Wide angle options on a budget

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johnw63, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. I'm as close to pulling the trigger on a DSLR as I have ever been, with the D7000. I already have a collection of lenses that I can use, but I go no wider than a 24mm f2.8. So, if I get one, I may need to fill the wide angle gap. Nikon has a few 18-xx or 18-xxx zooms, and other than the f2.8 versions , which are right out of my budget, there isn't a lot to differentiate them , optically. Is the 18-55mm any better than the 18-70 or 18-105, or 18-135mm zooms ? It doesn't seem so, really. So , what about other options ? I really only need something in the 18-25mm or 18-35mm range, to fill the gap. Is there something in the 3rd party market worth considering ?
  2. The lenses you refer to are all pretty decent performers. There will probably be many 18-105's available shortly since it's the current kit lens for the D7000, and many people want the d7000 now but can't find it body only.
  3. I have a Nikon D90. My primary lens use to be a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8. The lens was wide enough for 99% of situations I encountered. The 2.8 aperture was great but the lens seemed soft to me. It could have just been an issue with my copy but I ultimately ended up selling the lens. It sounds like this lens is probably not in your budget anyway.
    Since then I purchased a Sigma DC 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Macro HSM. This lens was less than half the cost of the Nikkor 17-55 and is much sharper. It sounds like for your situation the larger focal length on the top end may be wasted but for me it makes a great walking around lens. I do miss the constant 2.8 aperture though and would trade back to the Nikkor if it was as sharp as the Sigma, but even if the Nikkor was as sharp, the Sigma would certainly win out on the value side. One issue I have noticed with the Sigma is that it doesn’t always meter with the camera properly and I have to reseat the lens. After noticing this with my first copy I sent it back to B&H for a replacement, the replacement seems to do it less but it still happens—I have decided to live with it.
  4. I've had the 18-70mm, have used the 18-135mm, and currently own the 18-55mm VR. I haven't seen any difference in optical quality between them. The 18-70mm is perhaps built a little better than the other two, but VR is more important to me than that or the longer focal length. I'm amazed at the hand-held shots I've taken in low light with the 18-55mm. And since they can be picked up for around $100, if it gets dropped or lost I'm not out much money.
  5. I had the 18-55 , then got the 18-70.....immediately saw better quality images, sharper, definitely more contrast....not that the 18-55 isn't really good, but the 18-70 is a step up in quality, in my experience. Can't comment on VR, never had it .
  6. The 18-70 is a good budget lens used, and handles VERY well, except for the 18-24 range being too close together. It balances well on a DX body.
    The 18-55 is a very nice little cheap kit lens, but is pretty much useless for manual focus.
  7. The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with or w/o VC (their version of VR) are very good lenses and they have the f/2.8 for low light and for blurring backgrounds.
  8. I am very happy with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I would highly recommend getting it with Vibration Compensation (VC) rather than without. Look up the reviews...it generally gets very positive writeups...and it is not outrageously expensive. I see that B&H has it for $650, but there is a $100 rebate offer, making it around $550.
  9. I was leaning toward the 18-70mm, as it seems to have better construction, but it was one of the older choices, which... not that I think about it, would make it my NEWEST lens. I would prefer a fixed aperture, but I know that would be out of my target price range, unless I found a "bargain" one at KEH.
    Is there any build difference in the Tokina, vs. Tamron vs. Sigma brands ?
  10. If you're covered from 24mm up, then you may want to consider to ultrawide Tokina 12-24 f4.
  11. If you're covered from 24mm up, then you may want to consider to ultrawide Tokina 12-24 f4.
  12. I've had the 18-135; but I never found it to be that sharp at the long end (this is a lens that needs VR) and the CA was so obvious I traded it towards a used 18-70, which I still have.
    Sadly the 18-70 was damaged in a fall with my S3, the filter was smashed, the hood cracked and the front element of the lens was chipped :(
    I still use it but if I shoot towards a light source the damage becomes apparent. So I went to the store to buy a stand-in for my damaged 18-70. I tested the following:
    • Nikon 18-105 VR (nice) and
    • Sigma 18-125 (non-VR). The Sig struggled to lock focus but funnily enough I got more keepers with it that day than the 18-105.
    • The 18-55 VR. It cost the least (and compared to the Sig, locked focus with very little effort) so I bought it.
    Comparing the 18-70 to the 18-55 VR, I'd say go for the 18-70. The latter locks focus faster, produces sharper images and has better contrast. Oh, and it's faster than the 18-55 which makes the choice a no-brainer to me.
    VR, IMO, only has a role to play out at +100mm. Anything shorter you can comfortably shoot hand-held.
  13. Look at KRs recommendations...on his suggestion I bought a used 18-35 f3.5. Its cheap and as sharp as the expensive 17-35 f2.8.
