D7100 Wide Lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by satya_a, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Hi, I have seen many recent posts about D7100 and lens questions. None of them fits my situation. Hence this, which may bear some resemblance to other questions.
    I stopped using a kit zoom (since it broke) and want to replace the wide angle range with a good prime. Based on my shooting preference and needs, the following are my focal lengths:
    * 30-35mm (DX 20-24mm) - 40% - missing a lens in this range
    * 50mm - 30% - I use 35/1.8 DX lens
    * 85mm - 10% - I use 50/1.8G
    * Tele zoom - 20% - I use 70-300mm VR (travel, outdoor events, etc.)
    What I need is a prime lens for indoor/family pictures, that performs well on D7100. I noticed that 'affordable' zooms don't perform so well on this camera. I tried 18-200 VR II, 24-85 VR, the older 24-120 VR and Sigma 24-70/2.8. None of them produced images visibly sharper than the 18-105 kit lens but they're all heavier and/or more expensive. I did not try the Nikon 16-85mm DX or Sigma 17-70|C because of so many mixed reviews. I never tried a prime lens in this range.
    The only lens that produced excellent IQ was the Sigma 18-35/1.8 but it had other issues. First and foremost, it was too heavy to carry around all day. Second, because it's a zoom, its range is neither true wide-angle nor a standard all-round. It is a good substitute for 20mm, 24mm, 28mm AND 35mm primes (that's actually great) but it is too heavy as a primary lens for my use.
    What would you recommend for good IQ/performance on D7100:
    1: Nikon 20/2.8D (my first preference if it is up to D7100 performance)
    2: Nikon 24/2.8D (my second preference if it is up to D7100 performance)
    Other less preferred options I think about are:
    3: Going back to Sigma 18-35/1.8 if it's the best option (knowing that I will probably use it less than I want to, due to its weight)
    4: Nikon 20/1.8G (don't know if it outperforms the Sigma but costs as much and is significantly lighter)
    5: Tokina 12-28/f4 DX zoom (probably as good as brand name zooms in this range but significantly cheaper)
    Thanks!
    Satya
     
  2. I think if I were you I would choose either the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 or the Tokina 12-28 f/4 because they are the only two that are DX lenses. I don't want to use FX lenses on DX camera. For example for the Nikon 20mm f/2.8 you pay for the extra coverage that you can't use and can't save that money to put into a sharper lens. For the 20mm f/1.8 it's too expensive as you have to pay for the sharpness as well as the extra coverage.
     
  3. I have been very happy with the Nikkor 35mm. AF-G 1.8 G. It is light weight. is crystal clear and sharp as a tack. It is my walk around lens for my d7100 and it almost never leaves the camera. The price makes it a fantastic value.
    -O
     
  4. My experience with the 20/2.8D has not been positive - even on DX the corners are unacceptably soft at f/2.8 and f/4. The 24/2.8D performed no better at those apertures. Wide open the 16-85 (f/4 - f/4.5) performs better than the 20 and 24 stopped down to these apertures. What's the point of carrying those f/2.8 primes if they can't perform wide open or stopped down one stop? They are a waste of money on DX (and FX as well). I rather get the Tokina 12-28/4 than any of those AF-D primes that you mention.
    The new 20/1.8G AF-S might be an option - but it costs as much as the Sigma 18-35/1.8 but weighs only about half. Considering that the 18-35 replaces the 20 and the 35 and gives the versatility of a zoom, I would rather carry the additional weight than dealing with constant lens changes. YMMV.
     
