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  1. #1
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    I need help making up my mind. As many of you know, I am in the process of building my kit and looking toward retirement.

    To that end I have settled on the Nikon D7100 (after things settle a bit), thought seriously about going FX but realized DX was a better fit.
    Now to my problem, after a lot of looking I am down to two contenders. The Nikon 16-85 VR and the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 HSM. Both are currently on sale at significant savings and cost difference between them is $5.

    Sigma has faster lens (f2.8) better DXO Mark, but less range on both wide and telephoto end, and the customer reviews aren't as good as the Nikon.

    Nikon has better range and far better customer reviews, but slower and variable aperture, and DXO scores aren't really any better than the kit lenses.

    Thoughts or recommendations anyone? The Sigma is on sale thru the 17th, but I have until 30 Mar to pop on the Nikon.

    EDIT: To tell the truth I would go for the Nikon without hesitating if it weren't for the DXO Mark scores. Thom Hogan says its significantly better than the kit lenses (on the other hand the Sigma 17-50 is in his bag) and customer reviews are almost 100% positive on the Nikon.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  2. #2
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
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    What do you shoot mostly? What else do you have in your kit?
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  3. #3
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
    What do you shoot mostly? What else do you have in your kit?
    Not sure how that figures into choosing between these two lenses, but will furnish the info. Will edit this post to add it.

    EDIT: My current kit includes

    Several P&S cameras

    Nikon D5000
    SB400 Flash
    Manfrotto Tripod and Ballhead
    18-55 kit lens
    55-200 kit lens
    70-300mm AFS VR
    18-200mm AFS VR
    35mm f1.8
    11-16mm f2.8 Tokina

    Main interests are landscapes (especially lowlight)
    Wildlife (birds, bugs etc)
    Casual Portraiture
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  4. #4
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
    Not sure how that figures into choosing between these two lenses, but will furnish the info. Will edit this post to add it.

    EDIT: My current kit includes

    Several P&S cameras

    Nikon D5000
    SB400 Flash
    Manfrotto Tripod and Ballhead
    18-55 kit lens
    55-200 kit lens
    70-300mm AFS VR
    18-200mm AFS VR
    35mm f1.8
    11-16mm f2.8 Tokina

    Main interests are landscapes (especially lowlight)
    Wildlife (birds, bugs etc)
    Casual Portraiture
    I ask because of the focal ranges. The two that you listed cover wide angle to Portrait. When I buy glass I want to make sure it's not overlapping with what I already have. Unless it is better at that focal length.

    No Macro lens?

    I would go with the Sigma because of low-light situations. Another option: Nikkor AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED. Replaces your kit lens in that range a little bit better than the Sigma.
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  5. #5
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
    I ask because of the focal ranges. The two that you listed cover wide angle to Portrait. When I buy glass I want to make sure it's not overlapping with what I already have. Unless it is better at that focal length.

    No Macro lens?

    I would go with the Sigma because of low-light situations.
    Macro decision is later.

    Lowlight is part of why I am leaning Sigma (that and Thom Hogan shoots it), plus it reads as significantly sharper in DXO Mark.
    On the other-hand I seriously consider user reviews. It is a major disconnect that the test scores say one thing, but people who own the Nikon say the opposite.

    EDIT: The reason for deciding now is I have had my eye on the Sigma for a year and it finally went on sale.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  6. #6
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
    Macro decision is later.

    Lowlight is part of why I am leaning Sigma (that and Thom Hogan shoots it), plus it reads as significantly sharper in DXO Mark.
    On the other-hand I seriously consider user reviews. It is a major disconnect that the test scores say one thing, but people who own the Nikon say the opposite.
    If it were me. I would see if I could rent them both out and test them side by side. A little more of a hassle but at least you won't be wasting hundreds of dollars and regretting it later.
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  7. #7
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
    If it were me. I would see if I could rent them both out and test them side by side. A little more of a hassle but at least you won't be wasting hundreds of dollars and regretting it later.
    An excellent recommendation in other circumstances. But the major kick against Sigma is sample-to-sample variation. If true I could rent and love one and then buy and end up with a lemon.
    I really don't want to get into testing and returning lenses looking for a good one, which is why I am interested in the Nikon, since it seems to be uniformly praised.

    Just can't get my head around the poor DXO scores on the 16-85 AFS lens. That is the only thing that keeps me from buying the Nikon and moving on with life.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
    An excellent recommendation in other circumstances. But the major kick against Sigma is sample-to-sample variation. If true I could rent and love one and then buy and end up with a lemon.
    I really don't want to get into testing and returning lenses looking for a good one, which is why I am interested in the Nikon, since it seems to be uniformly praised.

    Just can't get my head around the poor DXO scores on the 16-85 AFS lens. That is the only thing that keeps me from buying the Nikon and moving on with life.
    just my tuppenth worth here, as a photographer.

