Nikon D7000 Lenses for Travel and Daily Use

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by gaby_ralph, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. I'm looking to buy a new camera in the next few months and have decided on the D7000. The far more difficult decision has been figuring out which lenses will best suit my needs!
    I have a few reasons for wanting to upgrade my current gear -- a Canon 450D. My daughter is 3 and is getting into relatively quicker sports (soccer, gymnastics). I want to learn more about photography and become a better photographer. Finally, our family is going on a trip to California in late May and I'd love to get some great shots.
    I understand that this model is near the end of its life cycle, and I'm seeing some great deals. For the most part I take casual pictures of family, plus some wildlife pictures here and there. The trip to California will include visits to Yosemite, driving along Route 1 to Big Sur, and whale watching off the coast of Monterrey. Here are the lens combinations I've been looking at:
    - 16-85 and 70-300 -- Highest quality optics but the most expensive. I have concerns about switching lenses while out whale watching but perhaps the best plan would be to only bring the 70-300 along. The 16-85 looks like a great general walk around lens.
    - 18-105 (kit) and 70-300 -- Lose 2mm on one end, lower optical quality but the kit has a coupon for $200 off the 70-300.
    - 18-200 (kit) -- I've read the pluses and minuses, but the thought of not changing lenses is very appealing. I think I might miss the 70-300's extra range when it comes to wildlife photography.
    I will also likely buy a 35mm 1.8G as I've enjoyed using a prime lens with my Canon, and have read that this focal length works well for the D7000. I've also looked into the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and the Nikon 10-24 as future purchases. My current budget for the D7000 and lenses is about $2,000. Image quality is very important to me, but I haven't developed an image larger than 8 x 10 so far.
    I would appreciate your advice on which combination might work best, or any other suggestions. Thank you very much for your time!
  2. If you're on a charter boat and whales are breaching between twenty and a hundred yards distant, the 70-300 should do well. Beyond that distance, you're going to be capturing more water than whale in your photos. Consider a longer, competitively priced tele-zoom such as the Sigma 150-500. In good light, it can be a very good lens for all sorts of wildlife photography including whale watching. The long end of the Sigma is very slow, but that's irrelevant in good light. Bring a circular polarizer.
    The Nikkor 16-85 is a very good choice. AF is quite fast, and the lens produces sharp, contrasty, color accurate results. Personally, I think it's the best general purpose/walkabout/street shooter/travel shooter that Nikon makes for DX bodies.
    I was hoping that Nikon's first lens announcement of 2013 would be something like an update of the 80-400 VR or a completely new zoom such as a 16-85 f/4 VR, but instead Nikon announced a rehash of the aging 18-35 FX wide-angle zoom.
    The newer Nikkor 18-300 is also worth considering, but so far I'm not overly impressed with my copy. It's not a disappointment, but IMO it's also not quite as good as the 18-200 VRII. The auto distortion control update in the latest version of the D7000 firmware includes the 18-300, but the complex edge distortion produced by the lens isn't quite perfectly sorted out by even the current firmware version.
    I've got the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and the Sigma version as well. I like the Sigma better because I think it's a touch sharper than the Tamron and is slightly better in the corners and better wide open. However, the Nikkor 16-85 is just as sharp as either of these lenses, and sharper at some focal lengths too. The Nikkor build quality is slightly better than the Tamron or the Sigma, but both the third-party lenses are quite well built too. No complaints. The Nikkor is slightly more compact than either the Tamron or the Sigma if that's important to you.
    The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX prime is amazing IMO, and can be used to produce wonderful images. It's yet another superb f/1.8 prime that Nikon seems to be able to design and produce at will and at vanishingly low retail prices.
