wide angle + 17-55 or 16-85

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by fabian_anthonioz, May 8, 2015.

  1. My actual kit is a D90 + sigma10-20 f4-5.6 + tamron 28-75 f2.8 + nikkor 50mm f1.4 D

    The tamron is a fine lens but i don't use it much because i find the 28mm too long for my taste and for a portrait i prefer my 50mm prime that is a kick-ass lens
    so i've decided to sell the tamron and invest around 600$ in two posible ways:
    1.- spend it all in a second hand nikkor 17-55 f2.8, it's a good range, sharp and f2.8 all the way, the cons are it's weight and that it's bulky
    2.- buy a second hand tokina 11-16 f2.8 + nikkor 16-85 vr f3.5-5.6 and, this way i'd improve my main lens (the sigma) with the sharper and f2.8 tokina and have the 16-85 as complement which is a perfect match for the 11-16 and it's under 500 grams and has VR stabilization
    what combination would you recommend?, is it worth it to replace the sigma with the tokina?, i'm very happy with the sigma but i find that it has a lot of vigneting and limited aperture for indoor photography specially
  2. Why not also have a look at the Nikkor 10-24? I am very happy with mine and like the fact that it goes all the way up to 24. Since the Sigma is your favourite lens but you consider selling it, I assume you like wide angle.
    The 16-85 is guite slow at 85 mm, just as slow as the super zooms are at 300 mm. Since you already have the excellent 50/1,4, why not consider the significantly cheaper 18-105 VR or the 18-140 VR to go with it, which both have longer reach and are faster than the 16-85. Thus, mu suggestion is:
    3. Nikkor 10-24 and either a very cheap 18-105 (used) or the 18-140 VR.
  3. Do you want f2.8? If so, the 17-55 is a no brainer to me. I have a very good memory of it.
    If not, it may be too much big&heavy (although lighter&smaller than my current 24-70).
    At that time, I used to go with a 24/2.4 for lightness, and used the 17-55 for everything else.
    In the other hand, the range of the 16-85 seem perfect to my needs.
  4. It really depends on what you want to do with it, and related to that: how important fast aperture is at specific lengths.
    The Sigma you own is a very fine performer usually; in my view paying extra to move to the Tokina is really only worth it if you are really going to use its f/2.8 aperture. Otherwise, it's a limited upgrade, really. "Upgrading" the sigma with any other wide angle - poor value for money if you'd ask me.
    The 16-85VR is, as Andreas underlines, slow aperture (not much slower than either 18-105 or 18-140, though, as both drop to f/5.6 quickly). It is also a very good performer, and the additional 2mm at the wide end always made more impact for me, than having more reach on the long end - it often rendered my wide angle superfluous for many trips as 16mm is often wide enough. But - it is and remains a slow aperture lens, and not very cheap. It worked very well for me, I'd call it a great landscape lens, but I always carried 1 or 2 fast primes alongside it.
    Option 1, I simply would never do. For the same money you can get a brand new Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with stabiliser, and those two are optically as fine according to tests and users. The nikon is better built, at the cost of being large, heavy and overpriced.
    It really depends on what you shoot:
    - Events/people/street: Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, keep your Sigma 10-20.
    - Landscape, city shots, very generic use: Nikon 16-85VR, keep your Sigma 10-20.
    That saves some money too.
  5. I'd keep the Sigma and get the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 if it were me.
    I will say that when I shot Nikon I had the 11-16. I loved that lens. Wish I shot with it more.
  6. Used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS, used Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. The Sigma has lens stabilization and is lighter than the Nikon.
    Kent in SD
  7. mm If you are NOT in a hurry, and are into "Wide & Landscape"shooting, it might be an idea to try and postpone changing / replacing until you can aford to go FX . For Wide and Landscape an D610 might be much more satisfactory then a D90 whirt one ore to lenses replaced by other ones i think..
    Just my personal idea to this question...
  8. Since you don't mention what you shoot, it is hard to make suggestions.

