:

    As for whether the range is too small, only you can decide, but in my
    opinion there are very few lenses with a zoom range of 4X or more that
    are worth considering. Personally, I would not even consider an
    18-200mm optic, regardless of how cheap and "convenient" it might
    appear. The 11x zoom range means that major optical compromises have
    had to be made.

    If you cannot make the effort to change between two shorter range and
    therefore optically better zooms, you shouldn't be buying a DSLR.
    Bruce, May 25, 2008
  7. Steven Green

    adm Guest

    As the other poster said, try the 18-200VR, it's cheap enough that you
    won't really get the same range, quality and ease of use with Nikon FF
    lenses unless you spend a LOT more - even if you are int he market for
    used FF lenses.

    As you said, you can always eBay it later!

    To be honest, I wouldn't get too hung up about FF for now - just buy
    the D300 and the 18-200mm VR and see how you get on. The D300 is a
    superb camera and will do almost everything you are likely to need, the
    18-200 will also cater for 95% of all your needs if you are a casual
    photographer. Just get this combo and go have fun. Then save your
    pennies for the FF body or some FF lenses later if you need to.
    adm, May 25, 2008
  8. Steven Green

    JT's Ghost Guest

    Why not just buy the D3 now, and be done with the whole "in the future"
    statement? More money than perhaps you might wish to spend!?! I really
    don't see Nikon offering up a full frame camera under $2K anytime soon,
    but I've been wrong before. IIRC, Canon offers a few choices for FF as
    well, but if you want to play with FF, then you've got to pay.
    Get a DX lens... 18-200mm VR is a decent lens regardless of what
    somebody else *might* say, that doesn't own one. You can always sell it
    later *if* and/or *when* the dream FF becomes available. FWIW, a D300 is
    probably more camera than most people will ever need.
    Most decent Nikon lenses in the range you are looking at are not less
    expensive ($1000 - $2000 range)... You want less expensive, buy a Sigma.

    - JT
    has a D300, and the 18-200mm VR lens.
    JT's Ghost, May 25, 2008
  9. Steven Green

    adm Guest

    Why post a Thom Hogan review on the 24-120 that is negative, then diss
    the 18-200 yourself, but not bother to post the highly positive Thom
    Hogan review on it?


    "let's cut to the chase: on almost every performance parameter this is
    an excellent lens. Not perfect, but quite good at almost everything."

    Snobbery helps nobody.
    adm, May 25, 2008
  10. Steven Green

    Bruce Guest

    Because I hadn't read the 18-200 review.

    As Thom says, "Superzooms shouldn't be this good."

    And I don't believe it is that good - at least not yet. Nikon has a
    history of introducing new lenses that have had excellent early
    reviews, but which do not perform anything like as well in practice,
    or suffer from significant sample variation, with only a small
    proportion of the lenses produced giving satisfactory results.

    I agree, Thom Hogan's review was surprisingly good. It almost makes
    me wish I was a Nikon user. Almost.
    Bruce, May 25, 2008
  11. Steven Green

    frederick Guest

    I also suggest not to get too hung up on Fx. The advantages are
    undeniable for either extreme high ISO performance or very large prints
    when finally high resolution Fx "D3x" is available from Nikon, but there
    will always be a large "system" cost premium, and a large weight premium
    if you're carrying kit around with good quality lenses covering a wide
    focal length range.
    frederick, May 25, 2008
  12. Steven Green

    Steven Green Guest

    Agreed, I would buy a D3 but it really comes down to time. I can save
    enough in a couple years but right now I can only manage 2-3K. at the
    high end of the range I would need to wait until January to have camera
    in hand. If I went with the D3 I wouldn't be able to swing any lenses for
    it for a while later. I am not the type to put money onto a credit card
    unless I could pay it off immediately.

    As it is I am still saving a waiting for the fall in case Canon finally
    unveils a 5D II. If so, depending upon features, I would reconsider
    it.But if they take too long, I will go with the D300 and try to buy one
    good lens a year until I have more wherewithal or there is a relatively
    inexpensive FF Nikon.

    Note, while older than the average college student, I have returned to
    school to pursue an engineering degree. This is why I save so slowly. If
    I were working full-time I would have a better budget. :)
    Steven Green, May 25, 2008
  13. Steven Green

    JT's Ghost Guest

    I've got one... It *is* that good. At 200mm *I* much prefer my 70-200mm
    f2.8 VR. But for walking around, non low-light conditions it is a fine
    addition to my growing lens collection.
    Just curious, what do you use for a camera and/or lenses?