  3. if you are firm on your $2000 budget then avoid the 16-85. If it is better optically than the kit lenses, and note the "if", then it is not by much. 18-200 is also expensive, and probably weaker optically. Regarding wildlife, 70-300 is preferred because of better AF, between 200-300mm it's not clear it's optically better than the alternatives. The cheap basic option of 18-55VR + 55-200VR is really not bad, except for lacking a fast aperture. None of these lenses are fast enough to suit indoor sports. You could consider getting the 18-105VR until you work out from experience whether anything more is needed, eg perhaps a faster prime.
  4. I like the combination of the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens with the D7000. The quality-to-weight ratio of the 70-300mm VR is amazing. (Make sure it is the VR version, the non-VR is a very different lens.)
    I don't know the other lenses you're considering--I've used the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 extensively. They are both excellent, but neither has VR. Of these, the Nikon is much heavier and much more expensive.
  5. adorama has the d7000 at $900 body only, $1200 with 18-105. if you go for the second option, that leaves $800, enough for a 70-300 VR ($400 refurb, $600 new) + 35/1.8 ($200). the 16-85 might have slightly better IQ than the 18-105 but is just as slow and you lose 20mm off the wide end. in terms of total photographic capability, it's actually somewhat of a lateral move. also, the overlap between 18-105 and 70-300 is actually a good thing in the field, since you'll switch lenses less in practical use. personally, i'd pass on the 16-85 and save up for an UWA or 2.8 standard zoom, which are lenses which do things the kit lens can't do.
  6. I shoot with the D7000 and my lenses are the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with VR and the Tamron 70-300 with VR and USD and the Nikkor 35 f/1.8. The 17-50 stays on the camera 90% of the time, its sharp and good color rendition. The Tamron 70-300 (newer version) is probably the one that always amazes me. the VR is awesome for hand holding, I've taken shots where I thought the photo would turn out blurry and when processed it was sharp. This cat was shot hand held about 75 yards away (guessing), ISO 100 @300mm f/11 @ 1/250. It is slightly cropped.
  7. You seem set on the D7000, but if I am honest, I see nothing there your EOS 450D cannot do. Now I have no idea how much money you have put into your Canon system, but you'll loose money selling off - switching brands can be expensive in this sense. Did you consider the EOS60D too? I'm not saying the D7000 makes a bad choice (far, far from it!) but switching brands will do nothing to make you a better photographer.
    Anyway, that wasn't your question.
    I've had the 16-85VR, and it is really an excellent lens. It is also expensive for what it is, and if you're treating your gear normally, I think the lower construction quality of the 18-105VR should not need to be a problem. For quite a lot less, it's optically really close to the 16-85VR, and as such a much more attractive offer. The 70-300VR or Tamron 70-300VC both will make a fine choice as the long lens.
    The 35 f/1.8G, and at its price, it is really almost a no-brainer. But almost. Not entirely. I've had it, as I always had one or 2 primes alongside the 16-85 in case speed was needed. For this use, it makes a lot of sense. But.... you're contemplating a 17-50 f/2.8. Now, instead of getting a 18-105VR and a 35 f/1.8, getting either Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 straight away is do-able too in your budget. It's a bit a different trade-off, and f/2.8 isn't f/1.8, and you'll end up with a gap between 50 and 70mm (which doesn't really matter)... Odds are you'll buy a 18-105VR now, a 17-50 f/2.8 later, ending up with a 18-105 you won't use no more. So, worth considering skipping the prime and kitlens entirely, and get the zoom you want from the start.
    Another thing with the prime: don't buy it yet. People tell you that 35mm is very useful, and I also think it is. But whether it really is, depends on your style of photography. So, first get a zoom, see which focal length you use most and where you'd want a faster lens, and then decide which prime to get. Could well be 35mm, could also be a 50mm, or a 24mm....
    (And yes, the fact I did not mention the 18-200VR so far is intentional, it's not a bad lens, but all the above discussed lenses are better)
  8. " the thought of not changing lenses is very appealing"

