Good mid-priced, mid-zoom lens?

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Planning out a future purchase, I've got a solid plan for my long lens, and wide angle:
-Nikkor 70-200 VR1
-Tokina 12-24 f/4
-Nikkor 10.5 for those really wide shots

+ a Nikkor 35 f/1.8 prime

But I'm having a hard time deciding on an upgrade for my 18-70 f/3.5-4.5.
Not that there's anything wrong with the 18-70, but now that I have the 50 f/1.8, I just find myself leaving the zoom in the bag. I can only imagine this will happen more and more with a 70-200 VR1 and the 35 in there as well.

I'd really like a nice mid-zoom walk around lens, that I can shoot with when I don't feel like switching back and forth between the 35, 50, and WA. Now the question is, is there a mid-range zoom in a decent price range that will allow me to justify picking it up, or is the 18-70 about as close as I'm going to get?

Of course I know what I want, the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 but I've already decided I just can't justify it, nor will I anytime soon. Not with the awesome primes I have in mind.

Any ideas?
So far I've looked into:
-Nikkor 24-120 f/4, too expensive for what it has to offer, and 50mm on the long end that I plain don't need, a little overlap between lenses is fine, but I really dont need one with this much zoom for a mid-range.
-Nikkor 16-85 f/3.5-5.6, a small upgrade, and a great zoom range. Although I'm not sure it's really a worthy upgrade, at ~$450 used.
-Nikkor 18-105 f/3.5-5.6, not an upgrade.

Front runners:
-Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8-4 AF, looks like a really great lens, at a very reasonable price (~$400 used), but worth the upgrade from the 18-70? This may be top on my list.
-Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8 AF-S, the predecessor to the amazing 24-70, with a much more reasonable price at ~$850 or so used, although that is still a bit on the high side. Only other "thing" is it's slightly long wide end at 28mm, although I imagine the difference between 24 and 28 can't be that significant.

I've read mixed reviews on the tokina 16-50.
I really just don't trust Sigma's, and unless you can point me to a tried and true model. I haven't considered one other than the 10-20 f/4.5-6.5.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks all!
 
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I've got a few friends that have the tokina 28-80. Its a great lens, but is a little soft at 2.8, stopped down to f/4 its a beauty! Make sure you get the pro version too. Its a little prone to flare when pointed at the sun, but many have fashioned a cannon or nikon 24-70 hood to aid in shading the lens.
 
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What is that opinion based on anyway?
Exactly what I want to know. There are excellent Tamrons out there, the 17-50 is a stellar lens.

Do you want just a fast midrange zoom? Because the 16-85 is the only other zoom I know thats midrange and supposed to be very good... but for the price the 17-50 is faster.
 
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I have the Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 and it hardly ever leaves my camera. I do miss the extra reach at the long end, but the build quality and absolutely stunning bokeh easily makes up for having to take a few steps closer. I picked mine up on craigslist for 800
 
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Exactly what I want to know. There are excellent Tamrons out there, the 17-50 is a stellar lens.

Do you want just a fast midrange zoom? Because the 16-85 is the only other zoom I know thats midrange and supposed to be very good... but for the price the 17-50 is faster.
Mine is so sharp I swear it cuts. The focus tracks Hummingbirds so it's plenty fast enough for me but then I'm not a professional I'm just a hobbyist.
 
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I think that with the first few lenses you mentioned above you will not need a Mid-zoom.

-Nikkor 70-200 VR1
-Tokina 12-24 f/4
-Nikkor 10.5
-Nikkor 35 f/1.8 prime

I thinks you'll have a lot covered with these lenses, so just shoot it for a while and if you think that you are too long or too short on some occasions then look into the lens purchase.
 
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consider the nikon 35-70mm 2.8. I recently got this lens and love it. You can pick it up much cheaper then a lot of others you mentioned and it is smaller. Also has a so-so macro mode for close ups
 
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I like mine, no complaints at all.
Do you ever find the 35mm end to not be wide enough to get the shots you need when shooting indoors? If you could only keep one, the 35-70 f2.8 or Tamron 17-50 f2.8 which would be your pick? The 35-70 is a lens that has interested me for some time.
 
