Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800

Started Jun 30, 2013 | Questions
MoreorLess
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Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
Jun 30, 2013

Its an often asked question I know but I'd welcome any advice here, i'm looking for a mid range zoom for mostly landscape use on my D800. The main considerations would be price, size and performance stopped down to F/8 or more, I'v not really got a definite budget or size in mind but the Nikon 24-70mm is likely beyond both, the Tamron 24-70mm and Nikon 24-120mm f/4 might just be in it but again that might be pushing it a little since its more of a "holiday lens".

That really leaves be looking at the three Nikon 24-85mm's but looking at reviews I'v having some doubts about performance, the latest VR version seemed the most obvious choice but most reviews seem to point towards weaker boarders at the wide end. The older f/2.8-4 actually shows better performance stopped down according to DxO but generally its rep doesn't seem to be too great.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

MoreorLess wrote:

performance stopped down to F/8 or more,

There are relatively few differences between lenses at these apertures at the longer focus distances normally used in landscape photography.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Island Golfer
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

Seriously, bite the bullet and buy a used Nikon 24-70. The resolution of the D800 requires the best glass you can afford.

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truview

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HSway
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to Island Golfer, Jun 30, 2013

Island Golfer wrote:

Seriously, bite the bullet and buy a used Nikon 24-70. The resolution of the D800 requires the best glass you can afford.

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truview

It’s this simple.

If you don’t want to buy 24-70, get the Tamron. Don’t get the rest you name for landscape.

Differences in sharpness at f8 or f10 among lenses are as significant as the differences wide open. One of the silliest myths on the internet or maybe just people half blind is that all lenses are equal at f8. Not even close that way.

24-120 is very good on dx, can be seriously considered for landscape seasoned with travel.

Good luck with the choice,

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glo
glo
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

The Nikon 24-70 is your lens, you won't be sorry. If not that, the 24-85 is a great lens for the money, ignore the reviews you've read. But on the 800 the 24-70 would be my only choice.

glo

MoreorLess wrote:

Its an often asked question I know but I'd welcome any advice here, i'm looking for a mid range zoom for mostly landscape use on my D800. The main considerations would be price, size and performance stopped down to F/8 or more, I'v not really got a definite budget or size in mind but the Nikon 24-70mm is likely beyond both, the Tamron 24-70mm and Nikon 24-120mm f/4 might just be in it but again that might be pushing it a little since its more of a "holiday lens".

That really leaves be looking at the three Nikon 24-85mm's but looking at reviews I'v having some doubts about performance, the latest VR version seemed the most obvious choice but most reviews seem to point towards weaker boarders at the wide end. The older f/2.8-4 actually shows better performance stopped down according to DxO but generally its rep doesn't seem to be too great.

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Timefreezer BE
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to HSway, Jun 30, 2013

Both new 24-85 VR and 24-120 f4 VR are very good for landscape on D800, certainly at f8 and smaller apertures.

You don't need the 24-70 f2.8 for that. I have both Nikon 24-70 and 24-120 f4 VR on D800. The 24-70 is used less and less, only when I need 2.8.

I still has to meet the person who can select the 5 out of 10 photos that I took with the 24-70 and 24-120 at f8. I wonder if somebody (even a pixelpeeper) dares to bet his house on this?

At larger apertures the 24-70 has better corners, less vignetting but for landscape at f8 that doesn't matter at all.

And if you want top quality, go for the primes. The difference between e.g. the 24 1.4 G and a 24-70 f2.8 is much bigger than the difference between the 24-70 f2.8 and the 24-120.f4 VR.

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HSway
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to Timefreezer BE, Jun 30, 2013

No I can't agree. Few people were defending 24-120/4 as me, especially on dx. This lens is (or was) through quite some sample variation. My point was that we can’t judge a lens by bad samples although we have to accept that fact. So I could pull out tens of post in this sense and from very beginning of this lens life. As I could those where I recommend the lens on fx. Once you want to talk about a dedicated landscape lens though, forget it. We roughly are talking about this sort of difference on d600. it’s a difference that will simply show, and more so at some other settings:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50626758?image=0

the sharpness wasn’t the topic here, still the 24-120/4 f8 sitting on 24-70, 200%.

