D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else
Just made my mind about going with a D600 coming from a D90.
My dillema now is what to use with the new body.
Initially I was decided to get a 24-120 f4, but some mixed reviews about the performance at the long end made me think twice.
For a similar price I could get the kit 24-85 VR and get a 105 2.8 from Sigma (or either the Nikon with some more $$).
My key concern is performance for portraits. On the D90 I was happy using the Tamron 28-75 2.8, around 70mm, which is equivalent to ~105 on the D600.
Would the performance of the Sigma on the long end be enough better than that of the 24-120 for me to give up the convinience of that as a one lens solution? I am not a professional, the level of performance I need is to get great pictures of my kids.
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#1. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 0Wed 03-Oct-12 11:39 AM
For portraiture, it can be the case that a lens is too sharp, and reveals too many wrinkles...!
Although I use a 105mm f/2.8G VR Micro or 85mm f/1.4G for many portraits, I don't hesitate to use my 24-120mm f/4G VR when I'll be shooting a mixture of head shots and full-length in the same session. If you're shooting kids, I think the zoom would be very useful to re-frame as they move around.
I've never had a problem with image quality with the zoom - check out the example below which was taken with this lens at 120mm and f/5.6...
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#4. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 2Thu 04-Oct-12 05:50 AM
I wouldn't put the bokeh of the 24-120mm in the same class as the 85mm f/1.4 - but I've not found it to be a problem. Note, though, that most of my portraits (like the one above) are shot in front of a plain backdrop, for use in theatrical programmes, so how the out-of-focus areas look is mostly irrelevant
#3. "RE: D600 + 24-120 f/4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 0
The 24-120 VRI f/4 is a superb lens - as versatile as anything on the market today. Bokeh is wonderful. Try these two shots:
Devotional Candles at Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde
Monsieur Marin-Pêcheur - Abdel the Fisherman
The lens is superb in a wide range of lighting. Keep in mind, as well, that the photos above are squashed JPG files. The full size photos look superb. Color, contrast, detail, low noise - everything you could ask for. Shot with a D700. Devotional Candels shot at 70mm, f/4. Abdel the Fisherman shot at 120mm, f/5.6. Both shots taken in Marseille.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)
#5. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 0
I jsut re-read your post, in particular the last sentence, "... I need to get great pictures of my kids."
The lens choice to a great extent depends on the age of the kids. if they're very young - from toddlers up to about 7 years old, they're perpetual motion machines. Nothing short of a 50mm AF-S f/1.4 is going to be able to help freeze the motion most of the time. Past the age of 7 (approximately), so many kids are engaged in field sports, swimming, gymnastics and after-school indoor team sports that the 50mm remains in the bag and you instead need at least a 70-300 to help isolate them in action from 50' away.
#6. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 5Thu 04-Oct-12 08:29 PM
They are pretty young, 1 and 4 years old.
What about the 28-300mm? Is it as good as the 24-120mm? It seems to be cheaper, and also available with s $150 discount when acquired together with a D600 in some retailers.
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#7. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 6Thu 04-Oct-12 09:09 PM
Kids at those ages are never more than 10' from you. Sure there are playground run arounds, birthday parties and all that where the kids are farther away from you, but I don't think a 24-120 or a 28-300 is the right choice. A one year old and a four year old are easily captured in all light, motion frozen, with the versatility of a fast 50mm and the low light capability of anything from a D5100 through the D800. Indoors, even with flash and all its attendant considerations, the 24-120 and the 28-300 just can't keep up with a fast 50mm.
