Replacing Kit lens with a "Good" normal zoom

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by superinc, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Good evening all,
    Well im going to use Black Friday as an excuse for getting the D7000 body. Now im thinking I need to upgrade the Kit 18-55 VR lens for something a little bit more well built. Optically speaking the kit lens mated with D5000 is not bad at all for such a cheap lens . what I want to gain is a more solid feel, faster AF and ?wider range/aperture.
    What I shoot: im an enthusiast , I shoot mostly outdoor nature scenes, plants, animals.
    What I want to improve: indoor portraits, events, Carry less equipment.
    What I have: Nikon D5000 , Sigma 8-16mm , 35mm 1.8 AS-F, 18-55mm VR AS-F, 85mm Macro VR AS-F, 55-300mm AS-F VR , SB-600 Flash.
    What im looking at is the Nikkor 16-85mm AS F VR 3.5-5.6G and the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 SP AF XR Di II VC LD. Optical reduction is a must.
    Is there any other options worth looking, Sigma version doesn't have as much "raves" as Tamron. I've read 18-105mm is along the same lines as Nikkor 16-85mm????
    Jeo G.
  2. Yes look at the nikon 17-55 2.8 lens its a nice lens
  3. It looks to me like you should get the new Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS.
    The Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 is more than twice the price, and it not even a VR lens. If you think you can get away with a lens that shoots at more narrow apertures, because you have that 35mm f1.8, then I suggest the 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 VR from Nikon. It's an excellent lens, and it has a longer zoom range. Besides, f2.8 gives such a short depth of field that I would never use that wide aperture anyway. You definitely should have VR (or OS) though.
  4. To me the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC is the one to get. I use it for events all the time, but for portraits, it's not quite in the best range. The 50mm is equivalent to 75mm on a D7000 and the preferred portrait focal length is more like 90 to 105mm, which would be a 60 to 70mm lens. I actually use a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 set at 70mm for portraits.
  5. Personally I think you are wasting your money. If you want something with more range that's cool. But why replace a lens that has good image quality with another? If you wanted more range I can see that. Like the Nikkor 18-105 or the 18-200. On the D7000 you don't need the larger aperture. The high ISO quality will more than help you. Don't let other's poor opinion of the 18-55 scare you away from it. It's a great lens. Good luck!
  6. the D7000 you don't need the larger aperture.​
    You can not cover everything with higher ISO - there is also depth of field. And higher ISOs may be good, lower ISOs are still better.
    And that is what the choice is about. The indicated uses go a bit two ways. For outdoor nature scenes, the 16-85VR is a really excellent lens. But for indoor events, its aperture range is limiting. For carrying less equipment, I think a 17-50 lens is not the way to go, as it's the exact same as a 18-55 so you will have the same need for other lenses (except maybe the 35 f/1.8, but that is a small and light lens).
    So, it's really the choice between the wide range or the aperture - which way the balance tips is really something only you can decide for yourself. My own choice is fast primes and a 16-85VR, but would I do fare more events, I'd sure look at that Tamron.
  7. The NiKkor 17-55mm 2.8 is too expensive for a walk around lens im not going make $$$ off.
    I was looking more at the tamron version of 17-55mm than sigma because it seem to be more proven than sigma , I like the sigma build quality of the 8-16mm. I going to make to closer comparison with both of these. the the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 DC OS HSM has also catch my eye, but is suspiciously cheaper
    kit 18-55 has great image quality , but im going to keep with the D5000 and upgrading ;)
    thank guys
  8. Nikon 18-70 3/5-4.5 is a great lens too ...very sharp, solid feel
  9. The 18-70 is indeed a great choice, although not available new anymore.
    I'd look most seriously at the Tamron myself.
  10. I consider f2.8 fairly slow which is why I also have and use primes with my f2.8 zooms. The D7000 has a very high resolution sensor and I would balance that with the best f2.8 zoom I could afford in the range that best suited my needs. I use a D700 with a Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 and Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. At times a large aperture is handy to have.
  11. I was blown away by the high ISO capability of the D7000. I guess it depends on where you are coming from, but up to 3200, it is hard to see any noise under any but the most extreme conditions. As to the depth of field issues, there are other ways to skin this cat than using the lens. The software solutions may be what you should use. I prefer the software solutions for isolating subjects to using DOF. The benefit is that I have much more control over what is in focus and what is soft, I get to use lenses at their best aperture. Technology beyond the camera and lens has dramatically changed how I conceive and execute images. The quantum jumps such as going from a D70 to a D7000 and CS2 to CS5 with some add-ons is nothing short of amazing.
