Time to step a little closer to FX, suggestions on lenses?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by fotoandy, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Hi everyone, first time poster, long time reader. Hope what I lay out below makes sense to the group.

    After a turn of financial good luck, I have the chance to make some lens changes on my crop Nikon DX system
    (D90), selling off some lenses and gettting some new ones towards a full frame (FF) system... but while staying
    in crop for the time being.

    Basically, I want to start rotating in FF lenses, with a healthy tilt towards fast 2.8 lenses where possible.

    My type of work?: Stock, travel, people, events, macro. My site is www.Foto-Andy.com risk seeing how I shoot wide in subject and style with creative flair blah blah blah :p .

    First, out with the old glass:

    -Nikon 18-200 f3.5/5.6 VR (too soft, too slow on the f)
    -Tokina 12-24 f4 (moving to 11-16 f2.8)
    -Nikon 28-105mm 3.5/5.6 with the shockingly-passable Macro.

    The D90 could also go, depends on rumored D95 to come. At the end of the day, it (the D90 and crop in general)
    suits my needs right now, and I have both 35mm and 6*6 film if I need superfly quality for client commisions
    (rarely right now). Also rather wait on D95 if it means getting FF that much sooner due to saved $$$.

    Now, the potential new lenses. Note this is keeping to a budget, okay to go 3rd party, and with travel and event
    work requiring a reasonably small bag (Lowepro Fastpack 350 or Tenba Messenger bag):

    - Nikon 35mm f/2D (default prime low light, better for FF as 35 f1.8 is DX only)
    - Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (a DX only I know, but cheaper than the Nikon and not the Sigma wides I loathe)
    - Tamron 17-50 f2,8 (walkaround lens for event work, weddings etc)
    - Tokina 100 macro f2.8 (for travel and studio marco work)
    - Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 or Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 (I use telephoto much less than wide, so I'll likely go nikon by
    waiting for a deal)
    - A good 2x teleconverter, again I've rarely been pressed beyond 200mm, even on film.

    Any thoughts, alternatives, funny oneliners are greatly appreciated!
  2. Skip the Tam 17-50 it's DX and take a 28-75 2.8 instead, it's a good lens I used a long time on my D700.
  3. I disagree. If you don't really know when you're going to upgrade to FX, then you are well-served by getting DX lenses and keeping on going with your D90 till you KNOW why you need FX enough to buy it. I'd buy used to mitigate the potential loss as you re-sell glass. The only exception is that if I KNEW I was going to FX, I'd definitely get the 35mm f2 instead of the otherwise excellent 35mm f1.8.
    btw, the Tokina 11-16 is awesome, but one I very rarely use. I'd only buy it after other lengths are well covered. My favorite lens, and paradoxically, the one I use the least perhaps.
  4. @Hans Janssen: Good point for sure, thanks for spotting that (musta brain-farted during my research, I thought the more-appealing-in-my-case 28-70mm 2.8 was the DX fit...duh to me).
