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Yet another "Which Lens" thread

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by wbeem, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Hello, my friends. The IRS was obliging enough to let me know that I get some of my own money back. Rather than doing the intelligent thing and putting it in savings or making an early payment to my mortgage, I've decided to buy new toys instead. I've read old threads about these lens comparisons until I couldn't go any further back, but now I need to have some interactive Q&A time.

    Like everyone else, I want it all. Fast, sharp and colorful. Having read threads here and elsewhere, and also having spent time reviewing images on Flickr & Pixel-Peeper.com, I think I know what I want. However, there's nothing like experience and I may have some incorrect notions about these lenses. Here's what's on the list.

    First, I figure the 70-200mm VR is on the definite buy list. The images look sharp and the colors pop. It's expensive, but so am I.

    The place where I'm still struggling is between the 17-55mm DX, the 28-70mm, or the Tamron 17-50mm. When I look at sample photos of these three lenses on pixel-peeper.com, I have to say that the 17-55mm seems the most bland. The colors on the Tamron really seem to pop, and so do some of the 28-70mm. Would anyone care to contradict that? I originally thought I wanted the 17-55mm DX, but I'm not as sure now.

    I already have a Tokina 12-24 for the wide shots, and of course my 18-200mm VR is a great walk around lens during the day. I'm looking for something that's faster for low-light photography, and I'm wondering if I can get much sharper shots on my tripod with long exposures (15-30 sec).

    As an aside, I have to say that the 85mm 1.4 really impresses me for portrait photos. There's a chance I could also swing that one, but I honestly don't do any portrait photos. Is the bokeh on the 70-200 VR (or any of the other lenses) even close to what I'm seeing with that 85mm 1.4?

    Thanks in advance. I appreciate the information I've found on this forum and look forward to your comments.
  2. oooh, I'm so happy that I am not the only one that acts this way...:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

    About the 70-200 VR: Defenitely the best, but huge, heavy and indiscreet. It's a matter of taste. Me? I just don't want/need such a lens.
    About the 17-55 etc: I don't think colors pop or are bland because of a lens (at least not because of a lens of such high level). Camera settings and/or post processing are probably different and cause this. I have the 17-55 because I need the wides too. If you also shoot film or don't want a DX lens, then you should go for the beast instead. I have no idea about the Tamron.
    About the 85mm 1.4 : I just bought it, so I am still not ready to review it. I really like it already though.
  3. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Thanks, Jordan. I'm only shooting digital, so I'm not concerned about using DX lenses elsewhere.

    I think I'm covered on the wide shots with the Tokina 12-24. I figured that would overlap on the 17-55, and would come pretty close to filling the gaps if I went with the 28-70.

    Two things I thought about with the 17-55 is if I'd miss that little bit of reach up to 70mm, and how is the bokeh on it?
  4. If you are really happy with the 12-24 Tokina and you think that you will continue to be happy with it, then go for the 28-70, there is no reason why you should overlap.
    (I don't really have anything against the 12-24, I just said this because if you decide to sell it one day, the 28-70 alone will not be wide enough.)
    The bokeh of the 17-55 ? Well... it's not too bad... In fact a zoom of this range is very difficult to have any nicer bokeh :wink:

    Did I mention I absolutely hate both their butterfly hoods? :Curved:
  5. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I went out this morning to touch all of these lenses. I got to try out the Tamron 17-50, Nikkor 17-55 and 28-70. To be honest, I always thought the nickname of "the beast" was a bit too cute...until I saw it in person.


    I need to get special luggage just to lug that sucker around if I decide to buy it. I just started at it and decided it's aptly named here. Nothing I read prepared me for actually seeing this sucker come out of the box and its hard case.

    In comparison, the other lenses seem unmanly now. Never mind whether it's something I need or not. If I don't buy the beast, it's almost an insult to my manhood that I couldn't tame it.

