Versatile Lens for D5200

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jenniferk, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Trying to decide on a lens to purchase for a D5200. Was thinking of the 24-120mm f4 lens but that was just recently not favored in a
    separate thread. Also thinking of possibly the Sigma 17-70mm. I currently have the 17-50 and have been very happy with it and thought
    the extra range might be nice.

    This camera and lens will be used by my teenager. She does a good deal of her school yearbook shots. Often she prefers to stand back
    and get shots of the natural action happening around her, hence a little range would be nice. Often times when she is borrowing she goes
    for the 85mm and that is used on a crop sensor.

    Would also like the lens to be a little durable. Think, on and off buses, field trips, dances, etc.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Was thinking of the 24-120mm f4 lens but that was just recently not favored in a separate thread.​
    Are you referring to this thread?
    That is referring to the 24-120mm/f3.5-5.6 AF-D lens, which is completely different from the constant f4, AF-S with VR version.
    Nikon has made three different 24-120mm zoom lenses. The first two are f3.5-5.6 vari aperture ones. The current f4 AF-S VR is much better but is also a lot more expensive.
  3. Yes Shun, that is the thread I was referring. I misunderstood when people were referring to multiple lenses. It does seem
    that they are all referring the variable aperture lens. Thanks for pointing that out Shun!
  4. I don't know whether it's much of a bargain bought alone, but my wife got the 18-140 zoom as a kit lens with here D7100. It's a good bit nicer than the 18-55 kit lens, still mostly plastic, but with a non-rotating front element and a metal mount with a dust seal. It's VRII as well. I tried it briefly with my D3200 and it seems good and sharp, with no surprises, and the range is quite handy. B&H has this one for about 500 bucks, not exactly cheap, but it could be worse, I guess.
    Remember that a D5200 has no in camera motor, so if auto focus is required, D lenses and the like are out.
  5. but that was just recently not favored in a separate thread.​
    Even if it were the same lens, treat every opinion with some skepticism (except, of course, for this one). ;)
    Also remember that the happy ones tend to post less than the ones with a gripe. All the same, Google for the lens for reviews and such, and look particularly at, a reliable reviewer of lenses and cameras.
  6. The newer 24-120mm VR is pretty good, but not very wide on a D5300. A Nikon 16-85mm VR might be considered. Plenty of them on ebay.
    Kent in SD
  7. For sure your daughter will enjoy a tele setting in a lens. My kids love the magnification power of superzooms, while they don`t care about image quality and sharpness. For sure they prefer a 18-200 type lens over any other option. Weight&size will be the problem.
    In the other side, what Kent says; the 16-85 has a good reputation (image and construction quality), and the range is close to the 24-120 on FX. Reasonable size&weight with a "realistic" useful range.
  8. There are also people stating the current 24-120VR is not good, but in reality, those who use tend to like it. It is a solid performer - on FX. For DX, as Kent stated, isn't very wide, and hence not as versatile as you'd want (and it's far from cheap). Plus, it is a rather large and heavy lens, and odds are it doesn't balance all too great on the D5300.
    The 16-85VR mentioned above is a very good lens, though a bit pricey. Mine was a pretty impeccable performer, though. The extra bit of wide angle can be very welcome (16 versus 18mm makes a lot more difference than you might expect). Another alternative that scores extremely well in tests is the 18-140VR - more reach at the long end instead of wide angle. It isn't exactly cheap either. If the budget is tight, the 18-105VR makes a very nice option - but its construction isn't as durable (which explains the much lower price). The 18-140VR is a very recent lens, so you'll probably only find it new. The 16-85VR and 18-105VR can both be found second hand quite easily.
  9. The thread referred to was specifically about that lens on FX...where it's major shortcomings are the quality of the frame they're pretty poor. However, on DX the lens is another kettle of fish. The worst bits are now outside the captured area, resulting in good quality images across the entire frame, especially on stopping down a bit to 5.6.
    As Kent and others pointed out, the wide end of 24mm translates to ~35mm on DX. If medium to large group shots are intended, space to move back may be a problem.
    The 18-140mm is a very nice lens. It's only down side is it's a bit slow, aperture wise, and any degree of background blurring for subject isolation is going to be tricky. That being said, if she still has access to your 85mm, it's ideal for that very purpose. It maybe a little long for whole body portraits, so maybe a 50mm 1.8G would help on those occasions. Very inexpensive and very good IQ.
  10. I also suggest an 18-200. Just perfect for that kind of body and that kind of shooting.
  11. I also suggest an 18-200​
    It's just absolutely horrid at the edges after about 50mm. I've seem sharper marshmallow! I kept one for precisely 2 days. Now I may have got a bit of a lemon, but most review sites don't like it much either.
    Maybe there's a lot of sample variation in this complex superzoom?.. some shooters seem to have got something fully usable.
  12. I hadn't looked at the 18-200 and didn't even realize there was an 18-140, I'll check them both out!

