Nikon mid-range zoom for both FX and DX format

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by michael_tam|1, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. I have recently enter the digital SLR format by purchasing a D90 body. Previously I have a full compliment of lens for film bodies. Apart from purchasing the DX format lens for Tokina 12-24mm to accomodate the wide angle needs, I plan to eventually acquire a D700 body for FX format. For this reason, I did not purchase the D300 in order to save for the D700 instead. In this regard, I also do not wish to purchase any other DX lens.
    My quest is to improve the mid-range zoom performance. I currently use a 24-120D, 75-300AF, 80-200D. From the various reviews, I hope to reduce the overlap by having the 24-85D and 80-200D for FX while 12-24 for DX needs. What I found on the reviews are as followed:
    Without going to the pro level 24-70, is 24-85D the only viable alternative in order to suffice the needs for both FX and DX format. The draw back appears to be a dated lens without ED elements, AFS and VR, although the latter two features are not that important to me. Please offer me advise and opinions.
  2. I've always wondered why people worried so much about overlap. It's not like lenses that don't overlap are smaller, lighter, or cheaper. Use the overlap to your advantage as a walkaround zoom.
    Also, don't think that these "dated" lenses aren't up to the task. I've tried just about every mid-range zoom Nikon has made...and settled on the 28-105. It's tack sharp, but most importantly, it has very little distortion at the wide end. It's also got a handy macro feature that works pretty well.
  3. I don't think your logic is sound here. The field of view differences between the two formats don't really allow for "buying for the future going to FX" IMHO. I have gone from a D70 to a D200 and now a D700. I changed a few lenses out going to FX as well as selling my DX lenses. I did have a 28-105mm Nikkor but replaced it with a Tamron 28-75mm because of the soft corners at 28mm with the Nikkor in FX format. I don't really worry about gaps or overlaps to much but I use a lot of primes also. I suggest you get the best lenses for your current needs and use it. If you do go to FX things will change as far as lenses go, at least they did for me. You are probably better off looking closely at the Nikkor 24-70mm if you don't mind the size or weight. Its just to heavy for my purposes. In DX I think the 28-105 Nikkor is a very sound lenses. Never used a 24-85mm Nikkor.
  4. The Tamron 28-75 is a nice alternative to the Nikkor 24-70. It's lighter and much cheaper and very sharp across the frame from f/3/5 up, at least on DX. Can't speak for FX and this lens as I don't have an FX camera, but others seem satisfied with in on FX, too.
  5. On my DX body I used to use the Sigma f/2.8-4 17-35 (which is not a DX/DC lens) as a walkaround lens. On my FX body I use the Nikkor 28-105 as the medium-range zoom and the 17-35 as the wideangle. It's too early for me to say if I'm happy with the 28-105 (I bought it second-hand a few weeks ago). I tried the Nikkor f/2.8 24-70 in a shop once and it's just too heavy for travel photography, in my opinion.
  6. best ranges for the two cameras is two different lenses. simple.
  7. I disagree peter. a good FX lens works well on both cameras.
    I own 15 lens MF thru AF, only 2 are Dx and I havw 4 DX bodies over the years. The large majority of my shooting on DX bodies has been with FX lens.
    The only reason I got any DX kens was to take advantage of their wide end.
  8. Joseph.
    Read the OP's headline.
    a good mid-range zoom for FX is not quite wide enough to be good for DX. A good mid-range zoom for DX probably doesn't work at all for FX.
    Of course lenses work great on DX that work on FX. That wasn't the question.
  9. i was in the camera store this morning and saw that they had a 24-85/3.5-4.5 AF-S lens on the shelf. that struck me as kind of odd (supposedly discontinued?), so i came home and checked it out on the web. read thom hogan's review on it. while it's not on the diagram linked to above, he was clearly impressed. even he who shall remain nameless liked it.
    i have an FX body, and when i'm not using it for work i seldom use the 24-70/2.8 AF-S. i generally prefer small primes for walk-around. but i do have and use an old 28-70/3.5-4.5 AF-D lens on hand, just in case.
