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Railfan Technology > Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens


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Date: 01/03/19 03:55
Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: austin

I have been on the hunt for a good overall lens for the past 6 months and have got some mixed responses and results. I rented a Nikon 18-300mm 3.5-5.6 VR lens (Heavy lens) back in October to shoot the Reading 425 Fall foliage trips and the images were amazing. I recently also rented a 18-300mm 3.5-6.3 Nikon VR lens and shot decent quality images especially in low light and video mode. Nikon technical support tells me these two lenses are exactly the same in glass and quality just one lens is slower than its counterpart, is this accurate? Just the drastic weight difference tells me there may be additional glass in the 3.5-5.6VR 18-300mm lens.  I was also looking if anyone out there is using the shorter 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 Nikon VR lens and how the images results have been. I m looking for a all in one lens so that I don't need to keep interchanging lenses while out and about..... Its going to be on a D7200 body.... If anyone has good feedback its greatly appreciated.... Here's to a Happy New year in 2019.... Thanks in advance, Jeff
 



Date: 01/03/19 07:20
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: jkh2cpu

It really depends on what you expect the lens to
do. I'm happy with my 24-120 f4.0, even given
its known problems. For the truth, I prefer a fixed
length lens and can usually get by with the 85 f1.8.

John.



Date: 01/03/19 07:59
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: trainjunkie

All I can offer is anecdotal information. The 18-200VR (first gen) is my go-to lens. It's a little slow and has its limitations in low light conditions. But overall it's versatile enough that I seem to rarely mount any of my other lenses on my Nikon DX body other than an ultra-wide. I'd like to try the 18-300 f/3.5-6.3G model though.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR has more glass, 19 elements in 14 groups that includes 3 ED glass elements and 3 Aspherical elements.

By contrast, the f/3.5-6.3G model has 16 elements in 12 groups that also include 3 ED glass elements and 3 Aspherical elements.

Personally, I think hauling around the older, slightly faster but much heavier older version would defeat the versatility of having a modern all-in-one lens. The newer version weighs 19.4 oz. against the older one at 29.3 oz., nearly a 10 oz. difference. The newer 18-300 also weighs about the same as my older 18-200 so getting used to it would probably be pretty easy for me. If you have a shop nearby, or an online source where you can rent these lenses and give them a try, I would go that route before making the investment.



Date: 01/03/19 08:31
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: Mberry

I bought the 18-300 f/3.5-6.3 last winter to replace an old Sigma 18-250 lens which was showing its age and have been very happy with it. I use it on a D5300 body. 

Michael



Date: 01/03/19 11:07
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: grahamline

How many photos do you shoot at the 300mm length, and how do they look?
On a DX body, that's a 450mm equivalent and only Clark Kent can handhold that outside in a light breeze. 90% of my rail photos are made with a 24-85, but everyone has their own style.
Yes, the faster lens is going to have a lot more glass in it (will weigh more) because a bigger diameter lens element is a necessity for a higher-speed lens like an f/2.8 or even an f4. The 180/2.8 Nikkors are great train lenses on full 36x24 format.



Date: 01/03/19 11:16
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: Mberry

grahamline Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How many photos do you shoot at the 300mm length,
> and how do they look?
> On a DX body, that's a 450mm equivalent and only
> Clark Kent can handhold that outside in a light
> breeze. 90% of my rail photos are made with a
> 24-85, but everyone has their own style.
> Yes, the faster lens is going to have a lot more
> glass in it (will weigh more) because a bigger
> diameter lens element is a necessity for a
> higher-speed lens like an f/2.8 or even an f4. The
> 180/2.8 Nikkors are great train lenses on full
> 36x24 format.

If you're asking me, I shoot a fair amount at 300mm, or close. The fourth photo here was shot at 280mm as an example.

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,4701254

Michael



Date: 01/03/19 11:18
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: trainjunkie

grahamline Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On a DX body, that's a 450mm equivalent and only
> Clark Kent can handhold that outside in a light
> breeze.

