It is that time of the year again, when Nikon puts its cameras and lenses on a big sale for holidays. As I have already pointed out earlier this week, the instant rebates include many different camera and lens combinations. A purchase of a single DSLR is required to qualify for savings and it does not matter which camera body you choose. The nice thing is, you can buy a single camera body and stack up as many lenses as you want. As long as the items are in stock, you will be able to add them. That’s why I recommend to act quick if you want to be able to get what you want. Last year, many of the lenses and cameras were sold out in the first couple of days!
Note: it turns out that the below deals will only become available on November 28, 2013 and will only last two days (all of the below cameras and lenses will be included). So the deals will be live through this link starting from Thursday. We apologize for the inconvenience – there has been a communication issue from B&H.
Here is the list of cameras that are eligible for the rebate program, along with my notes on each:
Nikon DSLR Cameras
- Nikon D3100 ($427 with a 18-55mm DX kit lens): an entry-level DSLR that Nikon still cannot get cleaned off the shelves. Pretty standard features for an entry-level DSLR, with 14 MP sensor. If you have no intention of buying a camera and you are looking for just lens savings, this is what you want. Should be able to sell it new at around $400 after the holidays. See my review here.
- Nikon D3200 ($497 with a 18-55mm DX kit lens): the current version of an entry-level Nikon DSLR with a high resolution 24 MP sensor. Would only recommend to those moving up from a point and shoot. See my review here and a comparison with the D3100.
- Nikon D5100 ($597): another DSLR that Nikon needs to finally empty from the shelves. More features than the D3100/D3200, plus a nice tilt screen and 16 MP sensor from the D7000. See my review here and a comparison with the D3100.
- Nikon D5200 ($647): a solid upper-entry level DSLR with a high resolution 24 MP sensor. Aside from the higher resolution and slightly faster speed, it is not a huge upgrade over the D5100. And since the D5300 is already out, it will lose value pretty quickly. Personally, I would save money (use it on glass instead!) and go with the D5100, or get the newest D5300 with GPS and WiFi. See the comparison with the D5100.
- Nikon D5300 ($797): if this is your first DSLR purchase and you want something better than the D3200, the D5300 is the newest version of the upper entry-level line. What stands out is built-in GPS and WiFi – something that can be quite useful when traveling. No more external GPS units and messy geotagging software. And WiFi will let you control the camera remotely, which is nice! Check out the comparison between the D5300 and the D5200.
- Nikon D90 ($839 with a 18-105mm DX kit lens): what? Nikon is still selling this aged DSLR? Why would anyone buy this today, when even a lower-end DSLR can outperform it? It is a great DSLR, but 12 MP is so…2008! Skip this one unless you feel like you need to put one on a shelf as an antique/classic.
- Nikon D7000 ($997): an excellent previous-generation DX camera with a 16 MP sensor and a solid 39 point autofocus system. However, being just $100 cheaper than the D7100, I would recommend to go for the D7100 below. See my review of the D7000 here.
- Nikon D7100 ($1097): Nikon’s best DX camera with a high resolution 24 MP sensor, the best autofocus system with 51 AF points and lots more. A no-brainer for someone that wants to get a superb DSLR around the $1K range. Check out my detailed review here and a comparison with the D7000.
- Nikon D300s ($1697): unless you are a birder that really needs a big buffer, the D7100 is what I would recommend over the D300s. More pixels, better autofocus system, better LCD, lighter body and much lower price make the D7100 a better overall buy. The D300s should have been replaced long time ago and it is about time for Nikon to clean it off the shelves.
- Nikon D610 ($1997): no need to worry about dust issues anymore – the D610 is free of such defects, making it a safe buy. The 24 MP full-frame sensor is phenomenal. Aside from a cheaper build, an inferior autofocus system, inferior ergonomics and a couple of other deficiencies like 1/4000 max shutter speed, the D610 is an excellent camera. So if you do not need the super high resolution 36 MP sensor from the D800, the D610 is the way to go. Check out my detailed review and see the comparisons to the D7000, D700 and D800.