    - JT
    isn't into manufacturer bashing
    JT's Ghost, May 25, 2008
  14. That is a good choice.
    If you want Nikon go with the D300 and/or D3. The 5D is obsolete and you
    would be better off waiting for the 5D replacement if you want to go with
    Here's where you can do really well. Keep an eye open on eBay for used
    17-35/2.8 and 24-70/2.8 lenses. If you set bookmarks to search for newly
    listed improperly price auctions you should be able to snag them for
    $600-$800 for mint condition copies with boxes. Don't skimp on lenses and
    buy something you don't want because you can't afford it at the moment. The
    secret is to buy top notch Nikon lenses as they last a lifetime while bodies
    depreciate faster than a toilet flush.
    See above: The three Holy Grail lenses are the 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, and
    70-200/2.8VR. Now keep in mind that the newly introduced 14-24/2.8 and
    24-70/2.8 are superior lenses but the 14-24/2.8 doesn't accept filters up
    front and the 24-70/2.8 is optically perfect but it isn't as durable as the
    See above and buy used lenses. Remember good glass lasts a lifetime and
    bodies are thrown away every 18-months. I have a D3 and love it, but I
    realize it will be up for sale after I get my 18-months out of it.

    Rita Berkowitz, May 26, 2008
  15. The 18-200VR is a decent walk around lens with one catch. If you can get a
    new one for $475 you would be better off with one as a stop gap lens. Money
    is better spent on quality pro glass.
    Yep, buy cheap and sell for twice the price.
    If he's on a tight budget he would be better off with good glass first and
    buy a used D200. Of course he would probably want the latest and greatest,
    but crippling the D300 with an 18-200VR isn't too bright. The OP needs to
    find a happy in-between ground that will allow him to buy the gear he needs.

    Rita Berkowitz, May 26, 2008
  16. Because it is totally foolish to buy a D3 and put crappy lenses on it.
    Glass first and he'll be much happier. He'll do amazing things with a
    lesser body and better glass.
    I agree if bought for $475 or less. While I agree the 18-200VR can be a
    very useful lens, it is a lens that was over hyped and overpriced. Just
    don't have unrealistic goals for it and you'll be OK.
    OUCH! Nobody uses Sigma.

    Rita Berkowitz, May 26, 2008
  17. I did that -- went back for another degree eight years after graduating.
    I had even more fun the second time around. I should've just kept going
    back and going back and... :)
    Blinky the Shark, May 26, 2008
  18. Steven Green

    Klark Kent Guest

    In message adm
    Neither does illiteracy. The OP wants a FULL-FRAME lens.
    Klark Kent, May 26, 2008
  19. Steven Green

    frederick Guest

    Or look at the 40d - 90% of a D300 at 60% of the price.
    (I have a D300 - but if I'd had Canon lenses, I would have probably
    bought a 40d, a 5d, or even both)
    The 17-35 and 28 (not 24?) - 70 aren't very interesting on Dx. The
    former is an obsolete design with plastic "hybrid" aspherical
    element(s), the latter is good, heavy, and suited to jobs like
    professional wedding photography - probably not a great lens to hump
    around in a backpack when much lighter, less expensive DX lenses will do
    the job. Are either up to the needs of high resolution Fx bodies? I
    guess we'll find out soon.
    The 70-200 VR isn't a good landscape lens on Fx because it doesn't cover
    the Fx frame sharply to the edges (it is pretty bad at any aperture).
    It's about to be replaced by something better. It is a great lens on Dx
    - so it might keep value quite well, but that depends how Nikon price
    the replacement, and how fast they can make them.
    I don't believe that old paradigm will endure. The new fast zoom Fx
    AF-s lenses will require maintenance, they are heavy, and they are very
    Camera bodies - sure treat them as disposable items, but also don't
    expect any of the new zooms to be "investments" the way old metal manual
    focus Nikkors, and a few simple screw-driven AF designs have been.
    frederick, May 26, 2008
  20. Steven Green

    JT's Ghost Guest

    IIRC, that fact has already been pointed out to the OP. As an example,
    I've recently bought the D300 w/ 18-200mm VR for about $2250 USD which
    was $2750 less expensive than a D3 alone. Already have a 70-200mm 2.8VR,
    so my next lens will be a 85mm f1.4 probably by the mid June. Glass now,
    better body down the road...
    *I* don't have unrealistic goals... It is what it is, a general purpose
    walking around lens (replaces an 18-70mm from my D70). As a shooter in
    low-light conditions, I use f/2.8 or less glass.
    Sigma does make a few very decent lenses (30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM), at a
    third the Nikon price. Some users are even recognized as "World Class
    Photographers," as always YMMV.

    actually likes his Sigma 10-20mm ultra-wide.
    JT's Ghost, May 26, 2008
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