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Lens advice please ......

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Retief, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. Wasn't sure whether to put this here or in the Tech forum, so here it goes.

    My current lens "collection" is as follow, all Nikon unless noted otherwise, ones up for sale noted as well.

    60mm Micro
    85mm f1.8
    18-35mm f3.5-4.5 - to be sold
    18-70mm f3.5-4.5
    28-70 f2.6-2.8 Tokin ATX Pro - to be sold
    80-200 AFS f2.8
    500mm f4.5 Sigma HSM

    I need to "fill the gap" from the 80-200 to the 500 and for numerous reasons, cost being one, I will be purchasing a Sigma 120-300 f2.8. Most of what I shoot is at the longer end as you may have noticed. The 18-35 and the 28-70 are up for sale as that range is nicely covered by the 18-70. At some point a 17-55 might find it's way in as well. What I am contemplating at this time is selling the 80-200 AFS and purchasing a 24-120 AFS VR to fill the gap from 70-120.

    What do folks think of this idea? Would the VR with the 24-120 give me the ability to shoot slow enough to not miss the 80-120 range at f2.8? Most of the "wider" things I shoot can be done with flash without an issue.

    Opions, please........
  2. Bill you do have a lot duplication in your lens line up. You have two nice prime lenses in the 60mm and 85mm plus the 500mm Sigma. Were it me I would sell the other lenses and go with the 17-55mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f2.8 VR lenses. With that line up your TC 1.4 and TC 2.0 would fill in the gaps and with the faster lenses would still give you a nice shutter speed. If you could afford a prime in the 300mm range that would be great also. Of course the lenses I recommended are fairly pricey.
  3. AF-S 24-120 VR vs. AF-S 80-200


    These 2 lenses are in different category. The 80-200 is really pro-glass whereas the 24-120 is a decent compromise meant to be used for a single-lens setup (walk-around), when changing lenses is inconvenient, size is a factor, etc...

    I have the 24-120 and the 70-200 and it would never occur to me to sell the later and keep the former! :shock:

    The 24-120 has some softness at the wide end, and is actually pretty sharp between 80 and 120 and sure, the VR can and does help. But, you'd also be at least at f/5.6 thoughout that whole range instead of f/2.8, so you can kiss your boke goodbye. :) 

    Now, as you are thinking of effectively replacing your 80-200 with the 120-300, it may not be too bad, except that the 80-120 range is also a good one for portraits, where a large aperture often does make a difference. I guess that's why you have the 85 f/1.8, right? :D 

    I see that you also already have the 1.4 TC to add to your 80-200, so you already have a 120-280 at f/4 with little image degradation. You could add the 1.7 TC (works with AF-S lenses only, but yours is). for 135-340 f/4.8. I have it on my 70-200/VR and I really like the combo: I think it's the perfect compromise for extended reach without much quality degradation, unless of course you need *way* more reach, then start with a 300 f/2.8, and you already have your 500mm for that...

    It's a tough one. Good luck!
  4. Same dilemma as me

    The real issue is that there is not a good lens line up under 200-500mm IMHO

    This is what i have
    *17-55, stays on the camera as default 85% of the time
    18-70 (came with the D70, quite nice but no match for the 17-55) to be sold
    *24-120VR, a bit soft until F8 then fine, I will sell it because I have an overlap, kept it for the N80 I never use (will sell it too)
    *70-200 VR, nice of course bit I have an overlap with the 80-400, I'm not yet impressed with how it works with the TC14e so I might sell it
    *80-400 VR, slow AF, realtively slow lens but boy when it has light, does it perform! I will keep it for sure, It is quite light, so handheld is very doable.
    *Sigma 800 :)  in its own realm
    * TC14E, Not that impressed.....sofar

