Nikon 28-200mm f3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF and 70-300 f4-5.6D ED - views?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by onthechoppingblock, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. I've finally broken the 35mm habit (same Ricoh Pentax K fit for 20 years)
    and bought a D70 18-70 DX kit, and I'm very pleased with it. As an aside; I
    wouldn't recommend dropping a 2 week old D70 onto a stone wall - the camera
    will survive (two scuffs on the hand grip) - but your heart might not - mine
    nearly didn't!

    There now comes the tricky question of a telephoto zoom. I mostly shoot
    landscape but also some sport (mainly equestrian and motorsport). I don't
    have a fortune to dip into, so the options are limited. I've put the
    assorted Tamron's and Sigma's to one side for now, even if they are (as many
    say) as good as the Nikon's, I'd rather stick with Nikon. Having failed to
    find one of the 'must have' 70-210 f4's or 'D' 4.5-5.6 second hand at a
    reasonable price I thought I had narrowed the choice down to the 70-300 ED,
    even though it seems to get mixed reviews. However the 28-200G, despite
    being one of the supposedly dreaded 'G's seems to get very good reviews.

    I managed quite happily with nothing above 210mm on the Ricoh, so allowing
    for the 1.5x crop factor, 200mm (ie. 300mm in 35mm terms) would actually
    still be much more than I had at my disposal before. Also with an effective
    42-300mm it strikes me that this would be a good all round lens - I've
    missed plenty of shots in the last 20 years from either being too close or
    in the middle of changing lenses! It's also slightly faster than the 70-300.
    I would keep the 18-70 for landscapes, portraits and events like weddings,
    and use the 28-200 for sporting events and as a general "walking around with
    a camera" lens.

    Has anyone got any experience, good or bad, of either the 28-200G or the
    70-300ED? Mainly regarding picture quality, but also any wear and tear
    issues, especially with regard to the plastic mount on the 28-200G.

    onthechoppingblock, Apr 10, 2005
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  2. onthechoppingblock

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Why is that a "must have"? I have one. It's a decent lens, but it's not a
    great lens. I haven't spent the money to replace it because I don't use that
    length very much, but it's still the weakest quality lens I have. Still, I
    guess it's fine for a consumer-level zoom. They pop up on eBay pretty
    regularly. If I ever decide to drop the cash on the 70-200 VR, mine will
    probably pop up there too. :)
    Being a "G" doesn't mean anything in terms of quality. But with that wide
    a zoom range, nothing is going to do very well. And I understand that
    particular lens is really built to be low-end.
    With the 1.5x crop, 200mm is about as long as you can "casually" hand-hold
    and get consistent results (except maybe at the beach on a sunny day with
    the lens wide open).
    Not wide enough, I would think. You will have essentially no wide-angle.
    I'd go with the 70-300. It'll be a much better lens.
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 10, 2005
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  3. Scary. I've recently picked up a D70 also (and love it). I learned very
    quickly to keep the strap around my neck. I'm much too clumsy,
    especially fumbling at unfamiliar controls.

    I do regret getting the kit lens. I was too ignorant and inexperienced
    to look at other options or to know what to look for. It's a great lens;
    no complaints on quality, but it doesn't seem to fit my usage. Taking
    candids and for a general walk-around lens, I find I want to get a
    little closer, and I'm not too concerned about the wide end (the lens,
    not mine). For example, during inside gatherings, I want to reach across
    the room unobtrusively and grab a close-up. I'm eyeing the 24-120mm
    f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor as a replacement, which I'd
    supplement with good wide-angle and telephoto zooms.
    I've been looking that 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom-Nikkor for this type
    of usage. But it's a bit more pricey. :(
    IIUC, the effective focal length has nothing to do with how close the
    objects in the photo appear. If you use the same lens on the D70 and a
    traditional 35mm, the image will appear at the same distance. The
    difference is in the angle of view. With the D70 you will see less of
    the image; i.e. it's the same as if the 35mm photo where cropped or
    matted so you only see part of it. Throughout the full range, you get
    the same "distance", but the angle of view is reduced to what a 35mm
    would see at the effective focal length derived from the crop factor.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. This is all still new to me.
    Randy W. Sims, Apr 11, 2005
  4. onthechoppingblock

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    I've *always* made a practice of having the strap around my
    neck, unless the camera is on a very sturdy and safe tripod. As a
    result, I've never dropped one, and hope never to do so.
    Hmm ... does anyone have a feel for what the VR lens might do to
    battery life? It might be a good idea to pick up a spare battery for
    when you're using that, just in case.