    It sounds like you like it, is it still in good shape after living on your D700? I'm very weary with Tamron lenses for build quality, but to be fair it's been from having the more consumer level stuff.
    Thanks for the thoughts. :)
  5. @Peter Hamm: Re-reading my post I guess I didn't really make it clear, but I do KNOW when I'll be upgrading to FX, which would be after the currently-owned D90 or the D95 (if specs are truly worth it). The only reason I don't upgrade now is for lack of regular need (a well-done DX-sized RAW can still look pretty damn acceptable when exposed/processed properly), and that I'll wait for the D700 replacement next year to get either better sensor/features, or at least a better used price on the load of D700's that will be sold towards respective replacement.
    As far as "keeping on going with your D90 till you KNOW *why* you need FX enough to buy it" (*emphasis* mine)... The "why" is pretty obvious and not the topic I raise (nor see why it would be in question), but no worries for mentioning it. To sum up why it appeals to me: a larger sensor and all the extra detail that comes with it, cleaner high ISOs, as well as lens numbers (and distortion) returning to thier true values, etc etc. If I didn't know *why*, I wouldn't look at 2000€ plus in lens replacement, but I suppose there's the people with more dollars than sense.
    I appreciate your point, I just don't see where it comes from, especially since I'm not asking "oh and does anyone thing FX is really worth it?".
    And as just explained I do "KNOW" I'll be going to FX, which is why I listed the Nikon 35mm f2.0, not the f1.8DX. Also, used shopping is certainly a nice way to go on budget (like I mention towards the Nikon 70-200), but some of these lenses (especially the Tokina 11-16) can be seriously tricky to find 2nd hand.
    Lastly, regarding the Tokina 11-16: I'll probably have to bite the bullet and buy that new, for my needs I use wide quite often so certainly not towards the end of my 'buy' list. Also worth a mention is that the older Nikon 35mm f2 had some serious blade problems, and also worth a new purchase.
    If I may ask, do you shoot wide often, and another lens trumps your Tokina? Or do you just not need wide often, and that's why you say it gets little use? Please do tell?
    Trusting my words don't sound troll-y for length or tone (your thoughts are surely appreciated, if a tad confusing), if so I firmly accuse this day for being a Monday!!! :p
  6. Jeez, my reply to Peter had its' formatting just molested!!! Not intentional dude. :)
  7. The recently announced 24-120 f/4 might be an excellent first FX lens for you if you can wait for it. The 16-35 f/4 will be okay if your software can correct its considerable distortion.
  8. @ Dan South: The 24-120 f/4 looks very appealing (even enough to consider the price), but I left it out of the list simply as it's not on the market yet, so feedback hard to solicit. I also want to see real-world image samples, I just don't trust any company's (usually best case scenario) promo images over user feedback, much like the honest goodness served on photo.net!

