Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 vs. Sigma 17-50 f/2.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hulugu, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #1
    Hello all,

    I want to upgrade my lens for my Nikon D90 and I'm trying to decide between two lenses.

    Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

    or

    Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital DSLR Camera

    I need an excellent and fast lens for photojournalism (my 1.4 50mm is great, but too wide in many situations and my other lens, a Sigma 18-200 4.5 is too slow in low-light situations).

    I'm willing to spend the bucks for the Nikon, but I'm wondering if the Nikon is better enough to justify almost twice the cost.

    Thanks.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Build quality alone may justify the price if you're a photojournalist. However, reviews I've read (and only reviews) have suggested the contrast is better on the Nikon but more importantly the Nikon is sharper at 2.8. If I'm buying a lens because it's faster then I want it to be a top performer.

    Look at the MTF chart at the widest end ...

    Screen Shot 2012-01-10 at 3.49.13 PM.png

    Though you can't judge by these charts alone, it's helpful at best.
     
  3. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #3
    I owned the 17-55 Nikon lens at one point, it was one of the sharpest, best overall lenses I had owned up until that point, it was only eclipsed in quality by the 28-70 f2.8 Nikon I later bought. If you are after quality, then no question, get the Nikon. I buy a lot gear used and I see that lens regularly go for between 950-1050US. You get no warranty if you buy used because Nikon warranties aren not transferrable, but I've yet to ever use a warranty for any Nikon products I've bought new, they just work.
     
  4. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #4
    You know, I see those charts on Amazon, but I never really paid attention (yes, I know) to them until now.

    Do you shoot with Nikon?
     
  5. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    I use the tamron version. For me it works just fine but I'm not a professional.
     
  6. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #6
    The Nikon is an awesome lens but 2 things. 1) it is dated and 2) does not have a stabilizer which the Sigma does. I have not used the Sigma but It might be worth a test drive at your local store. Take shots with both lenses, take the memory card home and compare...
     
  7. danahn17 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    #7
    I'd go with the Nikon. If its too expensive, look for a used one. It's been a while since I used both lenses since I upgraded to full-frame, but from my memory, the Nikon was able to autofocus better and more quieter.

    That being said, the Tamron wasn't bad... I just felt the Nikon was worth the extra money for me.

    I don't think that should be too big a deal as it's still a good lens. Actually, I'm using some lenses on my D700 that are 15 years old :)
     
  8. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #8
    So am I, on my d7000. What I mean with dated is that it is selling for huge amounts of money while it has not evolved (nano coating etc. etc.).

    But yes, it is a great lens... just saying, at least here in europe, there is only a couple of hundred euros difference between this one and the 24-70 which is vastly superior.. of course it is not as as wide BUT i am saying that the money spent COULD be differently spent.. nothing else..
     
  9. danahn17 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    #9
    Oh gotcha! Totally agree with you then! Cheers! :)

    Actually if the OP thinks they may switch to a full-frame camera in the future, i'd say going for the 24-70 is probably a really good idea. What a great lens. :)
     
  10. george-brooks macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    I used to own the sigma version back when I was using Nikon. I got by with it but I was never really satisfied with the image quality. And the build quality of the lens isn't great. The lens barrel started getting loose after a while. I'm always a fan of matching glass, I'd say if you can afford it you're better off with the Nikkor
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    I always found that Nikon glass was clearly superior to Sigma. Now don't get me wrong, sigma lenses are bad, but rather I think Nikon lenses were much better. You get what you pay for and in Nikon's case you're paying a premium but I found them much sharper and had less aberrations
     
  12. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #12
    I have used the Nikon 17-55 and its a beast. It takes wonderful images but at a price -

    1) Lens is very heavy and not super fast at focusing but it is quick.
    2) If someone tries to use it with a Nikon with a pop up flash the lens blocks part of the flash and creates a shadow.
    3) Cost - The lens is high quality but its over priced.

    If you are doing newspaper style journalism, you don't need this sharp a lens as by the time it goes to print, the image is thoroughly degraded that any of the 3rd party higher quality lenses are fine. If you shoot magazine colour, then might also consider getting a new camera as well as the D90 is a bit outdated and has its own foibles compared to lets say the D5100 and D7000.

    From a newspaper journalist viewpoint - 17-55mm might cover your bets but should be looking at a shorter wide angle zoom somewhere say 10-24mm and then your 50mm etc. Just my two cents. (Yes I have done photo reportage and know that its a difficult choice which lens to leave on your camera most of the time (g) ).
     
  13. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #13
    Thanks for everyone's comments, I found a great deal on the Nikon, so I bought it.

    A few comments:

    1) Yep, it's heavy, but only slightly more than the 18-200 Nikon I'm replacing it with.
    2) I have a SB-600, so if I'm using flash I'll use it on bounce. But, this is a good point for others to keep in mind, the lens with hood is almost bigger than the D90.
    3) The speed and clarity of the glass makes it pretty good. It seems fine on auto-focus, but then again I'm comparing it to a Sigma 18-200.

    I see what you're saying about width, but I wanted a lens that was wide, but with some flexibility. The 10-24mm is an interesting point, maybe next in the kit along with a good 70-200.

    As for sharpness, though there's a lot of loss in the conversion and print process, the faster lens speed gives me a little more flexibility in poorly lit situations. It seems to work. The D90 has its foibles, but it's been a good workhorse camera. I'll probably shift to the D7000 next year.
     
  14. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #14
    I've only rented the 17-55mm Nikkor because I needed it for a shoot. In the store I hated it. The little test I did in store proved me wrong. This thing rocks on a D90 or any other Nikon DSLR. Its sharp and fast. I love it. You will get use to the weight. It makes the D90 feel more balanced which will help with camera shakes. Great with group shots.

    Only problem is that I want the 24-70mm because I shoot more in that range. Its a little bit faster in the zoom than the 17-55mm. Both lenses are great. I like the range on the 24-70mm because its a nice zoom lens at 70mm. Sorta like if you were using a 105mm lens. Plus either on of these will go great with your 50mm.


    10-24mm will probably leave you short in some subjects.

    D90 outdated? lol Only thing you are missing is the 1080p. lol but I'm upgrading mine too to the D7k. Just because I want more AF and faster shutter. Try renting the lens before buying to see if it fits your needs. On paper it might sound good but when you try it with what you want to capture, it will help with your decision making. Nikkor 17-55 or Nikkor 24-70mm

    www.lensrentals.com
     

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