    AS I like to shoot fairly tight when photographing people (or
    critters), I would not have been happy with the kit lens, but as it
    turned out, I already had a 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 D lens which has been a
    very comfortable lens for a lot of use. For low light, I'be picked up a
    used 50mm f1.4 AF, and I also have a 180mm f2.8 which has been converted
    by adding a "chip", so the auto-exposure works when I want that, even
    though it does not do autofocus.

    [ ... ]
    I think that I would prefer the f2.8 lens to the slower lenses
    mentioned above -- that extra stop or two above the 28-105mm's f3.5-4.5
    is quite nice at times (and is what reminded me what a 50mm f1.4 was

    [ ... ]

    Hmm ... I think that the 28-200 range would be better for
    weddings most of the time -- unless you get into a situation where you
    need to pose a bunch of people where you don't have room to back up for
    coverage. Remember -- the wider the lens, the more perspective
    It depends on what you are interested in about the focal length.
    The lens on the D70 will have less coverage, equivalent to a lens with
    1.5x the real focal length. But you get the same coverage from cropping
    the image from the negative from the film camera, and the image will
    look the same -- modulo any artifacts of film or digital creeping into
    the image.

    Depth of field may actually appear similar at a standard sized
    print viewed at a standard distance. But sensitivity to vibration at
    the camera would be greater in the digital -- a greater percentage of
    the image's dimensions moved through while the shutter is open.

    Neither of those -- but I am quite pleased with the 28-105mm
    f3.5-4.5 D.

    No experience with that. The mount on the lens which I
    mentioned is proper metal. The longer the lens, the less happy I would
    be with a lens which truly had plastic on the wear surfaces of the
    mount, as there is more weight hung out there to play games with any
    slop from wear. Do either of these lenses actually have plastic in that

    DoN. Nichols, Apr 11, 2005
  5. Compared to either the 28-200mm or 70-300, it may seem pricey, but
    given the optical quality and current U.S. rebates, I consider it
    a bargain.

    I own both a 70-300mm ED as well as an 80-200mm. The 70-300mm is
    a reasonable compromise between weight, performance and price. But it
    performs its best between 70mm and about 225mm, and between about f/9
    and f/16. Outside of those bounds the quality deteriorates noticeably.

    The 80-200mm is a much heavier piece of gear, but delivers professional
    quality over its entire zoom range from f/4, and is quite usable at
    f/2.8. It's my second favorite lens for a huge variety of shots.
    Michael Benveniste, Apr 11, 2005
  6. This raises another question that I've been contemplating:- on 35mm I always
    tried to work on the adage that for a hand held shot the shutter speed
    should at least be equal to the focal length, and that seemed to work OK.
    Any idea how that translates to digital?
    Agreed, but I'll still have the 18-70, I'm not suggesting getting rid of
    that, and will always take both lenses with me, it's just a question of each
    being the default lens in a given situation, and only swap if really
    That's what I originally thought, as I said I thought I had narrowed it down
    to just the 70-300, but the balance of the reviews don't seem to agree with
    that opinion, and this appears to be backed up by Michael's comments below.

    Thanks for the advice.
    onthechoppingblock, Apr 11, 2005
  7. Luckily I DID have the strap around my neck, otherwise the camera would have
    bounced off the top of the wall and onto the floor!
    I certainly don't regret getting the 18-70, and this proposed new lens is
    not a replacement, just an addition. The obvious next route (for me) was to
    get a standard telephoto zoom say 70-210/300 but given the reviews I've seen
    the possibility of getting the 28-200 has now appeared, and seems to be a
    better bet, even seemingly if I only used it 70-200, the 28-70 'bit' is just
    an added bonus of flexibility really. You're correct that we each do
    different things with our camera's and therefore the de facto lens will be
    different for each.
    I'm not sure I understand that, surely the angle of view and the 'closeness'
    are effectively the same thing?
    onthechoppingblock, Apr 11, 2005
  8. That's what I originally thought, as I said I thought I had narrowed it

    Sorry, having re-read, Michael is not very complementary about the 70-300,
    but the lens he prefers is the 80-200, NOT the 28-200 !

