Which zoom lense to buy for Nikon D70s ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sidney Friedman, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. I am a recent convert to digital photography having bought a Nikon D70s with
    a kit lense of 18-70mm. I am now interested in buying a zoom telephoto
    In looking on Wolf Camera web site I see a 70-300mm Nikon zoom lense for
    $309.95 after rebate. I've also noted an add for a 55-200mm Nikon zoom
    lense ,
    for $269.99 at Circuit city.

    My use for a zoom lense will be to take wildlife and "distant" pictures. My
    question is, which Nikon zoom lense, for a beginner and not too expensive,
    would be
    a good choice for my D70s? Is there much of a difference between xx-200mm
    and xx-300mm to justify the cost difference? What should I look for in a
    zoom lense?

    Your collective wisdom and experience will be appreciated.
    Sidney Friedman, Dec 1, 2005
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  2. Sidney Friedman

    phk Guest

    Because the long lens magnifies "camera shake", you will need a way to
    reduce vibration. The cheapest way (and probably most effective
    overall) is with a good tripod. But some of the newer digital lenses
    have image stabilization built in that will provide a couple of extra
    F-stops before the camera shake becomes visible.

    If you're willing to go back to manual mode on your D70s, older used
    lenses provide excellent value for the money. I've personally
    preferred non-zoom telephotos, but everybody has their own preferences
    on this.
    phk, Dec 1, 2005
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  3. Sidney Friedman

    Proconsul Guest

    I'd advise you to look at the Tamron 18-200 Di II lens. I have one and it's
    quality and utility are both terrific. Street prices are comparable with
    Nikon or lower if you consider wider focal length range...

    No matter which lens you buy - get a good tripod!

    Proconsul, Dec 1, 2005
  4. I shoot at 300mm regularly, and as long as the light is sufficient to
    manage 1/250s or faster shutter speed, the stabilization is not
    necessary. Just remember that on longer shots to hold the camera nice
    and steady and keep an eye on shutter speed.

    David Geesaman, Dec 1, 2005
  5. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    You forgot to warn the original poster that the D70s will not meter
    with older manual focus lenses. They will mount to the camera, and
    the camera will work in manual mode, but without metering.
    Tony Polson, Dec 2, 2005
  6. Sidney Friedman

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    I thought that his "If you're willing to go back to manual mode
    on your D70s", which you quoted above, was sufficient warning. To me,
    at least, it carries the information that you will *have* to use manual

    DoN. Nichols, Dec 2, 2005
  7. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    The words "to go back to manual mode" in no way imply that the
    camera's light meter will not work.

    To most people, using manual mode implies using the camera's meter to
    judge exposure, then setting the appropriate combination of shutter
    speed and aperture by hand, i.e. manually. However, that is not what
    happens when you put a manual focus lens on a D70s.

    What happens is that the lens mounts correctly with the usual 'click'.
    That's it. Nothing else happens. The meter doesn't work at all. You
    have to set the camera to manual mode, and use a separate hand held
    meter, or use another camera to get a meter reading, or just guess and
    hope, or use trial and error - judging exposure with the LCD monitor
    and histogram and re-adjusting aperture or shutter speed until you get
    an acceptable result.

    Don, you may already understand all of this, but I guarantee that well
    over 90% of D70s owners will neither possess a separate light meter
    nor will know about the need for one. Many D70s owners will never
    have used anything but automatic exposure (and focus) before, and will
    be completely lost if they try using manual focus lenses.

    That's why I posted the correction. It wasn't aimed at you.

    I am sorry if you were in some way offended by my desire to be helpful
    to the majority of D70s users who might read the posting I replied to.

    Tony Polson, Dec 2, 2005
  8. Sidney Friedman

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    I understand this, as I have a D70 and older lenses. I guess
    that the difference is that I have used cameras from back when I had to
    guess the exposure based on the illumination, as I did not even have a
    hand-held light meter in those days.
    I have done all of the above. The one which you left out was to
    use another lens to meter the subject before switching to the older
    lens, for whatever features it gives you that you don't have covered
    with lenses with chips. (For a while, there was an option of getting
    chips added to some of the lenses, but the fellow who used to do this
    has apparently dropped the service. I got this done with a 180mm f2.8
    And that is the viewpoint which I lacked.
    I understand. And the correction was posted to some other
    person's article, I believe, not to one of mine.
    No -- I was not offended.

