Lens Line Up

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kent_staubus, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. I see camera gear as a system, and take care in choosing the "pieces" with much deliberation. My overall goal is to have a very flexible system that is efficient, capable of low light photography, and very high quality. I'd rather have a few very high quality pieces than a bag full of OK gear. I regularly analyze my lens line up in particular Currently it's Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 & 70-200mm f2.8 VR-1, Nikon 80-400mm VR, Nikon TC-17E, and Sigma 30mm f1.4 Bodies are D300 (upgrade to "D400) and a D5100 back up. I'm beginning to wonder if I can really justify having both long lenses though. Originally I kept the 80-400mm because the 70-200mm is so crappy with the TC-20E-2. I have been waiting for either an upgrade to the 80-400mm VR or a 300mm f4 VR. Neither seem to be coming, and I'm starting to think it's not my most efficient option. The newer 70-200mm f2.8 VR-2 plus newer TC-20E-3 seems to be a sharp combo. I can live with f5.6 @ 400mm, obviously. The advantage of this route is obvious: I have one long lens instead of two! Not so obvious is my 80-400mm won't AF with my D5100 (back up body,) but the 70-200mm VR-2 will. I'm guessing that by selling my current Nikons 80-400mm, 70-200mm, and TC-17e I'll come out roughly even in replacing with 70-200mm f2.8 VR-2 & TC-20e.3. Are there any errors in my reasoning? It comes down to whether or not the 70-200mm f2.8 VR-2 + TC-20e.3 matches image quality of 80-400mm at 400mm. I have not been unhappy with that. Subjects are usually "general" ones, few portraits, no weddings, but plenty of shooting at night, some wildlife, some travel photography, very occassional kids' sports shooting. No birds in flight, no aircraft. Image quality must be good enough for magazine sales.
    Kent in SD
  2. maybe you should invest in lighting.
  3. You can find the 70-200 VRII at decent prices in like new condition (paid $1700 for mine, saw one at $1600 recently) and still sell the VRI in the $1500 range.
    I once had the 80-400 VR and didn't like it much, the AF was way too slow and the quality was inferior to the 70-200 VRI with TC-14e. I have not tried the VRII with the TC-20e2 yet.
    The AF-S 300/4 sounds to be a great lens to have with the TC-14e. I never tried it but I am tempted, especially for birds in flight.
  4. Let's turn this into a lens collection thread. What do you have, what have you sold, what do you want?
    60/2.8 Micro
    70/300/4-5.6 VR
    80-200/2.8D 2-ring
    Recent sold:
    17-35/2.8 AF-S
    28-70/2.8 AF-S
    85/2.8 PC
    70-200/2.8 VRII
    300/2.8 VRII
  5. Have:
    Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC
    Tamron 60 f/2 Macro
    Nikon 18-135 f/3.5-4.5 AF-S
    Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 HSMSigma 120-400 f/4.5-5.6 OS HSM
    Tokina 12-24 f/4
    Tamron 18-200 f/4.5-6.3 (very short time)
    Nikon 24-85 f/2.8-4 D Macro
    Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR AF-S
    Nothing at the moment
  6. My AF Nikkor set is targeted at general but high quality photography, with zooms and fast primes each covering wide, normal and telephoto "regions". The camera is FX.
    Wide Group: 20-35/2.8 & 35/1.4G - Normal Group: 35-70/2.8 - Telephoto Group: 70-200/2.8G & 85/1.4G.
    The normal group is one zoom lens, which I find sufficient. I want to keep the bag as light as possible and minimize confusion of having too many lenses to choose from.
    What I would want is replace 35-70 with 50/1.4G - not desperately.
  7. I have the Tokina 11-16 f./2.8; Nikkor 17-105 f./3.5-5.6 VR; and Nikkor 35 f./1.8 which are my lightweight travel lenses--all DX for my Nikon D7000.
    I also have the Nikkor 17-36 f./4 VR; Nikkor which is unbeatable for street photography and walk around--the VR makes all the difference. My stay at home camera bag also includes the Nikkor 50mm f./1.8; 60mm f.2.8 Micro; Nikkor 70-200 f./2.8 VR2; teleconverter 17E (which is perfect for the 70-200--stay away from the 2X teleconverter.)
