Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700
Contemplating getting a D700, but I am somewhat perplexed on what should be the midrange zoom to go with - for those of us who can't afford the $1700 24-70 Nikon lens.
Luminous Landscape does not recommend the 24-120 kit lens?
I do have an Sigma EX 28-70 F2.8 EX Asperhical DF - bought about 5 years ago - works well on my D300, but I have mainly been using the 17-55 Nikon lens..
(getting a second job is not an option!)
#1. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0RWCooper Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Wed 30-Jul-08 03:16 PM
I've been using my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di XR on my D700 and am happy with the results. Perhaps you should try your Sigma EX 28-70 F2.8 EX and see what you think.
#2. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0jbloom Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Wed 30-Jul-08 04:05 PM
I'd start by finding out whether that Sigma is good enough for your standards. Or at least good enough until you can save up for the 24-70 f/2.8. (And, yes, you really do want one of those!)
Note that what luminous-landscape is recommending is that you use "the highest quality lenses" with the D700. Well, you have ruled that out (no second job!) It's not clear that the 24-120 is not among the best of the alternatives.
If not the 24-120, how about the Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8-4? $565 at B&H. AF rather than AF-S, but from reports I've seen it's a decent performer.
If you're interested in used, I keep hearing good things about the AF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5, and it's insanely cheap on the used market.
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#3. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 2sutterdoc1 Registered since 15th Sep 2006Wed 30-Jul-08 04:32 PM
I purchased the 24-100 VR Nikon and like my first impressions. The focus is extremely fast, accurate and quiet. The snapshots are clear. I have not enlarged anything yet but for me this lens should work beautifully. I heard marginal reports on the 18-70 DX but found this lens to be wonderful.
#4. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0
I'd see how the Sigma looks before looking at another lens.
If you don't like the Sigma, you might try to look for a used 28-80 f2.8 Nikkor.
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#5. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 4simpo two Registered since 17th Aug 2004Wed 30-Jul-08 06:02 PM
I'd like to see Nikon introduce a new pro 2.8 lens that's a bit longer than the 24-70. I know you can't have much zoom with fast glass (maybe 3x) but something like a 28-85 f2.8 with an iced femtocrystal coating would be handy.
#6. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0
Look for a used Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AF. It's a wonderful lens that I'm now using from time to time on my D700 and D3 when I just don't feel like hauling the heavy 24-70 f/2.8 Nikkor. The 35-70 was and is an excellent, sharp and accurate lens. You'll find good ones at $250 and up.
How about a 1990s vintage Nikkor 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 AF? It was never the sharpest lens in the bag, but as an all-purpose lens for the D700 it's a blast. I've got an old one that I dug out of the bottom of my lens storage bag and it works beautifully on my D700. You'll find them used at anywhere from $150-$250 depending on condition.
The Nikkor 24-120mm VR zoom has been knocked badly by a lot of people, sometimes for good reasons. The one I purchased (used) about a year ago is very good however. In any case, there are lots of them around, used, so it's easy enough to find a good one for about $399 if you have access to a few different camera shops that sell used glass. This is by far the ideal zoom range in a walkabout lens for the D700 I think. Plenty of range, lots of wide angle, first generation VR which works really well, and comparatively light weight.
The middle-age Nikkor 28-80mm AF and 28-105mm AF zooms also work well. I just picked up a 28-105 that seems to be very sharp indeed. But like I said above, my 24-120 VR seems to be a particularly good one and I've used it a lot on the D3 and now the D700. Anyway, there are also lots and lots of used Nikkor 28-105mm lenses out there and, again, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a nice, sharp one.
Tamron have a bargain priced DI 28-75mm f/2.8 XR zoom that does a great job for one-third the cost of the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8. If you're on a budget but still need fast glass, look at this Tammy (if you need some wide angle) and the older Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 if you're less concerned about wide angle.
Last but not least, if you find a sharp copy of the 24-120mm VR remember that while it may be technically slower (f/3.5-5.6), the first gen VR gives you two full stops to play with and the D700 adds an additional two stop advantage because of its excellent high ISO/low noise performance.
Hope this helps rather than confuses.
#7. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0
In the second-hand range, how about the discontinued Nikkor 28-70/2.8 AF-S? I have had it for my F100, used it on my D200 (strange zoom range with 42-105/2.8) and I know that if one day I can pull the trigger on a FX camera, I won't bother looking for anything else! It's just huuuuuuge, but it is very sharp...
