Camera Nikon 24-120 f/4. Pick or Kick?


harshit143

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I am looking for a multipurpose telephoto lens for my D5200. My budget is upto 40-45k. How is the lens i have mentioned above for my purpose? Is it VFM lens for the purpose with sharp quality? Currently I own 35mm prime and kit lens(18-55). Is it a good upgrade for my purpose? Any other suggestions?
 

sabby

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@harshit143 That lens is usually used with FF cameras. If you want great optical quality with VFM, I'd suggest the 17-50mm f2.8 and 70-300mm f4-5.6 lenses from Tamron. Both are critically acclaimed by the users and both have very good Image Stabilization. This way, you get both normal fast walk-around zoom as well a proper tele zoom. I'd also suggest to sell your kit lens if possible as the 17-50 is leaps and bound better not to mention faster.
 

harshit143

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@harshit143 That lens is usually used with FF cameras. If you want great optical quality with VFM, I'd suggest the 17-50mm f2.8 and 70-300mm f4-5.6 lenses from Tamron. Both are critically acclaimed by the users and both have very good Image Stabilization. This way, you get both normal fast walk-around zoom as well a proper tele zoom. I'd also suggest to sell your kit lens if possible as the 17-50 is leaps and bound better not to mention faster.
24-120 seems to be great multipurpose lens. 70-300 will only be a zoom lens and 17-50 will fall short of the upper zoom limit though the lens is too good. Will the 24-120 wont perform well with the crop sensor? I guess the optics will remain same. Your views?
 

sabby

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24-120 seems to be great multipurpose lens. 70-300 will only be a zoom lens and 17-50 will fall short of the upper zoom limit though the lens is too good. Will the 24-120 wont perform well with the crop sensor? I guess the optics will remain same. Your views?
The 24-120mm f4 is a very good (but not great) lens indeed but consider the facts that it costs much more and on your D5200 it will be effectively 36-180mm lens so you'll miss out a lot of the wide-angle range. The 17-50 f2.8 should suffice for most of the occasions not to mention its a full stop faster and also optically considered a bit better on DX. The range from 50-120mm (or 75-180mm equivalent) is usually in no man's land unless you want to shoot portrait in which case you need to get 85mm prime. If you are sure that you don't need the longer tele range, then you can get a wide zoom like Tonika 12-28mm or Sigma/Nikon 10-24mm along with the 24-120 but that will increase your budget by a lot.
Once again, the 24-120 is a pretty good lens for FF camera but it doesn't make much sense for a walk-around zoom on a DX. If you are really not willing to change lenses, I suggest to sell your current gear and get a Sony RX10 (currently @ 55k) - it has a great 1" type sensor and a fantastic 24-200mm f2.8 Zeiss designed lens that should cover you all your necessities unless you shoot wildlife/birds.
 

harshit143

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The 24-120mm f4 is a very good (but not great) lens indeed but consider the facts that it costs much more and on your D5200 it will be effectively 36-180mm lens so you'll miss out a lot of the wide-angle range. The 17-50 f2.8 should suffice for most of the occasions not to mention its a full stop faster and also optically considered a bit better on DX. The range from 50-120mm (or 75-180mm equivalent) is usually in no man's land unless you want to shoot portrait in which case you need to get 85mm prime. If you are sure that you don't need the longer tele range, then you can get a wide zoom like Tonika 12-28mm or Sigma/Nikon 10-24mm along with the 24-120 but that will increase your budget by a lot.
Once again, the 24-120 is a pretty good lens for FF camera but it doesn't make much sense for a walk-around zoom on a DX. If you are really not willing to change lenses, I suggest to sell your current gear and get a Sony RX10 (currently @ 55k) - it has a great 1" type sensor and a fantastic 24-200mm f2.8 Zeiss designed lens that should cover you all your necessities unless you shoot wildlife/birds.

There is another lens 16-85 which costs same as 24-120. Your views on its optics and sharpness?
 

nac

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If you're okay with variable aperture, how about 18-140? Yeah, optics won't be as good as 24-120...
 

sabby

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There is another lens 16-85 which costs same as 24-120. Your views on its optics and sharpness?
Its a good lens but a very old design, mainly popular for its build quality, weather resistance as well as decent sharpness. However, its another stop slower than the 24-120mm so not suitable for low light or subject isolation.

I kinda get the feeling that you are more focusing on acquiring a good lens than what you actually need. Go through your photographs and find out which are the focal lengths you mostly use. If you are okay with the focal length of your kit lens but require fast/sharp glass then get the 17-50mm f2.8. If you feel you are more using the longer end and wish to have more range then get the 24-120. You need to decide what is it that you want from a lens but your kit lens can't do and you can go from there.
 

harshit143

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Its a good lens but a very old design, mainly popular for its build quality, weather resistance as well as decent sharpness. However, its another stop slower than the 24-120mm so not suitable for low light or subject isolation.

