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28-300 quality varies a lot?


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kevwil88 Registered since 07th Oct 2012
Sat 20-Oct-12 04:59 PM

* some rambling frustration here, sorry for the length.
* tl;dr - is the 28-300 worth hunting for a good copy?

I rented a 28-300 for my D600 last week and it was fantastic - very sharp, great colors & contrast, useful in so may circumstances that I never had to change lenses. Hallelujah! Although being quite heavy, it was a joy to use. After sending it back, I went shopping for a good price online. I bought a refurbished one. It arrived Thursday, and ... it's really not as sharp as the rental, despite the rental being banged up and worn.

Some reviews of the 28-300 hate it, others love it and some pros use it as their main lens. I seem to have experienced both in less than a week, and it's shaking my confidence in getting a good lens for my high resolution FX camera investment. Did I buy a Sigma by mistake?

It seems my D600 is not thrilled with less than excellent optics, which is making my wallet critically incontinent. The sensor also seems to have a kinky obsession with dust. These two factors have me hunting for a newer, sharper, better sealed lens that can do it all.

I can't decide what to do. I have a Tamron 17-35, a Nikon 28-105, and a Nikon 50/1.8. I really thought the 28-300 would be the One Lens for 80% of my shooting, and if I kept the rental copy it would be. But, I'm thinking of returning this refurbished lens, and buying & returning lenses over and over sounds like an exhausting and frustrating waste of time.

If the rumored 70-200/4 VR becomes reality, I'd be tempted by a 24-85 VR / 70-200/4 VR combo, but I'd still be changing lenses a lot. I could spend more on a 24-120/4 VR but I'd still be looking for a longer telephoto.

I shoot outdoors 99% of the time, in the woods, usually involving hiking to a location. I need/want sharpness, lightness, and hate dealing with dust spots in post. Zooms work very for me; now if only Nikon made a 20-200mm f/4 VR FX lens that's razor sharp and weighs no more than my 28-105 ......

Advice? Try another 28-300?