What would you replace Nikkor 18-200 with?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JDDavis, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #1
    I'm formulating a plan for the future. First, I love the 18-200 on my D90. I know it's not perfect but it does a lot of things great. I like taking my camera hiking and climbing and taking one relatively light lens is a huge plus. I've begun to want something a little more out of the lens though. It's soft at 200mm and sometimes 200 isn't enough. (though I can live with it fine). 18mm seems more than wide enough for most applications. I think it takes brilliant pictures in the 50 - 75mm range and around f/5.6.

    I've been thinking about the 70-200 a lot and I know it's at the top of it's class. If I sacrificed and carried two lenses what would the group recommend to fill in on the wider side. The 17-35? I have a 50mm but i don't really want to carry 3 lenses. The 18-200 is not that heavy, perhaps I would just carry it to cover the 18-70 range. I would probably do that until I could save for another lens anyway. Any non Nikon recommendations? Right now I'm really locked in on the 70-200 but undecided on the wider end.

    Thanks for any advice. I really wish 18-200 was "pro" quality. The range probably makes that pretty difficult.
     
  2. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #2
    Instead of the 17-35, I'd go with the 17-55 f/2.8. Yes, it's a DX lens, but it's really a great "go to" wide-normal zoom for your D90. Image quality is excellent, and it's pro built like the 70-200.
     
  3. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #3
    I don't really know what you are willing to spend, but the 16-85 AF-S is a pretty solid performer and would nicely complement the 18-200.

    You seem to have trepidation (rightfully so) about going from a one lens solution (18-200) to a two lens solution. Another intermediary option is to review your pictures and see where you think your best pictures (as is you like them, not as in the lens is performing great) and where you take the most pictures (hopefully there is some overlap) and get a lens that satisfies that range. Then if you feel that you really miss the other focal lengths you can purchase that second lens


    Also if you want to be a cheap a$$, the 18-55 +55-200 combo performs better than the 18-200.

    one more option is the 18-105 which is fairly cheap, good range, and small.

    You are correct in your assessment in the difficulty of making a wide zoom range of pro quality. Too many compromises are necessary to design a lens that cover that range. (this is part of the reason why people argue for primes giving better images quality.)
     
  4. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #4
    pdxflint - Thanks for pointing out the 17-55. Somehow I have missed that it exists. Looks like an incredible lens. I'd be trading 19 ounces of 18-200 for nearly 5.5 lbs of 17-55 / 70-200. I'm actually fine with that. I wonder how I'd feel about taking nearly $4k in lens rock climbing. I don't hesitate with my D90 and 18-200. They have both held up fine.

    thebrain74 - What I'm willing to spend is really a function of time. I don't get paid to take pics but I will pay for quality and results. The more something costs the longer it will take for me to save up for it. What I don't want is a bag full of slightly better overlapping mid level lenses that were reasonably priced.

    For climbing and general in the mountains I take a lot at 18-24mm and 120-200mm. The longer end of the spectrum is where I feel the 18-200 is letting me down. For most other shots where I can zoom with my feet i shoot in the 50-75mm range. When you get into the 100's and higher sometimes I feel the 18-200 is a bit dark. The 17-55 / 70-200 would probably cover me 95% of the time (and for the rest of my life $$). The best thing about climbing with the 18-200 is often I can't move an inch when I'm taking pictures so the complete range is great. Oh, lens creep is the other big pain of climbing with the 18-200. I often shoot one handed. (this scares me as well about taking two lens).

    I've tried my brothers 18-55 / 55-200 combo and though they are great for the price I don't think they outperform the 18-200 and they aren't what I'm looking for.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  5. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    have you thought about the 70-300? (note its not a DX lens)
     
  6. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #6
    If you're shooting one handed often, the 70-200 is not going to work, period. It's long and heavy enough that you would have a hard time holding it pointing out from the body, let alone trying to hold it steady. Not to mention the enormous strain you would be putting on the lens mount if you tried in that configuration. Put it this way, there's enough weight hanging off the front of the camera when using the 70-200 that Nikon designed it with a lens foot. Enough said.

    The 17-55 is doable although without VR you might have trouble with a sharp shot. Honestly neither of these 2 lenses seems like a smart idea to be whipping out (and swapping) while you're dangling off a cliff.

    Have you thought about the 16-85VR? It's smaller and lighter than the 18-200, and has a little less range but seems to be higher quality in the range it has. The extra 2 mm on the wide end helps a lot with getting wider shots as well. You could try a pairing with the 16-85 and the 70-300, which is a lot lighter than the 70-200 (although I would still be a little wary about single-handing the 70-300 too, for the same reasons). Unfortunately, long lenses and light + compact really don't mix. The only solution I can envision would be something like the Canon 70-300 DO but that's on the Canon mount...

    Ruahrc
     
  7. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #7
    Is not the small, light, cheap 55-200mm VR pretty good? It seems like the kind of thing Galen Rowell would have used. Obviously it's not longer than the 18-200, but then neither is the 70-200 (probably unless you're close to things).
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    If weight is a concern, forget about a 70-200 or 80-200 mm f/2.8 lens. And if you're contemplating whether you'll be able to shoot with one hand, forget about that. Unless you're hulk.

