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View Full Version : Kit Lens Replacement



ColColt
07-24-2008, 10:20 AM
I'm giving some consideration to replacing a couple of lens with the Nikkor 18-200 VR lens. The two I have are the kit lens (18-55) and the 55-200. This would eliminate having to carry both lens and hopefully the 18-200 would be just as sharp and contrasty. I've had some excellent results with the 55-200 and hope it's "possible" replacement would live up to the former. Is this a wise decision or leave it be and keep what I have? It's just a convenience/sharpness thing.

Rooz
07-24-2008, 03:56 PM
not as sharp or contrasty.
if you want better quality and sharpness then the 16-85 is the one. it will give you a bit more flexibility than the kit lens with the range and you could take the 5-200 only when you feel the extra reach is required.

K1W1
07-24-2008, 04:03 PM
I agree with Rooz.

Stay with what you have in preference to the 18-200 or bite the bullet and buy the 16-85 instead of the 18-55 and keep the 55-200.

fionndruinne
07-24-2008, 04:19 PM
Alternately, I'm looking at the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 macro HSM pretty carefully right now. It definitely seems to be better in terms of contrast and sharpness than the standard Nikkor kit lens, has a great range, is compact, has pretty darn decent macro capability (1:2.3), and is a bit faster than the Nikkor. Plus it's only about $375. It's not large-aperture glass, but it still has a lot to recommend it. Aldor88 shoots with it, and has turned out some fantastic stuff.

Aldor88
07-24-2008, 05:32 PM
Alternately, I'm looking at the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 macro HSM pretty carefully right now. It definitely seems to be better in terms of contrast and sharpness than the standard Nikkor kit lens, has a great range, is compact, has pretty darn decent macro capability (1:2.3), and is a bit faster than the Nikkor. Plus it's only about $375. It's not large-aperture glass, but it still has a lot to recommend it. Aldor88 shoots with it, and has turned out some fantastic stuff.

The 17-70 is a great lens if your looking for more versatility. Only downside i have with this lens is that it flares pretty easily. Other than that its a great replacer for the kit lens for a cheap price.
It is a big lens as well(72mm filter seize) compared with the 18-55 so be prepared for that. Oh yea and i simply love the macro ability, so much infact that i'm looking at the 105VR :).

ColColt
07-25-2008, 09:37 AM
I was leaning toward the 16-85 a little myself. That, coupled with the 55-200, should fit the bill nicely and for low light my 85 f1.8 is always a winner. I don't know what sort of style shooting AMDnut is doing but this is a good selection and sounds like he's looking for a similar setup. Now if Nikon ever comes out with a 28-135 or 35-150 f2.8 for under $800 and not ten inches long with tripod mount, I'd have to scarf that up as well. That sounds like a trip to Fantasy Island, however.

JTL
07-25-2008, 10:09 AM
Now if Nikon ever comes out with a 28-135 or 35-150 f2.8 for under $800 and not ten inches long with tripod mount, I'd have to scarf that up as well. That sounds like a trip to Fantasy Island, however.There is the Tamron 28-300 VC. Not a very fast lens, but hopefully a good utility lens. I will be testing it next week...although on a FF camera (D700) where the focal length range seems to make more sense...

I'll post a report and some sample images...

Rooz
07-25-2008, 04:49 PM
Now if Nikon ever comes out with a 28-135 for under $800 and not ten inches long with tripod mount, I'd have to scarf that up as well. That sounds like a trip to Fantasy Island, however.

well, they do have the 24-120VR...its just not that good.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277219-USA/Nikon_2145_24_120mm_f_3_5_5_6G_ED_IF_AF_S.html

this lens is widely rumoured to be updated very soon.

JTL
07-26-2008, 07:44 AM
well, they do have the 24-120VR...its just not that good.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277219-USA/Nikon_2145_24_120mm_f_3_5_5_6G_ED_IF_AF_S.html

this lens is widely rumoured to be updated very soon.Now...if they gave us a 24-120mm VR (active mode as well) constant f/4...well...let's just say I'd never even say the word "Canon" again...:D;):D

ColColt
07-26-2008, 12:29 PM
well, they do have the 24-120VR...its just not that good.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277219-USA/Nikon_2145_24_120mm_f_3_5_5_6G_ED_IF_AF_S.html

this lens is widely rumoured to be updated very soon.

That's pretty close. I'll be watching for any replacement. I've looked at that lens before and saw it didn't receive a lot of accolades from several different sources for performance.

ColColt
07-26-2008, 06:53 PM
I've been doing a little research today and the Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX seems to have gotten 98% great comments on build, sharpness, contrast, etc. Not only that but at about $325, it's around $250 cheaper than the 16-85 VR. Another fly in the ointment of decision. This is another viable option to replace the 18-55 kit lens.

K1W1
07-26-2008, 07:04 PM
The 18-70 was the kit lens for the D70 and D70s. At the time it was a great item but the reality is that it is no better optically than the 18-55 lens that was subsequently introduced with the D50, some have argued that the 18-55 is actually sharper in the 18-35 range.
IMO all you are gaining is the range from 55-70 which is negligible. I'd consider buying a 18-70 when you already have a 18-55 as a waste of money.

