The next step from 18-200. The dilemma.

Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
306
Location
Vancouver
Hey all,

I am in quite a bit of a dilemma. Maybe after you read this you can help me decide which is best for me. Normally, I can decide on a lens pretty quick because I can weigh the pros and cons, and most importantly weigh the importance for my needs, but now I am quite stuck.

Before I begin, I recently sold my D90 and opted for a D7000. I consider myself as an above-average amateur. I do not have an intention to become a full-time professional photographer, although I do not mind picking up a few part-time paid jobs if people appreciate my work. Photography, in my mind, is an asset and hobby for now and the future, and I am recently starting to make use of my equipments for portfolio and/or semi-paid purposes with my peers. Keep in mind, I do shoot both photos and videos.

My lens collection can be found in my signature, but just to re-iterate, I currently have the Nikon 10-24, 18-200, 35 1.8, 70-300 and the Sigma 50 1.4 that I recently bought.

My future direction is to have a DX, which I will most likely keep the D7000 as I won't invest any further, and a FX one day (perhaps D800 down the road in a few years). I am most certainly keeping the 10-24 and 35 1.8 as my DX collection. I thought about keeping the 18-200 for DX but after shooting with it on my D7000, the IQ was not that impressive. In the past with my D90 and D40, the 18-200 worked fine, but now I am starting to use the 18-200 less and less. I am finally starting to value IQ, sharpness, colour rendition, contrasts more importantly than convenience. Weight, however, I still prefer lightweight if possible.

My goal is to have a balance in lens collection for both DX and FX so that some lenses can be shared amongst the two platform.

My recent acquisition of the Sigma 50mm f1.4 was a no brainer. It works great with my D7000, and will work great with my future FX camera one day. 70-300 will no doubt be my lightweight travel telephoto. The Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VRII will definitely be in my bag one day, when I can afford it.

NOW, onto the entire point of this thread. I am stuck between a mid-range zoom decision that will replace my amateur 18-200. Before I go on, these are my considerations:

Tamron 17-50 f2.8 VC
Nikon 24-120 f4 VR
Nikon 24-70 f2.8

Asides from demanding IQ, sharpness, I also value best bang for buck, weight, VR (for handheld video), and price.

17-55 f2.8 DX is out of my consideration because it is a very expensive lens and can only work for DX. For the money, my future roadmap does not seem to justify this purchase.

That leaves a dilemma of these 3 lenses. I have read countless reviews, photos, lens tests, objective and subjective review of these, so understanding the pros and cons of these lenses is not the problem.

My problem right now is, what is the best lens for me at this moment? Budget-wise, I can afford all 3 but I would prefer to spend as little as possible until I am actually getting paid to offset the high cost.

Tamron 17-50 VC. Clearly the best bang for the buck. It's a no brainer that I can just pick it up and love it. Only concerns I have after I tried it is: build quality, AF noise and accuracy, VC noise, and Tamron. I'm not a big fan of 3rd party lenses, although the Sigma 50 proved me otherwise recently. Build quality is really iffy as I feel like this lens is just as tacky as the kit 18-55 lens I used to have long time ago. AF noise and VC noise does not really bother me, but it will always be something that will drive me a bit crazy. IQ and sharpness wise, I think it's superb at the $500 range. f2.8 is also attractive at $500, although I have a few primes already that can offer more bokehlicious than that. Speaking of bokeh, this lens isn't that attractive, especially after using the 35 and 50 primes.

Nikon 24-120 f4. This one is very interesting. There's A LOT of mixed reviews on this one. From Moose Peterson's and mansurov's high recommendation to KR and photo zone's poor review, this lens seems quite inconsistent, especially for the price. Is it the best bang for the buck? I guess if the IQ is nearly identical to the 24-70 f2.8, then it is. Some reviews claim it is, some reviews claim it's not. I am really skeptical. I used to have locked on the decision of this lens, then decided otherwise when I told myself f4 is crap and not enough. I recently brought this lens back into consideration, and is actually very close to pulling the trigger, because of its versatility (5x zoom), build quality, good balance of weight (lighter than 24-70), VR (which is huge for me!), and of course great IQ and sharp. Distortions and vignette actually does not bother me because I am not picky in those regards. I almost always add a bit of vignette to every photo anyways. And I always shoot in RAW so correcting these (if I ever choose to do so) is not an issue. The semi-pro of this lens offering is very attractive as it seems to target photographers like myself. I also find that my range of shooting is within 24-120 in the DX category (duh since I never had a FX before), although I do shoot quite a bit from 17-24 range as well sometimes. If I needed the extra wideness, I got the 10-24 which seemingly fits the gap perfectly. Also, it's a f4 for overall $1000. Bang for buck wise, yes or no depending on how you compare it. 24-120 is a FX lens so it fits with my future road map perfectly. Sounds like I have decided my lens right? Not really...

