Should I sell my 16-85mm?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kenneth_cortland, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. I just purchased the Nikon 17-55mm after putting it off for a long time. I was reluctant to pay that much for an old DX lens and was so satisfied with the Nikon 16-85mm. However, as my photography has moved into doing more photo shoot and event work, there was a need for a lens with fast focusing and a larger aperture. Needless to say, after all the push back, I'm very happy I finally made this purchase. This lens is a gem...fast to focus, tack sharp, and great color rendering.
    I'm thinking about selling my 16-85 and 50 f/1.4 now that I have this. Initially, I was planning to use this new 17-55 only for my paid work and keep these other lenses as a travel pair, but wanted to get some take from people who use the 17-55 when traveling. If anyone can share their general experiences with this lens while traveling to different places, I'd really appreciate your stories/advice/input.
    By the way, I'm using a D90 body.
     
  2. For me, the f2.8 is too heavy. And it's just not short or long enough on its range...not to mention it has no VR.
    Having said that...I'm a (mostly) wide & tele guy. I have never own a f2.8 standard zoom...
    The prime is trickier.
     
  3. ...but wanted to get some take from people who use the 17-55 when traveling.​
    Sorry, guy. I missed it
     
  4. Haha...no worries!
     
  5. difficult choice as the 17-55 is more of an event lens and not especially well-suited for travel. it depends on the location, and this might seem obvious, but a 17-55 isn't exactly an inobtrusive (or light) lens. i dont like attracting attention to my equipment, but if you are with a tour group, it could be ok, i guess.
    the 16-85 OTOH is a pretty good travel lens in terms of size,weight, and focal range, plus it has VR. if you aren't dissatisfied with the image quality, why not hold on to it? ditto the 50/1.4. i prefer a 30 or 35 on DX, but the whole point of acquiring lenses is to collect a whole bunch of fast primes :) .
    on my last trip, to havana, cuba, i took a d300, a tamron 17-50, a 30/1.4, a 12-24/4, and a 50-150. the d300 was a bit too big. i almost never used the 30 and the 50-150. most of my shots were evenly split between 12-24 and 17-50. i didn't really have occasion to shoot too many low-light pics, and not wanted to switch lenses and/or needing to go light kept me from the telephoto. there were a couple of times when the 17-50 was too short, and had i had an 18-200 or 18-270, i probably could have used that for all but the w/a shots. during the day you can shoot at large aperture numbers, so 2.8 or faster isn't really necessary unless you are going for an artistic effect.
     
  6. Thanks Eric. I'm leaning in the direction of keeping them. I talked with a few people here who said that I should think twice about lugging a $1300 lens around when I'm starting to get some paid jobs for it (especially when I have other lenses already on-hand). Part of me is just thinking about how much I can get for them.
    Interestingly, I had a 35 f/1.8, but sold it and went with a 50 f/1.4 because I wanted to get candid shots of people at people (say at a dinner party or something) without being all up in someone's face. It's perfect for that, but a little too long for street work. I might end up getting another 35mm....so to your point, it's all about collecting a bunch of fast primes!
    Havana, Cuba? Now that's a place I really want to go. But as an American, I'm restricted.
     
  7. Americans can goto Cuba. You just have to fly in from a non US airport AFAIK.
     
  8. Hmmm ... a 16-85, heh? That is equivalent to a 24-120 in FX (and if you want to be more precise: 24-127.5), which I think is a perfect walk about lens, not to speak about its IQ, which is very good. One that is easy to take on vacation or just round about. I would definitely use it for all my personal stuff and reserve the 17-55 f2.8 for paid gigs that are to be shot in low light.
     
  9. Havana, Cuba? Now that's a place I really want to go. But as an American, I'm restricted.
    Americans can goto Cuba. You just have to fly in from a non US airport AFAIK.​
    there's several ways to do it. if you are on a humanitarian/religious mission you can fly direct out of LA (soon out of Oakland as well). if not, Cancun and Mexico City are popular points of entry, or for that matter, anywhere in the Caribbean or the Caribbean side of South America. you can use a Canadian travel agency to arrange your ticket and your visa stamp. once there, the main thing is to bring enough cash, since you can't use ATMs or credit cards once you're there.
    back to the 17-55: i'd save it for those paid gigs. you should have insurance on your gear anyway, so it's not really the cost, but more the weight and bulk. one thing i discovered about the 17-50, is, it's an excellent travel lens. if you're shooting on the street, you want something which fits in a sling pack or, even better, waist belt. i believe the 16-85 is a bit longer than the 17-50 but shouldn't be too much trouble. since you already have it, it makes more sense just to keep it than to sell it and get a superzoom. i dont think the acquisition of a 17-55 necessarily makes a 16-85 irrelevant or redundant, though their focal lengths overlap. a lot of shooters have a 'pro' kit or 'event' kit as well as a 'travel/walkaround' kit. when traveling, one usually has different objectives than for paid assignments. i would still bring the 50 for low light because, well, you never know.
    down the line, you can always sell either if you don't find them useful in 6 months or a year. i can almost always find a use for a 1.4 lens but YMMV. i'd also think about maybe adding a longer fast prime like an 85 in the future too. and for travel, wide angles rule...
    00Z42n-381331584.jpg
     
  10. As with so many photographic things, it depends on the OP's way of working. One of the best-selling books on Cuba was shot by David Alan Harvey on a 35mm. I know PN members who would have to drag everything from 12mm to 400mm. One's mileage varies. Should you sell your 16-85? In the end, only the OP can answer that question.
     
