updating my lens line-up, what are my options?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by OreoCookie, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #1
    I'm going to give myself a graduation gift: a new lens. My budget is probably around 500 € (preferably lower, everything I spend extra needs to be taken out of the budget of my next notebook), perhaps a bit more.

    I currently own:
    (0) A Nikon D80. I'm very happy with this camera, I feel no urge to upgrade. I also have a flash (the small SB-400).
    (1) Nikon 18-70 mm standard lens.
    (2) 50 mm f/1.8 made in Japan.
    (3) Nikon 80-200 mm f/2.8 (the push-pull variety).

    The 80-200 bazooka zoom (a friend of mine nicknamed it) is my favorite lens, but it's very long (on crop). I very much like taking portraits, especially in the range of 35-100 mm on full frame (~23-70 mm on the D80). However, I've always toyed with the idea of getting an ultrawide angle.

    Now the situation is that I'm not really happy with the performance of the 18-70 mm. Nothing is really wrong with it, but it's slow and although I can't really put my finger on it, pictures taken with a 28-70 mm f/2.8 Tokina back in the film days or those taken with my 80-200 mm zoom usually simply turn out nicer.

    I went to a shop today and tried the Tokina 12-24 mm and although I liked the lens very much, I don't think it'd be enough. So I'm toying with a few ideas and I'd like some input from you guys:
    Plan 1
    (1) Keep the 18-70 mm.
    (2) Get the Tokina UW zoom.

    Plan 2
    (1) Sell the 18-70 mm.
    (2) Get a used 28-70 f/2.8 zoom from ebay (I'm eying for Tokina again).
    (3) Save up some more and get the 12-24 mm zoom.

    Plan 3
    (1) Sell the 18-70 mm.
    (2) Get Tamron's 17-50 mm f/2.8.

    Although the Tamron feels better than expected, I wasn't excited: the focal length feels about the same as with the 18-70 (I know that I'm missing 20 mm ;)). Doesn't feel like I'd be expanding my artistic horizon.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    The 18-70mm is a much-loved lens by many. You can try the Tamron 17-50, Sigma 18-50 or if you want guaranteed performance, you can get the Nikon 17-55. I have that one.

    One plan that would give you a wide range is something like the Tokina 12-24 and Nikon 28-70, though the latter is going for almost as much used as the 24-70 is new right now.

    Do you use the second half of the 80-200's range much? The Tokina 50-135 could be your answer to that part of the range, and allow you to sell the 80-200.

    I'm not sure I'd sell the 18-70, if for no other reason than because you're not going to get much for it. Maybe $250 at best. You can pick it up at Adorama and KEH for that price in good condition.
     
  3. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #3
    As I said, it's not a bad lens, but it's slow and I can't really play with depth of field in a meaningful way.
    I'd really like the Nikkor, but it just doesn't fit my budget.
    That's another lens I've been thinking of for a long time now. Back when I bought the 80-200, it simply wasn't available yet and I agree, the focal length would be better suited. I use 200 mm alright, but starting at 120 mm (equivalent on full frame) for a portrait lens is a tad limiting. However, I thought I'd focus on the shorter end at this point. But perhaps a 12-24 + 50-135 combo wouldn't be such a bad idea either. Choices, choices.

    Basically, I have to stay in budget, so I'll have a look at ebay and see whether this is realistic.
     
  4. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    As I said, it's not a bad lens, but it's slow and I can't really play with depth of field in a meaningful way.


    You can fix the slow part, but standard zooms aren't really meant for manipulating depth of field, at least not as I understand it. You have to be very close to a subject to do it, and by then, most lenses will do in one form or another. I can't really make for a shallow depth of field with my 17-55 until I'm close to the people I take shots of. I do benefit from it being a constant 2.8, though.

    There's also the 35-70mm 2.8, which is running a bit higher than before these days, probably due to the D3/700 and the shortage of 24-70s out there, but it's good glass.

    I'd be wary of eBay, and instead would look at KEH, Adorama and the buy/sell forums at places like fredmiranda, and the classifieds over at Photo.net. Also, this may be helpful for you: http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests
     
  5. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    Well, it does help neutralize the background if you are in the 40~50 mm region. See for instance here (from my film days):
    [​IMG]
    I apologize for the bad quality, I've scanned it with my cheap flatbed scanner and the photo is just a snapshot. But you can see that the background is much smoother and nicer and I'd like to be able to do similar things on my D80 again.

    I've considered the 35-70 Nikkor and it's on my list of alternatives to the 28-70 Tokina.
     

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