Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Discussions
jabber54
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Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
Apr 19, 2013

I have finally decided to step up to a full frame camera from an APS_C sensor.  I've decided to take the plunge and get a Nikon D600.

I have a budget of about $4800 and this will be the last money I will be able to spend on any Photography equipment for quite a while.

I will be touring the Southwest this summer and will be visiting the Painted Desert\Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Scenic Byway Rt 12, Canyonlands, Arches, Dead Horse Point, and Mesa Verde.  I also have an interest in Astrophotography and would like to get into that more and would like the opportunity to photgraph some of the darker skies in the Southwest.

I originally was going to purchase the following lenses:

50mm 1.8G

24-70mm 2.8

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR - as a lighter walk around

I have been rethinking the lenses and have been leaning towards these:

50mm 1.8G

24mm 2.8D

18-35mm 3.5-4.5G

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

For astrophotography I think I would need the 24mm 2.8D and I have read that this 24mm is sharper than the 24-70mm at 24mm.  Although I would like to get the 24-70mm it is very expensive and heavy and would probably not be an ideal walk around lens in the Southwest in the heat of summer.  One of my questions is how much quality am I giving up by not buying that lens if I will probably stop down the other lenses to F8 or F11 in the bright Southwestern light.  In addition I thought the above mix of lenses covered a more versatile range than my original group.  I might even have enough money left for a Vixen Polarie tracker for astrophotography.

Would like to hear from people who have experience with these lenses I have chosen and the D600.  Thanks for your input and feedback.

Nikon D600
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Pixnat2
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 19, 2013

Wow, you will make a very nice trip!

For those fantastic southwest landscapes, a wide angle lens is a must.

The first lens I would consider is the 18-35G. I just got it three days ago for my D600, it's totally amazing : sharp wide open and tack sharp across the frame when stopped down. There's a fair bit of distortion but nothing to worry about for landscapes. And the exellent part is that it handles flare very good! It's an amazing UWA zoom.

As I'm new to D600 too, the two other lenses that I have are the 50mm 1.8G and the 24-85VR- The 50 is great lens, super sharp from wide open with a good bokeh. The 24-85 isn't that great. Center sharpness is good, but the corners are soft, so it's not a great landscape lens. It's an ok lens for general photography, but the southwest landscapes are so beautiful that they deserve a great lens, and, IMHO, it's the 18-35G!

Have a nice trip!

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breivogel
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 19, 2013

I just got back for Death Valley - which is a bit similar.

Definitely take an 18-35G - a quality lens, and good for wide astrophotography (18-24 range) too. The 24-85 is a good general purpose, if stopped down to F8 (the 18-35 is much better at 24mm). If you want a brighter lens for for the sky, consider the 85 1.8G (though you have to keep exposures short to avoid blur).

Watch out for the 70-300vr.  It is susceptible  to getting sand and dirt in the zoom, as it extends a lot. the new 70-200f4 is much better optically and does not extend when zoomed (but it might be out of your budget).

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to Pixnat2, Apr 19, 2013

Pixnat2 wrote:

Wow, you will make a very nice trip!

For those fantastic southwest landscapes, a wide angle lens is a must.

The first lens I would consider is the 18-35G. I just got it three days ago for my D600, it's totally amazing : sharp wide open and tack sharp across the frame when stopped down. There's a fair bit of distortion but nothing to worry about for landscapes. And the exellent part is that it handles flare very good! It's an amazing UWA zoom.

As I'm new to D600 too, the two other lenses that I have are the 50mm 1.8G and the 24-85VR- The 50 is great lens, super sharp from wide open with a good bokeh. The 24-85 isn't that great. Center sharpness is good, but the corners are soft, so it's not a great landscape lens. It's an ok lens for general photography, but the southwest landscapes are so beautiful that they deserve a great lens, and, IMHO, it's the 18-35G!

Have a nice trip!

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Yes, I've heard the 18-35G was very sharp and that was part of my thinking in having lenses that covered a larger range.  I had been considering the 24-120mm over the 24-85mm but read in a few places that the quality of the lens was not that consistent from one sample to the next and that it was softer in the corners than the 24-85mm.   Thanks for your reply!

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jfk
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 19, 2013

I would forgo the 24 2.8 and get the 18-35G.  It's an amazing light weight WA lens on the D600 that will also fill in quite nicely for a 24/28/35 prime lens, unless you absolutely need the low light capability.

As said, and I agree, the 24-85vr is ok, but soft along the edges.  I'm not sure the 24-120vr is much better.

I'm thinking a nice kit would consist of the 18-35G, 50 1.8G, along with the 70-200 f4.  This would give you excellant image quality in a nice light kit well within your budget.

