PDA

View Full Version : Walk-around Zoom for Nikon



RavingMac
03-14-2013, 03:47 PM
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.

CrimsonRequiem
03-14-2013, 03:56 PM
What do you shoot mostly? What else do you have in your kit?

RavingMac
03-14-2013, 04:22 PM
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

CrimsonRequiem
03-14-2013, 04:38 PM
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.

RavingMac
03-14-2013, 04:45 PM
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.

CrimsonRequiem
03-14-2013, 04:47 PM
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.

RavingMac
03-14-2013, 04:55 PM
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.

AWSPhotography
03-15-2013, 10:33 AM
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 :D )

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 10:37 AM
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 :D )

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.

AWSPhotography
03-15-2013, 10:59 AM
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 :)

AWSPhotography
03-15-2013, 11:03 AM
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 :D

Doug b
03-15-2013, 11:44 AM
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:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/7906164386_5af8f11027_c.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8307/7811914880_4ac9399b49_c.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8043/8109347547_8a7709a409_k.jpg


http://www.flickr.com/photos/staszczuk/8050764631/http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8040/8050764631_f787f5354f_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/staszczuk/8050764631/)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8068/8173977342_4dacdbceb5_b.jpg


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

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenssoderblom/7906164386/sizes/k/in/photostream/

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 12:56 PM
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.

Doug b
03-15-2013, 01:14 PM
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

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 04:42 PM
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. :)

Doug b
03-15-2013, 05:57 PM
Sounds good. The 7100 appeals to me as well, but I'm waiting for a real D300 replacement, which the 7100 is not. It's likely I may get into full frame while waiting, and I've also got my eye on the Fuji X100s as a street shooter and vacation camera. Samples look amazing thus far, but I'm wondering if perhaps samples look at bit "too" sharp/sterile at this point. The X100, while having some of the worst AF issues, produces some of the most excellent and film-like photographs for a mirrorless...

Doug

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 06:02 PM
I waffled back and forth between FX and DX, the final straw was pulling the AA filter from the D7100. It has everything I am looking for, and the added reach for birds etc is very nice! ;)

EDIT:
I was actually starting to get itchy fingers and thinking of ordering the D7100 at release, but the Sigma went on sale and helped me to wait.

Doug b
03-15-2013, 06:07 PM
Either way, looking forward to some samples from your new lens!

Doug

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 06:14 PM
Either way, looking forward to some samples from your new lens!

Doug

Will try to put some up next weekend, the Sigma is supposed to arrive middle of next week.

AWSPhotography
03-15-2013, 06:19 PM
sigma make the nikon cameras look good :p
(something canon users dont need :) )

hahaha sry couldn't resist... only joking :)
although i'll do the canon vs nikon jokes... i just want to state for the record i'm not a fanboy of either,,, in my mind they are tools to do a job, and both do it equally well

RavingMac
03-15-2013, 06:26 PM
sigma make the nikon cameras look good :p
(something canon users dont need :) )

hahaha sry couldn't resist... only joking :)
although i'll do the canon vs nikon jokes... i just want to state for the record i'm not a fanboy of either,,, in my mind they are tools to do a job, and both do it equally well

Absolutely not a Nikon fanboy, though I love my equipment. I looked long and hard at Canon when I chose my system, but the decider was a totally non-tech issue having to do with my brother who passed 3 years ago.

AWSPhotography
03-15-2013, 06:29 PM
sry to hear that, but glad your happy with your gear.

my pride and joy is my EF 600mm F4 L IS lens that i got last year, and later this year i'll be getting my canon 1 DX then i just gotta make it pay for itself :) (10yrs work there then :) )

Doug b
03-16-2013, 12:02 AM
sry to hear that, but glad your happy with your gear.

my pride and joy is my EF 600mm F4 L IS lens that i got last year, and later this year i'll be getting my canon 1 DX then i just gotta make it pay for itself :) (10yrs work there then :) )

Ha! You ought to come to NYC then. I'll hook you up with some paparazzi, and get that thing paid off in no time! :P

You must do a lot of expeditions with that getup.. what's your gig, if I may ask?

Doug

AWSPhotography
03-16-2013, 05:42 AM
Ha! You ought to come to NYC then. I'll hook you up with some paparazzi, and get that thing paid off in no time! :P

You must do a lot of expeditions with that getup.. what's your gig, if I may ask?