    I used the 11-16/17-55 combo for a while. For me, the 17-55 turned out to be too limited in range. The lack of VR was an issue too. I replaced it with the 16-85 VR - which proved to be both an excellent lens and a good choice for me (not really having a need for a f/2.8 mid-range zoom); with the slow f/5.6 towards the long end the already mentioned negative. Easy to get around the fact that it is overpriced new - just buy used. An alternative to the 16-85 is the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 C(ontemporary); less range but faster aperture throughout.
    In a previous thread you asked about the 20-35/2.8 - and it wasn't quite clear to me whether it was intended to replace the 28-75 or be used alongside it. Could you clarify whether you're intentions are to close the 20-28 gap you currently have and whether you are OK with not having a lens longer than 50mm?
    Because if you do, then maybe the following would suit your needs: the new Tokina 11-20/2.8 and the Sigma 18-35/1.8. Their drawbacks are that their quite a limited ranges and both are lacking VR - which is only partially mitigated by their fast aperture. Together, that's an $1400 outlay though.
    In my case, it turned out that my solution to my DX ultrawide-normal issues was to go to FX - specifically, the 16-35/4 VR lens. I only went for the fast DX glass because I needed to keep shutter speeds up when hand-holding, especially indoors. Moving to FX also meant that instead of constantly swapping between two lenses, I can make do with only one that has a perfect range for me.
  9. The Tokina 11-16 2.8 would be an improvement over your Sigma ultrawide since it's faster. The Nikon 17-55 2.8 is the winner over the 16-85 because the 16-85 is way too slow at the long end. 5.6 just isn't acceptable as a maximum aperture on anything shorter than about a 400 or 500. it defeats any kind of bokeh you could get on an 85. Personally, I don't see VR as that big a deal on a lens as short as 16-85 (short lens are easy to handhold), and it certainly doesn't make up for the slow maximum aperture. (Remember, VR only helps with camera shake, not subject movement.)
  10. I have the Nikon 17-55 2.8 and the Tokina 11-16 2.8. Both are excellent. The 17-55 is always on the camera and is my walk-around lens. I used them an a D200 and now on a D7100. They are both sharp as all get out and if I can't zoom in with my feet I find that the D7100 has plenty of resolution to crop. The D200, like the D90, did not do so well when I had to crop. I also have a 70-200 2.8 VR-I but it is used much less often. If I want really shallow DOF I use the Nikon 35 1.8 G or an old 50 1.4 D. Both are sharp and inexpensive. Based on my crude testing the 17-55 is just as sharp as a prime. I bought it new years ago with the D200 and I never regretted it.
  11. I don't see VR as that big a deal on a lens as short as 16-85 (short lens are easy to handhold), and it certainly doesn't make up for the slow maximum aperture.​
    That depends heavily on what you use it for - for me, VR on this short lens worked miracles at night for urban shots, where subject movement was of no concern, and a tripod not practical. VR made photos possible there, and the 16-85 has very effective VR - 3 stops easily. On the wide end, that would otherwise need a 16mm f/1.2 that doesn't exist to get those shuttertimes. Or a 35mm f/1.4 that costs a bit more. F/2.8 zooms are not that much faster after all. I would not dismiss this feature all that easily - but as said, it depends much on what you're using it for.
    The OP would really have to clarify how he mostly uses this gear.
  12. I'm not so much anti-VR as against the manufacturers' way of trying to make it sound like a 5.6 lens with VR is as good as a 2.8 or 2 without it. IMHO, I'd rather start with a 2.8 and then add the benefits of VR, so my 2.8 will let me handhold like a 1.4 or 1.0 (or whatever the math works out to be when the lens is that fast).

    I go back to film days when the slowest lens that normally came with an SLR was f/2 and you bought the 1.4 if you could afford it. So I think of even 2.8 as slow and just cringe when I hear 5.6.
  13. I agree, Craig.

    BUT... I find that the in-body IS on my Olympus EM-5 is JUST as useful on a standard wide-to-short-tele lens than on a tele, so I agree with Wouter about the usefulness.
    That said, if I could have either VR or a constant f2.8 but not both, I'd pick the constant f2.8 on a standard zoom myself.
  14. Thank you all for your advice, i find all the opinions very useful!

