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Thread: Do I need an upgrade?

  1. #1
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    Do I need an upgrade?

    I currently have a Nikon D3100 with the following two lenses:

    • Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1
    • Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical


    I was looking to upgrade to the following two lenses:


    Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens
    and the
    Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm

    But I'm not sure if I need to. I'd consider myself an intermediate photographer. I hear a lot of people say it's not about the lenses or cameras you have, its about your ability etc. So I'm not sure if the two upgrades would improve my photography.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    My first question will be, why do you think you need an upgrade (especially with the macro lens)?

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertsMx View Post
    My first question will be, why do you think you need an upgrade (especially with the macro lens)?
    Well mainly because I bought those two tamron lenses on a budget. As in, I didn't go for the better options at the time because I couldn't afford them. However, in the next 6-12 months I should be able to afford these two upgrades and if they can improve my pics then why not? lol.

    I've always thought of Tamron as 'the cheap' option. Is that not the case? (quality wise)

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    I can't speak for the 18-200 (compared to other 18-200 lenses), but Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is a fantastic lens. I see no point in replacing it with another similar macro lens. The Sigma 105 is also a very good lens (I have Sigma 70/2.8), but it is more likely to be a lateral move than an upgrade, except for HSM and OS (neither is very useful for macro).

    As far as 18-200 is concerned, if you're dissatisfied with the IQ, and know the alternative is better, then it might make sense. I wouldn't go simply by brand name though. If you feel 200mm is limited reach, then that could be another consideration. I use Sigma 18-250 HSM OS on my Sony A55 (can also use it on my NEX-3) which does its job well, but if I wanted to really care about IQ, then considering a faster prime or two for the cost it might take to replace the two with similar lens may be something to consider (example: adding 35/1.8 or 50/1.8).

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertsMx View Post
    I can't speak for the 18-200 (compared to other 18-200 lenses), but Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is a fantastic lens. I see no point in replacing it with another similar macro lens. The Sigma 105 is also a very good lens (I have Sigma 70/2.8), but it is more likely to be a lateral move than an upgrade, except for HSM and OS (neither is very useful for macro).

    As far as 18-200 is concerned, if you're dissatisfied with the IQ, and know the alternative is better, then it might make sense. I wouldn't go simply by brand name though. If you feel 200mm is limited reach, then that could be another consideration. I use Sigma 18-250 HSM OS on my Sony A55 (can also use it on my NEX-3) which does its job well, but if I wanted to really care about IQ, then considering a faster prime or two for the cost it might take to replace the two with similar lens may be something to consider (example: adding 35/1.8 or 50/1.8).
    Thanks for the input,

    Sorry newbie question here, what's IQ?

    I think I may leave the upgrade, spending 500 pounds on each of those upgrades is a fair bit when photography is only a hobby for me. I think I should focus on getting more out of the lenses I currently have as I'm still only an intermediate photographer (not an expert, lol).

    I got so more shifts where I work so I'm just looking to spend money for the sake of it such a bad habit! haha

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    I might suggest that, in the future, to avoid after-market glass and go with OEM. Will give you better images. IQ=image quality.

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    the only point in replacing that macro is if you need the better sealing or internal focusing because you are always min distance to subject AND find the front element moving too close to subject is causing issues. The only options that give you that with the same IQ (image quality by the way) in similar focal length is the expensive canon/nikkor equivalents and the newer tamron really.

    As for the other lens I haven't used it but the improvement you'll see upgrading it will be minor. The only time I'd bother with the upgrade is when you know you need it. For instance you shoot fast moving stuff where you don't get time to focus an compose in advance then bigger camera buffers, faster lens focusing and more af sensors become more of a must. Only time it makes big difference is some commercial stuff but sometimes even then it is just convenience not necessity, but there is a lot to be said for easier workflows/saved time in such cases.
    Last edited by Davey; 23rd September 2013 at 09:54 PM.

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by shahvikram123 View Post
    Thanks for the input,

    Sorry newbie question here, what's IQ?

    I think I may leave the upgrade, spending 500 pounds on each of those upgrades is a fair bit when photography is only a hobby for me. I think I should focus on getting more out of the lenses I currently have as I'm still only an intermediate photographer (not an expert, lol).

