Lens line-up for dSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by radek42, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. radek42 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere

    I am looking into expanding my SLR lens collection before moving to full-frame body. Currently I only have DX (cropped sensor lenses).

    I am reviewing my shooting habits/preferences in terms of focal lengths and apertures trying to satisfy (most of) my needs of hobbyist photographer.

    Mostly shooting landscape and outdoor stuff in addition to family portraits/outings and some occasional sport (mostly family and friends).

    I narrowed it down to: Nikon 20/24 f2.8, 50f1.4, and 70-200f2.8D/f4.

    I am reasonably sure this set would work, BUT

    I am not sure about being able/happy to take just one lens. Basically, would I miss something like 24-120f4 or 28-300mm lens?

    I am still on the fence about 70-200mm; weight vs. speed.

    I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

    Cheers, R>

    PS. Btw, all my childhood photos as well as my younger sisters were captured with 50mm SLR camera ... I never felt we were missing anything ...
  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I'd suggest the 50mm f/1.8 if you don't really need the 1.4. I tend to carry too many lenses with me. If you're really concerned about the 70-200, rent one for a week- that's a lot to spend on something if you're not prepared to carry it. Also, with a high-resolution body, shooting in DX mode works well- so I wouldn't over-cover anything you're already happy with unless the optics don't hold up to higher resolution sensors, for instance, if you have a 35mm DX lens, unless you want to go past 13x19 prints, it should do just fine in crop mode.

  3. MikeyIdaho macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2013
    I'm very much a wide angle and prime fan. Of that lineup you listed the 50mm would be my go to lens for most things since right now on DX I use my 35mm for most situations unless it's lots of architecture where I bring my 10-24mm. How much importance you put on sports/action and portraits would tell whether the considerable weight and price of the 70-200mm would be worth it. Personally I went with the 85mm 1.8g for portraits since I don't shoot sports and the price savings is considerable and image quality is totally comparable.
  4. swordio777, Nov 5, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013

    swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    If you don't shoot much sport then the 70-200 will probably be overkill. I have the original VR and the the quality of the lens is absolutely jaw-dropping, it honestly blows all my other lenses out the water (including the 24-70); however it is VERY big, VERY heavy and VERY expensive.

    For portraits, as others have suggested the 85mm 1.8G is an incredible lens that completely bellies it's low price.

    I love my AF-D lenses (35mm f2, 50mm f1.4 & 85mm f1.8) but don't own either the 24mm or 20mm 2.8. My understanding though is that they are only considered to be average lenses, both with quite a lot of distortion for primes, as well as rough colour transition & bokeh. Hopefully someone who owns these lenses can provide some advice.

    If landscape is what you shoot most often though, you may want to consider going for the 14-24mm 2.8G or the 16-35 f4 instead of the 70-200 as either of those lenses will presumably get more use. Instead of splitting your budget the way you described, consider:
    Nikon 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8 and 14-24 f2.8 / 16-35 f4

    Hope that helps.
  5. radek42 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere
    Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

    I did rent 70-200f2.8 VRII for a long weekend and I loved the lens! I carried it for couple hours around the local parks and playground and it is heavy. It is way out of my budget, but the reach, AF, and IQ was outstanding. That's why I considered either AF 80-200f2.8 or AF-S 70-200f4. They are about same price, but f4 version is obviously much lighter. Still, I tend to say 80-200f2.8 :)

    I did also consider 17-35f4 instead of 20 or 24mm primes, but again, it is pretty big. I do have 12-24f4 DX lens, which is pretty much equivalent to 17-35, and which I really like. I wonder if it could be replaced by a single prime. As somebody suggested, I could use it on FX body in DX mode for time being.

    I also consider 105mm macro lens in the future. I wonder if that lens cold replace both 70-200(80-200) and 85mm prime. I am bit worried that 85mm won't have the reach sports (tennis, running, cycling, triathlon) nor close-ups. I am perhaps placing too much emphasis on sports .... that remains to be seen (and I need to consider it with critical eye).

    I am almost thinking with 70-200 zoom (especially AF 80-200f2.8D macro) I should be set for some time. It should be reasonable macro lens as well and I can always add 85mm later. I guess I like the reach which I miss in my current set up (having 18-105mm all-around lens).

    Also, I think having 17-35 and 35f2 is redundant.

    I will also look more closely at reviews for both 20 and 24mm primes ... thanks for bringing IQ of these lenses up. I would appreciate if somebody could comment on those lenses ...

    As for the nifty-fifty; I am considering f1.4D rather that either G lens ... I like the aperture ring :)

    Cheers, Radek
  6. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
    35mm effective is pretty much the best all-purpose focal length. It's wide, but not too wide. You can shoot half body portraits without it being unflattering to the facial features. It'll work great for street photography and general landscape/cityscape.

    24mm effective is also quite popular, although corner distortion can be an issue depending on the lens. I can't speak for Nikon, but the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II is a highly regarded lens.

    50mm is a fine focal length, but I often find it too narrow for street photography and I'm always wanting to step back a lot. And the angle of view doesn't capture the environment like it would with the 35mm.
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The 1.8 50 is legend. Don't bother about the 1.4, the 1.8 is better in every aspect.
    Another killer one is the 28-85G that came with I think the F50 film camera. You can find those kits for 50 bucks.
    The best wide-angle is the 28mm AIS (manual focus), it is crazy sharp corner to corner, distortion free, and focusses from 20cm close! 35mm was never good on Nikon. They really sucked at that focal length. The best 35mm's were part of good zooms, never as fixie.
    If you want cheap and horribly awkward to use tele: get the 80-200 4.5 AI. It is sharper than any other tele-zoom ever made in this range and it even outperfoms all fixed focal distance ones from 105mm and up.

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