    I've been asked about how i use my gear... well i mostly do urban and landscape photography, when i travel i come back with 40% of the photos with the 10mm focal length and around 70% in the 10-20mm range. Sometimes i think that i'm abusing the ultra-wide style and i should take photos with less distortion, that's why i've decided to invest in a good quality mid-range zoom to challenge my sigma and push myself to diversify my photos. I barely feel the need to have something longer than 70mm or so, 5% of the time as much and that isn't enougth for me to justify carrying a specific lens
    About the aperture topic, for me f2.8 is not only a question of low light situations but about the quality, the colors and the light that these lenses obtain, i mean bokeh and out of focus pictures that brings me a lot of creative options.
    Another aspect that i take into account specially in the last years is carrying the minimum weight with me, having a full photo-filled backpack with me all the time is a pain in the ass sometimes and i'd like to stick to the minimum... that's why i'm not interested in full frame (at least in the short term)
    here is my flickr if you want to see what i usually do: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29324944@N00/
  15. If you prefer f/2.8 - I'd go for the Tamron or Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 options. Looking at your photos, I do not see images that would benefit an awful lot from a f/2.8 lens; but maybe that is because most seem to be with your Sigma wide angle. Looking at your photos - it's exactly the stuff I'd use my 16-85VR for.
    Personally, I don't believe that f/2.8 lenses deliver better quality or colours when shot at f/8 - that's the point why I asked what you want to do with a lens. Yes, there are benefits to f/2.8 zooms, no doubt, but they're not the right answer to every question. When you're not using those advantages of a f/2.8 (=shooting them wide open, and/or needing fastest AF action), then their disadvantages become more obvious: their zoomrange is more limited, they're heavier and larger and typically costlier as well.
    It is not an easy choice to make - but by the sound of it, you'll be happier with a 17-50 f/2.8 lens. I'd save the money and skip the Nikon (esp. if you like to keep weight low).
  16. For architecture, the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 does offer very low distortion. It would slot very nicely with either a Sigma 17-50mm OS or a Nikon 16-85mm VR.
    Kent in SD
  17. I agree on the Tokina 11-16 f2.8, excellent lens, very sharp.
    Let's compare real numbers - Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 VR versus Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS.
    Weight is almost the same but the Nikon a bit less - Nikon, 487 grams, Sigma 565 grams.
    Optically the Sigma is a bit better, dxomark score - Nikon 11, Sigma 15 (numbers from lens on D90 body).
    Size is roughly the same but the Sigma is fatter and a tiny bit longer (77mm filter versus 67mm).
    Prise new is about the same - Nikon $499, Sigma $519 (B&H)
    So basically it comes down to f2.8 and slightly better optics versus 85mm and slightly less weight.
    PS. The Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS is optically a little better than Nikon 17-55mmm f2.8. It is also lighter, less money and has stabilization but it doesn't have the same heft (751 grams) and build quality as the Nikon.
  18. if you are trying to have a light kit, there is no reason to even consider the nikon 17-55. since you also mentioned indoor shooting as a justification for swapping the sigma and tokina, i'd also rule out the 16-85. i might consider the sigma 17-70/2.8-4 OS, but again, not if a constant aperture was critical.
    ive owned the original tamron 17-50 (sharpest standard zoom at 2.8 ive ever seen) and currently the sigma 17-50/2.8 OS. if you can find a used tamron w/out the micromotor or stabilization, it will be your sharpest, most cost-beneficial friend. otherwise, the sigma is pretty good too, no complaints there for still or action shots, although its much heavier (but not quite 17-55 heavy). i cant complain about its build quality--it hasn't chipped or flaked in five years--but i wouldn't hammer nails with it. the tamron is seemingly even flimsier, but that's deceptive since its thick rubber bumper works as a ding protector.
    replacing the 10-20 with the 11-16 really only makes sense if you shoot interiors or low-light w/out a tripod, IMO. the tokina has superior optics, but you dont need 2.8 typically to shoot outdoor landscape pics, and the zoom range is limited to the point where it's not a lens i'd recommend for people shots unless it's a large crowd scene from reasonably far away. if you do need 2.8 for indoor shots, the 11-16 is the only game in town. personally, i'd rather have something which goes to 24 or 28 for more versatility in the field. there's also the sigma 10-20/3.5 which is a bit faster than your current UWA. and if you're a true ultrawide junkie, the sigma 8-16 goes even w i d e r .
  19. For someone who uses the 10-20 70-80% of the time with 20% at 10mm, switching to the 11-16 (and whatever lens will complement it) will come with some major inconveniences - must notably the need for a lot more lens changes than were previously necessary. IMHO, it appears to be much more in-line with the OP's shooting habits to actually get a lens with a larger range - a 10-24 is about as large a range one can get without giving up the 10mm on the short end.. With the 28-75, the OP already has a lens that has quite a good reputation and on DX the gap between 24 and 28 is something that shouldn't be cause for too much concern.
    With two lenses needed to cover the range - the break in focal length has to be somewhere. And with the OP's clear preference for ultrawide, it appears to make sense to combine as much of that range in one lens as possible - and not force him to make even more lens changes than before.
    Hence my recommendation: keep the 28-75 - it gives you the f/2.8 you are lusting after. Trade the 10-20 for the Nikon 10-24 - you gain a little bit of speed doing so.
    if you do need 2.8 for indoor shots, the 11-16 is the only game in town​
    aside from the newer 11-20/2.8 that is ;-)
  20. aside from the newer 11-20/2.8 that is ;-)​
    good catch.