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Do you ever find the 35mm end to not be wide enough to get the shots you need when shooting indoors? If you could only keep one, the 35-70 f2.8 or Tamron 17-50 f2.8 which would be your pick? The 35-70 is a lens that has interested me for some time.
That's so hard to say. I use both 1/2 and 1/2.
The 35-70 isn't a lens I ever use indoors on my DX camera. I've used it hiking and like it a lot. That's really a tough one. I would have to say the Tammy but not easily.
 
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I love my 35-70 f/2.8 AFD but where it belongs on my D700. The field of view just makes it not a normal zoom on a crop camera. The FOV would be mroe like a 50-105 f/2.8 and has no wide angle to it.

I love my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 on my D300 where it belongs. It's one of the most sharp and contrasty lenses I've owned in DX. Now we're looking at a 24-75 for the DX world with this lens.

I think to be a usable "normal" zoom you really need some room on both sides of 50 for full frame and on both sides of 35 for DX. Not that "normal" means a whole lot, just saying.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Stick with the 18-70 if you have a good copy and don't need VR.

If you want a faster midrange zoom, Nikon 17-55/2.8. Used for $800-$850 if you shop around.

Tamron 17-50/2.8 (not the VC version) if you want something smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

Nikon 16-85VR if you can handle the slowness of the lens, and like having the VR.

If this is for a future purchase and you plan to buy a 70-200VR and other lenses first, then by the time you get around to the mid-range, Nikon will probably drop Yet Another Consumer mid-range zoom.
 
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For me the 17-50 doesn't make a ton of sense over the more mid range types when he will be getting the 12-24. he is then overlapping half that lens. I think it comes down to whats more important to you, the 24-35 range or the 50-70 range. If I had another WA like the 12-24 then I definitely would want the 50-70 range over the 24-35
50-70 is really nice to have for street type stuff. Gives you a lot more options for portrait work on the go.
The 24,28 or 35-70 makes more sense for your needs
 
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Your misguided in your opinion. The Non-VC is supposed to be the better lens. Apples and Oranges. Here are just a few examples from a fantastic lens.

What is that opinion based on anyway?
Well, I wouldn't call it my opinion, as I'm basing my statement about Tamrons 100% on what I've been told by others on the internet. Info has come from professional reviews, amateur reviews, private conversations with pro photographers, and just day to day discussion observed across the boards.

Are you going to tell me that in general the Tamrons don't suffer from poor build quality and slow/inaccurate AF? I wouldn't be able to disagree with you if you did, as I have absolutely zero personal experience, but you would certainly be a minority in comparison to most information I've gathered.

Now I'm certainly open to change, especially if many can agree that a certain lens is a good one, no matter what brand it is.
Would that be the case here? Is the 17-50 f/2.8 non-VC a diamond among rocks, or is there something I'm completely missing here?

Exactly what I want to know. There are excellent Tamrons out there, the 17-50 is a stellar lens.
See above
Do you want just a fast midrange zoom? Because the 16-85 is the only other zoom I know thats midrange and supposed to be very good... but for the price the 17-50 is faster.
Well, yes I would like a faster mid-range zoom, if funds will allow. The point is I don't need to go spend a million bucks on a mid-range zoom, when I will have plenty of other really quality lenses to cover that zoom range. I'm looking for a quality mid-zoom for day to day convenience shooting.

I have the Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 and it hardly ever leaves my camera. I do miss the extra reach at the long end, but the build quality and absolutely stunning bokeh easily makes up for having to take a few steps closer. I picked mine up on craigslist for 800
You know whats strange, nearly every owner of the 17-55 2.8 I've spoken with says basically the same thing. They absolutely love it! But the reviews often don't reflect that, the photozone review in particular. The only other issue here, is still the price, see above for a better explanation for that.

Mine is so sharp I swear it cuts. The focus tracks Hummingbirds so it's plenty fast enough for me but then I'm not a professional I'm just a hobbyist.
Neither am I (obviously :) ), would you say you have a particularly good copy, or is this the general consensus on this lens by many?

