Lens for Nikon d3100

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by lynn_h|1, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Where is the competition among the current crop of Nikon glass that compares in image/ build quality for the same price to the old 20mm 2.8, or the 300mm 4.5 ED?
  2. Mark: well, the 300mm f/4.5 ED was, AFAICT, about $900 in the 1990s. It only got cheap after the AF version replaced it - and the non-VR AF-S is currently about $1350, which feels like the same ballpark to me allowing for inflation. It's also optically better (except for the collar), autofocus, and has just enough aperture to make it officially teleconvert (which it does very well). It's obviously bigger - you need the PF version to fix that, which I admit had a premium, but also has VR.

    The 20mm f/1.8 is a bit more expensive and bigger than the f/2.8, but not ridiculously so. It's also quite a lot better optically. (According to DxO, better at f/1.8 than the old lens is at f/2.8.)

    Lens technology has moved on. The prices do go up, but I don't think the are the worst offenders!
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  3. For me it was worse, my 20/2.8 AF was visibly worse over at least half the frame area at f/5.6 then my old 20/4 Ai was wide open - and that was using it on a DX body!
  4. $300 for a mint 300mm ED IF vs well over $1200 for autofocus?
    Same if not better optical quality.
    The price has indeed moved on.
    That was my point.
    Current prices make some of the older high quality stuff a good option when it comes to value in lenses if one can manage manual focus.
  5. I agree.
    I have a 500mm f/8 mirror lens, because it was a LOT cheaper than a 500mm AF-S lens.
    I just have to manually focus. Which is OK, except for shooting sports, where the players move too fast for me to track focus reliably.
    Also the AF cameras of today do not have a screen that is easy to manually focus.
  6. This is something that really needs to be emphasized.

    I consider the screens/viewfinders of low end cameras to be all but useless for manual focusing. Most are ground in such a way that they do not show any DOF differences past 2.8 or so. They are meant to be bright and easy to use with slow zooms, and if you put a fast prime on you will see that they do not get any brighter.

    Higher end cameras are a BIT better, but mostly because the viewfinder is brighter overall.

    Still, I've yet to see a modern AF camera that "popped" into focus like a good manual focus camera. Those of you who have used MF cameras will know what I'm talking about. The closest I've seen is the L screen that I have for my F5-a screen meant for manual focus with a 45ยบ split prism.

    If you want to use manual focus on a digital camera, you really need to use the electronic viewfinder. Eyeballing will get you close, but don't call it good until you get the green dot. Super high resolution cameras are absolutely unforgiving.
  7. I could never rely on the green dot for critical focusing; the focus distance range over which it shows solid green is just too wide - it's the difference between a portrait focused correctly on the eye or incorrectly one the root of the nose or just behind the eye (at best, often worse).There's also the additional issue that the AF alignment must perfectly match the focusing screen distance to the sensor - otherwise the green dot will be solid but the focus will still be off. Now add a little be of motion of the subject (or even the photographer) into the equation, and focusing by the green dot will drive you bonkers. It looks as if it is in focus on the screen, and one keeps slightly moving the focus ring, trying to find the center of the range where the green dot is solid: 1 out of 10 on a good day.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  8. I found that an eyepiece magnifier (DK-21M if memory serves) helped a lot for the D3200. It decreases eyepoint to the point where you really have to stuff your eye into the finder to get a full screen view, but it does help for manua focusing if you don't wear glasses. Its out for glasses. There''s no doubt, though, that the low end viewfinders are frustrating for manual focusing, and require practice. The green dot on mine is pretty accurate, but also a little sloppy, and though it tends to center a bit if you go back and forth, it's still a gamble, in part because the area it covers is sufficiently broad that it may not be hitting what you expect. It's better on a wall or something like that than in a forest.

    I've used a lot of manual focus lenses with good results but it's not quick and reliable, and not what I'd recommend for ordinary use.
  9. We're comparing used, slower lenses with current glass for sale new, the latter of which includes AF motors and more elements. Yes, you could buy the older glass for less and it's still frequently useful (although certainly not always as good as the current option), and this is a perfectly reasonable way to save some money, but comparing prices is like complaining a current Tesla is more expensive than a classic Ferrari. It is - and it's more practical, faster in the real world, and easier to drive, no matter how much you want to say "but... Ferrari!"

    Yes, I have MF cameras (notably a Bessa R rangefinder and a Pentax 645) and some manual focus Nikkors. They're a pain to focus off centre with a moving subject, especially at faster apertures and the accuracy required for digital sensors. There's no huge guarantee that the mirror and ground glass are significantly better aligned than an AF sensor, and it's certainly harder to tune out errors. Again, nothing wrong with using manual focus lenses, but it's possible to have rose-tinted glass on your viewfinder Fresnel about the old days, especially when it comes to the definition of "sharp" in the context of 135 film.

