No, no, not another amateur-ish "which lens" question!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by peter_in_pa, May 18, 2010.

  1. Yes... it is... And I'm not asking complete strangers for advice, because I feel like I "know" people here.
    Here's the deal. I decided to keep my D50 after buying a new D90, and outfit it for my wife to shoot kid stuff and around the house.
    I have these lenses and will not be parting with any of them.
    Nikon 18-200 VR (I use it less and less, but still love it for what it is)
    Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (rarely used, but when you need it you need it)
    Nikon 35mm f1.8 (on my D90 most of the time right now)
    NIkon 50mm f1.8 (rarely used, but my sharpest/best lens)
    Nikon 55mm f3.5 (THE most fun lens ever, for me...)
    My thought is to leave the 18-200 on the D50 for my wife to shoot with (except when I need tele for "kid sports" that I shoot sometimes --this lens excels for kid sports outside, btw--) and get myself a mid-range zoom for my camera. Right now, I'm carrying around my camera without the 18-200 and not missing it as much as I thought I would...
    I have just about a couple hundred bucks to spend, so I guess the f2.8 zooms are out, and besides, I shoot a lot of low light with the 35 and 50 these days and love it, probably don't need the speed. Plus, I am decidedly an amateur. I don't, nor will I, charge for my services.
    My first thought is to get a 16/17/18-50/55/70/whatever zoom, and although I'm not opposed to a third party lens, I keep coming back to a used 18-70. I have VR on one lens, don't need it on the other one. Not opposed to a third party, and the Sigma f2.8 - 4 looks tempting, but it's only a half-stop faster. On the other hand, I guess I could get the teeny little 18-55 VR, but plastic mounts don't make me very happy. I change lenses pretty often. Plus, I already have VR.
    The other thought is to get a tele zoom and just deal with lens changes at the short end. The 70-300 VR is out of my range right now, but I wonder if the old 70-300 ED wouldn't be worth looking at (If I need VR, I can just snap on the 18-200). A fixed tele might be fun, but I'm not sure it'd work for me, and besides, I don't think anybody makes a 135 f2.8 like they used to anymore (that would probably be way cool). And the other fixed teles are out of my budget.
    So... what would YOU do...
  2. I would go for the fastest zoom you can afford. The 18-70m f4 just might work for you. A used Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 would be nice if you shoot in lower light, but you are missing that 70mm portrait range. Everything is a trade off.
    Kent in SD
  3. I would probably save a little bit until I will have enough for 70-300 VR version...
  4. New or used Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is another lens that I would consider. Good for potrait and almost walkaround length, plus, gives you Micro coverage too.
  5. keeping the D50 is the best decision there. a good husband, indeed.
    you are well-covered in the wide-to-normal end. and you like switching lenses. save a little for a fast long zoom. you might like to shoot older kids' sports someday. why don't you just save a little more for the 70-300mm VR or maybe better, the sigma 50-150mm f/2.8.
    btw, i also love my 55mm micro. try it for portrait someday. you're going to love it more.
  6. It looks like you've got everything pretty well covered up to 55mm. I'd go with one of the following:
    70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR or 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR
    Both are similar build quality but give you different ranges. PERSONALLY, I'd go with the 70-300 because you have the 16-85mm range pretty well covered with your primes. You won't miss anything between 55 and 70, but you might miss the 16-35mm end of the 16-85mm.
    Maybe get the 70-300mm VR now and save up for the 16-35mm f/4 later.
    Hope this helps and isn't too confusing.
  7. Well you said you have around $200 to spend, some of the posts here are suggesting you spend more than twice that...
    I have the Nikon 70-300mm ED zoom (the one without VR) and I have to say I like it very much. Sure it's a little soft when zoomed to 300mm, but even then it's still pretty good. From 70-200mm I'd say it's outstanding. Since you already have VR in your 18-200mm, I'd say you don't need another VR zoom lens.
    The 18-70mm is pretty good too, but you already have that range covered with your 18-200mm, so it wouldn't make sense to buy that lens in my opinion.
    I took the below image last weekend with my Nikon 70-300mm ED zoom at 300mm. Is a great lens for airshows.

  8. My thought is to leave the 18-200 on the D50 for my wife to shoot with (except when I need tele for "kid sports" that I shoot sometimes --this lens excels for kid sports outside, btw--) and get myself a mid-range zoom for my camera​
    I will advise against this. Either give her the 18-200 period or keep it and get her another, say, cheaper lens. But never share a lens, you are just asking for future problems. Perhaps, nothing will occur but why risk it?
  9. Thanks guys! Good ideas so far.
    Dave, thanks for noticing the discrepancy between what I can spend and what is recommended. I noticed this, too, but still wanted everybody's opinion... very helpful... Very few of my tele shots ever get printed very big, so even if the 70-300 is a little soft, I'm guessing it will more than suit me. Everything I've ever printed big was shot at wide angle or "normal" to short tele range, basically below 50mm. In fact, that's even true of my old film days. And since I don't really want VR on this lens (I use it less and less) I think a used 70-300 would probably serve me very well for 1/3 the price! I rarely if ever manually focus at the long end of my zoom. I wonder how it handles?
