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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Which lens to choose for Nikon D800
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12/03/2015 06:58:36 AM · #1
Having traded in my D7000 for a D800, my next step is to go for some fine lenses. Although most of my current lenses are useable on the D800, I really want more quality. The first lens that has to go is the Sigma 17-50mm. Although a great lens, it is made for Nikon's DX system. As a replacement I'll go for the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens. Great reviews and a nice focal range. Together with the Sanyang 14mm I've covered the wide focal range I use for landscapes.

More of a question are my telelenses (used for wildlife mainly). Especially the Sigma 150-500mm. It's a great focal range (on my D7000 that Sigma lens had a range of approx. 250-750mm), but I find the pictures really soft and would like to have more sharpness in it. But what lens can I use instead? I have been looking at the Nikon 300mm f/4. Seems a great lens, but it offers 'only' 300mm. Will tha be enough? Will using a teleconverter be an option? And what about Nikon's new 200-500mm f/5.6, anyone has any experience using that one?

Hope any of you can offer some suggestions. As for the price range, I'm looking for (used) lenses up to £700/$1000 (so the 200-500mm might be out of range on this moment).

Thanks!
12/03/2015 11:20:35 AM · #2
Congrats on the D800... I also have one and really like it.

For nature shots I use primarily my Nikon 200-400F4, and my Sigma 120-300 F2.8. I recently purchased the new Nikon 200-5oo F5.6, but have not given it a real workout yet (plan to this winter shooting eagles). So far, in my preliminary testing of this lens, the sharpness is great... but it is a slow lens, so will need lots of light or need to crank up the ASA most of the time (which is not a big issue with the D800).

I also have the Nikon 24-70F2.8, Nikon 70-200F2.8 and the Nikon 14-24F2.8 and 105F2.8 Macro - all produce excellent results and are great in low light.

Happy shopping!

Message edited by author 2015-12-03 14:08:55.
12/03/2015 11:24:48 AM · #3
I have the Nikkor 16-35VR & the Nikkor 28-300VR I use with my D810.......Love them both and I use the 28-300 95% of the time.

But I'm lazy........8~)
12/04/2015 12:21:29 AM · #4
The best FF Nikon lenses I've ever used are:

1) 24-70mm F2.8 (non-VR version). There's a newer, more expensive VR version
2) 70-200mm F2.8 II (VR)

Both of those lenses are magical in their sharpness and microcontrast.

The 14-24mm is the third member of the "Nikon Trinity" including the aforementioned lenses. But I don't have one.

None of these are in your current price range, but you might find one used at a closer price.

I opted for the 16-35 instead of the 14-24 because the 14-24 is bulbus and heavy. It's a very good lens but has more distortion than it's focal length warrants (per my experience, and validated in reviews).

That being said, the superzooms are a class below, but very good as well. I have the 28-300, which is very good--and much better than you'd expect for a superzoom. The 24-85 kit lens with the D600 is also surpisingly sharp and good. The 24-120 has had mixed reviews in various generations. If you buy it used, be careful what generation you are getting. The latest version is supposed to be very good.

Other lenses I thought were VERY GOOD to EXCELLENT: 105mm F2.8 Macro (very very sharp, but has CA), 85mm F1.8 prime (wonderful lens), 50mm 1.8 (I have the F, not the G) a steal for around $100 and very sharp.
12/04/2015 03:40:18 AM · #5
I am in a somewhat similar boat to you, though I started with different lenses. I just picked up a D800E along with a Nikon 24-70 2.8G (non VR), having upgraded from a D300. First comment, the D800E will certainly rip into any weakness a lens offers compared to what you came from. The biggest differences will be the dramatically large effect of vignetting and corner sharpness. Even with the 24-70 2.8, there is significant vignetting and a big drop in corner sharpness wide open (which isn't even noticeable on the D300). By F4, it seems to resolve the issues and be acceptably sharp with much improved vignetting. For other lenses, the performance is also somewhat suspect. The 50 1.8 you note has heavy vignetting wide open, decreasing as you stop down. For tele or macro, I've only done a quick check of my lenses, but the 80-200 AFS looks pretty good overall, but still suffers some vignetting, my Sigma 150mm 2.8 macro seems to perform excellently even wide open (though I still need to do some more controlled testing. Given initial results, it's hard to recommend another macro lens though, both for reach, cost, and sharpness), and the Sigma 50-500 isn't too bad overall, but does have somewhat rough vignetting wide open. If you have any questions on the lenses I own, I can post sample pictures for you, just let me know which lenses you are curious about.
12/04/2015 05:32:58 AM · #6
If you are not afraid of manual focus then I recommend the Mamiya 500mm, or if you are decided on Nikon AF you may want to have a look at the 80-400VR it was always very acceptable when i used mine.
12/04/2015 08:04:48 AM · #7
I really like my 70-200 f2.8 but the $$ may be a bit much more than you want to pay. I was incredibly lucky to get an almost-new VRI for half the price I was expecting to pay, all because the owner only used it to shoot his son's hockey games and once he stopped playing hockey, no longer had a need for it(!) The 300 f.4 doesn't get as much work as it used to, simply because I've done very little birding with it in recent years. However, with the 1.4x Teleconverter both lenses perform very well; can get really good reach but watch your dof and remember than adding it slows things down. Sounds like the 28-300 Jeb recommends may be worth checking out. Wonder if it's as versatile as the 18-200 for cropped sensors?

