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Need a work horse lens

Stan Krol , May 03, 2010; 11:42 p.m.

I have been using a Nikon 28-105 on my N8008, N8008s and my D70s. Obviously it is very limited on the wide end on the D70s but covers most of what I shoot. However, it is showing its age and I want to replace it with something with decent range and wider. I had been considering the Nikon 16-85 but recently have been looking at the Sigma 17-70 F/2.8-4 HSM OS. Unfortunately, I have not found any in depth reviews of this lens. Apparently, it is optically tweaked a little different than its predecessor. Anyone know where I can find a professional review? Anyone have experience with this lens?



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Dennis Peter Bours , May 03, 2010; 11:56 p.m.

Photozone evaluated this lens:

It's surely a good lens, but the extreme corners only become reasonably sharp > f/5.6.
As work horse I now use the Nikon 18-35mm 3.5 - 4.5 (used mostly around f/11 for landscapes) and the Sigma 24-70 2.8 for any other type of shot. The Sigma 24-70 has good sharpness from f/4 onwards.
If you need a work horse on a DX camera, get the Nikkor AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 G IF-ED DX. You'll find them second hand these days as well and they are surely worth the money. The sharpness is much better than the Sigma 17-70:

Dave Lee , May 04, 2010; 12:10 a.m.

I've owned the Nikon 16-85mm VR zoom since it came on the market, and can pretty much say it is the best zoom lens I've ever used. It's sharp, has low distortion, has VR when you need it, and it's not big and heavy. If you don't need VR, the Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 is probably a better lens optically, but for me the 16-85mm is about as good as I'll ever need.

Dan South , May 04, 2010; 12:13 a.m.

IMHO, get the 16-85.

Stan Krol , May 04, 2010; 12:17 a.m.

Thanks. I have been eying the Nikon 17-55 on local listings too. The Photozone review is for the previous version of the Sigma 17-70. I know they made some optical changes but not sure how much different.

One combination that I have also been considering is a Tokina 12-24 and a Nikon 24-85. However, I am going to be traveling to China soon and want to keep the lens count low.

Kenneth Ray , May 04, 2010; 01:53 a.m.

I use a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 DC Macro HSM and am more than pleased with it. Image quality is excellant and focus is lightening fast. Build quality seems to be excellant also. Maybe a little shorter than you are looking for but I find it to be a very useful range on my D2x.

Dennis Peter Bours , May 04, 2010; 02:35 a.m.

The Nikkor 24 - 85 is nice if you do street shooting, some macros and not that many portraits. I felt it was too soft for portraits and the focus was a tad slow. Sometimes you needed to focus twice to have it spot on if it were to focus over a longer distance.

I tested the Tokina 12-24 on my previous D200. The Tokina had good sharpness, but profound vignetting - which is easily corrected in Photoshop. Good lens. I liked it, but in the end saved the money for something better that I could still use on a full frame camera later on.

Jose Angel , May 04, 2010; 02:58 a.m.

The 17-55 is a pleasure to use. Once you`re used to it you`ll notice that the construction quality is shown with a much better feel, specially on the zoom ring which is way smoother on the travel and more precise than most consumer Nikkors (don`t know 3rd party lenses). Manual focus is also more precise, that typical "jump" when turning the focus wheel while focusing is also minimized, the hood is way thicker, bigger and hold to the main body instead of the front element. Optically is at top. As a workhorse I cannot think on another lens for DX. Drawback; big and heavy (but still a DX lens, hence a compact lens for its type).
I also use to want to keep the lens count low on trips and use a 24-85AFS for its lightness and wider range (I`m on FX) but I`d not call it a workhorse. The feel is pretty different, durability as well (although perfectly usable).

Carl Becker , May 04, 2010; 08:30 a.m.

I very much liked the 28-105mm Nikkor for a med tele when I had a D200. I would look closely at the 16-85mm for the range or a 17-50mm f2.8 for the speed. I also enjoyed using the older Nikkor 18-70mm which is small, light, not to slow and cheap. I went to my local camera store to check out a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 for my D700. They offer a great return policy if I was not happy with the lens. I kept it after testing. You might try a good local store to see if the Sigma meets your needs.

Dieter Schaefer , May 04, 2010; 08:57 a.m.

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