recommendations for set of lenses for d800e

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ksporry, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. So, I'm considering getting a couple of lenses on hk airport whilst in transit.
    Am contemplating a 35mm, a 50mm, and a 135/2. Was wondering what others have to say/suggest.
    I'm fairly certain of the 135/2 unless someone can convince me to get the 70-200/2.8 instead (but that's a while other discussion).

    The 35mm options are: nikon 2.0D, nikon 1.8 fx (new this year), and Sigma 1.4 art.
    I think the Sigma is actually the most expensive of the bunch.

    The 50mm options are: nikon 1.4D, 1.4g, 1.8g, and Sigma 1.4 art (not sure it's released actually).

    I know Ken Rockwell is very much against 3rd party lenses, but honestly I think they can be just fine for most non professionals.

    Right now I'm leaning towards the new 35/1.8fx and 50/1.4g nikon lenses as well as the 135/2 (never had a 135 before).

    I welcome any advice/experiences...
  2. It will depend on your needs and way of shooting, I think. We also don`t know what you already have.
    Asking about other`s preferences or interests without any reference is a difficult task. I can tell you about what I would I do, in my own experience and idiosyncrasy.

    Or, do you just want a set "to be served"? If so, I`d get the 50/1.4AFS and a 105VR. I`d get Sigma 35 "Art" over the "new" f1.8 Nikkor. I`d not buy the 135. The 70-200 is interesting, but only if you know you need it, if not, it could be abandoned on the shelve. (Well, it is a also a great lens for those who never shoot over 85-105mm but want to have a long lens "just in case"...).

    And I`d buy something wider than 35, specially if I`m buying a 50. Maybe a 24. If I had to choose between a 35 and a 50, I`d probably choose the 50, mostly for outdoor shooting. Right now I have a 24. If not, I`d buy a 35, and specially, if I were shooting indoors quite often. Just some ideas.
  3. If you get a 35mm lens then the only current options as the AF-D and Sigma Art. If you can wait until it is released the 35 f1.8 may be the better bargain. When you get the 50mm lens I'd get the newer AF-S. I have the 50 AF-D and 50 AF-S both f/1.4 and the newer lens is much better. Can't comment on the 135 f/2. If you plan to do a lot of portraits and don't need DC then the 85 f/1.4 AF-S may be the better choice. For me I use the 85 f/1.4 AF-D and it's an awesome lens.
  4. For 35, I'd wait for the Nikon 35/1.8G-FX
    For 50, I'd go with the Nikon 50/1.4G
    The 135 is a wonderful lens, but gives up some contrast and sharpness at f2.0. But, still very usable with just a little tweaking in post. You might also consider the Nikon 70-200/4G-VR at the long end.
  5. One thing I have found with the D800 is that most lenses look pretty good on it, if the subject is in exact focus and there is no motion blur, and so on. I think the camera is more demanding of technique than of lenses.
    I have had a 135/2DC, and still have a 105DC. I had more difficulty achieving exact focus with the 135, so I sold it.
    Another similar lens that is a little more flexible for use is the 105/2.8 micro AFS VR. The better zooms look great on the D800 also, especially the newer 70-200/F4 AFS VR G
  6. The lenses I'm currently using with my D800Es are the 16-35mm f/4G, the 24-70mm f/2.8G, the 24mm f/1.4G, the 35mm f/1.4g and the 85mm f/1.4G Nikkor lenses. All of these lenses are sharp enough from edge-to-edge to use with the D800-variant cameras.
    The only lens I wish was sharper is the 16-35mm at wider focal lengths. Ideally, I'd like to add a 14-24mm f/2.8G lens; but that lens isn't without its challenges- e.g. not accepting standard front-mounted filters and requiring a special filter holder.
  7. The OP says NOTHING about what he intends to photograph. At least Jose asks the relevant questions-what do you have and what do you want to do with it. He's putting the cart before the horse. How can anyone advise him without this information? Also, anyone who quotes Ken R makes me doubt his judgement. :) It's like a young surgeon which instruments he wants to use without knowing if he operates on brains or feet. It's also a bit scary to think of a person with that sophisticated a camera who has so little lens knowledge; like a new Ferrari owner asking how to use a standard transmission.
  8. Kryn: I like some of your underwater shots a lot. Nice light and color, very few of the usual problems with scatter, etc. You also have a few good street shots, but I can't see anything which requires a new camera/lenses. Your E-P1 and your 5D MkII should be satisfactory for many years to come--they are both excellent cameras. Your Canon 24-105 is a good all-round lens, but you might consider a 50mm or a 35mm for your street shooting. Canon lenses are excellent, and I can't really see a valid reason for you to change systems.
    EDIT: Don't listen to Ken Rockwell. Whatever he says, he is certain to contradict in the future. Looking at more of your images, you might consider something like the Sigma 12-24.
  9. I'm surprised you don't have a 600mm f/4 AF-G VR II on your short list.
  10. pge


