Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,810
Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
1

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+.

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Nikon D500
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tonybax 1
tonybax 1 Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

tamron 70-300 smashing lens

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martianphoto Regular Member • Posts: 141
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
1

Pity to be limited by price but I would strongly favour Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR FX .

martianphotography (smugmug.com)

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embie
embie Senior Member • Posts: 2,609
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
8

The more range in a zoom lens the more compromises you'll have to accept regarding sharpness.

IMO a "travel zoom" as you call it is not the same as a "wildlife" zoom.

I was thinking on a 18-140mm (not expensive) or a 16-80mm (expensive) as a travel zoom.

And, for wildlife rather a AF-P 70-300mm VR DX (great lens and very cheap) or, if you don't mind the weight, a super tele like the 200-500mm or the cheaper Tamron 150-600 G2.

I assume that since you have already bought a Z7 with ??? lens and a D500, I think the extra costs for the 16-80mm can't be a deal breaker.

eMBie

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Labe Forum Pro • Posts: 12,257
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

I got the 18-200VR and tamron 70-300 ( not the el cheapo one)

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labalaba Contributing Member • Posts: 902
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
1

18-140 VR for a cheap , one lens solution without too much optical compromise.

16-85 VR also an option if you prefer the wide end, but if you were considering an 18-400 then it seems you were more interested in telephoto.

I have no experience of 18-400mm lenses but I would not go that route myself. If you really must have the telephoto covered in this backup, I'd look at 18-55 + 55-300.

embie
embie Senior Member • Posts: 2,609
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

Labe wrote:

I got the 18-200VR and tamron 70-300 ( not the el cheapo one)

The 18-200mm VR won't feed the bulldog on a 21 Megapixels (D500) camera.

eMBie

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"Travel is fatal...for prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" (Mark Twain) - "The world...is our home" (eMBie)
You can edit and repost my pictures until you drop but they will still be mine Please respect my copyright

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David5833 Senior Member • Posts: 1,739
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
1

For a lens for a D500 as a backup camera for travel, I'd go with the AF-P 18-55. It's small, light, has VR, inexpensive, and would certainly be plenty good enough in a pinch.

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OP sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,810
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

martianphoto wrote:

Pity to be limited by price but I would strongly favour Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR FX .

martianphotography (smugmug.com)

The price point is not set in stone.  It's just being that it's a backup body to my Z cameras, I don't want to spend a ton of money on glass.  I'll look at a used 24-120 perhaps although I had it for my D750 and wasn't all that impressed other than the fact it was a fixed f/4.

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OP sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,810
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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David5833 Senior Member • Posts: 1,739
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION
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OP sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,810
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION

David5833 wrote:

How about $69 for a factory refurb: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1386306-REG/nikon_20059b_af_p_dx_nikkor_18_55mm.html/?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&lsft=BI%3A514&gclid=Cj0KCQiAx9mABhD0ARIsAEfpavTjXzX5I-abjcKpOGoro_JAdrALeBmO9wpD3HZ57Ptt7vVFj8LLd90aArdVEALw_wcB

I might actually do that.  Not a bad price by any means and if it broke within a year, not a big deal at $69.

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NCB Senior Member • Posts: 1,782
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
1

I'd suggest 16-80. I have the 16-85 and it's a cracker, very useful range, very good IQ and by reputation the 16-80 is even better. Would balance very nicely on the D500.

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bflood Senior Member • Posts: 2,142
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?
4

I like NCB's idea. I also have the 16-85, and it really is good. Plus the 16-80 has a reputation of being even better.

If your travel will include interiors, like inside museums, cathedrals, castles, etc, the difference between 16 mm and 18 mm on the wide end is huge. I had the 18-70 and 18-140 in the past, and bought the 16-85 to get those 2 extra mm wider. Then I sold the 2 18-xxx lenses, because I never used them again.

If you liked the zoom range of the 24-120 mm in a full frame body, the 16-80 is your lens. It has the same field of view on a DX body as the 24-120 on a FX body.

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Craftsman70 Regular Member • Posts: 312
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

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.

Since you are looking for an AF-P 70-300, BH normally has the refurb version for $149 - https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1365789-REG/nikon_20062b_af_p_dx_nikkor_70_300mm.html.  They are out of stock right now but at that price, you can afford to wait!

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bluzman
bluzman Senior Member • Posts: 1,084
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

Three lenses come to mind that may meet your requirements.

  1. Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR: I used this lens extensively as a general purpose, "walking around" lens on both a D5600 and D7500. It's inexpensive but its performance belied its cost. At the time I got it, the MSRP was approx. $500 but I got a "refurb" for just over $250.
  2. Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Contemporary: I sold the 18-140mm along with the D5600 to provide $$ for some other gear. Later, I got this lens to fill that general purpose, "walking around" slot for my D7500. It weighs slightly less than the 18-140mm. I got a new item for about $300.
  3. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary: I got this lens as an alternative to the Sigma 18-200mm. It's about the same size and weight as that lens but is faster and slightly wider at the low end. At the time I got it, the MSRP was approx. $500 but I bought it new on sale for about $340.
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OP sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,810
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

Thank you everyone for the input. I've sort of tabled this idea (was gonig to get a D500 for a wildlife camera) but I want to try to see what I can get with my Z cameras first (I know they're not the best, but I've been watching videos and for a beginner, I felt a little uncomfortable spending $1000+ on another body) so I'm sort of tabling the idea of a DX camera for now. I might pick up one of the refurbished 18-55's just to have "just in case" (they were like $69 so nothing costly if I end up not using it).

Again, if I did get a DX camera it would likely be a backup and so the 18-55 (while not the best out there) would be suitable for general photography, or as a backup, which is what I was intending it for.

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Jocksa
Jocksa Senior Member • Posts: 1,105
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras?

If you're looking for a DSLR for wildlife or sport, the D500 is excellent.

If you're looking for a DSLR for travel, I'd recommend the D7100.

I have both and what the D7100 lacks in AF performance compared to the D500, it more than makes up in size, weight, battery life and price/expendability for travel.

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Sactojim Veteran Member • Posts: 8,480
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

David5833 wrote:

How about $69 for a factory refurb: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1386306-REG/nikon_20059b_af_p_dx_nikkor_18_55mm.html/?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&lsft=BI%3A514&gclid=Cj0KCQiAx9mABhD0ARIsAEfpavTjXzX5I-abjcKpOGoro_JAdrALeBmO9wpD3HZ57Ptt7vVFj8LLd90aArdVEALw_wcB

I might actually do that. Not a bad price by any means and if it broke within a year, not a big deal at $69.

Absolutely a excellent lens with it's light weight, fast AF, silent, and sharp at all length. Must have.

David5833 Senior Member • Posts: 1,739
Re: Good "travel zoom" for Nikon DX Cameras? : CLARIFICATION
1

Sactojim wrote:

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

David5833 wrote:

How about $69 for a factory refurb: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1386306-REG/nikon_20059b_af_p_dx_nikkor_18_55mm.html/?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&lsft=BI%3A514&gclid=Cj0KCQiAx9mABhD0ARIsAEfpavTjXzX5I-abjcKpOGoro_JAdrALeBmO9wpD3HZ57Ptt7vVFj8LLd90aArdVEALw_wcB

I might actually do that. Not a bad price by any means and if it broke within a year, not a big deal at $69.

Absolutely a excellent lens with it's light weight, fast AF, silent, and sharp at all length. Must have.

And close focusing as well. I wanted to go light yesterday so I took the D7500 with the AF-P 18-55:

Processed from raw in LR and PS to taste including sharpening and crop.

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