Landscape kit

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by hector_andrade, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Dear photoneters, I hope you are doing fine. In one week, I will be travelling to the US and have planned to buy accessories for my new D7000 hoping to increase the quality of my landscape pictures. After emailing with Shun and Erick Arnold, I thought that I had made up my mind but a live chat with a store put questions in my head again.
    I was planning to upgrade my 18-135 that came with my D80 to something like the tamron 17-50 non vc for the main purpose of landscape photos as I have follow your discussions about kit lenses not living up to the expectations of higher pixels demand. However the guy from the store told me that I will profit more from a 70-300 VR instead as I shoot anyway in good light at F8. I have a 300 f4 (recommended by you here) and feel that maybe the 70-300 will be "repetitive". So I'm torn between buying a lens that is optical better with a shorter reach that maybe I wont notice quality differences, or a lens that could give me more reach in my trips (if I take the 300 f4 on my backpack, I will brake my back). I will buy a Hoya polarizer to go with the lens and have already purchased a gorillapod as a trip-tripod. You can see the kind of pictures that I want to take in this thread (which made me decide on a tokina 11-16 back in 2009)
    Thanks a lot!
  2. Hector,
    I'm not sure which store you contacted, but for landscapes I'm not sure you would benefit from the 70-300mm VR. I do think the 11-16 + 17-55 is a great kit for most landscape photographers. Personally I rarely go wider than 35mm, but I don't shoot landscapes very often.
    I will admit that last weekend I shot a series of photos for a panoramic landscape and used my 70-200mm at 105mm and 135mm f/8 and f/11 for the hour I was shooting. (evening shot, tripod, waiting for the perfect light balance of skylight and city lights).
    Personally I'd go with the 17-55 if you already have the 11-16.
  3. Based on your sample photos and comments in the thread you link to, none of the lenses listed appear to be the right lens for you . You probably need an ultra-wide like the ones mentioned there.
    Since it appears you cannot afford two lenses, you need to decide whether you want wide or long first.
    Just curious... how specifically is your current lens not living up to your expectations?
  4. I don't get why people buy expensive f2.8 zoom to setup on their tripod to shoot f8/11. I also think the OP would benefit with something smaller like a 70-300 VR or 55-300 DX VR for what he does.
  5. I don't get why people buy expensive f2.8 zoom to setup on their tripod to shoot f8/11.​
    Personally I don't shoot landscapes very often, but when I do I use my big f/2.8 zooms to do it. Why? BECAUSE I CAN!!!
    I purchased my big, heavy, expensive f/2.8 zooms for purposes other than shooting landscapes, but the reality is that I'm more comfortable with them than with something like a 70-300mm or 55-200mm. It boils down to a big smooth manual focus ring vs. a plasticy lens that is clearly not designed to be focused manually due to it's tiny, hard to use, and poorly placed focus ring. Additionally, I've already got a set of 77mm ND filters, two Grad ND filters, and a CPL.
    That's why I shoot landscapes with big, heavy, expensive f/2.8 zooms.
  6. bms


    I remember my first "digital" trip, using a D80, a Tamron 17-50 and a Nikkor 18-200. All are sold now, but the most useful combo was the D80/17-50. Prints up to 11x14 were no problem. With the D7000 and a 17-50 (or 17-55), I think you'd be set. Take a 70-300VR along if you want to splurge, the lens is not too heavy and optically sound.
  7. Richard,
    The OP said he shoots landscape and's that what he does. He doesn't do it "sometime" or on "occasions" I'm sure there are also people who buy a (7k) M9 and a 35 asph (3k) to shoot landscape on a tripod as well. I sure don't get them either...But, hey, they *can* do it.
    I purchased my big, heavy, expensive f/2.8 zooms for purposes other than shooting landscapes...​
    There, you proved my point...
  8. I would follow Shun's advice.
  9. Looks like you do a lot of hiking. Go light. The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 is compact and relatively light. The 300mm f4 is a great lens, but it is heavy, big, and not all that versatile. I would consider selling it and buying a Nikon 70-300mm VR. It's lighter, more versatile, and image quality is still good. Since you mostly shoot landscapes in good light and use a tripod, you can get by with slower lenses. Lightness and compactness is more important to you than lens speed.
