An oil thread / the best travel lens?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kevin_beretta, May 14, 2021.

  1. An oil thread you say? It's a lark, appreciated no doubt by the motorcyclists on the forum. Oil is the most discussed, opined, misunderstood and divisive issue in the motorcycle world.

    I wonder if in the photography world the "What is the best lens?" competes for something similar? But with that, I do want to tap your collective knowledge, biases and brains to help me sort through the decision or options for a lens or lens combo for travel.

    I'll be backpacking for a few weeks (mountains, tea house trek), so weight and space are an issue. I tend to shoot on the longer end of the spectrum and a good chunk of my shots is nearing the 200 mm mark as I traveled earlier (by motorcycle, so space and weight were less of an issue) and carried a 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 set of f2.8 glass. The 14-24 and 24-70 got a lot of use too of course.

    Given the restrictions, my initial thought was the 24-70 and a small f2 40 mm manual (Voigtlander) as a smaller evening/city lens. One body, which will be the Df based on weight, size, battery longevity etc.

    In looking around at options, I found the 24-120 f4 and the 28-300 f3.5-5.6. It seems from some of the reviews that the 28-300 might just be the better compromise versus the not so much longer 120 vs. the 24-70. The 28-300 is also a consumer lens so am I going to be happy with the output or will I cast it aside after a week?

    Are there other options/combos of small and large lenses that I am overlooking?
    Has anyone had good/bad/indifferent experiences with a 28-300?

    I am also going to be taking a Canon g5x Mark II along, so that is a consideration in the mix as well.

    Ideas, insults and opinions welcome.

    John Di Leo likes this.
  2. How about the 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED? Half the weight of the 70-200mm, sharp, and can often be found used in mint condition for $400-$500!

    I love those little Voigtlanters! If I wanted to travel light I'd probably bring my 20mm or 28mm, the 40mm, 90mm, and the Nikkor 180mm!
  3. Old, but I like it, the AF 24-85mm 2.8/4 'cos of it's 1:2 macro ability. I do a lot of flowers, bugs and beetles...:)

    and the lightweight 70-200mm f4 AFS VR.

    If you regularly go medium wide, the AFS 20mm 1.8 G.

    If you need daft wide, you can always make a pano!
  4. Funny. I was going to suggest those exact two lenses! Maybe drop the 24-85 and just take the 40mm Voigtlander
    instead? There's also the old 28-105/3.5-4.5 - which may just be good enough on a 16MP body. If close-up photography is something you like, maybe the older Micro-Zoom Nikkor 70-180 is an option - I loved that lens and it often substituted for the heavier and less versatile 80-200/2.8 in my bag.
    To me, that's a significant difference! My main mid-range zoom is the 24-105 (opting for the Sigma instead of the Nikon 24-120). There are also a few other 24-85 options (with and without VR) - I owned all of them and cannot recommend any of them. Never used the one that Mike mentioned - though I know it has a good reputation (often referred to as better than all the newer versions).
    I know that I would not be happy with that lens. Since you are used to the 14-24/24-70/70-200 combo, I can't imagine you would be satisfied.
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
  5. When I researched travelling (very) light, I wound up buying the AF-P 70-300 4.5-5.6E ED VR even though I had a 70-200/4VR. The lens is on sale by Nikon now. It is not equal to the latest 2.8 zoom, but I was satisfied with the performance to size & weight ratio.

    I am generally not a fan of mid range zooms, but the 24-85VR latest is a good bit smaller/lighter than the 24-120. Instead, I would pack a 20mmish prime and 35 or 40 or 50mm small but fast prime to go with the zoom. I have had a couple of the 28-105's mentioned earlier. They can be good, but both of mine failed for various reasons.

    Am spoiled now, I can pack a Z body with 14-30, tiny Voigtlander 40/1.4 (Leica mount), and the 70-300. To shed further bulk weight, I can swap in a tiny LTM Canon 100/3.5 and leave the 70-300 behind. Too bad I have not found a small good 20mm to go with the 40 & 100.

    Sorry about the font size. Got it crossed up and can't seem to adjust to the standard.

    Last edited: May 14, 2021
  6. I think my idea of 'light weight' differs from some! If keeping it minimal, I'd just take a standard (50mm equivalent) lens.

    Adding a little more weight and faff, I'd drop the 50 and go with a 35 & 80 combo, or another similar pair, such as a super wide and a standard, or standard and a longer (but small) tele, say a 135/4.

