Lenses: What did I just do?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Abstract, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I've always been set to buy a Nikon 18-200 mm with VR-II. I was going to by Christmas. I also want a Sigma 105 mm macro lens, "but that would have to wait," I told myself.

    Last night, I got to thinking about lenses, since I just helped my friend go and buy a Canon 50mm f/1.8 and thought what a nice lens it would be for low light. I've been out plenty of times and wished I had a faster lens for low light and depth of field reasons. A fast 50 mm lens sounds nice, but a fast wide lens sounds good too (ie: a 35 mm fast lens).

    I quickly made a quick and impulsive change of plans. Instead of the 18-200 VR and the Sigma 105 mm macro, I've decided to buy a Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 + Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 macro. I actually wanted a Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8, but I thought 28 mm wasn't wide enough, since I find myself taking lots of photos between 18 and 27 mm. And by replacing the 18-200 mm purchase with the 24-70 mm, I also saved myself around $450 USD where I live.

    My friend is in Hong Kong, and I asked him to purchase the Sigma 24-70 mm there for me, since I'd save around $150 USD by having him buy it there instead.

    Was ditching the 18-200 mm VR lens a smart move? I only did it because the 18-200 mm seemed so slow, although the VR could help make up for that. I also like the constant aperture of the 24-70mm, and the control over depth of field with an f/2.8 lens.

    Would getting an 18-200 mm VR, Sigma 105 mm macro, and adding a Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 have been a smarter choice? :confused:
  2. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Nevermind, I think he bought it for me, so it's kind of too late to change plans.

    Um....thanks (?). :p
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    If you seem to shoot mainly in the wide-to-mid-range rather than at tele lengths, then you probably won't miss the extra reach and the versatility of the 18-200mm. Only you will know the answer to that for sure after a few months. At some point down the road you might still want to add a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8; since both are so reasonably priced you get a lot of bang for the buck with the ability to shoot under very low light conditions.

    That 24-70mm is an excellent range, especially for shooting people; you should get a lot of enjoyment from it.
  4. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    Nah, I love my Sigma lenses, cheap and large aperture. At least for a zoom.

    Only problem with it is that 82mm filter threads are a pain. I bought a cheap 82mm UV filter which stays on it most of the time. And step down rings to take it down to I think 72mm where I have a polarizer for my macro lens. Works fine even at 24mm (which isn't a surprize given the digital crop).
  5. cgratti macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    I also love Sigma lenses. Most people think that if it doesn't say Conon or Nikon it's junk. That is far from the truth. Tamron and Sigma both make great lenses. I have the Sigma 105mm Macro and it rarely leaves my camera body. I am eyeing up the Sigma 24-70 also.
  6. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    May 26, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
    not a bad choice, but personally if I were buying a sigma lens and I shot a lot in the 18-27 range, I would have picked up the 18-50/2.8 EX DC, which has an outstanding reputation and I don't see quite so many posts about sample variation.

    How much you'll like performance at 2.8 depends on how good your sample is and what your standards will be. You may find the 24-70 performs better stopped down a bit- most lenses do.

    But IMHO, the 18-200 VR is a big compromise. The people who are constantly singing its praises as the replacement for all the big high quality glass are saving money, yes, but optically the high quality stuff will be superior. the 18-200 is as you said very slow, and has several other compromises that had to be taken to make such a long range lens with VR, AFS, and quality that good. VR is only a solution for telephotos or for static subjects at wider angles- if your shutter speed with a wide-ish lens is too slow to keep the camera from shaking, a live subject will probably have plenty of a chance to move. a 2.8 or faster can stop this motion.

    You certainly have the right idea here- get higher quality glass in the ranges you use. I'm looking forward to seeing your pics from the 24-70!

    And yes, do get a 50mm. the 1.8 is cheaper but also more cheaply built and the focus ring is a joke, while the 1.4 has a distinct focus ring, and is purported to be sharper at the larger apertures. Just remember with those depth of field will be very shallow, so be careful about your focus point and aperture.
    You may also want to consider if you find 50mm too tight sometimes (I did) then pick up the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX HSM, which has a great reputation for quality and performance. More expensive, yes, but it gives you more of the field of view that 50mm had on film, has their version of AF-S, and a neat looking hood :cool:
    The speed is extremely valuable no matter which one you get.
  7. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Thanks to all for giving me a vote of confidence on my quick decision. :)

    The Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 and Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 are both said to be as good optically as Canon's and Nikon's similar offerings, although a lot noisier (Sigma) or cheaper in construction (Tamron), so I decided to buy it. I mean, f/2.8 over a decent range is valuable, but everyone just praises the heck out of the 18-200 mm. It would be very nice to have VR. :eek:

    Yes, I'm sure there are compromises with the 18-200mm, but some very experienced photographers say that it's generally very good unless you're conducting meaningless tests, and it would be nice to be able to shoot long at 200 mm (although I doubt I'd do it often), but I thought low-light and greater depth of field control was more valuable.

    I'm actually still not sure of my decision, but at least you guys have made me more confident that I'm getting something decent. :)

    @Jared: Yeah, that 82mm filter is gonna be pricey --- so pricey I may not bother. It can be 1/2 or 1/3rd the price of my lens where I live. :( I'm just wondering if I can get a step-down ring to 77 mm, since I have a 77 mm one I use with my Tokina 12-24 mm.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Faster is always better. VR can help prevent burr do to camera shake but you need a fat lens if you want to balance a strobe with sunlight, well either a fast lens or a very powerful strobe. Same ges for depth of feild. It you want to isolate a subject VR will not help you you need a fast lens.
  9. sjl macrumors 6502


    Sep 15, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    Not always. There are tradeoffs inherent in designing a camera lens. When you make a lens faster, you inevitably lose out in some other way. Maybe the loss is small, maybe it's large.

    The prime (pun intended) example I can think of is 50mm lenses. Canon has made three in the EF mount: the f/1.8, the f/1.4, and the f/1.0L (no longer in production; hasn't been available new for a few years). Image quality wise, there's very little between the 1.8 and the 1.4. Anything you can do with the former, you can do with the latter stopped down to the same aperture. Ok, the bokeh is better on the 1.4, because of the additional blades, but still.

    The f/1.0, on the other hand, is (as I understand it) a softer lens. The resolution isn't as good as the f/1.4, and the image quality suffers a bit. But boy, is it fast -- it makes it possible to take shots that would be near impossible with a slower lens in very low light. (Although depth of field is a definite issue when this lens is wide open.)

    Extreme case? Definitely. But a blanket statement like that one just begs to be challenged. :D

    When you need a fast lens, you need a fast lens; image quality doesn't come into the equation so much. But when you don't need the speed, there can be very good reasons to opt for a slower lens.

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