Lens Buying Advice

MrRoboto

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Hi everyone, happy to be on this forum and reading so many great threads and advice. I just upgraded to full frame with a Nikon D610. Right now I only have a 50mm in my inventory and I am looking to add at least 2 lenses for a trip to Yosemite valley in two weeks. I love landscapes and this is mostly what I shoot. So obviously a wide angle would be great. But also a telephoto would be nice too because they can be quite handy.

My budget is about 500 so I am considering renting a lens as well. I am interested in the Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 but would like as many options and advice as I can get before buying.

Lastly, what about polarizers and ND filters? Does anyone have recommendations for affordable and really effective ones? I have a B+W polarizer but its a 62mm and may not fit so it may need to be upgraded as well.

Thanks in advance for your time and help.
 

Derrel

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_DSC4900_80200mmf4Nikkor_CROP_sm.jpg _DSC4907.jpg

You now have a full-frame camera. Is the Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 designed for DX? If it is, it might not cover the full frame area. Speaking of which, Nikon cameras can be set to Auto-detect DX lenses that are mounted, OR be set to allow the DX lens to try to cover the FX format area. Quite a few DX wide zooms can cover at least part of the larger 24 x 36mm FX Nikon frame, and it is possible that at some a part of their range, the lens might cover a 5 to 4 aspect (8x10 ratio) of the FX frame, or, maybe even the entire FX frame.

50mm on a D610 is nice. As far as the BEST, single tele zoom on a budget: it is the Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 Ai-S manual focus zoom, with 62mm filter thread size. These are solid, sharp,compact, and under $100. Would work a treat with the B+W polarizer. A great lens for tripod or handheld work on 24MP Nikon FX: I own one, like it, use it for a lot of work, esp. at the beach.

I like tele-landscape shooting. Thre is plenty to see that requires a medium telephoto, not a wide-angle.
 

odagled

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How about a 35-70mm 2.8D? It can be bought for about $300 and it covers a a decent wide angle and telephoto. Another option is to get some AI/AIS primes. You could probably get the 24mm 2.8 AI & 105mm AI for less than $150-$200 each. This way you have 3 primes that cover a wide range.
 

dasmith232

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You asked about polarizers and ND filters. For me, they are essential for landscape work.

Polarizers will reduce glare and help with getting pure colors in natural settings. I don't know if you have experience with polarizers, but it's pretty easy to just turn the rotating part until you get the effect that you like. The direction that you face (relative to the sun position) will affect how it looks. Beware when using a polarizer on a wide angle lens. The effect will not be consistent across the frame. The wider you go, the effect may become unacceptable.

ND's are good for the classic blurring water trick. Also, very dark ND's (like 9- or 10-stop filters) can eliminate people that are walking through the frame. They don't actually disappear, it just seems that way in the photograph.

If you have questions about these techniques, just ask!
 

Rickjs

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As for the ND filters, I am using the Cokin Nuance with a Formatt Hitech 85mm filter system. I have found that I am getting hardly any color cast when doing long exposures
 

fmw

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View attachment 135006 View attachment 135007

You now have a full-frame camera. Is the Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 designed for DX? If it is, it might not cover the full frame area. Speaking of which, Nikon cameras can be set to Auto-detect DX lenses that are mounted, OR be set to allow the DX lens to try to cover the FX format area. Quite a few DX wide zooms can cover at least part of the larger 24 x 36mm FX Nikon frame, and it is possible that at some a part of their range, the lens might cover a 5 to 4 aspect (8x10 ratio) of the FX frame, or, maybe even the entire FX frame.

50mm on a D610 is nice. As far as the BEST, single tele zoom on a budget: it is the Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 Ai-S manual focus zoom, with 62mm filter thread size. These are solid, sharp,compact, and under $100. Would work a treat with the B+W polarizer. A great lens for tripod or handheld work on 24MP Nikon FX: I own one, like it, use it for a lot of work, esp. at the beach.

I like tele-landscape shooting. Thre is plenty to see that requires a medium telephoto, not a wide-angle.

The same optics are available in an AF-D version that you can buy in pristine used condition for around $100. The AIS lens, of course, is better built but you can choose auto focus instead if you like.
 

Solarflare

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The "good" AI Zoom is apparently btw the AI 80-200mm f4.5 "N", not its successor AI-S 80-200mm f4.

Well, at least Ken Rockwell says it is ... and since there arent many sources on such old lenses, Rockwell has to do.

The AI or AI-S 85/2, 105/2.5, 135/2.8 or 135/3.5 are all known excellent glas, though. Theres no optical or functional difference between these AI and AI-S lenses, at least not on modern DSLR.
 

Solarflare

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My favorite, by far, is the 35mm f2 Distagon. You can get them used for about $600. I know they have a 28mm version that is also just as good.
I love my two Zeiss (35/2 and 100/2) to the degree that I think every serious photographer should have one of each, but you are breaking the budget of the OP - with a single lens, and he wants two.

