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Thread: Nikon DX Lenses

  1. #1
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    Nikon DX Lenses

    Seeking to retain my trusted Nikon D300, but obtain even sharper, higher resolution images, I investigated the possible purchase of the top-price Nikkor17-55 f2.8G DX AFS IF-ED lens. The cost of this lens would put me well on the way towards an upgrade to the full frame D700, for which I have no FX lenses.
    When I checked the IMATest results for this lens, as quoted on the PhotoZone website, they appear to be equalled or bettered (centre image) by my existing 16-85 lens which, new, cost 1/3 of the price of the 17-55 lens.
    I would appreciate comments from members who are far better qualified and experienced than I am. I anticipate that at least one of you will suggest the Canon 5DII as the panacea solution!
    Best thanks!

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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    My understanding is that the primary reson to get the DX lens over the FX lens was to get the extremely short focal lengths. The FX lenses on a 1.5 crop sensor use only the central (sharper, cleaner, better) portion of the lens, but the focal length is now 1.5 times that shown on the dial.

    Keep in mind that FX cameras are not wholly happy with DX lenses.

    Here is a write up on the subject.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/dx-lenses.htm

    Pops

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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Hi, Pops!
    Thanks for your post.
    My point, however, is that BOTH these lenses are DX, I am not comparing a DX with an FX.
    The 17-55, on this side of the water, costs 1038.99 - $1610 - please don't tell me what it would cost from Adorama.
    Incidentally, I know one person over here who regards Ken Rockwell as a cult figure guru - me!
    Best wishes!
    Last edited by mikeshore; 29th August 2010 at 09:28 AM. Reason: typo

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Hi Mike,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me, great to have another Nikon shooter aboard.

    Two things occur to me regarding the above posts (in reverse order);
    1) Yes, Ken's site is great, I use it myself, but sometimes, some of his 'off-hand' comments can be mis-interpretted by people new to DSLR technology - while this doesn't apply to yourself, I make the point for the benefit of beginners reading this in future.
    2) Are you sure you have an excellent PP sharpening workflow and are getting the best from the 16-85mm you have now?

    I ask because clearly spending that kind of money on a lens that merely duplicates your current focal length range would be a mistake if the (16-85) lens isn't the reason for your dissatisfaction. I'm not usually one for stats, at least not at that level, but in this case, it seems have rung alarm bells and you sought assistance, let's hope we can help you.

    Colin is our sharpening expert, so I expect he'll pick up where I leave off and ask to see a sample image.
    I don't want to 'teach granny how to ...', but have you seen;
    the new sharpening techniques page and
    Colin's thread on the subject: When/How to Best Sharpen a Digital Photograph ?

    Cheers,

  5. #5
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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Hi, Dave!
    Thank you for your welcome to the CiC forums and for the info supplied.
    Presently, I use the 16-85 on my D300 and I am more than happy with it - it is sharp!
    I do not own the expensive 17-55 lens and it would take a lot to persuade me to buy even a second hand one, but I am fascinated by the similarities and differences between the two lenses. It could be that the expensive lens shows its strength in its edge-to-edge performance. Clearly, I have not done my homework well enough. It could also be that the new generation of Nikkor DX lenses have achieved the limits of the smaller sensor. That would be great.
    Whatever the reasons are, I have found the thread to be of value in helping me to clarify my own thoughts and, indirectly, I have probably chosen my 70th birthday present. (Now, only another 4,905 posts to go!)
    Thanks!

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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Nikkor17-55 f2.8G DX AFS IF-ED lens
    Sorry for the confusion of DX vs FX.

    Pops

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshore View Post
    ~
    I do not own the expensive 17-55 lens and it would take a lot to persuade me to buy even a second hand one, but I am fascinated by the similarities and differences between the two lenses. It could be that the expensive lens shows its strength in its edge-to-edge performance. ~
    Hi Mike,

    Seems I misunderstood too, almost (not really) accusing you of soft pics and trying to teach grandad how to ,,,
    Thankfully you've taken it remarkably well

    Yes, edge vs centre sharpness is one thing you will notice when PP'ing shots at 100%.

    Glad we helped, even if indirectly

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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Disclaimer - I have a 17-55 and I find it to be excellently sharp. In my opinion the 17-55 is not comparable to the 16-85. The 17-55 is a f/2.8 lens; the 16-85 is a f/3.5-5.6 lens. Big difference in getting DOF isolation and bigger difference in low-light situations, including AF acquisition. When you need 2.8 nothing else will do (excepting maybe 0.95). And yes, the VR on the 16-85 is helpful but not in all cases.

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    Re: Nikon DX Lenses

    Hi folks,

    Excelent question Mike! I'm investigating the same possibility myself. I own a D300s and the Nikkor 16-85mm and lately I've been wondering whether I made a mistake when I got the Nikkor 16-85 instead of the much more expensive 17-55. I mean, don't get me wrong, so far I can't complain about the performance of the 16-85 but it is just that one can't help but wonder where does all that difference in price between these lenses go. The 17-55 has a shorter focal length, which would suggest lower price. However, it has a maximum aperture of 2.8 and no VR ('cos it may not be required in most situations given the larger max. aperture). However, this still keeps me wondering whether the difference in price all comes from the f/2.8 aperture or from better photograph quality (besides other factors such as build quality, etc.).

    My idea is still to get the 17-55 some time in the future but only if the lens gives me something more than just wider max. aperture, specially because the 16-85 allows me to take hand-held photographs using VR and otherwise I tend to use a tripod quite often.

    cheers,

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