I can add that the sharpness differences I touch in the post above the post I just linked when at 70mm are not because the 24-70 is getting that bad but because, at least by my observation (and directly with two lenses), the 24-120/4 peaks at this FL contrary to other copies where sharpness falls off close to this FL and somewhat sharply at that.

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Simon Garrett
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to Timefreezer BE, Jun 30, 2013

The 24-120 is quite sharp, but suffers from geometric distortion and chromatic aberration, depending on focal length and aperture.  Both can be corrected fairly well in PP (and automatically in quite a lot of software), but IMHO those are the main issues that differentiate the 24-120 from what one might call a "pro" lens.

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Timefreezer BE
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to HSway, Jun 30, 2013

I have to admit, I didn't take sample variation into consideration. I don't know if this is the case for the 24-120 f4. Maybe I'm very lucky but there is no way, at f8, I can say this one is taken with the 24-70 or the 24-120. I bought the 24-120 when I already had the 24-70. I based my decision to buy it on several reviews on photographer blogs who were very surprised at the quality of the lens as well as compared to the 24-70. My experience with the lens is consistent with what I read then.

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Tyr-Sog
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

I got the 'free' 24-85mm kit lens back during the D600 promotion.  Being that I am on a budget I held on to it primarily to shoot it at 24mm for landscapes.  I finally got around to shooting it last week and to say the least, I wasn't thrilled with the results.  After shooting the Sigma 10-20 with my D7K, I found the Nikon to be really flat, lacking contrast and not sharp outside of the center.  It took a lot of PP to get some pop.  I only shot at the 24mm end though so maybe it gets better at FL outside the extreme end.  I've used the 24-85mm for candid shots of the kids and it was above average for that kind of work imo.

I've since moved on to the New 18-35G(well just got it yesterday) for landscapes and I've liked the results of my first handful of shots.

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Kevin O'Neil
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

If cost is the issue, have you considered the Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AFD?  Very sharp lens and perfect as a landscape lens.  You don't need VR or AF-s for shooting landscapes.  And add a 20mm f/2.8 AFD lens for the wider aspect, and with both you are still paying less than half of what a new 24-70 would cost.  While these older lenses do not have the newer lens coatings, you'd be hard pressed in most landscape situations to really notice, assuming you are not shooting into the sun.

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HSway
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to Kevin O'Neil, Jun 30, 2013

Kevin O'Neil wrote:

If cost is the issue, have you considered the Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AFD? Very sharp lens and perfect as a landscape lens. You don't need VR or AF-s for shooting landscapes. And add a 20mm f/2.8 AFD lens for the wider aspect, and with both you are still paying less than half of what a new 24-70 would cost. While these older lenses do not have the newer lens coatings, you'd be hard pressed in most landscape situations to really notice, assuming you are not shooting into the sun.

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Kevin O'Neil
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I like this thinking. I strongly suspect the 18-35g is going to do very well while making a lot of sense as a landscape solution (compared to a mid-range zoom lens). So I’d personally swap it and add the rather good 50/1.8g for the longer range should the landscape needs outweigh the midrange ones - on budget.

If the needs were more universal (plus the landscape), I’d want to be flexible more in the midrange and trade off the wide angle for more coverage. So there are other options for a limited budget depending on one's priority to consider here - 18-24mm holds totally different possibilities and perspectives vs the midrange flexibility and coverage.

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nplanet
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to HSway, Jun 30, 2013

I am in a similar situation and I am also considering the new 18-35. The few available reviews online are positive and the price is great.

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Klimt z
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Slrgear.com ?
In reply to glo, Jun 30, 2013

Just wondering about reality vs slrgear.com. Lens discussions seldom mentions their results.

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K

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gear1box
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jun 30, 2013

The issue for landscape vista -- Particularly for landscapes -- is corner sharpness.  Viewers poke their noses in the corners of the print.  On the other hand, the subject ain't moving, and you (mostly) can.

For my landscape use, i bought a pair of f1.8Gs from Nikon -- the 28mm and 85mm -- and couldn't be happier.  When the day comes that i have a 36meg FX sensor (i shoot a D7000 now), i expect that i will be just as happy.

