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Sigma 17-70 vs Nikon 16-85 vs Nikon 18-140 for D7100

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by OpticPlanet, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. OpticPlanet

    OpticPlanet TPF Noob!

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    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: Dec 26, 2013
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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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.
     
  3. OpticPlanet

    OpticPlanet TPF Noob!

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    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?
     
  4. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    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.
     
  5. Tarazed

    Tarazed TPF Noob!

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    Cameta Camera has refirbished 24-85 vrs for around $300. If your considering that lens.
     
  6. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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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.
     
  7. PaulWog

    PaulWog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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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.
     
  8. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I never had focus issues with the sigma. It was a great little lens.
     
  9. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    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. :D

    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. PaulWog

    PaulWog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    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.
     
  11. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    What didn't you like about the 16-85?
     
  12. PaulWog

    PaulWog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    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: Feb 22, 2014
  13. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    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. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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

    [​IMG]
     
  15. greybeard

    greybeard No longer a newbie, moving up!

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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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