Upcoming Lens Tests and Reviews

Despite some challenges with my schedule, I am putting plenty of effort on writing more gear reviews. In between reviews, I will be posting various howtos and guides, along with some images from this year. The shooting season is pretty much over (it has been very cold and snowy in Denver during the last few weeks) and I am not really planning on going anywhere until spring of next year. This will hopefully give me more time for writing and working on some stuff for Lola (she wants a personal blog and a separate portfolio website for her business).

In terms of upcoming product reviews, here is my current list of lenses to write about:

  1. Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
  2. Nikon 50mm f/1.4D
  3. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
  4. Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
  5. Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR
  6. Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  7. Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  8. Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  9. Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
  10. Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  11. Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR
  12. Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR
  13. Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0 VR
  14. Nikon TC-14E II
  15. Nikon TC-17E II
  16. Nikon TC-20E III

Some of these I have had for a long time and never really had a chance to write about, and others I have tested and played with this year. Given the volume, I don’t think I will be able to do full-blown reviews like I have been doing for the latest Nikon lenses. I am thinking about shorter, one page reviews with image samples and perhaps a few lab tests for comparison.

In addition, I will be getting a copy of the new Nikon 35mm f/1.4G lens as soon as it becomes available, along with the Nikon D7000 (I know, I am very late on this one) – I will obviously prioritize these over other older lenses.

What else is coming up? I am starting to put together a comprehensive landscape photography tips tutorial, which is hopefully going to be loaded with everything I know about photographing landscapes. Some of our readers indicated that they would like more tips on flash photography and composition/style and I will certainly start putting together some info on those as well.

Lastly, I am really struggling with catching up with all the comments and feedback that we get from our readers. I try to dedicate one full day in a week to respond to comments, but they are certainly taking up a lot of my time…I remain committed to our readers and will certainly do my best to respond as soon as I can, but please do not think that I forgot about you if I don’t reply right away – I am just seriously lagging behind.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) moi

    Lots of work. :)

    • Oh yeah, can’t figure out where to start now ;)

      • 12
        ) Peter

        A suggestion where to start:

        First, do the teleconverters. Very little analysis had been done on this area. Do they work better on primes or zooms? How much quality loss is there, if any?

        Second, do the zooms. The photo world seems to be going in that direction. Most interest there. They seem to be on a quality-par with primes, so why bother with primes.

        Lastly, do the primes. Are there any “must” primes out there. The “low-light” argument seems to be weak now given higher ISO shooting. Bokeh can be done in Photoshop. Why buy a 50 when a 35-75 covers that range? Are there any real arguments for primes over zooms at this time?

        • Peter, thank you for your suggestions – I will certainly follow your advice and I actually wanted to do it in a similar order.

          The only thing I wanted to say, is that good bokeh is extremely tough to replicate in Photoshop. Try to isolate a subject with lots of hair (a child or a woman) in Photoshop – you will spend more time trying to mask out the subject.

      • 40
        ) Volker

        How about the Nikon 10-24 lens.

  2. 2
    ) Aprison Irsyam

    Hi Mansurov,
    Lately I’m learning about the zone system for digital photography founded by Ansel Adam. In my understanding, every picture taking with digital camera should fall on one of the 5 zones in order to capture the detail and synchronizing with the camera’s dynamic ranges ability.
    I had a few question in mind:
    1. What adaptive dynamic range (ADR) in Nikon do in relation with this zone? If the dynamic range in the scene is 6 stop and I meter the highlight, will the ADR boast the shadow to zone 3?
    2. I found in some website like dxomark.com saying that this camera has 7 stop dynamic range, that camera had 9 etc. What does it mean? Since the zone system only consider 5 stop and I have the camera with more than 5 stop, does it mean I will always exposing all the detail in the scene without worrying the zone system anymore?

    I hope you can help me.

