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Old Dec 29, 2010, 1:51 PM   #1
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Default Nikon 18-105 vs 16-85 vs other

A while back I upgraded the D40 to the D90, body only. Retained the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 (non VR) kit. That lens now needs to be replaced and would appreciate suggestions on which way to go. Retaining my 55-200 and 10-20.

Obvious would be the Nikon 18-105 f3.5-5.6. Considering it is also the least expensive, potentially include a 50 prime.

Competing with the 18-105 is the 16-85 f3.5-5.6. With the 10-20, I don't really NEED the 16mm, but obviously is nice. All three are the same variable f-stop and have had no issues with low light. Both would give a greater "walk-around" factor than the current 18-55. Optically, is there that big a difference between the 18-105 and 16-85 that would justify double the price for the 16-85.

Also, looking at, but leaning towards Nikon:
Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4
Sigma 17-50 f2.8 - fixed
Tamron 17-50 f2.8 - fixed
I did notice where Steve just posted a review of the Tamron. Softness wide open is an issue I have seen in other reviews. Resolving by stopping down kind of defeats the purpose of a 2.8 lens vs the 3.5-5.6.

General discussions of both the Sigma and Tamron have indicated that the non-VR versions are better than the newer VR versions of those lens. Within that focal range, I generally consider VR to be 20% functional/80% marketing hype. Besides, I have a tripod although I don't use it that much with the 18-55 due to walk-around bulk.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old Dec 29, 2010, 2:29 PM   #2
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Depends on WHAT you are shooting.

I can only speak for myself - owing the 'more expensive' 16-85mm ED VR. This is a lens I would not want to be without! It covers 90% of my needs in my photography, which is mostly landscape and I really apprecciate the extra 2mm on the low-end, giving me a superb wideangle, without too much optical distortion.

My son-in-law has the D90 with 18-105 and he is perfectly happy with it. He has a slightly longer reach (105mm vs 85mm) but he struggles on the low-end. He has to change more often onto his Tokina 11-16 (we both owe one of these magnificent lenses) then I do, as my 16mm reaches very wide.

I belive the 16-85 is a little sharper as well (I am biased - what do you expect...) but the thing that is importatnt to me is the mount.

Metal-mount in the 16-85 - plastic-mount in the 18-105

Read about them here:

18-105mm: http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...r_18105_3556vr

16-85mm: http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...or_1685_3556vr

Good luck with the desicion - and remember. The 16-85 might cost som more initially, but after that, every time you change lens and see that confidence inspiring metal-mount of the 16-85 you will be happy you paid those extra bucks!

On the other side, if you want longer reach - the 18-105 is a good lens! But be careful how you handle your D90 with the 18-105 mounted. My son-in-law's tripod toppeled over, and the plastic-mount on his 18-105 broke right off. Luckely he was insured, so he got a new one + some repair on his D90.

But eventually it all boils down to what you want to shoot, really.

:~)




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Old Dec 29, 2010, 3:45 PM   #3
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The 16-85 is the better lens, and I doubt you'll miss the slightly longer reach of the 18-105. It also has a better build quality.

Personally, I have a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 to cover the midrange zoom. F2.8 is a nice benefit and really the problem with softness wide open applies to almost every lens.
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Old Dec 29, 2010, 3:46 PM   #4
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Among the lenses you mentioned, the Nikon 16-85 is as good or better than any of the others.

But if you can do without the image stabilization, the Sigma 17-70mmm f/2.8-4.5 (the non-stabilized version) is as good and covers a broader range than the rest (except the nikon candidates.)
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Old Dec 29, 2010, 3:51 PM   #5
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I have the Nikkor 16-85mm as my mid-range and walkabout lens and am very satisfied with it. It does have VR II which makes it useful in slow shutter situations. The 16mm end is great where you don't want to change lenses, such as the Pyramids at Giza with all the desert dust blowing around!
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Old Jan 24, 2011, 8:41 AM   #6
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Hi,

I'm in a similar situation as the OP. I recently received the D90 kit but with the 18-105 VR. I also have an 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR. I have not mounted the 18-105 yet because I have the other lenses. I also have a D40 for walk around that will need a lens so nothing will go to waste here.

I'm also looking at the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and have the same question : why buy a faster lens only to use it less than wide open because of image quality ? Does this make sense for a casual photographer or enthusiast to buy a $400 lens only to use it at the same apertures as I'm presently capable of ?

Perhaps I'm missing any other benefits, such as better contrast, more detail, sharpness ?

Perhaps an enthusiast such as myself (who doesn't shoot weddings or formal portraits) would be quite happy with the performance of the Tamron 17-50 2.8 wide open ?

Thanks for any insight.
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Old Jan 24, 2011, 10:13 AM   #7
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There ate two different version of the Tamron 17-50/2.8. There's the VC (Vibration Compensation) (stabilized) version and the unstabilized version. The unstabilized version is sharp wide open, but the stabilized version must be stopped down to f/8 or smaller to get as sharp as the unstabilized version. Also the stabilized version vignettes more.

The unstabilized version was a big hit, and I think a lot of the market success for the VC version is because of how good the unstabilized version is, not for its own merits. If you want a very good, large aperture, standard zoom, and don't need stabilization, the non-VC is a great choice, but if you need stabilization, there's nothing that compares.
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Old Jan 24, 2011, 11:30 AM   #8
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Thank you TCav, your post is very helpful and renews my confidence and interest in the non-VC version of the Tammy.
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Old Jan 24, 2011, 11:31 AM   #9
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tizeye:

Have you made any decision on which lens you will choose ?
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 7:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logo10heli View Post
tizeye:

Have you made any decision on which lens you will choose ?
While my preference is the 16-85, a recent, more pressing development, may force me to the the 18-105, particurally the "white box" special. Or do nothing, retaining the the 18-55. In reality, that range is my lesser used.

My primary useage is the ultrawide, Sigma 10-20 and multiple off camera flash. The complaint with Cactus V4 triggers shorting/misfires reared it's ugly head. Having a flash go pop, pop, pop, pop, just because I am repositioning the stand, not only drains the battery but is disconcerting to the customer as I shoot their house and no hiding that something is wrong. While temporarilly using Nikons iTTL and it's limitaions, I'm going quality triggers this time - not risking the cheap stuff. That would be either Radio Popper Jrx Studio - manual like the Cactus, but on-tranmitter power adjustment - and would allow budget for the 18-105. The other, Pocket Wizzard new iTTL capable, but perpetually our of stock since release - and a set for 2 flash would cost as much as the 16-85.
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