That's not how it works. A DX image is cropped, it doesn't give the camera the equivalent reach of a longer lens. That's why they are refered to as "crop sensors".

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/understanding-crop-factor



Date: 01/03/19 11:23
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: grahamline

300 on a DX body shows you the image area that would be covered by a 450mm lens on an FX. Not many people are steady enough to handhold a 300. Vibration reduction helps.
My suggestion was that the OP should consider the range of focal lengths that he uses for his pictures.



Date: 01/03/19 12:14
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: NormSchultze

Does the lens need to be a Nikkor?  There are some exceptional lenses that use the Nikon mount made by Zeiss, Tamron and Sigma.  The Sigma Art 24-105 is exceptional, see Roger Cialas opinion on the Lensrentals blog. 
And I can easily hand hold my Canon 70-300: iso 400, f8 and that makes the shutter about 1/1000 on a sunny day.  Works nicely for unit trains, especially tankers and grainers. While iso 400 was pretty high in film dayz, it isn't in digital days.  The really important point is to keep the shutter speed up-its a function on how the sensor is read out.    That old saw about 1/500 stopping just about anything is no longer true. 
 



Date: 01/03/19 12:48
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: austin

Thank you guys for all your responses and info. Norm, I have had less than excellent results with using Sigma lenses in the clarity dept. I have a sigma 18-125 I use as my normal lens for most of my shots but also have a 70-200mm 2.8 Sigma lens and that lens is very good for 200mm length. I've always found that Nikorr or Canon lenses are in my eyes better quality glass than their aftermarket makers. Things may have changed recently. If there's a great Sigma or Tamron I would not be opposed to giving it a rental to try out....
Thanks again, Jeff



Date: 01/03/19 13:00
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: exhaustED

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> grahamline Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > On a DX body, that's a 450mm equivalent and
> only
> > Clark Kent can handhold that outside in a light
> > breeze.
>
> That's not how it works. A DX image is cropped, it
> doesn't give the camera the equivalent reach of a
> longer lens. That's why they are refered to as
> "crop sensors".
>

You're incorrect on this - a DX image is cropped as you say (by a factor of 1.5x compared to full frame), but this does have the same effect as using a lens with a focal length 1.5x bigger i.e. a magnification factor of 1.5x. That's one advantage of using APS-C bodies, they 'effectively' give you extra reach compared to full frame with any given lens.



Date: 01/03/19 13:08
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: trainjunkie

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You're incorrect on this - a DX image is cropped
> as you say (by a factor of 1.5x compared to full
> frame), but this does have the same effect as
> using a lens with a focal length 1.5x bigger i.e.
> a magnification factor of 1.5x. That's one
> advantage of using APS-C bodies, they
> 'effectively' give you extra reach compared to
> full frame with any given lens.

Sorry, wrong. Please read the link I posted and take note of the visuals in it. This is a common misconception.



Date: 01/03/19 13:56
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: exhaustED

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> exhaustED Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > You're incorrect on this - a DX image is
> cropped
> > as you say (by a factor of 1.5x compared to
> full
> > frame), but this does have the same effect as
> > using a lens with a focal length 1.5x bigger
> i.e.
> > a magnification factor of 1.5x. That's one
> > advantage of using APS-C bodies, they
> > 'effectively' give you extra reach compared to
> > full frame with any given lens.
>
> Sorry, wrong. Please read the link I posted and
> take note of the visuals in it. This is a common
> misconception.

The link you posted talks about how a 70-200mm zoom lens becomes an effective 105-300mm lens... by cropping the image, the image is effectively magnified by the crop factor, so it's equivalent to using a longer focal length lens.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/19 13:58 by exhaustED.



Date: 01/03/19 14:05
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: trainjunkie

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The link you posted talks about how a 70-200mm
> zoom lens becomes an effective 105-300mm lens...
> by cropping the image, the image is effectively
> magnified by the crop factor, so it's equivalent
> to using a longer focal length lens.