Whatever your decision, I would definetly include the 18-35 in your kit.

jfk

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to breivogel, Apr 19, 2013

breivogel wrote:

I just got back for Death Valley - which is a bit similar.

Definitely take an 18-35G - a quality lens, and good for wide astrophotography (18-24 range) too. The 24-85 is a good general purpose, if stopped down to F8 (the 18-35 is much better at 24mm). If you want a brighter lens for for the sky, consider the 85 1.8G (though you have to keep exposures short to avoid blur).

Watch out for the 70-300vr.  It is susceptible  to getting sand and dirt in the zoom, as it extends a lot. the new 70-200f4 is much better optically and does not extend when zoomed (but it might be out of your budget).

Thanks for your reply.  I hadn't looked at the 85 1.8g - I imagine that is probably a good portrait lens too.

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jfk, Apr 19, 2013

jfk wrote:

I would forgo the 24 2.8 and get the 18-35G.  It's an amazing light weight WA lens on the D600 that will also fill in quite nicely for a 24/28/35 prime lens, unless you absolutely need the low light capability.

As said, and I agree, the 24-85vr is ok, but soft along the edges.  I'm not sure the 24-120vr is much better.

I'm thinking a nice kit would consist of the 18-35G, 50 1.8G, along with the 70-200 f4.  This would give you excellant image quality in a nice light kit well within your budget.

Whatever your decision, I would definetly include the 18-35 in your kit.

jfk

I hadn't considered the 70-200 F4.  If I include it I would need to choose between the 28mm 2.8D or the Vixen Polarie to be within budget.  I was only considering the 24mm because it was 2.8 and would be better for astrophotography.  Thanks for your reply.

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sheying
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 20, 2013

Don't forget the fisheye. It's wider than anything on your list even when de-fished.

jabber54 wrote:

I have finally decided to step up to a full frame camera from an APS_C sensor.  I've decided to take the plunge and get a Nikon D600.

I have a budget of about $4800 and this will be the last money I will be able to spend on any Photography equipment for quite a while.

I will be touring the Southwest this summer and will be visiting the Painted Desert\Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Scenic Byway Rt 12, Canyonlands, Arches, Dead Horse Point, and Mesa Verde.  I also have an interest in Astrophotography and would like to get into that more and would like the opportunity to photgraph some of the darker skies in the Southwest.

I originally was going to purchase the following lenses:

50mm 1.8G

24-70mm 2.8

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR - as a lighter walk around

I have been rethinking the lenses and have been leaning towards these:

50mm 1.8G

24mm 2.8D

18-35mm 3.5-4.5G

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

For astrophotography I think I would need the 24mm 2.8D and I have read that this 24mm is sharper than the 24-70mm at 24mm.  Although I would like to get the 24-70mm it is very expensive and heavy and would probably not be an ideal walk around lens in the Southwest in the heat of summer.  One of my questions is how much quality am I giving up by not buying that lens if I will probably stop down the other lenses to F8 or F11 in the bright Southwestern light.  In addition I thought the above mix of lenses covered a more versatile range than my original group.  I might even have enough money left for a Vixen Polarie tracker for astrophotography.

Would like to hear from people who have experience with these lenses I have chosen and the D600.  Thanks for your input and feedback.

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She-ying

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PSCL1
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to sheying, Apr 20, 2013

To the OP:

I like your entire second group, although I'd question whether you need the 24 2.8.  Your "astrophotography" would appear to be skyscapes maybe with some landscape feature in foreground or at bottom of your compositions.   You need a tripod so I don't see why you couldn't use the 18-35 or the 24-85.  To me, "astrophotography" means deep-sky photography with Meades, Celestrons, and computer driven mounts.  The 85, while a terrific portrait lens, is just not going to give you a useful swath of sky - not wide enough and not narrow enough.  Anyway, the 24-85 would cover both.

Parenthetically,  you seem to be a person prone to redundancy, perhaps because of indecisiveness. E.g. your 1st group has 24-70 and 24-85, both of which you certainly don't need.  Your 2nd group has the 24 and the 24-85 w/o much speed difference at 24.  I'd suggest you consider your needs for these FL/ranges and make decisions within your lens groups, not just between groups.

Another thing you need to consider is the weight of whatever gear you are taking to the SW.  If you are going to walk or backpack, you need to go with (most of) group 2.  Despite its Holy Trinity status, the 24-70 2.8 is going to burden you.  If you mostly are driving or have backcountry 4WD, maybe you can afford the weight.

Sounds like a great trip, taken by a thoughtful photographer.  Have a terrific time!