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#8. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0
I'll echo the ideas in Howard's post. My midrange kit for film was a 35-70mm f/2.8 AF. I added a 24mm f/2.8 AFD for travel and an 85mm f/1.8 AF for kits/school. The lenses were added over time and kept me from having to make the whole expenditure all at once. I eventually added a 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AFS lens for travel and that became a workhorse much like the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AFS DX lens is/was for folks with DX format cameras.
I still have all those lenses and they are hard at work on DX and FF cameras. The 35-70mm f/2.8 AFD lens has been compared on Nikonians to the venerable but much larger 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS lens. Optically it holds it's own very nicely. The 35-70 was my only lens for quite a while.
My kit over time has grown to include (for available light photography), 24mm f/2.8 AFD, 35mm f/2 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 105mm f/2.5 AIS and 28mm f/2 AIS... the latter two are manual focus but some of the best optics for their purpose every to come in a Nikon label.
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?
#9. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 8jmteno76 Registered since 28th Dec 2007Thu 31-Jul-08 02:25 PM
Thank to all or you -
Your advice has been very helpful. This has been a wonderful discussion that provided invaluable input in making my decision.
I just purchased a D700 with 24-85 2.8-4 lens.
I will start saving my money for the 24-70!
Now time to start shooting!
#10. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 9IntegrityPhotos Registered since 26th Apr 2006Fri 01-Aug-08 03:58 PM
Ditto for Olivier's recommendation of a good used Nikkor 28-70 AFS f2.8 lens. I've used it since it first came out and there's simply no better lens in this range except probably the new Nikkor 24-70.
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#11. "RE: Midrange Zoom recommendation for D700" | In response to Reply # 0
I bought the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 for my new D700 and I am very happy with it. It produces very sharp images with very good color and is excellent in low light. Many reviews rate this lens as one of the sharpest the reviewers have every tested. The only downsides are the weight of the lens and the cost. It is heavy and expensive. In spite of this, I highly recommend this lens for use with the D700.
Newport Beach, CA
#13. "RE: Bidget v price v expectation" | In response to Reply # 0
Obviously the 24-70 is going to out perform the 24-120 at the maximum apertures of the 24-120 but unless shooting into the light (the 24-70 has nano coating) at f8-f11 sharpness and resolution are the near identical.
The 24-70 is less than half the price, has a wider zoom range and has VR - but cannot be used at f2.8
Which combination of features YOU want determines which lens is likely to be best for you.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#14. "RE: Budget vs. price vs. expectations" | In response to Reply # 13Sat 09-Aug-08 02:10 AM
>Obviously the 24-70 is going to out perform the 24-120 at the
>maximum apertures of the 24-120 but unless shooting into the
>light (the 24-70 has nano coating) at f8-f11 sharpness and
>resolution are the near identical.
>The 24-70 is less than half the price, has a wider zoom range
>and has VR - but cannot be used at f2.8
>Which combination of features YOU want determines which lens
>is likely to be best for you.
My 24-70mm f/2.8 is worlds sharper and more consistent at every aperture and focal length it has in common with my 24-120mm VR. I think the 24-120 is fine for casual walkabouts (shopping, visiting the relatives, etc., etc.) but for project work I think it's a big bust. Every so often I get a critically sharp image out of my 24-120, but most of the time it's just a whole lotta average. It's (from my perspective) the perfect walking around range, but Nikon did an unremarkable job on either the design or the execution. My cheap, old 28-200 AF-D is sharper and more consistent than the 24-120 VR and for me that overcomes the VR advantage. I recently picked up one of the new Tamron 28-300 XR DI VC lenses and find that it is sharper and more consistent in regular use than the 24-120 Nikkor.
My standard urban kit these days is the 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, a really nice Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon, and a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor (the last two used almost exclusively for night work.
For someone on a budget, an older 35-70 or 28-70 is comparatively cheap and razor sharp. A 70-300 Nikkor VR produces amazingly good images for longer stuff and portraiture, etc., etc.
My two cents (again) because I wanted to add my disappointed comments about the 24-120 and my relatively good recent experience with the Tamron 28-300 VC.
#15. "RE: standard urban kit" | In response to Reply # 14monteverde_org Nikonian since 16th Nov 2007Tue 12-Aug-08 02:10 AM
Your "standard urban kit" weighs 9.4 lbs (4.224 kg). I'll bet your Tamron 28-300 comes in handy when you are just going for a stroll.