  5. mmm How about a Sigma AF 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM ?
    Performs reasonably well, is not to expensive, is not so heavy as the 18-35 ( one stop slower though..) ?
    Here's a review : http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/838-sigma175028os?start=2
     
  6. Your shortlist... I don't think the lens you'd want is on it:
    1. No
    2. No
    3. If you find it too heavy, you find it too heavy.
    4. Could be an option, though it's relatively large and costly for DX, as it's designed for FX. Not very wide either on DX.
    5. Very reasonable choice, and certainly one to keep on the list. But quite wide for people photos, to be honest; not the ideal choice, imho.
    I would at least try either Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 C or the Nikon 16-85VR (which I had), as they are far more versatile tools, and that is very convenient (alongside the primes). From my experience, the 16-85VR is slightly better than the 18-105VR; I actually never found negative tests on the 16-85VR, apart from being quite costly for a variable aperture f/5.6 lens. But its optical performance is just fine. Whether it is "better enough" to warrant the extra cost over a 18-105VR, hard to say. Another option here is the newer 18-140VR; it's also quite a bit more expensive though. Getting another 18-105VR is very cost-effective.
    Don't dismiss either of these lenses yet, even if they may not make the most logical choices for indoors. The lens recommended by CPM above would go a nice way to fix that shortcoming. The Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 lenses make a fine choice both.
    One of the points that would help to understand, though, is how dim is the indoor light? Maybe a flash is a better investment than a lens, as many indoor photos does not look sharp because they simply have flat lighting or dim light that has too little contrast. The current 24-85VR for example should at least perform as well as a 18-105VR, I think, but without knowing how you tested them and what kind of light you had, it is impossible to say. But it could cause a big disappointment if you spend good money on a lens, only to find that the real problem is the light you're dealing with.
     
  7. Thanks to all for sharing your opinions and suggestions so far. This will help me zero in on one or two lenses from a wide choice out there. I will look up more reviews and tests of the lenses you have recommended.
    I did not consider Sigma 18-50/2.8 earlier but it seems to be a good recommendation. After trying and returning three lenses I am hesistant to try another until I am sure of it. That is the main reason for my post.
    Wouter:
    Your question is very valid and in line with my observations. When I say indoor lighting, it is mostly CFL/LED lights that are 'warm' type not 'daylight' type. I get close to natural looking colors with WB set to around 2700K, except when there is a mix of outside light from the windows. Shadows quickly turn a lot darker under these lights.
    I did notice with my 18-105 that it had some difficulty due to the flat lighting or low contrast you mention but it did better than the 24-120 VR, 18-200, etc. Just as occasional bad pieces, may be I had a good one! In outdoor daylight, they are all very close to each other. The 18-35/1.8|A produced consistently better pictures in any lighting.
    Sorry, 24-85VR was a typo; that is not one of the leses I tested.
    I notice from test results that 17-70 doesn't show much improvement from D7000 to D7100. Does that mean it is lacking in resolving capability for the new 24MP DX cameras?
    What I feel strange about Sigma lenses is that their zoom rings are not consistent in direction. The 18-35|A is consistent my my Nikon. So was the discontinued 50-150/2.8 OS. The 17-70|C and 18-300|C are the opposite. Does it bother others or do you just get used to it?
    I probably should try the Nikon 16-85 VR and hope that it will perform better than some bad reviews suggest.
    I did think about 18-140 ($200 discount if I find a friend buying new camera). It has similar performance as 18-105 and metal mount. I may still miss a faster lens at 24mm but will the flash solve that problem?
    I do have a bounce flash but haven't actively used it. I need to get used to the bounce technique and learn which way to bounce in different rooms for best results (because one has vaulted high celing while the other has low false ceiling).
    I wish Nikon made a 24mm/DX lens that matched the optical quality of the DX 35/1.8G even if it was f/2.8 and priced 50% more. I have everything else I need except this :)
    Don't hesitate to share other viable recommendations or suggestions on details above.
    Thanks.
    Satya
     
  8. I second the idea of the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS. It's very good, and reasonably light. Certainly lighter than a bag full of single focal lenses. As a bonus it has OS (Sigma's VR.) For a long lens I think the Nikon 70-200mm f4 VR is the way to go.
    Kent in SD
     