Also I wouldnt state that the 28/2 is not too compareable to the 35/2; the 28 is a lens with strong, dramatic character, caused by its properties as its strongly curved focus plane, which is why its nicknamed "Hollywood". Also it btw tends to be more rare and more expensive on the used market.
 

fmw

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Something every landscape photographer ought to keep in mind. Why you Need a Telephoto Zoom Lens for Landscape Photography

I remember a shoot I did in Death Valley. The client wanted a shot of the dunes against a background of the mountains and wanted the mountains to dominate the frame. I got about a 1/2 mile away from the dunes and made the shot with a 500mm lens. The client was satisfied. The same client wanted a sunrise shot of Badwater (the lowest point of land in the western hemisphere) with the sign dominating the frame. An 18mm wide angle on a 35mm camera did the trick.

I can't think of a focal length I haven't used in landscape shots. As with any kind of photography, the perspective is adjusted with camera to subject distance and the amount of landscape to be framed is adjusted with the choice of lens focal length. I got foreshortening on the dunes shot to bring up the mountains by moving away from the subject. I got depth by shooting a few feet in front of the Badwater sign.
 

nickgillespie

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My favorite, by far, is the 35mm f2 Distagon. You can get them used for about $600. I know they have a 28mm version that is also just as good.
I love my two Zeiss (35/2 and 100/2) to the degree that I think every serious photographer should have one of each, but you are breaking the budget of the OP - with a single lens, and he wants two.

Also I wouldnt state that the 28/2 is not too compareable to the 35/2; the 28 is a lens with strong, dramatic character, caused by its properties as its strongly curved focus plane, which is why its nicknamed "Hollywood". Also it btw tends to be more rare and more expensive on the used market.

True, BUT... personally, I'd rather have 1 really amazing lens than 2 crappy ones. I don't think you can get 2 even decent lenses for $600. You can, however, get really close with $600 to a really amazing lens.
 

Solarflare

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Hmm ? Say what ? Theres plenty of absolutely amazing lenses which are below $600 on the used market.

Out of the top of my head:
Voigtländer Color Skopar 20mm f3.5 - ?? around $400 right now ?? - Mind boggling Voigtländer already stopped producing them again.
AF 24mm f2.8 [D] - ca $250 - Still in production, for IIRC something like $500, but used prices are much lower of course. Apparently some people still prefer this over the newer lenses, even if this is an old style wide angle lens that needs stopping down for sharpness over the whole image area.
Voitgländer Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 - ca $350 - Another lens Cosina stopped producing for no good reason. Due to this, might get much more expensive than right now later. That happened to the Voigtländer APO Lanthar 125mm f2.5 macro, too !
AF 35mm f2 [D] - ca $200 or less - Well, yeah, no its not as good as the Zeiss ... but then, what is ? And it has autofocus over the Zeiss, of course.
Zeiss Classic 50mm f1.4 ZF or ZF.2 - ca $400 - Yes even for Zeiss a 50mm isnt so hard to produce.
Voigtländer Nokton 58mm f1.4 - ca $400 - New its actually $600 now. I love its output, hate manual focus at f1.4 though. At f2.8 its not so bad to focus, but then I can use the next lens ...
AF 60mm f2.8 [D] micro - ca $250 - The autofocus is very moody. But the output, OMG ! I absolutely love that thing. Oh, and I think its still available new.
Nikon E-Series 100mm f2.8 - ?!? - Dont remember but its really cheap too, and possibly the best lens of the E-Series.
Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro - ca $500 new, ca $400 used - Not as good as the Zeiss, no. Certainly also not the same build quality. But its plenty close, and it has autofocus and 1:1 macro without any extension, and its about half as expensive new than the used version of the Makro Planar.
AI or AI-S 105mm f2.5 - ca $130. Man, this is SO much cheaper than my AF 105mm f2 DC, and yet optically mostly as good if not better. Not as good Bokeh though. And no autofocus. Theres a really rare f1.8 version for about $400 around, too.
AI or AI-S 135mm f3.5 - ca $100, I want one of these, but damn they are $&$(&!!! rare. Theres a f2.8 version for a bit more thats also not to frequent.
AF 180mm f2.8 - ca $400, one of the lenses I absolutely would like to have, too.
AF 300mm f4 - ca $400; and the AI/AI-S versions are even cheaper. Not so much at f2.8 though; with 300/2.8, you're apparently stuck at $1000 plus, no matter how old. Well, these lenses ARE amazing.

AI-S 80-200mm f4.5 "N" - ca $50-100 - Really cheap and optically awesome; for a zoom, anyway. Not too fun to use though, its push pull and it breathes air (in and out) when you push pull, despite being internal focus and internal zoom. Also the push pull lever is completely lose, it doesnt stay in place by itself. I think for a landscape shooter this would be an excellent choice, because its really small and lightweight.
AF 70-210 f4 - ca $150 - Well, it has autofocus over the previous entry and, for a zoom, its still great.
 

greybeard

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I have the 12-24 and it is a DX lens but will cover FX from about 17-24. All in all it probably isn't the best choice for your D600. If you are considering ultra wide then you might look into something like a 16-35. and perhaps a 70-300
 

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