Best Nikon DX Format Zoom Lens (f2.8)

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Hey, I've been looking for a multi-purpose lens to upgrade to, I'm tired of constantly swapping between my kit 18-55, 50mm prime and 55-200. The lenses are pretty good but I think my photography skills have surpassed my equipment and it's time for an upgrade. I've been looking for a multi-purpose lens (~24-70 or so) that's fast enough for low-light events. I've been looking on ebay but everything I've found so far was for FX bodies, so I don't know how the cropping would work out. Any suggestions? Sorry for the terrible formatting, thanks!
 
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In the wide I think the only option you have that is DX native is the 17-55/2.8 in Nikon OEM.

You do have other options in Sigma (I never recommend because of my poor history with focusing issues, but include for completeness), Tamron and Tokina.

My list would be in order of preference:

Nikon - 17-55/2.8

Tamron -
(17-50/2.8 DI II) It's good, but weakest at f/2.8, gets better even at f/3.2, they also have other zoom lenses starting at 17mm, but are FX so will be a bit bigger, but are newer designs = better optics and include VC
TAMRON | Product Information
Here are some samples from my Nikon D50 and Nikon D300 using the Tamron 17-50: Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

Tokina - I find their optics awesome, but they lack VR, so some people do not consider them. I used to have an 11-16/2.8 I used in Yellowstone and it performed phenomenally. They tend to go to the winder end - 10mm and cap out around 28mm
APS-C
Images I took with the 11-16/2.8 on the D500: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X

Sigma - they have a 17-50 and 17-70
https://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/standard-lenses?sigma_format=7064&sigma_mount=12003
 
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First off, the "crop factor" does not come into play here, a lens of any particular focal length will produce an image with your camera covering the same area/field of view whether that lens is designed for DX or FX cameras. When the sensor size changes - DX vs FX with two different cameras - is where you will see a change in the field of view with the same focal length.

So, you can use a DX or FX lens at 24mm (for example) and get an image of the same size including the same area. The suggestions above are good ones, I too had the 17-55 Nikon and it was an impressive performer. If you do want to get the 24-70mm range at f2.8 there are no DX lenses I can think of that will give you that but you can use an FX lens if you are willing to pay more and carry around a heavier lens. If you want the focal range but are willing to give up the constant f2.8 aperture there are a number of DX lenses you can consider. Hope this helps.
 
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For budget the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 is a sharper lens than the 17-55mm Nikon and much lighter. The Sigma 17-50mm is also a good lens.
Another option is the Nikon 16-80mm f2.8-4 which gives a better range.
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I ordered the 70-200 f/2.8....not cheap. Do you think it is worth the $$?
I have the prior version and it is among my favorite lenses. The new version is supposed to be that much better. The only downside is that it is not a compact and has a bit of weight. Yes, you can carry it around for long periods of time and use it handheld, but that is the price for a fast telephoto.

Enjoy,

--Ken
 
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My school got a Sigma 17-50/2.8 for their Canon.
My issues:
  1. The zoom ring turns in the WRONG direction for a Nikon user. Important if you zoom by muscle memory.
    1. For a Nikon sports shooter, like me, the opposite zoom ring direction made it totally frustrating to use the lens. I kept turning the zoom ring in the wrong direction, and missing shots. After about 20 minutes of this, I gave up in frustration.
  2. The zoom ring is STIFF. My guess is this sequence,
    1. The zoom ring has a short 60 degree throw.
    2. That means the zoom cam to push out the zoom elements has to be steep.
    3. The steep zoom cam, then requires more force to turn the zoom ring.
    4. I would have preferred a longer 90 or 120 degree throw, and a lighter/easier to turn zoom ring
  3. I find a short throw STIFF zoom ring to be difficult to set to a specific FL with any precision. That makes it difficult to fine tune the zoom setting.
I will be recommending the Tamron 17-50/2.8 this coming year.

For me, the Nikon 16-80/2.8-4 and Tamron 17-50/2.8 are on the short list, with the 16-80 leading because of the longer zoom range.
 
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I ordered the 70-200 f/2.8....not cheap. Do you think it is worth the $$?
Depends on what you shoot and the lighting conditions.
For me the f/2.8 lens was too heavy, so I got the f/4 lens, at half the weight.
Shooting sequential field games for 5 hours, makes weight a significant factor, for me. After 3 hours, the gear gets HEAVIER.
If I did not have to handhold for so long, the f/2.8 lens would be my choice for night games.
 
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My first pick would be the Nikon 17-55.

My second would address your:
..... I'm tired of constantly swapping between my kit 18-55, 50mm prime and 55-200. ...
Look at the Nikon 16-80 f/2.8-4.0. No it's not f2.8 through the range, but by all accounts it's a very good lens that you won't have to constantly swap.
 
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My first pick would be the Nikon 17-55.

My second would address your:


Look at the Nikon 16-80 f/2.8-4.0. No it's not f2.8 through the range, but by all accounts it's a very good lens that you won't have to constantly swap.
I second this recommendation. I have had a 16-80/2.8-4.0 since they were first introduced in 2015. It is an exceptional lens and I would never trade it for one of the old 17-55/2.8 lenses, one of which I had for a while.
 
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I had a 17-55 and sold it for the 16-80. Yes, the 17-55 focuses faster and yes, it’s f2.8 throughout the zoom range. However, the 16-80 goes just a bit wider, quite a bit further, has VR, and is smaller and lighter.

I don’t miss the 17-55 now that I own the 16-80.
 
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Hey, I've been looking for a multi-purpose lens to upgrade to, I'm tired of constantly swapping between my kit 18-55, 50mm prime and 55-200. The lenses are pretty good but I think my photography skills have surpassed my equipment and it's time for an upgrade. I've been looking for a multi-purpose lens (~24-70 or so) that's fast enough for low-light events. I've been looking on ebay but everything I've found so far was for FX bodies, so I don't know how the cropping would work out. Any suggestions? Sorry for the terrible formatting, thanks!
How LOW is low-light events?
I've shot in situations where only a f/1.8 lens would work. ISO 6400, f/2, 1/60 sec.
The f/2.8 lenses is almost too slow, and have to be shot at ISO 12800.
In situations like that, ONLY a FAST prime or the FAST f/1.8 Sigma zooms would work.
In low light, the VR in your lens will only compensate for YOUR movement, NOT subject movement. So even with VR, you need to keep your shutter speed high enough to freeze the subject.

WHAT lenses are you swapping and why?

A 24-70 may not be long enough.
To me 70mm does not buy you much additional reach beyond your 18-55.​
And it would be too short, if you are using your 55-200 out at 100+mm.​

My recommendation for a GP lens are:
#1 - Nikon DX 16-80 f/2.8-4
This gives you good IQ and is faster than most kit lenses.​
#2 - Nikon DX 18-140 f/3.5-5.6
This gives you a LOT more range in ONE lens, but it is a slower lens.​
It has good IQ. Not pro level, but plenty good enough for me to use as my GP lens.​
I team this with a 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 for low light.​

And IF you need more reach than 100mm.
#1 - Nikon DX 18-140 f/3.5-5.6
As above #2​
#2 - Nikon FX 24-120 f/4
I almost got this lens, but it lost out to the 70-200/4, to shoot football/soccer/lacrosse.​
Today I would probably get the Tamron 35-150 instead.​
#3 - The new Tamron 35-150 f/2.8-4
This is a DX equivalent to the FX 70-200. This lens starts at the DX normal lens FL of 35mm, so you have no wide coverage.​
If this lens was available a year ago, I may have gotten it, instead of the Nikon 70-200/4.​
 
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