The 28-300 VRII is terrific, but it has its limitations. Edge distortion in some situations can be startling. Nevertheless, a couple of Nikonians in particular are getting superb results out of the 28-300, but certainly take the time to frame and compose carefully, work the lens to its strengths, and spend some carefuly considered time in their post-processing software. The 28-300 focuses moderately fast, but won't be able to keep up with busy, energetic kids horsing around in the yard in many situations. Its slower maximum aperture at full zoom slows AF down a bit more (even considering the slower minimum stop AF systems in the D600 and D800)
The 24-120 is faster lens all around than the 28-300. Optically, the 24-120 provides consistently better results than the 28-300, but with the proviso that you have to look r-e-a-l-l-y closely to see the differences in many photo comparisons. Once again though, I think its appropriate to ask yourself if the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S would be a faster and more versatile choice for photographing your one and four year olds.
The apparent versatility of a 24-120 or 28-300 zoom often does not apply in practice, which is a bit counter-intuitive I suppose. The reason is that aiming, zooming, reacquiring focus and pressing the shutter button all take time. As soon as the light drops to a certain level outside or inside, you either have to bring out the flash (which a lot of kids don't like after one or two shots), or do the smart thing and mount a 50mm f/1.4. Handling a longer, bulkier zoom around busy kids can be problematic in close quarters. The close focusing distances of the 24-120 and the 28-300 (1.5' and 1.6' respectively - about 0.5m) are quite good, but AF accuracy drops somewhat at their close-focus limits. Acceptable, but not great.
By contrast, using a fast prime like the 50mm f/1.4, you just aim, acquire focus and shoot. The more you use the lens, the more you begin physically positioning yourself at the best possible location to make the shot. The 50mm prime lens is less obtrusive than a much bigger zoom lens which can put some kids right off. You don't need a flash indoors as long as there's enough light in the room for the kids to safely play or do whatever they're doing. The sharpness, bokeh and speed of the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S prime lens is not matched by the 24-120 or the 28-300. Indoors, the fast 50mm shines, and at shorter focusing distance (the same 1.5' as the 24-120) its AF is more accurate will help make many shots you'd otherwise not get. The faster maximum aperture means you'll always be able to use a faster shutter speed to freeze the kids in action. The D600 with a 50mm f/1.4 mounted is a very fast photography rig which will help enable you to draw the camera, aim and shoot while a photographer right next to you is still trying to frame and lock focus using the slower zoom.
#9. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 7Thu 04-Oct-12 09:49 PM
I agree with most everything you say, Howard... except that the 50mm Nikkors are not renowned for being the fastest-focusing lenses out there. By AF-S standards, the current AF-S 50mm f/1.4G is not a speed merchant and is said to be a little slower to acquire focus than the previous AF-D model.
And - you don't have to use a zoom like a zoom - if you see what I mean! It's quite feasible in the sort of circumstances described to pick an approximately-suitable focal length and leave it there. Used in that fashion, I don't think the 24-120mm would be much slower to acquire and track focus than the fast 50's unless light levels are really poor.
#11. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 7Sun 07-Oct-12 01:19 PM
Thanks for the advice.
Thinking about primes, on FX do you believe it would be better a 50/1.8d (which I have) or a 85/1.8G?
I am used to DX and on that the 50mm works fine, maybe a bit long for chasing the kids around the house.
I have also a 28-75 2.8 Tamron that would work, but is having some reliability issues (stops focusing sometimes).
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#12. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 11Sun 07-Oct-12 04:49 PM
>Thinking about primes, on FX do you believe it would be better
>a 50/1.8d (which I have) or a 85/1.8G?
>I am used to DX and on that the 50mm works fine, maybe a bit
>long for chasing the kids around the house.
>I have also a 28-75 2.8 Tamron that would work, but is having
>some reliability issues (stops focusing sometimes).
The 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor is a fine lens. It's my personal preference. But I also think that a choice of lens is dependent more on your style of shooting, your preferred subject matter, and the sort of handling you prefer.
#10. "RE: D600 + 24-120f4 or with 24-85VR+something else" | In response to Reply # 0
I bought my 24-120mm to use with my D700 and was a little concerned that when I migrated to the D800, it wouldn't be a sharp enough lens. For me, no worries! It's a great lens on the D800 and will regularly reside on the camera. I would think the same thing would apply to the D600.
Good luck with your new camera!