    If you're looking at a better two-lens combo that is also light-weight, have a look at Tokina's 50-135 mm f/2.8 or Sigma's equivalent lens. They weigh half of what 70-200 mm lenses do and IMO their focal length range is much more suited to crop cameras.

    As a second lens, have a look at Tamron's 17-50 mm f/2.8. It has good optics and since it's made of plastic, it doesn't weigh as much. Plus, it's a lot, lot cheaper than the 17-55 mm Nikkor.

    In essence, you can't have everything: pro lenses tend to be heavier. In case of tele zooms, they're a lot heavier.

    I have yet another suggestion for you: if you want to carry little weight around, how about getting a few primes? E. g. you could get a 20 mm f/2.8, 30~35 mm, 50 mm and, say, 100 mm.
     
  9. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #9
    Thanks for all the advice. These are some great suggestions.

    Ruahrc - Didn't catch that the 17-55 wasn't VR. I'm not sure if VR makes too much of a difference. I'm usually actually pretty stabilized. Thanks for the 16-85 too. I'll be looking into that one now for sure. It covers a slightly larger range and has VR. Not sure how it compares in IQ.

    The weight really isn't the issue. I'll carry the weight for image quality. Shooting one handed is a product of not being prepared and shooting more like a P&S which I need to stop doing. If I plan to take pictures on a route I can plan to take the time to set up so that I'm secure and can shoot two handed. A heavy lens would be more of a challenge but not impossible. As I think about it I would definitly keep the 18-200 for times when I don't want the hassle of a large heavy lens.

    Oreo - I'm no Hulk but you wouldn't like me when I'm angry;). Surpisingly there are many interesting ways to shoot one handed when climbing. You just have to find something else to rest the lens on. The camera is always attached to me somehow as well. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions on the Sigma and Tamron. I'll look into both. I don't think 135mm even on a crop sensor will be long enough though. I find 200mm on a crop is a little short sometimes. I would love to carry primes but the thought having to change lenses all the time is scary (and pretty risky). Something like the 70-200 would be secured to my person as it was swapped.

    Thanks for all the info. It's helping me put a roadmap together of what I want to save for. Image quality is still my #1 priority and I will sacrifice others like convenience and weight in order to get it.

    Any experience with the 70-300 out there? It reviews pretty well but where does it fall in relation to the 18-200 and 70-200? Somewhere between the two?

    Thanks again,
     
  10. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #10

    Galen Rowell (if still with us) could probably get better pics out of a gas station diposable camera then me with a D3 / 70-200. That's not a fair comparison. Ansel Adams was a Rowell fan. He was also a much, much better climber then I'll ever be. Anywho...I like the 55-200 and have used one (and the 17-55). The results are good and acceptable but it's not really what I'm looking for. I'd rather have the constant aperture and be able to keep the ISO at 200.

    http://www.mountainlight.com/rowellg.html
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #11
    I still wouldn't underestimate weight and size, especially if you're hiking. For that reason, I have two bags: a full equipment bag and a small equipment bag which fits 1 zoom + 1 prime + 1 flash + 1 body.
    No, it's perfectly safe. The Nikon has a metal bayonet which is very, very sturdy. Plus, the smaller and lighter the lens, the smaller the chance that something bad happens.

    Regarding 135 mm being not long enough, that entirely depends on your photography. I've recommended these lenses since they weigh half and 50 mm as an initial focal length is very useful -- especially indoors. I own a 80-200 mm f/2.8 Nikkor and 80 mm is too long for a lot of stuff. But YMMV.
     
  12. MacRodster macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    #12
    +1 for the Tamron 17-50 2.8 the non VC can be picked up pretty cheap and it's a tack sharp light lens. If you need image stability then pickup the VC version. Otherwise it's a great lens.
     
  13. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #13
    Rock climbing and wanting more lenses, more weight, changing lenses...?

    Seems like you are better off with what you have. I have the 18-55 and the 55-200, and they are fine, people often say they are better than the 18-200 but I have never seen proof that there would be any difference that you could actually see.
     
  14. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #14
    Do you need the fast glass? As mentioned the 70-200 is too heavy to use one handed (I guess it's possible but you won't do it for long).

    The 18-200 is probably the best solution if you need that range. You don't want to be changing lenses in the middle of a climb, do you?

    I'd consider adding something wider. You could probably get some interesting effects with a 11-16 tokina or similar.

    I find myself rarely using the 17-55 range with one exception... I just started using an old 35-70 for portraits. Other than that I'm usually closer to 11mm or 200.

    What exactly are you taking pics of? Other climbers? The scenery? The wall you're on? Low Light? I guess you'll have to balance weight/complexity/cost against what you are trying to accomplish.
     
  15. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #15

    I breathe, therefore I want more lenses:).

    The 18-200 is working well, no doubt. I'm just researching other options. I'd agree, having used the 18-55/55-200 combo that there is not much difference in results compared to the 18-200. That's why I went with the single lens option.
     