    I got so more shifts where I work so I'm just looking to spend money for the sake of it such a bad habit! haha
    I would still recommend considering a fast prime to explore and enhance your creative side. A travel zoom is fine for its application, and you can use the Tamron as a short tele (use the focus limiter for faster AF outside of the macro range) or even as a portrait lens. I am not very familiar with Nikon cameras though. Does your D3100 support AF on that lens? If it does, you have even less reason to consider the lateral move.

    I use my Sigma 18-250 as a one-lens solution on limited occasions but all travel zoom lenses are slow. And complementing a slow but versatile lens with a faster yet inexpensive lens (like 35/1.8 or 50/1.8) can do a lot more good than replacing 18-200 with 18-200, and for a lot less money. Between 35/1.8 and 50/1.8, the former will be better suited to indoor/tighter spaces, or even as a normal walk around option whereas 50/1.8 gives you a bit more extra reach.

    Unlike Chauncey though, I wouldn't recommend spending more simply to stick with OEM. There are fine lenses all-around, and often for a lot less money. Again, not being very familiar with Nikon world, and being a Sony shooter (A55 and NEX-3), I even have a cheap lens lineup that goes back to the 1980s and all of them are capable of fine images.

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Thanks for the input everyone , So in what sort of situations would you use a prime say 35/1.8 or 50/1.8 as apposed to a zoom 18-200mm.

    I'm confused now - why would you buy a prime lens if you have a zoom lens that covers those focal lengths (18-200mm)?

    Or in what situation would you use the prime as apposed to the telephoto 18-200 if you had both?

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by shahvikram123 View Post
    Thanks for the input everyone , So in what sort of situations would you use a prime say 35/1.8 or 50/1.8 as apposed to a zoom 18-200mm.

    I'm confused now - why would you buy a prime lens if you have a zoom lens that covers those focal lengths (18-200mm)?

    Or in what situation would you use the prime as apposed to the telephoto 18-200 if you had both?
    A travel zoom lens, like my 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 (or 18-200, as in your case), is a slow lens. In other words, the maximum aperture available to you gets smaller rather quickly as you zoom in. Before we proceed, you may be familiar with "f-stops":
    f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16...

    Each subsequent stop halves the amount of light that gets through to the sensor compared to the one that precedes it. For example, if you are shooting with ISO 100, 35mm (focal length) and aperture set at f/2.8, you may find that the shutter speed is 1/1000s for a particular lighting condition. If you changed (reduced) your aperture to f/4, the shutter speed would drop by half to 1/500s. If you changed to f/5.6, it will drop to 1/250s. This is usually a non-issue in good light. However, under low light conditions, the shutter speed becomes a premium and to make up for it, you may end up using higher ISO (which will compromise image quality... in more ways than one actually but we can discuss this later).

    With that in mind, travel zoom lenses being very slow, there is a good chance that at 35mm, the maximum aperture is already down to f/4.5. This affects low-light performance, and also increases the depth of field which may or may not be an issue depending on what you're photographing.

    A 35mm f/1.8 will allow more light through (larger aperture), nearly 3-4 times more which will give you more head room to use lower ISO and/or use faster shutter speed and being better indoors. And if you're also looking for a shallower DoF (more blurred background), you will get more of that at f/1.8 than at f/4.5.

    Another added benefit? Size and weight. Prime lenses can offer faster speed in a smaller size. They take away the convenience of zoom, but an argument can be made that a prime can force you to be more creative. Now the choice between a 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 can be tricky, depending largely on what you'd use the FL for.

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Hi Vikram,

    Nikon D3100 user here since May, 2011. Only have 2 lens which can auto-focus on it. ( - most primes don't auto-focus on our D3100.). A kit lens: 18-55mm and a 55-200mm. So far, used them for portraits, fireworks, landscapes, streetphotos, bokeh, etc. and produced photos I like.

    I suggest get the Nikkor 50-300mm VR DX.

    I found out , especially, from the gurus here on this forum, it's not the lens that make better pictures. It's the guy using the lens that makes better pictures.

    However, if you have the money for new lenses, go for it. Or, perhaps, get a flash/speedlite,
    remote trigger, light stand, umbrella/reflector/etc. to better light-up your subjects.

    Hope this helps.


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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Well, what kinds of photography do you do? It's easy to say 'buy this or that item', but what use is a flash/speedlight if you exclusively shoot landscapes?
    and what is it you don't like about the 18-200 mm?

