Lens Dilemma

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by peterd, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Hey all looking for a few thoughts I hope based on personal experience. I have a D600 en route and I am trying to make a decision on lenses. I have been doing reviews etc and i have more or less come to the conclusion that the 24-120 AFS Vr lens is the best fit for my primary use lens. I have some other lenses and I am trying to decide if I should just ditch or not. See below:

    Old AF 50mm f1.8/ I bought it for 100 with my original N80 way back when. Its a wash and likely I may bundle it with D80 when I list for sale. Should I just keep it? Its not really a big money item.

    85mm AF F1.8 I bought right before the AF-s update. I see no reason top replace this. I intend to keep it.

    70-300 f4-5.6 ED AF. This is not a VR or AF-S. Bought it for the N80 in the day. Never really loved it or used it much. I spent extra money for the ED glass but I just dont love it. I will try it on the new body but if I sold, what do you think its worth. it like my other lenses is MINT and I have the boxes (just that way).

    18-200 VR (rev 1) that I bought for my D80 back around 2008-2009. This is worth probably the most of everything and it is not heavily used. I was originally intending to use it with the D600 but now I wonder if I should just try to sell as much as possible to pay for a new lens.
    That said, the 28-300 sounds interesting but I think I want a better lens with less weight for my primary. This lens probably makes my cheap 50mm pointless. Thoughts on any or all of this? I have all original boxes and paperwork and nothing has been abused but time and depreciation always takes its toll. Just curious what you guys think is worth keeping outside the 85mm. If I opted to replace that one day I would suck it up and get the F1.4 so not today.
    Thanks, Peter
  2. Just my 2 cents if it mean much ... any reason why you going for the FX route? DX have improved greatly to most people they might not do extreme low light much, FX does go well with a film body if you still use that.
    Maybe you could sell the lenses you don't use. I guess it might be similar in the USA, I had a version 1 of the 18-200vr but I lost 60% on mine, I had the box and stuff, was super mint, there are just too many of these lenses around and if you don't someone would offer a low buy it now price.
    It can be hard but think about how you really want to use your lenses. You mentioned about the super zoom or one+ primes.
  3. Peter, I do not have all lenses you mention, but I can comment on quite a few of them from personal experience:
    • AF-S 24-120 f/4 VR (so the latest version): I think it is a very good lens for what it is, but it is relatively expensive. Vignetting is quite serious (but easily solved), mine is not as sharp at infinity as it is closer (so not the best landscape lens I have seen), but it's solid performer, solid buid... Doesn't do much wrong. I really wanted the 77mm filters and much prefered the extra range, but otherwise realistically I'd get the 24-85VR instead. At half the price, it's a much better offer.
    • 50mm f/1.8D: can't say I like this lens (its newer brother the f/1.8G is a lot nicer), but I wouldn't sell it. It's not a high value lens to sell, while a fast 50 in your bag does have value - it will come in handy at times, weighs nothing. Leave it in the bag.
    • 85 f/1.8D: I have this and won't replace it, but I use it very little. Otherwise, I'd sell it and get the f/1.8G in a heartbeat. So, iIf you're going to use this lens a lot, I'd really consider the f/1.8G (which is a great value offer compared to the f/1.4 versions).
    • 70-300D ED: I have only used this lens, but I have its ED-less brother, the 70-300G. If you need a longer lens, it's well worth saving up for the Tamron 70-300VC or Nikon 70-300VR. These older 70-300's simply aren't great in my view. I believe the ED version sells for ~$150-200 on average, but check finished auctions online to get a better idea.
    The one lens I never used, owned or considered, the 18-200VR, I'd see no reason to keep this lens now you have a D600. Sell it together with the D80 as a package, which will make selling the D80 a lot easier too, I think.
  4. If you have the budget, it is worth updating all of your lenses for the D600, especially the 85mm and 70-300mm. The newest (AF-S) versions of the lenses all offer improved IQ over their predecessors.
    And yes, you should sell the 18-200mm and upgrade if you can.
  5. I moved from a D700 to a D800E; hopefully the D600 splits the difference and my experiences are relevant...