    I probably won't be able to continue this discussion, as my
    newsguy account is about to expire, and I haven't gotten the new ISP's
    news server to turn on rec.photo.digital.slr-systems yet. The only
    "rec.photo.digital" that they have is "rec.photo.digital" -- none of the
    sub-groups. Otherwise, they have a rather good news system.

    DoN. Nichols, Dec 3, 2005
  9. Sidney Friedman

    Guns/Zen4 Guest

    Guns/Zen4, Dec 3, 2005
  10. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    There's no such thing as a good 28-200mm lens, regardless of brand.
    Yours may be one of the "least bad" but it isn't anywhere near "good".

    And before you get flamed, this newsgroup is not for advertising of
    items for sale or auction. The rec,photo.*.marketplace groups are the
    place for that.

    Nice try. ;-)
    Tony Polson, Dec 3, 2005
  11. Sidney Friedman

    John H. Guest

    What about the 24-120mm VR lens he plans to buy. Any thoughts on that
    John H., Dec 3, 2005
  12. Sidney Friedman

    Guns/Zen4 Guest

    Sorry, I didn't see any prohibition about putting items up here. Besides, I
    was responding to a post about looking for a lens exactly like this one.

    And I did get my 24-120 VR lens last week, that's why I put the 28-200 up
    for auction. The VR is probably not the sharpest lens I've ever had, but it
    does the job. Have a look here:
    this photo was taken at 1/6 second, handheld.

    The lens is reasonably sharp, look here:
    1/60 sec at f/4.2, ISO pushed up to 800.

    Both of these shots were cropped slightly but they're close to 100% if you
    look at the originals.
    Guns/Zen4, Dec 3, 2005
  13. Sidney Friedman

    Hussam Guest

    Hey Sidney,

    Don't know if anyone recommended this.. but if I were you, i'd go for
    the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18 - 200 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX ED VR lens coming
    out this month. Okay, it's a bit more than your budget but come on..
    it's a bargain considering how many lenses it can replace and how many
    cryptic letters that make you say 'ooooh, aaaah' are in the name.
    Seriously though, it's expected to be a very high quality lens. Check
    it out.. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/18200.htm

    And don't forget, on your D70s it is equivalent to 28mm to 300mm. Not

    Good luck.
    Hussam, Dec 3, 2005
  14. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    You didn't see? That's probably because you didn't look.

    Posting adverts in contravention of the group's charter is sheer bad
    Tony Polson, Dec 3, 2005
  15. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    There are two versions of the 24-120mm. The later, current version
    has fast and (near) silent AF-S focusing and VR anti-shake. The
    earlier version has neither.

    Both versions are reasonably sharp for 5X super-wide to short
    telephoto zooms. However, they both show noticeable distortion -
    barrel at the wide end and pincushion at the tele end. When used wide
    open, especially at the extremes of the zoom range, the results are a
    little soft, especially at the edges. The edges at 24mm are very soft
    unless the lens is stopped down, and they never really get sharp.

    Between 35mm and 70mm there is hardly any distortion and results are
    uniformly sharp across the frame at f/8 and smaller apertures.

    The later version is optically better than the previous one. It is
    sharper, with less distortion. The problems of softness and
    distortion are still there, just not as bad.

    Strong opinions have been expressed about these lenses. It is best to
    try them and make up your own mind before buying. Personally, I would
    not choose to buy either of them, but that is because I do a lot of
    architectural photography, for which they just don't measure up
    because of the strong distortion at 24-28mm, which are the focal
    lengths I would use most (on film).