  11. Well...everyone ought to find out for themselves which lens(es) they truly want and utilize best. That should be the ultimate answer, much like Luis suggested. However, that would make an online forum rather dull if not absolutely hitless:)
    As far as DAH and Cuba go...He did an excellent job with one lens as per book. That said, who knows...If he had another, he probably could of had other great shots. It's all give and take with amount of lenses individual takes while traveling...
     
  12. Good question. I don`t have my 17-55 anymore so I prefer to tell you about my experience with the 24-70 and 24-120/4, which is pretty similar to yours.
    I like so much the 24-70, more than the 24-120, but the (noticeable) longer range, smaller bulk and weight, and why not, "lower" price of the latter makes it a much more convenient lens for travel. I also have been tempted to sell it several times just because I can only use one lens at a time...
    Everytime I have to take the lens I think on the 24-70 but I finally came out with the 24-120.
    Thanks God I don`t have to sell any lens (yet). If you can, if you`re still not sure, simply keep both.
    BTW, I think there is a valuable user here in this forum, same situation as myself, that opted to keep only the f2.8 lens; it is also a perfectly reasonable option, assuming that the extra weight and size (-think that a second lens is needed to cover the range-) are not an issue in favour of image quality.
     
  13. One of the best-selling books on Cuba was shot by David Alan Harvey on a 35mm. I know PN members who would have to drag everything from 12mm to 400mm.​
    I've heard of that book but have not seen it...I have to check it out. One of my favorite photographers is Albert Watson (Cyclops has some of his best work). He's done some pretty amazing fashion and celebrity work (despite being blind in one eye I believe), but I'm sure he's using some pretty high-end stuff. And I can't drag everything under the sun on vacation. When I go on vacation, I normally only carry the 16-85, the 50 f/1.4, and a flash along with a LQ Big Bounce (my 10-24 wide-angle usually stays at home unless I'm going to a city). The lens that gets the most use is the zoom, and from time to time I force myself to use the 50 and get creative. The shots with the 50 are the ones I like the most because of the varying degrees of depth of field.
    Well...everyone ought to find out for themselves which lens(es) they truly want and utilize best. That should be the ultimate answer, much like Luis suggested. However, that would make an online forum rather dull if not absolutely hitless:)
    Leslie...I couldn't agree more!
    I like so much the 24-70, more than the 24-120, but the (noticeable) longer range, smaller bulk and weight, and why not, "lower" price of the latter makes it a much more convenient lens for travel. I also have been tempted to sell it several times just because I can only use one lens at a time...​
    Thanks Jose! It's good to see someone who is debating the same options. I'm going to keep both of these lenses (at least for the next year or so).
     
  14. I think the 17-55/2.8 DX is a great travel lens. It's not too big (compare to 24-70) considering the quality, versatility and aperture. I don't see much use for a lens that is f/5.6 at the long end - certainly not for walkaround / travel. How will you separate your main subject from the less important people / objects in the frame? f/2.8 is the beginning of making that possible.
     
  15. Do you plan to travel with others? A simpler kit of photo gear makes more sense if you want to enjoy a vacation with other people.
     
  16. Leslie, I agree. Not long after the Cuba book, DAH did a great job in Africa (I think) with a D70, flash and an 18-70. He could probably do the same with an Holga, I know. And I didn't mean to say that one not brainstorm ideas on the forum, but that in the end, it pays to listen to what their own work tells them.
     
  17. I used the 17-55 for a trip to Japan for about 2 weeks. I carried a 35/1.8 just for those temples that are really dark inside. My camera was a D90. I did this while having to carry a stroller for my toddler and sometimes luggage as we moved from cities to cities by public transportation. I do not use the hood on the 17-55 and without the hood, the 17-55 is short and not too bulky. I did buy a Tamron VR version of the lens in the attempt to further reduce the weight of my package. I sold the Tamron later. The Nikon is superbly reliable and for urban areas, I find the f2.8 zoom highly desirable. If I need to take the Nikon for a trip, I will not hesitate to do so.
    Having said this, the 16-85 is wider and you can take alone a 35/1.8 to shoot when the light is really low. You save a few grams this way. Furthermore, for a trip to the great outdoors, the 16-85 will be far more useful than the 17-55.
     
