I bought the two VR lenses when both were back-ordered (figuring I'd keep whichever came first...and they arrived two days apart) and have come to realize that I simply do not need the 70-300. I'm thinking that I'd like to have a faster, wide angle lens.
I tend to take a lot of indoor, natural light shots and get by fine - but here's my quandary - should get a lens that goes as low as f2.8? Specifically, are there any benefits to having one in my bag over the two lenses I've chosen to keep?
If you want to take indoor, natural light shots, yes, a 2.8 gives you an advantage. The wider the aperture, the less you will have to augment natural light with flash to get a properly exposed picture. It takes a lot of work to make flash look like soft natural light. So unless you want to invest in a flash kit (stands, umbrellas, multiple off camera flash units, etc.), the less flash you have to use, the better.
If you can afford a zoom lens which goes as wide as f2.8 then do it for the technical reason already given, but also because lenses with such wide apertures are usually the better quality 'pro' versions in the range and will give more clarity at the zoom extremes. A good example is the Nikkor 70-200mm VR which is an amazing lens for image sharpness.
Steve (Bedfordshire, England) My Nikonians Gallery- please visit and leave a comment A Nikon in the hand is worth two in the bag!
The 18-70 would be a difficult lens to replace easily in 2.8 harness - the coverage simply doesn't exist in one-for-one lens solution. The 17-55 DX is a sharp but extremely dear lens. Trying to replace them both with full-frame solution means the 17-35/2.8 plus a 50mm/1.4 or 1.8. There are third-party solutions such as Tokina's new 16-50/2.8 DX, Tamron's proven 17-50/2.8 DX.
A faster f2.8 lens would help focusing as well in low light. Will put my vote in for Tamrons outstanding 17-50 f2.8 lens. It's become a standard in my bag, and purchased it after having used their equally impressive 28-75 F2.8 lens. Art
i'd either get the tamron 28-75 or tokina 12-24 or both. fast is good, and wide is good, and both those lenses are terrific. otherwise, your kit looks solid (although if it were me, i'd probably keep the 18-70 and the 70-300 and sell the 18-200 for being slow and overrated. blasphemy, i know, but that's my $0.02, and if you sell it now, you might still be able to get $750 or $800 for it). not sure why you need both the 18-200 and the 18-70, unless you think the 18-70 is sharper over the same focal distance... then again, you could also look at the mid-tele macro primes, which would give you a fast portrait lens plus close-up capabilities...
Just a quick note to the contrary here. From everything I've read, most of the wides and super wides (assuming you want to go wider than 18mm since you already have that) do best, considerably better anyhow, at smaller apertures. Wouldn't this kind of defeat most of the f2.8 point? Obviously you'd still have that speed if you really needed it but I'm thinking most of the time you'd be sacrificing quality for speed.