An oil thread / the best travel lens?

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

  1. Film ?
  2. I have a hard time telling someone what they should carry. I have difficulty enough deciding what I should carry on a trip, or even an afternoon outing. I'm not into backpacking, but I can appreciate the dilemma. I pack by the ounce when traveling abroad in order to meet airline restrictions, and considering how much I can schlepp once I get there. It would be more useful to describe ways in which you can make a decision.

    If you use Lightroom, there's a simple tool to show which lenses and focal lengths you used for a given set of images. In lieu of objective data, you can do a mental walk-through of your planned excursion, visualizing what you expect to see and how you would choose to shoot it. I'm not a hiker, so my needs are different, and probably my interests. In your case I wouldn't worry about distortion or slow speed in a consumer lens. If I had a 28-300/4.5-5.6 zoom, I'd probably keep it on the camera and leave everything else behind. There are no straight lines in nature. If anything needs doing in a hurry, I won't be reaching for a lens.

    On a recent circumnavigation of Ireland (Wild Waves Road), nearly 50% of my shots were at 50 mm and 80% in the range of 24-70. The balance was with Sony 100-300 zoom and I only used a 16-35 zoom at one location. On a more recent trip to Seattle and the Cascades, I used only a set of Zeiss Loxia manual primes, 21, 25, 35, 50, and 85. Combined, they weigh less a 100-300 zoom (which I left in the car) and fit in a small fanny pack. As much as I enjoy macro photography near home, I haven't carried a macro lens on the road for over 6 years - never used it, didn't miss it.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  3. Shell Rotella T-6 and if you start a tire thread, Pirelli Scorpion Trail II s are my favs for my GS
    robert_bowring likes this.
  4. Well, the Df isn't going to be too demanding of optical quality. So if buying especially for light weight and versatility, I wouldn't even consider anything Nikon in 'kit' price and weight class.

    My choice would be a Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 and their SP VC 70-300mm. Filled in at the short end by a 24mm or 20mm prime (your choice there). An earlier version of Tamron SP 28-75 served me well for several years on a D700 and I've just bought the latest Sony FE version that also doesn't disappoint.

    Tamron seem to be the only lens maker that are able or willing to combine light-weight, constant aperture and good optical quality. Their reasonable prices are a nice bonus as well.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  5. Bah ...Still running 20w50 dino oil in both airheads (R80RT '83 and R80G/S '86). :) Check out more bike stuff here:
    John Di Leo likes this.
  6. You know.... there indeed no straight lines in nature. Good point @Ed_Ingold . I may take a look at the Tamron option @rodeo_joe|1 although after 2 miserable Sigma experiences with "Art" lenses I've shied away from non-Nikon lenses.
  7. Do tell....;)
  8. Well I wanted to buy a 50 mm 1.4 and went to a local store to buy the Nikon variant. In talking to the clerk, he convinced me to try the Sigma. I'd heard about how good they were and it was a bit cheaper so I thought why not. I could not get a decent sharp picture with it. The auto-focus was all over the place, even on a tripod. On manual, the pictures were amazing and I can see why people raved about it. But no dice on AF. So I brought it back the day after and let the whole thing go; they didn't have the 1.4 Nikon G which I was after anyways. The AF on my D700 at the time was fine. A while later, a week or so, my regular camera guy was back from vacation and I went over to his store (Lens and Shutter at the time in Vancouver). He raved about the Sigma as well. So we tried one on my camera in the store and could not get it to work, same experience as with the first one. I ended up buying a 50 1.4G Nikon.

    Still Sigma-curious, I ended up reading a number of similar issues, but by and large, most of the reviews from the normal sources were near-orgasmic in their adulation of the Sigma Art lens. And then I read, and I don't know if this is true, that Sigma sends lenses to reviewers; they don't source them independently. Of course, if true, then you have to question whether their lenses were not all in spec coming off the assembly line. I think later they provided a dock or something to tune up the auto focus issues. So I stay well away from after-market stuff since then.
    FPapp likes this.
    In my mind, that means space and weight are premium items = small and light.

    Unless you are REALLY determined for max IQ (vs. good enough), or have planned for the extra space and weight, I would consider a light 2-lens kit.
    Something like the following:
    - A 28-300, or similar consumer super zoom, for light weight and carrying a single lens vs. two or three lenses.
    There will be a compromise in IQ, to get the zoom range in a single lens.​
    - And your 50/1.4 for low light conditions. Maybe not even this, if you are primarily shooting in the sunlight, and not hiking in deep forest.