    and i agree with the logic of keeping the tamron 28-75 and extending the range of the UWA. i also have the 28-75 and there's really not much to criticize there, apart from slight softness at 2.8. its optics are comparable to much more expensive lenses and it has a useful focal length on DX, provided one minds the gap with a WA. i realize some lenses get more love than others, and people have different shooting styles, but ive always not really been crazy about 50mm on DX for portraits. just a bit short IMO. the 28-75 as a portrait lens covers that and more, in a compact, low-weight body. pretty sure all of the standard zooms the OP mentioned are heavier. the only thing the 50/1.4 gives you is a faster aperture and low-light ability, but is an awkward focal length for classic head and shoulder portraits. if you like the defocused look and shoot a lot at f/2 or thereabouts, i could see the point, but i would still hold on to the tamron for the reasons mentioned above. also, there are better 50mm lenses if you're a bokeh fanatic.
  21. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 (2008 or newer) weigh 510 gram so about the same as Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS and Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6.
    I've shot a lot with a Nikon 12-24mm f4 and Tamron 28-75 f2.8 combo. It works if you shoot with two cameras but it's a little cumbersome with only one camera body. For landscape and static shooting it makes no difference of course but if you shoot people it's a bit tricky.
    The reason for this is that 28mm on DX equals 42mm on FX and that really is a bit too long as a wide. You could get away with 35mm FX even if some would like 28mm FX (many compact cameras start at that focal length) as your widest people shooting focal length. That would be equal to 18 to 24mm on DX. So the 28-75 is not really wide enough at it's widest zoom setting so you often need to swap lenses if you only have one camera.
    I've also used the Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 in combination with the 12-24 f4 and this combo works a lot better regarding focal lengths as you can keep shooting with the 24-85mm for wide to tele and just have the ultrawide for the other shots. But you still run into problems when the 24mm is just a tiny bit too long. The major problem however I had with that combo was that the 12-24 is a lot better corrected at 24mm than the 24-85. And f4 of course - always a hassle.
    50mm is too short for some portraits on DX (equals 75mm on FX) but there is not a lot of difference from 75 to 85mm on FX (which is a classic focal length for portraits). I found that I could easily adjust to 50mm on DX even if śomething like the 58mm would have been great. A lot of FX shooters also have adjusted to the 70mm of the 24-70mm f2.8 zoom which is kind of the same thing. But sometimes you do need something longer.
    When I switched to shooting primarily primes on DX I would go 24mm, 50mm and 105mm. And an ultra wide (11-16) that I often would shoot preset to 13mm. That would give me equivalent focal lengths (FX/film) - 20mm, 35mm, ~85mm (actually 75) and 150mm. This was my setup for weddings and I'd usually shoot with two but sometimes three camera bodies.
    It is by it's very nature impossible to find a perfect compromise.
  22. I'd also like to add that it's really only be experimenting you can find out what works the best for you.
    Some people think that you can analyze the shots you have taken in the past and from that deduct what you want. Problem with that is that as you add another lens you get new possibilities and you start thinking differently and also start seeing things differently. So you shoot differently. And we always evolve as photographers so we change as persons too.
    Best of course is to have a large arsenal of lenses so you can pick and choose whats best for different scenarios but most of us are not that lucky.
    PS. I think the OP should go with his gut feeling and replace the 28-75mm f2.8. Best would be if he could borrow or rent a lens first to try it out before selling his 28-75.
  23. I own both of the lenses in question. The 17-55 is a fantastic lens but, as has been mentioned, is a load to carry around all day. It is as sharp as just about any prime I own, and I own some good ones. Without question it is the best DX lens Nikon has ever made.
    The 16-85 is a bargain at the price and is a great walk around lens.
    If I could only have one or the other I would go with the 17-55. If I was contemplating moving to FX I would sell the 17-55 to buy some new primes.
    Good luck with your decision. I just got a d810 but I still love my d7100. This situation will make me happy and a hell of a lot poorer.
  24. This is a shot of my tamron 28-75 wide open at f2.8, with no editing at all --> http://symp-thique.deviantart.com/art/M-a-g-i-a-133888786
    i think it's a great performance, colors, out of focus, sharpness of the subject... god if the tamron just had 8mm more of angular!
    I think that the most logical choice here is the 16-85 but i would like to keep the magic of f2.8 shots... how do you think this shot would be with the 16-85 at 28mm wide open?, if someone could give me an example it would be great
    If the 17-55 is such a strong performer most times i'd be happy by carrying just the lens and maybe the 50mm prime and leave the sigma at home, and if i'm going for a UWA journey then just leave the 17-55 out of the bag... this way weight won't be such an issue and everything fits in my small domke bag
  25. Fabian, at 28mm the 16-85 should be something near f4... so just close your lens by one stop to check the difference.
  26. i think you just illustrated the strength of the 28-75. that's an awesome portrait shot. regarding DoF, you'd lose a stop at the short end witht he 16-85, and at the end of the range, where the tamron is best optically, you lose two whole stops. and that's after taking a 1-stop penalty for APS-C compared to full frame.

Share This Page