  12. Now im thinking I need to upgrade the Kit 18-55 VR lens for something a little bit more well built.
    what I want to gain is a more solid feel, faster AF and ?wider range/aperture​
    To gain a more solid feel and faster AF, you can go to the 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6, but you won't gain much in range or aperture.
    As has already been pointed out, the Nikon 17-50mm f/2.8 will help you gain aperture range, but you are stuck in the same zoom range and it's a beast of a lens for walk-around stuff. I have no experience with the sigma or tamron versions of these lenses, but I do not feel that this zoom range needs VR. Would it be a welcome addition? Yes. Is it a necessity? No.
    Another choice that has not been mentioned is the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6. Slightly better build quality than the 18-55, but a very reasonable lens for walk-around.
    What I shoot: im an enthusiast , I shoot mostly outdoor nature scenes, plants, animals.​
    For this you don't necessarily need wide apertures, but they do allow for more creative freedom. When I shoot landscapes, I'm usually at f/8 or f/11 to get the maximum depth of field without sacrificing quality loss due to diffraction.
    What I want to improve: indoor portraits, events, Carry less equipment.​
    I'm no expert and everyone shoots differently, but I prefer fast primes for portraits and a fast zoom for events. You already have the 35mm f/1.8, but it wouldn't be my first choice for portraits. I'd rather go for a 50mm or 85mm lens and there are plenty of choices from Nikon and Sigma in those focal lengths.
    On the other hand, the fastest way to improve your portraits is to learn how to light your subjects and to buy a quality lighting setup. You already have an SB-600, so maybe an SB-700 or two for CLS or a couple of studio strobes would help improve your portraiture. Neither of these suggestions allow you to carry less equipment.
    For events, a fast normal zoom is a must unless you're comfortable with a 2 camera PJ style setup with two primes like 35/85 or 24/50. Your choices in this area for DX are basically the Nikon 17-55 mm f/2.8, (which you've dismissed due to cost and weight), and the 17-50mm f/2.8 offerings from Sigma and Tamron, (which I can't comment on , but there are many pros on these forums that swear by these lenses).
    The best way to carry less equipment is to find a lens that you can use for most of your shooting needs. Most people shoot in the "normal" zoom range, which is 17-55mm on DX. See my previous comment about event shooting.
    So here's your choices:
    16-85mm f/3.5-5.6
    Pros: Smaller and lighter weight than f/2.8 zooms. Longer zoom range than your 18-55mm.
    Cons: widest aperture of f/5.6 at longest focal lengths
    Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8
    Pros: Nikon Professional build quality, extremely good IQ, fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range
    Cons: Big, Heavy, and expensive. No VR/OS, but IMHO, not necessary at these focal lengths. Covers same focal length range as your current 18-55mm
    Sigma/Tamron 17-55mm F/2.8 (with VR/VC/OS)
    Pros: Optical stabilization, fast f/2.8 aperture, light enough for general walk-around use.
    Cons: Same focal length range as current 18-55mm lens
    Nikon 18-105mm
    Pros: Light enough for walk-around use, extended focal length range, optical stabilization
    Cons: slow f/5.6 aperture at longer focal lengths, moderate build quality for Nikon.
    Now that everything's broken down for you, it's up to you to decide what lens is right for you.
  13. Richard: I have the 18-105 and have been pleased with it. However, it does have a synthetic lens mount and not a metal one. So, far I have seen no disadvantage to that. I'm not as hard on my equipment as I once was, so I may not notice any issue for years. I, too, tend to opt for sturdy, but have found over the years with other types of equipment that some synthetics are much more durable than their traditional metal counterparts. Firearms are just one example of hard use items that are more durable with synthetics. My polycarb computer cases have been much more durable than any but the machined metal ones.
  14. "the D7000 you don't need the larger aperture."
    You always need the larger aperture. VR and higher ISO are tools for gettting a little extra edge once you've already maxed out traditional things like using a faster lens. Buy an f/4 or 5.6 lens instead of 2.8 and justifying by saying it has VR or that you could crank up the ISO is liking shooting medium format and scanning it on a low-res scanner that only gives you 35mm results.
  15. 24-120 f4.
  16. Garcia, the 16-85 is your best bet, if you want to stay with Nikon. It is incredibly sharp; the only downside is that Nikon didn't make it constant f/4, like they did for FX shooters with the 24-120 VR. If you can live with variable aperture, this lens provides the best midrange zoom performance that you're likely to find. The 18-105 is a better lens than the 18-55, but don't kid yourself; it's not in the same league as the 16-85.