    I wouldn't change the macro lens for a Sigma one of about the same focal length: both are 'cheaper' brands, and the Tamron 90 mm has a very good reputation. (Sigma, otoh, has/had a reputation of hit and miss quality control)

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by shahvikram123 View Post

    I've always thought of Tamron as 'the cheap' option. Is that not the case? (quality wise)
    the 90 f2.8 is regarded as a classic. Friends who own it like it a lot and have produced some sharp pics. honestly the only reason to change it would be to get a macro with significantly more reach.

    The Tamron 18-200 isn't one of the best Tammy travel zooms (the 18-250 and original 18-270 were pretty decent for travel zooms). The Nikon will be better (used to own one) but I'm sure there are better ways to upgrade. A Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is a good budget option. The Nikon 55-200 VR is supposedly a very decent lens (not used it) and if you want a fast prime the 35 f1.8

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    Well, what kinds of photography do you do? It's easy to say 'buy this or that item', but what use is a flash/speedlight if you exclusively shoot landscapes?
    and what is it you don't like about the 18-200 mm?
    +1

    I'll wait for detailed answers to those questions before giving any advice.

    WW

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    as quacksoflife said the tamron 90 2.8 (older) is highly regarded and produces equal results to oem glass such as nikons. From what I've seen the steer clear of 3rd party thing is not true unless you're looking at high end pro nikkor (or canon etc) glass. Optically many 3rd party, especially tamron, can be equal or even greater than oem IQ in the mid to low ranges and sometimes match their higher lines. The place where it falls down is resale value, build quality and future body support since new models wont always be compatible with 3rd party glass.

    The new tamron that replaces that lens is more expensive but closes the gap between the higher end nikkor/canon/sony as the only down sides it had have been improved such as internally focusing and some weather sealing. The VC I'll leave off as is useless on a macro but the bigger focus ring is very handy since often manual focus is the way for macro. Check likes of photozone.de for the test results to see the 3rd party options. Be aware not everything will autofocus on your model though if you do decide you need an upgrade.

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by shahvikram123 View Post
    But I'm not sure if I need to. I'd consider myself an intermediate photographer. I hear a lot of people say it's not about the lenses or cameras you have, its about your ability etc. So I'm not sure if the two upgrades would improve my photography.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated
    Vikram,

    The simple answer to your question is that if you are not sure if you need to change them and can not say why they are restricting you at present, you don't.

    Grahame

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    +1

    I'll wait for detailed answers to those questions before giving any advice.

    WW
    valid point WW

    hope you don't mind me asking but are you the WW who posts on photo.net?

    kind regards

    Pete

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    @RobertsMx - Wow thank you for that post, it was realllly helpful! made things so much clearer

    For those of you asking, the kind of photography I am shooting includes from macro/close-up, landscape (not too much landscape though), family/indoor and urban/city. It's pretty varied.

    I think I may go for a prime lens. Not sure whether to go for the 35mm/1.8 or 50mm/1.8…based on the type of photography I do, what would you lot recommend?

    I'm guessing 35mm is better for indoor and family type pics?

  19. #19
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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    First of all, let's look at your existing lenses; to do this, I'll refer to the Photozone lab tests:

    The 90 Macro:
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...review?start=1

    Now let's compare it to the Sigma:
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...review?start=1

    Comparing the MTF test results, it's pretty well a wash. Do you see anything wrong with the lens? I don't. The problem with changing macro lenses, is that pretty well all of them (no matter what brand) are very good to excellent, so changing rarely improves anything.

    Now the Tamron 18-200:
    I can't find any test results for a Tamron 18-200 for a Nikon, but the results for a Canon (same lens, different mount):
    http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/29...review?start=1

    And the newest Nikon 18-200:
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...report?start=1
    OR:
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...028vr2?start=1

    I don't know which 18-200 lens you are referring to because there are several, so I can't comment on this lens, except that the new Nikon 18-200 AF-S f/2.8 G ED VR II is an excellent lens - and likely has a price to match.

    From the test results for the Tamron 18-200 that you have, it's obvious that CA's (chromatic aberrations) are bad.

    Maybe it's time for an upgrade to the 70-200, but I wouldn't waste the money changing the macro lens.

    Glenn

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    Re: Do I need an upgrade?

    I'll add my voice to those of the people who are suggesting that you not upgrade. The only reason to upgrade is if you find that the equipment you have is making it hard or impossible to do what you want.

    The two lenses you have are somewhat limiting in some respects, but that only matters if you have hit those limits and find them a problem. If you have, then the next step is to be clear about what you want the new lens to be able to do.

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