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40d --> D300 learning the lenses - advice please

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Fabrian, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Hi folks,

    I'll be ordering a D300 specifically in about a week or so. I've owned many Canon lenses along with some 3rd party lenses on both the Canon 30D and 40D, so as an introduction - I have some pretty good experience under my belt.

    I've been doing the usual research on the various lens options for Nikon - checking here and some thorough review sites. Now, although I'm ordering the D300, I will be starting out with a single lens for a short while until I can start to build. The D300 stays, so cost savings by using a different body are not an option.

    What I want to start out with is primarily a standard wide zoom such as the 17-55 - BUT, I'm not after that since I'm looking to spend ~$500 on this lens. From what I've read for Nikkor, it seems that the 16-85 is a good choice. I'll take VR, although a constant aperture would be ideal. I would consider the Tamron 17-50, but I'd rather not. I had it for Canon and while it's optically very good, I'm after something a little more focus accurate - ie, silent wave, HSM etc. not gear driven.

    I love fast primes, in which case I would consider the Sigma 30EX, but I'm leaning more towards a zoom at the present time. I may also consider a super-zoom like the Sigma 18-200, but the standard zoom would interest me first.

    What can you recommend considering the previous info?

  2. mikechang


    Jun 9, 2008
    San Diego
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (also known as A16), just came out with a A16-N2, which has built in motor to it.... (Just like AF-S, HSM, etc...)

    but i've heard bad things about this version of the lens.
    A16-N2 performs optically the same as A16, but not mechanically.
    It seems that the built-in motor isn't very silent, nor fast. (compare to AF-S)
    It also has a problem that the camera doesn't recognize the lens, so it shows error on the camera.
    Though i heard this issue has been fixed in the later batch of production.

    There's also Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 HSM, should be a pretty good choice for you?
    though some claim that at wide open, images are not as sharp, but i've never use it personally before, so i wont comment on that part.

    I personally like my 16-85VR a lot, but just like you said, the aperture is a little too small at tele-end.
    The images it produces are sharp, and VR works well!! Just people tend to think it's a little over priced for the aperture...
    I had no regret buying it as I use it quite often in various situations....
  3. mysticknot

    mysticknot Guest

    Welcome to the Cafe. Base on what you have said, I would like to suggest a couple of lenses.
    1. Tokina 12-24 f/4 - I really like the IQ of this lens. Aperture is constant, well built lens, easy to use. I got mine brand new under 450.
    2. Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 - Great reviews. Under $600 USD.
    3. Nikon 18-55 VR - Very affordable, great IQ. I have the non VR and I was very pleased with the IQ. Doesn't feel well built but great carry around lens.
    4. Nikon 18-200 VR - Excellent lens. Not as wide as the 16-85 but it zooms significantly farther. It is compact, priced about the same as the 16-85, and pretty well built. I've never used the 16-85 but I regret selling my 18-200. Base on my experience with the 18-200 compared to what I have read about the 16-85, I think I will just take a couple of steps back to gain the wider view.
    I know I said a couple but couple more wouldn't hurt.
    Good luck.
  4. Thanks for the suggestions so far, although I'm not so much interested in a wide angle, but a standard zoom such as a typical 17-55 on a crop.

    I'll have to take a look at that Tamron, I hadn't heard they came out with a new revision.
  5. mikechang


    Jun 9, 2008
    San Diego
    Here's Tamron's Catalog

    If you look carefully, you'll see under each lens, there's mount compatible.
    And there's N and NII for Nikon ones. NII is the ones with built-in motor.
    But make sure you find out about other ppl's opinion on those built-in motor...
    cuz i've heard a lot of bad things about it.
  6. The Nikkor 18-70 is a very sharp lens, it's not a constant aperture though. The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 with HSM (AF-S equivalent) is very nice and sharp.
  7. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    the 16-85VR is a great lens! VR gives you 4 stops.
  8. I have the 16-85. It's absolutely wonderful and fits your budget perfectly. Although it will be a bit more expensive than $500 new.
  9. bigwilly


    Oct 19, 2007
    What about the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM?
  10. From what I'm seeing so far the 16-85 looks to be the ticket. I don't necessarily have an issue with the 18-50 macro, I'll just take the reach for now. The 16-85 looks pretty sharp, and the sharper the better I says :tongue:

    I hope I can get on for a while with no speedlite..LOL.

    If not for wanting some versatility, I'd pick up 30EX for sure.. I had the Sigma 18-200 OS in Canon and while it wasn't too bad, it was just too slow and the bokeh was too irritating. the Nikon version seems OK, but I haven't really heard anyone (not just here) recommend it. Sharpness and bokeh do it for me, and in the past I've sacrificed versatility for it many times, but I really would rather the versatility for now.

    I gotta be honest, I'm still a little nervous with how picky I am over image quality making the switch. Time will tell, I'll be shooting right along side you folks in a week or so :smile:
  11. avyoung


    Dec 17, 2007
    I have enter the thread a bit late...

    I seems you have already choosen the Nikon 16-85vr.

    I have the 18-200vr and it has proven to be a great lens for those times I wanted an all in one lens solution. It seems many report the 16-85vr is even sharper, so it sound like a winner.

