Greetings All, I am new to this site and I noticed from the posting on "if you were to take only one lens" that many members mention the 24-70mm f2.8 and the 24-120 f4 as their favourite one stop lens. I have a new D600 upgraded from a D300s. I used to use a DX 18-200mm for travel and general purpose one lens shooting. I also have f1.8 50mm & 85mm, an 2.8 80-200mm which I use for indoor and outdoor sports and a f2.8 105mm micro for macro. I need a replacement for the 18-300mm which gave me good results and I was looking at the FX 28-300mm. I have read so much pros and cons on various sites that I am confused. A lot of this debate was back a few years so not much recently. The post on this site I mentioned before made me wonder if things have changed in the last few years re: the 28-300mm, knowing its short comings and if the 24-120mm f4 VRII or 24-70mm f2.8 would be higher quality choices for my needs. Are the differences that big between the three for sharpness and quality? Many thanks for any input you can share.
Mon 02-Dec-13 07:11 AM | edited Mon 02-Dec-13 11:12 AM by William Rounds
I used a D90 with an 18-200mm for a couple of years and it is what I used for Africa trips. I took some great photographs with it. I did notice that most of my animal pics were at 200mm, the longest end, which is not where that lens shines in terms of performance, but I still got good photos when stopped down to f/8 or more (when possible). When I got my D700 I bought the 28-300mm, since I knew I would miss the long end with any other single zoom multi-purpose lens.
For me it's a weight/bulk issue. If I go on a dedicated animal photo safari and decide to only take one body/one lens, it will still be the 28-300mm. But if I decide that having a few lenses is a good idea and I'm willing to carry around the weight I take both my D7000 and my D700 and several lenses. In that case the 28-300mm is not longer really necessary.
Thanks for your comments William. I guess when it comes to the long end for a special destination like Africa or wildlife, I could always take my f2.8 80-200mm and had a 2x if they would work on it. Most other trips the 28-300mm would suffice for general pics.
Mon 02-Dec-13 07:30 AM | edited Mon 02-Dec-13 07:31 AM by briantilley
Welcome to Nikonians!
The 28-300mm Nikkor is the FX equivalent of the 18-200mm DX, in that both are wide-range "do-it-all" zooms. The two are pretty similar in quality and performance, so if you were happy with the 18-200mm, you should find the 28-300m to be fine. That doesn't mean it's fully up to the same standards as the 24-70mm f/2.8G or 24-120mm f/.4G; it's not - though the differences sometimes only show up with more challenging subjects.
For the record, I currently own the 28-300mm and 24-120mm f/4, and previously had a 24-70mm and 18-200mm at different times.
Note: If you look back through older threads here, you'll find posts from a couple of people who thought the 28-300mm was the "best thing since sliced bread"! That was an exaggeration, but it's still a very useful option if you just want to carry one lens and need that focal length range
Thank you; very good food for thought. I don't know if the 4mm on the wide end will make that much of difference, however, I may see it more with the 28-300 FX versus my old 18-200 DX. If I was to buy another lens beyond the all purpose one (not just at the moment as it may cause a divorce after a new D600 and 2 new lenses this year) I was thinking about the 16-35mm.
Brian, Since you have both the 28-300mm and the 24-120mm which one would you take on holiday, let's say to somewhere like Turkey or Asia, if you could only take one? Also are you still using both regularly and if so, for what tasks in particular? Maybe I'm too anal or have lens envy but I am sure getting confused by all the great and valid comments that Nikonians are posting and it is quite an education. That said, I am sure glad I found you guys and this is going to be my #1 go to site for feedback, even if I am still a bit "sleepless in Vancouver".
When choosing which lens(es) to take on a trip, I try to research the area and think about what I will need - whether wide or long will be more useful, whether I'll need a fast aperture, how much weight and bulk can I pack (and carry), whether it's a serious photographic excursion or primarily a holiday, and so forth. In the past, I have travelled with a single lens that has varied (in FX terms) from a 35mm, 50mm, 55mm Micro, 24-85mm, 24-120mm to a 28-300mm.
Regarding the two lenses under consideration here, I tend to select the 28-300mm if I know I will definitely need the longer focal length, for example a cruise taking in some wildlife subjects as well as cities. If I think 120mm will be sufficient, then I tend to pick the 24-120mm and gain that bit extra at the wider end. I rarely choose between them based on quality - both can produce entirely acceptable results.