    I am hoping that Nikon updates the 105 Macro so the VR will work 1:1. I am also hoping that Nikon will make a good, lightweight DX lens in a 200 to 400 mmm. You can't travel with the expensive 200-400 f./4 VR2.
  8. Here is what I have
    Nikon 10.5G fisheye
    Nikon 105G/VR Micro
    Nikon 18-200G/VR
    Nikon 16--85G/VR
    Nikon 70-300G/VR
    Sigma 11-16
    Sigma 170-500
    Plus a bunch of Leica M stuff
    It's an illness.........
  9. Have:
    Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR1
    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
    Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 DX
    Nikon 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 DX VR
    Nikon 85mm f/1.4 D
    Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DX
    Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DX
    Sigma 50mm f/1.4
    Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro
    Nikon 50mm f/1.8D
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX
    Want (but in no rush - new body comes first I think)
    TC-14 or TC-17
    Nikon 105mm or Tamron 90mm macros
    300mm f/4 or 300mm f/2.8
  10. "70-200mm f2.8 VR-2 + TC-20e.3 matches image quality of 80-400mm at 400mm. "

    It is a very, very close match but the 80-400mm at 400mm is a hair sharper. But, you can really only see the difference while pixel peeping.
    If you use your 70-200mm often and 400mm a lot less often, I would say the upgrade to the 70-200mm VRII is worth it.
    I have hesitate for many, many months in buying the TC-20EIII and finally decided to give it a try. I am very pleased (surprisingly pleased) with the results. I bought it for use with one specific long lens I have but have discovered it works very well with a couple of other lenses I use. I had not even tried it out on the 70-200mm II until today. Here is an extreme crop (in excess of 100%) of a test shot I just took.
  11. full frame of my test shot
  12. I had a 'business' need for a lens that was SHARP (on FX) at 300mm @ F5.6/8, for a complex building interior shot. I got a used 300mm f4 AF-S. It literally arrived yesterday, first impression, very nice.
    I am now looking for a 1.4 or 1.7 for both my 70-200 VRII and new 300mm f4.
    Would have liked to get the 'soon-hoped-for' 300mm f4 VR.
    If Nikon stays with the F4 line-up, maybe my 400mm F4 AF-S VR will come out soon too!
  13. Back to Kent.
    You will likely see a modest improvement with the VR2 and 20EIII. Certainly not worth all the trouble and money. Additionally, the 80-400 is likely on par with the VR2 and 20EIII, so in that respect you may not gain as much as you hope either. As bad as AF and lack of VR on the 80-400, may be, it certainly has a reputation as being quite sharp for a big zoom.
    I don't know why you need VR with a 400mm lens but there are much more affordable ways to get into the 400mm range if you are serious about it, and can live without VR. Use the VR of your 70-200 when you absolutely need it. The best "affordable" option is to add a used Nikon 300mm f2.8 AF-I or AF-S and 1.4x or your current 1.7x. The 300 AF-S and 1.4x would be your next best option and by buying used if you find you absolutely need VR then you can sell it and get the new model when it comes out and not lose much if anything.
    If you want to try manual focus there are even much better possibilities.
    I wouldn't worry about D5100 compatibility, you've got the D300 and when you get the D400 you can keep the D300 as your backup.
    Just for yucks, my lens line-up, all used on a Canon 5DII.
    Nikon 8mm f2.8 AIS
    Canon 17mm f4 TS-E
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 D ED AF
    Canon 300mm f4
    Nikon 400mm f2.8 ED AIS
    Canon 1.4x
    Sold within past 2 years, all Nikon. 14/2.8, 28/2 AIS, 50/1.4 AIS, 135/2 AI, 200/2 AI, 80-200/2.8 AF-S plus D2X, Kodak SLRn and Canon 1Ds.
    Want: Canon 7D/8D or maybe D400 especially if it looks anything like the D3200! Nikon 600/4 AIS, Nikon 35 PC, Nikon 85/1.4 AIS or 105/1.8 AIS or Zeiss Contax 85/1.4 T* (regret selling the one that I had).
