tokina 11-16mm or.....

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by lostinthefunhouse, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. I am going to Yellowstone in June and was thinking of buying one new lens for the trip. I have I am difficulty deciding between the following choices. Keep in mind that I currently have a d90 with a Nikon DX 18-55mm vr and a 55-200 mm DX vr. I often want to get more distance than the 200 mm provides. However, the shots I take that I like the best and often print are landscapes so I may appreciate buying the Tokina more.
    So here are the scenarios:
    * Buy the Tokina 11-16 mm and rent a 80-400 mm
    * Buy a 70-300 mm Nikor VR, and renting the Tokina 11-16
    * Rent both
    I am thinking that buying the 300 mm won't really get me enough distance to get great shots of wolves and b ears, etc. so it may be better to just buy the better quality lens. Thoughts?
  2. I have the 11-16mm Tokina and the 70-300mm VR. As much as like the 70-300mm, for this trip I would suggest following the first option, of purchasing the 11-16mm and renting something to get you to 400mm or thereabouts. I find the 70-300mm excellent for birds in flight because it is so light and maneuverable, but often it is not long enough.
    The 80-400mm would be the most straightforward and easiest longer lens to handle because it has VR. For better optical quality, you could consider renting the 300mm AF-S and a 1.4X teleconverter, which will take the focal length to 420mm. The rental cost of these two options should be about the same. The 300mm+TC demands solid support, however, so that your choice of the 80-40mm VR is probably best.
  3. I would recommend the Nikon 12-24mm f4 and borrow or rent the 70-300mm
  4. Richard, I don't know how you intend to shoot in Yellowstone, but I think I'll throw out some slightly different ideas. I also have a D90 and the two lenses I most often have on my camera are the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and the 70-300 VR. I wouldn't hesitate to go to Yellowstone with just those two lenses as they are both of very good quality. The Tamron I would use for those closeup landscape shots of the mud holes and fumaroles where you want both a close foreground and the background in focus, and the 70-300 would be for the wildlife (and other compression effects). Yes, longer reach than the 70-300 would be nice sometimes, but the wildlife in Yellowstone is not typically that far away and the 70-300 will likely cover 90% of the situations. It doesn't focus very close, but I have even used the 70-300 to shoot butterflies on flowers. In your case, it seems to me that the 18-55 you currently have, plus the 70-300 VR would do just fine. Bring a tripod for early morning or late evening when the light is disappearing as neither is a very fast lens. Yes, the 11-16 you are proposing might be useful for some cool super-wide effects, but I would put that lower on the priority list unless cool super-wide effects are extremely important to you.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    There are a lot of large mammals in Yellowstone: bisons, elks, and of course bears. If you are interested in photographing those, the 70-300mm AF-S VR should be very useful. But I would consider the long-term useability of those lenses; are they useful to you after that trip?
  6. The lenses that you already have will do fine in Yellowstone.
    Do not buy or rent any lens at all.
  7. Hi Richard,
    If you intend doing plenty of landscape work the Tokina is simply superb in every respect,I have had one for 2 years and it gives lovely contrasty sharp images and with the fixed 2.8 and excellent build quality, need I say more.
  8. The Tokina is a great lens.
    Make sure you know how to use an ultrawide, though. Otherwise, you'll take a bunch of photos that "get it all in" and are so boring you won't print them. Many great landscape images are shot at much tighter focal lengths than you would guess. 24 - 50 on DX is where I kinda "live" when I shoot stuff like that. ultra-wide is great for when you're real close to something, not for a big boring panorama.
    I've been to Yellowstone (I shot film, it was in the late 90s), and if I were going today, I would no doubt not leave home without BOTH my 70-300 VR and my Tokina 11-16.
