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Old Apr 9, 2014, 6:40 PM   #1
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Haven't posted in a while, but certainly lurk quite a bit. I'm in the market to add to my lens collection and here's where I am.

85% of my shooting is nature, cityscapes, and settings that really call for a wide range of focal lengths. A bird in flight one minute, a blossom or sand castle the next. I'm often at the beach or in an outdoor environment where I would not be willing to change lenses. So, yes, I am a zoom-freak.

15% is family or indoor gatherings.

I currently have a wider angle zoom 18-105 which is ok, and the Tamron 70-300 4-5.5 VC which is also ok and sometimes downright great, but limited on the wide angle side.

As you can imagine, I am very drawn to the 18-200 or 18-270 that I can slap on and go.

HOWEVER, I also want as sharp and crisp as I can afford. (Yeah, nothing new here, I realize.)

So, I am torn between investing in a big girl lens--faster, shorter range zoom better glass lens with hope of getting that exquisite sharp crisp IQ that I aspire to, or just going with one of the above super zooms which would give me much greater flexibility and convenience for the outdoor shooting, but possibly with more softness than I would prefer.

The link to my flickr page photostream, https://www.flickr.com/photos/tropidale/ will give you an idea of what I am getting from my current lens combo. Sometimes I am very satisfied with the sharpness that I see in my shots with my current lens line up. Other times, I am very disappointed. The range of causals could go from light limitations to photographer lack of skill with D7000. Often I can see through the exif data where I went wrong, so I sure am not blaming all soft shots on the lens. So here are my questions. Any of you out there have thoughts to share?:

1. Is either the Nikon 18-200 or Tamron 18-270 equal or better sharpness to my Tamron 70-300? Or are they worse? I can live with equal, but not sure I'd be very happy with worse.

2. Would I see significant improvement in sharpness with a better optics/faster lens, or am I just gaining a few Fstops?

3. My budget is in the neighborhood of $1000 so I would have to choose one direction or the other for now. Any ideas for biggest bang? I also have the 50 mm 1.8 prime which I never use. Too confining.

Bonus questions:
4. I sometimes think it's the camera, not me when it comes to focus. I use single spot focus because I want to choose the exact spot and often still miss the focus mark even when I am quite sure I focused exactly where I wanted, and the subject was stone still. Could it be the camera and not me? I hear about back focus issues on the D7000, but don't know how to evaluate that.

Sorry to dump so many questions into this. Guess I have been saving up...

Thanks for any help.

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Old Apr 9, 2014, 7:27 PM   #2
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SLRGear.com Test Results:
The lenses you have have less distortion and are sharper than the lenses you're considering. Both the Nikons have more vignetting.

Jacks-of-all-trades-and-masters-of-none lenses are more convenient than multiple lenses of less ambitious zoom ranges, but that's all they are.

In general. larger aperture lenses are sharper at the same apertures as lenses that start off with smaller apertures. They may not be sharper wide open, but stopped down, they're sharper than lenses that can't go as wide.

Can you narrow down your focusing problems to one of the lenses you've got?
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old Apr 10, 2014, 12:54 PM   #3
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My own thoughts on Tamron's 18-270- very useful indeed- in certain scenarios...
I used one on a canon 20D- and at 8mp resolution, sharpness was just fine...
The one area of weakness was at full wide angle, with quite heavy distortion- it never bothered me personally- as I didn't buy this lens to use at full wide angle- and at anything but, it was great- however, for cityscapes... I think you'd be disappointed...
Swift focus and good VC however...
I used mine mainly for outdoor sports (fell runners)- primarily used between 35mm and full zoom for nice shallow DOF... and as I was generally shooting targets, any imperfections towards the edges of the frame was not noticed...

Here's a couple of examples- with crops...
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Old Apr 11, 2014, 6:55 PM   #4
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Thanks, TCav and Simon.

Durn! I was hoping to get resounding validation that one of the wider range lenses would be just fine. Alas, divided camps. But I think I was expecting that. And honesty is better than lip service, so thank you both!

I guess I have to think about this more. On the one hand, I do want to upgrade my equipment and I have heard from many that the D7000 will really expose a poor lens. On the other hand, I need more flexibility without having to change lenses on a windswept beach. I hate analysis paralysis!!

Nice shots Simon. Thanks for posting them so that I could get a visual. When I first read "fell runners" I thought, hmmm, I'll have to google that! But then when I saw the photos I figured it out. Looks like pretty tough going,... not for the faint of ankle!

Thanks again!

TCav, this focus miss issue doesn't seem to be associated with one lens, just one photographer and one camera body. It seems to occur mostly when there is a busy shot, but I thought that single point focusing would help to overcome that. Doesn't occur all the time, but I find myself avoiding the shallower depth of field to give me a better chance at getting that eye in focus. I think I am going to have to dig deeper into the issue. I have a 4 hour free training session with the store where I bought the body. If there is no statute of limitations I might finally book that appointment and include this issue in my list of questions.

Last edited by camalot; Apr 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM.
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