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to sheying, Apr 20, 2013

sheying wrote:

Don't forget the fisheye. It's wider than anything on your list even when de-fished.

Thanks for the reply but I don't have the budget for a fisheye at this time.

jabber54 wrote:

I have finally decided to step up to a full frame camera from an APS_C sensor.  I've decided to take the plunge and get a Nikon D600.

I have a budget of about $4800 and this will be the last money I will be able to spend on any Photography equipment for quite a while.

I will be touring the Southwest this summer and will be visiting the Painted Desert\Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Scenic Byway Rt 12, Canyonlands, Arches, Dead Horse Point, and Mesa Verde.  I also have an interest in Astrophotography and would like to get into that more and would like the opportunity to photgraph some of the darker skies in the Southwest.

I originally was going to purchase the following lenses:

50mm 1.8G

24-70mm 2.8

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR - as a lighter walk around

I have been rethinking the lenses and have been leaning towards these:

50mm 1.8G

24mm 2.8D

18-35mm 3.5-4.5G

24-85mm 3.5-4.5G VR

70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

For astrophotography I think I would need the 24mm 2.8D and I have read that this 24mm is sharper than the 24-70mm at 24mm.  Although I would like to get the 24-70mm it is very expensive and heavy and would probably not be an ideal walk around lens in the Southwest in the heat of summer.  One of my questions is how much quality am I giving up by not buying that lens if I will probably stop down the other lenses to F8 or F11 in the bright Southwestern light.  In addition I thought the above mix of lenses covered a more versatile range than my original group.  I might even have enough money left for a Vixen Polarie tracker for astrophotography.

Would like to hear from people who have experience with these lenses I have chosen and the D600.  Thanks for your input and feedback.

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She-ying

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to PSCL1, Apr 20, 2013

PSCL1 wrote:

To the OP:

I like your entire second group, although I'd question whether you need the 24 2.8.  Your "astrophotography" would appear to be skyscapes maybe with some landscape feature in foreground or at bottom of your compositions.   You need a tripod so I don't see why you couldn't use the 18-35 or the 24-85.  To me, "astrophotography" means deep-sky photography with Meades, Celestrons, and computer driven mounts.  The 85, while a terrific portrait lens, is just not going to give you a useful swath of sky - not wide enough and not narrow enough.  Anyway, the 24-85 would cover both.

Parenthetically,  you seem to be a person prone to redundancy, perhaps because of indecisiveness. E.g. your 1st group has 24-70 and 24-85, both of which you certainly don't need.  Your 2nd group has the 24 and the 24-85 w/o much speed difference at 24.  I'd suggest you consider your needs for these FL/ranges and make decisions within your lens groups, not just between groups.

Another thing you need to consider is the weight of whatever gear you are taking to the SW.  If you are going to walk or backpack, you need to go with (most of) group 2.  Despite its Holy Trinity status, the 24-70 2.8 is going to burden you.  If you mostly are driving or have backcountry 4WD, maybe you can afford the weight.

Sounds like a great trip, taken by a thoughtful photographer.  Have a terrific time!

Thanks for your reply.  I arrived at the same conclusion about the 24mm 2.8D - I originally included it because it gave me an extra stop advantage over the 18-35 or 24-85 so I included it for the ability to capture more light from the sky but later I realized it really needed to be stopped down to at least f4 to remove the corner softness so it lost it's advantage.  The redundancy was there for that reason.  I also realized the 24-70 was not practical for the sort of trip I was taking.  Still want to find out how much I am going to give up in IQ by not going with it?

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jfk
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 20, 2013

jabber54 wrote:

jfk wrote:

I would forgo the 24 2.8 and get the 18-35G.  It's an amazing light weight WA lens on the D600 that will also fill in quite nicely for a 24/28/35 prime lens, unless you absolutely need the low light capability.

As said, and I agree, the 24-85vr is ok, but soft along the edges.  I'm not sure the 24-120vr is much better.

I'm thinking a nice kit would consist of the 18-35G, 50 1.8G, along with the 70-200 f4.  This would give you excellant image quality in a nice light kit well within your budget.

Whatever your decision, I would definetly include the 18-35 in your kit.

jfk

I hadn't considered the 70-200 F4.  If I include it I would need to choose between the 28mm 2.8D or the Vixen Polarie to be within budget.  I was only considering the 24mm because it was 2.8 and would be better for astrophotography.  Thanks for your reply.

D600 body = $2000

18-35        = $750

50 1.8G     = $250

70-200f4    = $1400

Total         = $4400

This gives you a very good kit with excellant image quality.

