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  1. #1
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    Question Sigma 17-70 vs Nikon 16-85 vs Nikon 18-140 for D7100

    Hey everyone. Just picked up a 7100 body after selling my 5100 and its kit lens after 2 1/2 years.

    I'm now stuck on what lens I should pick up for my 7100. I'm currently left with only the 40mm f/2.8 so I need another lens to go along with my 7100.

    I'm debating on these 3:


    • Sigma 17-70 2.8-4 C
    • Nikon 16-85
    • Nikon 18-140


    Money isn't a playing factor in deciding between these 3 so it's just really on which one I should get.
    I'm in New York so my photos are focused mainly on the city and portrait/body shots. I'm not a professional photographer so I don't go to weddings to shoot or anything like that. I travel to places here and there with my girlfriend so I like to have my camera for those occasions as well.

    I heard the Sigma has some focusing issue with the edge being pretty soft.
    Heard the 16-85 was rather slow and haven't really heard anything bad about the 18-140 so I'm leaning towards that one at the moment.

    Would like to hear from you guys what you would recommend.
    I will be picking up prime lens later next year, I just need a overall good general zoom lens for the time being as I don't want to be stuck with just a focal length if I was to get a prime lens now. I'm someone who likes to take pictures using a zoom rather than having to move my feet to the proper location.

    I'm also aiming to get the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 but since it's $800 I'll properly hold off til next year. Or should I skip the other lens and just save up for the Sigma 18-35? Heard it's been having some focusing issues so I'm a bit reluctant to get it right now.
    Last edited by OpticPlanet; 12-26-2013 at 09:24 AM.



  2. #2
    KmH
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    I would say - none of the above - and instead recommend the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D IF AF Zoom Nikkor Lens

    The AF 24-85 mm also has a switchable 1:2 Macro (very close focus) capability I often found useful when out shooting general type shots.
    . . . . . . Keith . . . . . . .How Do I Use My Digital SLR?...
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    Quote Originally Posted by KmH View Post
    I would say - none of the above - and instead recommend the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D IF AF Zoom Nikkor Lens

    The AF 24-85 mm also has a switchable 1:2 Macro (very close focus) capability I often found useful when out shooting general type shots.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be going to B&H next week so I'll have to try that out on my 7100.

    Aside from that, what other lens would you recommend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OpticPlanet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KmH View Post
    I would say - none of the above - and instead recommend the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D IF AF Zoom Nikkor Lens

    The AF 24-85 mm also has a switchable 1:2 Macro (very close focus) capability I often found useful when out shooting general type shots.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be going to B&H next week so I'll have to try that out on my 7100.

    Aside from that, what other lens would you recommend?
    My recommendation is going to be very close to what KmH has recommended.

    My recommendation is the Nikon 24-85mm VR.
    Mind you this lens is a little different then the one KmH recommended, this one is slightly slower but is more modern and has a vibration reduction.

    I have the D7100 and the 24-85mm VR is my every day lens, it very sharp and has a very useful focal length.
    It is the Nikon D600/D610 kit lens and if you ever decided in the future to move to a full frame camera you will have a lens to use on it.
    Cameras: 1. Nikon D7100 2. Canon G15
    Lenses: 1. Nikon 18-55mm VR 2. Nikon 24-70mm 2.8G 3. Nikon 60mm 2.8G Macro 4. Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC 5. Nikon 85mm 1.8G
    My photography site:
    http://amirphotos.weebly.com/
    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/99808372@N06/

  5. #5
    No longer a newbie, moving up!
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    Cameta Camera has refirbished 24-85 vrs for around $300. If your considering that lens.

  6. #6
    JCE
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    Bumping this thread, specifically looking at either the nikkor 16-85 or the sigma 17-70. I have no interest in other lenses for my particular need.

    I have reservations about going with the Sigma instead of the Nikon product. I have always used Nikon or Canon brand lenses, and though I know the horror stories about third party lenses going around the internet I am not sure the chance of this is something I need to worry about.

    All else being equal, I am tempted to go with the Sigma because of cheaper cost/faster aperture, except for this potential quality reason. Does anybody have any experience with this lens, or Sigma lenses in general where performance has been a problem? Thanks.

