Advice needed: Buying a new lens to replace the Nikon Nikkor 18-200 mm

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Ceneri
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Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:17AM
Advice needed!


I have a Nikon D300 body and have been using the Nikon Nikkor 18-200 mm 3.5-5.6G ED DX lens for many years. Something inside of it broke recently, as it doesn't focus on closer objects like it used to before (it makes noises when trying to focus to the closer objects). I thought about repairing but then I might as well buy a new one. I thought about buying the exact same one ($849, and it was said to be a new version of that model), but my husband wanted a full frame lens and he said it makes more sense if we were to buy a full frame camera moving forward.

Do you guys have any recommendation on what lens I should check out?


Thanks!

ETA:
For more of my criteria:


- I carry it on trips usually and prefer to only carry just 1 lens. I prefer something that is light weight. (Not an option to change lens at all especially now I have to carry a baby/toddler at the same time!)


- I do wish the f# can be lower because there are a lot of times I shoot at places that has not sufficient light.. I wish it can go lower than 3.5 but I understand it will make the lens a lot heavier. Any thoughts/suggestions?


- While I hate the poor quality and chroma abbreviation, I do hope that this new zoom lens that I will purchase can provide equal or sharper / better quality pics than the Nikon Nikor 18-200.


- full frame would be nice.

(Edited on 2013-02-07 10:56:02 by Ceneri)
AbrahamCollins
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Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:13PM
Is this the only lens you've ever owned? If so, here you go:

28-300 FX

I would personally advise against power zooms like this one and the 18-200 DX; the quality is rather poor for the price you pay. For 11 years I've felt blown away by the results fast prime lenses provide when compared to these "non gold ring" zooms. If I were to start all over I'd choose a D600, a 28 1.8G, a 50 1.8G, a 105 2.8 Micro AND THAT'S IT. (Aside from the prohibitively expensive fast teles which I rent, and a 17mm PC-E that Nikon needs to hurry the heck up and make..)

Zoom with your feet. The only zoom I've never regretted buying is the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VRII.
David_Ahn
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Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:46PM
I have been using Nikon D700 for almost 5 years and D800 for almost a year. If you prefer only one lense I would recommend NIKKOR 24-120 f4 VR which is quite versatile and FX lense.  It is actually wider than 18-200. Another choice would be 28-300 f3.5-5.6 VR but image quality may not be as good as the other one.  

(Edited on 2013-01-24 19:49:10 by David_Ahn)
esp_imaging
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Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:46AM
If you are pretty much happy with what you already have, then get the replacement model, or the full-frame equivalent as Abraham suggests. Or think about independent manufacturers too for their similar offerings.

Over and above this, the answer depends on what you shoot / want to shoot, how you work and what shortcomings, if any, you find with your current lens.

Such as:
Do you sometimes wish you had greater wide angle capability?
Or faster apertures?
Or better macro capability?
Or better sharpness?
Is it important to you just to have a single lens that is always on the camera, or are you happy carrying more lenses, having to stop and change lens sometimes (and carry a bigger/heavier bag)?
Do you use the telephoto range of your current lens much? If you rarely use longer than about 80 or 100mm, then David's suggestion of a 24-120 for Full Frame makes sense.

(Edited on 2013-01-25 07:27:52 by esp_imaging)
Ceneri
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Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:51AM

Thanks guys! This is all very helpful!!! I will definitely check out the 24-120 full frame lens.


@AbrahamCollins: so you won't recommend the 28-300 FX? IS the 70-200 2.8 heavy?


Yes this is pretty much my only "work-horse" lens ... obviously I am not as professional as you guys are! I am more of a serious "hobbist" (blush... haha!). I have another macro lens (Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D) and that's about it.


For more of my criteria:


- I carry it on trips usually and prefer to only carry just 1 lens. I prefer something that is light weight. (Not an option to change lens at all especially now I have to carry a baby/toddler at the same time!)


- I do wish the f# can be lower because there are a lot of times I shoot at places that has not sufficient light.. I wish it can go lower than 3.5 but I understand it will make the lens a lot heavier. Any thoughts/suggestions?


- While I hate the poor quality and chroma abbreviation, I do hope that this new zoom lens that I will purchase can provide equal or sharper / better quality pics than the Nikon Nikor 18-200.


- full frame would be nice.


 
fotoVoyager
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Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:56AM
You cannot go wrong with the Nikon 24-70 f2.8. Full frame, zero defects after correction in LR, brilliant piece of kit.

