View Full Version : 'Every day' lens

03-27-2010, 06:17 AM
Hi, I've been using a loaned D100 with 28-105mm lens - they have to go back as my son is giving it to my grandson.

So, having been using the camera for a month or two (been a lapsed film photographer, lapsed for the past two decades) I will most likely be buying my own DSLR toward the end of next month. I've opted for the Nikon D300s.

Anyway, my question is; which current lens would you recommend as a general purpose lens, one I can leave on the camera (it will be my only lens for a year or so, until nest April at least).

I like the 28-105mm but desire a little more at the long end.

03-27-2010, 07:51 AM
If you really want a single lens sollution and you feel the 28-105 is a bit too short, probably the only lens to get is an 18-200 lens. The best lens in this class is probably Nikon 18-200 VR, which offers image stabilisation and faster autofocus than the third party equivalents (the tamron and the sigma).

It must be noted that in terms of image quality, you're probably better off getting a two lens sollution, for instance an 18-55 VR and a 55-200VR. These lenses will easily outperform the Nikon 18-200VR, at the cost of some convenience.

An even better, albeit more expensive, option would be to get the 16-85 VR and the 70-300 VR. These lenses will give a better image quality, better autofocus and they cover a larger range.

Personally, I use a Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 as my general purpose lens. For me, that's the ultimate travel lens. It is light, covers a convenient range, can do close-up, and is bright at the short end which can be helpful at times. Since you already think the 28-105 is too short, I don't think it matches your requirements, though.

03-27-2010, 08:39 AM
The other thing to be aware of is the field of view issue as, like the D100, the D300s is a "crop body" which is smaller than the 35mm film camera by a factor of 1.5. The 28-105 was manufactured for full frame 35mm, and used on the D100 because no crop body lens had been designed at the time. Nothing wrong with the lens, but penalized on the wide ange side as the field of view conversion is (multiply by 1.5) 42-158. While the 18-? and 17-70 noted earlier have a field of view equivalent to 28- whatever.

03-27-2010, 02:34 PM
The last lens I would take to a desert island is the 18-200.

If there was only one choice and that was it I would go 16-85 and save up for the the 70-300VR. If you buy the 18-200 ultimately one of two things will happen. You will stop taking photos again and in that case the 18-200 was a worthwhile investment although you could have gone cheaper for that outcome or you will progress and the 18-200 will become an expensive paper weight and you will wish you had purchased something better to start with to save duplication.

03-27-2010, 03:18 PM
if you shoot at f8 or smaller most often then the 18-200VRII is a solid choice. but if you are wanting to shoot at wider apertures like f5.6 or f4 at the wide end then the 16-85 is a better option.

03-27-2010, 04:06 PM
I won't comment on the 55-200, but I own the 18-55 VR, and its like Rooz said: At smaller apertures, its just fine, but I really find it wanting on grey days and lower light situations. You either need a good flash unit, or you'll be wanting a faster lens. If I had it to do all over again, I would have sprung for mid range f/2.8 zoom lens the day I bought my body. I find myself using my Sigma 50mm f/2.8 and my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 far more. I'd rather have the faster lens, and deal with the limitations that the Sigmas put on me (no VR, no autofocus on the 50).


03-28-2010, 06:40 AM
When you were using the 28-105mm, were you using it more towards the 28mm end or the 105mm end?

My vote would be the 16-85 if you aren't using telephoto much. If you aren't using a tripod for outdoor night time shots, i'd also get the 35 f/1.8

Dread Pirate Roberts
03-29-2010, 02:40 AM
As Prospero and K1W1 said but this is all by guessing what you are doing with it.

I like the 16-85 because it is very sharp.
I like the 70-300 VR (note the VR version only) because it's a lot of reach and good image quality for not too much money.
They are both comparatively light.

However if you really must have low light hand held or narrow depth of field shots these may not suit you so much.

04-03-2010, 04:42 AM
The use of the lens will be mainly people/street with a bit of still life, I think.

Have to say I like the sound of the 18-200mm VR, and will probably pop along to one oft he 'J' stores and see it/feel it on a D300s. No doubt take a look at a couple of other options while I'm there.

I'm not overly concerned what the lens will become (paperweight, or other). As I can only have a single lens for the next twelve months or so the 18-200 seems like a decent compromise.

Thanks for all your thoughts and advice, very much appreciated.

04-03-2010, 01:58 PM
I'd really consider buying a used D300 (or even D90) and getting both the 16-85 and 70-300VR before going with a one lens solution that isn't optically as good as the others. Your pictures will look much better with the lenses; the camera won't improve your images at all and simply depreciates. Put your budget into glass, not the body.

04-03-2010, 03:15 PM
An 18-55 plus a 55-200VR would cost less than a 18-200 and imo be a better solution to cover the same range.

Dread Pirate Roberts
04-03-2010, 10:31 PM
But Alan is consistently preferring a 1 lens solution for presumably convenience over image quality. In which case the Nikon 18-200VR is the right pick, and the right lens for him.

04-03-2010, 11:47 PM
I was assuming the one lens solution was cost based.

04-06-2010, 08:49 AM
Yea i would get a Factory Demo D300 also and get 2 lenses. that is how I got my Camera. It had a couple scratches, but i paid half the price.