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D700 and best lens for travel

Chris Duim , Jul 15, 2009; 02:14 a.m.

Hi, I'm new to this forum and would like help from pros. I just migrated to FX (D700) from DX but admit I am not a pro. I bought the 70-300 Nikkor with the body. I am not quite sure what other lens I need to add in as much as I will be traveling with my family to a holiday trip this coming winter (Niagara Falls, Orlando, NY New Years Eve countdown, etc.). I remember using mostly wide end of the D60 + Nikkor 18-200 mm Nikkor during our holiday trip last year to get the family and as much of the view as I can. Got the full frame to handle anticipated low light photos. Having trouble deciding on all Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 (people look weird inside the frame), 17-35 mm f/2.8 (does it distort as much as the ultrawide 14-24) versus the 24-70 mm f/2.8 as I need some wide shots but hopefully not distorted too much. Read that some do not advise a middle zoom (24-70) and instead get a 14-24/17-35 with a nifty fifty (50 mm f/1.4G). Or could I settle for the 24-70 mm (is the wide end respectable for the trip together with some reach into midrange). COuld you guys help me out? Many thanks.


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Lil Judd , Jul 15, 2009; 02:53 a.m.

Chris - I just traveled the West Coast with the 24-70mm on the D700. I loved it & most of the time I was thrilled, but there were times I wished for wider. Past that - 24-70 comes with a steep price tag. But it is a fantastic lens.
Lil :)

Roberto Totaro , Jul 15, 2009; 03:01 a.m.

On the D60 the field of view of your 18-200 mm lens is roughly equivalent to the FOV of a 27-300 mm on a DX camera.
If I were you, I would first get the 28-70/2.8. A mid-range zoom is typically much more useful than a super wide as a walk-around, travel lens.
If you really, really want to go very wide, get the 17-35/2.8. From what I now the 14-24 is a superb lens, but the zoom range is IMHO too wide and additionally you can't use filters.


Nic Coury , Jul 15, 2009; 03:01 a.m.

I use the 20-35 f/2.8 on my D700 daily. Granted I'm using it for newspaper work, but it works fantastic. Sharp, small and fairly inexpensive.

The 35-70 f/2.8 is a good compliment too.

Arash Hazeghi , Jul 15, 2009; 03:09 a.m.

I use both 14-24 and 24-70 with my D700 frequently, they are a perfect combo. It makes little sense to have both 14-24 and 17-35, you will not have any reach for farther subjects/portraits etc. You should pick either 14-24 or 17-35 depending on your preference for filters or not plus the 24-70. I tested the 24-70 @ 50mm versus the older 50 f/1.8D and it was sharper at all apertures, it doubles as a prime for me as well, so I am not using the 50 anymore. I did not like the new 50 f/1.4G as the focus speed is too slow for my liking and for such price IMO.

Jose Angel , Jul 15, 2009; 03:27 a.m.

As a wide zoom I find the 17-35 to have the best focal range. This and a 50AFS seems to me the perfect combo for almost everything.
Are you not bothered about size and weight? I usually walk/travel with my camera and find the bulk of this pro zooms to be very annoying.

Monika Epsefass , Jul 15, 2009; 03:42 a.m.

The 24-70/2.8 is a to-die-for choice, and I believe it brings out the best in the D700.
Nevertheless, I have noticed that, more often than not, I am extremely happy with my 50/1.4 which is always on, it seems. Versatile, universal, perfect. For landscapes, I usually take panoramic shots with this lens, too, which I later assemble.
My best travel lens would be either the above-mentioned 24-70, or a 50 in combo with a good wide angle lens or zoom.
And José, I too, travel a lot, and sometimes it annoys me to schlepp 7.5 kg of equipment, but it's worth every gram. ;-)

Roberto Totaro , Jul 15, 2009; 03:47 a.m.

Oops... I meant 24-70/2.8 in my post above. My apologies.

Nic Coury , Jul 15, 2009; 04:05 a.m.

No one mentions it, but the older 28-70 f/2.8 is just as good at the 24-70, but loads less cost-wise.

I got mine for $1K nearly brand new. It's fast, sharp, contrast-y and build, in my opinion, better than the newer lens.

Chris Duim , Jul 15, 2009; 04:45 a.m.

Thanks guys. You have all been very helpful.
I've resigned myself to the fact that weight is something I have to live with when I travel this winter, although I will certainly avoid bringing a wide zoom, mid-zoom and the tele together. I am now considering either a 17-35 mm plus 50 mm f/1.4G OR 24-70 mm f/2.8 (I've seen reviews where the 24-70 was even sharper than the prime 50 f/1.4G) as additional lens to the 70-300 mm I already have. That will hopefully keep the weight down to more manageable levels (although it still is top heavy I guess). With that said I plan on leaving one of the lenses in a safe in the hotel when we go out to visit places, with the lens I take along depending on what I foresee shooting photos of during the day, so that I manage the weight while going around and avoid attracting too much attention with the DSLR.
I also read in some forum threads about the 28-85mm Nikkor although I have never seen one in the shops, nor do I have info about its performance characteristics. WOuld anyone have prior experience with this lens on an FX?

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