I must shoot 80% of my images with it and when I can only carry one lens in extreme locations that's the one I use.
David_Ahn
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Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:33AM
70-200 mm f2.8 VR II is very sharp but heavy (~3 pounds). I have also used 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 VR and it is not as sharp as either 24-70 mm f2.8 or 24-120mm f4 VR.  I use both 24-70 f2.8 and 24-120 f4 VR.  For low light, I prefer to use 24-120 f4 VR because VR can compensate about 3 stops so actually better than 24-70 but less sharp. 
lostinbids
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Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:01AM
The Nikon 70-200 2.8 vrII is a great lens but it is heavy and not very subtle.  To most people you will look like the paparazzi.  The Nikon 24-70 2.8 (or the older 28-70 2.8) is a great lens. In fact you wont need to buy another normal zoom if you get one. The downside is that it lacks a bit of reach.  Personally I am still waiting for nikon to bring out a 24-150 2.8 with professional build and is as light as a feather (I think I might be waiting sometime )
catchlights_sg
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Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:31AM
I have both 24-70 and 70-200VR1, the image quality is simply superb, but both lenses are expensive and heavy.


if you want to settle for convenient and quality, I guess 24-120 is the lens you are looking for.

(Edited on 2013-01-30 05:34:11 by catchlights_sg)
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:23AM
The latest 24-120  F4 VR is very good, I don't own one but have hired one. The VR is a very useful feature and worth a couple of f stops in low light. I have the 24-70  2.8 and it's phenomenal at every aperture but no VR and it's heavy and a little short at the long end. You should maybe borrow or hire that and the 28-300 and compare before you buy. But using at 28mm on a crop sensor body is not very wide and I guess you will use the shorter focal lenghts more than the longer end of the zoom I see it also has VR. On my last camera, crop sensor, I had a 28-80 zoom and the 28 mm wasn't wide enough for a lot of things and I found myself using the 12-24 nikkor as a walk around lens!
AbrahamCollins
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Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:51PM
The 70-200 2.8 is prohibitively heavy. Every time I use it everyone stops to ask if I'm reporting for the local news paper. It's big and intimidating and if you're in places where security and paranoia run high you'll likely have the cops on your tail in no time for terrorism plotting suspicion. Don't end up on the no-fly list.
Ceneri
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Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013 9:56AM
Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate this. I will definitel check out 24-120  F4 VR ...!
AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:01AM

I've just upgrade my Nikon gear myself.


I've bought a Nikon D800, the 24-70 f/2.8 which is astounding, and the 70-200 f/4 which has just been released and it's cheaper and lighter than the 70-200 f/2.8. I must say that so far I'm really happy with the results
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013 12:50AM
I'm looking in the toy shop at that 70-200F4 ^
AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013 1:06AM

I spent weeks reading and watching reviews about the 70-200 f/2.8 vs the 70-200 f/4 and managed to tried them both in the field for an afternoon. They're both astounding: on my PC I couldn't really tell the difference between the pictures: I had to keep checking which was which...


I finally decided to buy the f/4 one because it is considerably lighter and smaller. It's also cheaper, but not that cheaper actually. I shoot landscapes so I usually need a lot of DOF, I don't really use the f/2.8 aperture anyway. On the other hand  I do have to walk a lot so having a lighter lens does change my day.
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013 1:22AM
Thanks for the feedback Alberto. I have an old 80-200 2.8 ED which isn't quite up to standard with my D800. I can use it but not wide open it's v. heavy and no VR and it's not a lens I use much, it's useable around F8-11 in a studio but outside in strong light I can see the CR through the viewfinder
AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013 1:41AM

I guess it just boils down to whether or not you need that extra f stop. In terms of sharpness and tonal range you can't really tell the difference. At least I couldn't and I did try...


Then there's the "feel" question. The 70-200 f/4 obviously feels plasticky and cheaper compared to the 70-200 f/2.8 (or your 80-200 for that matter), but it's still a pro lens which delivers amazing quality all around.


I can't really help with the VR because I always use a tripod so I might as well not have it.


Just my two cents...
AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:51AM

I guess I'd better post a little update on my latest purchase: the NIkkor 70-200 f4. I was cleaning it a few days ago and I dropped it on the wooden desk I was working over. It was surely far less than a feet and it landed perfectly horizontal.


When I was able to breathe again I mounted it and took a couple of shots. When focusing on close objects it was ok, when focusing on distant objects it was not. I eventually managed to take it back and upgrade to the 70-200 f2.8 paying only the difference.


One instance hardly constitutes a reliable general statement and yet I must say it has disappointed me. I didn't think a pro lens could be so weak.
esp_imaging
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Posted Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:23PM
I dropped my fairly new 70-200 f/2.8 VR II about 4 feet onto carpet the other week. It demolished the filter on the front, but I carefully picked the broken glass out with pliers and tentatively tested it. It's completely fine, althugh I still have the filter ring of the dead filter jammed on the end, until such time as I can work out  a way of getting it off.
AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:43AM

That must hurt!


You might want to send it to the Nikon centre to get it checked. I did that on a couple of occasions here in Italy. They were really fast (it took about a week to have it back) and they charged me nothing. It's one of those things that really puts your mind at ease.


As for removing the filter, I bought a couple of plastic fiter wrenches some time ago. They come real handy when a couple of filters get stuck. Here's the link at B&H: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/itemIncDetails.jsp/sku/807009/is/REG/type/acc/ignoreSessionTimeOut/Y/att/cat@__accessory_Detail%5ELyr@__parent@__NICP77
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