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  1. #1
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    Nikkor 17-55 f2.8 Alternatives?

    Ok, so I just got my Tokina 11-16 today and I was pleasantly surprised (borderline shocked) at the build quality and more importantly the IQ. (Light Artisan will testify!) I really hadn't expected this from a 3rd party lens manufacturer.

    I'm planning on selling the 18-105 and picking up something faster and with a bit better IQ. I was originally looking into getting a used Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 (although a bit expensive even used) but having received this Tokina today really has me strongly considering a third party lens for the standard zoom.

    So the question is, are there any third party lenses out there that have the build and IQ in the f/2.8 range. I've seen some from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina but I dont really have an idea of their build or image quality. Any help or tips would be great. The gap I'll be trying to fill will be 16-70 on a crop body. If I'm left with a small gap after the replacement, I think I'd rather it be on the 70mm end.

    Thanks in advance.



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    I am using the sigma 17-50 f2.8 os on my D300s and it is pretty hard to fault. Image quality is great, price is good, build quality is very good. I was not expecting it to as good as it is. I have not owned a Nikon 17 - 55 mm so I can't offer a comparison between the 2.

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    No doubt I would suggest Tamron's 17-50mm f/2.8

    I paid $280 used for mine. I've tested both this lens and the Nikkor version I didn't see much of a difference. The most notable key feature is the sharpness; it just couldn't get any better for the price.
    http://www.kylehessphotography.com

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    Nikon D3 | Nikon D7000 | MB-D11 Grip | Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 AF-S | TC-17E II | Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S | Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 | Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 | SB600 Flash (x2) | Translucent/Reflective Umbrellas | Snoot | Gary Fong Lightsphere Diffuser Kit | 24x24 Softbox | Reflector | Adobe Photoshop CS5 | Lightroom 3

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    The 11-16 is the only tokina lens I own, but the build is really top notch, I think just as good as my canon 70-200. They do make a 16-50 2.8, but i have no experience with it.

    I use a Tamron 17-50 2.8, the build is good, but not quite up to the Tank-like tokina.
    There is also a VC(image stabilized) version. The Tamron Has a noisier, non HSM focus motor, and the focus ring does spin with auto focus, but it actually rather fast and accurate. The image quality is great, it actually surpasses the the quality of the Nikon 17-55 based on lab tests. This is my most often used lens, and I really cant find anything to complain about.

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    I have a used tamron 17-50mm on the way--part of a lot of gear I just bought and was planning on reselling. PM me if you're interested, I can't name a price right now, as I have yet to inspect the condition.

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    Sigma 18-50 f2.8 HSM Macro, compliments my 11-16 very well, sharp lens.
    Regards,
    Light Artisan

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    Thanks for the info everyone. Right now, I think its down to the Tamron and the Tokina. From everything I've read, the Tamron has slightly better IQ than the Tokina, but the Tokina has MUCH better build. I'm just having a hard time getting away from the build and its overall appearance. I saw a flickr page with photos taken only with the Tokina and a lot of them are REAL sharp. I doubt I'd ever even notice a difference between it and a photo taken with the Tamron or Nikkor unless maybe I had the photos side by side and pixel peeping (not practical).

    Also, another plus is that the Tokina takes a 77mm filter which matches the filter size of the 11-16. This way, I'd only need to buy one size if I ever decided to get a polarizer.
    Last edited by mjhoward; 01-20-2011 at 07:07 AM.

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    My understanding is that with a lot of 3rd party glass, so long as you get a good, sharp copy, the IQ will be perfectly satisfactory (and more), especially for the price. Any differences between makes will be small and insignificant, so long as you don't over-think it or make a habit out of photographing brick walls and test charts.

    Short version: If you get a good, sharp Tokina, you will be happy.


    Once you decide, purchase, and shoot, please post a review!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kylehess10 View Post
    No doubt I would suggest Tamron's 17-50mm f/2.8
    That would be my suggestion as well. I used to own a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, which I think is now discontinued (or on its way out). Absolutely fantastic lens for the price get one if you can. I based the decision of buying it on someone's post on this very forum comparing the lens with a couple Canon lenses. The other Tamron (17-50) will obviously give you a much wider angle, but the 28-75 is a full-frame lens so you'd be well-prepared in case you decide to upgrade to a D700 or D800. I paired it with the D700 and was very, very happy until I found a used Nikkor 24-70 for the right price. That being said, the build quality of the Tamron is not on par with the Tokina (which I used to own as well, also an incredible lens you'll be happy out of your mind with it).

    Of the three major third-party lens makers, Tokina is the only one that seems to have a consistent quality-assurance department. With Sigma it's hit and miss (in my personal experience, mostly miss), and with Tamron you should also try before you buy, even if you purchase new but the chances of getting a good copy are way higher than with Sigma (in my experience, of course).

    Some reading:
    Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) (Nikon) - Review / Lab Test Report
    Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 SP XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
    Sigma AF 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC macro - Review / Lab Test Report

    Good luck with your search.
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    I have a Nikon 17-55.. I got it as an upgrade from the Tamron 17-50. (can't comment on the Sigma version, haven't used it) I have to say the IQ of the Tamron is nearly as good as the Nikon when it's stopped down a little, softer wide open, which isn't a big surprise, but there were a couple other big reasons I felt the need to upgrade.

    1. is the focus speed. The Tamron just plain sucks in this dept. I got sick of how long it took to lock on to something. Moving objects were difficult, and the focus motor is noisy too.
    2. is the Tamron just feels cheap. It's plasticky and one piece actually fell off on mine at one point. The hood didn't stay on very well and was eventually lost at a convention. I have had no such issues with my Nikon. Worth the extra price IMO. Fast, quiet focus, sharp at all f-stops. Built like a tank.

 

 

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