    The 16-35 definitely looks like a worthy wide, but I was more thinking of an old Nikon 20-35mm f2.8 to replace the coming Tokina 11-16 when I leap into FX.
  9. you might be surprised to find out that the nikon 35mm 1.8 dx works on full frame quite well, it has some vignetting, but the image circle is a lot bigger than the crop size for dx, try it on FX and i think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
    also the same goes for the tokina 11-16 which is for crop sensors, but at 16mm, it works with on FX without any vignetting! i have both of these lenses and when i moved to a d700 they worked flawlessly on FX. (i am not talking about the crop-mode on FX either, i mean full on FX mode that you can set manually so it doesn't auto set to cropped lenses when it senses DX lenses.)
    the nikon 55-200mm also works on FX with some vignetting, if u dont want any vignetting, it will be a problem, but i actually like some vignetting depending on what type of shot i am taking, as it can help concentrate the viewer's attention subtly towards the subject of the image.
  10. Andy, Peter's point has more virtue than it may have seemed. This apart from the many people that seem to go for FX "in some months or years" because they heard it is some holy grail (while DX has some advantages of its own too - it's not a clear cut situation in all cases). I didn't see it as arguiing your choice for FX in the future, but rather arguing the two-tracked mind now. At the wider end, you will compromise a lot if you want something to work on FX and DX. Look at the serious options: a 24-70 on DX is a unfortunate compromise at the wide end, a 16-35 at the long end. A 28-75 misses a lot of wide angle coverage on a DX camera - you'd be switching lenses nearly all the time with event shooting. The "end points" of the zoom range are just in unfortunate lengths which do not work with DX.
    I would really consider getting a tamron 17-50 or similar for the DX camera; use that lens later on to make selling off the DX camera easier.
    So, in that sense, think DX as long as you shoot DX, and get the right gear to work with that. Consider the resale value a bit more than you normally might do.
    That's at least my €0,02 worth.
    On the lenses mentioned that I actually have experience with (on DX):
    The 35 f/2 is a nice lens, but in my view not top-notch. If this focal length is very important to you, then I would seriously consider the f/1.8DX for the time being, and re-evaluate once you go to FX.
    The Tokina macro, in my view a too often forgotten or too little mentioned gem. I like mine quite a lot, solid lens with solid performance. Won't go wrong there.
  11. @Wouter Willemse: Thanks Wouter for helping to clarify Peters' point, you definitely also make a good narrative on the whole crop/Full frame arguement I've been agonizing in during this process (the "holy grail" of FX indeed), especially in the lenses.
    There is definitely a few big comprimises to this two-sensored system I'm looking at, and constantly changing lenses is one of the very big ones. However, that also comes down to how you shoot. For the way I shoot events and travel for example, I tend to set a lens, keep it on and walk around, then do the same with a semi-telephoto zoom (70-200, 2x converter if needed).
    Further, If I have a fast moving-changing situation (where I will miss my 18-200vr so dearly, softness aside), I would likely go for a 2 camera setup if really required, but frankly I quite like focusing on the photo in the lens I have on, like when I had an Olympus XA with a fixed 35 f2.8. That of course is my method, whatever works for you (for all I know you could be a "50mm or death" guy).
    I was actually thinking of holding out on the Tokina 11-16 2.8 and keeping my 12-24 to address that gap in the "right" wide for events (so then my walkaround lens). I've aso noticed it's 24mm on that lens is a serious sweet spot of sharpness and lack of distortion for events.
    I guess one thing I might have added to my initial post is that, given more cash-o, I would pick up a D700 regardless of my 'need' for it or not. I'm not crazy about doing this (maybe crazy FOR doing it), but the wallet says I have to wait for FX, and I am just tired of buying lenses with the thought of "I have to sell this for the next one", already made worse when going up to full frame. I'm ready to take the mild chaos for a year or two, I fully admit the tech side is secondary to me on how I shoot (unless it's a product shoot or such, but that's another thing).
    A last thought on Full frame v Crop: Even a D300s just doesn't *feel* right next to a D700, from the eye to the hands to the technical results. Maybe it's my learning on film, being weary of being in DX, or just resisting something I never felt right about. It sucks to even consider this "halfway" situation, but if it gets me where I need to be...
    As you say: my €0,02 also, ik woon ook in Europa (Belgium of all places). Hoi !
  12. @albert lee: Your thoughts on using the DX 35mm and 11-16mm back up some results I saw on this. I was thinking that the 11-16mm (or even my current 12-24mm) could be a poor-man wide as you say, were you truly happy with the results on a D700, especially distortion? For the dx 35mm I'd have to see it, but I tend to like vignetting to be minimal, unless I add in post of course for effect.
    Wouter Willemse: On the lenses you mention, I'd say as I did to Albert just now that I'll have to look into the 35mm choice furthur, thanks to both of you for bringing to me, as a DX solution or perhaps beyond.