    She will not have access to my 85mm or the 80-200mm since they are both D lenses. That is the battle on choosing,
    either bump the camera body up to allow her to use our current lenses or get her the d5200 and a decent lens or 2.

    Most of the large goup shots are planned in advance and she has done ok with the 17-50. The school camera lab has a
    50mm and I think a 35m that she can sign out and use on school property. Nothing wide though that I'm aware of.
  13. I have an 18-140 that came with one of my D7100s and it's been a good lens. I use it sometimes at ISO 3200 indoors for
    different shots and it holds up well.
  14. I can't imagine why an 18-200 is justified on a current 24MP body, except possibly because it lets in slightly more light in total over the image area at 200mm than you'd get by using an 18-140 and cropping the result. The 18-200 is a perfectly good idea on a 6MP body, and vaguely sensible at 12MP, but I've heard nobody claim it's sharp at 200mm by 24MP standards. For similar reasons, I stand by a 28-200 on a D700 but not on a D800, and I'd be quite nervous about the 28-300 on a D800 as well. "Versatile" does not necessarily mean "good". Given the choice, I'd always go for the 18-55/55-200 pairing if I wanted a budget way to get from 18-200mm.
  15. She will not have access to my 85mm.......since they are both D lenses.​
    Ah OK, I wrongly assumed it was the more recent 85mm 1.8 G. The line that read..
    ....she goes for the 85mm and that is used on a crop sensor.​
    was referring to her D5200.....thus it would need to be the AF-S variant. So what's the other (your!) DX body?

    I've got the Sigma 17-70mm OS and use it as my walkaround lens. It's only weakness for me is the extreme frame corner/edges are a bit soft when used wide open @ 17mm. As my D5300 doesn't have AF Fine tune, I use the Sigma USB dock and software to dial in a bit of adjustment at the long end.
  16. I can't imagine why an 18-200 is justified on a current 24MP body, except possibly because it lets in slightly more light in total over the image area at 200mm than you'd get by using an 18-140 and cropping the result.​
    Andrew, not everyone has the same pixel peeping priorities. 24mp is now standard on all Nikon DX DSLRs, so the OPs daughter may not need or use the extra resolution. I am sure you are right about the 18-200 weaknesses, but that doesn't make it a bad lens. The lens has not gotten worse, just because we have higher MP bodies.
    See this thread, where experienced photographer John Miller describes why the 18-200 is useful to him:
    If the OP's daughter is looking for top optical quality, I agree the 18-200 is a bad choice, but the range is excellent and she apparently likes extra reach.
  17. Yes, currently when she needs a camera she borrows my d300. The school lab has, I believe a nikon d70/80 for students
    to borrow but she prefers the d300. One of the nice options of the d5200 is the wifi that will allow her to directly upload
    images to school pages. Yearbook pictures an such will obviously go through post processing before going to print.