  14. What lenses someone has bought/sold et c. is totally useless info, of no value to anyone. Even more meaningless because their context isn't included. What I'm after is reducing the number of lenses I have to mess with--efficiency. I don't use 400mm a lot, but do use it regularly. It looks like I might lose a tiny bit of sharpness if I go the TC-20E.3 route. I considered trying it and returning if I didn't like the result, but I'd be out some $$ on shipping charges. Maybe I should continue to sit tight and see if Nikon comes out with a 300mm VR f4, or upgrades the 400mm zoom. I mostly use a tripod, but VR is very handy when shooting from a kayak or where tripods aren't practical. I will likely keep the D5100 and sell the D300 when a D400 comes out (and I'm pretty sure one will.) The reason is I very much like the small size of the D5100 for travel & street shooting, and it's flip out screen. It serves as back up, but also has different capabilities than the D300/400. Again, system flexibility.
    Kent in SD
  15. No, I would not add any 2X to your current zoom. If you are doing landscape/waterscape shots from the kayak/canoe then I completely understand your desire for VR. For any non-sports photography the 80-400 seems to be the best affordable VR option. I think you are going to be best off waiting for a 300/4 AF-S VR, 80-400 AF-S VR2, or the highly unlikely 400/5.6 AF-S VR. Nikon is obviously introducing AF-S versions of the most popular lenses first so it could still be quite a wait yet. Good luck.
  16. As of now the 300/4 AF-S is the best portable long lens solution from Nikon. It doesn't have VR, unfortunately, but the quality is far better than the 70-200II with TCs.
    If you do not intend to get an FX camera I don't see much point in getting the 70-200 Mk II to replace your current lens. The Mk II does have much reduced tendency to flare and ghost, and it's much sharper at 200mm, f/2.8 and generally at f/2.8, but at long distances the sharpness drops below that of the old version at f/4 and smaller. For FX it's a no brainer though.
    Whether there will be a D400 and if it's FX or DX is not yet clear.
  17. Kent,
    I have the same lenses you have, less the 80 - 400 and the TC. I also have a D300. Have you considered the Sigma 150-500 and dropping the TC? I keep getting drawn to the big Sigma for some reason. I don't see myself needing this long of a lens in low light.
    I've followed your posts and know you already have a truck-load of lights for your night train shots. I don't sell to magazines and am just a serious hobbyist, but I still mostly want quality, low-light capable, equipment. The times I've wished for longer reach were always in bright daylight.
    I'm kind of annoyed your thread got hijacked.
  18. For quite a while, my working gear (what was in the bag as opposed to the rest of the accumulata in semi-storage) was a pair of D300 bodies and the Tokina 11-17, Nikkor 17-55, Nikkor 80-200 AFS, Nikkor 300/4 AFS and a TCE-14. It was fast, flexible and relatively portable.
    In your place, I'd sell the 80-400 and replace it with the 300/4 AFS.
  19. low light and zooms don't go....get some proper fast lenses if you want to shoot low light.
  20. I think you should get the 70-200 f2.8 afs vrII with the teleconverter and sell the other long zoom. Why? Because you
    know what you are doing, it simplifies things, it is the best telephoto zoom on the planet, you need it and you want it.
  21. If you do not intend to get an FX camera I don't see much point in getting the 70-200 Mk II to replace your current lens.​
    my thinking too. i'm not sure why kent doesnt stick with what he has. i dont see a screaming need for a lens upgrade here. the only move which makes sense is a 300/4+1.4TC, but you would lose VR.
  22. I think I can boil this down to the specific issues a little better. First, I'm not looking for improvement to image quality. I'm actually happy with what I'm getting now. My thinking is I might be able to get rid of one entire lens, and have fewer of them. My goal is fewer lenses but keeping the same image quality. I've found f2.8 zooms to be perfect for low light and low light photography and don't want anything faster. An f1.4 has much less DoF. Zooms are fast to use, easy to frame up, and most important very versatile/flexible. I'm currently thinking over what lenses to take on a trip to Scotland/Iceland. I plan on photo'ing puffins and other wildlife while there. So, I want at least 400mm. However, I also shoot at night quite a bit and often find the need for an f2.8 long zoom. The 80-400mm VR has painfully slow AF, but it's a fairly compact lens and is reasonably sharp. It "wins" by default when I pick a long lens for a trip. I guess I'm hoping for a do-all lens that can zoom (rule out the excellent 300mm f4), has great image quality at 400mm, and is capable of f2.8. Best advice might be for me to sit tight since Nikon is not done releasing lenses.
