Any good quality glass for under $1,000??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alonzo84, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Alonzo84 macrumors 6502a

    Alonzo84

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #1
    I have a Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm f/5.6 kit lens. I really want to expand my lens collection without spending a fortune but also don't want to sacrifice image quality with a poor lens. Ideally, I would love to have the Nikon DX 70-200mm f/2.8, but can not justify dropping $2,000 on a hobby. I would essentially like to have just three good quality lenses, a 70-200mm, 12-24mm and 24-120mm. Is it possible to find these without spending an arm and a leg? I have seen a few Nikon 55-200mm and 80-300mm (I believe both were f/5.6) for around $400-$800 from Best Buy and B&H Photo but am a little skeptical of the quality.
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    The AF-S version of the 80-200 f/2.8 can be found in good condtion around a thousand and older AF-D versions are well under that. Though not as nice as the 70-200, the IQ is very good, or compare the MTFs with the Sigma, which is around $800 I think. Also, don't try to cover every focal length- you'll rarely use certain ranges and will do much better if you go with narrower ranges in terms of image quality.
     
  3. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #3
    Thing is, there is a lot of decent consumer glass that can give you "pro" results... as long as you understand each lens' strengths and weaknesses. When you buy truly pro glass, you're paying for great quality results across its entire range of aperture and focal length. With good consumer glass (and note that "good" isn't cheap, even if it's not $1500), you often sacrifice some quality at the widest apertures, or perhaps at one extreme of the zoom range or the other. But by stopping down the aperture a bit, your consumer lens can give you a performance comparable to the pro glass (at those same apertures). But where the pro glass beats the pants off the good consumer glass is, for example, shooting wide open - plus pro glass offers a wider max aperture.

    A good place to read about lens reviews on pro glass and other glass is Bjorn Rorslett's lens reviews.
     
  4. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    How about the 180/2.8? A terrific lens, and often overlooked.
     
  5. iSavant macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    105VR

    does a lot of things and does them well. FX or DX

    jm02
     
  6. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    #6
    I would go with a nice prime and save. I have a 200 2/8 that is awesome and a few of my other fav lenses are my 50 1.4 and 85 1.8. Great glass & much cheaper than zooms.
     
  7. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #7
    Used glass ideas:

    A nice, clean 80-200f/2.8 AF-D model (two-ring) - $700-750
    A nice, clean Tokina 12-24 f/4 (original model) - $325-350
    A Nikkor nifty-fifty (50mm f/1.8) - $100-120 (although a new one isn't much more.)

    All these lenses will improve your image quality and give you a good "range" of focal length. Plus, the first and second are built very well. Try handling them at a store first, then look around for some good used ones. All are currently available new also, but you'll spend about $400 more, mainly for the 80-200 which goes for around $1100 new.

    Also, if you can ever swing it, look at the Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 DX. I've seen really clean copies sell for as little as $711 on eBay, several sold for under $800, and they average around $900. Image quality is supposed to be exceptional, even wide open. It's on my own short list for a "general" lens.

    For something a little longer, the old-school Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF is an excellent piece of glass, and can be had for around $500-550.

    I'm sure other folks will have their own ideas, but these are just some suggestions from the dusty hallways of my mind... ;)
     
  8. Alonzo84 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Alonzo84

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    Thank you for all the advice. I have looked into some used glass but always worried that it is damaged in some way. Not worried about saving a few hundred bucks now if I'm going to end up spending the savings and then some to fix/replace it. And I'm not real educated on the VR function, does it help if you mainly shoot with a tripod or is it exclusively an aid for hand holding? I've read that on a tripod, it actually creates vibration. But I've also read that some have a tripod setting that makes the images that much sharper. Now, I'm not trying to avoid the VR function, just looking for clarification on whether to turn it off when shooting on a tripod.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    Go with KEH, B&H or Adorama and you shouldn't have any worries about damage if the item is well-rated.