    The 50 f/1.8 AF-D is still sharp on a D800 stopped down. It's terribly soft wide open - as it is on a D700, but it's more visible with more pixel density. If you want to use it at f/1.8 in anything but an emergency, get the AF-S version (or an f/1.4 AF-S, or possibly the Sigma). If you are more prone to using it stopped down, the AF-S has better bokeh but the AF-D is perfectly capable. It's also tiny - I'd hang on to it, if only for the lens you stick in your pocket just in case while you've got a big zoom on the camera. I kept my AF-D for that reason even though I got an AF-S. Though it's also not worth much.

    85 f/1.8D: Everything I've heard is that this lens is very sharp, and should hold up well on a D600. I avoided it and went with the Samyang f/1.4 version mostly because I don't like it's bokeh, but that's just as visible on any camera so if it's not already bothering you, it probably won't start now. The AF-S is better, and if it had been out when I bought my Samyang I might have got that instead.

    18-200: Drop it like a dead rat, before anything else. The quality is borderline even on a modern DX body, and there's no way it'll do a D600 justice. For what it's worth, I have the old 28-200 f/3.5-5.6G AF-D, which was my default body cap on my D700 as a walk-around lens (not perfect, but pretty good stopped down). It looks awful on the D800. If you really need the range, the 28-300 is the FX replacement for your 18-200, but it's big, expensive and only sharp considering that it's an 11x zoom. Less exotic zooms - including by all accounts the 24-120 - are optically superior. If you don't mind swapping lenses between normal zoom and tele, other than the obvious 24-85VR, I'd think about a 24-70 (maybe the Tamron VC one? DPReview seem to like it) combined with a 70-300. I don't currently use a normal zoom (I have a 14-24 and a 70-200, but only primes in between except for some cheap lenses that I tend to avoid except in emergency), so I can't give more direct experience.

    70-300: I agree with the VC/VR upgrade suggestions. Canon had a huge jump in quality between the non-IS version of the 70-300 and the IS one (which I had in my Canon days), and Nikon responded with their VR lens. The Tamron is in the same class. Unless you want the convenience of a 28-300, the quality of a 70-200 or a Sigma 120-300, or want to pay the premium for the 300 f/4 prime or the new 80-400 AF-S, the 70-300 VR (or VC) is the budget way to get some range. If you like this range, you probably don't need the 24-120 duplicating the 70-120mm range, especially with the 85mm in there as well.

    Hope those thoughts help. Good luck, and enjoy your new toy!
  6. Your lens line up is weak and dated. I'd sell everything and replace with 24-120 f4 VR and 70-300mm VR. Simplify. My strategy the past several years has been to have fewer "pieces," but make the ones I have be top quality and very flexible. This strategy works very, very well.
    Kent in SD
  7. I would hold the 85 and 70-300 "for now" and see what happens on your new machine. Then you can decide better.
  8. The 18-200 was pretty usable on 6MP. Anything past that, no way, unless you're shooting snapshots, in which case you should have bought a Canon P&S.
    I'd dump it fast. I'd keep the 50, you might find it occasionally useful. The 70-300 isn't worth very much, but I'm not sure I'd keep that either, although I've seen some nice sharp pics taken with it, even out at 300.
  9. Ok thanks guys. Much of this I was already in tune with since I covered some with Wouter on a separate thread. The 18-200 I don't think I will bundle w D80 as separately I think I can make more but I will just see what happens. Ill try CL first to try to avoid ebay fees. I don't really have the money to buy too many lenses and while I appreciate the thought of the 24-85 which I have thought about but I figure I might want a bit more range as this is a big money item for me so I gotta balance desire vs wants vs needs and long term practicality. The 85mm I will keep, the 50 I doubt I will. I will likely hold on to the 70-300 for a bit until the time comes I can afford a suitable replacement. For a big honking lens I wonder if at that point the 80-400 doesn't become the dream. That said I would need to see those in person and feel the weight etc to decide. Likely I would rent one for a weekend first before I just spend the cash. The 24-120 just seems to make sense and its a set focal range and well regarded by folks I really respect enough to take the chance to buy it blind. Fortunately the places I shop have great return policies. :) Just in case.
  10. Peter,
    I've sold a couple items like that right here in the photo.net classifieds and did okay with them. You might try that first.
  11. @Peter good to know. Thanks.
  12. BTW anyone have any opinions on say sigma, Tokina, etc alternatives to Nikkor that are in the similar range but less money? I hear good things about Sigma stuff for instance as a cheaper alternative. I have never bought anything but Nikon but wonder if I am doing myself a disservice with that.
  13. Peter: I mentioned the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8, and others have mentioned the 70-300 VC. I had a very old Sigma 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 "macro" (since we're discussing this range) in my Canon days, but it was pretty iffy by any measures. I'm a little wary the Sigma 120-400, mostly because I was bitten by the low quality of the long end of my 150-500 (its big brother - now disposed of); the Nikkor 80-400 AF-S seems to be in a class of its own, and there's a reason the Sigmas and the Tamron 200-500 are cheaper. Sigma's 50mm f/1.4 is interesting, though the corners on an FX frame are too soft to tempt me. Their 85mm f/1.4 is allegedly decent, though the Nikkor 85 f/1.4 AF-S is exceptional. Their 35 f/1.4 is nice, too, and I'll recommend the Sigma 150mm macro to anyone.