    So what to do? I have some thoughts:
    1. If money was not an issue the 200-400 VR would be nice, but then agains $5000 plus is a lot of money
    2. If you want to you could borrow my 24-120VR and try it, I'm coming down on Wednesday night to stay over the weekend
    3. Tamron has a 200-500 getting decent reviews in the Canon forums, sharpness seems ok, not exceptional, color rendition needs post production to fix from what I have seen....
    4. 80-400 VR? Not for what you are attempting :)  low light is not its strength, but it is a nice lens you are welcomee to try mine out, I do wish Nikon would come out with an updated AFS version, I would upgrade in a heartbeat!!!
    5. Sigma 50-500? Seems the only lower cost alternative? Needs tripod, a bit slow for the kind of photography you do. But a lot of sharp pictures have been shown with it....
    6. Sell the sigma 4.5 500 and go for the Sigma 300-800? Bulky and heavy and pricey? Sharp enough? Fast enough? Not sure

    Summary is that I don't quite know either what to do :)  What we need from Nikon is a nice 200-500 AFS 3.5-F5.6 VR that is not so pricey that we can't buy it....

  5. Gordon, the reason I am looking at the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 is specially for High School Sports, night football mainly. I always need the f2.8 and I often find that a bit more reach would be a real help. The few "at the near sideline" shots I'd miss don't worry me to much, but the extra 100mm greatly increase what I can get at mid-field. And that is where the zoom really comes into play as well, allowing me to capture more "near" shots than I could with a 300 prime. Am I missing something there? In general I agree with your summation, if I didn't need the f2.8. I have tried the 1.4 on my 80-200 and the loss of that stop of light is a real killer.

    Given that I already have the 80-200 AFS, I have not yet been convinced that paying 400-500 dollars to upgrade to the 70-200 is worth it for me. Now, if I did not already have this lens, it would be another matter.

    I really do like the 17-55, but as most of what I do is not at that end of the range my budget dictates that I go for the most bang-for-the-buck. And the 60mm/85mm, you will have to pry from my cold dead hands :wink:
  6. Re: Same dilemma as me

    I'll drop you an email re: the 24-120, who knows, we might make a deal.

    I really liked the 17-55 on Sunday, nice lens, I'm just deciding where to best spend the first bit of money I don't yet have. I could easily see myself going that route at some time in the future.

    As to the Tamron 200-500, they have one, or did, at Glazers. Focus was SSSSLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW. I had an older Tamron 200-400 and found the same to be true.

    What I would like would be a 70-600 f2.8, I'd want 1.4 but I'm not greedy, that weighs 2.4 lbs, has AFS-VR-IS-OS-PhD-MD-ASAP, and be priced at $999.95. Do you think I have much chance?????
  7. Re: AF-S 24-120 VR vs. AF-S 80-200

    Philippe, you make a great point re: the f2.8 vs. f5.6 bokeh attributes, I had not thought of that one. Then again, would the 85 suffice? Crap, I was hoping that someone had "the right answer" for me.

    HELP!!!! :lol:

    Yeah, these decisions are tough. If I had an extra 20,000-30,000 dollars hanging around it would not be a problem at all.

  8. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Interesting questions...

    Don't know if I'd entirely agree on that. I might amend the statement that there isn't a good lens line up that fits all needs in that size class. But, then, "all needs" ? {warm smile}

    Well, I do have the 24-120mm AFS/VR, the 70-200mm AFS/VR, the 80-400mm VR, and the 200-400mm AFS/VR, so maybe I can make other comments.

    I find the 24-120mm AFS/VR is a good "travelling lens". Thom Hogan's had a similar remark about this lens. While a lens like the 28-70mm is "crisper", the range of the 24-120mm is pretty handy - for mostly daytime work. I usually couple this with the 12-24mm AFS for a small kit on business trips. This has proved to be a real winner for urban and suburban circumstances without wildlife shooting. Non-ideal for really low light cases, where I might supplement with a 28mm f/1.4 .

