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Old Jan 29, 2006, 6:58 PM   #1
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Once more I´m in a lens dilemma.

Currently I own a D50 with 50mm 1.8 and 24mm 2.8, AF-D each.
The 50 1.8 is real gem.
The 24 is also really good, but I´ve found that it exhibits some blueish CA sometimes. And, of course, the 50 1.8 is a tiny bit sharper stopped down, although I have to say that the 24mm is better wide open (2.8), also better than the 50mm at f2.8 !!

But somehow I asked myself if a zoom lens would be better for me, perhaps instead of the 24mm (the 50mm is a definite keeper, I´ll never sell it), because of the flexibility and the wider end.

My requirements are:
1) if I buy a zoom, it should be real sharp at f5,6...not only at f8,9 oder 11. That means it doesn´t have to be a fuckin´ expensive 2.8 zoom (the 17-35 and 17-55 would be nice, but I don´t want to spend THAT much money), I just want it to be real sharp from f5,6-11 and usable at f4 or so.
2) it should start at 17-18mm (I´ve already had the Tokina 12-24, which was not too good at 24mm and also so-so at f5,6; and the Nikon 12-24 is too expensive for me)
3) it should be good at the wide end. I don´t want a zoom lens that´s soft at the wide end stopped down.

I´ve figured out some alternatives...
1) Nikon 18-70: read some raving reviews; but some others claim it to be soft from 18-24mm which would be a no-go for me. And also, some say it isn´t hot at f5,6, that it only really shines at f 8,9 or 11. Also a no-go for me id I have to sell the 24mm 2.8 at the same time. The 24mm is usable at 2.8 and super at f4 but lacks the flexibility and has some annoying CA (no ED glass!).
2) Nikon 18-55: I could buy this WITHOUT selling the 24mm 2.8. Only to have more flexibility in good light (walkaround lens) and a wider end. I know that this one probably has to be stopped down to f8 to be real sharp.
3) Sigma 18-50 2.8: some say it´s very soft at 2.8, some say it has bad CA. Is it really that bad with the CA ? Some others say it´s optically on par with the Nikon 17-55, and that it´s very very good at f5,6 or higher, even good at f4. Some say it has some bad sample variation which I really dislike.

What would you do ? Sell the 24 2.8 because of the CA and buy a zoom ? The most important thing to me is, as stated above, that the zoom is real sharp at 5,6, that it doesn´t have to be stopped down TOO much.
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Old Jan 29, 2006, 7:06 PM   #2
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Almost every zoom lens is going to be a little soft wide open, even the real expensive ones. The sweet spot of nearly every lens is down 2-3 stops from wide open. Generally sharpness at wide open aperatures is not a big issue as the DOF is shallow anyway...generally only your subject will be in compete focus. And you won't be shooting landscapes or macro's wide open so I wouldn't worry about corner to corner sharpness. I think the 18-70 will do you fine.
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