ColColt
07-26-2008, 08:25 PM
Hmmmm...the main reason I was looking for something to replace the 18-55 VR is that it really sucks at 35mm and under. From 45-55 it's a good performer. I suppose the only way to get something better is going to inevitably be the 16-85 VR.

rawpaw18
07-26-2008, 09:30 PM
The 18-70 used at places like www.keh.com is much cheaper. $215-$275 usd

K1W1
07-26-2008, 10:08 PM
The 18-70 used at places like www.keh.com is much cheaper. $215-$275 usd

And that is where I would suggest to anybody who really wanted one that they should look. Brand new they not worth the money wanted.

fionndruinne
07-27-2008, 01:03 AM
I still think the Sigma 17-70mm is a better buy than the 18-70mm Nikkor.

dan4466
07-27-2008, 02:47 AM
I agree with rooz also. I just upgraded to the D80 from the D50 and also purchased the 18-200VR & 70-300VR and so far am not very satisfied with the 18-200. Its just not very sharp. My 18-55 kit lens ( non-VR ) was tack sharp. Just incredibly sharp and the 18-200 just isn't cutting it. I think I will be sending it back for the 16-85VR. Its great having that 200mm, but to me, not at the expense of sharpness. I had the 70-300G non-VR lens and it was extremely sharp, too! Haven't played with the VR model that much yet, but as far as I'm concerned, it has a tall order to fill. I did read somewhere, where someone who traded up from the D50 to the D80 just didn't think the D80 took as sharp as pics. To early to tell if thats the case yet.

ColColt
07-27-2008, 10:42 AM
KEH is a great and reputable place to buy equipment-new or used. I've bought from them over the past 15 years or so and never had any problems. If you get a lens/camera rated EX+ or LN, LN- you couldn't tell it from a new one other than maybe the box isn't available in EX+. Other than that, it looks new. I've been pretty happy with the 55-200 VR but alas, still looking for the 18-55 replacement...too many good ones to choose from. I've leaned toward the 16-85 since it came out. It's just a bit hard to swallow the price when I already have 85mm covered in the 55-200 and the 85 f1.8. I don't need three.

AMDnut
07-29-2008, 06:32 PM
Hey guys!

Nice thread for me to learn from, and I'll put in my .02 worth.... well, it's maybe a penny's worth! :-)

I too have been looking at several of these lenses and am in a similar situation. I agree with other post here, the Sigma 17-70mm is a better choice over the Nikon 18-70mm. The Sigma seems to perform better from the reviews I have seen.

I am still having a tough time deciding between the Sigma 17-70mm and the Nikon 16-85mm as both have qualities I want. The Sigma dose a good macro job and I like to do macro from time to time, but the Nikon has VR which I want for some of my shots. The Nikon price is the hard part for me though as I have 2 kids starting school and dollars are tight this time of year...

As for the other lens choices I was considering, I have decided to get the Nikon 55-200mm VR for my zoom needs. I have a concern with sports shots, but I think it will be a good "all around" zoom for me. The main sports I will shoot is motocross from trackside and I will need the reach of the 200mm. Hopefully it will be fast enough for this job. All of the shooting I do at trackside is only once or twice a year and is during the day with plenty of sunlight so it should work fine. Plus, I like the cost!;-)

The 18-200mm just has to many reviews that are not happy with it to risk for me...

Only thing left is to decide about the Sigma and Nikon kit replacement. Because of money and the pics here from Aldor88, I am leaning towards the Sigma. There is part of me that says go with the Nikon as the glass will last longer than my D40 body will be with me... :D

Rooz
07-29-2008, 10:18 PM
aldor's shots are great cos...well...aldor is shooting them so i wouldnt be going off that. i understand the decision based on cost for the sigma, but certianly if you are looking for optical quality and performance then the 16-85 is streets ahead imo. af speed, accuracy and quietness of operation would be very high on my agenda.

K1W1
07-29-2008, 11:55 PM
The Nikon price is the hard part for me though as I have 2 kids starting school and dollars are tight this time of year...

It happens in late January here right when the Xmas Visa card bills need to be paid!



I have a concern with sports shots, but I think it will be a good "all around" zoom for me. The main sports I will shoot is motocross from trackside and I will need the reach of the 200mm.

It will work fine. While I have never been to a Motocross with my 55-200 I have been to the MotoGP and got Valentino Rossi doing some insane spped down the front strait

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2310/1552331894_d202af3bc3.jpg

(125mm f8 1/500 sec heavily cropped BTW)

or bikes on the road still going faster than your average MX but about the same distance

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2407/2096655983_8f51a98a9e.jpg

(55mm f5 1/125)

ColColt
07-30-2008, 04:12 AM
Personally, I wouldn't waste money on a Sigma, Tokina or Tamron lenses. I bought a Nikon camera so I could use Nikkor lens. I could have bought an Olympus or Kodak and used Sigma or Tokina lens and probably get them cheaper. It's sort of like buying a pristine Leica M4 and using third world film in it.