  9. I was at Yellowstone a few years back. I had a D200 with the 18-70mm Nikkor and a old 400mm Nikkor ED-IF. I could have used more focal length for bears. We say one each day. I don't like the idea of getting close to bears. We saw a coyote in the distance and I still could have used more focal. Moose and deer close enough and Bison where rubbing against the fender. We never say a wolf unfortunately. If you have a very good tripod then I would rent long glass. IMHO a 12-24 is much more versatile and plenty wide enough for me.
  10. I have the Tokina 11-16 and I love it. If you want beatiful vistas and dramatic skies this lens won't disappoint. Just remember to get something decent in the foreground....I can't comment on the longer lens.
  11. not sure i would go with 11-16. 8-16 would be more dramatic, 10-20, 10-24, or 12-24 more sensible. if you planned on shooting a lot of interiors @2.8 when you got back, then it would be a sensible purchase. otherwise, get something wider or longer.
    ben and peter both make good points: shooting at the wide end with an UWA, you need something in the foreground to anchor the shot, also the range covered by the 18-55, particularly 24-50, will suffice for a lot of potential landscape shots.
    70-300 vs. 80-400 is a tougher call. the 70-300 VR is lighter, more convenient, and in all likelihood faster to focus--it has AF-S, whereas the 80-400 does not. so for grazing wildlife, 80-400 would be good, but for birds in flight, 70-300 might actually be better. it sort of depends on your approach.
    if you wanted to go whole hog, i'd a) buy the 70-300 as that will be useful after the trip and b) rent a 400/2.8 VR AF-S. OTOH, if this is more a vacation than a photo-specific trip, 70-300 should be fine.
  12. I have both the Tokina 11-16mm and the Nikon 80-400mm VR. I have the 11-16mm because I like ultrawide, and as a night photographer I need the f2.8. The 80-400mm is a good general purpose long lens. The only alternative in its price range is the Nikon 300mm f4 + TC-14E, but with that you get no VR (do get AFS.) I am quite familiar with Yellowstone as WY is my next door neighbor. Here's my thoughts. The Tokina 11-16mm is an outstanding lens, but if you haven't used an ultrawide before, there is a learning curve to it. I don't really think of it as a "landscape lens" but more of a specialty lens. If you mostly only shoot what you have at 18mm and constantly find that not wide enough every time you use it, then consider an ultrawide. I would definitely NOT suggest renting one just before a trip. It would be better to own it for several months and use it daily to learn it. If you like to photo animals or zoom in to distant features on a landscape, the 80-400mm will be more useful and it has no learning curve to it. (Just remember to switch off VR if on a tripod.) You want some serious distance between yourself and a buffalo. A 400mm lens will make a critter appear twice as large as a 200mm. Although it's a very good lens for the money, I'd skip the 70-300mm VR unless you plan to just purchase it. That said, I could probably take about >85% of the photos I would want to with the lenses you already have.
    I'm going to add a bit of my own philosophy here, from my experiences over the years. Any more, I don't buy gear just for a trip. I know what I like to photo and have a very versatile camera system to do that with. Whether I'm in Iceland, Yosemite, Hawaii, Churchill, or Chicago, I use the same gear that I use at home. I know it well and it's flexible enough to take the shots I want, no matter where I am. I don't have a lot of lenses, just a few well thought out ones. The one exception here for you might be if you want to photo animals you don't have at home, you will benefit from a long lens such as 80-400mm or 300mm + 1.4x.
    Kent in SD
  13. All the advice above was sensational, and I considered it carefully before making a decision. Probably the strongest arguement though, was Douglas Ritchie's actual photographs with the Tokina. They are spectacular, and I only hope to get something close with my lens someday.
    So yes, I bought the Tokina used for $500, and I'm now happily playing with it. It has been raining the last couple of days, so my dog is getting upset with me sticking the camera right up to her face for portrait shot after portrait shot. Good thing she is gentle old beagle. The results are hillarious (probably just for me.)
    I will be renting the 80-400 for my trip, and maybe I can splurge and buy the 80-300 for myself for Christmas this year. Thanks all.

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