It may be relevant to mention that my intention in buying the 28-300mm was to have a single lens for things like zoo visits and walks in the country. On the other hand, I got the 24-120mm as part of my larger kit that is used for shooting theatre groups, where I use it for publicity photos and head-shots for the programmes.
Brian, you comment that you have both the 24-120 and the 28-300. What are your criteria for deciding which lens to take? I generally take the 24-120 (with 16-35 and/or 70-200) unless I want to be in a situation with minimal weight or lens changing problems, then I take just the 28-300 with maybe a 20mm prime just I case.
Since you used the 18-200 extensively, you should have a pretty good idea whether you frequently used the range above 80mm (120-mm FX equivalent) on the 18-200 during your travels. If you did, you are likely to find the 24-120 too short for comfort. On the other hand, if you found yourself frustrated because the 18-200 didn't go wide enough, the 24-xxx lenses may be something you would appreciate. It really comes down to the kind of shooting you like to do.
Regarding quality... how much quality do you need? Yes, I know we all want as much quality as we can get, but realistically, there is some point at which IQ improvements don't have much practical effect on the images that we embody in a print, projection or Web gallery. If you found the quality of the results you got from the 18-200 adequate, you'll probably find the 28-300 adequate as well.
If all else fails, you cam try renting the 28-300 for a few days to see how you like it.
I'll be in Kenya next week on business but will have a weekend which I can use to visit Nairobi National Park or Lake Nakuru National Park, since short trips are simple and relatively easy to arrange when in Nairobi. I'll take the D700 with the 28-300mm Nikkor and the D7000 with my 300 mm f/4 AFS Nikkor lens, giving an approximate 450mm. With that I cover all the medium, wide and mid-telephoto with the D700 and all the far away stuff with the 450mm equivalent on the D7000. No lens changing and not too cumbersome.
Makes me wonder if I should hang on to my D300s. In the "old days" I had two FE's followed by two FM2's so I could keep two sets of film and lenses at the ready. I went overland across Africa in 1985 for six months with the FE's and later three weeks through Southern Africa in 1990 with the two FM2's. I think I had a 70-300mm with a doubler back then.
Thank you. Very good points. On the wide end, the 18-200mm DX was never an issue. I am not sure if it would be the same on the 28-300mm FX as I believe I would lose some there otherwise I should be fine?
Personally, having taken trips where I have dragged the F/2.8 contingent around, I tip my hat to those that have the strength to do this - I think it detracts from actually enjoying the trip. Also, let me nod my cap in your direction if your partner is fine with standing around, while you figure out which lens you need to use, change your lens, etc.
I think for travel you have to decide what the purposes of your photographs are. Do you sell them? If not, perhaps critical sharpness is not super important (and even if you do, most consumers don't notice the minor differences between say the 24-70 and 28-300 when both are stopped down and properly processed - they simply know a photograph that grabs them from one that does not). If you are travelling to enjoy yourself and want to collect good quality photographs as you go, some of which you might print and hang on your wall - certainly the 28-300 is a fine all in one solution that will see you miss few shots and give you completely acceptable results.
The 24-70 and 24-120 certainly are higher quality optics, but the differences are often exaggerated in my opinion, and most people don't actually use their photos in a way that takes advantage of these differences (web site sized photos are not going to reveal major differences for instance). The most pronounced defects of a super zoom are easily correctable in post. In the end, maybe the question is not whether there is a better or best combination, but whether the one you want to use is good enough.
So I think it is a personal decision, and anyone who wants to lug 10-15 lbs of equipment around with them are of course free to do so. As it is I bought a Fuji X-Pro1 to lighten my load further and I don't feel I give up much from lugging around my D800e, even though the Nikon FF will produce a better photo, the Fuji is pretty awesome and that is more than good enough.
You nailed it on the head! Wise, wise words. You've even met my wife and kids, under whose death sentence I am always inches away from, especially after buying a 105mm f2.8 in the summer followed by a D600 in September and two prime lens last year! I am also caught up being an anal perfectionist and many of the shortcomings are correctable in Lightroom 5 as I have discovered with the 18-300mm. Thank you again!