    The 70-200mm and 200-400mm AFS/VRs are choice items. With the two of these in-hand and a TC or two, it's one of most flexible lens sets one can have for intermediate to reasonably long range shooting. Throw in a Canon 500D diopter, and there's some pretty good close-up possible. The 200-400mm AFS/VR, however, is not a handheld lens for most people. The 70-200mm AFS/VR is pretty heavy, as well, but more available for handheld work for most folks. This is a powerful (and expensive) combination for exurban/wildlife shooting, even if not as effective as the really long primes.

    The 80-400mm VR is a funny bird. Not the fastest focus, not the fastest glass, but still darned capable. I keep thinking of getting rid of it, but then I shoot with it and reconsider. It fits into my Bob Krist bag along with the 70-200mm AFS/VR and a couple of smaller lenses neatly, giving me some longer range capability without the weight. I recently loaned mine to a good friend who has been shooting it with a D70 to great delight. Short of spending the large dollar figures for the bigger lenses, the 80-400mm VR is an excellent compromise.

    As you note, an AFS version of the 80-400mm VR would be a world beater, but I'd doubt they could make it "faster glass" without adding a fair bit to the weight... The physics of better apertures for a given focal length are pretty unforgiving. While we've seen a lot of improvements, things like f/1.4 or f/1.8 500mm lenses that are easily carried have been out-of-reach one-of-a-kind items.

    In an ideal world, I'd have a carrier person who'd hand me a body with the ideal lens attached as I needed it, be it the 28mm f/1.4 for those interesting apres-sunset moments, or the 600mm f/2 (well, I can hope for that lens) for the birth moment of an eagle from the egg.

    If you find that ideal, call me, and I'll be over in a flash, with sincere gratitude for the opportunity. {warm smile}

    John P.
  9. Comments John

    or mostly agreements really...

    The 24-120 VR is a pretty good travel lens but then the 18-70 is pretty good too, wider is good for the panoramas although it has a bit of distortion at the wide end (and so does the 24-120 VR by the way). my travel combo right now is the 17-55 and the 80-400, I thought with the 70-200 and the TC14e that it would change but I have not been able to convince myself of this yet....

    I agree with the comments on the 80-400, I also keep thinking about selling it but on a nice day when I pick it up I realize it is a pretty nice lens under the right conditions, and one can handhold it for sure. Yves got rid of his then bought it back i think a year later and noww calls it his walkaround lens if I read it correclty....

    Yes I know I was dreaming about a faster glass on the next 80-400, but I think if Nikon is smart this new AFS version of the 80-400 should not bee far away, it would be a big volume seller I think, I would stand in line for it

    As for the 600 F2 - now you are dreaming, thats ok I like to do it too - but the funny thing is after using the Sigma 800 for a week I realized that you can never make up for being close to a subject, 800 is not enough for an eagle far away, you have to get up close!

    As for the 70-200 VR being heavy it feels so light after lugging the new Sigma 800 :)  I dont care, but i ownt carry both it and the 80-400 at the same time.

    Have you tried the TC14E 70-200 Combo and are you happy wit the sharpness? I have not been able to get ot quite right yet...

  10. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Re: Comments John

    Well, I sometimes need the 120mm end of the 24-120mm, so that becomes useful. With than and the 12-24mm AFs, I can capture a lot of different issues readily.

    When I need speed and reach both, I've used the 70-200mm with a TC14E or a TC17E with good results. I find they're both very good for daytime, and then in the evening, obviously, the TC14E is better for AF than the TC17E.

    I've had exceptional results with the TC14E and the TC17E on my 70-200mm AFS/VR, a bit less stellar on the 200-400mm AFS/VR, but still very very good. I don't have a TC20E, but in a couple of brief tests with other people's TC20s, I didn't find it as good.

    I can travel with the 12-24mm OR 24-120mm, AND 70-200mm AND a TC in my computer bag with a D100. If I need more, I have to bring a camera bag that includes my computer (but doesn't have room for my paperwork for business - thus meaning I can't do this too much on business trips).

    As for getting close, well, yes, that's a key element to our photography success. Sometimes, though, where there are bogs, lakes, or it's a nature reserve, we can't approach as we'd like...

    John P.
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