  18. I think the 17-55/2.8 DX is a great travel lens.​
    i'm going to have to disagree. the specs are good but the size and weight are not travel-friendly. IMO, a great travel lens would allow for discreet from the hip shooting and easy packability. the 17-55 allows for neither. if you have it, you can't hide it. in some places, this could make you a liability/target.
    I don't see much use for a lens that is f/5.6 at the long end - certainly not for walkaround / travel. How will you separate your main subject from the less important people / objects in the frame?​
    but ilkka, you use the 200/2 as a walkaround lens. this may come down to personal shooting style but in some travel applications the 17-55 will be overkill. subject isolation is nice but not always required. you don't always need/want 2.8 for group shots, for instance. in my experience, 5.6 max aperture is ok in decent light, and for low light, there's the 1.4 which gives you 2 stops over the 2.8. plus, VR can really be handy for stills when a tripod is impractical -- which the 17-55 doesnt have and the 16-85 does.
    I did buy a Tamron VR version of the lens in the attempt to further reduce the weight of my package.​
    that kind of says it all right there.
     
  19. I did buy a Tamron VR version of the lens in the attempt to further reduce the weight of my package.
    that kind of says it all right there.​
    I giggled a little :)
    I like the 16-85. If I could afford to own separate gear for travel, I'd have one. Granted, the performance is not as good throughout the focal and aperture range. But if I'm on vacation I'm usually outside in the daytime, and at f/8-f/16 I've got nothing bad to say about that lens that can't be said about any other lens with that much range.
    It's also (I believe) the only gasketed lens other than the 18-200 VR with more than 3x zoom. That means that if you want a gasketed 24mm equivalent lens that also reaches farther than your 17-55, you have no other choices.
     
  20. "I did buy a Tamron VR version of the lens in the attempt to further reduce the weight of my package."
    that kind of says it all right there.​
    This is not what I was saying. I would not buy the Nikon 17-55 for the sole purposes of using it as a travel lens. What really needs to be written in bold-type face is the fact that I have it and do not have any other 18-xx zoom that are lighter and smaller. Should I go out and buy a more travel-friendly lens just for traveling or can I use what I already have? The 17-55/2.8 is not that big for me, considering the fact that I do not bring other large lenses with me. In an urban environment where one needs to shoot indoor frequently and when taking pictures of your families is important, a f2.8 lens is very useful. I did return the Tamron and do not bother to try another third party alternative, which also says a lot. This is my personal preference though and I do not expect other people to do the same. Right now for me personally, if I really want to travel light, I will take my m4/3 cameras. I will keep the best lenses for my Nikon gears when performance is needed.
     
  21. Should I go out and buy a more travel-friendly lens just for traveling or can I use what I already have?​
    in the OP's case, he already has a more travel-friendly lens. my point, and one that others have made as well, is that the 17-55 is not an ideal travel lens due to the size and weight.
    In an urban environment where one needs to shoot indoor frequently and when taking pictures of your families is important, a f2.8 lens is very useful. I did return the Tamron and do not bother to try another third party alternative, which also says a lot.​
    CC, the only thing this says is that you prefer the nikon and were ultimately willing to put up with its weight, even though that weight drove you to buy another lens, which you returned after the trip.
    IMO, the tamron is actually a way better lens for travel than the nikon, i don't think that can even be argued since it's about the same size as an 18-70. i'm not just talking about shooting in urban environments, which i sometimes do with a D3s and 24-70 combo--which i probably wouldn't use for travel unless i was on assignment--i'm talking about shooting in developing nations/third world countries where a $1300 lens represents about a year's wages or more. in those situations you want to draw as little attention to yourself as possible, unless you are sticking to tourist zones--and even then it pays not to advertise.
    i'm not suggesting, mind you, that the OP go out and purchase the tamron just to have a compact 2.8. what i am saying is the 16-85 should be sufficient for 80-90% of this type of shooting, with the 50/1.4 filling in the rest. In my experience, travel shooting doesn't necessarily require subject isolation or fast focus speed and doesnt need the best build you can get. and, i'm not disputing that 2.8 is useful, but for indoor pics, 1.4 is even more useful. if i was going to advise the OP to get any new lens he doesn't already own specifically for the purposes of travel, it would be an ultrawide and/or a stabilized 70-300.
    Right now for me personally, if I really want to travel light, I will take my m4/3 cameras. I will keep the best lenses for my Nikon gears when performance is needed.​
    i'm considering the EP-3+12/2 combo just for that reason. but a d90+prime or compact zoom is pretty small and light too. and rarely, if ever, has the 16-85 been referred to as an underperforming lens in terms of IQ--its limitation is basically the slow variable aperture, which is the reason i don't have one. however, travel would be one of the most logical applications for that lens.
    00Z4fl-382067584.jpg
     
  22. Wow...this has sparked some pretty good conversation. I'm convinced to stick with the 16-85 and the 50 f/1.4 (or a 35 f/1.8 if I decide to pick up one) instead of carrying the 17-55. The fast aperture of the prime and the VR of the zoom are attractive (not to mention these lenses are already on hand). Looking forward to my next vacation!
     
  23. in my opinion, a lighter f/2.8 zoom (even w/out VR) is still a better travel lens than the 16-85mm VR partnered with either the 35mm or 50mm f/1.8
     
  24. The 16-85 is a GREAT travel lens. Reasonably compact and a great focal range but, most importantly, the tonal quality is so nice.
    I'm in Mozambique at the moment and really REGRET NOT bringing with me. Brought the 18-55 lens instead. There is no comparison. Both too short at the tele end and not wide enough.
     

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