    It's also a bit scary to think of a person with that sophisticated a camera who has so little lens knowledge​
    We can overemphasise the need for equipment knowledge on a forum like this where many people are equipment experts but don't shoot very much. Take a look at Kryn's flickr account. Kryn can shoot! You like analogies because you used two in your post so I have one for you. Michael Schumacher wouldn't have to know much about tires or exhaust systems to be a great driver.
  11. Also, anyone who quotes Ken R makes me doubt his judgement. :)
    mm Especially when i calls the new 35mm 1.8 : " a very handy lightweight, disposable lens"..
    Oh dear, now i've done it too,i just quoted KR, what to do... :)
    but I can't see anything which requires a new camera/lenses​
    mmm I do, it is called "NAS", and one of the best places for getting "NAS" is HK Airport i guess...
    Apart from that i'd think it would be a nice setup : 35mm f/1.8 , 50mm f/ 1.8 , 85mm f/1.8, 135mm F/2.0 ...
  12. 1.4 There are some superb third party lenses available now. I really love the Sigma f1.4 series.
    Kent in SD
  13. OK, so maybe I should have indicated my needs a bit better.
    I'm using the d800e mainly for portrait and strobist type of shooting. I already have an 85mm/1.4 (the sigma one), which
    does really very well. As I found I tend to shoot at standard focal lengths when. Use zooms, I prefer the performance of
    primes, as usually they out perform the more expensive zooms for a lower price tag ( of course if you buy 3-4 lenses, it
    becomes more expensive). Effectively I tend to shoot at 24, 35, 50, 85, 135, and 200 (or close to those values) whenever
    I use zooms.

    I admit I suffer a bit of GAS, but does that warrant a rant about my abilities as a photographer? As some others pointed
    out it's not my knowledge of gear that makes me a good photographer, but rather how I use the gear available (thanks for
    pointing that out guys).
    Also, don't you think that it is perfectly acceptable for someone to ask on this forum what peoples experiences are with
    certain gear? Isn't that one of the many reasons to open a discussion here? Or perhaps only gear experts can come here,
    no gear advice requests allowed...?

    Changing topics slightly, yes, I know KR is controversial, and I too take his comments with a pinch of salt. But in the end
    apparently we all do read his opinions, and remember.

    Back to the original question, keeping in mind what my intentions are (see above), and without copying joe mcnallys
    setup, I'm looking to find out about things some reviews don't consider, like pros and cons from different viewpoints,
    experience with general build quality, convenience, etc.
  14. My favorite Nikon portrait lenses: 60/2.8 AF-S Micro, 85/any, 105/2DC, 105/2.5 AI(s), 135/2DC, 75-150/3.5 Series E., and 180/2.8D ED-IF.
    The 60 because it is sharp and has near-zero distortion. The 135/2DC because it's look just amazing and it's pixel sharp from f/3.2 on. The 75-150E because it's the lens deal of the century.
  15. So I read some contradicting messages about the 50/1.4s. Some people say the 1.4g is way better than any other version
    build so far, others say it's AF speed is actually slower than the D version. I wonder which one is true. As a side note,
    since I'm not doing children or sports with it, I guess, it's a bit of an academical question, but for potential future use it may
    be worth considering.