    Kent in SD
  10. the only reason to get a 70-300 VR over a 17-50 VC is because you need more reach. the 17-50 is actually tack sharp at f/9-11 corner to corner, with the added bonus of being able to accomplish subject isolation at open apertures and shoot in low-light. if you compare it on photozone with the nikon 16-85, the two lenses are basically neck and neck in terms of sharpness across the aperture range, with the tamron having 2.8 and the nikon having 35mm more on the long end. that was kind of an eye opener for me as i expected the nikor to be better stopped down.
    in general, the 17-50 makes a lot of sense as an upgrade from the kit lens, and photozone's tests on the d7000 show it doesn't lose much if any IQ on a 16mp sensor. the 17-50 would also pair well with both the 11-16 and 18-135, giving you three lenses which each do different things. the 18-135 vs. 70-300 is a tougher call, since you overlap so much range and don't get a faster aperture in return. also the IQ wont be as good as the 300/4. but i wouldn't want to use a 300/4 with a gorillapod for support.
    if i were you, though,before i did anything i would test the 18-135 extensively at f/8 with the d7000 and make sure it's insufficient for your needs. you may not be able to see any degredation of image quality without printing large or pixel-peeping. if you actually dont NEED a new lens, you could forgo the purchase. if on the other hand, you're using the trip as an excuse to satisfy NAS cravings, well then you have my blessing.
    in short, i don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong answer here, although if your object is to divorce yourself from the 18-135, the 70-300 would leave a huge gap between 16 and 70, which may or may not be significant for you. my guess is that it would. my go-to landscape lens on DX is a 12-24 tokina, and i generally like wide shots. i've used the 17-50 extensively and found it to be close to the perfect walkaround lens, except for the distortion at 17mm. i do have a tamron 70-300 VC which has very good IQ even wide open and at long range, but i use that far less than my current 17-50, the sigma OS. but then again, i'm not really a landscape shooter.
  11. The problem that I see with the 18-135 is not sharpness, it's the lack of VR. If you are not bringing a tripod, VR is very helpful. I have the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and it's a very good lens, but 50mm is not very long. If you trade the 18-135 for the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 you may need a third lens. Heavy is relative. I traded my 70-300 VR for the 55-300 VR because it was, to me, significantly lighter. To my surprise the 55-300 VR is actually sharper wide open than the 70-300 VR.
    Another way to go is with a superzoom like the Nikon 18-200 VR. That along with your 11-16 is a good two lens kit. If the Nikon is too expensive you could look for a refurbished or used one or go for a Tamron 18-270 VC or Sigma 18-250 OS. All three can produce very good to excellent prints up to 8x10 and good to very good prints up to 11x14.
  12. Whether the 17-50mm, 70-300 or keeping the kit point is you don't want the 300 f4 prime or any (tele) f2.8 zoom because they are too heavy for what you do. If it were me, the P7000 would be perfect for this. Galen Rowell probably would have kept one in his grab bag.
  13. Thank you very much for the responses. I must admit that I partially have NAS, but this was brought by my trip to the US where prices are 30-40% lower than in Norway. The Tamaron 17-50 would serve me well for low light shooting inside houses during the winter pluss landscapes. My desire of something longer started once I was in a trip and saw a guy standing on the distance, as you can see in the picture below. This made me think that it might need a longer lens. If lucky one can find sometimes reindeers walking at the distance., when it is compelitelly dark outside. However, I don't like much to take candids (and get complains from my wife). Now I'm turning in favort of the 70-300 VC as Shun tested it here and gave very possitive reviews...
  14. One more try...
  15. I don't get why people buy expensive f2.8 zoom to setup on their tripod to shoot f8/11.​
    If it's going on a tripod and will be used at f8/11, might as well get a few manual focus lenses rather than just one, more expensive, autofocus lens.
  16. Sorry, forget the "...., when it is compelitelly dark outside" from my previous post regarding the 70-300.
  17. If you can afford it, buy both and forget about it...
  18. I have a D7000 that I use for landscape photography. My prime lens for landscape is a the Sigma 10-20. I freely admit that I like wide and expansive images. I do have a 70-300, but have never used it for landscapes. On occasion in the past I have used a previous Nikon 180 for certain images (See some of the images of Zion on my page...
    95% of my landscapes are shot with the widest lens I have in my bag and have been since the '60s. Much depends on your own point of view and the vision you have of any landscape. Remember the camera does not generate the picture -- you do that in your mind and then use the camera to execute that vision. Lead with your mind, not the camera. If your vision of the landscape is some detail that catches your eye -- then you need a long lens. If your vision is the sweeping vista -- then you need a wide lens. There is no right or wrong lens. Get the lens that matches your vision.
  19. If the only intent is landscape, I think the 16-85VR is the most interesting lens. It's very sharp, portable, covers a very useful range for landscapes. A lot of landscapes for me end up around ~35mm and ~70mm. And it's main attraction is that 2mm extra at the wide end, which has far more impact than it may seem. 16mm is very often wide enough, while 18mm is often just lacking that bit of extra. After getting the 16-85, I found I used my Tokina 12-24 f/4 very little anymore in nature - despite that also an great choice for landscapes, btw.
    (Disclaimer: I tend to go to longer lenses and have made landscape shots with anything up to a 500mm combo on DX.... but, the 16-85 range covers the most).