    I don't use the 18-200vr as much as my Tamron 17-50/2.8 (version I). I bought it used and wanted a wide to normal zoom F2.8 as my alround beater lens. I'm glad I did as it has exceeded my expectations. The Nikon 17-55/2.8 seems to produce less distortion at the wide end and nicer bokeh than the Tamron, and of course the AFS and build quality leaves the Tamron in the dust. The tamron has price and size/weight as a big advantage. If I could afford it, I would probably go for the Nikon 17-55/2.8, but I could get a SB800 (or 900) plus a used Tamron for the same money! (I don't really miss the AFS on the Tamron that much, but it does seem outdated. I do miss the VR emotionally, but image quality wise, I have not missed it much for this range)

    The bokeh on the 18-200vr is not so pleasant either. The Tamron 17-50/2.8 has nicer bokeh than the 18-200vr.

    I can't see anyone regretting going with the Nikon lens over the 3rd party except for value, so enjoy your lens! (although the Sigma 30/1.4 seems like a stellar normal prime for the DX as nikon really doesn't have a AFS F1.4 normal lens yet).

    Here is one from the Tamron 17-50/2.8 from yesterday.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  12. Thanks for your thoughts, Alan. I had the Tamron 17-50 in a Canon mount, and while it had great color (a little too saturated in the reds IMO) the gear drive AF was a little disappointing in the AF accuracy area. I didn't so much mind the noise since I never used it in critically quiet environments and the build was OK. It was pretty damn sharp wide open throughout too. Between the so-so AF accuracy and the zoom range feeling a little short, I eventually got rid of it. I hear the new version of the 17-50 isn't that great either (although I haven't ready why exactly).

    Now, I don't know squat just yet about how different/similar the AF is coming from a Canon mount since the former had an internal, gear driven system whereas the Nikon mount is screw (body) driven. As far as I can tell either way it should yield the same results since it's not ultrasonic. In my non-hands-on-experience with non-ultrasonic Nikon AF lenses, I'd say the ultrasonic lenses should be more AF accurate. Maybe someone can enlighten me on this in reference to the Nikon system.

    Considering the above, and my concern about AF accuracy, I thought it best to stick with a newer lens that does have an ultrasonic AF. This kinda stinks for me since the 17-55 is out of my price range and the 18-70, all Sigma offerings are screw drive as well as Tamron, which leaves only the 16-85 in this focal range. That plus sharpness and VR is what keeps pointing me to the 16-85. For the record, of course, the variable slowish aperture surely doesn't make me jump for joy, but it seems speed is the only thing that may be a real put off to most. In the end though, it's versatility I'm after ATM - even though I'm really a speed freak on the inside :wink:.
  13. Don't know how I missed it, but apparently there is an HSM version of the 18-50 f/2.8 macro and the 17-70 for Nikon.

    It would sure be nice if anyone had some experience with all three: 16-85/18-50 HSM/17-70 HSM :biggrin:
  14. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
    Have you considered the 35-70mm Nikon f/2.8d? I have not personally used it but it is supposed to be very sharp and can be had used for around $350.
    I have the 18-200mm VR and love it for a general carry around lens. Not sure it would meet your sharpness demands though.

    Hope this helps!
  15. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
  16. avyoung


    Dec 17, 2007
    AF accuracy...

    My Nikon lenses seem to snap to focus with more confidence than my 3rd party glass. I have a feeling that Nikon has calibrated the lenses with tighter tolerances than 3rd party manufactures. Whether it is screw driven or has an interal motor like Sigma's HSM, the 3rd party glass can need a few micro adjustments before it settles into focus (sounds like the lens is shuddering). Having said that, I don't seem to have any problems getting sharp images with any of my lens whether Nikon or 3rd party, so I'm not sure how important this is to most people.

    The 18-200vr does not isolate subjects as well as my Tamron, and the bokeh is quite distracting. I suspect the 16-85vr may not be much better in those characteristics, but may be sharper. See:http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/46-nikon--nikkor-aps-c/377-nikkor_1685_3556vr?start=1

    My photos are mainly of my children, and I have found the Tamron more satisfying because it isolates them better than the 18-200vr and is slightly sharper. Zoom range/versatility will depend on what you shoot. Before I had kids, I had a 24-120 and loved the range, but sold it after I got Nikon's F2.8 zooms. Man did I miss the versatility and that lens although I was not totally happy with its sharpness. Zoom range preferences really are very personal.

    Other threads on the cafe have shown that Nikon's 17-55/2.8 has nicer bokeh than the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (too bad you can't afford to get the Nikon version. I have no experience with the Sigma 18-50/2.8 either.

    As for the speedlights...I started to cook with gas as soon as I got two SB800s. I love the off camera flash photography so much, I am even considering a SB900 as a master and use the two SB800 as remotes. I played with some ebay trigger/remotes, and initially I thought it was the way to go, but when I bought a second SB800 and started to use it as a master (instead of the on camera D300 flash) I really started to groove with the Nikon IR remote system. The higher output and swivel ability of the head makes the IR communication much more reliable with a SB800 than the on camera flash outdoors. Just a thought to save on the lens for now and get one of the 3rd party solutions and get a couple of speedlights perhaps one SB800 and one SB600.... One of Nikon's gems is the flash technology; it would be ashame to miss out on that if you like using flash.

    Anyhow, the Nikon 16-85vr certainly looks attractive in many ways. I certainly wouldn't mind owning one :biggrin:

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