DX lens recommendations please

jamiebonline

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
122
Reaction score
21
Location
Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
hi everyone and happy christmas,

so wanting to keep this simple. i am looking for a lens or lenses not to exceed the sum of about 400 dollars.

some points to help:

i own a nikon dx camera with built in focus motor

i can buy primes or zooms or indeed one zoom

i don't want a 50mm prime lens! (75mm equiv on my crop body)

the focal length i would like to cover is from about 24 - 100. This is not exact. Just a guide.

i mostly shoot portraits but sometimes i need more room indoors so 50 is too tight or for group shots. i mostly do individuals and like decent bokeh. from time to time i do street photography.

my camera is not great on high ISO so i think image stabilisation system would be good.

sharpness is important but not an obsession ;) as long as it is noticeably sharper than a kit lens

for the zooms, 2.8 aperture would be great but i would let it go if the lens was still a very good performer.

OK let me know your suggestions, thanks. keep in mind the price. i know it's not much.
 

jaomul

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
5,715
Reaction score
1,552
Location
Cork Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Sigma 17-50mms f2.8 os
 

PaulWog

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,153
Reaction score
188
Location
Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I also think the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS probably fits your needs the best.

Being the enthusiast I am, I would put the idea out of doubling the budget and going with the 18-35 Art.
 
OP
jamiebonline

jamiebonline

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
122
Reaction score
21
Location
Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I also think the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS probably fits your needs the best.

Being the enthusiast I am, I would put the idea out of doubling the budget and going with the 18-35 Art.

35 though is too short. Even 50 on the zoom on dx isnt great...
 

AKUK

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
344
Reaction score
266
Location
Kent, United Kingdom
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
For $400 you're most likely going to have to make a sacrifice in some department or another, mainly in focal range or maximum aperture. Personally I think a zoom is a better bet for your needs, since you shoot groups and sometimes limited for space too. Do you currently own any off camera flash/triggers/light modifiers for your portraiture, or are you solely reliant upon natural light and artificial sources such as lamps and ceiling lights? If you do own OFC then a fast aperture lens isn't necessarily a prime concern, since you can use the flash as your light source.

As for catering to street photography, that all depends on your style. Whether you get in peoples' faces or prefer a more candid approach. One of the best street photographers in the world, Jay Maisel, shoots with a Nikon 70-300mm VR, which is still very much in the "kit lens" category with regard to it's aperture and optical performance. I wouldn't factor street photography in too much, when making a decision on choosing a lens, as portraiture seems to me the mainstay of what you shoot.

"Decent bokeh" is also somewhat subjective. Some love a swirling bokeh. Others hate it with a passion. A lot of the time a "decent bokeh" for portraiture is simply a soft/defocuses background that is non-distracting. For that, focal length is a bigger factor.

As others have suggested, the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS is a versatile lens both for it's wide angle attributes, aperture and stabilization. For classic/beauty portraiture, it won't offer the best facial compression or defocusing of the background.

It's a fraction over budget but, you could maybe look at a used 24-120mm f/4 VR. Not lightning fast but not slow either. It's a constant aperture so handy if you change the focal length and are using manual strobes. A very usable zoom range and certainly will offer better compression of portraiture. The 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR is a similar option.

If you want to rock it old-school, then maybe look at the 35-70mm f/2.8D. A lovely sharp, professional optic that is built like a tank. No VR though, which may or may not be an issue for you. The 70mm will offer a better portrait option but the 35mm may not be wide enough for you either.

Alternatively, if you did decide to go with primes, you could probably pick up a used 85mm f/1.8D and a 35mm f/1.8G for $400. Certainly lots of options out there. Ultimately it going to depend on your photography, what equipment you have available to you and what you feel will work the best.
 

Peeb

Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
3,637
Reaction score
3,270
Location
Oklahoma
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Sigma 17-70 2.8/4 maybe?

Slows down as you get longer, but it has more range.
 