    If you indeed intent the lens to be more allround later on, the f/2.8 zooms may make more sense, though. I personally see the use of a 70-300 for landscapes as well, and a combination like a 17-50/16-85 and 70-300 does cover a LOT of scenarios.
  20. Figure out what focal lengths you actually want to and will use and get good lenses that cover those focal lengths. I do my landscape generally with 4 lenses on DX, e.g. 20, 28, 50, 85. The lenses are selected so that they give high quality in the f5.6-f11 range. If I need wider, I take a stitched shot. Good tele lenses are more important for my style, but I don't bother to take something really long, since I'd end up with only a few shots at most with that. You need to find out your style and then research which lenses support that style. Do not try to cover everything, you just end up carrying a lot of gear around and missing chances.
  21. The kit lens should be fine for landscapes. Maybe you're looking for a portrait lens...? Alas, probably no good portrait lenses for DX :( But remember to always have a point and shoot in your pocket while traveling....
  22. hector, you would lose the composition of that mountain shot with a longer lens. you do realize that, right? that's a great shot but what makes it great is the contrast between the tall mountain peak and the small human. if you zoomed in to 300mm, that juxtaposition would be gone.
    the reality of landscape photography is, there's no one correct focal length. and at f/8 the 18-135 is as sharp as just about anything out there. the compromises of consumer zooms are usually in distortion and/or aberration. both of which can usually be fixed in post.
    However, I don't like much to take candids (and get complains from my wife). Now I'm turning in favort of the 70-300 VC as Shun tested it here and gave very possitive reviews...​
    the 17-50 is a natural choice for candids and indoor shooting. can't say the same about a 70-300. i have both as i said earlier but use 17-50 much more...
    If the only intent is landscape, I think the 16-85VR is the most interesting lens.​
    agree it's better for landscape than just about anything else but do you really think Hector needs another vari-aperture lens which has a redundant focal length as the kit zoom he already has? i'd rather have an UWA, a 2.8 zoom or a longer tele.
  23. I do pretty much landscapes and cityscapes and because I travel overseas solo or go to places in my country for landscapes; the last thing I want to take is big lenses. All I do is manual focus to at/near infinity stop the lens down to f/11 and choose a shutter speed.
    I am not sure if the Tamron would be that useful IMO since you already have the 18-135. I would get a wide angle zoom as with DX it's almost impossible to get a wide prime usable for scapes and not be too large/heavy. For the tele get that last as IMO wide angle has more impact for landscapes. But depends on your style. I think a 70-300 would be v good, it might be a bit heavy thou from what I read. Try them out in the shops. Since you have a 300/4 - to me the zoom is more lighter and you can zoom in and out. A fixed 300mm with 1.5x factor is prettty long. I actually might try some sport photog when if I get a 300mm :D
    Edit. Just saw you with the 11-16. I would get a lighter tele zoom.
    If I was cammping for example, I think that film would make more sense cos with manual focus film bodie they are smaller and you could just pick 2 tiny primes and make do in the images you "prefer" to get than covering all FLs.
    Equip aside; it is about the image as it appears on print.
    I find that if I travel overseas or if I am doing the rare walk and about photog I need diff additional lenses as there is just no way I am taking those big lenses on a landscape trip.
  24. Thank you very much for all the responses. I will order the Tamron 17-50 following your recommendations and taking advantage of the price at Photo4less for USD 380. I will buy a 77 mm polarizer (one in the thousands of different options) for my 11-16 with an adapter for the 17-50. This is my thrid shop following your recommendations, I really appreciate them.
  25. hector, i think you have made the right choice and certainly at the right price. as i may have said before i had the tamron for 3 1/2 years until it was stolen and was very happy with its performance. i mainly shot low-light with it, but it served extremely well as a walkaround, and on those rare occasions when i did take landscape shots with it, it didnt disappoint either. the compactness of it was a definite plus when traveling.
    about polarizers and w/a lenses: on an UWA, a pola can result in uneven skies. it works well for water shots when you want to minimize the surface reflections, but be forewarned that pola's may not return the results you anticipate on an UWA in many situations. the other option is ND grad filters, which also have issues with UWAs--they can vignette. in my experience, i bought an expensive 77mm filter for my tokina 12-24 which basically went unused until i acquired other lenses with that filter thread. so if you have no other lenses which take 77mm filters, you may want to save some money and buy a 67mm CP for the 17-50 and a 67>77 step-up ring in case you do want to use the pola on the 11-16.
    if you do get a 70-300 down the line, this makes sense as well, since the 70-300 VR takes a 67mm filter. (the 70-300 VC, which i have, has a 62mm thread, so if you go that route, you can just get a 62>67 stepup ring.)
  26. Done! I did exactly what Eric said in his last post. Looking forward for my trip on Sunday, and to get my bag of goodies... Thanks a lot to everybody!

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