    More realistically, I wonder about lugging it about with the 70-200 and the 12-24. While they're all nice to have, what sort of motorized golf cart do I need to take them out along with my tripod? Should I only vacation in locations that hire out a team of sherpas?
  6. He-he... I like your way of thinking! It suits me :biggrin:
    I bought the 85mm 1.4 because I wanted that specific lens, I am 95% sure that the 85mm 1.8 would give me almost the same results, but then I would be miserable because that would not be the one that I really wanted.
    So... I would do the same with you. You want it. Go for the beast! :Love:

    I hate huge camera/lens combinations. As I said before, I will not buy the 70-200 VR. Too big. The 17-55 has pushed my nerves beyond their limits already (even without the bloody hood on).
    This morning I asked an artist to take his picture while he was painting near Akropolis. He was very nice but his friend thought I am a pro. I was struggling for 10 minutes to persuade him that I am not. Why? Because of my camera setup! (Yes, he said so!)
    Oh, anyway...
    I miss my Leica M days :D evil:
  7. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    I don't have the 70-200, but the 80-200 f2.8. I carry it and a 12-24 with my D70 body in a LowPro AW2....a little heavy until you see the quality of the images. A 70-200 would need something along the AW3 in size, but the quality of these zooms is simply incredible.
  8. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    if u find the beast intimidating u might consider it's predecessor, the 35-70 2.8d...wonderful IQ and built like a tank for about 1/3 the $
  9. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem

    Some folks occasionally think I'm a pro when I use a monopod or my tripod. Near as I can tell, metal sticks mean professional photographer. Who else would buy such a stick? That seems to be common knowledge.


    My current favorite bag is a Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home. It's great for my current gear, although I have to admit that the Tokina 12-24 made things a tight fit. If I go with these other lenses, I think I'll have to switch from a shoulder bag to a backpack. I'm not a fan of LowePro, though. I think their materials are too chintzy compared to the Crumplers. I particularly don't like how the straps get so thin towards the bottom. Thank you for the suggestion, though.


    Yet another lens I knew nothing about. The price is right and people seem to love the sharpness. However, two things I just read about it concern me. One was the lack of sealing (some guy complained of mold inside due to moisture) and the other was that the AF spins the external barrel. Then again, it's not like lugging around a cannon (no pun intended). Thanks for the tip.
  10. As for me...

    Hi wbeem

    let me propose you an alternative choice.
    1) middle range. I suggest you also the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 which is really an excellent lens, twice, considered the price. With the money you would save you could

    2) think of the 70/200. I'd suggest if you often shoot sports, maybe to couple later with a TC (1.7x seems the better) to get a longer reach OR I also suggest you for low light events (like ceremonies where not always you have the time to exchange lenses) Of course, in this case you could also evaluate a shorter focal lenght (just to mention, the Sigma 50-150 F2.8, even if I'm not sure about its optical quality wide open). However, in low light you could really appreciate VR performance, enlarging up to 8 times the steady shots you take for "just the double" :biggrin: of the price.

    3) If you prefer primes and you shoot longer just now and then, an excellent lens combo could be (for the same price) the 85 F1.4 + 180 F2.8 which are well known as two of the 10 best lens ever made by Nikon. This would give you lesser "visibility" (of course, the 70/200 is a punch in the eye, plus a free bodybuilding weight :biggrin: ) but still excellent (nay, maybe even a tad better) performances. Of course, you would lose the zoom versatility.

    If you look at my gear, I have all those lenses, except the 180 (which I'd like but I wouldn't use, probably) and both work fine. Depending on the situation, I choose the right combo.

    Hope that helps. Once again, imho you should save your money on the middle range with a very good compromise (the Tamron) to afford one or two of other legendary Nikon lenses.

    All the best
  11. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem

    Thank you. In many cases, I do try to get the most bang for the buck. This is one of those rare moments where I'm looking for optimum optical quality and lifetime usefulness. I'd rather get fewer lenses of better quality than the opposite. The 70-200mm VR is definitely on the list. So is the 85mm 1.4, though I may wait until June to buy that one.

    I don't disagree with you about the primes. I expect to eventually fill up on a few lengths, including the 60mm Micro. However, I think I tend to shoot more unexpected subjects than posed ones. That's why I like to get covered on the zooms, first.

    Right now, I think I'm leaning towards ordering the 70-200mm VR & the 28-70mm tonight, and then picking up the 85mm 1.4 in June. The 60 micro could some somewhere along in there, or if I talk myself into it, one of those Singh-Ray vari-ND filters.

    Someone smack me if I start thinking about AB strobes or other lighting.
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