    I also disagree about looking at other lenses only for the range. Optical quality is a very good metric to look for, and you definitely should not be so ready to turn up the ISO. Even a D80 at ISO 100 will produce better results than a D7000 at ISO 1600. The problems aren't just noise. At high ISOs, you also lose color and dynamic range. The 18-55 is literally Nikon's bottom of the barrel lens. Image quality wise, it can keep up decently well, but there are definitely better options, especially for a midrange zoom, which is the lens that most people keep on their camera, 90% of the time.
    Some others mention the 17-55, but that lens is rather old, and the design choices on it are questionable. It's humongous for a DX zoom, and it is hellaciously overpriced. There are some optical flaws that the lens delivers that you do NOT put up for a $1,500 lens, despite its overall very good performance, especially when computer design and manufacturing techniques have allowed the competition to provide similar to superior performance for 1/3 the price.
    All of the reviews that put the Tamron ahead of the Sigma were against the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. The newer version of the lens that Scott mentions, 17-50 f/2.8 OS, has noticeably improved performance compared to its predecessor, and is a valid alternative to the Tamron. You already have a Sigma that you are happy with, so you may want to stay with Sigma. With the Tamron 17-50, every time they added more technology to their lens (first a built-in focus motor, similar to AF-S, and then image stabilization) the image quality has gone down. With the Sigma 17-50, everything has only gotten better. I have the first version of the Tamron (along with many other Tamron lenses, like the 90mm macro and the 180mm), and I've been happy with it, so don't get me wrong, I don't hesitate to recommend Tamron to anyone. But, it seems that they're adding technology to their lenses to sell to people based on more specs, instead of helping the photographer take better photos. Sigma is finally waking up and realizing that people are making comparisons on the internet, and if someone researches that the Sigma is not performing, then despite its cheaper price, many people aren't going to choose their lens.
    Carl, if you consider 2.8 to be slow, you're in a minority. For people who don't need the fast apertures, the f/2.8 lenses are needlessly more expensive, large, and often don't perform any better than a smaller aperture lens. I'd put the 16-85 up against the 17-55 any day. Same goes for the 24-120 vs the 24-70. As Craig says, a larger aperture is always useful, but to call f/2.8 slow is hilarious. There's definitely faster apertures, but f/2.8 is pretty fast.
    The 24-120 is a worthless recommendation. It is nowhere near wide enough for a general purpose lens, and the OP would have to switch lenses all the time to go between normal focal lengths and wide angle. The 16-85 is the DX version of the 24-120.
  17. What was once considered high ISO -- anything under 6400 -- can now be viewed as mainstream on the new platforms. VR is nice, but not a real boost as far as I'm concerned. VR is no substitute for a monopod or tripod.
  18. But why replace a lens that has good image quality with another? If you wanted more range I can see that. Like the Nikkor 18-105 or the 18-200. On the D7000 you don't need the larger aperture. The high ISO quality will more than help you.​
    this is just bad advice. there is no substitute for a constant 2.8 lens. not only light-gathering ability, but also subject isolation/blurred backgrounds. IQ will always be better at lower ISO.
    i would recommend the sigma 17-50 OS over the tamron 17-50 VC for the faster autofocus. if you can live without stabilization, the original tamron 17-50--which wont AF on a D5000--is a good deal for the money.
  19. Agreed that a 3rd party 2.8 lens is usually a better choice than a kit lens (I am including the 16-85 in the kit lens
    category) if the focal length range is useful to you. The 18-55 lens was a good performer on lower res cameras but on
    the D7000 you do see the 16-85 and 18-105 lenses pulling away in the test results. Slight edge there to the 16-85 but
    not enough to be noticeable.

    Where the 16-85 pulls away from the other kit lenses is a sturdier build, which is what the OP wants. It's also an
    optical upgrade over the 18-55 and more zoom range. But if the OP wants the better aperture, a Sigma or Tamron 2.8
    zoom for less money than the 16-85 is a no brainer.
  20. Maybe I'm the maverick here, but fast lenses no longer cut it for me. I carried the Nikon 50 f1.2 for years. At one point I began to wonder how much I really used that lens wide open. The answer was hardly ever. I found then, as I find today, that I shoot about 95% of my images between f 8 and f11. I do that for two reasons (I think). That is how my eyes work and therefore it is how I imagine shots when conceiving of them. It is also typically the range in which most lenses perform best. I guess it is just the nearly 60 years I have been doing this that puts me in the position I am. Fast lenses, like fast women, have lost their appeal over the years.
