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what is the best lens $350 can buy?

marcmec

Dallas, US
148 posts

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marcmec Registered since 12th Sep 2002
Wed 16-Jan-08 12:54 PM

Fellow Nikonians,
I'm trying to figure out what kind of lenses to buy for my first decent camera (which is going to be an N80 pretty soon).

May I tap into your collective wisdom pool? I promise I will compile the answers and provide you with the conclusion.

I would like to hear from you, which lens you would buy, under these conditions:

1) it has to be a zoom, starting on 24 - 28, and ending on 70 - 135. The alternative - buying 3 prime lenses to cover this range - would be a lot more expensive (sorry - my limitation, right now).

2) good aperture is a priority, because of better control of DOF and less need for flash and tripods.

3) great sharpness and contrast are also priorities.

4) low vignetting would be nice.

5) low distortion is NOT a priority, since I expect to use it a lot more for nature and people photography (not many straight lines there).

6) low flare is also NOT a priority (I prefer to sacrifice this, to stay under the price limits, and I can always try to use filters or hoods).

7) price is around $350 (the less expensive, the better); I can buy used, too, if the lens is that much better than brand new ones to be worth the risk.

8) build quality and reliability are also important, of course. I've read horror stories about some lenses, but won't repeat them here, not to bias anyone.

9) everything else being equal, lower weight is better.

So, considering this list of rules, do you think I have a solution???
Take a shot (no pun intended).

Here's a list of 6 lenses that caught my attention. It may be a good start. I know it includes non-Nikkor lenses, but that's OK for me. I'm sure many of you use them, too, and have valuable insights.
Nikkor 24-85/3.5-4.5 AF-S ED IF
Nikkor 28-105/3.5-4.5 D IF
Sigma 28-70/2.8 EX DF
Tamron 24-135/3.5-5.6 Aspherical AD IF SP
Tokina 24-200/3.5-5.6 AT-X
Tokina 28-80/2.8 AT-X Pro

I've been reading lens reviews and doing some research. Please, take a look on the attached spreadsheet. The lenses I mentioned above are highlighted in light grey.
Columns labeled "grade n" are from on-line reviews of lenses. Each one is from a different review. Feel free to use the spreadsheet to your advantage. It also includes telephoto zooms, which will be my next step. Beware it's not complete. It's a work in progress...

Thank you all. Marcelo

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (zip file)

. hoping to work for NG someday...
Some of my pics

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Reply message RE: WARNING WARNING re 28-105
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Reply message Yep...another vote for the 28-105D...
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Reply message Try Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D IF AF
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