Rooz
07-30-2008, 04:29 AM
lol you sound alot like a guy we had posting here a while ago...cant remember his name now. wrestlingman or something like that.

rawpaw18
07-30-2008, 04:53 AM
Was he that forgettable, I think it was wrestlingreport

ColColt
07-30-2008, 08:45 AM
I was just teasing to see if I could get anyone riled up about their favorite non-Nikkor lens.:D I was serious about my choice but I know others think differently.

fionndruinne
07-30-2008, 10:49 AM
But the 16-85mm is slower than the Sigma, and lacks the macro capability. Yeah, it's got VR, which is great for some shooters, but I think the 17-70mm is kind of special in what it does for the price.

As for Nikkors, Nikon has just turned me off to their consumer glass in their refusal to provide larger-aperture stuff at a reasonable price. With a few older exceptions, of course, but I just hate the marketing idea that "consumer-range" shooters don't need a fast lens. Not like any of 'em are parents with kids, of course, or if they are, their kids probably never move around fast, and stick to bright sunlit situations all the time.

Uh huh.

500mL
07-30-2008, 11:07 AM
I like my Sigma 18-200 DC OS HSM on my D80 :D

ColColt
07-30-2008, 12:38 PM
I like my Sigma 18-200 DC OS HSM on my D80 :D

Oh, No!! That's like putting a toe sack on a classy woman!!;)

AMDnut
07-30-2008, 05:36 PM
aldor's shots are great cos...well...aldor is shooting them so i wouldnt be going off that...

That is very true Rooz, I think aldor is amazing with his shots...
I probably will end up going with the Nikon, may wait a little longer to save a few more bucks.


It will work fine. While I have never been to a Motocross with my 55-200 I have been to the MotoGP and got Valentino Rossi doing some insane spped down the front strait...

Thanks for the info and sample K1W1! I feel better about my choice... now where to buy the 55-200mm from? I am leaning toward BH Photo but am open to suggestions.

K1W1
07-30-2008, 05:51 PM
Thanks for the info and sample K1W1! I feel better about my choice... now where to buy the 55-200mm from? I am leaning toward BH Photo but am open to suggestions.

Can't help with the purchase location but what I always recommend with anybody looking for any lens is to go toe Flickr or Smugmug or similar and search for photos taken with that lens. You will generally find hundreds if not thousands of real world shots to look through.

ColColt
07-30-2008, 07:23 PM
I've ordered from B&H since about 1980 and from KEH since 1994 and never one problem from either one.

Here's a favorite of mine shot with the 55-200 VR. Use the magnifying glass to enlarge.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2270447290102334299RqNHdb

500mL
07-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Oh, No!! That's like putting a toe sack on a classy woman!!;)

Boooo! JK!!
ColtColt,
I actually got the Sigma 18-200 because of the price difference against the Nikkor 18-200. Same reason as you, I wanted to avoid the hassle of replacing my lens every now and then and it was beneficial at times that you want zoom or a wide shot when you need it fast. And it's correct that it won't give you the sharpest shots, that's why I have my Nikkor 50mm 1.8D and Sigma 30mm 1.4 EX ;) . Nevertheless, I'm quite satisfied with the quality of shots I'm getting with it :cool:

Fiasco
07-31-2008, 12:49 AM
I've ordered from B&H since about 1980 and from KEH since 1994 and never one problem from either one.

Here's a favorite of mine shot with the 55-200 VR. Use the magnifying glass to enlarge.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2270447290102334299RqNHdb

I wasn't too impressed with the 55-200mm VR. Returning it tomorrow and will pick up a different telephoto. Maybe the Tamron 70-300mm, or the Sigma one. Still undecided and open to suggestions. I'm also picking up the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5.

ColColt
07-31-2008, 04:03 AM
My particular example of the 55-200 VR is good. It does very well (for my eyes) between 85-135mm-all I coud ask for using f8-11. I stray away from the two opposite ends but it does better at 55 than 200. The best third party lens I ever had was for film cameras back in the late '70's-the Vivitar Series 1 90 f2.5. It was a super portrait as well as macro lens. While not quite as contrasty as Nikon's legendary 105 f2.5, it held it's own in the sharpness department. It sits quietly in it's case today.

scupking
08-01-2008, 08:52 PM
I wasn't too impressed with the 55-200mm VR. Returning it tomorrow and will pick up a different telephoto. Maybe the Tamron 70-300mm, or the Sigma one. Still undecided and open to suggestions. I'm also picking up the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5.

wow, I think the 55-200 vr is a very capable lens. A few pics from the past month.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d154/scupking/Picture021-1.jpg

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d154/scupking/Picture066-1.jpg

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d154/scupking/Picture080-1.jpg

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d154/scupking/Picture098.jpg

swpars
08-01-2008, 09:39 PM
Very happy with my 55-200mm VR as well.

Some samples with it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/swpars/2444237127/in/set-72157606488895849/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/swpars/2129425839/in/set-72157606488895849/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/swpars/2617562275/in/set-72157606488895849/

ColColt
08-02-2008, 09:57 AM
I'm pretty happy with the 55-200 VR.

http://s180.photobucket.com/albums/x220/ColColt/June2008/?action=view&current=DSC_0282.jpg