Tue 03-Dec-13 12:20 AM | edited Tue 03-Dec-13 12:22 AM by JPJ
>You nailed it on the head! Wise, wise words. You've even met >my wife and kids, under whose death sentence I am always >inches away from, especially after buying a 105mm f2.8 in the >summer followed by a D600 in September and two prime lens last >year! I am also caught up being an anal perfectionist and many >of the shortcomings are correctable in Lightroom 5 as I have >discovered with the 18-300mm. Thank you again!
While in Italy on my honeymoon (with my 2.8 companions), my wife was ready to throw my camera bag into the sea. Should have seen the look on her face when I started to unfold the tripod for a shot...I still have nightmares about "the look". I think at one point she wondered if I was on honeymoon with her, or my equipment.
Oh Jason, I nearly bust a rib laughing! That is hilarious. It could be the subject of a good comedic play! I guess you seldom ever say, "honey, would you like to see the honeymoon photos from Italy"! Best let sleeping dogs lie!
I've had my family walk off on me several times while taking pictures on holiday. If it was my wife driving, instead of me, or my kids could drive, I think I would have been left out and abandoned on some desert road along time ago!
>>Hi Jason, >>didn't you talk to your wife what you love second? >> >>Egbert > >I try not to mention 'love' in any way that is not followed by >the word 'you' or 'Zoey' (our daughter). > >A wise married man told me that I am entitled to 'likes', but >only certain 'loves'. haha > >Jason
Yep. I like photography but I love my wife and my daughter. Particularly when they say I should go along the motif can wait
I used the 18-200 on a D300 for quite a few years. It gave me a lot of nice shots. When I upgraded to the D800 with 24-120 f4 recently I was immediately struck by visible improvement in sharpness, colour saturation and contrast. I ran some tests with both lenses on the D800 and the D300 and on both bodies the 24-120 was visibly superior, right across the frame but more so in the corners.
I don't have experience of the 28-300 or the 18-300 but I think you need to expect that a wide ranging 11x or 17x zoom lens might have some optical compromises when compared to a 5x zoom of better build quality. It depends how picky you are about sharpness and also how much the convenience of a single lens solutions suits your requirements.
When buying the 24-120 I was a little worried about losing the long end but in practice I have not missed it. The long end on my 18-200 was disappointingly poor so I tended to avoid using it for long shots. I have better long lenses anyway for that kind of thing.
The 24-120 is also wider on FX than 18-200 on DX and I use this a lot more than the long end. In fact, I seldom reach for my 18-35mm FX lens these days. When shooting with the 18-200 I frequently needed to change to the ultra-wide Sigma 10-20 EX lens that I used on my DX cameras. (That Siggy by the way, is also optically superior to the 18-200, significantly so.)
Well my digital mentor here in Vancouver is originally from Durban and now another wise Durbanite throws a spanner in the works and gets me thinking again. Everything you say makes sense James, especially after comments from other Nikonians. In another Nikonian post on which lens would you take on holiday if you could only take one, the 24-120mm seemed to be the most popular. You and others have commented on the ranges I actually shot and the tendency not to shoot full long with the 18-200mm or 28-300mm. The majority of my shots would be more compatible with the 24-120mm f4. I am just having a hard time giving up the long range. That's the real issue. Do you think now I have a D600 FX that with a 24-120mm I could just push my enlargements more in cropping with a sharper lens to make up for the some of that difference? I also have a heavy and big but sharp 80-200mm f2.8 I use for sports. While that doesn't fit in with the single lens strategy, another option is that I buy a 2x teleconverter for it for the less frequent wildlife/bird type shots. I am afraid if hold out for a prime 300mm or longer my wife would divorce me. I'm going to have to take another sip of my rooibos and really think about this and maybe go to the camera store tomorrow and try each out on my D600.
The majority of my shots would be more compatible with the 24-120mm f4. I am just having a hard time giving up the long range. That's the real issue. Do you think now I have a D600 FX that with a 24-120mm I could just push my enlargements more in cropping with a sharper lens to make up for the some of that difference?
Some of that difference? Probably. But in my experience, not enough. I've found that cropping alone doesn't work for me; without a longer lens I can't "see" well enough to compose or focus the shot. On the wide end, I would find 28mm is too limiting. The first wide angle lens I bought was a 24-40mm f/2.8 and I've been "spoiled" ever since.
