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Lens advice for a Nikon D70?
April 1, 2004 12:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of buying the new Nikon D70 digital, Nikons answer to the Canon Rebel. What lens should I get? I want to do travel photography big landscapes, nature, and occasional cultural/people shots. Someone mentioned this 17-35mm as very good but is that the best for this kind of photography?
posted by stbalbach to Technology (2 answers total)
 
Nikon's 18-70 DX "kit lens" that comes with the D70 package is a steal at $300 more. It covers an excellent range (27-105mm equiv after crop factor) at reasonable (not wonderful) sharpness and fairly reasonable aperture range, good build quality, with some moderate barrel distortion on the wide end and minor pincushion on the tele end. In terms of cost-effectiveness and versatility, this one has my vote. FYI, Adorama is selling the 18-70 alone for $600 without the body.

The full list of your best non-third party normal zoom options for the D70 are:

18-70 DX "kit lens": largest range that includes good wide-angle coverage, slower aperture (f/3.5-f/4.5), no full-frame coverage (might be irrelevant)

17-35: highest quality choice, full frame coverage, extremely well regarded as an ultrawide zoom for its sharpness and low distortion (better than Canon's offerings in the same range), fast (f/2.8)

17-55 DX: large range, new lens so no solid reputation on it yet, no full-frame coverage, fast (f/2.8)

12-24 DX: widest zoom (18-36mm equiv) for "big" landscapes, no full-frame coverage, slow (f/4), expensive compared to Sigma's 12-24mm counterpart (which is full-frame, unlike the Nikon offering)

24-120 VR: not very sharp, but large zoom range (though not very wide at 36mm equiv) and VR (vibration reduction, similar to Canon's Image Stabilization to stabilize images at lower light) makes it popular as a "walkabout"

24-85: not very sharp or wide and no VR, but surprisingly good as a lighter and cheaper walkabout alternative to the 24-120 VR (or as a "wife lens")

50/1.8 D: regardless of what else you choose, get this prime for low light and portraitures (shallow DOF). It's fast, cheap, and sharp (sharper than Canon's counterpart)

Hope that helps. These lenses cost anywhere from $100 to $1000+, so check prices carefully when doing comparisons. Also there are some Nikon lens reviews at ByThom.com and FredMiranda.com as starting points for your homework. Have fun!
posted by DaShiv at 3:02 AM on April 1, 2004


It appears as though that lens is equivalent to a 25.5-52.5mm lens in 35mm format. Ideal for landscape and architectural photography. It is at the lower limit of what is generally recommended for portrait photography.

Seeing DaShiv's comments on preview, I am reminded that I consider the lens "speed" (its ability to gather light) as much as anything in lens purchases. Seeing those comparisons makes me gravitate toward the 17-35mm.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:07 AM on April 1, 2004


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