    That's about the most I'd personally be prepared to carry though; one body, two lenses.

    In your case, and not knowing the Nikon lenses at all, maybe your Voigtlander and the 70-200/4 mentioned above?

    Do you have a tiny super wide? That would cover most options.

    Or, can the compact cover the wide end of things acceptably?
  7. It's a personal decision based on the kind of travel you will be doing. But my travel kit matches what "Mike" posted: Nikon 24-85mm f3.5-4.5;70-200mm f4 and one prime lens, usually a 50mm or 35mm depending on what I might be shooting indoors or at night. I would not take a large and heavy 24-70mm f2.8.
  8. Best Oil P1010003.JPG
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Just one lens, 24-120 f4. Light combo, 24-85 and 70-300. I have the 28-300 bought to be "the one" for travel or walk around, but I too often just don't like the results. I find a fast 50 to be handy in the evening. Very sharp, small & light. If photos are to be focus of the trip, the kit needs to be fairly comprehensive. If it is an ...and photography situation, I'd take a small, high quality fixed lens with decent zoom.
    Wayne Melia likes this.
  10. Thanks all, some really good feedback. Based on the above, I think the 28-300 is out and I'll be taking a closer look at the 24-85 lens options, old and new. I'll take a small prime, either the 40 f2 Voigt or the 50 1.8G kit lens that came with the Df and takes some surprisingly sharp pictures. I traveled to Thailand in 2019, just before the world turned upside down, with the D850 and a 50 1.4 Zeiss and that was a tad too restrictive.
  11. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Despite the 16MP, except for specialist tasks or major crops, the Df is a wonderful travel camera. The color rendition is top drawer. I bought the 24-85 for that camera and used the pair extensively - handy.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Earlier this month, I got the 24-200mm/f4-6.3 Z-mount Nikkor lens. To me surprise it is quite decent in its entire zoom range, but of course it is still a super-zoom with its limitations. Moreover, it reaches f6.3 from about 75mm and up. For some, its main downside is that it is useless on Nikon DSLRs, but for those with mirrorless Z bodies, the 24-200 is quite a useful lens to have for casual and travel photography. I bought it mostly for video, but it looks like it is quite useful for still photography also.

    I also have the 28-300mm AF-S VR. IMO it is unsharp on the 300mm end.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  13. Quite surprised that the lens is still available new - it was introduced in Aug 2000!
  14. I might have missed the NEW bit.....:p. However, Roland's site doesn't have a 'finished making' date...??

    I try and not buy new as it's hazardous to the bank balance....:eek:
  15. Yes, I see what you did there...;)
  16. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, it is deliberate and nearly automatic.:D
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  17. The one lens I keep forgetting even exists is the Tamron 35-150/2.8-4. Might be an option if you don't need the shorter focal lengths (or can cover those with, for example, the 20/1.8).
    chulster likes this.
  18. It took a bit, but I think I'm finally with you.

    Since I have so many unmodified pre-AI lenses, I've wanted the Df for a long time, but now I think I'll give it a while to settle down. I've had really good luck with old 'new' stuff and with 'pre-owned' models, so...

    I find for full-size 35mm sensor, a nice 24-100mm something is awfully handy.
  19. I have been quite happy with the 24-120 f/4. Both short and long enough.

    I did not like the 24-70 nor the 24-85 i also own for being too short on the long end. Kept me wanting to switch back and forth to a longer lens.
    For even wider i used to carry the (fairly compact) 16-35, which i replaced with a Sigma 12-24. Neither was/is used a lot. For wider scenes, i flip the camera to portrait orientation (and often zoom in) and get a series of overlapping frames and stitch.

    On the long extension side i eventually decided on the small and lightweight consumer 70-300. Also not used a lot; less, even, then the wide zoom.

    The 24-120 is perhaps not considered to be the sharpest overall, but i have not had any complaints. I had people point out a little speck in a seascape panorama, and could show them that when viewed from close enough the speck they noticed in a 60 x 180 cm panorama was in fact a fishing boat, with even the rigging cables resolved. (Which posed the question whether to retouch and remove the thing because it normally appeared - when noticed at all - as a speck, or keep it in because it held image content).
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  20. I kind of miss my early days with photography when I had 1 body, consumer 28-80 and 80-200 zooms and a decent tripod. Never any decision making when I was going out.

    Eric Sande
    kevin_beretta likes this.

Share This Page