D700 2.1 lbs (995 g)
24-70mm 2 lbs (900 g)
70-200mm 3.20 lb (1.5 kg)
Zeiss 35mm 1.2 lb (530 g)
50mm .5 lb (224 g)
EN-EL3e 2.6 oz (75g)
#16. "RE: standard urban kit" | In response to Reply # 15Wed 13-Aug-08 01:14 AM
>Your "standard urban kit" weighs 9.4 lbs (4.224
>kg). I'll bet your Tamron 28-300 comes in handy when you are
>just going for a stroll.
>D700 2.1 lbs (995 g)
>24-70mm 2 lbs (900 g)
>70-200mm 3.20 lb (1.5 kg)
>Zeiss 35mm 1.2 lb (530 g)
>50mm .5 lb (224 g)
>EN-EL3e 2.6 oz (75g)
. . . and don't forget the D3 body too. However, note that this pile of hardware normally sits in the car or truck along with the tripod, monopod and head (unless I'm going to use the sticks obviously). The actual serious location walkabout kit is culled from the standard urban kit and consists of one body - usually the D3 - and three lenses (usually the 35mm Zeiss, 50mm Nikkor, and lately an 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S because the 70-200VR really does vignette a wee bit too much for my taste).
If I'm covering a specific area (say anything up to 10 square blocks - it's somewhat flexible because of the impossibility of sorting out that exactly that kind of area in a place like Rome), I haul everything in either a Lowepro Stealth Reporter (D400 AW - which can actually hold both bodies if I need to pack the weight on short walks) or an older Lowepro Pro Mag (a mid-size seriously heavy duty shoulder bag). For long walkabouts with only a sketchy schedule - exploratory in other words - I've been using the M-Rock Arches sling packs which is the best of the sling packs as far as I'm concerned.
Dunno about you, but I work out of a vehicle quite often. Pack, drive, park, load the appropriate bag, and away I go. If I'm cabbing or using public transit, I always load the appropriate bag at the hotel. Rental vehicles are theft targets, so I generally load the appropriate bag at the hotel.
All of the glass is too heavy. Of course I think photographers having been cursing heavy glass since the day it was invented. The Tamrom 28-300 VC is a blast to use, and although it's much more consistent than the Nikkor 24-120 VR, there's still a bit of luck involved in getting shots that are sharp enough to print larger than 8"x10".
The only non-pro glass I've carried on photography trips and research projects in recent years was the Nikkor 18-200 VR. It may not be qualified as pro glass, but I sure managed to eke out some seriously good shots from that lens. I no longer shoot DX, so I sold it. My girlfriend has her own 18-200 VR on her D60 and may never part with it. S'an amazing lens all things considered.
On tough projects, I've got to haul both bodies, each with a lens attached for fast deployment. The Stealth Reporter D400 AW easily handles both the D3 and D700, both with lenses attached, plus two additional lenses and all the usual accessories and cleaning stuff. But for those kinds of projects (not walkabouts for sure) I'm usuall only packing the D3 with either the 17-35 or 24-70, plus the D700 with the 80-200 AF-S, plus either the Zeiss 35 or the Nikkor 50 f/1.4. Two bodies, three lenses. It's a heavy load, but it's also intended for hauling over short distances to a single location (after which there's always a lot of climbing or descending or clambering or something which leaves serious scrapes, bumps and bruises).
Now that I've used this thread to review my various kits, I think I'm definitely going to sell my 70-200 VR. It was beyond excellent on the D200 and D300, but it's just not the best performer on the D3 and D700. I spend so much time using a POD bean bag screwed into the tripod thread in the base of the camera that I actually stopped using VR anyway.
#17. "RE: standard urban kit" | In response to Reply # 16Fri 15-Aug-08 09:15 PM
>Now that I've used this thread to review my various kits, I
>think I'm definitely going to sell my 70-200 VR. It was beyond
>excellent on the D200 and D300, but it's just not the best
>performer on the D3 and D700. I spend so much time using a POD
>bean bag screwed into the tripod thread in the base of the
>camera that I actually stopped using VR anyway.
Changed my mind. The 70-200 VR is working perfectly on both bodies. The photographer needs all sorts of help, but the lens works great.