    Regards,
    Aprison Irsyam

    • Aprison, while the Zone system was a powerful way to compute the exposure in the film days, I personally find it too time consuming/inefficient in the digital era. First of all, most cameras already come with such features as exposure compensation and bracketing, so exposing the image correctly nowadays is really not that of a big deal. Plus, we now have very complex metering systems that have pre-loaded sets of presets for most lighting situations and the dynamic range on our cameras has gotten so good, that most of the issues can be fixed during post-processing, as long as you shoot in RAW and know how to properly expose the subject (by exposing to the right and paying attention to highlights/clipping on the camera as you take the picture). It is good to study the zone system to understand how to properly expose the subject in a theory, but when I am out shooting in the field, I rely on how my camera exposes the subject first, and then I make the necessary adjustments by either switching to Manual mode and manually changing the exposure, or modifying the exposure through exposure compensation…

  3. 3
    ) louis

    hi! i have question to ask you, can you write about the Nikon D90 if you can? because i wanna buy Nikon D90 as soon as i can. i saw a lot of forums talked about that, but i want to know more, and make sure my choosen was right. sorry about this. i dont know where to ask you.thank you for answer me.

    • Louis, there are plenty of articles I have written about the D90 and you can find even more info on the Internet by just Googling “Nikon D90″.

      If you are looking for a good camera, the Nikon D90 is an excellent choice and you would not make a mistake by selecting it. If your budget is not limited to D90, I would check out the new Nikon D7000 instead though.

  4. 4
    ) Pasquier

    Busy, busy, busy…. looking forward.
    P:)

    • Pasquier, yup, don’t know where to start, LOL :D

  5. 5
    ) Bruno

    Hi Nasim

    I’d like to understand about hoods, do you have any review about it?

    • Bruno, I will write a quick article on this subject later this week.

      • 11
        ) Bruno

        Thank you very much.

  6. You’re doing a really good job!! I am fan! ;)

  7. 16
    ) Pradeep

    Hi,

    If possible can you create some short writeups on the following areas in addition to these reviews.

    a. How to use flash & which flash light to choose for beginners?
    b. Using filters (ND, Polarizing, etc)
    c. Beginner’s guide on Nikon auto focus modes.

    I’ve been able to get many articles (blog, forums & tutorials) on the auto focus modes & flash photography. But, they are too complex in their wordings and do not explain in simple terms like you have done on this blog with beginner guides.

    • Pradeep, thank you for your feedback.

      My next article is going to be about using flash, so stay tuned! For filters and AF modes, check out my other articles and the new Landscape Photography Tips I posted earlier last week.

    • Pradeep, sorry for a late response!

      This week is a flash photography week, so I am planning to post lots of different articles on flash photography (I posted one today). Other information is already available in many of my guides (check out my landscape photography guide for ND/Polarizing filters). As for AF modes, I will add that on my “to-do” list.

    • Ooops, sorry for a double post!

  8. 17
    ) Eduardo Siqueira

    HI Nasim, I’ve seen on Nikon web page that my D5000 “is equipped with a 100,000-cycle shutter unit”. What is to happen when it reaches this mark? What is to be done? Cleaning, some sort of maintenence?
    Regards, Eduardo.

    • Eduardo, don’t worry about that number too much. All it means, is that Nikon guarantees the camera to function until it reaches 100,000 shutter clicks. After that, if anything happens to your camera, you would have to pay for repair or get a replacement.

  9. 18
    ) Rania

    Hi Naseem,

    I baught the nikon D90 a few months ago after reading so many good things on it. But I do have a few concerns, I dont think the quality of the pictures are that great…I went ahead and baught the 50mm-f1.4d lense because I read its perfect for portrait pictures, but Im still dissappointed about the quality of the pictures..I know Iam doing something wrong I just dont know what it is…what settings do I need to set my camera on to get great pictures? I know something has to be done but Im not sure what it is…

    • Rania, could you please provide more info on what you don’t like about the pictures?

      I highly recommend reading some of my articles for beginners, especially on shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

  10. 19
    ) Steven Parks

    In your discussions you may wish to categorize those lenses by whether they are small-sensor based, or full-frame sensor. Just putting DX would suffice as I know you are looking at the 35mm f1.8 and the 50mm f1.4.
    I do appreciate your reviews and was set to buy the new 28-300mm lens until I read its comparison with the 70-300mm. I purchased the latter instead and have no regretted my decision at all.
    I would be interested in your views of whether to get the D700 now, as the prices are dropping in expectation of the D800 which should be coming out in the spring; or to wait for the D800. It is a tough decision…would be nice to know more about what we can expect…or would the D4 be first, the D800 to follow later as happened with the D3/D700

    • 20
      ) Peter

      The lens listed with a “D” are for small-sensor cameras.