    ....... and I can't remember why I changed my usenet user name to
    onthechoppingblock, I'd better change it back when this thread is closed. My
    'proper' name is Stephen !
    onthechoppingblock, Apr 11, 2005
  9. I'm sure this is true, and the weight/size doesn't bother me, but
    unfortunately the price does! And I don't think there are any UK rebates on
    this at the moment, although I might be wrong - the price has scared me off
    enough to not even bother investigating this lens further!
    onthechoppingblock, Apr 11, 2005
    onthechoppingblock, Apr 11, 2005
  11. Because the sensor size on the D70 is smaller than the full frame
    opening on a film SLR, you see less of the image given the same lens. It
    is exactly the same image, just less of it. If you take a picture from a
    film SLR and trim off a little from all sides, you'd get the same image.
    You don't get more zoom by moving a lens from a film camera to a dSLR,
    you lose on the amount of a scene you can see at one time. Say, for
    example (picking numbers out of thin air), that a particular lens gives
    you a 90 degree field of view from a SLR film camera. That same lens on
    a digital may only give you a 85 degree view. It doesn't affect zoom,
    only the field of view. I.E. if you put a 200mm lens on a digital, you
    will not magically get the same magnification you would get from a 300mm
    lens despite what the equivelancy rating might lead people to believe.

    What you do get (except for DX lenses) is less abaration and distortion,
    because that tends to happen closer to the edge of the lenses, and the
    smaller opening for the sensor in digital cameras doesn't see as much of
    the outer edge.

    I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job of describing this, as I'm new to
    photography in general. I'm not sure I'm using correct or meaningful
    terminology. Some books disagree on this. Some say you get more
    magnification because of the equivalency factor while other say you
    don't. The terminology, in this case, is misleading.

    Randy W. Sims, Apr 11, 2005
  12. onthechoppingblock

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    In theory, that rule of thumb should still work using the *equivalent* 35mm
    focal length; even though the magnification is the same at the same focal
    length, you are enlarging the picture more and thus any motion blur will
    be more visible, so a higher shutter speed is called for. (In college I
    had a teacher who insisted that all photos submitted be printed at 11x14
    minimum for this reason; he would say, "8x10 hides many sins".)

    On top of that, with the newest digitals we're starting to deal with more
    resolution than we had with standard 35mm film, which will also expose
    mistakes with less forgiveness. So I would err on the side of the higher
    shutter speed and use the 35mm equivalent for the quick rule of thumb.

    Of course, it will always be of benefit to use a tripod or at least some
    support where possible, even if you're "technically" within that rule.
    It's a certainty that the 80-200 will be a better lens than the 70-300.
    I've never used the 70-300, myself, so I can't speak from personal
    experience with it, but it sounded like you wanted the reach of the 300.
    If you don't need it, definitely go for something like the 80-200.

    But I've never seen success trying to get from wide to long telephoto
    in the same lens. There's just too much compromise. (On the other
    hand, I just use the things, I'm no expert in lens design.)
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 11, 2005
  13. onthechoppingblock

    chupa Guest

    I recently had the chance to try the 80-200 F2.8, 70-300 and the 70-200 VR,
    obviously both £1,000+ lenses are professional quality though I have to say
    in terms of autofocus speed, on the D70, the 80-200 was too sluggish,
    significantly slower than than the 70-300, due to the far greater mass and
    inertia. The 70-200 was however a class apart. (I understand the 80-200 is
    now end-of-life).

    IMHO if you can spare £1,100 then the VR is a great lens, if you only want
    to spend £300 then go the 70-300 ED route, but I couldn't advocate using the
    80-200 on a D70 and the 28-200 is a child's toy.
    chupa, Apr 11, 2005
  14. onthechoppingblock

    Alan Browne Guest

    onthechoppingblock wrote:

    The adage is fine for small prints, say no larger than 5x7.

