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Dilemma choosing lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by wv1973, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. wv1973


    Apr 14, 2006
    Montreal, Quebec
    Hello everyone, well I plan to purchase a lens or 2 in the near future and am having a bit of difficulty deciding what to do, therefor I come to you.

    Originally my plan was to purchase a 18-200vr lens which so many have raved about. The price tag here in Canada was a bit steep 800.00 but well worth it.

    Now the dilemma comes about because of a job I have at the end of the month, it's going to be a swim championship for children 11 years and up. There will be about 250-300 children and I knew a long lens would be a must. the 70-300 vr caught my eye, but I thought to myself it doesn't make sense to have a 18-200 and a 70-300.

    What do you feel would be the best configuration. Stick with the original 18-200VR or go with a 2 lens such as a 18-135mm f3.5-5.6G IF-ED and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IF-ED

    Some background info I can provide is the camera these lenses will be mounted on is a Nikon D200. Most of the other shots that I take are mixed, I do not do this as a profession yet, but I would definatly like to do so in the near future. I would expect upcoming jobs to be weddings, other sporting events such as hockey and travel photography.

    I hope I didn't make the post too long for nothing.

    (PS If there is a less expensive suggestion that will give comparable picture quality, I'm all ears.)

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. I would skip the 18-200mm VR... it's a great travel lens but to be honest even at $749 MSRP I think it's overpriced for its speed and build quality. It's also not especially sharp past 90mm. If you can stick in your $800 price range or maybe stretch it a little I would reccomend going for a couple of third party f/2.8 zooms... specifictly a used Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM. The 18-50mm can be found close to $225 often, under $300 easily, and around $400 new. The 70-200mm is around $850 new but can be easily found around $600 used and sometimes as low as $500 used (this is what I paid for a slightly older HSM D version in perfect condition). I'd also try to add a Sigma EX 1.4x TC for around $100 used.

    This may push your budget a couple of hundred dollars but will give you a lenses more suited for action photography as well as lenses you'll hold on to for a long time if you do make more of your photography than a hobby.

    Remember, the VR of the new Nikkor 70-300mm will make it easier to hand-hold at long focal lengths but will NOT help stop action... you need a large (and most preferably constant) aperature to help you keep your shutter speed high.

    Also, don't worry about the gap between 50mm and 70mm... this pretty much equals 1-2 steps forward or back.
  3. I really like my 18-200 , and it's my most used lens at this time. I also have the 70-300VR and like it also. Some fast 2.8 zooms would be nice also , if you don't mind the cost and extra weight. Tough choices because there is plus and minuses with both.
  4. koolk2


    Sep 9, 2006
    If you're shooting sports you need the f2.8 lenses. The 70-300 VR is f5.6 at 300mm. This is way to slow for swimming or hockey. You may be able to use it outside in good light. Get a 70-200mm f2.8 lens and a 1.4 TC to go with it. You can also use an 80-200mm f2.8. All can except the Nikon 70-200 VR can be had for $600-$900 used.
  5. jaleel


    Apr 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    i have to agree with Stephen.. the 18-200 VR is a perfect travel lens but if you're moving into doing paid jobs you'll want to get those faster lenses mentioned above
  6. mingaun


    Jun 13, 2006
    18-200VR is a very good lens for what it is meant to do, the perfect travel lens. I have no regrets in using it at all. But for special photo assingnments like weddings and sporting events you definitely need a faster lens. It helps a lot. My advice would be to get the 18-200VR and when the time comes, add the faster lens based on the areas you like.
  7. photogfellow

    photogfellow Guest

    Although there IS some overlap, I'd go with the 18-200VR AND the 70-300VR IF your wallet can take it.....

    My favorite lens is the 70-300VR........but for the best "walk-around" lens it's the 18-200VR. By having the pair, you get the wide-angle of the 18-200VR, plus it's great versatility, and the reach of the 70-300VR, which also has better contrast.
  8. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    If you're looking to do this as a profession I'd be looking to invest in some pro glass rather than the more consumer orientated ones. While the 70-300VR is good (I have one), it doesn't compare to a 70-200mm f/2.8 from Sigma or Nikon.

    Also check out the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for the short end, great image quality and much cheaper than the Nikon equivalent.
  9. I was in your same situation about 18 months ago.

    Here's what I bought and I'm very satisfied.

    70-200 f2.8 VR
    105 f/2.8 Micro VR
    17-55 f2.8 DX
    12-24 f/4
    All Nikkor
  10. wv1973


    Apr 14, 2006
    Montreal, Quebec
    Thank you everyone for the advice, I guess my next step is to really site down and figure out what my short term and long term goals are to help me decide the purchasing order.

    Working for an airline I do travel quite often so the 18-200vr will probably be the best bet for this, however you have convinced me for the need of the pro quality fast glass.

    Another little follow up question if I may.. the 18-200VR is a digital only lens from what I have read. Is the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 also digital only. I am very curious about these digital only lenses? They still appear to have a 1.5 multiplier factor on the focal length so there is no change on image, why can I not place a digital lens on my film body.
  11. The 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC is DX only. The 1.5x crop still applies. The reason it can't be used on film/full-frame is because its image circle is smaller, corresponding with the smaller DX sensor (this is done to make wide and to mild-tele lenses smaller). The 70-200mm f/2.8 EX D (or DG) has a full-size image circle and will work on both DX and film/full-frame.
  12. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    I would look at EXIF data on your images to date, and see what range your swimming images need to be, then buy that lens first. The 18-200 is a great lens, but for swimmers indoors, you will probably be shooting at 1600 ISO to stop action. That is a good application for 17-55 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8, as others mentioned.
  13. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    The 70-200 isn't digital but the 18-50 is. You can tell with Sigma lenses as they'll have the "DC" moniker if they're digital only (not to be confused with DG which is just a coating), and for Nikon it's called "DX".

    The majority of digital camera have a sensor that is smaller than a single 35mm film frame. This means they crop the image produced by a normal SLR lens just like you would using Photoshop by a factor of 1.5. Digital only lenses produce an image circle that fills the small digital sensor only, and would produce heavy vingetting (black edges) on a 35mm film.
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