Sunday, February 20, 2011

Musings about lenses for D700

Since purchasing the Nikon D700 last week I've been doing some thinking about the kind of lenses that I want to use, and the focal lengths that will be the most useful to me. I have mixed feeling about primes vs zooms, not because one type of lens is better than the other for my purposes, but rather weight. Like most people that I've met I enjoy the convenience of zoom lenses, being able to quickly change perspective without having to move backwards or forwards is a nice tool to have at your finger tips. Of course, primes are nice for different reasons, which makes the choice just that much harder.

If I go the route of buying a zoom, I'm thinking particularly about the Nikon 24-120mm F4 VR and 16-35mm F4 VR. I like the idea of having the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 VR, purely for the versatility of it. The pitfall of the 24-120mm range is that I don't tend to shoot in the middle of the range very often (I don't commonly shoot between 35mm and 50mm, and between 50mm and 85mm), at least I haven't in the past. The Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4 VR would satisfy my need for wide angel coverage far more than the 24-120mm F4 VR, which is why I think I'd be more likely to buy it than the latter. The 16-35mm F4 VR would take the place of my DX wide angle lens, the Tokina 12-24mm F4. Considering that they give similar coverage that would be ideal, and the 16-35mm F4 VR does offer a little more on the wide end, which I wouldn't complain about one bit! I can think of a number of times on my trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks last year that having a few more millimeters on the wide end would have been very much appreciated. Of course, both of these lenses would hit my budget cap for camera gear spending in 2011, so I'd have to be happy with the gap between 35mm and 50mm. More over the huge gap between 50mm and the 300mm range of my AF-S 300mm F4D IF-ED!

As much as I like the convenience of zooms, I enjoy using prime lenses because they make me think more about the shots that I am taking. There is also the matter of size and weight, primes can be lighter and smaller than zooms, which can also make primes more enjoyable to use. I find the low weight of primes to be ideal when I am out hiking. If I went with primes my lens lineup would look very different, as I likely have the 24mm F2.8D, 50mm F1.8D (currently own) and 85mm F1.8D. This lineup would give me better overall coverage, but would limit my wide angel coverage. With the left over budget I could pickup a 105mm F2.8 AI-S micro to replace my 85mm F3.5G VR micro, so that might not be a bad choice.