Nikon 24-70 f2.8 For $400 more, I can get my dream lens. I consider this as my dream lens because this is probably the best mid-range zoom lens you can get for your money. The only things that throw me off at the moment is price, lack of VR (for video), range (sorta, as I will need to change to 70-300 more often), and most importantly weight. IMO, it's very heavy when paired with my D7000 and MB-11. I am already complaining when I have to carry a bag of D7000, 10-24, 18-200, 35, 50, SB-600 in one bag. Let alone if I add this beast, I don't know if I will feel like carrying a pro lens out on casual occasions such as street, restaurants or parties. The 24-70, however, will most certainly be the most future-proof lens as it will definitely have its part in my entire life. However, I can always purchase that in the future if I actually get paid in the future. Now, if you tell me the lens is discontinued and there's only 100 left in the world, then I will definitely buy it.

The biggest problem is that there is something I like about each of these lens offerings. 17-50 being weight, price, 17-24 wideness and 2.8. 24-120 being the best replacement for my 18-200 super zoom for versatility, build, VR and future-proof. 24-70 being clearly the best lens and a lens that I will most certainly buy one day along with the 70-200. The question is, do I need it now?

What do you guys think? What are your thoughts? In summary, I consider myself as a semi-pro or above-average amateur, whatever you would like to call it. I am not getting paid, although I feel like my work can be paid for if I charge lower than the average pros. I am most likely not going to be a full-time professional photographer. At most, a part-time professional photographer one day if I ever reach there. I value a balance of everything, maybe with the exception of distortion, vignetting as I do not really care that much at the moment.

Thanks for reading! Your help will be much appreciated.

dL
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
523
Location
Tokyo
Bang for the buck and high quality are at the opposite end.

The 24-70 something you won`t regret.

A cheaper lens and the dilemma will go on.

Spread the cost over 10 years and it`s actually a small amount yearly for the quality.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
525
Location
Centenniel
17-50 Non-VC is generally cheaper and reviews as the better lens, net 2 year cost would be ~$100 or so for the non-VC. I'd guess double that or more if you go VC and new.

Also, don't discount the 17-55 nikkor. If you buy i used and sell it used your still out maybe ~$100 when you go full frame in a year or two.

24-70 is a GREAT lens, but no VR and is the most likely (IMHO) to get an update of Nikons 3 pro zoom kit.

24-120... If you need 2.8, it doesn't cut it... To me, I'd rather have an extra stop of light than 3 stops of shutter speed, but then if you don't shoot wide open a lot, F/4 is more than adequate.

If it was me, I'd do the tammy, oh wait, I did... ;) It gives you a lot of what you want in a small, light package and you won't be out a whole lot, even if you eat the whole cost of the lens, when you go FX.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Messages
745
Location
Washington
You've done your homework, and my guess is that you'll eventually end up with the 24-70...just a hunch.

I've owned all 3, and would recommend them all. I sold the 17-50 when moving to FX, and sold the 24-70 when building my collection of primes because they were more suited to my shooting. I then decided on the 24-120 f4 (the only one of the 3 I currently own) once I was ready to add a mid-range back to my bag. I could've bought another 24-70, but I really like shooting the primes I own in that range, so the 24-120's increased range over the 24-70, the addition of VR, and the numerous samples in the 24-120 thread convinced me to go that route. I'm happy so far, especially when i want to head out with only one lens.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
306
Location
Vancouver
I've done my homework and already pulled the trigger :smile: Still want this discussion open for room to make changes if needed.

dL
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
380
Location
Boston, MA
I've done my homework and already pulled the trigger :smile: Still want this discussion open for room to make changes if needed.

dL

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you bought the 24-70. I would say cost is the only issue to not go with it, but it doesn't seem to deter you that much. Good luck!
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Cambria, CA
I would opt for the 24-120....it gives you the range you don't currently have, it's an excellent walk-around lens on either the DX or FX, and it is certainly good enough IQ-wise for any gig you might get, other than perhaps a really low light indoor venue where you need 1.4, or 2.8...however, in that event, the 50/1.4 with some foot zoom should more than fill the gap.
 

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