    Kent in SD
  23. Kent, I don't have a D300 or 5100, but I've shot my 80-400 with D70s/200/7000/700, and shot my 70-200 VRII + TC-17 EII with D200/7000/700. I still have all three pieces of glass and all four bodies. As much as I want to have less stuff on the shelf, I just can't seem to part with the 80-400. IMO the 80-400 doesn't get the respect it deserves, particularly from folks that haven't shot one. I particularly like it on a tripod for sunrises and sunsets, and at zoos.
    That said, I've been packing the 70-200 and 1.7 TC more and more. I found I rarely shot the 80-400 racked all the way out. The biggest difference for me is what I get when I take off the TC. The AF is zippy fast, f/2.8 is great, it focuses closer, the VR is better, and there's that background blur word...um...begins with a 'b'...
    It really opens up a world of shooting other things that the 80-400 just can't do, like BIF, races, planes, sports, and just about anything else that moves quickly. It serves very well for portraits, as the bokeh is much better. IMO it's really an outstanding lens for just about anything you can use a short/mid telezoom for, as long as you don't mind the focus breathing when you're close to the subject. I don't.
    If this helps, I'm currently working in Papua New Guinea, and I took the 70-200 and 1.7 TC along with a D7k, 10-24, 17-55/2.8, and 10.5 fish. Maybe I'll sell it when I get back to the USA early next year. I just wish Nikon would have put out an 80-400 G with AF-S.
  24. A zoom lens that gives 400mm and has f/2.8 just isn't going to happen unless we're talking about the Sigma 200-500/2.8 (15.7 kg weight, 15900€ price). The use of TCs with a zoom involves a serious compromise in image quality and buying a lens with the idea of using it with a TC for important images in my opinion is not a good plan. The exceptions tend to be primes, such as the 200/2 300/2.8, 400/2.8 that give good results with some TCs but even then you use the lens without TC most of the time and with TC only when you have to. As sensors are equipped with higher and higher pixel densities, TCs gradually lose what competitiveness they might still have. I remember a published shot of William and Catherine's kiss and it looks "cloudy", even though top notch equipment was used (D3X+600/4+TC-14E). I suppose the atmospheric degradation plays a part but I see the same with my shots with the same TC a lot of the time, so I have to assume it has to do with reflections inside the lens also. You can see what kind of a difference a prime and a zoom with TC may have at 400mm from here:
    Those were shot with the undemanding D3s; differences are likely to be accentuated by the use of a high pixel density camera.
    What we hope for is an improved 80-400 or 100-500 from Nikon but they won't be f/2.8 at any FL, and the fast lens will in practice always be a separate lens if you want high quality at 400mm. I think Nikon's optical design has improved over the past ten years quite significantly and a new 80-400 would no doubt be sharper at the long end than the current one, if it's in the same or higher price class. I currently have 200mm as my longest lens without TC and I have use for VR at 300mm and 400mm, and if a high quality long zoom with 400mm f/5.6 appears (with VR II and AF-S) it will be a high priority purchase for me, mainly for outdoor concerts but also some aviation shots. For the latter, long distance performance is a high priority for me but in your case, for bird photography, it may not be, as birds are quite small. I find the 200/2 + TC-20E III to work otherwise well but with airplane front lights in twilight the lights create weird ghosting which I attribute to reflections by the additional glass surfaces due to the TC. The 200-400/4 is a little too much lens for me and its long distance performance has been criticized widely. As I tend to like primes myself, a 300/4 AF-S VR or a 400/4 AF-S VR (Canon's 400/4 IS diffractive optics only weights 2kg) would be preferred as I think their f/4 and f/5.6 image quality would be better than that featured by a zoom that is f/5.6 or close to it wide open, and I'm likely to carry a fast short/medium tele anyway.