As a result, I pair the 24-120mm with either a 180mm f/2.8 and 1.4x teleconverter or a 70-300mm VR. I also try to bring a "travel tripod;" currently I use a Benro C1182T and Markins Q3. But each person (and each couple's) tolerance for shooting time and haul weight is going to be different.
I put bird and wildlife photography in a different category. My wife and I are planning such a trip for this coming summer, but it'll be with the preparation and expectation of hauling around the "heavy stuff."
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck
I have a friend who is a well known local pro wildlife photographer with several expensive long lenses. He carries a 28-300 in the car and is quite happy with it.
The reality is that the difference between these lenses is visible in a large print or on a high resolution monitor but not enormous. The care that you apply while making your shots will likely make a bigger difference.
The two major advantages of the 24-120 f4 to me are as follows : - it is 24 at the wide end, not 28 and that makes a big difference to me. I shoot a lot of landscapes and some industrial/construction stuff. - the f4 maximum aperture is just enough to get a bit of subject isolation going at the long end. 24-120 also has better bokeh than the 18-200 which always looked more busy in the out of focus areas.
You are right in that sense and I also have the 105mm micro f2.8 and 85mm f1.8. The issue is a replacement for my DX 18-200mm which was my general purpose single lens for holidays and travel. The 80-200mm is a beast to haul around and I have also lost focal distance when I went from DX to FX. To be honest I have only used the 50mm, 85mm and 80-200mm for community and high school sports and the 105mm for macro. The 50mm and 85mm are very small and light. Maybe I should lump it and start using them more often for other things? I could then put the money to another prime for wide angle or telephoto despite this not solving my travel problems.
it is a very good idea to use 50mm and 85mm more often. You will change your photographic view. You can even use the 105mm for this issue. You can use these two or three lenses also for travel. They are not really heavy. I think it is a very common mistake to get a so called travel lens
So I recommend to save your money for another lens.
A travel lens is not a "mistake", if that's what's wanted and needed. Having alternative lenses for occasions when more weight can be carried doesn't stop a single go everywhere lens being useful - it's not an "either/or" situation.
> I think it is a very common mistake to get a so called travel lens
I have travel lenses, and I can say with clear assurance that they aren't a mistake, at least in my case.
The part that's often overlooked is that image quality is NOT the only criteria. The "better" lens that's at home does not win against an inferior lens that's actually taking the picture. As an extreme example, let's consider the 400/f2.8 AFS-II ($9400) and the 500/f8 Reflex-N ($490). Which one of these gets put in the bag "in case I need a long lens?" Hint: one of them weighs 9 lbs, the other weighs about 14oz.
In the more general case of "travel" - something I do a lot of - my travel lens is a 28-112/f2-2.8. Yes (gasp) it's a variable aperture zoom. And it's attached - permanently - to a 1/1.7" sensor, not even a DSLR. However, I've put a few prints from it in with some from my D3 + 24-70/f2.8 and nobody's even noticed. The x10 (the travel camera) actually fits inside the lens hood of the 24-70, actual lens and camera body all additional...
To the OP: A 28-300 is a quite nice lens, although it's kind of big and bulky as required on an FX camera. It's certainly bigger and bulkier (and more expensive!) than the 18-200VR DX, although it clearly outperforms that lens. Personally if I'm traveling with a DSLR but not on a photographic mission, my travel lens is the 24-120/f4.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
Yes, that is clearly your opinion - but we should refrain from making assumptions about what other people may need. Their style and preferences may be very different from our own.
Getting back to the original point, for anyone who wants a single wide-range do-it-all lens, the 28-300mm VR Nikkor will fulfil that requirement on FX as well as (and perhaps a little better than) the 18-200mm VR Nikkor does on DX.
The 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 is the full frame equivalent of the 18-200. It may serve as an all purpose lens due to its range, but other lenses, including the 24-120 f/4 and 24-70 f/2.8 may offer better output.
I use a 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 on a D700 but now also considering the 24-120 f/4 after seeing photos taken by this lens.
Thank you all for the many comments and input. It has left me with lots of food for thought if not a bit confused at the same time. I am most thankful for finding this site and a Nikon community that is so willing and passionate to help others. I will be spending a lot more time here in the future.