I think that with the first few lenses you mentioned above you will not need a Mid-zoom.

-Nikkor 70-200 VR1
-Tokina 12-24 f/4
-Nikkor 10.5
-Nikkor 35 f/1.8 prime

I thinks you'll have a lot covered with these lenses, so just shoot it for a while and if you think that you are too long or too short on some occasions then look into the lens purchase.
Not to mention I also have the Nikkor 50 f/1.8. I understand, and I would agree with you, if I wanted to carry all my lenses on my belt every time I went out. As I said above, I'm looking for a good mid-range zoom for day to day convenience. When out for the sole purpose to shoot, you better believe the mid-range zoom will stay in the bag, the quality lenses will take care of business.

consider the nikon 35-70mm 2.8. I recently got this lens and love it. You can pick it up much cheaper then a lot of others you mentioned and it is smaller. Also has a so-so macro mode for close ups
I love my 35-70 f/2.8 AFD but where it belongs on my D700. The field of view just makes it not a normal zoom on a crop camera. The FOV would be mroe like a 50-105 f/2.8 and has no wide angle to it.

I love my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 on my D300 where it belongs. It's one of the most sharp and contrasty lenses I've owned in DX. Now we're looking at a 24-75 for the DX world with this lens.

I think to be a usable "normal" zoom you really need some room on both sides of 50 for full frame and on both sides of 35 for DX. Not that "normal" means a whole lot, just saying.

http://www.guidenet.net/tripod/35-70_side.jpg



Stick with the 18-70 if you have a good copy and don't need VR.
I don't know if I necessarily need VR, but I really know I would have appreciated it at times. Honestly I don't know how to tell whether or not I have a good copy, although the AF does seem a bit slow/inaccurate at times, especially in low light.

If you want a faster midrange zoom, Nikon 17-55/2.8. Used for $800-$850 if you shop around.
This lens would be great, although like I said above, that price tag is a scary one for a "back-up" lens so to speak.

Tamron 17-50/2.8 (not the VC version) if you want something smaller, lighter, and cheaper.
Again, I voiced my concerns about this lens above, but it seems more and more are agreeing that it is actually a really great lens?

Nikon 16-85VR if you can handle the slowness of the lens, and like having the VR.
Well, that would probably be the only gripe with this lens, but I'm thinking I could deal with it. I think if I were planning to shoot anything overly fast, I would make sure to bring the 70-200 with me. I've heard really good things about the 16-85, but is it worth the pricey upgrade over the 18-70? The more I look into it, I'm thinking it may be.

If this is for a future purchase and you plan to buy a 70-200VR and other lenses first, then by the time you get around to the mid-range, Nikon will probably drop Yet Another Consumer mid-range zoom.
Thats a very good point! That I had surprisingly not thought of...
For me the 17-50 doesn't make a ton of sense over the more mid range types when he will be getting the 12-24. he is then overlapping half that lens. I think it comes down to whats more important to you, the 24-35 range or the 50-70 range. If I had another WA like the 12-24 then I definitely would want the 50-70 range over the 24-35
50-70 is really nice to have for street type stuff. Gives you a lot more options for portrait work on the go.
The 24,28 or 35-70 makes more sense for your needs
Well, I'm not too concerned with overlapping with this particular lens, especially not on the wide end, as the WA would certainly be used in very specific instances, but there is still a good point here.
 
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It looks like maybe you really don't need a midrange zoom?

I only have 4 zoom lenses left, and I only ever use two of them. And when I use, the 14-24 stays at 14 mm and the 70-200 stay at 180 mm. I could duct tape the zoom rings and never notice the difference. The other two zooms have not left the cupboard for about two years.
 
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Another vote for a Tamron 17-50/2.8

I just made a switch from Nikon 18-70 to Tamron 17-50 (built in motor, non-VC model) a couple of weeks ago. Couldn't be happier so far.

18-70 was nice, but its photos just lacked contrast and overall "bite" as compared to my other lenses (35/1.8, 50/1.8, 70-200/2.8 VR).

Tamron photos look so much more "juicy" and contrasty in comparison, plus it gives me fully usable 2.8 aperture.
 

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