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walk around and telephoto lens recommendation for d7100

u b , Mar 31, 2013; 08:03 a.m.

Hi,
I am new in this forum and will appreciate if you help me in choosing a new photo equipment set. I am very confused about selecting the camera type and suitable lenses. Previously, I had nikon d80, 14-24mm for landscape and architecture, nikon 105mm f2.8 VR for macro and 50mm 1.8D for portraits and give them all back after 3 years of use to the place where I bought them. Now, it is time for an upgrade. My problem is that I don't want to change lenses and keep their number at a minimum. Photos I want to take are landscapes and big buildings like palaces , churches etc., on holidays, portraits and family photos at picnic, sometimes bird photos. I thought a lot on it and created some alternatives sets as follows:
Nikon D7100 (DX) as the camera or should I buy a FX camera like d600 (but oil-dust problem), d700 (low resolution 12MP), d800 (too expensive)
For landscapes, architecture Nikon 16-35 f4 VR (actually for FX cameras but on a DX an enough wide lens)
For portraits nikon 85mm f1.8 (actually I don't want a second lens just for portraits, prefer one lens for lands., arch. and portraits but 16-35 mean 35 mm is suitable for portraits for example for head and shoulders shots??)
or instead of above two lenses only nikon 24-70 (70mm is okay for portraits but is 24mm enough for lands. and architecture on a DX camera)
or only nikon 16-85mm VR (okay for both lands., arch., and portraits but isn't it a little weak in image quality compared to 16-35 or 24-70 ????)
For bird photos nikon 300mm f4 + 1.4TC EII teleconverter
In between, 14-24mm was a very sharp and suitable lens for lands. and arch. but 1) no circular polarizer filter, 2) no VR like 16-35 3) 24 vs 35mm on the long end so faces are seen more natural with 35mm if I buy the 16-35 for both lands, arch and portraits.
Total budget <= 4000$.
I have to decide as soon as possible. Therefore I will appreciate any recommendations. Thanks.

Responses

Dave Wilson , Mar 31, 2013; 10:52 a.m.

Why don't you just start your new kit with the D7100 that you seem to prefer and the one lens you seem to prefer 16- 35mm and use that for a while and then decide which way to go. I don't have the 16-35mm but yes, it is reported by enough sources to have excellent image quality. Unless you have decided on upgrading to full frame, then you have some decisions to make about testing the D600.

Dave Wilson , Mar 31, 2013; 11:31 a.m.

One thing I failed to mention is of course you have to take the size and weight of the FX lens on the DX camera into consideration. The beauty of using DX is that the lenses are smaller and lighter, the FX lens will be bigger and heavier.

Rick M. , Mar 31, 2013; 02:28 p.m.

I agree with Dave. That is a good start. One caveat. This lens is pretty expensive. The reason to choose it is that it will carry you into full frame if you should someday decide to go that way. I would also have no problem with your going with the 300 F-4 now as it is a wonderful lens that will always be valuable. My vote is clearly for the new AFs version as the old one (which I have) focuses fairly slowly and uses drop-in filters. (I was going to get rid of my 500 F/4 until I used it for a bird photography assignment and fell in love with it again. It is just really sharp.

Since you need to have a middle for the time being I also recommend that you get the D7100 wih the kit lens. With the discount you will always be able to sell it and get your money out and it will take complete your set from 16 through 105. (Or 24 through about 160 on the DX.)

u b , Apr 01, 2013; 08:09 a.m.

Thanks for the reply Dave and Rick. And what do you think about sigma 50-500 OS version or nikon 80-400 as an alternative to nikon 300mm + 1.4TC ? in between, i want to make one decision and buy them at once.
And also should I understand that d7100 + 16-35 f4 is the choice for the beginning ?

Andrew Garrard , Apr 01, 2013; 09:59 a.m.

I do not believe the 50-500 Sigma is a suitable way of getting a high pixel count camera to 500mm (though it's better short of the long end); I certainly don't think my 150-500 is, though there are very varying reports from other users. The latest 80-400 is probably more competitive, though it's a lot more expensive than the old one. If you can live with no vr, the 300+TC is still the budget choice.

Rick M. , Apr 01, 2013; 11:10 a.m.

I agree with Andrew. The 300 is very hard to beat and the D7100 is probably not too forgiving. If you have the money for a new version 80-400 it has good reviews but my personal choice would be the 300 saving the additional money for the future. You know with the difference you could buy the D600 as a second body!

u b , Apr 01, 2013; 06:07 p.m.

well... for the telephoto, the decision has been made ... 300mm + 1.4 TC. I will be glad if you say something more for the walk around lens. Here, I mean a lens for landscapes, architecture and also to take photos of people either a group of people or one's head and shoulder shots. I don't take much photos at low light conditions, weight is not important but sharpness for all and bokeh for portraits is important for me.
16-35 f4 (sharpness, wideness and VR are okay but 35mm for head-shoulder portraits ?????)
24-70 f2.8 (sharpness, bokeh is okay but is 24mm on a DX camera enough wide + no VR ????)
16-85 (wide enough for land., arch. and long enough for portraits, VRII but sharpness and bokeh??)
17-55 f2.8 ?????? no VR old technology ?????
What about 16-35 f4 + 85mm or 50mm f1.8 G or 50mm f1.4 G
which one should I choose ?
Thanks for your contributions....

Greg Alton , Apr 02, 2013; 12:55 a.m.

My two cents: if you're decided on the 7100 (which makes sense to me), and you have no specific urgency for when to get your 'full kit' - start with the kit 18-55 for general use and the most simple, relatively inexpensive high-performing portrait lens for your use, like the 50mm f1.8g or 85mm f1.8g. Take your time and decide after that what you really need and where the holes in your line-up for your use is, based on what you use and what you need. (I've no view on the lens for birding.) From the sounds of it, you'll eventually want a wider zoom, and possibly a longer zoom, but you can decide where you'll get the most bang for the buck after trying with the new camera.

Eric Arnold , Apr 02, 2013; 01:29 a.m.

not sure i would get a 16-35 above a 16-85 VR for a DX body for a landscape/architecture shooter. also , you dont really need the 24-70. just get the 16-85. hate to simplify things for you, but i just did. on top of the 16-85, add the 85/1.8G and 50/1.8 G and maybe an inexpensive/lightweight 55-200 to cover the gap between 85 and 300.

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