  9. I'm very happy with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (non VR version) - sharp, very reasonably priced and light
    Good luck
    Chris
     
  10. I agree with Owen, the 35mm f1.8 is a great lens and at a price that can't be beat.
     
  11. +3 with Owen's response. The 35mm f/1.8 is <$200 but is sharp, fast and can't be beat at that price range. In the D7100 with the APC-S sensor, it's about the normal 50mm (actually 52.5mm). Good luck
     
  12. 20mm isn't all that wide on DX. Of your choices I'd go for the tokina but I would seriously consider the sigma 1.8 zoom as others mentioned and the 10-20 or tokina 11-16.
     
  13. On the Sigma zoom direction (opposite of standard Nikon): I have the 17-50 and this doesn't bother me much - I thought it would be far more annoying than it is in practice.
    Most of the time you adjust fairly quickly after you put the lens on - in my case, at least, I barely register it as an issue. The other thing is that this is the type of lens you tend to leave on for a while, it's not a specialist lens, so you generally don't have that feeling of adjustment very often. (Of course, if you're the type that has three cameras around your neck at all times, maybe it would be more of an issue)
    I suppose everyone is different, but I found this much more of an issue with manual focus cameras/lenses. Focussing was much more instinctual and visceral, and anything that threw off the feel (for lack of a better word) could be really disruptive and lead to missed shots. Back then, I wouldn't have thought of buying a lens that focussed 'the wrong way.'
    Zooming to me is not like that, and I can't recall ever feeling I missed a shot because of the zoom direction.
     
  14. I noticed that 'affordable' zooms don't perform so well on this camera.​
    You could have fooled me! I have a D7100 and use the kit lens (18-105) exclusively for indoor, natural light family type shooting. My copy of this lens is very sharp wide open at all focal lengths. The D7100 allows me to shoot at a wide range of iso's as well, with very acceptable noise/grain, especially in typical size prints, like 8x10, and web photos. My older Nikon 18-70 is an amazing lens as well, but lacks the VR, which I like indoors so I can shoot at slower shutter speeds. Outdoors it is just as sharp as the 18-105. I have several prime lenses, but when shooting a family gathering I really appreciate the zoom to quickly capture moments that are too fleeting to be moving around with my feet to get the right framing. Just look at my folders. Here's an example from our family Christmas party this evening. Shot at 52mm fl, iso 3200, 1/15 sec (VR on), wide open at f5.
    00d1ur-553539884.jpg
     
  15. Steve: That is an excellent picture.
    As I said before, the 18-105mm is a very good kit lens. And from all the reviews I have seen, the 18-140 is comparable. Especially with the discount when bought with a camera, they have excellent price-performance benefit over all other lenses. Of all the affordable lenses I have tried, nothing produced visibly better results than my late 18-105mm.
    Thomas: I agree that 20mm is not very wide on DX but is closest to the 35mm FX focal length I am looking for. It sure is a bit expensive.
    Owen, Jim, Delwyn, others: I understand your recommendation of 35/1.8 DX and completely agree with it. There is no better lens at $200. I use it comfortably outdoor/bigger space. When using indoor, the 35mm is not wide enough for me. I grew up with a 36mm film camera and feel at ease with that focal length (~24mm on DX). I am not used to lenses wider than that. Even at 28mm FX, I have spoiled many shots with bad composition.
    I am looking forward to try 24-85 VR, 16-85 VR and Tokina 12-28 f/4. I will borrow them from friends for a few days or rent them from a local store when available. I am not buying/returning this time.
    Many online recommendations say not to buy lenses with overlapping focal length but I find that impractical. For example, the 18-140 will serve most general situations. At specific times only something like Sigma 18-35/1.8 can do the job. When one can afford, I think it is useful to have these multiple lenses.
    Until I find that right combination, my DX 35/1.8, 50/1.8G and 70-300 VR will find good use.
    Thanks.
    Satya
     

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