    Is the 55-200 an option? Has anyone used the combo successfully? I tried the 55-200 on my d300 and the results were
    not very good. Also an option might be the sigma 24-105?
  18. the 18-140VR - more reach at the long end instead of wide angle. It isn't exactly cheap either​
    Just had a look around and NEW white-box (ex kit) 18-140mms are going for ~£200 ($330) here in the UK....although Amazon UK seems out of whack @ £425. That's a lot of lens for the money. I feel tempted....:)
  19. One of the nice options of the d5200 is the wifi that will allow her to directly upload images to school pages.​
    I thought that built in wifi was only on the d5300, not the d5200.
  20. Well spotted Stephen S! Correct!
    You could buy the Wu-1a for the D5200, but I'd get the D5300. There are some very good value Nikon refurbs around. I love mine. AF in Live View is greatly improved. GPS might be handy. 60P HD video is fun too. Good for slo-mo footage.
  21. A wifi adapter is available for the 5200.
  22. Jennifer,
    Also an option might be the sigma 24-105?​
    Same problem as the Nikon 24-120 - no real wide angle. There is little point in using FX standard zooms on DX format - they've got more awkward ranges typically, and the DX zooms are a lot cheaper. You're really better of with a 17/18-something zoom.
  23. There is little point in using FX standard zooms on DX format​
    Very True. About the only good reason is a foreseeable shift to FX in the near(ish) future, say maybe 3 years.
  24. Chip - I'm being a little unfair, since I don't own this lens (or a crop body). But in the thread you refer to, John - who by his tumbler page has mostly been shooting a full-frame 16MP Canon body with a 28-200mm lens - is considering getting an 18-200mm lens for a 12MP DX Nikon. The feedback on that thread was universally against the 18-200mm choice, and that's for a 12MP body. I have, and heavily used, a 28-200mm lens on a 12MP D700, but it just doesn't hold up on a D800; similarly, I've nothing against the 18-200mm if you want to use it on a 6MP D40 (as a friend of mine did).
    On a 24MP body, the 18-200 simply doesn't get near to the resolving power of the body. Taking a 1.4x crop from a decent 140mm lens - and I'm not claiming either the 55-200 or 18-140 is brilliant at 140mm (there's a comparison here - that's the old 18-200, but I believe the optics are unchanged) - would get you the equivalent of a one-stop-slower 200mm, but with more cost, size and weight. If you need the extra speed either for (limited) DoF control or low light, an 18-200 might be worth it - though it's hardly an obvious choice for either DoF control or low light. For a sharp image, given the pixel density of a 24MP sensor, I really doubt it's a useful trade off. I think it's a lens whose time has passed. But YMMV.
  25. I think what we have here is a perfect example of the complete lack of fast Nikon glass for DX. Even a constant f4 zoom would help.
    That's why FX lenses are being suggested on DX bodies. There's no Nikon alternative.
    If Sigma can make a very high IQ & affordable DX 18-35mm f1.8, why can't Nikon make a DX 16-80mm f2.8?
    Maybe the very sharp and fast Sigma 50-150mm 2.8 OS gives the reach with the 17-50mm 2.8 OS* covering the wide?
    Nikon where are you?
    *or indeed the 17-70mm 2.8/4 OS
  26. Andrew - good catch, my memory was not correct on that thread. John did comment that he knew of pros that valued the 18-200 as a flexible lens for certain applications. I realize that is anecdotal, but I don't see any reason to doubt his reasoning. Of course the pixel-peeping regulars around here are going to disfavor the 18-200. I'm not saying I want one. But I don't think the lens should be dismissed summarily.
    24MP is a red herring. If you buy a new Nikon DX DSLR, you don't have a "low res" option. You have "no problem" using the 18-200 on a D40. Are the same sized prints going to look worse from a D5200? With improved high-ISO and DR, I would actually think it should be easier to get good results from the 18-200 on a D5200.
  27. I'm not too worried about the lens on the wide end. She has the 17-50 available to use. Also the reason I'm not leaning
    towards the 16-85, that range is pretty much covered. The 50-150 would be a phenomenal lens choice but I think it would
    be too large for her on a regular basis.