>Thank you all for the many comments and input. It has left >me with lots of food for thought if not a bit confused at the >same time. I am most thankful for finding this site and a >Nikon community that is so willing and passionate to help >others. I will be spending a lot more time here in the >future.
I might ask if your 105mm is compatible with the Nikon Teleconverters. I have the 105 2.8 Micro and it is. I use the 1.4 Tele-C with very good results. Easy way to get more reach and give up very little if any quality. And it saves a ton of weight plus being way cheaper than another longer lens. Otherwise, I am in the 24-70 2.8 camp with a 50mm 1.4 stashed for low light. I use a D610, am 73 and manage to haul that around pretty well. Once the camera and lens is on my Black rapid shoulder strap, the backpack bag is pretty dang light.
Might think about the 105 and the teleconverter combo. I use the 1.4 because I think it is sharper than the 1.7 and is only one stop which seldom matters. I do always carry either a monopod or tripod however..Mike
Because Attitude is Everything ......LiveSTRONG....Mike
Good thought Mike. Right now I have the old 80-200mm f2.8 which I use for sports and is a brilliant undervalued lens. I just found out it will not work with Nikon teleconverters. There was a AF-S version that was only out briefly that does but then it was replaced by the 70-200mm. Nikon still produces my older version since the 90's as there is a demand for it without the VR for sports. As my son is in his last season of soccer, I might get rid of it next year and follow your lead and get a teleconverter for my 105mm f2.8 micro unless I upgrade to a 200mm micro f4. Your option might be cheaper if the teleconverter doesn't affect the macro element which I use. That would cut out one lens and put the punch into one I could use for dual purpose; macro and telephoto. Great idea.
HOT OFF THE PRESS. I just came back with the 28-300mm for CAD$949 on sale. I just couldn't give up the long end when I analyzed my past travel pics and yes, I will use it, as I did with my old 18-200mm DX for general purposes around home and the family. Thanks again for all the input which really made me think about how I shoot and what I really need as an avid amateur. I have my primes still but I will sell the 18-200mm now and the D300s, both of which gave me great service. Onwards with my D600 and FX lenses.
I have noticed, as a 28-300 user and ex-18-200 user too, that I often take the 28-300 along with other lenses. I did so no later than yesterday, I also carried a 28/3.5 PC lens, and a 50/1.8. At the end of the day - literally - I had taken about 3 dozens shots. All with the 28-300
The fact that I had mounted the grip on the D700 and left the L-bracket and the hex key at home may explain a part of my neglecting the PC lens, though..
Olivier Rychner __________________________________________ Jetez un oeil à ma galerie if you feel like it! And it's a bit void as of now, but I also have a Nikonians blog
Auta i lomë! And my Nikon's only awaiting daylight...
Thanks Jim, You guys (and gals) are worth your weight in gold and have been so helpful. I have a free membership until April now, however, I think I will sign up before year end for the next level to access some of the other features and support the site!
>HOT OFF THE PRESS. >I just came back with the 28-300mm for CAD$949 on sale. I just >couldn't give up the long end when I analyzed my past travel >pics and yes, I will use it, as I did with my old 18-200mm DX >for general purposes around home and the family. Thanks again >for all the input which really made me think about how I shoot >and what I really need as an avid amateur. I have my primes >still but I will sell the 18-200mm now and the D300s, both of >which gave me great service. Onwards with my D600 and FX >lenses.
As a 28-300mm owner, I have to say you will thoroughly enjoy this lens as a "travel lens". And for additional reach, if you use the D600 in DX mode you will extend your apparent FL to 42 - 450mm. Nothing to snear at even if your pixel density suffers. On the other hand, if you decide to keep the D300s, which is a fine body, you will have the same apparent FL without compromising pixel density. As a matter of fact I believe your pixel density with the D300s will be superior in comparison to the pixel density you will get in DX mode on the D600.