      • 21
        ) Steven

        Nikon continues to use the D reference on full-sensor lenses, for example the AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D or AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED causing me some confusion.

    • Steven, thank you for your feedback!

      I will certainly add “DX” to cropped-sensor lenses. I’m glad you like your 70-300mm – it is a great lens!

      As for getting the D700 now or wait for D800, it depends on how long you can wait. Nikon will certainly not release the D800 together with the D4 (mainly marketing and to push D4 sales), which puts the scheduled release of D800 to summer of next year. The Nikon D700 is currently priced at $2,350, which is an unbelievable price for an FX body. Together with the current promotions, you can get it for $400 less if you buy it with a lens! When D800 comes out, expect it to ship in late summer/early fall at $3K+ price range.

      Given the current price, I’m thinking of getting another D700 as a backup body (I already have a D3s + D700).

      By the way, here is the link to all current Nikon rebates.

  11. 22
    ) BRob

    Looking forward to read your usefull reviews. My self-Christmas-gift is not defined yet… :)

    • BRob, I’m having a hard time finding time, heheh :) Once I publish a few new articles, I will start working on those reviews, so please be patient with me :)))

  12. 30
    ) Tom

    will you make an review in nikon 17-55?

    • Tom, perhaps in the future, but I am not a big fan of the 17-55mm lens, due to its high price for a DX lens.

  13. 32
    ) Dmitry

    Насим, извините за навязчивость, если это поможет в написании обзора, посмотрите, пожалуйста, мои фотографии, сделанные объективом Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f2.8 G IF-ED VR. Многие рассматривают этот объектив не только как макрушник, но и как портретник, и в некотором смысле человека могут терзать сомнения: так ли он хорош для широкого использования? Или это всё-таки специальный объектив, который хорошо работает только в предназначенных для него условиях? Я задался этим вопросом и до последнего боялся, что в комплект придётся докупить и 85 мм. Всё-таки, накладно по финансам. Но рискнул. И вот после вчерашней фотосессии все сомнения отпали сами собой.

    Фотографии здесь: http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com/107805.html#cutid1
    Снято на Nikon D5000 в помещении торгового центра, освещение натуральное. Некоторые кадры сделаны на китовый зум 18-55, но вы на них не обращайте внимания. :)

    Из минусов 105 VR можно отметить фокусировку. Она быстрая, но объектив постоянно охотится и иногда не помогает даже ручной пре-фокус. При такой скорости хотелось бы соответствующую точность, всё-таки хороший момент можно упустить.

    Надеюсь, это Вам поможет. Очень жду Ваш обзор.

    • Дмитрий, мне 105мм как портретник нравится, но я лично предпочитаю 85мм для портретов. Как Вы заметили фокусировка работает не очень хорошо, особенно когда света маловато. И потом как ни странно, 105мм очень часто ниже f/3.2 у меня не спускается, а 85мм можно смело фоткать на f/1.4 – разница в 2+ стопа…

      • 36
        ) Dmitry

        Спасибо за ответ, Насим! Разница в светосиле, конечно, значительная. Тут не поспоришь. :)

  14. 33
    ) Dmitry

    Кстати, по китовому зуму 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. Трансфокатор мёрзнет уже при -5°С. Доводилось ходить в поля в двадцатиградусный мороз и было весьма боязно зуммироваться.

    • Да, я тоже заметил что пластика китовой оптики не так уж хорошо холод переносит. Снимает нормально, но зумить на самом деле тяжело.

  15. 37
    ) Muhammad Iqbal

    Hi Nasim, how if you start with the 18-55mm VR kit lens?
    I think I’m representing all budget nikon shooters here :)
    Regards from Indonesia.

  16. 38
    ) Jason

    Hi Nasim,

    Happy New Year to you and family. I would like to ask for your expert advice as I am planning to get a “USED NIKON 35-70mm f/2.8D to compliment my current set up: Nikon D7000; Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 AF-ED and Nikkor 35mm 1.8g.

    Would the 35-70 be wise to get? I feel a little handicapped in certain situations using the prime 35mm zooming wise.

    Please advice. Much obliged.

    Kind regards,

    Jason

  17. 39
    ) Paolo

    Hi Nasim,

    Congratulations on such a wonderful site and thanks for all your hard work in maintaining it so current!