    DXO is a benchmark program, very technical and has no....whats the word for it "soul" is the closest i can come up with. Its good that you take note of the dxo score but listen more to the people who have them and use them. Practical use experience will always outweigh lab tests. If this lens is "uniformly praised" in the nikon community, then listen to them... that praise comes from practical usage not from a synthetic enviroment.


    just my tuppenth worth
    (btw i shoot canon so i know squat )
    I'm the idiot behind the camera that just presses the button.
    self confessed animalhugger
    http://www.awsphotography.co.uk/

  9. #9
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWSPhotography View Post
    just my tuppenth worth here, as a photographer.

    DXO is a benchmark program, very technical and has no....whats the word for it "soul" is the closest i can come up with. Its good that you take note of the dxo score but listen more to the people who have them and use them. Practical use experience will always outweigh lab tests. If this lens is "uniformly praised" in the nikon community, then listen to them... that praise comes from practical usage not from a synthetic enviroment.


    just my tuppenth worth
    (btw i shoot canon so i know squat )
    Thanks,
    That is precisely the type of input I am looking for (even from Canon shooters). Being a cheapskate I didn't want to pay $600 for a lens that was no better (in terms of sharpness) than my 18-55 kit lens.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  10. #10
    if you are on about sharpness, its very very rare that a kit lens outperforms a non kit lens.
    and wherever you can stick with brand glass (nikkor for you). Dont get me wrong sigma is very very good and for the price diff is amazing, but it all comes down to how much your willing to invest in your photography.

    I had a sigma 150-500 which i bought for about 600 and was extreamly impressed with it.... untill i bought my 2nd hand ef600mm (5.8k)... you get what you pay for... however within the price bracket you set yourself its always good to get feedback from your camera community on any of the lenses you are looking at ... Thats the best way not to wind up with a lemon
    I'm the idiot behind the camera that just presses the button.
    self confessed animalhugger
    http://www.awsphotography.co.uk/

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
    EDIT: To tell the truth I would go for the Nikon without hesitating if it weren't for the DXO Mark scores. Thom Hogan says its significantly better than the kit lenses (on the other hand the Sigma 17-50 is in his bag) and customer reviews are almost 100% positive on the Nikon.
    this is what you need to look for
    I'm the idiot behind the camera that just presses the button.
    self confessed animalhugger
    http://www.awsphotography.co.uk/

  12. #12
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    Doug b's Avatar
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    I've used the Nikon 16-85VR and don't like it much, as I find its uses fairly minimal. It doesn't suit my style of "casual" shooting, as it doesn't offer much or any shallow depth of field. This hurts portraits obviously, and for the money better can be had IMHO. Sharpness is fine for landscapes, and of course you're also going to stop the lens down for maximum sharpness anyway.. but if you have a preferred focal length, I'd still go for a prime.

    Unfortunately I can't speak with any authority on that particular Sigma, but from what I can see, samples look great. Of course there's the chance that you can get an bad sample of the lens, but they'll replace it if that is the case. I've got two Sigs, and both are fantastic for what they offer. Both were great out of the box.

    Here are some samples from the Sig you're looking at:













    I'd personally go for the Sig at this point, knowing what I know about the Nikon. I'd also say that a good percentage of Nikon shooters are snobby when it comes to choosing their glass. I totally understand the risks that come with buying third party, from a QC perspective, but IME when you get a good Sig copy, it's as good if not better than the Nikon equivalents.

    Doug


  13. #13
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Thanks, Doug, and everyone else for input.

    Sigma 17-50 ordered. Deciding point (besides feedback and awesome sample pics) was Sigma sale ends 17 Mar, while the Nikon is on sale thru the 30th. If I decide for some reason I don't care for the Sigma I still have time to catch the Nikon on sale.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  14. #14
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    Doug b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
    Thanks, Doug, and everyone else for input.

    Sigma 17-50 ordered. Deciding point (besides feedback and awesome sample pics) was Sigma sale ends 17 Mar, while the Nikon is on sale thru the 30th. If I decide for some reason I don't care for the Sigma I still have time to catch the Nikon on sale.
    Well thought out reasoning. I hope you get a good sample, and have some subject matter in mind to shoot? Also, when is the 7100 supposed to arrive, and did you pre-order it? Those sample images above were from a D7100 btw!

    Doug

  15. #15
    Walk-around Zoom for Nikon
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug b View Post
    Well thought out reasoning. I hope you get a good sample, and have some subject matter in mind to shoot? Also, when is the 7100 supposed to arrive, and did you pre-order it? Those sample images above were from a D7100 btw!

    Doug
    After buying the Sigma it will take a few months to save up for the D7100. I figure by about Aug or Sep we should know whether the D7100 has any problems/fixes and my piggy bank will be full.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

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