  21. Here is about a 30% crop of an image taken at ISO 1600, handheld at 1/100th, at 300mm:
  22. If you want to get into shooting events, then I would say get a mid-range lens with a constant 2.8 aperture. Otherwise, I would stick with the kit lens, and spend the money on a 35mm f/1.8 and an ultra-wide angle or telephoto.
  23. There isn't an affordable 28 mm or 36 mm equivalent lens for DX format.
    I am thinking of getting a D5100 + Sigma 17-50 +50/1.8 but would be very happy with D5100 + 50/1.+35 1/.8 and a 24mm that had AF on D5100.
    Sigma 17-50 is very highly rated on online forums
  24. Perhaps I have a very sharp copy, but my 18-105 VR is excellent and super sharp on my D300s. Corners are great stopped down to 5.6 or smaller. Contrast isn't great but I can add that in post. AF is kind of slow but very accurate. The only thing I don't like is the plastic mount. I paid $300 for it which less than half of the 16-85. The 17-55 is a non-starter at $1500. Plus you can get the 18-105 as a kit lens with the 7000.
  25. Gurpreet, unfortunately the only 24mm AFS (and somebody can correct me...) is the one that's nearly $2000. Closest you'll get in a prime is that Sigma 30mm 1.4 that's motorized (HSM is Sigma's term for AFS).
    Brian, my 18-105 is also very sharp. Sharper than my dad's 16-85 but I think his copy is a bit off - I've seen other 16-85 samples that are sharper. My 18-105 was something like $250 in a white box from Abe's some time back, but I haven't seen a price like that since then.
  26. Thank you all for your responses and incite.
    I wanted to have my cake and eat too.
    I found the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC OS HSM Macro on paper to have everything I want , Better quality, wider range, larger aperture, OS. To boot its cheaper(hope not a get what you pay for deal) but has good reviews. best of all BestBuy carries online as they usually have a very limited selection, I can use my 500$ Store credit!! and return it no question ask if I don't like it for whatever reason.
  27. I have the 16-85mm on a D5000 at the moment. High ISO is excellent (better than my D300). I had the Tamron 17-50mm. AF was too slow and twitchy for my needs so I sold it. I'm tempted by the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, but found my Tamron equivalent too short at the long end. The Sigma 17-70mm suggestion is also sound if you want an extra stop, but I do like my 16-85mm.
  28. I can tell you that you will not be disappointed with the Sigma 17-70. I bought this lens last March after going through much of the same deliberation. From the moment I put it on my D90 I have taken it off maybe twice. Since I shoot mostly landscapes and portraits it is definitely the most ideal. And you can't beat the price. It's got a solid feel to it and the image quality is outstanding. Happy shooting!
  29. Okay, I'll toss in my two cents as well.... I owned the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and replaced it with the Nikon 17-55 f2.8. The image quality on the Tamron was excellent but it would sometimes miss focus. The Nikon is also faster focusing.
  30. "....You always need the larger aperture."​
    Craig, how can you justify that statement? Your comparison with scanning MF is a complete non-sequiter argument and doesn't explain anything.
    We already have cameras with 20 times the ISO sensitivity that you could possibly squeeze out of film ..... and counting! Which is why f/4 ~ f/5.6 zooms are now commonplace and viable bits of kit. When we were stuck with 100 ISO film for "quality" (hah!) and 400 ISO film for when it got dim, then those lenses would have had no place in our gadget bags. And we'd have killed for today's mega-stable VR.
    There are only a few situations that demand the shallow depth-of-field that high aperture lenses offer, and true enough, a "kit" lens isn't going to provide it. But for sports, kids and I'd bet 90% of professional work, more depth-of-field rather than less is what's called for. And when you do need that shallow depth of field, I bet your first thought isn't to reach for a mid-range zoom, but a big-a** prime.
  31. Like Mark said, get a good 2nd hand 18-70.
    Yes I know that it's not available new and it has no VR, but quality wise it's very good, not too slow and the auto focus is faster than the af-s on a lot of the newer 'kit' lenses.
    Added bonus you can get it for about half of the cost of a 16-85.
  32. The D7000 just came in ! , not messing with it much , because is appears to be grey market , no warranty card and it might have to go back.(retailer listed as USA warranty, calling nikon tomorrow to verify) anyways the Sigma is noticealby sharper and faster than kit with D5000, hope it hold true for the D7000 .

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