  14. I have recently just got the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 VC lens (just last week in fact) to use with my D90. I already had the Nikkor 12-24dx and was after it to plug a gap between 24 and 50mm. It has already become my main walk-around and I have been very impressed with it. The lens has 2.8 for narrowing dof or opening up. For the price - it is a great wee lens. I have the 18-70dx too (that came with my D70 back in the day) - but I have more or less shelved that lens now, I just use it with my D70 when I want to go rough 'n ready. I grew disastisfied with the 18-70 after I started using other Nikkor glass (principally the 12-24dx, 50mm f1.4 and 105 f2.8 Micro).
    A couple of caveats though. The Tamron 17-50 is stronger towards the 50mm end than it is at 17mm, the build quality isn't fantastic (although it is certainly adequate - especially given the price). In handling it is 'noisy' particularly in focusing and using VC when compared to Nikkor lenses (but it is about 1/2 to 1/3 of the price if the 2.8 Nikons).
    The lens is sharp in the centre, and so long as you close down to about f5.6 - it is reasonably sharp at the edges. As I say - from initial use of about a week I would say it performs better from about 24-50 than it does 17-24, which for me is fine, since my 12-24dx covers that <24 range very well.
    I think you need to ask yourself what use you want from the lens. Whether specifically wide angle, or a more general lens that covers wide angle range.
  15. Sigma has a 10-20mm lens, which I had and it was perfect.
  16. I have also considered the 18-35/3.5-4.5 ED-IF, but on Bjorn Rorslett's recommendation. The Sigma 12-24 also seems like a good alternative and is one of the few ultrawides that also works on full frame.
    I recommend buying a used lens to maximize budget/image quality.
  17. I do agree that Tamron 17-55 f/2.8 VC is a great choice, but also the Nikon 16-85 mm VR is another alternative and wider than the Tamron and more range at the end. Also, if you want to go wider than that, I will definitely recommend the Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 which is even faster and sharper than any other lens in this category, even faster and sharper than the Nikon 12-24 or any other brand. All of those 3 lenses are between $550 - $650 price. The Nikon 16-85 mm VR is a great lens; it is not a f/2.8 but it is very sharp and fast and you will never be disappointed with it but if you need the wide end to be at f/2.8, I will go for the Tamron or the Tokina 11-16.
  18. With the D7000 you can get one of the older Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 lenses without the motor. keh has one for $310 in EX condition. They have Tamron 17-50 f/2.8's for not much more.
    I had the Sigma w/o motor and traded it on the Tamron with the motor and w/o VC. Build quality was similar for both. If anything, the Sigma seemed a little more rugged.
    If money is tight, maybe you should consider a new or refurbished D90 and put the savings into the lens(es). Adorama has the D90 new for $896.95 and refurbished for $739.95. That gives you up to$460 to play with. Just a thought.
  19. Thanks for the tip. On eBay and at KEH, those seem to go for about $325 or so. I might consider that, since I would like a real wide angle as well as fill the normal 18-xx range for a DSLR. The Nikon 18-70mm is about 100 bucks cheaper, on the used market.
  20. I'm no expert, but the 18-55 VR Nikkor is a great "budget" lens. A good photographer can get great results with this lens. If you expect to be shooting in decent to good lighting, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bargain than the Nikkor 18-55mm VR. If you need low light capability you'll have to pay for it.
  21. I became interested in the D7000 BECAUSE it can meter with MF lenses, and the D90 can not. So, even though I could save money with the D90, I'd have to get used to being in full manual mode , focus, metering, etc. I have too many MF lenses, I need to use.
    A perfect solution would be a lens I can use with my film body and a DSLR, but that ups the price too.
  22. If you are going to use your old lenses, why not look around for a used D700 and get right away from all the DX compromises? And who needs movies? Buy a Cam for that.
    I think the D700 is going to be the "keeper" in amongst all the other models that are coming out. The resolution of the D700's sensor should keep all but a landscape pro happy. Its not as user friendly like its d300 stablemate, but still a tremendous camera...just like the Canon 5D is still!!
    I had a D300 and sold it last week, along with my DX only lenses. I'll wait for a good D700 to come up.
  23. I've got a 18-70 which I really liked until I got 18-55 VR. While not as optically clear, the VR feature is marvelous, the price is insanely great, optical quality is good (mostly on wide end) and it's small and light.
    So, on a budget, nothing beats the 18-55 VR.
    On the other hand, for true wide angle on a budget, I'd get a used Tamron 11-18, or the older Sigma 10-20/3.5-5.6
  24. Shadforth,
    I think the D700 would be a great camera to own, however, it would blow my hoped for budget right out of the water. If I'm debating between lenses that cost 300-400 bucks, a $2000 camera body is just not in the cards.

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