  16. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #16

    Well fast glass would be nice. Light is never constant you usually spend half your day climbing in the shade. Being able to keep the shutter speed over 125 and the ISO at 200 would be great. That's why I like my 50mm.

    I don't really want to change lenses but really I'm not talking about hanging with one hand while I work the camera with the other. When I stop to shoot I'm secured on a ledge or in anchors (or on top or bottom). It's really no different than changing lenses on the ground. I'm 6'4" and honestly I'd be hate to drop a $2k+ lens 4ft to the ground as much as dropping it 200ft. I'm actually more careful while climbing then I probably am in other situations. That being said the 70-200 is a beast.

    As far as what I like to take pics of? All of the above. Mostly other climbers and scenery. Also beta shots just to document things. What I really enjoy is taking pics of others climbing. And that's a good point to make. Sometimes I like to just get set up from an interesting vantage point which may be half way up a different route and take pics. It's more of a static situation. Plus I'll use any lenses for lots of other things too.

    Thanks for all the advice. This is great!
     
  17. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #17
    Great stuff. Currently I kind of do the same except I have no "full equipment" bag. I carry my D90, 18-200 and 50mm prime everywhere. The lighter primes are a point worth considering though. My next concern is that you often don't have a lot of time to get the shot and going back and forth between 3 or 4 primes might be difficult. I wish I could just buy them all:(.
     
  18. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #18
    This is all great stuff and I really appreciate it. Pulling the trigger on just about any lens is a big decision and I want to have a plan. In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya "Let me explain...no, there is too much. Let me sum up."

    Currently I use:
    D90, 18-200, 50mm

    Suggestions:
    17-55 + 70-200 (probably the best IQ wise. Gargantuan cost and weight, not sure about non VR 17-55)
    16-85 + 70-300 (significant cost and weight savings, possible better IQ than 18-200, more range)
    Tamron 17-50 + 200 or 300 (cost/weight savings, not sure how it stacks up against 16-85?)
    Any combination of the above

    Is the 17-55 really meant to be hand held. Anybody know at what shutter speed (at 55mm) VR becomes pointless. I imagine once the shutter is fast enough there's no need for V/R.
     
  19. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #19
    Once I've got the cash I'm thinking of getting the 70-300mm to complement my 16-85mm, which also happen to take the same filter size (67mm). You gain at both ends of your range, for whatever that's worth. However, if wider apertures are appealing to you, this isn't the best choice.

    I find VR is often useful (the usual rule of thumb shoot faster than 1/EFL, which on a D90 at 55mm gives you about 1/80 s). As you probably know, though, if you want to take a handheld landscape shot at dusk, there really isn't any substitute for VR at any focal length. You'll do better with a tripod, of course, but that isn't always possible.
     
  20. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #20
    How do you like your 16-85? It kind of looks like the little cousin of the 18-200. Same aperture range and looks like the same quality glass. Other than the extra 2mm on the wide side I wonder if I'm really gaining anything over the 18-200?
     
  21. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #21
    I like it quite a lot - it's very sharp, the VR is very handy when I'm not shooting on a tripod (it's got the same VR module as the new 18–200, as I understand things, which is supposed to get about one extra stop over the previous VR system), and it's much better built and better balanced than my previous kit lens (the 18-55mm).

    On the other hand, I've not shot with the 18-200mm, so I don't know how much you'd be getting over that lens. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably be asking the same question. :eek:

    Another option would be to keep the lens you've got an just add something (like the 70-300mm or 70-200mm) at the long end. Really, who doesn't want that 70-200mm (along with someone to carry it for you)? :D
     
  22. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    If you're going to buy the 70-200, don't buy the 17-55. I say that because it's a DX lens and once you convince yourself that you can spend >$2,000.00 on a lens, a >$2,000.00 FX body isn't far behind! :D

    In all seriousness, I'd be looking into the 16-85 VR and the 70-200 VR (first or second generation). Good luck using the 70-200 while dangling from a rock, it's a huge sucker.

    I've got the 70-200 VR1 and the 24-70 f/2.8 Nikkors, that's a fantastic combo. But on a D90, I'd be worried that you'd want something wider than 24mm so I'd stick with the 16-85 VR.

    SLC
     
  23. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    Another option, if money is no object and you want top flight IQ and FX compatibility is to just go straight to the Nikkor "Holy Trinity" and buy the 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, and 70-200 f/2.8.

    That's about as pristine a collection of zooms as you can get in this day and age! You'll probably spend over 7K on it, but it's only money right? :D

    SLC
     
  24. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #24
    To me, replacing a variable max aperture lens with another variable max aperture lens is a not an "upgrade" and is a waste of money. Look hard at the Tamron 17-50 2.8.
     
  25. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #25
    I kind of agree. The 16-85 looks like a good lens but I'm not sure it's any better than the 18-200 at the same focal lengths. I wish I had looked at the 16-85 / 70-300 combo when I bought the 18-200 but know I'm not sure I'd benefit any other than the extra 2mm on the wide end (with the 16-85)

    I'll take a look at the Tamron. Thanks.
     

Share This Page