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    I spend too much of my life on TPF!
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    To be perfectly honest, if you think the 16-85mm is too slow (and I certainly did: I sold it), then the 17-70 is going to have some pretty similar drawbacks as well.

    If speed is your concern, and you're in the price-range of $500, then consider a 17-50mm f2.8 lens.
    Bodies: | Nikon D5200 |
    Lenses: | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 | Nikon 85mm 1.8G | Nikon 50mm 1.8G| Nikon 70-300mm VR |
    Flash: | Nikon SB-700 |

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    I never had focus issues with the sigma. It was a great little lens.
    Equipment: Flickr
    Nikon D600 | Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC, 70-200mm f/2.8 VC, Nikon 70-300mm VR, 85mm f/1.8G | SB-700, YN-560II
    A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

  9. #9
    JCE
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulWog View Post
    To be perfectly honest, if you think the 16-85mm is too slow (and I certainly did: I sold it), then the 17-70 is going to have some pretty similar drawbacks as well.

    If speed is your concern, and you're in the price-range of $500, then consider a 17-50mm f2.8 lens.
    Funny you should say because the 17-50 was the only other lens I was considering for a walkaround. Having that 2.8 through the whole range would be nice, but I want the zoom of 70 or 85 so I have tried to put it out of my head. Thanks for putting making me think about it again.

    One thing that is tempting is the 77mm filter size on the 17-50. I have a 10-24 Nikkor and it is 77, so not having to buy two sets of filters is appealing.

    I was pretty much set on getting the 16-85, but I have read several reviews on the Sigma and it seems it is at least as good or better in overall picture quality.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCE View Post
    Funny you should say because the 17-50 was the only other lens I was considering for a walkaround. Having that 2.8 through the whole range would be nice, but I want the zoom of 70 or 85 so I have tried to put it out of my head. Thanks for putting making me think about it again.

    One thing that is tempting is the 77mm filter size on the 17-50. I have a 10-24 Nikkor and it is 77, so not having to buy two sets of filters is appealing.

    I was pretty much set on getting the 16-85, but I have read several reviews on the Sigma and it seems it is at least as good or better in overall picture quality.
    There's no such thing as a do-it-all lens. You're sacrificing something at some point: speed, bokeh, close focusing capabilities, range of zoom, etc. The best thing you can do is select a lens that fits your needs as a photographer. For someone such as myself, I prefer having lenses that fit a specific purpose and work with my other lenses as a team.

    I think you might be getting hung up on that 50-70mm range that you think you're going to be missing out on.

    My opinion: if you're doing walk-around photography, the 17-50mm is more than sufficient. You can't get that quick f2.8 aperture at 50mm on the other lenses, and that's a much bigger difference than anything else. I think you'll be kicking yourself if you don't go with a 17-50 over the other choices (based on what you've mentioned and deliberated on so far).

    I find DSLR's are big enough that I don't just "bring one with me" for a walk. I bring a camera bag, or a messenger bag, or a backpack, or my car is nearby, or my hotel room is nearby. So, I have at least a couple lenses with me. That means if I were to have a 17-50, and I really felt I wanted a longer length, I'd have the 70-300 or the 85mm 1.8G alongside that lens as well. I had the 16-85mm by the way... didn't like it (that really isn't to say that you won't though). Just a thought.
    Bodies: | Nikon D5200 |
    Lenses: | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 | Nikon 85mm 1.8G | Nikon 50mm 1.8G| Nikon 70-300mm VR |
    Flash: | Nikon SB-700 |

  11. #11
    JCE
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulWog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JCE View Post
    Funny you should say because the 17-50 was the only other lens I was considering for a walkaround. Having that 2.8 through the whole range would be nice, but I want the zoom of 70 or 85 so I have tried to put it out of my head. Thanks for putting making me think about it again.

    One thing that is tempting is the 77mm filter size on the 17-50. I have a 10-24 Nikkor and it is 77, so not having to buy two sets of filters is appealing.