  10. I have the 24-85 f/2.8-4 D with a D70s and find it to be a very good lens even for Dx. I've found that as much as I read reviews and other people's impressions, when I actually try something myself, it's better than what I read. That's how it was with the 24-85, medium rated reviews, but my experience was much better. I think it's an underrated lens and believe it would go very well with a D700.
  11. "Mid-range" is quite different with DX than with FX. So, if you want to use on lens on both, then maybe the aproach "mid-rane on DX gives wide on FX" is more appropriate. That leads me to the AF-S 17-35, which is an excellent wide zoom on FX and in the mean time would be a good mid-range zoom on a DX camera.
  12. I agree Michael, the 17-35 seems like the best compromise.
  13. To me, a good DX midrange zoom should go from 18 to at least 50mm. None of the FX alternatives are suitable for DX. Why not just get an inexpensive 18-55 VR or Tamron 17-50 2.8 and get your money's worth of use out of it while you still have the D90? When you sell the D90 to go FF, sell the lens with it.
    To me buying stuff for some future theoretical use is a waste of money. Better to have lenses that work with the camera that's hanging around your neck.
  14. I appreciate very much from the responses by the photographic community, since this is the first time I posted a question. However, I need to clarify my logic in this plan. The main reasons of hoping to trade-in the two older zooms are because, one: 75-300 AF (push-pull version) has a serious vibration problem even on mirror lock-up or exposure delayed mode at 200mm or over. The 300mm end is also very soft. More importantly, I found myself rarely ever used it since it was purchased. For the 24-120 D, I found the images are soft at the borders, with the 120 end with moderate deterioration. Whereas the 24-85 2.8-4 is supposedly a much sharper lens on reading various reviews. While the issue of zoom overlapping is not essential, I did find that the 80-200 is used only in very serious shoot becaause of the "street sweeper". By eliminating this overlap with 24-85 and 80-200, I would be more "encouraged" to use the semi-pro 80-200 optics.
    In regard to serving the FX and DX format simultanously, it is both for planning for the D700 in a year or so time while retaining the D90 for its 1.5x factor to benefit the telephoto end. My planning logic will become this way: DX format: 12-24 DX (18-36), 24-85 (36-128), 80-200 (120-300). There are other prime lens for special purpose available. Conversely, in FX foramt, 24-85, 80-200 with a 20 to supplement.
    The real question is whether the 75-300 and 24-120 should go in favor of a 24-85 2.8-4, knowning that this lens was introduced in 2000-2003, then reintroduced in 2006-current but may due for update with perhaps ED, VR and AFS. Hope this clarified my objective in the lens line-up re-organization plan.
  15. Michael,
    Thank you for citing my mid range zoom comparison in your initial post.
    I wonder if you've settled on your lenses yet. If not here are my two cents.
    The current Nikon pro lenses like the 24-70 are huge and not fun to walk around with. If you don't mind that and can handle the cost you can't do better than the 24-70. The 80-200 is pro-level glass but lacks AFS and VR (Nikon has a new 70-200 VR coming out soon, but that thing is even bigger than the 80-200, which itself is, as you pointed out, a street sweeper). I own a D700 and prefer to use primes if I'm walking around with it. The old manual focus AIS 200 is sharper than anything, small, light and built like a tank (but not really compatible with your D90). The current VR 70-300 might be a better cost/size option than the 80-200 (I can't speak for it, haven't tried it). Most of the reviews I've read of the 24-85 2.8/4 trash it. Same for the 24-120. I wasn't impressed with the 24-85 3.5 but others like it. I used it on a trip to Hong Kong and it was OK but if I were to do that again I'd go light and bring my M8 with a couple of lenses. I found that the zoom really didn't buy me any advantage. I either shot the wide end (which still didn't feel wide enough) or popped the 200 on to pull in details.
    Another thing to think about is the desire to have a "full range" of zoom coverage. I don't think anyone really needs that. A 17-35 and a tele zoom will probably cover you for all situations (the 17 end gives you a modest wide capability with the DX body and will be great with your future D700). You could add a fast 50mm prime just in case. If you have your eyes on the 24-70 ask yourself how often you will use the middle of that range. The answer may be not often.

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