Changing Nikon lenses

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
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GregP1
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Changing Nikon lenses
6 months ago

Hi guys,

I have a few Nikon lenses which I'm considering changing some or all of them. I've read reviews on them all and on the prospective replacements but have been unable to get direct comparisons to know if I'm going to be losing image quality. Mostly I'm shooting family snaps but here and there I like to take nice nature / product shots too. I'm currently using a D80 and may change to the D7100 or similar in the future so these lenses or their replacements could end up being used in video setups.

Question 1.

Should I change from Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G AF-S and Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 to the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR/VRII ?

I originally bought these two above for my F80 and they've been doing just fine on the D80. I use the 70-300 infrequently but that focal length can be useful. The 24-85 has been the regular shooter and sounds to be a great lens even by today's standards according to http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/2485afs.htm (hope this link is OK, I'm not connected with that site). It's no longer available, so I'm hesitant about getting rid of it if it's such a good unit.

The 18-200VR which sounds to be an amazing lens from what I've read. The extra wide angle at the low end and having VR will be both be useful, though obviously I'm going to lose a bit at the telephoto end and will always be carrying a bit of extra weight. What I'm wanting to know is if the image quality I (apparently) enjoy from the 24-85 is likely to be any worse on the 18-200 unit in that 24-85 range? I can't find any direct image comparisons. Given the 70-300's are so cheap second-hand I could potentially hang onto that so I can still cover 200-300 if ever required (just without VR).

Question 2

Should I change from the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX ?

My 50mm is lightly used and bought a few years back. It's a nice sharp lens and when I've used it The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DXsounds a great lens too for a fraction of the price, and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/35mm-f18.htm suggested this is a steal if you don't already have a 50mm lens. Well I do, but might I be better to get rid of the 50mm and move to this instead and perhaps put the saving towards something else? Obviously it's f/1.4 rather than 1.8, but the depth of field is so shallow I almost never use f/1.4. What other picture quality benefits does this unit have over the 35mm? The 35mm, being more wide open, is more likely to be useful for casual snaps than the slightly more telephoto 50mm, and thus it's more likely to get more daily use than the 50mm does. I'm not against changing to the 35mm but as with question 1 I don't want to do that if it's going to mean a compromise in quality or some other aspect I haven't considered here. At the same time the 50mm cost me $AU700 or so so I don't want to get rid of it unless the 35 is definitely going to be a better choice.

The review above actually does do a brief comparo of the 35 to the 50, saying it's "the same thing, just bigger, and 2.5 times more expensive. It adds a focus-distance scale, but that's it. The 50mm also works on film and FX, as well as being 2/3 of a stop faster. On DX, the 50mm lens becomes a short tele or portrait lens, while the 35mm is a normal lens on DX". Well I like (but don't actually need) the distance scale, I don't use film anymore and no plans for FX. That apparently just leaves my 50 a more costly and less usefully zoomed unit that is "2/3 of a stop faster". Excuse my ignorance but does that just mean because it can open to f/1.4 rather than 1.8 meaning you'll get more speed if you can put up with the ultra-shallow depth of field, or that it's quicker if they're both stopped down to (say) f/4? I assume the former, meaning in the real world there'll be no speed difference unless I'm shooting at f/1.4 yeah?

Thanks for your help!

Greg

ANSWER:
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Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon D7100 Nikon D80
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