18-35 can be used for astrophotography as well.  I would be willing to bet it's as sharp, if not sharper than the 24 2.8!  It's that good. Read what people are saying about it.  
jfk

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jfk, Apr 21, 2013

jfk wrote:

jabber54 wrote:

jfk wrote:

I would forgo the 24 2.8 and get the 18-35G.  It's an amazing light weight WA lens on the D600 that will also fill in quite nicely for a 24/28/35 prime lens, unless you absolutely need the low light capability.

As said, and I agree, the 24-85vr is ok, but soft along the edges.  I'm not sure the 24-120vr is much better.

I'm thinking a nice kit would consist of the 18-35G, 50 1.8G, along with the 70-200 f4.  This would give you excellant image quality in a nice light kit well within your budget.

Whatever your decision, I would definetly include the 18-35 in your kit.

jfk

I hadn't considered the 70-200 F4.  If I include it I would need to choose between the 28mm 2.8D or the Vixen Polarie to be within budget.  I was only considering the 24mm because it was 2.8 and would be better for astrophotography.  Thanks for your reply.

D600 body = $2000

18-35        = $750

50 1.8G     = $250

70-200f4    = $1400

Total         = $4400

This gives you a very good kit with excellant image quality.

18-35 can be used for astrophotography as well.  I would be willing to bet it's as sharp, if not sharper than the 24 2.8!  It's that good. Read what people are saying about it.  
jfk

Thanks again - I actually went with your recommendation but also added the 85 1.8G because I read some great reviews of how good it is, went a little over budget but should be ok.

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Michael Siemon
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 21, 2013

jabber54 wrote:

...

D600 body = $2000

18-35        = $750

50 1.8G     = $250

70-200f4    = $1400

Total         = $4400

This gives you a very good kit with excellant image quality.

18-35 can be used for astrophotography as well.  I would be willing to bet it's as sharp, if not sharper than the 24 2.8!  It's that good. Read what people are saying about it.  
jfk

Thanks again - I actually went with your recommendation but also added the 85 1.8G because I read some great reviews of how good it is, went a little over budget but should be ok.

Interesting. I am also planning a Grand Canyon/Utah (Bryce/Zion) trip, and have just bought the 18-35 as a substitute for my 16-35 (which I have never loved and is rather heavy...) I will also be taking my 70-200 f/4 and the 85 f/1.8. I am dithering about the 50 f/1.8 -- if I use the DX crop on my D800 I get an "effective" 50mm from the long end of the 18-35, and I mostly don't shoot at that FL: I'm mostly below 35mm and from 90 to about 150. I'm still dithering about longer telephoto, should I find I want that in the circumstances. I'll bring my 1.4x teleconverter for the 70-200; but I may also decide to pack the (Tamron) 70-300. Decisions, decisions...

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Michael L. Siemon

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jabber54
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to Michael Siemon, Apr 21, 2013

Michael Siemon wrote:

jabber54 wrote:

...

D600 body = $2000

18-35        = $750

50 1.8G     = $250

70-200f4    = $1400

Total         = $4400

This gives you a very good kit with excellant image quality.

18-35 can be used for astrophotography as well.  I would be willing to bet it's as sharp, if not sharper than the 24 2.8!  It's that good. Read what people are saying about it.  
jfk

Thanks again - I actually went with your recommendation but also added the 85 1.8G because I read some great reviews of how good it is, went a little over budget but should be ok.

Interesting. I am also planning a Grand Canyon/Utah (Bryce/Zion) trip, and have just bought the 18-35 as a substitute for my 16-35 (which I have never loved and is rather heavy...) I will also be taking my 70-200 f/4 and the 85 f/1.8. I am dithering about the 50 f/1.8 -- if I use the DX crop on my D800 I get an "effective" 50mm from the long end of the 18-35, and I mostly don't shoot at that FL: I'm mostly below 35mm and from 90 to about 150. I'm still dithering about longer telephoto, should I find I want that in the circumstances. I'll bring my 1.4x teleconverter for the 70-200; but I may also decide to pack the (Tamron) 70-300. Decisions, decisions...

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Michael L. Siemon

I was considering the purchase of the Tamron 70-300 because it was rated better than the Nikon 70-300.  I decided on the 70-200 F4 because from what I read it gave superb results.  My budget didn't allow for me to get both.  I was thinking that I would mostly be using the 18-35mm for my trip and wouldn't need the 200-300mm range.

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GreatDanes
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Re: Lenses for D600 and Southwest Trip
In reply to jabber54, Apr 21, 2013

For night/astrophotography one lens I like to use for a wide field is the Samyang 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens For Nikon With Focus Confirm Chip on my D800. I use it alone and sometimes with the Polarie. It is under $500 and the f/2.8 is great for the night sky.

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