Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
OP sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,474
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

So long story short, I decided to buy a D500 mainly for wildlife, but also as a backup camera and was wondering about a good "travel zoom" lens for the DX series F-mount cameras. I don't want to spend a ton of money on it, as it's a backup in case my Z camera decides to stop working for whatever reason while on vacation or a trip (although after 18 months, knock on wood, no problems, I do make it a habit to bring 2 camera bodies just in case).

Thoughts? I am OK with used too and I'd say probably no more than about $600 for a lens, again, because it will mainly be for backup use (as I'm buying a used D500 body, not a kit).

I know that some people have said the Tamron 18-400 is something to consider, although not the sharpest because of what it is, but for the money, it's one of the better travel zooms and offers a generous zoom range. Of course this lens new is about $650 and that might be OK. I just am not looking to spend upwards of $1000+.

OK just to clarify a few things:

* The amount I specified was semi-random. I mean I could go $1000 if I wanted (it's not so much a budget thing, but sometimes I find I'm talking myself into something and before I know it, I'm at 2x what I oroginally planned to spend, so I purposely set the bar low.

* By travel zoom, I"m really looking for something that goes from wide to narrow (probably don't need anything longer than 200mm). I know "travel zoom" can be mistaken for meaning wildlife lens, which I'm not really looing for (although I may go back and pick up a 70-300 FX AF-P lens at some point, so really, the range could be even shorter (like 18-100mm or so, so the 18-140 might be an option too and can be had relatively inexpensively on the used market).

* The reason I mentioned the 18-400 tamron was because I head it got some good reviews for what it is. Obviously it's not the same as using, say a 24-70 and 100-400 or even a 70-200 f/4 in crop mode on a full frame camera, given the price and what I saw and heard on the Tamron, I had to include it in my consideration.

* I've heard mixed reviews on the 18-200's, and for that matter the DX Versions of the 70-300 and 55-300.

In the end, I don't want to invest a ton of money as this is NOT my primary camera (it's basically going to be my backup camera for everything, but it will be my primary system for wildlife where I need accurate and fast AF--as everyone knows the Z's lag in this department). But for everything else, I have my Z camera system. I just don't want to get stuck traveling somewhere and have a "backup" body but no lenses for it. I'd go as far to say I'd be happy with "Something" than nothing, because when you're overseas, it's not as easy to pop in a camera store and buy a lens. It might be easier in the US with places like BestBuy scatted throughout the country not to mention small camera stores in between, but again this is primarily for backup purposes, and would need to be "acceptably" sharp given the use case I mentioned.

Since I was planning on getting an AF-P 70-300 I might also just settle for the DX 35mm and call it a day.  It's only $200 and gives an approximate view of 52mm and yeah I'd be losing the wide end.  I mean I guess the other option would be to find someone who doesn't want their 18-55 kit lens as you can find those for $100 or less.

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Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z5 Nikon Z7 II GoPro Hero8 Black +13 more
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