Doug

No expeditions so far. I mainly work with conservation groups and wildlife parks. though im in the process of creating a book for a major lion conservation group which will involve me going out to africa for about 4 - 8 months.

if by gig you're asking what i have then : 5dmk2 ef 28-300 ef600mm (mk1) i know the camera is all wrong for wildlife ... the idea was to do wedding and studio photography to pay for the wildlife kit... however with atleast another 10 dedicated and established wedding photographers in my little town already...it kinda never happened. So i have a f/t job (more than f/t as i work 6 days every week) and save for what i need. anyway here's some examples of my "work"

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/kfisher-14_zpscfe76a8a.jpg

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/img_7582-edit_zpsf1874f40.jpg

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/smugpainteddogs-1_zps19a68a6a.jpg

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/lion291of344-edit_zps9687e408.jpg

this tiger cub photo raised over 20k for the sumatran tiger trust and has paid for an anti poaching patrol .... something i feel a little proud about :)

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/tiger-9_zps046c504a.jpg

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/jaguar-5_zps7447cb55.jpg

http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/AWSPhotography/tiger-1_zps2647aabd.jpg

RavingMac
03-20-2013, 09:55 PM
Got my new lens today. Seems to be uber sharp for a zoom and haven't seen any focus issues so far. Will try to put up some samples this weekend. :)

CrimsonRequiem
03-21-2013, 12:58 AM
Got my new lens today. Seems to be uber sharp for a zoom and haven't seen any focus issues so far. Will try to put up some samples this weekend. :)

Awesome. Can't wait to see some test shots.

I've some pretty nice things about the Sigma 35mm F/1.4. Since I don't have a 35mm or an 85mm prime yet. That is going to be my next purchase. ;)

AWSPhotography
03-21-2013, 05:32 AM
awesome. Can't wait to see some test shots.


+1 :)

RavingMac
03-21-2013, 06:22 PM
All of these suffer from being handheld, as I didn't have a lot of time to play. Where I could I braced against something. No post processing either.

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/DSC_0005_zpsb28f2549.jpg

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/DSC_0037_zpsedb9437e.jpg

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/DSC_0028_zpsf6b91f17.jpg

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/DSC_0035_zps9991dde2.jpg

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/DSC_0054_zpsaf21797a.jpg

RavingMac
03-21-2013, 08:35 PM
Don't know why, but the samples I uploaded don't look nearly as good as the originals. Thought at first it was just because I was using my iPad, but I tried zooming in on AWs's sample pics and they aren't degraded like mine . . . :(

EDIT: In my original of the moon in the day lit sky you can readily see the moon's characteristic markings, not the blurry blob I'm seeing on my iPad. ;P

EDIT2: I seem to remember having this problem with a pic of a rose that Doug helped me sort out. Will have to look back through my posts and see what we did.

CrimsonRequiem
03-21-2013, 11:57 PM
Don't know why, but the samples I uploaded don't look nearly as good as the originals. Thought at first it was just because I was using my iPad, but I tried zooming in on AWs's sample pics and they aren't degraded like mine . . . :(

EDIT: In my original of the moon in the day lit sky you can readily see the moon's characteristic markings, not the blurry blob I'm seeing on my iPad. ;P

EDIT2: I seem to remember having this problem with a pic of a rose that Doug helped me sort out. Will have to look back through my posts and see what we did.

Where are you hosting the images? Sometimes they do funny things to your images.

RavingMac
03-22-2013, 06:51 AM
Where are you hosting the images? Sometimes they do funny things to your images.

Photo Bucket

Will try again this weekend, to see if I can get a decent pic uploaded.

AWSPhotography
03-23-2013, 06:37 AM
i use photobucket also .....
if your saving as jpeg for web use what quality setting are you saving it at (when saving for pb i always up ming to 100%)

RavingMac
03-23-2013, 10:21 AM
i use photobucket also .....
if your saving as jpeg for web use what quality setting are you saving it at (when saving for pb i always up ming to 100%)

Thanks.

I am positive the problem is on my side. Don't use Photobucket except to upload to the forum, and normally not concerned with the resolution.

In this case I want to make sure my upload is a fair representation of what the Sigma can do (even in my hands) which these images definitely aren't.

RavingMac
03-23-2013, 01:29 PM
Lets see if I have this sorted out . . .

http://i1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff390/Razormac/WinterLeaf_zps949f2bcb.jpg:original

EDIT: Problem seems to be solved. Upload was defaulting to 100KB file size. Found the option to link out to original file.

AWSPhotography
03-25-2013, 06:50 PM
damn thats a sharp lens

you got a cracker there

just went full size and full screen on my 27" imac and really.....that's a SHARP lens

RavingMac
03-25-2013, 06:51 PM
damn thats a sharp lens

you got a cracker there

just went full size and full screen on my 27" imac and really.....that's a SHARP lens

Thanks! :D