    Or for a heavier 2-lens kit.
    - A 24-120, or similar wide to short tele zoom.
    The Tamron 35-150/2.8-4 is similar to the 24-120, but with the focal range shifted up. So not as wide on the short end, and longer on the long end. But I don't consider this a light lens.​
    - And a 70-300 or 100-400, for more distant subjects.
    The 70-300 being the smaller/lighter lens.​

    For comparison:
    My personal DX travel kit are 2-lenses:
    DX 18-140 and 35/1.8​
    My personal m4/3 travel kit is made up of consumer grade (non-pro) lenses.
    A 12-60 (equivalent to a FX 24-120) and 17/1.8 (equiv to a FX 35).
    The 60mm max, was good enough for most of what I shot.
    These two lenses were specifically selected for minimum space and weight. ​

    As for 3rd party lenses.
    • I've used Tamron 17-50/2.8 DX non-VR, and 70-200/2.8 FX on my D7200 with no problem.
    • I've used Tamron 17-50/2.8 DX non-VR, 35-150/2.8-4 FX, and 70-210/4 FX on a Canon T7i also with no problem.
    • I've only use one Sigma, the 17-50/2.8 DX. on a Canon T7i. It worked fine, but I did not like its operation. The zoom ring turned in the opposite direction than Nikon (real confusing when I shoot sports), and the zoom ring with a short 60 degree throw was STIFF to turn.
    Your D700 likely has a hardware or firmware issue with the later lenses.
    That is a problem with Nikon lenses. Some of the later lenses do not work, or only partially functions on older cameras.
    That may have been the case with the Sigma lenses you tried.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  10. Was this the 50mm 1.4 ART or the previous version?
  11. Both were the art version.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  12. It was a lot simple wasn't it. I still have my Nikon D70 on my self and it was simpler back then. Plus many people had a lot less gear back then which made the decision easier.

    Travelling light yeah is different to each and every person. While I never carried a 70-200/80-200 F2.8 with my overseas travels or when I didn't have my own transport. Even going from a D70 to a D600 I could notice the extra weight and size. Squeezing a UWA zoom and 2 primes into a Lowepro Photo Runner bag was maxing it out. I have never travelled with a photo backpack doing city backpacking trips, ie 2 or 3 nights in each place and then move onto the next. Even as a solo traveller.

    The modern same equiv lenses over the years have also gotten larger. Even a 50mm F1.8G now has a 58mm filter thread. I guess Nikon Z the body is smaller but the lenses make up for it. FWIW, I just got a second hand Fuji X and I intend to get the same lenses as my Nikon for travelling that is a UWA zoom and 1 or 2 primes. If I was just chilling I might just leave the zoom at the room and go out with just the 1 or 2 primes. I am also really loving my Ricoh GR esp if I am city bound and I am not catching that sunrise or sunset honing into some landscapes or cityscapes like in the daytime. One thing I like for casual photography is that compact cameras or premium compact ones have a macro feature so you can document your travels with friends and family a lot easier like in the plane, the train, at the station etc, at the cafe. Although many people now just use their phones for that.

    Edit. I don't do much in the areas of even visiting a wildlife park or a zoo and photographing wildlife ........
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  13. Is that in the same ballpark as the Nikon Coolpix A?
  14. Dieter, thank you for bringing up this lens. I was reading the thread for when I hope to resume travel after staying put for too long, and that focal length range has always intrigued me. I believe the late Nadine Ohara, a much-missed member of PN for years, used a much earlier Tamron 35-135mm in some of her wedding photography.

    My own advice to Kevin is to try to anticipate how much flexibility each of your trips will allow. Ages ago, while in the UK, a friend suggested that we might be able to attend the Wimbledon tennis tournament and photograph, which I hadn't planned to do. Having a moderately long zoom (to 200mm) was very helpful. Traveling in Japan, a colleague noticed how intently I searched for the sight of Mt. Fuji as we rode the bullet train beween Osaka and Tokyo, and arranged for us to make a day trip to the famous mountain. Some trips are tightly scheduled, and you know what to take; with others, you just don't know.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  15. Ah, if only Nikon had made a J6 or a V4.

    Full set of modest zooms from 6.7 > 300mm (not in 1 lens!) (EQ 17 > ~800mm ) Most with effective VR.

    A good set of primes. 10, 18 and 32mm.... and even a small dedicated fill-in flash. (useless as a flash, but OK as a trigger!)

    And the ability to use F mount lenses, all-be-it crippled to AF centre point only and lenses under 300mm only.