    I got to admit, KRs opinion about the new 35/1.4, being a plastic disposable lens, is I my own opinion rather narrow
    minded.mi have a nifty fifty for my canon, which after 18 years still works a charm...
  16. Slower focus speed doesn`t mean to be a worst lens. I have switched from a faster AFD to a slower G version, and being slower (it is true), I haven`t found it to be of an issue (and I shoot mostly kids!). Of course I prefer faster (and why not? citius, altius, fortius... :), but if the overall results are better, I don`t mind to live with a slower AF. Design, construction, easy of use, performance, convenience... all counts. It`s not about just one parameter (and usually based on people`s over simplified concepts).
    "Narrow minds" remind me to my kids` conversations while playing with trading cards... "my car A with 185HP is much better than yours B with only 182HP... ", it doesn`t matter if one is a van or a sports car or if a Mercedes or AvtoVAZ or if just a very old or a specialized model...
    About plastics, I`d never ever trade my Leica binos with my father`s Zeniths... even being my Leicas made with some plastics and the other with aluminum and brass (or even with the best u-boat german stainless steel, if you like). Maybe KR will prefer the Zeniths... good for him. If we are talking about photographic results, it has been already and widely proven than this plastic "disposable" lenses work... (at least for those who like to use them instead of contemplating them :)
  17. I agree. And in the end the best lens is the one you have.
    And unless you bash your lenses, there's no reason why
    they shouldn't last (as I indicated with my own
    experience with nifty fifties). Also agree with focusing
    shooed good enough is good enough. And it's not the
    only relevant attribute.
    (Which is why I was asking for experiences of others in
    the first place).

    For sure I'll get a 135/2 if they have one. 50mm and 35
    I'm gonna have to do some comparisons in shop so
    won't get those at the airport probably.
  18. personally, i'd get the sigma 35/1.4. it's better than the nikkor version and likely better than the 35/1.8 G. if i had a d800e, i wouldnt be trying to save a few hundred bucks by getting cheaper lenses, i'd be trying to get the best possible lenses, within a reasonable cost. the sigma is not overpriced for what it does.
  19. I do tend to lean towards the Sigma 35 based on reviews. But also, though many argue is future compatibility, there
    shouldn't be a reason why you cannot update the new Sigma lenses via the USB puck. So future compatibility remains
    for a long time to come. Another benefit Sigma had offered, is to get these new lenses remounted if you ever decide to
    change systems (against a fee of course).
    Another pro is that the Sigma is actually optically out performing al other 35mm lenses wide open, at f1.4. Which is pretty
    phenomenal. And the whole reason for buying such a wide open lens is to use it wide open.

    Canon has a 35/2 with IS, which makes sense for cinema, but for photography you don't really need IS, and certainly not
    to compensate for the one stop reduction in light.
    Of course this may be different for different people.

