Looking for some advice for expanding my glass

Discussion in 'Nikon Accessories' started by rhyno214, May 11, 2016.

  1. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    I have really been wanting to improve my kit a little and really need some help.

    I will have about $900 to spend and am looking to get some really good glass (good for that price range at least). My current kit: D7100, Nikon 35mm 1.8 (DX), and Tokina 100mm Micro, and a cheap Nikon 55-200.

    I usually just shoot whatever I can, be it people, things, landscapes, or what have you. However, I am trying to get into taking portraits and senior pictures. I have had some people already ask me to take their pictures and they have been happy with what I have produced and I have a ton of fun doing it.

    My question to you is what would be a really good next step in lenses? I plan to upgrade to a full frame at some point when I have the money, but that is a ways away. The lenses that I have been looking at have been the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art (I love my 35mm and use it constantly), Nikon 85mm 1.8G, Tamron 24-70, and Tamron 70-200. The Tamrons are usually out of my price range, but I found a great deal that makes them possible for me to purchase.

    My 100mm Tokina works really well for portraits and headshots, but I feel limited when I need to reach out far for sports. The 55-200 I have is better, but its really slow for anything not in the day. The 35mm is constantly in use inside because of its speed, but it is not the greatest quality and was purchased second hand (has some artifacts in the lens). Do you find the 35mm to be a really useful length on a crop sensor for people shots? I love the idea of really investing in a professional quality 35mm unless my money would be better spend elsewhere.

    I hope all of that made sense and I can't wait to hear your suggestions!

    Thanks!


     
  2. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    I am also thinking about the Sigma 18-35 1.8
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Somebody in TPF turned me on to this post a couple of weeks ago, and it is well,well worth the time to stop by and read and think about.

    The Problem with Modern Optics

    I've bought a lot of lenses over the last 30 years, and have looked at a few million photos...I've become very interested in lens rendering and lens drawing issues over the past fifteen years or so. I've noticed recently that a couple of third-party lens makers have suddenly elevated their lens test scores from the bottom of the heap to right near the top of the heap...and that the PICTURES I'm seeing from those lenses are often harsh, and or 'ugly', with very hard renderings and harsh, nervous bokeh. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART lens is one of the specific lenses I'm talking about...very high performing on test charts, but very harsh bokeh on natural-world things like foliage, plants, and so on. The NIKKOR 85/1.8 F-S G is similar...flat and non-3D rendering,an uber-sharp but very sterile lens rendering, nothing at all like the two, older 85mm AF or AF-D models...just a flat, uber-sharp, sterile, characterless rendering--which elevates the 35 ART, and the two Nikon 85mm G-series lens right up near the very,very top of the "test chart sharpness" results on DxO Mark's web site for the D800.

    I really think for PEOPLE, that some of the older Nikon lenses are superior to these new, test-chart-optimized lenses. Again...look at the web article above...some of the older Nikon lenses were designed for more of a three-dimensional feeling, in a pre-world wide web era....back when lenses were bought based off of something different from web-based lens resolution test scores. Look at the way the 35 f/2 AF-D Nikkor actually "draws" a person, in the article above...it's been my favorite semi-wide lens for 15 years or so. My 85mm /1.4 AF-D is far prettier than my new 85/1.8-G. As for the applicability as "people" lenses, it seems like the majority of the very newest lenses are going in the exact, wrong direction: test chart scores as Priority # 1. Ultra-high sharpness, ultra-saturated color, and dimension-less, uber-perfected lens design...

    Instead of new lenses, I would look for older designs that have prettier bokeh, better drawing style,and lower prices. Consider that aspherical lens designs in common lens designs serve mostly to boost test chart scores, but do not do much to make prettier, softer, more-rounded photos. 50mm,35mm and 85mm 1.8 AF-D models; the 105/2.5 or 105 DC, 135DC, 80-200/2.8 AF-S lenses for specific examples.

    Full-frame cameras bring the Nikkor lens lineup back to where the vast majority of it was aimed at: the working distances and the uses of the 24 x 36mm format.

    The Thousand and One Nights | Nikkor.com

    NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights: Tale 32: - Medium telephoto lens pursuing high-quality defocusing - Ai AF DC Nikkor 135mm F2S by OHSHITA, Kouichi

    NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights: Tale 30: - High-speed medium telephoto lens - Ai Nikkor 135mm F2 by OHSHITA, Kouichi

    NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights: Tale 10: - Made the ED lens more accessible - AI Nikkor ED 180mm F2.8S by OHSHITA, Kouichi

    NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights: Tale 5: - Best-selling mid-range telescopic lens - AI Nikkor 105mm F2.5 By Haruo Sato

    None of these lens designer/lens profiles mention test chart scores or line pairs per millimeter or DxO Mark scores.

