Nikon DX / FX lenses for travel & landscapes

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by navjit_bhamra, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Hi.
    So I’m going to a trip in July to New York for a few days, and then off to South America, visiting Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
    I own a Nikon D7000 DX camera, using a 18-105 lens as a daily driver. I had for months wanted to buy a 24-70 f2.8 lens as my go to lens. But having read reviews on the internet, it seems most commentators say the 24-70 is not best suited to a DX body, and it’s often not listed on the top 5 lenses for the D7000 or D/X bodies.
    So that has put me in a dilemma. I mainly shoot landscapes, but I also would like to shoot portraits too on my trip as well as standard travel shots etc.
    So been thinking of ditching the 24-70 and buying a prime 35mm DX and perhaps a 10-24mm wide angle, which would be great in NY and also for the wide landscapes in South America. The 35mm would be good for landscapes too. Anything in between I would use my 18-105. The other thought I had was to buy the wide angle and the 24-70 and use the focal length on the 24-70mm as a prime lens replacement and a little more. What about the 50mm Nikon does, or is the 35mm better suited?
    Another angle was to hire the lens, though the cost of the 35mm is the same as buying it outright, so renting it for 3 weeks doesn’t make sense, but for the 10-24 and the 24-70 it does, as it works out 5 times less than buying it.
    I don’t think I will be buying an F/X body for a good few years, if ever at all, and thus would be sticking with a D/X setup for the short to medium term. Hence I’m leaning towards the D/X lens.
    I would love to get opinions on which would be best for landscapes / travelling / portraits. Happy to take a few lenses on holiday as long as I get the shots and also the best lenses for my DX setup.
  2. If it's in your budget (and, if you were considering a 24-70, it probably is), I'd take a look at the 18-35 f/1.8 Sigma. It's a bit heavy, but so is the 24-70. The 50-150 is quite well-regarded as a complement to it. But there's a lot to be said for a small and portable superzoom, though most don't make the best of the D7000's sensor.

    Is it worth looking at a fish-eye? You can always "de-fish" (with some cost in quality) in software. Do you have, say, a 50mm f/1.8 that might be good for portraits? You might meet interesting people. :)
  3. Sorry, I posted a response on the wrong thread. (deleted here)
  4. Navjit,
    For landscapes, there is really extremely little wrong with the 18-105VR; also for the standard travel shots it will be fine. Since a lot of those shots are at f/8 or f/11, a f/2.8 zoom doesn't add much. Adding a wide angle may certainly be worth it, but I'd really recommend to buy that well ahead of the trip, as it takes some time to get used to making ultrawide angles work in compelling photos - you'll want to have some familiarity with it first. Also check the 3rd party wide angle lenses such as Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24, as they can be found a lot cheaper than the Nikon.
    Another idea could be to replace the 18-105 with the 16-85VR instead - the extra 2mm on the wide end have quite some impact (and may render the wide angle unnecessary!), and the extra build quality of the lens is nice hiking around a lot.
    For the wider apertures. both 35 f/1.8DX and 50 f/1.8G are pretty excellent lenses for little money; having a wide aperture lens alongside the slow aperture zooms makes sense. The main thing for yourself to find out is which focal length(s) work best for you - use your existing photos (EXIF data) to see which lengths you tend to use. Using this same data, you can also check how convenient it would be to have a split at 24mm (in case you do 10-24 / 24-70) - for me, it would have meant a LOT of lens changes and absolutely not workable for a trip.
    Personally, I'd probably opt for a 16-85VR (16mm tends to be wide enough for my taste), with a 35 and 85 f/1.8 prime added. Nice, portable, covers the most important parts. Maybe add a 70-300VR for the details.
  5. Whenever I shoot my Nikon D7000, I only bring two lenses: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and a (used) Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 (I haven't used my expensive AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G DX zoom in over a year!). But, if I were just starting out, I'd opt for the new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 first (it's the fastest zoom on the planet!), then, later, an AF-S Nikkor 85mmm f/1.8G for portraits (or, if you can afford both the price and the weight/bulk, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS).
  6. The 16-85 Nikkor is one of the best DX lenses and would work well for travel/landscape photography. For available light
    portraits with possibly distracting backgrounds, any of or a combination of the 35/1.8 DX, 50/1.8G, 60/2.8 AF-S Micro, and
    85/1.8G would work well. Other lenses you might consider include the 17-55/2.8 DX and 70-200/4 though they're fairly expensive.
  7. I took a 10-20mm sigma and the 35mm f1.8 nikon lens to NY last summer with my D7000 and it was amazing trip and my lenses were perfect. I didn't feel like I was lacking anything.
  8. I think the 10-? is a great idea. That's always the dilema in NYC is fitting stuff in. I like all types of lenses, so the 35 1.8 is
    nice. then a wider one like you said. Good luck on your trip. Just be a little careful around watch your stuff, don't bring too
    much and look too "shutter bug" like.