    Leslie, my wife and I have shared cameras and lenses before, when I shot film, and it was no problem at all. Plus, I'm not sure how much she'll really shoot with it. For kid stuff and events, if I'm around she let's me take care of the photography. That said, if I have a tele zoom, I imagine the 18-200 might never come off the D50 again. The combo of the 11-16/35/50/55micro that I carry around gets way more use now, except at parties and stuff.
    It's funny, when I first bought my first film camera (a Pentax MX), I only had a single 50mm f1.4 lens for about 2 or 3 years... and nowadays, I feel like I gotta have at least 3 or 4 lenses with me to not feel naked... what's up with that?
  10. So here's a thought.
    Sell the 18-200.
    Buy an 18-70 for my wife's D50 and a 70-300 VR for me... hmmm.....
  11. I dunno, Peter. The 18-200mm VR is such a swiss army knife lens. It's the one-lens solution for a trip. Are you sure you'd want to sacrifice it for the 18-70mm, which has no VR? If you're going to sell the 18-200mm VR you should replace it with the 16-85mm VR and the 70-300 VR. Now that's a lot of money to spend! Why not buy the 70-300 ED zoom and try it out? It's a very good lens for the money, can be bought second hand for $200, which was the original budget you'd set up in this thread.
  12. What's with the swastikas on the plane??
  13. Looks like the pilot would have shot them down, don't know that the ones in the flag vs. just bare mean. Dave probably knows. He's all about that stuff.
    Dave, would you mind emailing me the full-res of that photo? I promise just to view it and then delete it. Thanks! The lens handles okay?
  14. Peter - I would suggest you analyze what focal length you shoot (using one of the free software, I do not remember the name at this point, but I used it once after I read about it on - and it made me change my mind about getting an ultra wide angle lens). If you find that you use 150-200mm for less than 15% of the time, you may want to evaluate if you really need 200-300mm range that 70-300mm will provide over 18-200mm.
    Also, it may be worthwhile to check if Leslie is as comfortable changing lenses as you are. If not, 18-200mm becomes difficult to change.
    You also have 11-16mm that you rarerly use. I understand you need it when you need it, but the real decision is what you will miss more, ultra-wide vs mid-range telephoto. If you sell that one, and throw in the 200 bucks, you might be able to get yourself a used Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 or a new Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8. Just some more food for thought!!
  15. good idea, peter, selling the 18-200mm for two lenses that will be used more on two cameras. you will even have change to get the wife a nice little bag for the D50 kit, if she doesn't have one yet.
    a good compromise/deal. as you can see i'm not a fan of the 18-200mm. maybe i just couldn't afford it :)
    dave, nice shoots!
  16. Sandeep.
    GREAT thoughts.
    Too many of the photos I like are shot with the 11-16, I could never part with it. (btw, my wife isn't Leslie, but that's okay.)
    Most of my shots are under 50 or over 135. Darn few are i the 70-100 range.
  17. A good versatile mid-range zoom is always handy. They're maybe not the most glamorous around, but missing one is often enough a pain in behind. And the 18-70 remains a very sweet lens. Great range, feels good, works well. At the prices they go for 2nd hand, they are a seriously good deal (yes, the 16-85 is nicer, but that reflects in the $$).
    For the long end, I have serious doubt whether the 70-300ED is really worth the extra money over the 70-300G (many older reviews seem to suggest: barely), and the 70-300G I have is actually a pretty good lens for the money; because it's dirt cheap. Sharp up to 240mm, from f/8 all the way up to f/11. But too light-weight to balance nicely on a DSLR. The 70-300ED should be a bit heavier, that ought to help. A bit.
    So, yeah, I would not spend money on it, and wait there till you can get the 70-300VR, which on all accounts is way nicer.
    Selling the 18-200 to get there... hmmm... to me it does not sound all that great a deal. D50 with 18-200, always ready to go and the D90 with the more specialised lenses, to me sounds like a rather smart setup.
  18. Oops!! I should be more careful with names.
    I can tell you that for me, saving for the lens of choice has proven to be extremely rewarding. I am relatively new to photography (compared to veterans who I come across here), and after buying and selling quite a few lenses, I have concluded that one needs to just wait up and get the lens of choice. I am sure that by the time you have all the responses, you will probably not have an answer to your question. So the hard work of thinking will be still your privilege.
    Good luck with your decision making, I will jump in a little later when you are closer to reaching a decision, if I have something useful to add then.
  19. Peter -- Here's just a bit more info to make your decision even more confusing:
    IMHO, the 18-200 is a great "one-lens-fits-all" solution for your wife. If she's primarily taking snapshots and using it as a walk-around lens it'll be a great fit for her with the D50. If you sell the 18-200, make sure you get her the 2-lens equivalent in the 18-55mm ($119.95) and 55-200mm ($249.95). They work equally well for walk-around snapshots for a fraction of the price.
    Assuming you sell the 18-200 for somewhere around $550-$600, and add your $200 to that, you can now purchase the above mentioned lenses USED and get a good USED copy of the 70-300mm VR for yourself.