    Doesn't seem like there are too many options, thought this would be a bit easier!
  28. Realising that I'm slightly veering off-topic here (but I hope in a way relevant to Jennifer...) Chip: The distinction is that with a 6MP body such as a D40, the 200mm end of an 18-200 will give you details that you won't see with a 140mm lens. This is pretty much not true of a 24MP body - the 200mm end of the 18-200 is poor enough that you see no more detail than you would by cropping a shot with a better 140mm lens and scaling the image digitally. With a D40, you're limited by the number of pixels captured by the camera if you use a "better" lens at 140mm. With the D5200, a sufficiently good 140mm lens (for example) provides the sensor with enough detail that the crop has more detail in it than the 18-200 manages. Pixel peeping aside, you're paying more and carrying more by using an 18-200. It's not a case of pixel-peeping, it's a case of whether there's an advantage to the optics - if pixel peeping was irrelevant, we could all shoot with a fish-eye and just crop as we needed. There is some difference in absolute aperture, but this isn't the most capable lens in that respect anyway.
    So, yes, images from an 18-200 will look at least as good from a D5200 as they would with a D40, and likely better for the reasons you state. I just don't believe that a 200mm shot from an 18-200 will look any better than "digital zoom" from a D5200 with a lighter, cheaper lens. The D5200 (and other 24MP bodies) are just better at "digital zoom" than a D40 is.
    Jennifer: I'd generally heard reasonably good things about the 55-200, at least compared with a superzoom, but I've not tried it myself. The 70-300 VR is supposed to be slightly better and has faster focus - but it's bigger and heavier, and if you're worried about a 50-150 f/2.8 being too big then I suspect it may be ruled out. But you're right, there aren't as many options as you'd hope.
    Mike: Has anyone else made a DX 16-80 f/2.8? I'm not sure that DX coverage helps as much as you might hope - I strongly suspect a 16-80 f/2.8 would be substantially bigger and more expensive than a 24-70 FX lens, though I can't claim great expertise. You might be interested in the latest entry on the lens rentals blog (at time of writing) on what a 25-300mm f/2.8 looks like, although to be fair much of that size is what you get from the "300mm f/2.8" bit.
  29. Jennifer,
    I'm not too worried about the lens on the wide end. She has the 17-50 available to use.​
    That might work, but then I'd first thoroughly check her habits; because it *might* mean she has to carry two lenses most of the time, and switch lenses more often. For a lot of people, the range from 18-30mm gets a lot of use, it's not just a trivial range that sees use every now and then.
    For the more off-topic part, Chip makes an excellent point. There is no choice but 24MP, and hence getting a high resolution camera does not mean all of us are adament that we render all of those pixels perfect. Hand-held normal use with normal good quality lenses, that's never going to happen anyway. Lens choice should come down to your needs; this whole "must match the lenses with the resolution of my sensor" is too often over-emphasised, as if good quality photos rely on 100% perfect pixel view, and I guess deep down we all know that's not really the case. There are plenty other reasons to get the current 24MP and 36MP bodies, other than their resolution, and that does not need to mean we must sell all lenses and get other ones "because otherwise we're wasting pixels". It means we carry on making photos as we always did, albeit with larger files now.
  30. Andrew, if they'd said someone was going to make a viable 18-35 f1.8, they'd have said exactly the same! Who else makes one? Can't be done! Fast doesn't have to mean BIG in DX
    The Tamron 28-105mm 2.8 was a huge heavy beast for FX, but should be substantially smaller for DX.
    Jennifer, there is an earlier version that is much smaller, referred to as the HSM II. It will focus happily with all DX cameras. 2nd hand is quite affordable. My copy is very nice on my D300. The new version is indeed HUGE by comparison. It covers the same area as the 70-200mm on FX.
  31. If it has to be one versatile lens, then perhaps the new Nikon 24-120/4 is the best option. 24mm on DX body should be wide enough for group shots, and 120mm could be pretty good for head&shoulders shots.
    While it is not mentioned which 17-50 you have, I suppose it is one of these with constant 2.8. If it is acceptable to use a second lens in addition to 17-50, there are dedicated telephoto DX zooms that could do the job. For example, there is 50-150/2.8 from Sigma, and I think there was 50-135 from Tokina. The new stabilized Sigma is a bit expensive; on the other hand, the previous non-OS version should be cheaper second hand, and the Tokina too (see KEH). Finally, if 2.8 is not mandatory, there are several slower 55-200 and 70-300 lenses from Nikon and other manufacturers.
  32. Mike: I don't think I knew about the 28-105. Learn something new every day. Okay, fair cop, I guess it should be technically possible - though the over-size mirror box for DX doesn't help with the wide end.