I give up. It is not "magnified", it is simply cropped. The second paragraph clearly states, "Before we dive in, let me dispel two vicious rumors related to crop factor that are circulating through the photography (Internet) world today:

    1. Crop factor does NOT affect a lens’s focal length.
    2. Crop factor does NOT affect a lens’s aperture.
"

If you take a shot with a 300mm lens on a FX camera, and crop it in Photoshop to the DX sensor size, it's the exact same image as taking it with a DX camera and a 300mm lens. The focal length does not change, only the field of view of the image because the DX sensor captures fewer pixels.



Date: 01/03/19 14:44
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: exhaustED

Trainjunkie, you're not listening! It's obvious that the crop factor doesn't change the actual focal length - how could it?! But it does affect the effective/equivalent focal length due to the crop factor. Just scroll down the lnk you've posted - it goes into some detail to explain the effect.

Also you're incorrect when you say that the crop means the DX sensor captures fewer pixels, because a crop sensor has smaller pixels than a full frame sensor. You're right about the field of view changing though but think about what that means, it means the effective focal length is different - it has to be to alter the field of view.

That final part about the smaller pixel size is the crucial part here - it's the reason why the image from the DX sensor isn't the same as the full frame image which has been cropped on photoshop. 



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/19 15:06 by exhaustED.



Date: 01/03/19 17:11
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: fbe

There is nothing wrong with the Sigma S and A series lenses. Also note all these Sigma lenses are manufactured in Japan not China or Thailand. I am very happy with the pair I own as part of my Nikkor family.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/19 06:18 by fbe.



Date: 01/03/19 18:33
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: Press25

Jeff,

For what it’s worth, I also suggest you look at dpreview.com and kenrockwell.com as part of your deliberations.  Then, check the reviews on B&H and Adorama.  Then, rent if possible before buying.  I’m of the opinion that every major manufacturer makes some great glass - and they also make glass to avoid.  Any all-in-one lens or mega zoom is going to have some compromises - just know what you want, need, and are willing to compromise on before making your investment.

I’ve got two old Sigma EX lenses (24-70 and 70-200) from the days before image stabilization that I still shoot with when stabilization is not a factor.  Big, heavy, bright in the viewfinder, fast and dependable.  I also have an older Sigma 150-500 with stabilization that travels with me when space and weight permit.

Can’t say I was a complete fan of Sigma’s 18-200.  Sold it and went to the Tamron 18-270.  Very happy with that lens at f8 and up, but it’s going back to Tamron again (great warranty, thought).  Have to say that it’s 5+ years old now in full disclosure.  

Personally, for “serious” shooting, I have moved away from the one lens approach and am doing most of my work with a Nikon 16-85 (did a lot of research before I purchased it, and it’s my new favorite) and a Tamron 100-400 (considered the N 80-400, and research didn’t convince me otherwise).

I find that my Nikon P900 is handling family trips and occasions just fine, and sometimes it fills in for the D7100 / D90 when I want or need to travel light.

A little long-winded, but I hope you find this helpful in your deliberations and search.

KMS



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/19 19:14 by Press25.



Date: 01/04/19 04:34
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: exhaustED

Seriously, thanks to all for this discussion - we ended up waffling on about full frame vs cropped sensors and how that impacts effective focal lengths etc., but it's actually a quite complicated topic and hopefully it helped someone - I know it helped me get the theory right/fully elucidated in my head! 



Date: 01/04/19 14:18
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: TamaquaTim

Has anyone purchased or rented the Tamron 16-300 Lens? I hear its a really good lens for railfanning?
Thanks, Tim McRea



Date: 01/04/19 15:39
Re: Recommendations for a good full range Nikon All in one Lens
Author: trainjunkie

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> - I know it helped me get the theory right/fully
> elucidated in my head! 

Except it hasn't since you still think crop sensors affect focal length, which they don't.



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