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stevo23
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jul 1, 2013

MoreorLess wrote:

Its an often asked question I know but I'd welcome any advice here, i'm looking for a mid range zoom for mostly landscape use on my D800. The main considerations would be price, size and performance stopped down to F/8 or more, I'v not really got a definite budget or size in mind but the Nikon 24-70mm is likely beyond both, the Tamron 24-70mm and Nikon 24-120mm f/4 might just be in it but again that might be pushing it a little since its more of a "holiday lens".

That really leaves be looking at the three Nikon 24-85mm's but looking at reviews I'v having some doubts about performance, the latest VR version seemed the most obvious choice but most reviews seem to point towards weaker boarders at the wide end. The older f/2.8-4 actually shows better performance stopped down according to DxO but generally its rep doesn't seem to be too great.

I have the latest 24-85 and for me, its rather disappointing. The center sharpness never reaches that of a prime at any focal length ore f stop and corner sharpness, even stopped down, is never very good at either end. The VR is quite amazing though and you can achieve decent sharpness at very slow shutter speeds.

Just my two cents, but it's hard to afford the Nikons that are worth owning. The older one - 28-70 2.8 - is a stellar lens that can be had in excellent shape for $800 or so. That would be my personal choice at the moment.

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InTheMist
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to stevo23, Jul 1, 2013

At f8, what lens isn't sharp?

I have the Nikon 24-70/2.8 for photojournalism, but prefer the 24-85 when the fast aperture isn't needed.

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MoreorLess
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to Kevin O'Neil, Jul 1, 2013

Kevin O'Neil wrote:

If cost is the issue, have you considered the Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AFD? Very sharp lens and perfect as a landscape lens. You don't need VR or AF-s for shooting landscapes. And add a 20mm f/2.8 AFD lens for the wider aspect, and with both you are still paying less than half of what a new 24-70 would cost. While these older lenses do not have the newer lens coatings, you'd be hard pressed in most landscape situations to really notice, assuming you are not shooting into the sun.

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Kevin O'Neil
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I have actually been tempted by the 35-70mm f/2.8 a few times but I'v heard a lot of conflicting options about sharpness, I'm guessing it would be more flare prone as well which is often an issue for me.

The range is certainly good as it links up with my main landscape lens, the 16-35mm VR.

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MoreorLess
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to gear1box, Jul 1, 2013

gear1box wrote:

The issue for landscape vista -- Particularly for landscapes -- is corner sharpness. Viewers poke their noses in the corners of the print. On the other hand, the subject ain't moving, and you (mostly) can.

For my landscape use, i bought a pair of f1.8Gs from Nikon -- the 28mm and 85mm -- and couldn't be happier. When the day comes that i have a 36meg FX sensor (i shoot a D7000 now), i expect that i will be just as happy.

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gary ray

Semi-professional in early 1970s; just a putzer since then. interests: historical sites, virginia, motorcycle racing. A nikon user more by habit than choice; still, nikon seems to work well for me.

I am actually using a 50mm F1.8 G as my mid range coverage at the moment between a 16-35mm VR and a long term loan 80-200mm f/2.8.

Generally I do preffer zooms to get the exact framing I want but I am tempted by the new Sigma 35mm 1.4 as it seems to offer better value for money than most of the mid range zoom options. I am actually testing the market with a few shallow DOF landscape shots recently(something I'v always enjoyed personally), if they sell then I might go this route as the 35mm end of my UWA zoom is the one I'm least pleased with.

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JurassicPizza
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Re: Nikon Mid Range Zoom for Landscapes on a D800
In reply to MoreorLess, Jul 2, 2013

Following this thread with interest -- I somewhat reluctantly use a 24-70 2.8 as my main lens, including for landscape, because it's just so versatile, goes about as wide as I need, and is quite strong in the middle of the range. I don't need it to be built like a tank, but it is.

The ideal landscape mid-range is probably a 24-70 f/4 built like the 70-200 f/4, improving on corner-to-corner sharpness in a smaller and lighter package, with better output than the 24-120.

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