    Wouter: I agree with you and Chip that you don't necessarily have to make the most of every megapixel you have. I was just suggesting that a really soft longer lens is not necessarily better than a sharp shorter one when it comes to resolving detail at a distance, when the body has enough pixels to get the best of both. There are other reasons to buy a lens than sharpness, but I'm not sure that the 18-200 is the most compelling sell by many other categories either - if its primary merit over a shorter zoom is the ability to show detail at 200mm, it doesn't do so convincingly. An 18-140 is hardly a pixel-peeper lens either, but it's certainly cheaper and lighter than the 18-200, and probably does the same job better for 99% of people with a current camera. If I managed to imply that the 18-200 was only poor for pixel peeping purposes, my apologies. But, as ever, YMMV, and if I've not managed to make my point coherently by now it doesn't look like I'm going to!
  33. Andrew, I'll happily admit the 18-200 makes a terrible example of my point. I'd take the 18-140 over that everytime. Heck, even cropped images of the 16-85VR tend to look better. But again, that's me (and shooting primes most of the time, I can't say changing lenses bothers me much).
    Anyway, hopefully we did not scare away the OP :)
  34. Jennifer, there is an earlier version that is much smaller, referred to as the HSM II. It will focus happily with all DX
    cameras. 2nd hand is quite affordable. My copy is very nice on my D300. The new version is indeed HUGE by
    comparison. It covers the same area as the 70-200mm on FX.

    Mike are you referring to the 50-150, in the post above?
  35. I don't think she needs a lens that goes up to 200mm. It might be nice if she has it once in awhile. Yesterday she left the
    house with the 50 and attended a cross country meet, she just moves her location and shoots what is available. Most
    often she likes the 85 but that lens is a bit slower on my d300. Rarely she chooses to take the 17-50, usually only if she
    knows that she needs that range ahead of time. She is not going to take multiple lenses. She leaves the house everyday
    with an overloaded backpack and sports gear. Another reason why we wanted to get a smaller body for her.
  36. There are 2 main versions of this lens. The older, smaller Sigma 50-150mm 2.8 HSM II and the newer version, the Sigma 50-150mm 2.8 OS OS (stabilization)
    The later version is fairly new, and about 1.1/2 times the size and weight of the old one.
    The OS version is the better lens, but the older is considerably smaller and cheaper, but no less able.
    I own the older but hanker after the newer!
    LATE EDIT.. For a single lens trip you can't beat the 18-140mm
  37. Jennifer, I am surprised to hear you had poor results with the 55-200 on your D300. I used the 55-200 VR previously (recently sold it when I got 70-300 VR). I always thought the 55-200 VR did a great job. I wonder if you used the VR or non-VR version? 55-200 really sounds like the ideal lens for your daughter, since you said she usually disfavors the 17-50. the 55-200 is small, light and has nice image quality if you don't need wide apertures. Maybe it is worth another look?? You can get a refurbished copy for less than $150 - how can you go wrong?
  38. Jennifer, sorry I did not pick up earlier she doesn't care much for the wide end at all.
    And how about a AF-S 85 f/1.8G ? She seems to get along with the focal length, every test this lens comes out shining, not too expensive, solid, light and small and it does AF on a D5200. Pair it with a 35mm f/1.8DX, and you've got a pretty versatile, light, small kit with very high quality lenses.
  39. My one son who is a hobby shooter has a 55-200. Cheap and quite good, just remember it has a very light build and
    plastic mount.
  40. There is a simple to remember rule for choosing lenses: cheap, fast, or good - pick any two.