Message edited by author 2015-12-04 08:07:08.
12/04/2015 08:25:55 AM · #8
As an owner of a D800 and having used the Sigma 150-500mm with it, I would recommend upgrading to the Sigma 150-600mm Sport series. Tremendous optics, great focus and it won't disappoint. Alas, it's twice your price. The 150-600mm Contemporary isn't as good, but it's a step up from the 150-500mm in IQ and will buy you a bit of the reach you're losing at full frame. I've only used it at a show and haven't read comparisons with the Tamron, but from what I've read they are comparable in quality. What I love about the Sigma is that with the USB dock you can customize the focus calibration at 16 points instead of the single point that the D800 provides, and that's a HUGE benefit.
12/04/2015 08:33:31 AM · #9
The 28-300 is my go-to lens, too. MUCH better quality than I expected in a lens with that kind of range. I do use it for wildlife; also use the Tamron 150-600, which is a fun lens for the reach at f/6.3 with auto focus. I find I get better performance if I keep the zoom just shy of full extension. For the money, a very good value. Also have the Sigma 100-300 f/4. Always liked that one, though I rarely use it now.
12/04/2015 09:21:59 AM · #10
Thanks to all giving me these suggestions. A lot of research to be done, I'm afraid (but that's also the fun when looking for new gear).

Nikon 28-300mm
Your very positive suggestions about the Nikon 28-300 really surpised me as the reviews I've seen about this lens are so contradictory. Some do love this lens, and some really are very disappointed. It all has to do with personal view and taste I guess. It should be wise to find an opportunity to test this lens and just see what I think about it (but then, that should count for all the lenses, and there is no renting-out service nearby).

Nikon 24-70mm
A very interesting lens, but reading the reviews I get the impression the 24-120mm is nearly as good (I'm aware of the distortion in that lens, but it seems it's easy to correct, both with in-camera software and in PP).

Nikon 70-200mm
A great lens but for me just too short on the long end.

Nikon 80-400mm
I understand that the D version has very slow AF and as I like to use it for bird and dolphin photography I need more AF speed. The new AF-S generation seems much better, but is out of my reach right now.

Sigma 100-300mm
Well, that's an interesting one, didn't think of that one. Would fit perfectly once I've decided to go for the Nikon 24-120mm. Reviews seems good. Thanks MaryO!

Sigma 150-600mm Sport.
Looks like a great lens as well and really covers a lot of the range I'm missing now on FF. But for the moment just out of reach.

Nikon 300mm f/4
Is a strong contender still. Especially combined with the 1.4x teleconverter. What aperture do I get with the converter. Will it go to f5.6?

Thanks again all. If any other recommendations, please feel free to post!

Message edited by author 2015-12-04 09:43:16.
12/04/2015 12:57:56 PM · #11
Originally posted by Kroburg:


Nikon 300mm f/4
Is a strong contender still. Especially combined with the 1.4x teleconverter. What aperture do I get with the converter. Will it go to f5.6?

Thanks again all. If any other recommendations, please feel free to post!