  9. ok, let's review:
    1) you have a d7000.
    2) you have an 18-105
    3) you want a portrait lens. or a wide lens.
    4) you're considering a 24-70.
    a few things here:
    • the 18-105 will still be your best bet as far as a "daily driver." it has a wide range and VR. the 16-85 is just as slow and has less range. IQ will be better but not by enough to justify the cost IMHO.
    • The 24-70 is a great lens but as an everyday/walkaround lens, it sucks. it's too big, too heavy, and scares small children. a far better option for your intended purpose would be the tamron 28-75. you still get constant 2.8, great optics and portrait coverage, but at like 1/3rd the weight and less than half the size. seriously, don't sleep on this gem.
    • in order to make the tamron work on DX, you will need a wide option (mine is the tokina 12-24). that could mean frequent lens changes or even getting a second body, neither of which may appeal to you.
    • the other option is stay with the 18-105 as your main lens and pick up some fast primes for portrait use. the 35/1.8G is a no-brainer. 50mm or 85mm is more difficult. 50mm is a little short on DX, 85 is a little long. maybe the tamron 60/2 or the Voigtlander 58/1.4 if you dont mind MF.
    • if you're sticking with the 18-105, then the tokina 11-16 starts to make sense. an 11-16+18-105+35/1.8 kit would be pretty versatile. you may still want a longer prime for shallow DoF head and shoulders portraits --35 is more suited to full body shots or environmental portraits, but again here you run into the 50/85 dilemma.
    • the dark horse option is sigma 18-35/1.8+ 85/1.8G. you'll miss some shots due to not having the entire range covered but you'll have a really good minimalist kit in terms of IQ and aesthetics. sometimes limiting options can be good, if you're willing to take on a pure shooter's mentality, as opposed to a snapshooter's mentality. if you're willing to add another lens, the 11-16 fits this ethos, and if you cant live without a short tele, then the 50/1.8G rounds this out. note that this approach is the complete opposite of the superzoom, or at least, fairly wide-range, zoom solution, prioritizing IQ which still giving you wide and long options, instead of convenience.
    it's worth noting that for the cost of a new 24-70, you could get a 10-24, a 28-75/2.8, AND a 35/1.8.
  10. I think an 18-105/35 DX combo would be awesome for travel actually.
    For me, I would want something wider, like a 8/10/11/12 - 15/20/24 zoom, but if you're not an ultrawide junkie it might not matter.
    Don't overthink this. Enjoy your trip.
  11. Even with a FX camera I don't want to carry a 24-70 with my travels but many do just that with even a 70-200 2.8 haha.
    Why not one of the Tamron 2.8 like their 17-50mm. That's if you want a faster aperture. But I know the 24-70 is the top of the line mid lens but you've got a DX body ... with a top of the line weight, top of the line size, top of the line brand for a Nikon body.
    FLs depends on what you are doing. When I travel I do scapes so I take a wide angle zoom and a 85 prime b/c both the 70-200 F2.8 or F4 are too large while the F4 is half the weight it is still 90% the length. I am testing out a 80-200 F4.5-5.6 which Galen used and see if it is good enough for me ...
    I used a 50mm and 85mm with a DX body in 2004 with Japan and I hated it while I did get some nice pictures when I simply shot different subjects. I mean there was no skyscrapers b/c I had effectively a 75mm lens as my widest. I think that a 35mm is definitely better as a low light lens to focus on limited photographs. You may want to consider a 20mm or a 24mm or a 28mm .. But I agree that for most people a 18-105 or a 17-50mm is better than a ultra wide zoom but then again I know nothing of how you shoot or what your style is.
  12. I used an 18-105 and a 35mm 1.8 DX lens for a long time as my usual travel set with my D90 and then D7000. I'd definitely take that set over spending a ton of money for a heavy FX lens.
  13. Some may think the 85mm f/1.8 (127.5-equivalent) is a bit long for DX, but I like it. When shooting FX, I now use my Sigma 150mm f/2.8 almost exclusively for portraits now (which is the primary reason I bought it).
    I've posted this before, but this is one of my favorite 85mm f/1.8 on a DX body shots:
    Nikon D90 + AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 (non-D).
    That said, I think the 18-105mm is often underrated. It's got an incredibly useful focal-length range, is pretty darn sharp, plus it has VR. I didn't even want mine when I first got my D7000 (because body-only D7000s weren't shipping yet). But I tried it once at a flash-fired event, and I really liked the results. But, yes, it is slow, and I've only really used it with flash. But ideally, if I were starting all over again in DX, I would pair the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS, and be done with it. I think that lens pair is a DX-shooter's dream combo.
