Nikon Zoom Lens Choice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Artful Dodger, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #1
    Well it's time to buy one of these two: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom or the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom
    So my question is which lens for the money would those who have/used them buy?
    I'm leaning toward the 18-200mm because it is faster and for the money (and the reviews) it looks like the best buy. Here is the however, the shots I'll be taking are ones from areas that will be from afar (around 500-800 ft.).
    I've checked distance using my miniDV (it has a 10x zoom) just as a "loose" guide for distance so I'm not fooling myself about how far is too far.
    Any input as to the better lens for the money and that distance would be great as would any pics from either would be even better.
    I really wish I could buy "one really nice" piece of glass but my budget is around $750 at this time.
    Thanks a bunch :)
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

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  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    $750 will get you an 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom which really is a first tier lens the other f/5.6 VR zooms are marketed to cnsummers or vacationers that want a "all inone" lens. The 80-200 is one of Nikon best ever lenses. to 18-200 is not even in the same league is the 80-200

    As for distance, that is meaningless onless you also tell us the size of the subject. What is it you want to photograph at 600 feet. Is it a ship in a harbor or a humming bird? Save money for a tripod and hope for clear, still air.

    One way to see what length lens you need is to shoot the subject with a 50mm lens or a zoom set to exactly 50mm. Then crop the image to what you want. If you have to crop so that the image is half as many pixels wide then you should have used a 100mm lens, the lens size is proportional to the crop ratio.

    To use your video camera you would need to know the focal length of the zoom lens and the size of the sensor inside the camera. "10X" says nothing usfull.
     
  4. Qianlong macrumors regular

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  5. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #5
    I have the 70-300 VR, and it has been a good lens, the speed is fine unless you need to take a picture of something moving in low light.
    Edit: here are the pictures
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    Get the 18-200 mm. It's a better, more useful lens overall, and the 70-300 is soft from 200-300 mm. How much reach are you gaining by getting the 70-300 mm if the lens is soft at the long end?
     
  7. HomeingPigeon macrumors regular

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    #7
    What do you mean by soft? The color isn't great or do you mean it doesn't focus to good? I have heard soft used in both ways before.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    No, "soft" usually means "not sharp" in photography......unless someone uses the term incorrectly. ;) Some people will say an image is "flat" if the contrast is low and there's no punch to the image. Maybe that's what you're thinking of.
     
  9. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #9
    I have the 18-200. I like it a lot; but if you're really going to be using it at the telephoto end I must say that's where it's the weakest. If you're using shots pretty much as framed in the viewfinder, it'll likely still be just fine for you; but if you were hoping to "cheat" and blow up small items from the center of the frame... at 200mm you're going to be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the center is still pretty sharp at the long end; but over the whole frame it's definitely not as sharp at 200mm as it is below, say, 140mm.

    Photozone's review pretty much reflects my experiences with this lens. If you haven't looked at their reviews before, you need to look at everything in the context of other lens reviews they've done. For example, you might note the strong barrel distortion at 18mm and go "oh that's bad"; but taken in the context of the other 18-xxx lenses you find they all have pretty strong barrel at 18mm.
     
  10. Qianlong macrumors regular

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    #10
    It also depends what other lens the OP is using on his camera.

    Indeed all the 18-XX zooms untill 22-24mm have some distortion.

    But the distortions can be cured by DXO.
     
  11. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #11
    Thanks, your pictures would be the nature idea (not like trying to get a great shot of a caterpillar from across a river) I had in mind as distance for the obvious reasons. Other shots such as landscape(s) I have in mind, see my example below, is where most of my shots will be from. I have limited access to areas for some cool shots (free coffee to guards helps;)) but staying safe and out of sight is a plus hence using the long end a good deal.

    Other areas are separated by a four lane highway or some water ways from access roads so that's why I used my terrible 10x example in my post above. Also I should have mentioned that I will be using the lens mainly in the early am or around dusk, nothing really indoors. Are there any other manufactures of lenses that one would choose over Nikon?

    Well nature as stated above and industrial from towers (I hope) of harbors and industrial lots so it is two fold really, you'll see from my example. As far as a tripod I'm getting a "good one" with the lens which is why my budget is $750 for the lens. I only want to get a really nice tripod once as I found a few from this forum which helped (can't remember who reviewed four of them). So after watching a friends camera go crashing the $40 special isn't one I have in mind, had one, it broke, now I have a light set of "jarts" (remember those things?).

    I see what you're saying about finding my length so my example is from today at 55mm and that's why I'd like to get closer but within reason. The crane in the front would be better if I had a longer lens as would most of the area around there today. I know I can't zoom in to find a rabbit that far away but some closer shots of vehicle sized objects seem fair to ask (hope) for.