    I was pretty much set on getting the 16-85, but I have read several reviews on the Sigma and it seems it is at least as good or better in overall picture quality.
    There's no such thing as a do-it-all lens. You're sacrificing something at some point: speed, bokeh, close focusing capabilities, range of zoom, etc. The best thing you can do is select a lens that fits your needs as a photographer. For someone such as myself, I prefer having lenses that fit a specific purpose and work with my other lenses as a team.

    I think you might be getting hung up on that 50-70mm range that you think you're going to be missing out on.

    My opinion: if you're doing walk-around photography, the 17-50mm is more than sufficient. You can't get that quick f2.8 aperture at 50mm on the other lenses, and that's a much bigger difference than anything else. I think you'll be kicking yourself if you don't go with a 17-50 over the other choices (based on what you've mentioned and deliberated on so far).

    I find DSLR's are big enough that I don't just "bring one with me" for a walk. I bring a camera bag, or a messenger bag, or a backpack, or my car is nearby, or my hotel room is nearby. So, I have at least a couple lenses with me. That means if I were to have a 17-50, and I really felt I wanted a longer length, I'd have the 70-300 or the 85mm 1.8G alongside that lens as well. I had the 16-85mm by the way... didn't like it (that really isn't to say that you won't though). Just a thought.
    What didn't you like about the 16-85?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCE View Post
    What didn't you like about the 16-85?
    The biggest thing for me was that it was slow. I always prefer shots between f1.8 and f2.8 with 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm primes.

    The lens was decent for 16mm shots when I needed that. Occasionally when I wanted a slower shot between 24mm and 85mm, the lens was good as well. However, it wasn't that do-it-all walk-around lens that many chock it up to be. I used it like a prime lens: it was on my camera for special purposes only, and it wasn't on my camera very often. I found the 35mm 1.8G was far more versatile, and made a better walk-around lens overall. You lose the 16mm end, and you lose the 60-85mm end, but you just can't substitute a fast aperture. For me, legs + a good focal length & fast aperture makes for a much better walk-around solution than a slow zoom lens.

    The bokeh on the 16-85mm, which you can't produce easily, sometimes is quite busy as well. At 70-85mm it's entirely fine, but I have some shots of my girlfriend at the beach in which the background is so terribly distracting (in the 16mm-50mm range).

    Overall, I think the 16-85mm makes for an excellent lens only if it fits your needs. If you live in Hawaii or somewhere really bright & by the beach all the time, I can see it being quite useful. You might actually not want to make your background melt in the shots, and you'll get a quick shutter speed with proper exposure all the way to f11 and so on, on many of the days. I loved the lens at the beach on sunny days.

    So to sum it up, the 16-85mm (and this would ring true for the 18-105, 18-140, and 17-70) doesn't work for me because:
    1) It's too slow.
    2) It's not on my camera as a do-it-all lens. It's on my camera as a 16mm, a 70-85mm, and occasionally inbetween if I haven't already switched a prime in.

    I know I'm being long-winded, and if I cared to edit up my response I could make everything I'm saying much more concise... but I'll just end with a couple more points/suggestions. It is my personal belief a hobbyist DSLR user who wants impressive shots should select lenses that get the job done extremely well. That means if you want a walk-around lens, get a 17-50mm on DX, or a 24-70mm on FX (or at least an f4 constant 24-85mm on FX -- since f4 on FX has a shallower dof than f4 on DX). If you need a wide shot, get a wide lens. If you need a telephoto shot, get a telephoto lens. If you need a fast shot, get a prime lens. If you need a walk-around lens, get a constant f2.8 lens. That's how I view things, at least for myself.
    Last edited by PaulWog; 02-22-2014 at 09:05 PM.
    Bodies: | Nikon D5200 |
    Lenses: | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 | Nikon 85mm 1.8G | Nikon 50mm 1.8G| Nikon 70-300mm VR |
    Flash: | Nikon SB-700 |

  13. #13
    JCE
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulWog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JCE View Post
    What didn't you like about the 16-85?
    The biggest thing for me was that it was slow. I always prefer shots between f1.8 and f2.8 with 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm primes.