    VR is mostly for off-tripod hand-held use unless it's VR-II, where it has a setting for panning on a tripod.
     
  10. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #10
    Yeah, per Compuwar's comment: I've bought used lenses from KEH and once from Adorama, and haven't had any significant complaints. Personally I prefer KEH over Adorama.

    Used lenses can save you some bucks; plus sometimes discontinued lenses offer something special feature wise (such as with my 70-180 Micro-Nikkor).

    One thing to watch: Read the description carefully, sinced used lenses sometimes come without end caps or without a hood. This can be an issue if it's an older lens and the hood (or caps) is not available anywhere (such as with my 70-180 Micro-Nikkor...). Also (as Compuwar noted) be sure to read the ratings carefully. Don't buy a lens flagged "bargain" unless you have read what "bargain" means, in other words. :D
     
  11. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #11
    The Sigma 150/2.8 Macro is an awesome and versatile prime.

    I had one and loved it, but sold it to fund my 70-200/2.8 VR (which I use for shooting auto racing).
     
  12. Alonzo84 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Alonzo84

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #12
    Hadn't heard of KEH and Adorama before, I will be sure to check them out.
     
  13. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #13
    I've bought two separate things from Adorama and both have worked out terrifically. My 85/1.8 AF is a viciously sharp copy of that lens and my my N80 was listed as just "E" but looked suspiciously like "D" to me (in a good way). It has worked like a champ, providing me with many of my best photos. The two in combination were great, before I got my 85/1.4.

    At any rate, Adorama is very reliable, and I read good things about KEH. Don't overlook B&H's used department, which is also very good.
     
  14. ronjon10 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #14
    I've bought multiple things from KEH. Their website is atrocious, but their service is top notch. They have a rating scale to describe the quality of the equipment. I've bought across their range except their lowest rated quality and every lens and body I've purchased has essentially looked at performed as equipment I've purchased new.

    I suspect used departments at other reputable places will treat you just as well.

    I've also had good luck with Ebay, but I do recognize I'm taking more of a chance there (and I pay less because of that chance).
     
  15. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #15
    Don't forget about Cameta Camera - despite the fact their store is on Strong Island, they have a very good selection of used lenses, as well as an Ebay store for auctioning off newer lenses.

    I don't care much for KEH, but Adorama has bulked up their used lens (and camera) selection significantly over the last year. I don't really like going to their actual store, but their online shop is very good and their customer service and guarantees are good enough to make you comfortable with buying used glass.

    While it may not be as "cheap" as buying used, don't forget about refurbished lenses.
     
  16. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #16
    I have to second all of the above.
    I bought my 80-200 AF-D new less than $900, but there are a TON of good used ones out there.
    Another is a 24-85mm f/2.8-4. I bought this used as a package with an F100 and LOVE it as my main walk around lens. I paid $550 on ebay for the lens camera and more, you can probably find them for ~$300 or so used, new they go for around $800.
    I know a lot of people would never ever buy from Ebay, i don't blame them but I had good luck. Adorama and B&H used sections are a great place to look as well.
     
  17. wkw macrumors 6502

    wkw

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    #17
    nikkor 18-105 VR? I think it might be one of the best quality nikon zooms in your price range. Also the 85mm DX macro lens is quite good. Much less expensive than the 105 macro
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #18
    For what reason?

    Everything I've ever gotten from them has been well-rated, well-packed and shipped quickly. If it weren't that I actually like to support a local store (Ace Photo in Chantilly, Va) I'd get all my used glass from KEH.

    It's ultimately more useful to the OP if you say why you don't care for them than just saying it.
     
  19. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    Oct 6, 2008
    #19
    Not only do I not like the interface, but I have never found anything there that has both matched my needs and my price.
     
  20. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #20
    They just completely redid their website, so I'd be curious if you're basing that on the past or their new changes.
     
  21. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #21
    Good tip, luminosity, I hadn't been in a while.
     

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