    I notice you have the Nikon 85 1.4 D on your list of lenses to review. This is one of my most loved lenses and I am now using it on a D800. I am a portrait photographer so I am more interested in bokeh than corner sharpness. Whilst there are many reviews comparing the G versions of this lens (1.4 and 1.8) and others that broadly state that the G version of the f1.4 version is sharper than the D version I haven’t seen any reviews anywhere that compare the G and D version on a D800. Interestingly, I have read forum posts of some photographers who have tested G and D versions side and claim that whilst the D version may not be quite as sharp it has a hard to describe character that is actually more pleasing. Ming Thein has written extensively about having tried multiple versions of the 1.4 G version on a D800 and having to settle for the 1.8 version due to back focusing issues with all copies of the 1.4 version. It would be great if you could find the time to compare the D and G versions (f/1.4) and comment on whether the differences on a D800 are marginal or significant especially in light of the fact that the D version is not on Nikon’s recommended lenses list for the D800. It’s easy to be cynical about this and assume it’s just Nikon being savvy and trying to push it’s more expensive lenses especially given even the G versions of the relatively cheap 50mm primes do not make this list.

  18. 41
    ) William Jones

    Nasim and company;

    Any plans to review the following?

    1) Nikon 105 DC f/2
    2) Nikon 135 DC f/2
    3) Nikon 180 AF f/2.8

    I am thinking of getting one of these, and am curious therefore about all three. One of my main concerns is focus speed, especially on the newer models (D600 and D800). Of course, if focus quality is poor, then speed won’t matter. Being as these are all AF, not AF-S, models, that is the reason for my concern about focus speed.

    Thanks,
    WEJ

    • William, I have a plan to review every single Nikon lens by the end of the year. Not sure if it will be possible, but I will try :)

      As for the three lenses, if it is not a rush, I would wait – I believe Nikon will release one of them this summer, either the 135mm or the 180mm.

  19. I am preparing for a safari in June to the Serengeti. I am bringing a D800 and D700 and will have one lens for each. It is advised not to change lenses on safari due to dust. My longest lens is the 70-200 f2.8. I think I will need to purchase the new 80-400 afs or the 300 f4 with TC. What are your recommendations? I am also limited to 42lbs of carry on.

  20. 44
    ) Michael

    Nasim,

    You certainly have set yourself a lot of work for this year.

    Any chance you could prioritise the new 80-400 on a D800 please.

    Regards
    Michae

    • I second that… I’m just a mouse click away from making the jump, but I’d love to read your dedicated review on the D800 … compared to 200-400 wouldn’t be asking too much now, would it? :-)

  21. 45
    ) Frank Jr.

    Nasim I have learned to trust your evaluations of lenses and cameras. I have found some other photography sites to be less than complete or tend to be down right bias one way or the other. I thank you for your dedication, honesty and hard work. I am about done purchasing zoom lenses. I guess they are fine for post card size prints, but my work as a hobbyist falls in the area of larger prints suitable for display on a wall. Over the years I have spent a good bit of money on medium grade zoom lenses that fall short of being really good lenses capable of producing really nice prints. In my opinion certainly not up to par with respect to the money invested in them. I have however learned that knowing the strengths and weaknesses of my lenses and how to shoot with them to get the best results helps, but to adegree still disappointing. I find myself wanting to purchase some medium range telephoto lenses. Most of what I have found (that doesn’t cost as much as a small car) are the older lenses like the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC which unfortunately lacks VR or weather sealing. Any advice/comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

  22. 47
    ) Zorzi

    Hi Nasim,

    I would love to see your review of the Nikon 60mm 2.8G Micro

    My regards,
    Zorzi

  23. 48
    ) susan

    wil you kindly give us review about the new tamron 70-200f2.8 is this a good sharp lens and will it work with teleconverter
    kin regards

  24. 49
    ) Mike

    When you do the 200-400/4 test could you please give us your opinion whether or not it is sharp at “distance”.

    Most serious reviewers say it’s only sharpish up to about 50 metres or so. Maybe all Nikon long lenses are optimised for relatively close quarter work? It depends of course on the optimum distance Nikon management instructs the designer to put into his software!

    A moon shot would do!!!

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