    The lens was decent for 16mm shots when I needed that. Occasionally when I wanted a slower shot between 24mm and 85mm, the lens was good as well. However, it wasn't that do-it-all walk-around lens that many chock it up to be. I used it like a prime lens: it was on my camera for special purposes only, and it wasn't on my camera very often. I found the 35mm 1.8G was far more versatile, and made a better walk-around lens overall. You lose the 16mm end, and you lose the 60-85mm end, but you just can't substitute a fast aperture. For me, legs + a good focal length & fast aperture makes for a much better walk-around solution than a slow zoom lens.

    The bokeh on the 16-85mm, which you can't produce easily, sometimes is quite busy as well. At 70-85mm it's entirely fine, but I have some shots of my girlfriend at the beach in which the background is so terribly distracting (in the 16mm-50mm range).

    Overall, I think the 16-85mm makes for an excellent lens only if it fits your needs. If you live in Hawaii or somewhere really bright & by the beach all the time, I can see it being quite useful. You might actually not want to make your background melt in the shots, and you'll get a quick shutter speed with proper exposure all the way to f11 and so on, on many of the days. I loved the lens at the beach on sunny days.

    So to sum it up, the 16-85mm (and this would ring true for the 18-105, 18-140, and 17-70) doesn't work for me because:
    1) It's too slow.
    2) It's not on my camera as a do-it-all lens. It's on my camera as a 16mm, a 70-85mm, and occasionally inbetween if I haven't already switched a prime in.

    I know I'm being long-winded, and if I cared to edit up my response I could make everything I'm saying much more concise... but I'll just end with a couple more points/suggestions. It is my personal belief a hobbyist DSLR user who wants impressive shots should select lenses that get the job done extremely well. That means if you want a walk-around lens, get a 17-50mm on DX, or a 24-70mm on FX (or at least an f4 constant 24-85mm on FX -- since f4 on FX has a shallower dof than f4 on DX). If you need a wide shot, get a wide lens. If you need a telephoto shot, get a telephoto lens. If you need a fast shot, get a prime lens. If you need a walk-around lens, get a constant f2.8 lens. That's how I view things, at least for myself.
    I appreciate you taking the time to give a long detailed response. Your experience and advice is very useful.

    I am not so sure I will miss that speed on the zoom end, if I go with either Sigmas over the 16-85. In specific instances, I think I will miss the extra 20mm zoom from the 17-50 to the 17-70, and I would also miss that extra 15mm if I went with the 70 instead of the 85. I find myself shooting on the wide end mostly, so that is why the 16 is appealing again, even though I lost 2/3 stop compared to the Sigmas. I do have a 10-24, but I don't like to change lenses a lot, or carry around a bag with extra lenses when I am out just tooling around. Most of the time this lens will be used in the day, and if it will be used in low light I will have a tripod and would probably be shooting at smaller apertures anyway....as you write we each have different needs. So, I think I am talking myself into the 16-85, especially since I am just running from $100 by considering the 17-70 and would sacrifice what I really want......wider range. For the 17-50, I am even sacrificing even more range for the same cost, only to gain speed I don't think I will need. Going with the Nikon negates any present or future quality issues with the Sigmas as well, even though I am at the point now that this is not an issue after reading about it some more.

    I want to take your advice and consider this awhile longer before I buy, though. The 16-85 is on sale for another week I think, and I plan to go to the shop next week and check out each of these lenses before I do anything.

    Again I appreciate your reply. Take care.

  14. #14
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    The Bokeh on the 17-70mm at 70mm and f/4 is still pretty decent.

    Equipment: Flickr
    Nikon D600 | Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC, 70-200mm f/2.8 VC, Nikon 70-300mm VR, 85mm f/1.8G | SB-700, YN-560II
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    I have the 16-85 and it is my go to lens. It is sharp and consistent (as normal zooms go). From comparing test results with the 18-140 I would say that the IQ of the 2 from 18-85 is pretty equal, from 16-18, the 16-85 is far superior and from 85-140 the 18-140 definitely has the edge. (just being a smartass) I personally love my little 16-85, it isn't much bigger than a prime and it does the job for me. I have the 18-105 that came with my D7000 and the 16-85 is definitely sharper than the 18-105.
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