    Anyway here is one at 55mm that I converted from RAW to jpg and I'll post one later using my 50mm to get a better perspective of my subject area. The crane in front was around 300-350 ft away.
    Thanks everyone every bit has and does help :D
     

    Attached Files:

  12. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I agree that you're better off with the 80-200 2.8 if you want the reach. FAR better choice. More expensive, but you won't have to ever buy another lens for that focal range.

    Tamron 17-50 2.8 is a great low-mid budget choice. Very versatile lens. Not great for fast action though.
     
  13. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #13
    I used to love Jarts. It didn't really make sense why they (in particular) got banned - seems to me a heavy metal horseshoe is at least as dangerous as a jart if an exceptionally stupid person were to stand near the target point. :rolleyes:
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #14
    No, it is not more expensive. Good usable 80-200mm f/2.8 lenses sell for about $450 for a first generation model, the "push pul". If you like the "two touch" version with the built in tripod mount these run about $650. That is
    $100 under-budget. Both are optically excelent

    Unlike a DSLR body a profesional lens like this has an almost unlimited lifetime. There is not reason not to buy a used lens. Just get one that you can try out first or return if you don't like it

    Also the 80-200 at f/2.8 is still usable with a 1.4X teleconverter. You loose a stop of light but with the converter have a 280mm f/4 lens, not bad.

    Take a look here for some history and specs
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I have a 2.8/80-200 lens (the push-pull version with AF-D and ED) and I love it. By far the better choice. Although it's heavy.
     
  16. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #16
    When you're talking mm for these digital lenses, you have to multiply by 1.5 to get the 35mm equivalent, right?

    Sorry, new to all this DSLR stuff...
     
  17. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #17
    for ones that are not DX lenses you have to.
     
  18. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #18
    Here is one from my avoiding the thruway @ 50mm. I must say that those links from earlier today did help out by seeing what "can be" from a lens and some practice. The deer, to me, would have looked much better if only just a tad closer but soon they will.

    Side note: "jarts" I thought were always round at one end so not to impale anyone and if you didn't send them up to the moon, like the directions stated not to do, people shouldn't get hurt :rolleyes: but yeah, a camera gets worse damage from a shorter fall from some light weight tripods with half the fun.

    I'm going to go to the camera shop in the late am and check out a few lenses and go from there, maybe see if they have any specials still.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Analog Kid macrumors 68040

    Analog Kid

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    #19
    I've got the 18-200, and I'm quite happy with it. Serves me well when I'm traveling long distances on foot and don't want to carry a satchel full of glass, or when I don't want to spend more time changing lenses than shooting.
     
  20. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #20
    Update on lens choice

    Well it's on the way and I should have it sometime tomorrow (Friday). I went with the 18-200mm-VR after looking over the areas that I'll be shooting in the near future and even the distant future as well. I really had to look at the fact that changing a lens in the areas I want would require very careful "dust free or dust less" situations (I know it's not a perfect world ;)).
    Also I feel that this will replace the kit lens in more than one way and be better in the long run. I do have a question(s) for those that made this choice, does this lens come with a case and a hood like other Nikon zooms? Last, which filter should I look into buying or I should say, does the "brand" have a huge effect on the outcome? I ask because at the local shop the digital filter is around $50 and it's a huge "visual" difference just looking at the clarity but from a photo "tech" stand point what should I look for?
    Thanks to everyone for their input and advise as I will post some pics. once I get the chance from this lens :D
     
  21. jag0009 macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Good choice. I heard that the 70-300 mm is weak at 300 mm.
    Now you need a 12-24mm :) :)

    What kind of filter? You mean just a regular UV haze filter to serve as UV filter plus lens protection? If so, a Tiffen would do the job nicely. I have B&W UV filter on my 12-24mm and Tiffen UV on my 17-55mm, I don't see a difference between the two.
     
  22. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

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    #22
    Would love to hear how you get on, I'm really tempted by that lens as well.

    Did you ever consider getting the Sigma 18-200mm or do you think the Nikon is definitely worth the extra bucks?
     
  23. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #23
    I can only go by what I've seen so far from the links and searches I've found with the Nikon as it seems more people show off their photos from Nikon more than from any others (like Nikon Cafe). I've also asked at my local dealer as they tend to favor everything else first then Nikon. I'm not sure if it's because of price or what but this time around the local shop gave a buy and don't look back statement for the Nikon, so I did.

    Yes to both as I have a cheap filter on my kit lens now and thankfully I had put it on there. I took a pic of my dog sleeping once and it scared her so much that she would have scratched the lens for sure if the filter wasn't there (my Gram said let sleeping dogs lie but I never listened :rolleyes:).
    I'm looking at getting this lens: Tokina 12mm - 24mm f/4.0 PRO DX Autofocus Zoom Lens from Amazon once it gets back in stock as I was going to get this one first but I'll take whatever they have first time around. Then I should be set for sometime until I get better, then another body will follow.
    I'm hopping to get some good shots in this weekend with it as long as weather permitting.
     

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