    I accept that the later version, with AF-S and VR, is a far better
    lens than the earlier version. That isn't just because of the virtues
    of AF-S and VR, it's because the optics are much improved too. As an
    all round travel lens for those who don't obsess about distortion, it
    is pretty darn good. Just not for me, for the reasons stated above.
    Tony Polson, Dec 3, 2005
  16. Sidney Friedman

    Proconsul Guest

    This is an exceptional lens - I use mine almost all the time...great range,
    very sharp over it's range, VR works great...helps a lot!

    I don't think you can go wrong with this lens....

    I use mine for my "walking around" lens quite often....

    Proconsul, Dec 3, 2005
  17. Sidney Friedman

    Tony Polson Guest

    Here we go again, it's good old Ken Rockwell enthusing about a lens he
    has never seen or touched, let alone used!
    On the contrary, "bad" is exactly what this 11X zoom is likely to be.
    There aren't any good 28-300mm lenses, regardless of brand. There
    aren't likely to be any good 18-200mm lenses either.

    It's no good saying you can replace several other lenses with this new
    superzoom. You can only replace them if you are prepared to accept a
    drop in optical quality.

    You can't hope to beat the laws of physics, especially on a budget.
    Tony Polson, Dec 3, 2005
  18. Sidney Friedman

    Kitt Guest

    If you have a fast connection, Google Groups carries it. With dial up,
    Google takes a little longer because it's web based, but still
    effective and free if you don't mind the ads. I use it exclusively now
    and am quite happy with it. I like the threading and quick


    Another alternative is Tera News. They charge a one time set up fee of
    $3.95 and after that, it's free for limited access. Not sure if this
    group is available, since I haven't used a news reader in quite a

    Kitt, Dec 4, 2005
  19. Sidney Friedman

    Hussam Guest

    For someone looking for a $250-$300 zoom lens, that is, not a
    professional or serious amateur, then nikon's 18-200mm will be MORE
    than good enough for his needs.. in fact, it's more than good enough
    for 95% of most amateurs' needs even serious ones. Photography isn't
    always about the barely-detectable technical qualities of a
    photograph.. it's MORE about subject, composition.. ART.

    Do you think people stand infront of a photograph in art galleries and
    say "oooh, i think this photo's resolution is only 48 lpp instead of 56
    lpp therefore this photo is crap!

    No, they don't.

    Let the man get the zoom lens. Quality is still MUCH better than the
    old zoom's of yester-years... i can't detect the difference between my
    18-70mm kit lens with my 50mm 1.4 lens...and you can't either. You'd
    need an electron microscope. So don't confuse people with meaningless
    optical differences that no one will ever detect or care about...except
    people like you i guess?

    Hussam, Dec 4, 2005
  20. Sidney Friedman

    Kitt Guest

    I've kinda' let this dog lie, for fear of going down the film versus
    digital road, but here goes anyway. Some of you guys make your living
    with a camera and should very well be looking for the n'th degree of
    sharpness, perfect bokeh, phenomenal contrast and perfect colors with
    no distortion or faults of any sort. Then there's some that don't make
    their living with a camera and who are just as particular. That too is
    just fine by me. They're paying the freight, so they can have what
    they want. On the other hand, there's me and many like me who *are* on
    a budget. With my D70 and my cheapo lenses (by the standards of the
    lens snobs and perfectionists), I get shots that are simply fantastic
    compared to what I got with my 2 megapixel Kodak and are just as nice
    as what I did with Kodachrome in the days of old. The quality and
    convenience of my work with the cheaper Nikon G lenses and even a truly
    cheap Phoenix macro just amazes the heck out of me. Mind you, I don't
    a lot of 100% crops and have yet to enlarge one to mural size, but for
    8x10's and CD's, I think it's great. I also believe that the 18-200 VR
    will just have to improve my quality/convenience ratio... and I can
    save up the $700 or so for that one a lot faster than I can the $1500
    to $5000 or more for some of the other VR lenses. So bad mouth the
    cheap lenses all you want. To me, they're a blessing.

    In response to the original poster, if you feel the same way, look at
    the 70-300 G version. You should be able to find it for not much over
    $100 and there are a lot of us really happy with the results it
    Kitt, Dec 4, 2005
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