Lens to replace 18-55 + 55-200

Started May 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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mgn2
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Lens to replace 18-55 + 55-200
May 5, 2012

My current setup:

D40 body (going to replace this with a D5100 very soon)
NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G
Nikon 18mm - 55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

I particularly love the 35mm prime and use the 18-55 VR a lot. The 55-200mm only gets used 10% of the time at most.

Firstly, I'd like to get a faster, sharper lens, better bokeh to replace my 18-55 to get a leg or two up on IQ and speed, particularly in low light. I'd like to keep the 'wide' low-end of the FL at 18mm or lower as well.

Secondly, I might even want get something longer than 55mm - this way I can replace the 18-55 and 55-200 with one lens - less lenses to carry around as most of my photography is when I'm traveling and I travel very light.

What I do not want for sure, is to end up with the same or worse IQ/fastness as my current 18-55+55-200 combination, even if that means I have to get 1 lens with less overall range (say 18-105) or I have to keep 2 lenses (say get a new 17-50 to replace the 18-55 and keep the Nikkor 55-200). Either way I plan to take only 2 lenses on my travels (35mm prime and another lens) and leave the third lens behind if I end up having 3 lenses.

What I've looked at so far:

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor ($400)
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM Lens for Nikon SLR Camera ($400)
Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC ($650)

Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Zoom Lens with Built In Motor ($300)

Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens ($550)
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Nikkor ($1200)
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens ($1500)

Also considering getting the Raynox DCR-250 2.5x Super Macro Lens ($80) to accompany any of my lenses but this is less important.

What could possibly best suit my needs?

Nikon D40 Nikon D5100
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