[kinda complicated] D300 + 17-55mm f/2.8 ::OR:: D700 + 24-85mm f/2.8-4?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by gabriel_afana, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. So here is my situation...I own a D300, a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and a Nikon 24-85 f/2.8-4. For the photography that I
    do, I need large aperture lenses and high ISOs (I do ultra low-light rave photography).
    Also, I get packed in very tight in huge crowds and the need for a wide-angle lens is very important. Right now on
    my D300 with my 17-50mm tamron, everything is great!!!!!!! However there is a problem - the Tamron lens cannot
    hold up to the work I put it through.
    This is my second Tamron 17-50 lens! The first one ***literally*** fell apart. The zoom ring just spun over and over
    and never did anything but make grinding noises. Ritz camera said it must have been an rare fluke because they
    haven't had problems liek that with Tamron. I got another one and although this one is still holding up, its starting to
    make funny noises when I zoom and its starting to feel "notchy". I get teh feeling its about to fall apart too. After
    many threads here on photo.net, it was determined that teh tamron cannot hold up to the intensity of the
    photography (Shooting every weekend, sometimes twice every weekend doing over 1k pictures at each event packed
    in huge crowds).
    The solution was to upgrade teh tamron to the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8. I went to ritz yesterday to buy it but while i was
    there, I had a realization....That nikon lens is about $1200 or something like that, and its a DX lens. Such a waste in
    my opinion for such an expensive lens. So then I was thinking, instead of spending $1200 on a DX lens that will be
    VERY heavy to cary around for 8 hours at a time, why not sell my D300 and put that $1200 into getting a D700.
    I already have a Nikon 24-85 f/2.8-4 and ive NEVER had any problem siwth that lens. So the idea is to use the D700
    with the 24-85 lens instead of buying the big 17-55 lens for the D300. I did the math and on the full-frame sensor, I
    would actually go wider and zoom in farther with the 24-85 on a full frame than the 17-55 on a DX.
    Plus for the same money as the original option, I would have a D700 :p
    So here is my question:
    1) Am I right in my calculations and thinking process?
    2) the 24-85 is not f/2.8, its f/2.8-4. I REALLY REALLY need every bit of speed I can get for the photography I do. I
    typically use my 50mm f/1.4 to get some shots that I otherwise cannot get because light is so low. My consern is
    that as I zoom in, my aperture will drop from 2.8 to 4. I know the D700 can go up to 6400 ISO. I now shoot 3200
    ISO on my D300 (pics go on the web so it looks ok). If I were to shoot at 6400 ISO on the D700, it would effectively
    double my speed. This is wonderful! However, I'll go from a 2.8 lens (my tamron) to a 2.8-4. So zoomed in, how
    much slower is f/4 from f/2.8? Is it more than 2x slower? If so, my net speed will decrease using the D700 :-( I dont
    understand the speed differences in f-stops so any insite here would be appreciated.

    P.S. here is a fun pic I recently took using the 50mm f/1.4...just some shameless bragging because I was really
    happy with this picture :)
    <img src="http://www.plurlife.com/gallery/5/52/521/5219/52193/3/2/1/0/0/9/321009.jpg">
    - Gabe
  2. going one stop from f2.8 to f4 halves the amount of light. FX cameras favor wide angle lenses; DX cameras, zooms. If wide angle shots are your "thing", FX is the way to go, but of course, FX bodies do come at much higher price,

    You stated that your target medium is the web; why not just stick with your D300 and a fast prime lens? You can always crop/zoom during PP anyway.

    Best to put your $$ into glass instead of buying a new D700 and sticking a cheap kit lens on it.
  3. A D700 shoots about one stop faster (ISO 3200) than the D300 (ISO 1600). However, f4 is one stop slower than f2.8. Verdict: It's a wash, except you have a lot more money tied up in a camera body which will quickly lose value vs. having money tied up in a first class lens, which will hold it's value better. I bought a Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 for about $870 on eBay. It seems pretty solid so far. I am rough on gear. I am a night photographer and have been happy with the lens.

    Kent in SD
  4. I need a good wide-angle zooming lens. The Nikon 24-85 is not a kit lens...paid almost $700 it.