    Nikon deliberately, for some reason, have more leniency in their focus confirmation with manual lenses - you can fix this by chipping them so the camera thinks they're AF, although apparently the D850 improves accuracy anyway.

    It's true that dSLR screens tend to be optimised for brightness at smaller apertures. A DX pentamirror certainly doesn't transmit as much light (I've tried an f/6.3 lens on a Canon crop pentamirror and you certainly can't see much in the dark). If you want affordable slow lenses and the ability to see anything in a cheap finder, the trade off is inaccuracy. A full frame pentamirror (say my Eos 500) isn't so bad; still, the best FX pentaprism designed for f/2.8 zooms may be lacking when trying to manual focus a fast prime. The Df finder was supposed to be somewhat better at this, although I've not tested properly. If I want to know if something is sharp at 36MP, I'll rely on magnified live view.
  10. It's simply a matter of taking advantage of value created by a change in demand.
    In some cases I find that that value outweighs the value of the newest greatest tech available.
    In terms of sheer practicality the camera in my IPhone is hard to beat.
    The best camera being the one you have with you when the opportunity presents for the great photo.
    But it certainly hasn't diminished my enjoyment of the Pentax I bought in '81.
    But then I still use fountain pens.........;)
  11. Mark
    You gotta go to the "FountainPenNetwork"
    And if you are in the SF Bay Area, come to the SF Pen Show.
    Yes, we are a bunch of nutty folks, using old writing instruments :D
  12. Namiki Falcon.....;)
  13. Cool
    Parker Vacumatic for me.
    Moving On likes this.
  14. Montblanc 22 in my pocket almost every day, but I also have a few nice older pens. My prize is an oversized Sheaffer's Balance in "red veined gray" that I think is from the 1930s. When they were cleaning out my grandmothers house, it nearly ended up in the trash before my mom said "Ben like's fountain pens-I'll take it to him."
  15. If you've got time to manually focus, you've got enough time to use magnified Live View. (sure not ALL nikon DSLRs have one, but we're talking high res cameras here)

    You can use a loupe if you're on a tripod or a full back-screen magnifier if handheld.

    I occasionally turn wooden pen barrels for people, but i personally use a biro!
  16. Sorry, but these comparisons aren't fair. Sure, some new(er) lenses are expensive, but that doesn't automatically mean the cheaper option is better in all ways. A second-hand 300mm f/4.5, versus a brand new 300mm f/4 (without VR but with warranty)? Check ebay, and you'll see the AF-S version (which in most tests shows to be the better optical quality) is actually quite affordable. A 500mm f/8 mirror vs a 500mm f/4 with VR and blinding fast AF? Apart from both being 500mm and F-mount, they have little in common.

    As much as I like and prefer MF lenses, acting like they're much better value for money is misleading. They're optically very seldom better than what you can get today, and any AF lens can do manual focus too, so the added convenience of AF justifiably has a price. The better MF lenses aren't that cheap anymore either (though it is still possible to find bargains). A second-hand quite used AiS 35mm f/1.4 will cost about as much as the current FX 35mm f/1.8, for example. And for most people, the newer FX lens will be the better performer.
    That said, some of the MF lenses have a rendering that I personally much prefer over the biting sharpness that many modern lenses have; I use them because they give me images I prefer (so yes, my choice is that 35mm f/1.4). But, among them, there is only one lens I really see as a bargain, and that's the 105mm f/2.5 - it can be found at very reasonable prices, and is still a terrific performer.

    I don't have massive issues focussing them on my D700, personally, though the viewfinder of my F3 is a whole lot nicer for sure.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  17. ".......that doesn't automatically mean the cheaper option is better in all ways. "
    Who said that?
  18. It seemed to be implied in arguments like "the competition among the current crop of Nikon glass that compares in image/ build quality for the same price to the old 20mm 2.8, or the 300mm 4.5 ED", to be honest. But maybe I misread/misinterpreted that, can happen.
  19. Yes, I apologise for leaping quite so vigorously to the defence of the AF-S bodies - all lenses have their places, and if they didn't, their market value would adjust until they did. I'm just much more hesitant about suggesting a Noct-Nikkor to a D3100 owner than to someone with a Df! There are solutions that make them less painful (live view being up there), and there's usually a price benefit (exotics aside), but you have to decide where you want to lie on the price/performance curve (which in determined by the opinion of everyone in the market, not just you).

    I'll stand by my argument that many of the lenses that everyone thought were spectacular on film have turned out not to hold up so well, especially at wider apertures, on a high-res sensor. One reviewer's "dreamy glow" is another reviewer's "horribly soft". And some like to shoot with the original 43-86mm (or a lensbaby; heck, even I own a Petzval...)
  20. AG
    he he, yes when you WANT to create flare, the original 43-86 is great for that :D
    I upgraded to the 2nd version of the 43-86, as soon as I could afford to.
    But I prefer the wider range of the 35-105 as a GP lens, and that replaced the 43-86 v2 on my F3.

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