    Lots of people will be waiting with us I suspect. Nikon has an excellent large aperture lens lineup now, both primes and zooms, and quite good consumer lineup with priority on price and portability / zoom range, but the in-between range of teles equivalent to Canon's 70-200/4L IS, 70-300/4-5.6 L, 300/4 L IS, 400/5.6, 400/4 IS DO etc. are missing which leaves a lot of us to wonder why. According to Roland Vink's Nikon serial number database Nikon has sold more than 150000 80-400 VR's which is quite a large number for a lens in this focal length range. I see Sigma long zooms that go to 400mm and 500mm very often at outdoor concerts and a lot of them is used by airplane spotters as well (very rarely do I see a Nikkor there). So weak sales cannot be the reason it hasn't been upgraded. I suspect Nikon is working on improving the optical design and waiting for the right quality and price to be achieved and perhaps they're also letting the 200-400/4 Mk II which was updated two years ago to get more sales before introducing a more convenient high grade zoom that will be popular (though not f/4 obviously). The rumor site (shudder) has published patent information regarding several long zoom designs by Nikon; they may have been delayed because of the issues Nikon had due to the natural disasters in 2011.
  25. What we hope for is an improved 80-400 or 100-500 from Nikon but they won't be f/2.8 at any FL​
    Nikon already gave us the 200-400/4 VRII, so I doubt we'll see anything in your range, unless is f5.6 on the long end.
  26. Right, a replacement to the 80-400 will probably retain a similar aperture range to the current version. However, since Nikon now has cameras that autofocus down to f/8, it is possible that zooms longer than 400mm with smaller maximum apertures make a reappearance.
  27. "I regularly analyze my lens line up"
    ...this VERY strongly suggests you are far more interested in gear than you are in taking photos. I was a pro for years and knew many others, not a single one of them analyzed their 'lens line up' EVER, let alone on a regular basis.
  28. Some people where discussing their lens lineup here, so here it is mine.
    I shoot DX and film, and I like to keep things cheap, simple and light, as I use it mostly for travel and when going around in my new beautiful state of California. I don't want to sacrifice too much on image quality, especially like shooting in natural light, but was willing to make some compromises.
    *On my DX (a D3100, the camera may be entry level but it is light and does what I want):
    -Tokina 11-16 f/2.3 (it is manual focus on my D3100 but who cares at ultra wide angle), paid 550 $ used. Got some great pictures with this lens.
    -Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8. My walk around & low light lens, love it. Paid 200 $ new
    -Tamron 60 mm f/2 Macro. I went for this because I wanted both a portrait and a macro in a small lens that would autofocus on my D3100 and that performs well in low light. This is a compromise lens, I know a 90 or 85mm would be better for portrait or macro, but that is just too long for the DX crop factor, especially if I take low light pictures indoors. Rather than have 3 dedicated lenses in my bag I just went for this one. It is good but not stellar, serves its multiple purposes well. Paid 500 $ new.
    -Nikon AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5 VR. Yes, this is a cheap lens with a plastic bayonet, but I am actually quite happy with its optical performance, plus it is light, light, light, covers the telephoto range that I want and fits nicely in my travel bag. Paid 150 $ new.
    total paid: 1400 $ for the whole, and quite versatile, relatively compact DX lens collection
    When I travel I either take all 4 lenses, which all fit in my medium-small bag, or I just take the Tokina, the 35 mm F/1.8 prime and the 55-200 telephoto. For day to day shooting I just leave home with my camera and the 35 mm on it and just use that. If I want to go for just 2 lenses I sometimes add the tamron or my telephoto zoom. I occasionally use my film camera lenses on my D3100 as well but that breaks my "few lenses portability rule".
    *On my Film camera, Nikon N80, cheap, good and relatively compact. I made sure I could use all these lenses in my DX D3100 with autofocus as well, so they are all AF-S versions. The N80 can use Gelded (G) lenses.
    -Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G . Walk around. Paid 220 $ new.
    -Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G. Portrait and short telephoto, great on my film camera and a nice alternative for my DX camera. Paid 500 $ new
    -I use the tokina 11-16 on the 16 mm focal length, at that length it does not really vignette and works great in my film camera. Cannot go below 15, but in a film camera that is plenty wide.
    Total paid for my film lenses 720 $
    *What do I want?
    Well, not much more, with this I am mostly covered, perhaps a good low light 24 mm prime that can be used both in my D3100 and my film camera would be what I need but I am finding those lenses too expensive. Nothing else really.
  29. Typo, I meant 2.8 on the Tokina of course.

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