    Re the Tokina 100mm: Yeah, looks pretty tasty.
  13. If you'll eventually be fully FX I'd keep that 28-105...which is an f3.5-4.5(not 5.6). Reports are that it's fantastic on the D700.
  14. @Jim Tardio: Seriously??? That would be pretty frikkin' great, I really like that lens, and it has served me well in past. The colors are mostly on a D70, the turntable B&W is film (full set here).
    Might have to consider it as a potential keeper and a savings on the upgrade, higher ISOs be damned!
    PS. Nice spot on the f4.5 mistake, thanks.
  15. Don't buy into FX lenses now, unless they will improve your use of the D90 enough that you would buy them even if you weren't thinking about some day buying FX. Why? Because it's always better to spend money later than to spend money now. Why is it better to buy some lens now to use later, than to buy the lens later when you want to use it? All you do is constrain your future decisions and lose the benefits of having the money now.
  16. I saw some nasty-looking CA from the new Nikon 24-120 in sample pics on their website last week. Just checked again, and lo! the pics have been changed out! It's on my 'avoid' list.
  17. Andy, high ISO images are all the rage nowadays, and I tend to think that part of this attraction is because shooters are happy to settle for zoom lenses. A 2.8 zoom is not a fast lens, and nor are they cheap. Why throw away two stops of light, when you can have a fast prime lens, arguably better image quality with less bulk and weight? My advice is to go for a good set of f1.4 primes, and keep your ISO low.
  18. @Andrew Lynn: Very eloquent arguement for holding off FX lens purchases until owning an FX body, enough to make me reconsider the upgrade. BUT I WANT TO SPEND MY $$$ AND GET SHINY NEW GLASS NOW!!!! :p
    Seriously though, well scored points, perhaps the tipping point to force a rethink of this 'halfway' strategy.
    @D.B. Cooper: Doesn't surprise me they swapped out the samples, but don't let thier silliness completely turn you off a potential lens. Not defending the lens, just defending an open mind until you try it for yourself, much like I have to remind myself everytime I consider Sigma (which I strongly dislike as a lens maker).
    @Ty Mickan: You point on the popularity of high ISOs is quite on the money. You also make an interesting point for going with less than f2.8 prime lenses. In my case though, zooms (even @ f2.8) work ideally for me right now, but I'd be lying if I didn't think a bag of f1.x primes would not be awesome, except for lens changing time/opportunity loss. Tempting to accept as I love me them low ISOs..
  19. Thanks to everyone who's taken time out for such intelligent and helpful feedback, what a great experience for my first post on the boards here! :)
  20. andy, going FX is fairly simple if you stick to primes as 24/50/85 is a classic lineup. but getting into the wide-angle/telephoto zoom mix is a bit more difficult, since in some ways DX has advantages (1.5x crop for more reach, cheaper lenses overall) and FX seems like a wallet-drainer.
    that said, i may be coming into some cash in a few months, so I too am considering a FX move. i would definitely keep my d300 no matter what, but the whole lens question is definitely a head-scratcher.
    i'm not sure it makes sense for me, for example, to "upgrade" from a d300+50-150 to d700+70-200 II, which would essentially be spending 4K+ for the same focal length, VR (which wouldnt help with action where i need a fast shutter), one extra stop of high-ISO, and nominally better IQ. the plusses to me would be that i could use my 15mm fisheye as a 15mm fisheye (rather than a 22.5mm semi-fish). however, i'd almost certainly have to drop more cash into lenses if i made this move, whereas i could just pick up a 10.5 fisheye for substantially less than a new body plus additional lenses to give me the same capabilities with the FF format as i have now with DX.
    FWIW, i have a bunch of the lenses you've been discussing: the 17-50 and 28-75 tamrons and the 12-24 tokina. i really like the tokina for PJ stuff, and the long end to me is a better trade off than 2.8 on the wide end. the times when i need to go that wide in conditions which warrant 2.8 are few and far in-between. the 12-24 also pairs very well with the 28-75 as a two-lens combo for event coverage. OTOH, the 17-50 is easily my most-used lens on DX and is sharper @2.8 than the 28-75. it would kind of negate the high-ISO advantage of FX to have to stop down to f/4 with the 28-75 just to get the same sharpness as the 17-50 @ 2.8 on DX.
    i do think it makes sense to get the lenses you need for FX before dumping your DX body, but let's face, it, the reality is these are lateral moves to some extent. getting the 28-300 for FX, for instance, costs $450 more than the 18-200 on DX; the 17-50 on DX is about $450-$650, depending on which version; the 24-70 is about $1700; the 50-150 is $750; the 70-200 II is $2200; the 11-16 is $600; the 14-24 is $1800. bottom line, here, i think, is there is no right answer. you just have to do what's right for you.