I kinda get the feeling that you are more focusing on acquiring a good lens than what you actually need. Go through your photographs and find out which are the focal lengths you mostly use. If you are okay with the focal length of your kit lens but require fast/sharp glass then get the 17-50mm f2.8. If you feel you are more using the longer end and wish to have more range then get the 24-120. You need to decide what is it that you want from a lens but your kit lens can't do and you can go from there.
That's what i require. I need a zoom lens which can go beyond 55mm and at the same time i can capture my subject from a distance. Kinda candid thing. There are many zoom lenses in my budget but they all have sharpness issues(70-300). I need a balance of sharpness, price and range. My main aim will be candid and street since i travel a lot and dont want to carry many lenses.
 

sabby

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That's what i require. I need a zoom lens which can go beyond 55mm and at the same time i can capture my subject from a distance. Kinda candid thing. There are many zoom lenses in my budget but they all have sharpness issues(70-300). I need a balance of sharpness, price and range. My main aim will be candid and street since i travel a lot and dont want to carry many lenses.
Oh, in that case get the Nikon 85mm 1.8G. None of the zoom lenses can come anywhere near that beast be it sharpness or low light capability or subject separation.
 

Nolasco

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If you want more range than the 17-50 gives you, check out the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 which is also a great performer. If budget is not an issue,
you could go for the new Nikon 16-80 F2.8-4 which will give you great image quality as well as decent range. The 85mm 1.8G ofcourse will be the best
for portraits but then its not a zoom if you are looking for convenience as well (Do not though that on DX 85mm will be quite long and the 50mm 1.8G would
probably be a better option along with one of the 2.8 zooms.
 

harshit143

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@Nolasco @sabby @nac

85mm f/1.8G. Sealed. Though its fixed focal length(prime) but i guess it will be a good telephoto range for my purpose keeping in mind the crop factor of my body.

One thing more. Can it be helpful in macro purpose? I use a light tent for jewellery photography with my 35mm. Its good enough for big articles like nacklaces etc but it becomes tricky and non fruitful if i try to capture rings and ear rings.
 

nac

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Good choice...
As you know it's not a macro lens, it won't be good for hard core macro photography. But it may be good enough for your jewellery photography. It's an excellent lens and you have lots of pixels at your disposal. It may work. See this is good enough...

12MP downsampled...
 

sabby

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@Nolasco @sabby @nac

85mm f/1.8G. Sealed. Though its fixed focal length(prime) but i guess it will be a good telephoto range for my purpose keeping in mind the crop factor of my body.

One thing more. Can it be helpful in macro purpose? I use a light tent for jewellery photography with my 35mm. Its good enough for big articles like nacklaces etc but it becomes tricky and non fruitful if i try to capture rings and ear rings.
Portraits and Macro photography require some very opposite properties from the lens. One needs a smaller aperture for depth of field and corner to corner sharpness with very close minimum focusing distance where as the other requires a bit softness, character and thinner DOF produced by larger aperture. The MFD of the 85mm 1.8G is 2.5 feet which is long but the longer focal length should mitigate that to some extent. The magnification ratio is not terrible at 0.12. If you stop down and use extension tube or close up lens, you should be able to get some good results. But if you do need macro capability more often then you should get a macro lens, the Nikkor 55mm f2.8 is a relatively cheap and appraised lens.
 

ssslayer

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Instead of buying a new lens for macro photography, one may also consider buying a compact camera for equal/lesser dollar amount.
 

harshit143

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Portraits and Macro photography require some very opposite properties from the lens. One needs a smaller aperture for depth of field and corner to corner sharpness with very close minimum focusing distance where as the other requires a bit softness, character and thinner DOF produced by larger aperture. The MFD of the 85mm 1.8G is 2.5 feet which is long but the longer focal length should mitigate that to some extent. The magnification ratio is not terrible at 0.12. If you stop down and use extension tube or close up lens, you should be able to get some good results. But if you do need macro capability more often then you should get a macro lens, the Nikkor 55mm f2.8 is a relatively cheap and appraised lens.
What about Nikon 40mm f/2.8? its about 15-16k only. Will it be a good choice keeping in mind i will be playing with prime lenses so the benchmark quality is of prime?
 

random2

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Macro lenses are pretty good for portraits too. And one advantage macros bring in is comparatively closer minimum distance to focus.

Only issues -
Focal length of good ones is 90mm+ which will be 135mm+ on your body
Widest aperture is 2.8 (which is still pretty good)

Few options -
Tamron 90mm
Tokina 100mm (quite sharp and VFM)
Nikon 105mm