    For what it's worth, you have a very nice (and expensive) camera. I'd suggest against stocking up on cheap glass for it - get the decent stuff you can afford now, but save up rather than trying to skimp too much while putting a full lens range together, or you'll end up with kit that you want to replace in the future. You've got more pixels than you used to have - you can always crop a bit! Good luck.
  14. Thanks for that. Out of curiosity does anyone know if there are compatibility issues with the SB600 flash and the D600? I have been digging on that and getting mixed messages.
  15. Oh and Andrew thank you for the detailed earlier reply. I have actually reread it a few times to have it sink in. It was extremely informative and detailed and I thank you for the time you spent to write it. Of all my lenses I feel only the 85mm is really worth keeping at this point. Its all a matter of prioritizing and selling etc. I will buy the lens from BB when I go to Portland next month so I can skip tax AND use the 18 month finance. The body I am paying off with savings. I hate paying interest. :)
  16. the 70-300 ED is kind of a clunker, it really needs VR. the tamron 70-300 VC i have is much better optically and the stabilization makes a big difference. i'd consider holding on to the 50, you wont get much for it and its compact and reasonably sharp stopped down.
  17. hbs


    I have the 24-120 f/4 AF-S VR on my D600 since January and it remains there 95% of the time. My copy is sharp and, except for the weight, I'm extremely happy with it.
  18. My tip:
    If you want to get the best out of your D600, you have the primes already. The moment you start putting budget zooms on it you compromise. You also have to cart around a big heavy piece of kit unless you shoot sports etc.
    In our markets here in Asia and Oceana, we are starting to see a rejection of the bazooka DSLR with a big zoom. WE had to cover a press conference here last week and for the first time we saw some 4/3 ev cameras. I spoke to one guy and he said that the improvement in mid range cameras with lots of resolution make it less of problem with cropping not being used instead of zooming.
    So think carefully: Do you want to stick out as a pro wannabe or do you want something less so. Get a 24, 50, 85, 135 primes and be less obtrusive.
  19. Get rid of all your lenses including the 24/85 and get the 14/24..24/70..70/200 and never want for anything else
  20. There are some inexpensive options here. Tokina makes a great line of pro level 2.8 aperture lenses that can be had for great prices on the bay. I also bought my old original version Nikon 70-210 f4 for $150 shipped. Its not the fastest to focus initially but its tack sharp and very contrasty, it is one of my favorite lenses. I am planning on buying Tokinas 28-70 f2.8, and their 20-35 f 2.8 since I shoot DX with a D300. I have had their Pro glass in Canon before and found it to be very well performing glass, and built tougher than Sigma and Tamron. If I had the money I'd buy Nikon but let's face it, for right now I don't have that kind of cash floating around. Still my favorite walk around lens in my old non AI 55mm f3.5 micro. So that 50mm might be a great piece to keep floating around the bag, its small and light enough it won't hurt too much to continue to carry it around.
  21. Jim I dont have a 24-85. I am pretty much set on a 24-120 F4 for the starter and my 85mm. 50mm on the fence but its cheap. The rest I have already decided to dump once I mess with the D600 and make the decision to commit and it passes the defect check test etc as its a refurb. As for other lenses after that, I am going to give the one I buy soon a lot of love along with my 85mm and just see what I grow into once I master what I have. :) Sadly I haven't seen the motorcycle rider made of cash rolling around my hood.
  22. If you have been poking around on the net, you'll see that the 24-120 has been getting much better performance reviews than the 24-85 kit lens for the d-600, in which case I would opt for the 24-120, and dis the 24-85 for that reason even if the cost of the 24-120 extra $$.
  23. What? The 24-120 is a bit better built than the 24-85 and a bit longer on the long end but according to the reviews and my
    experience (on the D800) optically they're a wash. Nearly dead even. In actual use I can't say which is better. Unless I
    had some good reason to pick the 24-120, at the prices the 24-85 is going for that's what I'd choose any day. It's under
    $400 from Keh with all the accessories.

