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Which one?
Old 12-28-2005, 08:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Time to buy a new lens. Thinking about this one (Nikon 180mm telephoto f2.8 D). I am trying to stay around $500.

Is this a good choice? Are there any other similar lenses I should think of? How about this one compared to the above?

Thanks for all the comments!
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Re: Which one?
Old 12-28-2005, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Question... What lenses do you have now?

If your current eq does not include a really fast lens, get a one.

I need at least one lens in the sub 2.0 f-stop range. The difference in depth of field shallowness and low light shootablity can be amazing, compared to a f3.5+ zoom.

a 50mm 1.4 can be had for $250 or so.

Between the two lenses you listed, and without knowing anything except "Outdoors", I would choose the 180mm as it provides more standoff room.

I would also highly recommend a large reflector and a diffusion panel.
 
 
What I have ..
Old 12-28-2005, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have two zoom lenses.

(1) 18-70mm G-ED and (2) 70-300mm f4-5.6 AF-G

The second one is not that good: need bright light and doesn't do well at low f settings. The reason to get a non-zoom one is because they produce sharper images than zoom lenses.
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Re: Which one?
Old 12-28-2005, 11:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I use this lens and it gives me a great range of uses,

Tonkina 80-200mm f2.8

It is a little more then 500 but not much.

Here are some reviews on the lens as well.

Reviews
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JohnQ
Old 12-28-2005, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Just as I suspected, those are standard entry level lenses, (Slow as Molasses) and they are fine for JohnQ Snapshooter. My recommendation stands for your price range: 50mm f1.4 ($250used) then Nikon 180mm f2.8($250used)

also IMHO Don't fear zoom, fear cheap zoom.
 
 
Re: Which one?
Old 12-28-2005, 01:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It depends on what you want to do with it. What do you want this lens to do that your existing lenses don't do? What would you PRIMARILY be using this new lens for: portraits, sports, wildlife, macro/micro, landscapes, ???

Regarding telephoto vs. zoom sharpness, zooms have come a long, long way since the '70s. Fast-glass zooms, such as the 80-200 f/2.8 are for the most part every bit as sharp as a prime telephoto. I seriously doubt you'd see any difference at all between the 180 f/2.8 and the 80-200 f/2.8 in terms of sharpness. What the 180 does give you is a little closer minimum focusing distance and about 1/2 the weight. However, it's not nearly as versatile (or expensive).

-Chip
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Re: Which one?
Old 12-28-2005, 02:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This depends on what you are going to use it for. If it's going to be used in the studio with strobes there really isn't any reason for it to be 2.8 (unless you shoot strobes at 2.8...) If you are using it with strobes, I would save a few hundred dollars and buy a zoom 3.5-4.5.

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Re: Which one?
Old 12-29-2005, 01:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That's kind of like asking whether you should eat Mexican food or Chinese - one really has nothing to do with the other. The 180mm being almost 4x the focal length of the 50mm, the two lenses have completely different purposes. Unless I wanted a particular effect of the "normal" lens (which I would almost never want on a film camera, I would use the 180mm for headshots or body shots where I wanted a nice compressed effect and very shallow depth of field. This is not a logical "either / or" choice, but it so happens I have the exact 180mm lens you're looking at, for sale myself in virtually pristine condition, which I will sell for much less than B&H. Send me a PM if you're interested before I put it on Ebay this week.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: Which one?
Old 12-29-2005, 01:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
What would you PRIMARILY be using this new lens for: portraits, sports, wildlife, macro/micro, landscapes, ???

[/ QUOTE ]

Headshots and full-body - both indoors (studio lights) and outdoors.
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Re: Which one?
Old 12-29-2005, 11:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Headshots and full-body - both indoors (studio lights) and outdoors.

[/ QUOTE ]

The 180mm is not going to serve you well indoors unless you've got a very long space in which to shoot. For full-length shots (say 6' of height) you'd need to be about 35'-40' away from your subject if you're shooting digital. For a headshot you're going to be about 12'-15' away from your subject. Outdoors isn't a problem from a space standpoint, but it's kind of hard to work with and direct a model when you're 35' away from him/her.

I think you would be better served by something in the 85mm or 105mm range. From Nikon, there are the following:

85mm f/1.8
85mm f/1.4
105mm f/2 DC (de-focus control)
105mm f/2.8 Micro

I've used all 4 lenses at one time or another. A lot of people like the 85mm f/1.8. It's inexpensive and sharp, a real good lens for the money. But It's not a personal favorite of mine. Specifically, I really don't like it's bokeh characteristics. Bokeh is the look of out-of-focus elements in your image. There are a couple of good articles here and here if you're interested.

The 85mm f/1.4 is really outstanding. One of my favorite lenses when I still shot a lot of 35mm format. It's also more than you're looking to spend. If you can find one used in your price range, grab it, run, and don't look back.

The 105mm f/2.0 DC is an interesting lens. It allows you to control the bokeh effect. It's primarily a lens for portrait photographers who use it to soften an image. It's also more than you want to spend and kind of a niche product.

The 105mm f/2.8 Micro is a very sweet lens. It's really sharp, exhibits good bokeh, and is in your price range. Being a macro lens, you can focus very close if you so desire. It's great for tight head shots. It might be a little long for full-length shots indoors on a digital body, but it would certainly be a better choice than the 180mm for the same kind of work.

-Chip
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