    As for shooting with a prime, I have a 50mm f/1.4 which is great...but most of our shots are of groups of people and wide-angle is so very important. Plus, since many times we are packed in crowds, I dont usually have the luxury of moving around to get it framed right with a prime - hense the zoom is very important. This is why I was thinking to use my nikon 24-85 I already have on a newer body to achive the same end-result. Plus I would have a better camera and my 16mm fisheye would actually look like a fisheye :p

    But you really recommend getting the DX 17-55 nikon lens instead?

    You guys have posed some food for thought.....I just feel bad putting so much money in a DX lens. However, if I ever do get a full-frame camera, it will still work right on the FX? just act teh same as on a DX sensor...yes?
  5. On a 12MP FX camera, the 17-55 will produce 5MP images (due to the crop).

    If you mainly use wide angle, consider the 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S lens. You'll lose 36-55mm, but it will give you the optical quality and build quality you need now, and it will serve you on the very wide end for an FX body down the road. Sell the Tamron and the 24-85 Nikkor.
  6. For web work, you can easily shoot at ISO 6400 with your D300 and get outstanding results (with advanced post processing software and RAW files). You don't need the D700.
  7. I too will likely buy a D700 at some point, probably when it drops below $1,800 or so. I bought the 17-55mm f2.8 anyway. Here's why. I bought the lens used, patiently watching on eBay until I got one for under $900. I will use that lens on a D300 (which I just purchased for $1155 from eBay) until the D700 price drops. And, it will drop. When that time comes, I will sell the 17-55mm f2.8 and likely get about what I paid for it. It is an excellent lens. The D300 will obviously continue to go down in price as the D700 does, and that's where I will lose money. Bottom line is I get good ISO 3200 performance now, and later too.

    Kent in SD
  8. I'm glad for that last answer, because the D300 is known to be a low-light champ. It's not the D700 or D3 necessarily, but it
    was a big step beyond the D200. I'm able to take great 1600 ISO shots with it, and I've taken a number of very usable 2000
    ISO and above shots as well.
  9. I've never actually tried shooting at 6400 ISO on the D300...I might give it a try when I ahve hard shots I cant get.

    Kent, your response was very persuasive to me...you made a good point about losing value on the body and not so much on the lens.

    Plus, I read a bunch about the 17-55mm f/2.8 being a real champ in terms of quality. anybody want to sell me one for $800? :p gabe@plurlife.com
  10. Get the Tokina 11-16 for fast quality wide angle. If you can find it in stock. The Tokina 12-24 is almost as good but available.
  11. I was thouroughly unimpressed with the 17-55 lens: Very Noticeable distortion at wide end, average sharpness throughout
    the zoom range.
  12. it's pointless to get a d700 if you don't have the right lenses for it.

    if you stick with the d300, you could get a 2.8 w/a and a 2.8 zoom and still be under $1200.

    i'd think about the 11-16/2.8 tokina or the 10.5/2.8 nikkor fisheye, which should be perfect for the work you do and would get you wider than the 24-85 on a d700.

    if you are abusing your poor tamron zoom--mine has held up to a lot of concert/crowd settings over the past year and a half and no notchy noises, growls, or whimpers, although i don't think i've ever shot more than 400 pics at one single event--perhaps the tokina 16-50/2.8 would suffice. it has a much more solid build than the tamron and is still $600 less than the nikkor 17-55.

    with the 17-55 what you're really paying extra for is reputation, build, and focusing speed. IQ seems pretty similar between that and the tokina/tamron/sigma variants. i don't know if i would buy one new, but $870 for a lightly-used one would be tempting.

    and of course, if you really wanted to future-proof, you'd be looking at the 17-35 instead of the 17-55..
  13. I was thinking strongly about the tokina, but I have that 24-85 nikon lens and its worked like a champ. I've had it for 3 years and the rest of the team uses that lens every weekend so its goign through the same hard work as the tamron and the nikon one has held up with NO problems....im approaching my 3rd tamron :p

    So I thinkim going to caugh up the extra money and just buy the Nikon lens....but im gonna look for it used. However everybody on ebay is selling it new and the few that are really used are not cheap. Would be happy to find it around $800-$900
  14. maybe try www.nikonians.org? they have a 'want to sell' forum, and many folks unload their used glass there first before listing on ebay..
  15. Thanks...I'll give it a shot.

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