I am a new member on this board but have been following this site for over a year. I recently just sold my D5100 with the 18-55mm kit lens and bought the Body only Nikon D7100 here in Japan when it first came out. (Enlisted in the Navy and stationed here) The current lenses I have are the Tokina 12-24mm, 35mm prime, 50mm prime, and the 55-300 zoom lens.
Currently in a predicament to where I want to replace the Tokina 12-24 with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and buy the NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8. Not concerned about the weight as I consider it a workout. May sell the 35mm and 50mm prime lenses to save a little bit of space. I take a lot of scenic photography in Japan and trying to master HDR photography. Still pondering on the 17-55 f/2.8. Just wondering what you all thought and love brutally honest comments.
If you are looking to save even more money, you should do some serious thinking about whether you need these f/2.8 zooms or not. If you are doing mostly scenery at f/8 or smaller, you can skip them.
Don't get me wrong. I had a Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 when I was shooting DX. Great lens, but I was doing indoor events at f/2.8 and f/4. Of course, when I did landscapes at f/11, it was great there, too, but very much overkill at that point. It was my walkaround lens on my D200.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
I set aside about 1600 for these two lenses. Plan to buy the Tokina new for 600 and the Nikon 17-55 for about 1000 used. I do take a lot of indoor photography (temples which are poorly lit) So right now, money is really not the issue.
Although the Tokina is a "?" at this point in time, I can certainly vouch for the 17-55 f/2.8, which is the walkaround lens for my D7100. When the worst thing you can say about a lens is that it's heavy, you've got a keeper!
BTW, I bought mine used right here on the "For Sale" forum.
Sometimes I think the world is a tuxedo... and I'm a pair of brown shoes.
Another option is the Sigma 8-16mm and the original version Tamron 17-50/2.8 I use the Sigma for interiors all the time, often at 8mm, and the results have been very satisfying. The Tamron mentioned is very sharp, nearly as good resolution wise as the Nikon, like the Sigma, it works like a charm on my D7100.
Check my website and see what this camera is able to do with just the Nikon 18-300mm lens during a recent visit to Costa Rica. It's amazing how much you can push the ISO with the most recent Nikon cameras. I have three lenses with 2.8 aperture and I feel quite comfortable using slower lenses due to the lower noise associated with the new bodies. I also have the D800 coupled with a 28-300mm Nikon lens that I used last year at a Europe's River Cruise my wife and I took with very pleasing results.
Thank you all for your response. I will do a little bit of research on all the lenses mentioned above. Fortunately, they have a large electronics store in Japan called Yodobashi camera. I get to try every single lens available.
Yobadashi is certainly an amazing store. I was at the one Fukoka, it was right next to my hotel.
I have the 11-16 f2.8 and it has been a great specialty lens. There are pictures I have taken of the Colosseum that would not have been possible without this lens (the right equipment). A 16 or 18 on DX simply would not have been wide enough. Am very happy with the sharpness and rendition of this lens.
However would encourage you to read a review of the lens. Happen to like lenstip.com.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Nicomachean Ethics
Unless you are set on a mid zoom, you can't do much better in price or performance than the f/1.8 G lenses, particularly with the low light shooting. The 28, 36, 50 and 85 f/1.8 G lenses set the standard for price performance ratio. I have the 17-55 2.8 but never found it to be worth the price, never really fell in love with it. I got the 24-70 last summer and much prefer it, although it did cost a lot more. The 85 1.8 G is within spitting distance of the big brother 85 1.4G for $1200 less, and far better than a 17-55 optically. Stan St Petersburg Russia
So you would recommend just staying with the prime lenses vice the 17-55? I am still having trouble justifying the price of the 17-55mm Nikkor lens but I am glad I am not the only one. SO far the only prime lenses I have are the 35mm and 50mm. Do not plan to get rid of them as I love the f/1.8.
I am not suggesting to do it but offering an alternative. Some people appreciate the convenience of the mid zooms more than the higher optical performance of the faster primes. I use my 24-70 more than my 85 1.4, Sigma 50 1.4, 24 1.4 or 50 1.2 but I am very happy I have that option to put on the 85 or 24 when they are the best choice. I could easily get by with the 24, 50 and 85 as my only lenses. For general purposes the Nikon 50 1.8 G is better than the big Sigma 50 1.4 but for my purposes of portraiture the Sigma is the the best 50. For low light the 50 1.2 MF is hard to beat. None of these are wide enough for landscape so you are going to explore the many great options there. Every company has a good wide zoom, few have reasonable wide primes. The 24 is very expensive and too wide as a DX wide angle but look at all the value wide zooms on the market. I have a 10-24 Nikon and Sigma 10-20. Both work great on DX but I use the 10-20 more often because of the feel of the more rugged but less expensive lens. Evaluate your use of wide. Is it interior shots, speed becomes more important so the Tokina 11-16 shines with f/2.8 but more limited range. The Sigma 10-20 is very popular because it works well and is cheap. The Nikon 10-24 has a bit less distortion so it is better for architecture. Speed is not important for WA for most subjects because they are often longer exposures and on a tripod. For speed price AND optics, there are wide manual focus lenses that are superior such as the Samyang 14mm 2.8 ED. 14 mm is easy to MF even without a optimized focusing screen using focusing aids like Micro-D or split D areas. It is also FX so if you ever move to F you have an excellent 14 that is REALLY wide on Fx. It is less than $400. A really fun lens on Dx is the Sigma 8-16, that offers about the widest field of view that is not a fisheye. For me, all these options were better than the 17-55 which is a well made lens that excels at nothing. Some people love it but I suspect it is mainly due to not having access to alternatives for comparison as much as objectively seeing superior resolving power, contrast or color. Unless you are going to invest in good lenses, there is no real reason to upgrade to a high res camera other than the AF performance. A used D300s can get the same AF for less if AF is the main attraction. If it is IQ however, the D7100 needs serious consideration of optics, tripods and technique to make full use of the upgrade potential. Stan St Petersburg Russia
Wow, that was a lot to take in. Thank you for elaborating. Stan, you do prove a valid point. I looked a lot of my pictures and came to the conclusion that I will not get the 17-55 Nikkor lens; however, I will still get the Tokina 11-16. I take a lot of scenic photography indoors (temples, cathedrals, caves, etc....) and outdoors. Japan has a lot of beautiful scenery. As for the 35mm & 50 mm f/1.8 lenses, I do plan to keep them as they have produced some of the best pictures. Still looking at the Nikkor 18-300mm lens just as a good walk around but only see a few of my pictures where I actually need that much of a reach. I notice I tend to use my wide angle and swap between the 35mm and 50mm a lot more than break out my current 55-300mm lens. So many choices.....