- Nikon D800 ($2797): if you are a landscape, architecture or fashion photographer that needs the highest resolution full-frame sensor on the planet today, you have a choice between the D800 and the D800E. For landscapes, I would recommend the D800E over the D800. For photographing everything else where there might be repetitive patterns, I would go with the D800 to reduce chances of seeing moire. See my detailed review and check out a comparison with the D800E and D600/D610
- Nikon D800E ($2997): the same camera as the D800, except it has no anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor. Again, if you are into landscapes, this is what you want to get. With no anti-aliasing filter, you get the best sharpess out of your lenses. I personally own a D800E and I would not hesitate to buy another one. In all honesty, I haven’t seen much moire with my D800E and I have shot quite a few weddings with it. If the additional $200 is not too much for you, I would just go with the D800E.
- Nikon D3X ($6999): I don’t know who would even consider the D3X, now that the D800/D800E cameras are out. Yes, it has a rugged body and a nice grip, but that’s pretty much it and Nikon wants you to pay $7K for it. Save your money and get different camera.
- Nikon D4 ($5997): a wildlife and a sports photographer’s dream. The 16 MP sensor produces very clean images that are perfectly usable even at ISO 12800! And with a crazy high speed of 11 fps, a high-end 51 point AF system and almost unlimited buffer, this is the fastest DSLR in Nikon’s line. I feel ashamed for not having reviewed it yet, because it is one heck of a DSLR. Still in my backlog of reviews, along with the D5200.
- Nikon Df ($2747): the newest DSLR from Nikon with a retro design and lots of manual controls. The same excellent sensor from the Nikon D4, but with features resembling the D600/D610. Most people don’t get this camera, but I personally cannot wait to start using it for event and everyday photography. Coupled with the new 58mm f/1.4G Nikkor, this will be a killer combo!
As you can see, the list of available cameras is quite extensive – it is basically every DSLR that Nikon offers today!
Let’s now move on to the even more extensive list of lenses.
Nikon DSLR Lenses
I will start off with DX lenses first, then go through all FX lenses.
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED ($100 rebate): a great wide-angle lens for DX cameras. I used to own the 12-24mm f/4G and used this lens once as a comparison. I was surprised by its excellent sharpness on DX, so I would certainly recommend it for wide-angle needs, especially with its $100 rebate.
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR ($100 rebate): one of my most favorite DX lenses that I always recommend to our readers. I have used this lens quite a bit, but never got a chance to review it. Excellent sharpness, very good range, beautiful colors and very useful image stabilization. Also great for infrared photography (highly recommended by our very own Bob Vishneski). You can find some image samples in our lens database and Bob’s articles.
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ($300 rebate): a monster of a lens with a crazy range of 18 to 300mm. In my opinion, one of the worst modern Nikkor lenses. Some people like it, but I think it is silly to put such a huge lens with mediocre performance on a compact DX camera. Still, for some people it is a versatile solution for “one lens traveling” and the $300 rebate could make it a little more attractive. See my detailed review for more information.
- AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G ($30.00 rebate): a great macro lens for DX cameras. Lightweight, compact and with excellent performance characteristics. See my detailed review.
Unfortunately, popular lenses like 35mm f/1.8G and 18-200mm are not included in the rebate program. The DX lens selection is pretty small this year, which indicates that Nikon has little interest in pushing those out to the market.
- AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G ($100 rebate): at just $597, this lens represents tremendous value compared to the high-end NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G. A great wide angle lens for all kinds of photography. Highly recommended. See my detailed review for more information.
- AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G ($20 rebate): Nikon’s best modern 50mm lens. Exceptional performance and a superb value. Every Nikon photographer should own this lens. See my extensive review, a comparison to the 50mm f/1.4G and wedding photography samples.
- AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G ($100 rebate): what a great deal on a superb portrait prime! Together with the 28mm f/1.8G and the 50mm f/1.8G, this is Nikon’s “value prime trinity”. Another no-brainer for every Nikon shooter. See my detailed review with lots of info and image samples.
- AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED ($200 rebate): one of the sharpest wide angle prime lenses from Nikon. Amazing performance, making it ideal for astrophotography and other low-light applications, as explained in my review. This lens renders images beautifully, creating a 3D-like effect. Definitely worth investing money in, as I am sure its price will increase overtime.
- AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G ($200 rebate): another great performer for pro needs. Excellent sharpness and beautiful rendering of colors and bokeh, as shown in my review. Although the $200 rebate is attractive, I would personally recommend the amazing Sigma 35mm f/1.4 instead. At $899, the Sigma is a much better buy and value in comparison!
- AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G ($100 rebate): forget about it, even with a $100 rebate. The 50mm f/1.8G above is a better lens and a tremendous value over this one. Nikon needs to replace this with a better f/1.4 version ASAP. See my old review of the lens.
- AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G ($200 rebate): an amazing lens for portraiture. I personally own this lens, along with the 85mm f/1.8G version (which came out later). To be honest, I would have a hard time convincing someone to buy it at its $1399 after rebate price, when you can snatch the amazing 85mm f/1.8G for just $400 bucks. Still, those that want the creamiest bokeh, beautiful rendering and colors might consider it. See my extensive review with lots of information and comparisons.
- AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED ($100 rebate): if you have not seen my review of this lens, now is the time to check it out. In short, this lens is excellent, even when compared with the much more expensive 16-35mm and 17-35mm lenses mounted on the D800E! And with a $100 rebate, it is a steal. Highly recommended.
- AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR ($300 rebate): those that read Photography Life know how much I love this lens, especially its image stabilization (VR). It is optically better than the 24-70mm in the corners, especially at wide apertures and it has a longer range, which is a great plus. And with a $300 rebate, this is just a killer deal! So if you do not need the pro build of the 24-70mm, this is the lens you want to buy.
- AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR ($300 rebate): another killer lens with a killer rebate. Just like the 24-120mm, it is optically superior to the 70-200mm f/2.8G, as shown in my review. It is very lightweight and great for travel and long hikes. Its two downsides are the plastic build and slower maximum aperture of f/4 vs f/2.8. So if you are not a working pro, this is the lens you want to buy instead of the 70-200mm f/2.8G.
- AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED ($200 rebate): Nikon’s sharpest wide-angle zoom. It is so insanely sharp, that even most prime lenses cannot keep up with its remarkable performance. Don’t listen to those that say it does not do well on the D800. Yes, it does exhibit focus shift and field curvature issues, but that only applies to large apertures and certain focal lengths. Once stopped down to f/5.6, you will have to look hard to find a lens that can match its performance. And with a $200 rebate, it is even a sweeter deal! Check out my detailed review for more information. One of Nikon’s pro “trinity” lenses.
- AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED ($200 rebate): yes, the 24-120mm is better in the corners, but this one is built like a tank. I have been beating mine up for the last 6 years in snow, rain and dust, and it still works the same. Check out my detailed review for more information. Another lens in the pro “trinity”.
- AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II ($300 rebate): the last of Nikon’s pro “trinity”. A versatile lens with a fast f/2.8 aperture for low-light situations. A little soft at f/2.8 in the corners and has a lens breathing issue, but has beautiful bokeh and an all-metal construction. If you are a working pro, this lens will not disappoint. My biggest complaint is its weight. See my detailed review for more info.
- PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED ($200 rebate): a tilt/shift lens for landscape and architectural photography needs. I love this lens, but I wish Nikon replaced it with a better version optimized for high resolution cameras like D800. Still, a great buy with the $200 rebate.
- PC-E NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED ($200 rebate): another great tilt/shift lens suitable for all kinds of photography. I have used it quite a bit, but never got a chance to review it. A number of wedding photographers love this lens, because you can make very unique photos with it. Lola has been wanting to get this lens for a while now, so I might have to take advantage of this opportunity.
- PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D ($180 rebate): a tilt/shift lens designed for macro photography needs. Also great for creative portraiture. Will post a review of this lens as soon as I get a chance.
- AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED ($100 rebate): a superb macro lens with amazing sharpness and beautiful colors. And with a $100 rebate, this is a sweet lens for a full-frame camera. I have used this lens a number of times before, but never had a chance to review it. Hopefully will review it later this year along with the 105mm macro, which I have owned for the last 7 years and love.
- AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED ($135 rebate): my favorite macro lens. While the 60mm is excellent, it requires you to get close to your subject, which is not always possible. The 105mm lets you stay away and still capture all the crazy details from whatever you are photographing – whether it is wedding rings, flowers or small insects. The lens renders beautiful colors and bokeh, which has made it a portrait lens of choice for many working pros.
- AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (1.4x) ($40 rebate): if you want to get closer to your subjects with Nikon’s high-end telephoto lenses without losing much quality, the TC-14E II is the teleconverter you definitely want to have in your arsenal. I don’t know a single TC-compatible lens that does not work well with this teleconverter. This teleconverter stays glued to my favorite Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S lens (which unfortunately never goes on sale). A replacement might be coming out next year, which is probably why Nikon is promoting it now.
- AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II (1.7x) ($50 rebate): although I personally own this teleconverter, I rarely ever use it. It works well with some lenses like Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II and performs best on high-end super telephotos like Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II. The reason why I rarely use it, is because it just does not do very well with either my 300mm f/4 or my 200-400mm f/4 lenses. And it is not great on 500mm f/4 and 600mm f/4 lenses either. If I owned a fast super telephoto like Nikon 400mm f/2.8G, I would probably use the TC-20E III on it instead for even more reach. Another candidate for replacement next year.
As you can see, the list of lenses on the rebate program is quite large. Interestingly, Nikon is including all the best lens combinations for primes and zooms. The first three primes are a great budget combo: 28mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 (the missing lens here is a 35mm f/1.8G FX, which I really hope comes out next year). Then we have a high-end combination comprising of 24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses. Then we move on to budget zooms with 18-35mm, 24-120mm f/4 and 70-200mm f/4 lenses (the 18-35mm should have been the 16-35mm f/4, but Nikon probably has not moved enough 18-35mm lenses and it always runs short of 16-35mm, which makes sense). Next, we have high-end pro zooms comprising of 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. Then we have the whole line of tilt/shift lenses with 24mm f/3.5, 45mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/2.8. And lastly, the two modern macro lenses – 60mm f/2.8 and 105mm f/2.8 macro. That’s six different combinations for different budgets and needs!
So, which lenses would I personally buy / recommend from the above list with which camera bodies? Here are my personal favorites (excluding specialized lenses like macro and tilt/shift):
With any DX camera like D3200, D5300, D7100:
- Nikon 16-85mm as a general purpose zoom.
- Nikon 28mm f/1.8G as an all-purpose prime for low-light situations.
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8G for portraiture / low-light.
- Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR for telephoto.
With Nikon D610 and Nikon Df FX cameras:
- Nikon 28mm f/1.8G, Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and Nikon 85mm f/1.8G for a variety of creative needs with emphasis on low-light photography and subject isolation / bokeh.
- Nikon 18-35mm, Nikon 24-120mm f/4G and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR would cover a lot of range and all kinds of needs.
With Nikon D800 and D4 FX cameras:
I guess it depends on budget and needs, since you could easily use the lenses from the above recommendation. But here is the best in class if you want pro-grade build, fast aperture and best features:
- Nikon 24mm f/1.4G, Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, Nikon 85mm f/1.4G for a variety of creative needs with emphasis on low-light photography and subject isolation / bokeh.
- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II would cover a lot of range and all kinds of needs.
The last part of the rebate program is Nikon speedlights.
- SB-700 AF Speedlight ($30 rebate): an excellent speedlight that can be used both as a commander and as a slave. Great choice for on and off-camera flash (using infrared or hot shoe triggers). See a detailed comparison with other speedlights here.
- SB-910 AF Speedlight ($50 rebate): Nikon’s high-end speedlight with lots of advanced capabilities, fast recycle time, external connections/ports and various accessories. Will work great with external triggers such as PocketWizard Plus III. See a detailed comparison with other speedlights here.
The above rebates will only run from November 24, 2013 through November 30, 2013.
Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions below.