    And since I don't really want VR on this lens (I use it less and less) I think a used 70-300 would probably serve me very well for 1/3 the price!​
    I had (and sold) the G version of this lens. I have recently used the new AF-S/VR version and I can tell you that the VR is not the most important part of this lens. The old G version of this lens is light years behind the new (AF-S/VR) version. AF-S alone makes it worth the extra money (for me) since the G version has the old screw-drive AF system that is painfully slow on the G version of the lens, especially with the tiny AF motor in the D90.
    Hope this helps
  20. Since you are outfitting the D50 for your wife, I would suggest the 18-55 VR which would meet your budget, unlike some of the suggestions above. I don't have a D50, and I don't know whether the D50 would focus with such a lens. I can't keep track of internal external motors on all these cameras. If your wife is a more casual shooter than you are, the 18-55 would likely meet most of her needs and the lens would only have to mounted once, although the plastic mount does not cause me any angst. The lens is sharp and the VR is good for about two stops IMHO.
    BTW, the more I use the D90, the more I am amazed at the features and quality Nikon managed to squeeze into a bargain priced camera.
  21. Re the swastikas:
    I would guess that the flag ones are 'confirmed' kills, and the bare ones
    'probable' or 'shared' kills.
    Best regards,
    /Clay (ex R.C.A.F.)
  22. My choice would be to give the 18-200 to your wife, it is a good lens. And wait until I got the money for a 70-300 VR, I own also the 70-300G, but the VR one is from another planet. Another MF lens, a Vivitar 135/2.8 I bought secondhand for about $50,- and that one is good. So there are possibilities to get a good lens rather cheap, but it needs a lot of searching.
  23. Hmmm, not to be different but I am...
    It is futile to buy a lens for someone else. Especially a spouse. Let her make her own decision. You have a nice selection of focal lengths, what more do you need, for yourself and let wifey buy her own.
  24. Peter, the handling of this lens is terrific, it's a Nikon so it's all good. I just watched one sell on ebay for $134.95, one bid, no one bid up from that. What a deal.
    Yes, those represent kills of German Nazi aircraft during WWII. This is a P-47D Thuderbolt and part of the Flying Heritage Collection. It is one of a handful of P-47 aircraft still flying.
  25. Really, it's tough to beat the little 18-55 VR. I've had the 18-200, 18-70 & the 16-85. I actually prefer the 18-55. Your wife would probably appreciate the small size and weight of it.
    I have no problems with the plastic mount. I've never heard of anyone wearing one out. Here's a shot from the 18-55 VR.
  26. My own family outing/compact system is my old D80 plus Nikons 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR. Really, they do the job without much bulk. I bought the pair of lenses for $250 on e Bay.
    Kent in SD
  27. Get one of the 70-300's and take it to the zoo. These are great fun, fit your budget and fill a gap in your current lens inventory. You have 11-50 covered very nicely but could have fun with a little on the long end.
    For a few decades I did not have VR and, though it is amazing to us to think of it now, actually shot some fun pictures with a 70-300. In fact (I had the G version last) liked that range quite a bit. It is light and easy to carry. I looked at your nice photos from your Alaska trip and they tell me that you would enjoy the reach at 300 mm for your nature shots. My vote is for the 70-300.
  28. peter, i have the 70-300 ED. it's easily my least used lens. i've gotten a few decent snaps with it, but most of the time it's too slow, except for bright daylight since the non-stabilized long end requires a pretty fast shutter. i would use it more if it was VR. though it's ok wide open, it's a pretty so-so lens until you stop it down to f8-/11 where it suddenly becomes contrasty. for $200 it might be worth it but not a penny over. if i were you on that budget i'd probably go for the 55-200 VR.
  29. For $200, why don't you look at going to a local photo class or three? Having more toys won't make you better for sure. That's what I'd do with your current arsenal.
    If you need a toy, look at filters by These get me better pictures with less post work.
    How about a good tripod? Lensbaby? A used SB-800? Get the flash, then poke around and really improve your shooting.
  30. If you don't want to spend much, I have been seeing the Nikon 18-55 VR used for $100-$125. If you need a little more range and speed, have a look at the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 HSM OS. Mine was just delivered 2 days ago and I think it is going to be a keeper.
  31. So for anybody who is interested, here's what I did.
    I found, quite by accident, an INSANE deal on a used Nikkor 18-70 (basically about the price of an 18-55) in MINT condition. Preliminary tests are that there is basically no difference between it and the 18-200 in the range that they share, but it is SO much nicer to handle (except the bad spacing of the wider angles, heck that's even better on the 18-55). I was leaning toward the Tamron 18-50 f2.8 without VC and BIM, but this deal was so great that it made the choice for me.
    I will leave the 18-200 on the D50 for my wife to use if she chooses, and I will borrow it for tele shooting of my kid playing soccer until I can scrimp and save for the 70-300 VR or some such (or a used 80-200 f2.8 if I can save that much... unlikely...) I basically buy a lens a year, so... we'll talk next year! Thanks for all the suggestions.

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