    If I were going to spend real money to get a properly good lens in that range I wouldn't go for either of those. Both are
    good but not great.

    The Nikon and Tamron 70-300 VR lenses are both good buys and I'd definitely keep the 85 if you plan to do any portrait
  24. I appreciate the sentiments but lets not lose focus of my original question which is what to do with my current lenses. Photography is an art and its totally subjective. The medium is irrelevant. I have a cousin in Spain who is very famous and succesful using thinned oil and water colors that the purists would decry as inferior. My point here is its not the tool but the hand that wields it and that hand ultimately makes its choice. I wanted to ask for some experience with different lenses and the perspective but its kind of going more toward you should buy this not that, which has lost the message I think. I am pretty much decided on the 24-120 at this point and I am at peace with that great or not. I thank everyone and I have made my decision. Below is what I have decided.
    sell: D80 (never in question), 50mm, 70-300 and 18-200.
    keep: 85mm.
    buy: 24-120.
    Also Andy in reference to your post, I am not concerned about the money for that lens because I want a longer range than the 85mm. With a 50 and an 85 already in pocket its not really giving me much I don't have. I want that lens because its a compromise of size, weight and price that I am comfortable with. I am not against other lenses but at this point that is my decision and if the D600 checks out ok I will get it in a few weeks on my trip to PDX. Also to whoever suggested the point and shoot, you missed the point no pun intended. :) I thank everyone for the replies, in particular those who gave detailed thoughtful responses. Peter
  25. I'm with you Peter. As I was upgrading my kit a few years ago with two D300s bodies and all f/2.8 lenses, I decided to buy the Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-4.5 as a snapshot lens when I visited family. I read all over the place that it has a plastic mount, bad at the long end, slow with no AF-S or VR, but I liked the focal range. Once I used it, I was very pleasantly surprised at how sharp it was and how well it fit exactly what I intended to do with it. (I even dropped it hard with the camera right on the front edge of the hood, but nothing happened to the lens, the hood broke, but the lens is fine.)
  26. Peter, congrats on the decision, I'm sure you will like what you see coming from the 24-120 f/4VR, and most important is that you feel you got the right tool for the job :)
  27. Peter: You're welcome, glad to have helped. And the D600 manual (p.294) says there should be no compatibility issues with the SB-600 - I've not heard of any, and, while I've not given the combination much of a work-out yet, my D800 seems to work fine with my SB-600 triplets (though I only use them off-camera with CLS), so I'd be reasonably confident that you'll be okay. Good luck with the new toys, and sorry we've cost you some money with expensive glass! (Though not, admittedly, as expensive as Jim's suggestion. And he forgot the 200-400 f/4...)
  28. I wouldn't give up the AF-50 f1.8 too quickly. It's a superb lens.
  29. Graham: At f/6.3-ish it's a superb lens. At f/1.8 it's a terrible lens, though some reviews seem to think it sharpens up faster than the AF-S version as you stop down, slightly to my surprise. It is, however, very small and not worth very much, which is why I kept mine even though I have the AF-S replacement. I'd also think about whether it was worth selling, but it depends whether I needed all possible finances for another lens upgrade.

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