    The idea of changes lenses on camera body IS EXACTLY what makes DSLRs appealing.

    But if you really don't want to change lenses, the 18-300mm may be your best one lens solution. At the print size you mention, uncropped images from any of the lenses listed will likely look pretty much the same unless you get out a magnifying glass when viewing them.

    Choose your lenses wisely - you will likely have them for a long time.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I would split the focal length range into two lenses. For a mid-range zoom, I would get an f2.8 for indoor use, perhaps something like 17-50mm type. Most likely we are talking about a 3rd-party lens since the Nikon 17-55mm/f2.8 DX is very expensive.
    For the long end, Nikon's 70-300mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR is very good. The Tamron version is optically excellent, but the construction quality is barely acceptable.
    You can add an f1.8, 35mm or 50mm, later on for dim-light work.
    On a D7000, the long end of the 18-200mm AF-S VR is somewhat a bad lens. Its wide end is quite decent. If you are getting a D7000 for better image quality, I wouldn't put a super zoom in front on it.
  10. If it was me buying a D7000 today I'd get the Tamron 17-50 and the Nikkor 70-300 and probably be real happy for a long time.
    But it depends on what you have now. If you're the slightest bit invested in lenses and bodies from Canon, I don't see a compelling reason to switch.
  11. Thank you all very much for your

    Howard – My husband and I plan to go
    on an African safari within the next 10
    years or so, once our daughter is a bit
    older. At that time I will certainly look
    into a super zoom option. For now, I
    hope that the whales cooperate! I’m
    terribly excited about this part of our
    trip, since the timing coincides with the
    blue whale migration. I hope we will be
    lucky enough to see them!

    Nick – I have some room in the budget,
    so a 16-85 and 17-300 combination
    isn’t out of the question.

    Wouter – I have thought about
    remaining with my current Canon for a
    long time, and I had reservations about
    “leaving the family”. In the end I
    decided that my set of lenses isn’t
    worth limiting myself to a Canon body. I
    have a Canon 24-70 kit lens, a 55-250
    and a “nifty fifty” prime. I regularly
    switch between the 24-70 and the
    prime lens. I considered the 60D and
    7D. It seems the 60D has stronger
    video capabilities but less on the image
    side, while the D7000 and 7D looked
    comparable. In the end, the D7000
    seemed to have better image quality
    and that is very important to me. I know
    a lot of this comes down to lenses and
    the skill of the photographer, but I
    believe I can learn and become better
    with this Nikon. I like the idea you
    mentioned about holding off on a prime
    until I see what focal lengths I’m truly

    Elliot – Oops I’m embarrassed that I
    wrote that! I meant in the context of
    travel. I didn’t mean to give the
    impression that I don’t want to change

    Hector, Kyle and Shen – Yes I had
    considered that Tamron (or Sigma
    equivalent) 17-50 as my walk around
    lens. As attractive as the Nikon version
    is, it remains out of my price range.
    Hector and Kyle, thank you for sharing
    those wonderful pictures!