DarkShadow

Birdographer
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
8,789
Reaction score
4,874
Location
Connecticut
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Agree on the 17-70mm.
 

jcdeboever

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2015
Messages
19,357
Reaction score
14,856
Location
Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I really like my 85mm 1.8G. Super sharp lens, nice focal length on a DX body. Great bokeh. In your price range used but if you looked hard enough, should be able to find a new one darn at the $400 range.
 

astroNikon

'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
13,668
Reaction score
3,334
Location
SE Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I think the 17-70 is your best bet

But since you have a in-body focus motor I'll throw out there the Nikon 24-85/2.8-4.0 AF-D lens.
It's an older design lens , though is still being made today and sold as new.
72mm filter threads, builtin macro features.
On the used market they are fairly inexpensive.
And I used it for my main lens on my d7000 and now my d600.
 

DB_Cro

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
430
Reaction score
73
Location
Croatia
Website
www.flickr.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
The original post virtually describes the 17-50 2.8.. (either Sigma or Tamron).
I'd get the 17-70 if ultimate IQ was second to range needed since the 17-50 does a bit better, BUT, 17-70 would be better for portraits.
 
OP
jamiebonline

jamiebonline

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
122
Reaction score
21
Location
Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I think the 17-70 is your best bet

Hi, yes I have seen these for a good price. Do you have one? I can't seem to find out online at what point the widest aperture changes. Is it 2.8 til 50mm and then it changes to 4? Anyone know this? I also wonder how less sharp it is compared to the 17-50? Is it significant?
 
Last edited:

DB_Cro

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
430
Reaction score
73
Location
Croatia
Website
www.flickr.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Both are rather soft at 2.8, but I'd rather shoot a portrait on the 17-50 at 50 & F4 then on the the 17-70 at 70 & 5.6 (to get it in the sweet spot of sharpness).
On most of the lenses with variable aperture the widest aperture ends almost right away. If I remember correctly only the first few 'mm' are at 2.8. 21-22 or so
and hits F/4 before 50mm. It's been a while since I used it.

Someone will confirm this for sure.
 

PaulWog

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,153
Reaction score
188
Location
Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I also think the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS probably fits your needs the best.

Being the enthusiast I am, I would put the idea out of doubling the budget and going with the 18-35 Art.

35 though is too short. Even 50 on the zoom on dx isnt great...

Math.

18-35 f1.8 Art gets about 17 P-MPix. The 17-50mm OS Sigma lens gets about 6 P-MPix.

35mm f1.8 cropped to 50mm will have the depth of field of about f2.8, and will still be much sharper than the 17-50mm at 50mm.

If reach is your concern, the 17-70 f2.8-4 makes more sense for sure.
 

DB_Cro

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
430
Reaction score
73
Location
Croatia
Website
www.flickr.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
You're doing math with made-up numbers (DxO mark, I assume, the mpix nonsense).

Cropping a 35mm lens won't make it compress facial features like a 50mm lens would or
people would shoot portraits with 50mpix cameras using the 24mm 1.4 lens and "crop in"
to 200mm.. hey.. saves you the 70-200 2.8 money! :D

I don't even like portraits at 50mm on a crop sensor, but 70mm can be rather nice.
 

PaulWog

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,153
Reaction score
188
Location
Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You're doing math with made-up numbers (DxO mark, I assume, the mpix nonsense).

Cropping a 35mm lens won't make it compress facial features like a 50mm lens would or
people would shoot portraits with 50mpix cameras using the 24mm 1.4 lens and "crop in"
to 200mm.. hey.. saves you the 70-200 2.8 money! :D

I don't even like portraits at 50mm on a crop sensor, but 70mm can be rather nice.

I owned the lenses we are talking about here. The distortion at 35mm is going to be less than the 17-50 OS at 50mm. And yes, the 18-35 Art crops *EXTREMELY* well. I did lots of portrait shots with the 18-35 Art. Any lens can be used for portraiture: I use wide, I use long, it depends. Portraiture isn't a long lens-only art form. Speaking specifically to the traditional 85mm to 200mm portraiture range, obviously something like the 17-70 makes more sense.

I now own the D750. I own the 85mm 1.8G. I own the 50mm 1.8G.

I can compare all of these things. The distortion. The pictures. I am making suggestions based on experience, based on handling these lenses, and based on knowing that the numbers on DXOMark compare with the pictures I have taken with the gear (18-35 Art, Sigma 17-50, 50mm 1.8G, 35mm 1.8G).

And yes, the DXOMark numbers translate into real-world performance.
 

Most reactions

Top