  21. @Eric Arnold: That quality of your post is why I knew photo.net would help me to understand the issue, well deserved and gold star given with my thanks!
    Glad to know I'm not only the one in this potential boat (nor scratching the head), it also sounds like we're thinking along the same lines of what lenses we use/want. I'm also considering to keep the D90 (or DX body of quality) around, but unfortunately the value 2nd hand of course softens the hit when you pay for the upgrade.
    The whole upgrade to FX path is definitely one to make you question if it's truly worth it (let's not forget it's still only 1st Gen on Nikons, upgrades logically within a year) for sure. As I said earlier, a good workaround I use is good ol' 35mm film if it's feasable (or even required), although then of course that's a lower time/profit margin, relatively speaking.
    Jim Tardio's point upthread about using a DX in fullframe mode on FX where possible is an interesting option, but I would need research before saying another word towards an opinion on that.
    Thanks also for the words on lenses you've used, the 12-24 with 28-70 combo sounds like a setup I will definitely consider, especially as 17-50 sounds a little limiting in reach (even on DX) and width (especially on DX). The notes on each will definitely be considered thoroughly...
    i do think it makes sense to get the lenses you need for FX before dumping your DX body, but let's face, it, the reality is these are lateral moves to some extent. getting the 28-300 for FX, for instance, costs $450 more than the 18-200 on DX; the 17-50 on DX is about $450-$650, depending on which version; the 24-70 is about $1700; the 50-150 is $750; the 70-200 II is $2200; the 11-16 is $600; the 14-24 is $1800. bottom line, here, i think, is there is no right answer. you just have to do what's right for you.​
    Testify brother, spread that truth!
  22. Andy,
    I didn't want you to rethink the FX versus DX, if it seemed that way, sorry. I'm fondly looking at a D700 myself, but my D300 satisfies my needs so well that it would be nonsens in many ways. So probably I'll get one too....
    However, at some point, I thought long and hard about getting the 24-70 to go with my D300, as standard lens. The reason that made me not do it was the 24mm point; I have a 12-24 too, but looking back at photos made with the 18-70 (that was used to ease selling a body) and the 12-24 revealed I used them in different scenarios with different requirements towards the flexibility. And given the type of use I had the 18-70 for (event-like, casual shots) I found that 24mm would be incredibiliy limiting to me. It's in this light I posted, and I think this is the consideration to make. (so, for me, a 12-24/28-70 combo would totally not work!)
    Anyway, in the end, Eric said it best: do what's right for you.
  23. Hi,
    I´m doing the same thing that you are doing now. My decision was to trade one zoom (16-85) to a AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G.
    Esa Kivivuori
  24. 17-50 sounds a little limiting in reach (even on DX) and width (especially on DX).
    well, not really, unless you're only doing portraits. it's the same--actually a little longer--as a 24-70 on FX. my experience is you miss the wide end with a 28-75 on DX a bit more than you miss the long end with the 17-50. often, if i'm only taking one lens to cover a PJ event, it's the 17-50. that said, i do have the 50-150 and use that with the 17-50 as a solid 2.8 combo. the 28-75 as i said earlier works well with the 12-24 on DX; in pondering an FX move, i'm considering picking up a sigma 15-30 for this range, although a 17-35 would work here too. there's also the sigma 20/1.8, which would be useful on both DX and FX.
    unfortunately, for what i shoot, i do need constant 2.8 throughout the wide-to-telephoto range. otherwise, an FX body with the new 24-120/4 plus a smattering of fast primes for low-light, like 50/1.4 and 85/1.4, would make a nice kit, i'd think.
    seems to me if you're going to stretch formats and be both DX and FX, you need lenses which work well on both. problem is, that's easier said than done, especially if you dont have unlimited budget.
  25. @Wouter Willemse I see no real reason why one should prefer the 35mm f/1.8 instead of the 35mm f/2. Is it sharper? Does it have better bokeh? Is it better built? Does it have less CAs? I'm very curios as I haven't had the opportunity to test it.
  26. Darius,
    The 35mm f1.8 is much cheaper, it AFs on the lowest end Nikon DSLRs, focuses ridiculously fast, has full-time AF-override because of its AF-S motor, and any CA that it has is generally corrected (for the most part) by the recent Nikon DSLRs. So yes, there are reasons.

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