Thanks Christian. You struck upon an important issue I was trying to figure out. I thought the same about the DX mode on my D600, however, I got confused with the Nikon D600 manual and thought I couldn't. I checked again and see I have to choose DX in the "switch image area", correct? Do I still leave the Auto DX Crop on or off as the manual talks about the camera being able to detect a DX lens when it is on? Also you mentioned the image quality would be better on my D300s versus on the D600 shooting DX? Is that something to with this manual overriding of the FX and the camera's computer not detecting a DX through Auto DX crop? Thank you soooo much for bringing up this issue which I thought about and also felt silly about asking after reading the manual. That would give me that extra reach I so badly want such as the hummingbirds outside our window this morning. Your comments about the D300s are valid as well. I bought it in 2010 and shot a lot of community and high school soccer and volleyball as well as some short trips and a month in Asia last year. I love it but wanted the FX advantage for indoor sports. When I bought the 28-300mm this week, the guy at the camera store checked the actuations on the D300s for me and the general resale value. Granted it was the first time he performed this test so I hope he did it right but he told me I had taken 155,000 actuations which blew me away. I don't know if I will get much more than CAD$600-700 for it, if that, so I am humming and having about keeping it as you suggested. Does that sound right to you. I do shoot over 800-1,000 shots a game on CH. Your thoughts on the above would be greatly appreciated.
As usual I seem to have missed another interesting thread I have long praised the 28-300mm on the forums here and I am sure you will find the flexibility when faced with various photo opportunities a great asset. I regularly use it on my D800, D7100 and most of the time it lives on my F100!
Steve, welcome to the community. your first thread revealed many virtues of this site. I hope you'll continue to contribute and share some of your pic. BTW - keep the D300s, it's a fine camera. On the telephoto front, I have several ways to go long. My current favorites are my TC20eIII, and TC14eII on my 105VR macro. Light weight and sharp. I highly recommend you take a look at those for your 105. They work in macro too. NAS rules us all.
Thanks Chris, I am going to consider that option for my 105mm macro, however, do you think it is any superior to my existing 80-200mm f2.8 being a fixed focal length? I had thought I would wait and sell the 80-200mm after the end of the 2014-2015 high school and community sports season as my last child will have graduated by then. I could then concentrate on my own stuff and put the money towards things like a teleconverter. The other issue is a teleconverter would be a cheaper option than upgrading my 105 to the 200mm macro. Any experience with that one? Many thanks again.
Steve I am sorry I am not the one to save you from NAS. I have most of the glass mentioned by others and am using the 105 + TCs in lieu of the 70-300VR which I also have. And yes I do have the 80-200 f2.8 AFS. It is wicked sharp and a brute to carry (old guy alert: weight is the enemy of a great walk with the camera). I use it on a monopod or tripod. Save for the AFS version if you can. Since I'm shooting DX I have the reach for the birds etc.
The 105 and TCs are for the lightweight bag. The TCs are great on good to great glass. I admit I still lust for the 70-200 f2.8 VR and the new 80-400 VR.
Regarding your question on the macro. Try the TCs at the shop with your 105. Check out the working distance and decide directly. I like to shoot used lens text in the shop to decide. I get to play with more glass that way. For myself, I couldn't justify going for the 200mm macro after doing this test. YMMV.
Again congrats on the 28-300, I have been considering this lens and the thread gave me much to consider. Enjoy the glass, don't worry the specs, shot the pictures.
Thanks again for your feedback Chris. It is greatly appreciated and I know what you mean about weight issue with the 80-200mm (I have a bad back) and also that is not the briefly issued AFS version (just before they came out with the AFS 70-200mm)that if I had, could take a TC. Now excuse my ignorance but what is NAS and YMMV stand for?
I have what I consider a "good range" of lenses but as previously mentioned it is a very subjective decision as to what is a "travel lens" however one of my deciding factors is size and weight and exactly what you anticipate photographing. One curved ball that I have just presented myself was modifying a old 500mm reflex lens with a chip enabling a notoriously difficult lens to trigger on focus. If you have one of these lenses then I would recommend this modification. ( the chip costs around $26 via eBay )I now have a 500 mm that will not break my shoulder! So now my go to lenses are nikon 28-300 VR Sigma 15-30 and a Nikon 500mm reflex. I also carry a Luminax point and shoot that fits in my pocket and is totally weatherproof and is happy down to 30 ft. One thing that I have found useful in wet or difficult conditions is the ability to directly send my photographs via A Eye-Fi card to my Mac or IPad that stays in my lens bag as there is far less chance of dirt/ water getting in the camera if you don't have to open seals etc.