    .....and the whole lot would fit in a small kangaroo pouch as minor carry-on luggage...:cool:

    But they stopped at the J5, just as they were making progress with very good AF and a BSI sensor.

    Most people who comment on them very negatively never got to know them. ;)

    However, I guess such a sensor does indeed suffer from low light issues....:(

    So, how do phones manage so well with even SMALLER sensors?? :confused:
  16. I am currently resisting the urge to add that lens to me arsenal - it would make a perfect companion to the Tamron 15-30/2.8VC - a two-lens travel solution. Much more convenient when having the rather large gap when opting for a 70-200 instead. But I don't want to purchase any more F-mount lenses and I already opted for a three-lens Sony mirrorless system for travel.
  17. Regarding the 28-300mm zoom, have a look here: AF-S NIKKOR 28-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR (field experience and more)
    The lens might be more challenged on a high resolution camera, but it should be fine on the 16MP Df.

    If you really want a light hiking kit, consider an m4/3 body with the Lumix 14-140/3.5-5.6 II zoom, which covers essentially the same zoom range as the Nikon 28-300. This version has some weather sealing, I have the original version without weather sealing and have used it for hiking. It is amazingly compact and surprisingly good. It's decently sharp, does well when shooting into the sun, and has nice background rendition (it's never going to be a lens which blows out the background but you will get some background blurring even with this small format and relatively slow aperture)
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  18. And there's the issue....

    I'm an FX DSLR and FX ML user. Why would I buy a Z lens I can only use on one body.

    We're back to why Nikon ML lenses are 'better' in most ways than Nikon DSLR lenses. They couldn't be bothered/afford to make an F lens to suit the newer hi-res bodies. Forget the larger lens mount smoke screen, they were caught being lazy. Everyone else overtook them.

    Nikon's primes for the last 10 years were not as good as the indie competition.

    Oooh look, new mount means we can now make better lenses. Rubbish, they always could.

    Oh, and why are Nikon not making (or even have on the road map) any medium length Z primes?

    The World doesn't end at 85mm. Considering medium primes are seen as 'easy' lenses to make well.. why?

    A 200mm f2 Z would sell if they got the price right. The pointless 58mm Noct is a waste of talent and resources.
    q.g._de_bakker likes this.
  19. One of many I'd say...
    Personally, I decided to use what I currently have (and hopefully can stick with it). Essentially, my entire Nikon FX DSLR system is waiting to be traded - the question is simply - for what? Until I can answer that question, I'll happily keep using what I already own.

    On a quite circuitous route, I ended up with what at least for the time being seems to me the perfect mirrorless travel set-up (A7R3, 12-24/4, 24-105/4, 100-400/4.5-5.6; I might consider the Tamron 70-180/2.8 for those times when I don't want/need the 100-400 along; but I might as well just carry the Leica Apo-Telyt 180/3.4 then). I probably need to add a second mirrorless body at some point too - but again, I need to wait to find out if that's going to be a Sony (which then pretty much locks me into that system), or whether I will find my way back to Nikon and its Z-mount system (that path right now isn't open as Nikon is lacking most of the lenses I would want; I don't consider adapting F-mount lenses to a Z-mount body as a path I'd like to go on). I am also on the fence with regard to adding any prime lenses to my mirrorless setup - for most of my applications (aside from avian photography and macro) I fail to see the reason to carrying them.

    For my avian photography, the D500 (and the recently added D850) can't be beat with anything Nikon currently offers - so here I definitely need to wait to see what the future brings (Z8?) - for this application I likely will have to adapt the F-mount 500PF (and 300PF); and/or replace the 200-500.

    Without the COVID pandemic and without my local camera store closing, I'd probably would have done some "opportunity" trading as there are a few lenses I'd like to give a try. Doing so online has a lot less appeal and I need to overcome a much higher activation barrier - so far, sufficiently high to keep me from overcoming it.

    I think with some of the more "recent" releases Sigma has shown that DSLR lenses can be designed that rival the best designs for mirrorless, at least in optical quality; size and weight are a different matter. In Nikon's defense, some of their more "recent" releases also have a optical quality that surpasses by a good margin Nikon's previous offerings.

    On a separate note: when traveling (involving flights and their imposed restrictions on what and how much I can bring), I still prefer to bring the best I can - even if photography is not the main reason/focus of the trip.
  20. Pretty much it is yep but the Ricoh GR is said to have better focus if I recall correctly. The Coolpix A is discontinued now and the Ricoh has the GR3 now. It is also the same sensor as the Fujifilm X70 but the Ricoh is said to be a tad sharper. The X70 is now the XF10.
    mike_halliwell likes this.

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