looking for cheap full-frame lenses

Started Feb 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Rich42
Regular MemberPosts: 212
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

CareEmber wrote:

I got a Nikon D800 for Christmas, but all my existing lenses are DX format. I'm looking to get at least one versatile, general purpose zoom that's full-frame, auto-focus compatible, and under $500. Any suggestions? I'd really wanted the Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro until I realized it wasn't full-frame. I can't seem to find something equivalent.

All the Nikon "pro" lenses that are now considered "legacy" or "older" technology perform beautifully with the D800/E. All the Nikon Auto Focus "D" series lenses and manual AIS, AI and older lenses going all the way back to the "beginning of time" for Nikkor optics benefit from the new sensor technology.

Please don't believe advice such as, "especially given the Nikon D800 can can punish low resolving lenses heavily." This kind of misinformation has been foolishly repeated ad nauseum on the Net since Nikon made a shameless marketing ploy to recommend only the most expensive, latest model (i. e. most profitable to them) lenses with these cameras, thereby damning by default anything else.

In any optical system, improving any one of the chain of individual parts of the system, improves the output (the final image). Any lens will deliver better final images, imaging to the D800/E sensors than to any other (lessor) full-frame sensor as long as the final image size is equal. That means you can get a better 16x20 print using lens X with the D800/E than you can using that lens with another full-frame DSLR sensor. Or an 8x10 print or any other size you want. Of course, you may not see improvement at small print sizes.

It is true, that since the resolution of the D800/E allows larger prints (at equal, uninterpolated, pixel density in the print) than do smaller sensors, that it will "tax" lenses that are not the ultimate in quality. If you believe that results in lower quality, re-read the above paragraph. Also, while it is true that larger-sized prints will reveal optical imperfections, any lens will still show better performance, whatever the final size, imaging to the D800/E than to any other sensor.

It is true that modern lenses are marvels of the optical craft. But it is also true that the improvements are only incremental and that better image quality over "older" designs, often can be seen under only the most carefully controlled conditions.

Many of us have been using a wide selection of vintage lenses of all kinds with spectacular performance on these cameras. These lenses cost a small fraction of the price of the latest and greatest. It is a practical impossibility to identify images made in "real-life" situations based on the age of the lens.

I strongly encourage you to get your hands on a 50 mm Nikkor 1.8 D. It's one of the best lenses ever made and is available in very good to mint condition from $50-75. Or look at any of the D series zooms. You will get an excellent lens for a bargain price. Then you can make your own decisions. Also, you'll also be able to resell them at near what you paid, when and if you want to do that. Look on KEH.com (in the 35 mm section - not digital) or on eBay.

Rich

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