    I think I am set on the 70-300. Now it is
    between the 17-50, 16-85 or 18-105.
    I’m starting to lean towards the 17-50
    (third party) and 70-300. Hmmm…
  12. Now it is between the 17-50, 16-85 or 18-105. I’m starting to lean towards the 17-50 (third party) and 70-300. Hmmm…​
    wouter is right that you may eventually gravitate toward a 17-50, which could make the 18-105 extraneous. that's been my go-to lens since 2007 on DX bodies. i've had the tamron non VC non-BiM and currently the sigma 17-50 OS. pairs pretty well with the 70-300. really just a question of whether you want to save $300 now or pay $600 later. speaking of 70-300, i have the tamron VC version, the stabilization on that one is no joke, plus the IQ is good even at long range. i dont think the build of the tamron is that bad, except for the awkward zoom ring which isn't as smoothly-damped as one might like. it's adequate for a consumer lens, but the IQ is excellent.
  13. Gaby,
    In the end, the D7000 seemed to have better image quality and that is very important to me.​
    Might be a bit better for the D7000 versus 60D/7D (which have the same sensor), but the differences are really small. The print-sizes you talk about, or alternatively on the web, you will not notice a single thing of these difference in image quality, in my view. It's not that you're not welcome in the Nikon family, but the Canon family ain't half bad either ;-)
    In the end, it's your decision to take obviously. But I'd really advice you to go to a store and try all bodies discussed. One of the biggest differences between Canon and Nikon is handling, so you should try a D7000 in your own hand, and see it its button-layout makes sense to you, whether the handgrip fits you etc.
  14. but instead Nikon announced a rehash of the aging 18-35 FX wide-angle zoom​
    At this point, Nikon has not "announced" any such lens - a post at a rumor site isn't an official Nikon announcement!
    I have a Canon 24-70 kit lens​
    What lens might that be - not aware that there is a kit lens from Canon with that focal range
  15. Sorry Dieter, my mistake! I had been
    looking at that lens as a possible
    upgrade. The kit lens is an EF-S 18-55.
  16. Others have said pretty much everything there is to say, but I will add one anecdotal observation about the 35mm f1.8G lens. I own this lens and received a D7000 for Christmas last year. On at least one occasion (last night) then lens simply refused to autofocus on the D7000. I tried resetting MF and AF, no dice. I eventually took the lens off and reseated it and it worked perfectly. I assume this lens is supposed to be fully compatible with the D7000, but there was one other instance where it *might have* failed to AF but I can't be sure. I suspect it may have to do with going from AF to MF and back. Or I am just plain nuts.
  17. On my D 300s DX body, I use the 16-85 VR and the 35mm f1.8 lenses you are thinking of getting. Both are excellent lenses. I have had images published in safari catalogues taken with the 16-85mm. I prefer the 35mm f1.8 to my 50mm f 1.8 AF-D lens on my 300s body. The AF is faster and the focal length is shorter.
    Joe Smith
  18. Gaby - I have a D300 I purchased in 2008. My go-to lens is my Nikon 17-55 f/2.8. This lens is on my camera 80+% of the time. I've read a lot on about the Sigma and Tamron equivalent to this lens. You can't go wrong with any of them. It's been my exprerience that I always need more light. Go for the f/2.8 lens of whatever brand. You will never regret it. My next lens purchase was based on the need for more reach. I bit the price bullet and purchased the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR1. I use this lens indoors and out. Again, the more light gathering power the better. For those really low, low light situations (bars, restaurants, night) I decided on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. I really don't use this lens very much, but it is there when I need it. The f/2.8 lenses work so well in most situations I don't have much need for f/1.4. My last purchase was an ultra-wide lens, the Tokina 11 - 16 f/2.8. This lens is excellent for indoor events like office parties....if used correctly. The folks at work call this lens my 'FAT' lens.
    I don't mean to side-track you on your camera purchase, but, have you considered the Nikon D3200? You're sounding like a 'I just want a camera to take good pics' person vs a gearhead. I'm going set Matt Laur's ears burning, but his primary camera is a D300 and his backup...and now it's sounding like an almost everyday, camera is the D3200. Excellent video...kid stuff. Very cost effective. Very petit (could be a plus or minus). Gives you more $ for lenses.
    I don't post many of my pics on because I have my own web site: . The majority of the pics on this site were taken with my 17 - 55 lens. The aerials, for sure, were taken with the 70 - 200.
    Good luck - Mark
  19. I purchased the D7000 (sold my D200) in July for a vacation to Europe. Although I would love to get a 17-50 I used my Nikon 18-200VR and it virtually never came off the camera. I did bring along my 70-300 but truly the 18-200 is great.
  20. My recommendation for everybody is a 24-70 and 70-200, both 2.8, buy Tamron or Sigma if you can't afford Nikon/Canon. That will cover 90 percent of what what most people shoot. If you need macro lenses or super long telephotos or have a need for a super fast prime, add them, but they are icing on the cake. Everyone has their preferences and needs, and others will disagree, but that's my recommendation.
    One other thought -- if you have Canon already, don't buy Nikon. I'm a lifelong Nikon user but sticking with Nikon means you can still use all the gear you have with your new camera, and will have your existing body as a backup. With the 24-70/70-200 combo, you can put one lens on one camera and the other on the other camera and be set for everything.
  21. A 24-70 as recommendation for everybody, including all DX users? You're sure about that? I'd dearly miss the ~18-24 mm range, and for sure wouldn't be happy with having 24mm as the widest.
    There are no "recommendations for everybody"; people have specific needs and wants, and there are tools that will fit those descriptions best. That's why people disagree, because there is choice, and there is no one correct choice that fits everybody.
  22. You can get some amazing deals on older 2nd hand Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 Macros (non HSM, non OS) Their price has dropped lots with the more prevalent reliance on in-lens AF motors, where-as your D7000 can still use them. Quality on a budget.
    +1 Wouter! I suspect those focal lengths will be vital to the OP's intended uses.

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