Yes, you will have the equivalent of a 420mm 5.6 with a 1.4. A quick search doesn't turn up much info in regards to the extent of vignetting with the tc on the 300, but you may want to do some searching to see if you can find any results. The whole vignetting issue was something I never appreciated until I went full frame. Also, be cautious which tc you get, as not the compatibility varies. TC compatibility chart
12/04/2015 01:29:57 PM · #12
fwiw...here's my ex-bf shot at 420mm (300mm f4 and tc)Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_990525.jpg I've never noticed any vignetting with this lens or lens/tc combo, but I'm not shooting ff.
12/06/2015 04:33:16 PM · #13
Kees, I believe Tamron have a new 200-600 lens, is that correct? I seem to remember it from a year or 2 back and when in Cambridge with a friend he had a D800 and put that beast on the front of it and was very impressed with it, light, fast af and good results, have a look around mate.
12/06/2015 05:28:10 PM · #14
Originally posted by MAK:

Kees, I believe Tamron have a new 200-600 lens, is that correct? I seem to remember it from a year or 2 back and when in Cambridge with a friend he had a D800 and put that beast on the front of it and was very impressed with it, light, fast af and good results, have a look around mate.

Thanks MAK. I can find a Tamron 200-500mm and a Tamron 150-600mm. Any idea which one you're talking about?
12/06/2015 05:52:26 PM · #15
Originally posted by Kroburg:

Originally posted by MAK:

Kees, I believe Tamron have a new 200-600 lens, is that correct? I seem to remember it from a year or 2 back and when in Cambridge with a friend he had a D800 and put that beast on the front of it and was very impressed with it, light, fast af and good results, have a look around mate.

Thanks MAK. I can find a Tamron 200-500mm and a Tamron 150-600mm. Any idea which one you're talking about?


hahaha typical... I do think it was the 600mm end that made me go WOW so must be the 150-600, they both look the same to me .... I remember it had just come out and was getting very decent reviews.

Message edited by author 2015-12-06 17:56:46.
12/06/2015 06:32:37 PM · #16
Originally posted by backdoorhippie:

I would recommend upgrading to the Sigma 150-600mm Sport. The 150-600mm Contemporary isn't as good


All the reviews i read of Sport vs Contemporary versions of these lenses concluded they have very similar IQ with Sport beung much more ruggedly built and has a wider manual focus ring. Thus Sport version targeted to professional sport/wildlife shooters and contemporary for regular folks/enthusiasts who don't beat up their gear.
12/11/2015 06:16:46 AM · #17
Originally posted by snaffles:

fwiw...here's my ex-bf shot at 420mm (300mm f4 and tc)Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_990525.jpg I've never noticed any vignetting with this lens or lens/tc combo, but I'm not shooting ff.


Full frame vs crop is apples and oranges for vignetting. You'd be amazed. I'd encourage the OP to find FF examples online before purchase.
12/11/2015 08:25:35 AM · #18
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Originally posted by snaffles:

fwiw...here's my ex-bf shot at 420mm (300mm f4 and tc)Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_990525.jpg I've never noticed any vignetting with this lens or lens/tc combo, but I'm not shooting ff.


Full frame vs crop is apples and oranges for vignetting. You'd be amazed. I'd encourage the OP to find FF examples online before purchase.

OP?
12/11/2015 02:17:04 PM · #19
Originally posted by Kroburg:

Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Originally posted by snaffles:

fwiw...here's my ex-bf shot at 420mm (300mm f4 and tc)Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_990525.jpg I've never noticed any vignetting with this lens or lens/tc combo, but I'm not shooting ff.


Full frame vs crop is apples and oranges for vignetting. You'd be amazed. I'd encourage the OP to find FF examples online before purchase.

OP?


Original poster. I just say that because some of the combinations of lenses and teleconverters are known to cause pretty substantial vignetting. Note that I'm not saying THIS particular combo would, but just that it's something to keep in mind, especially because you'll be wanting to shoot closer to wide open due to the increased f/stop.
12/11/2015 02:34:19 PM · #20
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Originally posted by Kroburg:

Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Originally posted by snaffles:

fwiw...here's my ex-bf shot at 420mm (300mm f4 and tc)Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_990525.jpg I've never noticed any vignetting with this lens or lens/tc combo, but I'm not shooting ff.


Full frame vs crop is apples and oranges for vignetting. You'd be amazed. I'd encourage the OP to find FF examples online before purchase.

OP?


Original poster. I just say that because some of the combinations of lenses and teleconverters are known to cause pretty substantial vignetting. Note that I'm not saying THIS particular combo would, but just that it's something to keep in mind, especially because you'll be wanting to shoot closer to wide open due to the increased f/stop.
n
Thanks for the advise, Derek. Will check before deciding. And thanks for that compatibility chart as well, really comes in handy.
12/22/2015 08:13:16 PM · #21
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM is best len's. buy this len's, you will picture good always.
12/23/2015 01:01:08 PM · #22
LOL. hopefully you buy the version that includes a Canon body as well.

Originally posted by RussianMasterPhotographer:

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM is best len's. buy this len's, you will picture good always.
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