    It's interesting how positive Kirk Tuck has become about an old 1980's lens, after buying himself a new (older) Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S lens...
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
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  4. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    That's a super awesome article! It makes so much sense and I find myself completely agreeing. I really really like the 85mm d lens and the 80-200 lens. I could actually possibly swing both... Would that be worthwhile? or is the 80-200 enough?
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S, the lens made 1999-2003 WAS Nikon's top professional zoom. Not the 80-200 One-ring models, and not the 80-200 two-ring; the 80-200 AF-S has a nice image rendering characteristic for people work.

    If you drill down into that fellow's influences, you'll find some interesting stuff regarding prime lenses verus zoom lenses, and how they differ in the way they render/draw scenes.

    A person CAN get by with an 80-200 and no prime lenses; many people do. But there are some fantastic prime lenses available, ones that are really nice for portraiture, weddings, social photography, and so on. The basic issue is: How do the ***pictures*** actually look? We've gotten to a point now where the newest lenses have been sooooooo optimized for close-range, test-chart scoring that the images I'm seeing now look very hard-edged, very "flat", very much optically perfected...the photos are suffering in many cases.

    I just wanted to plant the seed that it is not necessary to go all-new, and to spend thousands of dollars on band-new, cutting-edge, test chart-optimized lenses, especially for an old mount like Nikon F. A good case in point is the new 60mm and 105mm Micro~Nikkor macro lenses....uggh...these things jack up every shot they record. They are like Sliders to 10.
     
  6. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    I have a buddy of mine who uses the 85mm d almost exclusively and he really loves it. I really love having prime lenses and am really considering the 85mm... I also think that I might purchase a super wide zoom like the tokina 11-17 with the extra cash to hit those low lengths that I can't hit with the 35 and get more into landscapes.

    I am an engineer by trade and can be obsessed with pouring over data and I think that has clouded my perspective. That article really opened my eyes!
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Data has become the new way that the lens making companies are marketing their products now that we are well, well into the internet and we era. A couple weeks ago, Thom Hogan mentioned that he thinks Nikon's new lenses are performing better in the real world than their Modulation Transfer Function graphs would indicate. Much test chart work is done at pretty close distances, indoors, under ideal conditions. it's one thing to see how well a lens can resolve closely-spaced black lines on white paper, but another thing entirely to know how well the lens can shoot toward the sun , or a studio strobe shining toward the lens front, or how bad the onion bokeh caused by aspherical lens elements makes OOF point light sources look during the entire Christmas lights season. NONE of those issues are ever translated into "data" on chart results.

    One of the biggest issues we have in the internet era is the fanboy posts about how "awesome" a new lens is. We see a buyer get a new lens, and LOVE it to death on-line....even if it happens to be the very first lens of its type that the new person has ever owned.

    "The only way to really know a lens is to shoot it for a year." A quote attributed do Dr. Walter Mandler, a famous Ernst Leitz lens designer.
     
  8. KC1

    KC1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you get a super sharp test grid lens, can 't the softening be done in post to at least some extent easier than getting a super sharp image from an older softer lens in post?
    So isn't a newer lens the better choice for the option of having super sharp or softened images from one source, if one is on a budget?
    I am asking it as a question, I don't know what the answer is.
     
  9. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    The point of the older lenses is not in the softness it produces, it is in how the lens produces micro contrast. That micro contrast is what gives a lens that "pop" that gives it character. In order to achieve this, however, sharpness sometimes has to be traded off. The problem as I see it is that people always want the newest and best and the highest specs, but that doesn't always produce art, it just produces an image.

    I say all this as if I know anything, but I am a not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, so take that with a grain of salt.
     
  10. rhyno214

    rhyno214 TPF Noob!

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    Well as it turns out, I went a completely different way XD. I was so enamored by the article, that I went back to my film camera and after playing with it, remembered how much fun it is! So... I ended up purchasing a used Mamiya 645 for $350 and am gonna try my hand at some medium format photography...
     
  11. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera manufacturers have been making great lenses for a long time. I still have a few Leicas sitting around that I can't seem to let go of even though I no longer use them. I have one Leica that was made in 1935 with three lenses. The images are outstanding. In fact, the 35mm wide angle lens blows the doors off any 35mm lens ever made for an SLR. The lens mounted on my Cambo view camera in the avatar is a 1950's era 135mm Schneider. The optical performance is outstanding by anybody's measure.

    My favorite SLR lens of all time is the Nikkor AF 18mm f2.8D. I was always very impressed with how well it corrects barrel distortion at such a short focal length while maintaining excellent contrast. It is an incredible lens for photographing interiors. I'm not sure when it was released but I'm pretty sure no wide angle zoom exists that can perform like this one does. I'm sure that there are similar fixed lenses from other manufacturers that can compete with the Nikkor but certainly no zooms.

    In short, lenses don't have to be current designs to render great images. There are certainly meaningful and obvious advantages to fixed lenses even in this age of zoom lenses.
     
  12. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you want 3D rendering Leica do it best

    Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
     

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