    Use the crop factor. As the rule-of-thumb you speak of is really
    related to the print. So for a 200mm you want at least 1/300s shutter
    speed for handheld according to the rule-of-thumb.

    I would only attempt a 300mm lens at 1/500 handheld and I'd prefer
    1/1000. Using a mono or tripod is much easier.


    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- slr-systems FAQ project:
    -- [SI] gallery & rulz:
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Apr 11, 2005
  15. onthechoppingblock

    paul Guest

    I got the 28-200 as my 'kit lens'. It is not very sharp at 200. It is
    very small so is great for a walkaround, that's it's most valuable
    quality. I recently got a 70-200 VR & it is definitely an akward lens
    for normal shooting I often find myself needing to switch back to
    something wider. I think the image quality is fine on the 28-200 on the
    wide end & the 200 is more like a bonus but not great. The autofocus is
    not great either & it's not super fast & the blur quality is not real
    good either (donut rings). It is small, cheap, flexible and takes nice
    pics in the wide end of it's abilities.
    paul, Apr 11, 2005
  16. Thanks for the tip on the focal length v shutter speed, logically that makes
    perfect sense.

    I would be happy with a 'upto' 200mm, that's why I thought the 28-200 might
    be a compromise, with an added, if unexpected, bonus of also going down to
    28mm. I also thought, as you are saying, that a lens with that reach
    (28-200, not 70-300) must be compromised in some way, but some of the
    reviews seem to differ.

    One thing I've always found odd about photography is that in just about any
    other sphere that I have more than a passing interest in there is usually a
    stand out product in a given price range (+/- 15%). OK so some people will
    prefer, say, a Marantz Amplifier over a NAD or Sony or whatever, but there
    is usually some common ground where 75% of people will say at this price
    point if you want these features you should either go for (a) or (b). But
    this doesn't seem to be the case in lenses (although it does in bodies!).
    onthechoppingblock - Stephen P., Apr 11, 2005
  17. Thanx for the advice, that backs up what others in the group have been

    I like a good concensus!

    onthechoppingblock - Stephen P., Apr 11, 2005
  18. Randy, no that's a good explanation, it makes perfect sense now. To
    paraphrase; just 'cos I happen put a given lens on, say, a D70, it is still
    optically doing exactly the same thing as if I'd put it on an FE2, or
    whatever. The crop factor only exists because the sensor (CCD instead of
    film) is smaller, so the camera is picking up less of the image that the
    lens is (still) projecting. In many ways therefore the effect is the same as
    taking a 35mm neg (shot on the same FE2 for example) into the darkroom (that
    I no longer have space for!) and only selectively enlarging it.

    I'm sure it made perfect sense the first time round as well. All I can say
    in my defense is that I did read it at 6:45 am!
    onthechoppingblock - Stephen P., Apr 11, 2005
  19. Thanks for the opinion Paul. That sort of, but not quite, matches this review. He quite likes it, with
    the given caveat that it's a cheap 'fun' lens. Have you tried using the
    focus limiter to help mitigate the focusing problems, or are your problems
    more accuracy than speed?

    As I sort of eluded to in an earlier post this evening it would be nice is
    there was one stand-out lens in the GP£200-300 range for something in the
    rough area of 70-210mm (or 80-200, or 75-250 or 70-300 etc etc). But it
    seems that no 3 people can quite agree, although the broad comments seem
    similar. I guess I'll have to pop down to my 'local' (ha ha) dealer and see
    if I can try a couple out.
    onthechoppingblock - Stephen P., Apr 11, 2005
  20. onthechoppingblock

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Lens reviews should be taken with some skepticism. A lens is a very
    difficult thing to review; I probably wouldn't consider myself qualified
    to do it, for example, though I could review a camera. So you really need
    to consider who is doing the review as much as what it says.

    The first two places I go to find out about lenses:
    The stand-out lenses are very expensive. If you asked, "I want the best
    lens in such-and-such a focal length range, or for such-and-such a purpose",
    there would be good answers. But they would cost you a lot of money. The
    problem with cheaper lenses is that most of the people who really know
    what they're talking about aren't using them, so those people don't have
    anything to say about them except general feelings.
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 11, 2005
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