looking for cheap full-frame lenses

Started Feb 4, 2013 | Discussions
CareEmber
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looking for cheap full-frame lenses
Feb 4, 2013

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.

Aaron01
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

If you are willing to get a little bid older lens you can get a good deal.  I picked up a Nikon 28-105 f3.5-4.5 that was almost like new a few months back for under $200.  I have been more than pleased with this lens on both DX and FX.

I know Ken is not everyone's favorite, but this just gives you an overview of this lens.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/28105af.htm

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macfred
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Re: Try Craigslist
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

Not sure where you are located, but here in the San Francisco area, you can buy the nikon 24-85mm VR lens for around $350 on Craigslist.  This lens came with the D600 kit and many are selling it unused.  I bought one for use as a medium quality walk around lens for my D800, and I am quite satisfied with it.  Also you should check out the manual focus lenses by Rokinon/Samyang--great value.

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CareEmber
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to Aaron01, Feb 4, 2013

Yeah, I just found his site. I guess I was afraid the older ones wouldn't autofocus. But your experience is that it does? If so, that definitely opens up the possibilities.

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CareEmber
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Re: Try Craigslist
In reply to macfred, Feb 4, 2013

Thanks! I'm now "watching" a couple of that model on eBay. I'm looking for AF because my nephews run too fast for me to manually focus

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Steve Bingham
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Re: Try Craigslist
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

Best: Nikon 50mm f1.8 (cheap)

Best: Sigma 35mm f1.4 (moderate)

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Stephen Brenner
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Re: Yes on the 24-85 kit lens
In reply to macfred, Feb 4, 2013

I'm very happy with the kit 24-85.
Great all around lens.

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Aaron01
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

Yes it is an autofocus lens and it works fine on my D7000, and D600.   I find it to be a great all around lens, and even sharper than my newer 18-105 on the DX side.

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GodSpeaks
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to Aaron01, Feb 4, 2013

Aaron01 wrote:

If you are willing to get a little bid older lens you can get a good deal. I picked up a Nikon 28-105 f3.5-4.5 that was almost like new a few months back for under $200. I have been more than pleased with this lens on both DX and FX.

I just bought that lens too.  Very good build quality.  Haven't shot anything with it yet, but plan to soon.

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spbStan
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

The 24-85 is quite satisfactory but being a variable aperture lens, you could at the excellent 50 1.8G Nikon and still be under your $500 budget.

As you are finding out, the very cheapest part of moving to higher res and FX is the camera body. Whatever tripod you have now will so all the weaknesses and quickly demonstrate why people end up spending $2000 on a good tripod.  There are old film lenses but many have weaknesses that show up more on later digital than on DX.  Coatings and optics have come a long ways.

The two mentioned lenses are for general all-around photography but there are some bargains in more narrowly  defined purposes. For example the 85 1.8G is excellent for portraits and close in sports and in some ways better than its big brother 85 1.4g that costs over 3 times as much. The 1.8 sells for about $450 and will really show what great images your camera can produce, even in very low light.

Enjoy your new camera!

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PhD4
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Re: Try Craigslist
In reply to Steve Bingham, Feb 4, 2013

Steve Bingham wrote:

Best: Nikon 50mm f1.8 (cheap)

Best: Sigma 35mm f1.4 (moderate)

Nice "general purpose zoom" options you've listed.

ffs

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ahmami
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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.

Hi CareEmber,

Let me share my experience. When I bought my Nikon D700 I too faced a similar situation. I had DX lenses and I 'invested' in a few Nikon all purpose zoom lenses such as the Nikon 24-85 and the 28 - 105. I was happy with them for a while but there always seemed to be something missing from my images (perhaps that was my fault!). In any case, a few years ago I made the conscious decision to only invest in either prime to professional zoom lenses. And to be honest, when I compare images from the older consumer grade lenses mentioned above and the prime/pro lenses, the latter offer a far more rewarding experience. You learn from your mistakes and I certainly did.

My sincere advise would be - especially given the Nikon D800 can can punish low resolving lenses heavily - to either increase your budget for a pro-grade lens, or failing that, invest in a couple of prime lenses such as the 50mm 1.8G or the 28 1.8G for a wider perspective. You will not regret the decision.

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ponderosabob
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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.

Depending on what range you want, these are all great lenses, and are all built to Nikon's highest standards, and will outlast most of Nikons latest crop of Pro Glass.

AF-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED

Call it yesterday's holy trinity.

might as well put some glass on there that is worthy of your camera.

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T O Shooter
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to ponderosabob, Feb 4, 2013

ponderosabob wrote:

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.

Depending on what range you want, these are all great lenses, and are all built to Nikon's highest standards, and will outlast most of Nikons latest crop of Pro Glass.

AF-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED

Call it yesterday's holy trinity.

might as well put some glass on there that is worthy of your camera.

I concur. The 20-35 and 35-70 2.8s are fantastic lenses.  Neither are covering a large range though, but that's part of the reason the quality is there. Long ranges are amateurish at best, and if you only have $500 to spend to outfit yourself, you probably shouldn't have the D800.  I loved the 35-70 but sold it after buying the 24-70 2.8. Reason - front of lens rotates so it's a pain with a polarizer.

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Doug0001
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

I am really very happy with my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM.  It is a very nice lens for under $500 as long as you are not looking for a zoom.

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mikemsphoto
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to ponderosabob, Feb 4, 2013

ponderosabob wrote:

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.

Depending on what range you want, these are all great lenses, and are all built to Nikon's highest standards, and will outlast most of Nikons latest crop of Pro Glass.

AF-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D

AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED

Call it yesterday's holy trinity.

might as well put some glass on there that is worthy of your camera.

Also you could look for used versions of the AF-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8

and the AF-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8.

Both are excellent, pro quality lenses, though probably still more than your $500 budget

You don't want to buy a D800 body and then put a crappy lens on it.

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Carsten Pauer 2
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to CareEmber, Feb 4, 2013

I'm looking to get at least one versatile, general purpose zoom that's full-frame, auto-focus compatible, and under $500. Any suggestions?

A new Tamron Model A09 or a used 176D.

Regards: Carsten

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Rich42
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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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moving_comfort
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Re: looking for cheap full-frame lenses
In reply to Rich42, Feb 5, 2013

Rich42 wrote:

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

.

+1 to everything Rich said.

.

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Pradipta Dutta
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In reply to CareEmber, Feb 5, 2013

Why do you want to pair up your top of the line D800 with a cheap lens?

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