Paul D. Freedman
Fast Telephoto Zoom - Do I need one
I currently shoot a Nikon D7000 with the nikkor 18-200 f3.5/5.6 lens as my walkaround lens. I also have a 90mm macro (Tamron) and an Tokina 11-16 F2.8 for super wide.
My question is this. I have been to several workshops on nature photography and many people swear by the 70-200 f2.8 lens (either Nikkor or Sigma). Since this range is covered by my 18-200 would the 1 to 2 extra stops 2.8 to 3.5 or 2.8 to 5.6 really make that much of a difference?
At 1200 for the Sigma and over $2000 for the Nikkor this hardly seems worth it other thant the fact that I may be able to purchase a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter with the 2.8. But then again I lose the ability to go from wide to zoom without changing lenses.
Any suggestions or recommendations?
Lynn R. Powers
Your problem isn't so much the f stop but your lens. Any of the f2.8m lenses will let you focus faster and better in dim light and on sunny days as well as isolate your subjects better.
But Canon users have been using the 100-400 f4.5-5.6L for a long time and getting excellent results.
Your 18-200mm lens may work well for 4X6 prints but by the time you print a 12x18" print you will see that it is soft, not sharp, the closer you get to the far ends of the zoom. The middle range from about 30mm to 120mm may be okay. This is true for all extreme zoom lenses. Your lens has an 11.1X zoom factor. The best lenses have a max of 4.2X.
You wiill have to decide which you want, quality sharp photos or convience. Due to the huge number of MP there is on the D7000 your current lens is unable to resolve all of the pixels. Basically you are crippling your camera. I suggest that you sell it (the lens) and save your pennies, nickles dimes and quarters and purchase the Sigma. You may want to purchase a smaller walk around lens also so I would recommend the Nikon 18-70. It will be much better than your current lens and it only cost around $350. Unfortunately quality lenses are expensive but generally you get what you pay for.
I happen to use a 24-105 f4L IS and a 70-200 f4L IS on my 5D or my 40D Canons.
I read Paul's initial question here, because I recently put my 18-200mm Nikon lens on a new D7000 camera. I have been struggling to figure out why my images are not as sharp as when this lens is used with my previous D200 camera. The comment from Lynn regarding the lens crippling the camera is one I've been wondering about. I'm becoming convinced to go with a faster lens, (wasn't anticipating this need), but I'm not getting everything out of the new D7000 that I'm sure it's capable of. Anyone else in this boat?
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I use Canon (7D) and Sigma (SD 1), so you may not find my response very helpful. I do, however, have quite a bit of experience with Sigma lenses -- first due to necessity (Sigmas only take Sigmas without adapters), and then preference.
My Sigma is a dedicated IR camera, and I use it with the Sigma 18-200 OS (OS is essentially the Canon IS equivalent, Nikon VR). The lens is the one I chose to bring with me with the IR camera rather than the dual 18-50 70-200 OS 2.8 (I still own them but can't get to them currently). I use the two lens setup with my Canon because of the great experience I had with them on my Sigmas (yes, plural... I had the SD9, SD10, SD14 and SD15), and because I use the cameras differently. All that aside, I like all three of these Sigma lenses.
Curiously I found the 18-200 to be as sharp as the 70-200 when I was using them with the Sigma, which totally surprised me. I imagine the Nikkor 18-200 would be similar -- unless the Nikkor is not a VR version -- but I have to completely bow to whatever Lynn says about the Nikkor as I have no experience with it. On the other hand, I would certainly be tempted to get the 18-200 OS Sigma again for my Canon if I knew I'd be in the situation I am now -- where I like to travel very light (often on a bike during daylight). I do often consider the several stop drop off to be a distinct disadvantage in many other situations. For example, I never could have used the 18-200 for concert photography, even with its single lens advantage. But the real sense of it is... I don't shoot IR without sunlight, so the speed of the lens barely matters on the dedicated Sigma IR setup.
You suggest an interest in landscape nature...but does that include wildlife? That may change what your situation dictates. You suggest wildlife as an interest by use of the teleconverter. I've never really been happy with teleconverter setups. And for the amount paid for a good converter, you really could get a different lens entirely. And as soon as you add the 1.4x or 2x, you are effectively taking the combo into a speed that might be accomplished better by a single lens...(I don't know...the VR 70-300?... I have no experience with that lens...so it is not a recommendation...just a what if).
Ultimately the lenses you choose should be based on what you shoot and how.
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