    If you need a single low-weight versatile zoom, with built-in motor, and a bit longer than 50mm - here are some options:
    • Cheap and fast: perhaps some old 17-70/2.8-4 or 18-70/3.5-4.5.
    • Cheap and good: 24-85(AFS), 16-85, 18-105, 18-140, and so on.
    • Fast and good: 24-70, 24-120. (Fast zooms are definitely not low-weight)
    HTH, YMMV, and so on.
  41. Quite a few options are on the table, really appreciate the feedback!

    I actually have a 55-200 in the bag already, maybe we will try it out when we get the new camera. When I first got the lens
    it wasn't bad but after awhile it seemed to be more disappointing. What I was shooting also changed though and I needed
    more speed. However even when I tried to use it as a light walk around lens the images needed post work, with or without
    the vr. I ended up normally choosing a prime and typically am much happier with those results. Might be exciting to pull
    that lens back out and see the results, maybe she'll hav the 200mm range after all.

    Peter, I like the trio, a pretty good way to look at things and very true.

    Wouter, we most likely will pick up a G version of the 85 for her. Was already thinking along those lines. Oringinally i was
    thinking as a follow up birthday gift. Maybe we'll change it up though and go will the 85 initially, and then later pick
    something else up if she needs/wants.

    Certainly appreciate the time you have all taken to respond!
  42. If you REALLY love your daughter then get her the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II :)
  43. The 50-150 would be a phenomenal lens choice but I think it would be too large for her on a regular basis.​
    gonna chime in here: the original, non-OS sigma 50-150 is the best possible choice for what your daughter will be shooting. it pairs perfectly with a 17-50 (which i assume is 2.8 constant aperture), covers the entire portrait range and then some, and is fast enough for sports or indoor use. best of all, its super compact for a 2.8 telezoom lens. i just recommended the lens for another P.Netter and he emailed me to say how happy he was with it. i have had mine for 6 years and kept it even after getting an FX body, because it's so good. i consider it a must for DX. today's used prices make it an even sweeter deal, but to me it was well worth the $750 i paid for it new.
  44. The 50-150mm is near the top of the list right now. Plus I wouldn't mind borrowing it once in awhile :)

    Nope John, really don't love her that much!! She said she might ask for it for her sweet sixteen though. We may have
    started a slippery slope here!!
  45. Righto Jennifer. That's such a great card to play though. If YOU really loved her....
    Haha. NOT that much. Heck *I* wish I had that lens. Oh, btw, fwiw, I have the 2nd gen 24-120 f3.5-5.6 zoom. Despite what everybody says I think it's a fine lens. I've used it for magazine assignments and haven't heard any complaints.
  46. Incidentally, if looking at the 70-200 f/2.8, I'd give serious consideration to the mk1 version, used. The biggest advantage of the mk2 is that the corners aren't mushy at 200mm on an FX camera - but if it's used on DX, the mk1 is a very fine lens, and obviously much cheaper on the used market. Not that it's exactly small. I wouldn't sweat the lack of the 50mm-70mm range, but if size is an issue, the 50-150 is obviously going to be more portable.

    My $.02. :)
  47. When I was doing yearbook pictures 40 years ago, 35mm was my favorite lens. That comes out to about 24mm for a DX sensor. That suggests that 24-120 would be fine.
    The 18-55 kit lenses are also very affordable, especially if people buy others and want to sell them.
    Either range would work fine for most yearbook, or other school, photography.
  48. I also suggest the 18-140. I use the old 18-135, when I'm not shooting my pro work events and concerts, for "snap shot" travel, family casual stuff. It's very sharp and I even dropped it once on the camera and the only problem was a cracked lens hood. The 18-140mm VR is that much better in specs.

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