  14. if I were starting all over again in DX, I would pair the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS, and be done with it.​
    IMO the 50-150 OS is too bulky and cumbersome, and loses the compactness of the 50-150 non-OS (which is a big plus). the 18-35 is probably the best DX zoom one can have right now, but it comes with limitations you need to be ok with working around, such as size (it's huge -- roughly comparable to a 24-70, and only 90g lighter) and limited focal length. it's not really an ideal "walkaround" lens unless you would normally carry 3-4 wide to normal zooms. you'd definitely want something longer, and 50mm might not give you enough separation. i could see that and an 85mm really working...
    but maybe we are overthinking this and Occam's razor comes into play: the simplest solution is the best. which would be the 18-105 VR as the main lens (plus a fast prime, plus a small flash).
  15. Smaller sensor, greater depth of field less likely to isolate subjects. If an FX camera is a ways off, and your intent is to get the most out of your DX format, expect greater depth of field conditions, and use it to your advantage. In portraiture of a Human subject, where it is important to isolate the subject, a full frame sensor with medium focal length lenses, like an 85mm 1.4, or 1.8, there's nothing like it. If someone can show me the effect of a FX format with an 85mm lens in DX it.
  16. Even with a FX camera I don't want to carry a 24-70 with my travels but many do just that with even a 70-200 2.8 haha.
    The combination of 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 would be a fairly minimalist kit for me when traveling. However, given the OP's applications I think wide angle and normal to short tele would be more important than long lenses so I'd not be taking the 70-200/2.8; the 70-200/4 is a possibility though as it is more compact and focuses to 1:4 (which can be useful when not bringing a separate macro lens, e.g. for partial face close-ups that can be intensive). I don't believe in traveling light when the purpose is photography. I used to think that I would be more mobile with lighter gear, but in practice I get better results if I bring the right gear and what would be the point of owning gear if one isn't using it when traveling to the most interesting locations? That's why I don't own any lens that is too large for me to take in cabin luggage on aircraft. While I do a lot of photography near my home, the fact is that when I'm traveling I can put more of my time into photography, and not worry about everyday things as much as I normally would, so the travel days are usually the most productive photographically. And you can be sure that I'll bring anything that I think will help me achieve my goals. The weight just makes it better exercise. ;-) Of course, if the purpose of the travel is something else than photography, then the balance can tip on the side of lighter weight options. But the 24-70 by itself is light enough and versatile as a one-lens travel solution - on FX cameras, if the subject matter is such that the focal range fits (which it often is, but some photographers have a more tele-weighted style).
    The Sigma 18-35/1.8 is almost the same size and weight as the Nikon 24-70/2.8 but covers less range so the potential to scare the subject is about the same, except that with the 24-70 you can be twice as far away at 70mm. With DX you don't necessarily save weight or space over an equivalent FX setup, if among the things you'd need is a fast wide angle. On long glass you save a bit but in these applications it may not be needed. Personally I think the 24-70 works best on FX cameras so if the OP has no plans of acquiring an FX camera in the next few years I think it's better to get a standard or wide angle zoom intended for DX. But it does make a great lens for portraits on DX as well, it's the wide angle 24mm end that is a bit problematic (on DX). So at the very least he'd need a separate wide angle to augment the 24-70. However, if FX becomes a realistic option in his plans, then the 24-70 is in my opinion the lens to get. Another possibility is the 16-35/4 and 70-200/4 pair, and maybe a 50mm or 60mm macro in the middle. This would cover great range. My personal preference however is to use the standard zoom instead of a wide angle zoom; with the latter you'd have to switch lenses to take an individual portrait (even for 1/2 or full body shot 35mm on FX can be a bit wide; on DX e.g. in the 18-35, that lens should be able to capture full body or 2/3 body shots nicely but for head and shoulders, you'd normally use something longer).
  17. True, both the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, and 50-150mm f/2.8 are big, bulky lenses. However, the unstabilized (but, discontinued) Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 is fairly compact. As I said, the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 are my two go-to lenses for casual DX shooting. There are as many ways to go as there are lenses. It's just a matter of trade-offs.
  18. It is my opinion that 2 lenses are outstanding in this area:
    1- The Tokina 11-16 f2.8. Outstanding resolution. Careful about flare.
    2- The Sigma 17-50 f2.8. Outstanding resolution and Optical Stabilization.
    Both lenses are tack sharp and work well indoors (considering).
    If optimal resolution is not your goal, the Nikon 18-105 is a great workhouse.
  19. My vote is for the 16-85mm DX and a small profile prime like a 20mm f 2.8 D FX or the 35mm f 1.8 G DX. I own and use the 16-85mm DX and the 35mm f 1.8 DX and the 20mm f 2.8 D FX lenses when I travel with my D 300s. I own the 24-70mm f 2.8 and would not normally take it with my on a travel vacation as it is too heavy and to big/high profile for travel. I am not familiar with the 18-105mm as I have never used it. Joe Smith

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