    For 50mm I was gonna wait until Sigma released an art version of their lens. Mainly because I'm curious. I know their
    current 50mm is good, but the nikon 50/1.4g seems equally good, lighter, and around the same price I think.
  20. Looking at photozone tests, the current Sigma and the Nikon (50mm) are quite different performers. The first looks like a sharp "older style" portrait lens (high center sharpness, very low in the periphery), while the Nikkor is a more balanced all round lens (I`d say that faithful to previous versions).
    BTW, check that some people have experienced issues with the 135DC AF on digital cameras. We have read about it from some users. It is an expensive lens.
    Any VR or IS system will let you to shoot with a three (four) stops advantage. It could be interesting depending on your needs. Imagine you were shooting inside a magnificent spanish cathedral, enormous and with a very poor light quality (something deliberately planned, they were made 500 years ago to be in such conditions). The VR will let you to enjoy the quality of a f5.6 shot (instead of f1.4-2), or at a base ISO instead of, e.g., 1600 or 3200. It could be not a petty thing for some.
  21. Yes, IS/VR could be very useful for low light conditions.
    What I was referring to is that IS/VR and wide apertures
    are not replaceable. They serve different purposes. A
    wide aperture had the benefit of shallower depth of field,
    IS had not. But IS can bring benefits for low light
    conditions, as you say 3-4 stops, where a wider aperture
    usually brings 1 at best. So different attributes for
    different purposes.
  22. Tried the 135/2 yesterday in a local shop. Was not impressed. Maybe I had a dud, like some pointed out is possible.
    Reasons for thinking that is because from f2-5.6, it simply was not the best lens I experienced. I have a 35/1.4 sigma art
    lens which blew it away in sharpness. I did make sure the dc control was at neutral or did not exceed the aperture value.
    Also, I read somewhere that the lens hood locks, and this one definitely didn't lock. I'll try again in another shop.
    Wished I had money for the 200/2 (saw images that blew away all other options).
    Might consider the 70-200/4 but prefer 2.8 for shallower dof in case I need/want it.
  23. Kryn it is likely you missed the focus using the 135mm F2.0 lens set the way you descibe it. Most users need to slightly offset the DF ring from neutral to get proper focus. (I have to do this on my similar 105mm F2.0 DF lens.)
    If I read D800 I think high resolution. Then the Zeiss Macro Planar 100mm F2.0 is one of the best choices, especially since you say you shoot portrait. Shoot open or at 2.8 and be amazed. The good news is that you do not have to finetune AF :)
    The bad news is if this combination gives not highest image quality you have no excuse. At least that was my lesson to learn.
    Use a tripod whenever applicable and take your time to nail the focus.
  24. Thanks Walter, sounds like good advice. I actually read since then on other places the same you tell me so it's nice to hear someone confirm that the DC needs to be adjusted for perfect focus.
    I heard on other places online that some people had optimal sharpness at DC set to F2 or R2, and then aperture stopped down to f2.8 or smaller.
    Most people seem to suggest a sweetspot at f4-f5.6.
    Actually I tried that, but cannot remember if I set the DC control, so I may go back and try again.
    Note, I already have an 85/1.4 from Sigma, which also seems to be stellar but might need some focus adjusment (only slightly, I think around 1/4" or thereabouts, but need to do some proper tetsing for that). Either way, I hope to find a lens that allows me to shoot as sharp as that 35mm I mentioned :)
  25. How about the Nikon AF Micro 200mm f/4D? Any experience with that? I read on DxO that it is nearly as sharp as the 70-200/2.8VR2, but has waaay less CA (of course that's lab tests, don't have any practical examples, which is what I'm looking for here). I started to wonder to what extend f2.8 provides a nicer bokeh than f4 (bokeh and sharpness are for me the dominant characteristics), so I started contemplating the 70-200/4, but then I thought about the 200/4D prime, since I love the effect of the 200/2.8 so much. I gather that the difference in bokeh is fairly minimal between f2.8 and f4 (is it?)
    Note, I have the 70-200/2.8 Canon lens, which on the 5D2 comes close to the performance of the 70-200VR1 on the D800 I believe. So whatever I get will be better than my Canon outfit in any case, but obviously I want to get the most out of my D800, which means better glass. So far I think the advice to hold out on a 135, until Nikon and/or Sigma announce their new 135's, is a good one, so I think I'll wait for those to come out. It will give me a larger choice, and I could still go for the 135/2DC if I decided that's the best performer from my perspective. So the discussion for me is should I get a 70-200 for versatility, or try go for a 200 prime?
  26. As a question on the 135/2 DC (and 105 DC), The manual states that for Program mode or shutter speed priority mode, the lens needs to be locked on the minimum aperture. That implies that for aperture priority this is not required. However, when I tried it on my D800E, I had to set the minimum aperture lock to be able to shoot on aperture priority mode. If I didn't, rotating the aperture ring would result in an error "Fee" being displayed (Aperture error?) on my D800E. I understand that this lens was made way before the latest Nikon cameras, but if the aperture ring doesn't work for the latest cameras, should the manual be updated?
  27. Settings the lens to lock on minimum aperture enables the camera to select the aperture, and allows you to control the aperture from the body using the front command wheel in Manual mode. There's no need to use the aperture ring at all. [I know there is a way to enable the aperture ring, but I've forgotten how since there's little point in doing it.]
    But what the manual says is still true of any non-G AF lens. If you want the camera to select the aperture (whether with the command wheel, Shutter-priority mode, or Program mode), you need to lock the aperture ring to minimum.
    In response to your earlier comments: my 135/2 DC is pixel-sharp from corner to corner by f/3.2. It is pretty good at f/2.8, and soft at f/2. That is normal for this design. It's not a design that is optimized for maximum aperture. But at this focal length, f/2.8-f/3.2 gives you a pretty narrow depth-of-field. The depth-of-field at f/2 and close focus is as thin as a dime.
    I suggest doing a real portrait or two with the 135 to get a feel for it. The character is stunning.
  28. Well, last week I went out to buy the 200/4 micro, only to find no one was selling it new anywhere, and even 2nd hand there were only on eor two around. I even went to the Nikon Experience centre here in Shanghai, and they don't have it on display (which surprised me a bit, since I hadn't heard they pulled it off the market).
    So empty handed I did some reconsideration, and today I pulled the trigger on a 70-200/2.8
    Yes, It's a bit heavy, and the VR is not as good as Canon's IS (I have a 2004 70-200/2.8 L IS lens), which so far seem unsurpassed (though the new version might be better), and I'm also considering getting the 300/4 on the long run. That one is pretty cheap these days (maybe because rumours are that Nikon is planing to replace it with a VR version, which of course would be significantly more expensive). If I do intend to get that one I will make sure I get a Kirk replacement collar, as I understood the original collar is rather poor on the 300/4.

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