Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Alternative Full Frame Lenses for Nikon

Updated: 4/14/12

The successor to the D700 is anticipated to be released this year.  I'm one of those who are looking forward to that as an opportunity to move up to full frame, either by getting a good price on the current D700, or getting the successor. 
Of course, one of the deterrents to upgrading to full frame is the cost of the lenses compared to similar DX lenses.  Fortunately, even without considering third party alternatives, there are relatively less expensive full frame Nikon lenses that still perform fairly well.  Have a look (unless otherwise noted, lenses are Nikon and prices are for new lenses):

Wide angle zoom
Small sensor: 10-24 ($900), 12-24 (~$1000), Sigma 8-16, Sigma 10-20, Tokina 11-16 2.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4.
Ideal full frame: 14-24 2.8G ($1800), 17-35 2.8D ($1769),  16-35 f/4G VR ($1259).
Decent full frame alternative: 20-35 2.8D (~$700? used), 18-35 f/3.5-4.5D (~$600), Sigma 12-24 ($900), Tokina 16-28 2.8 , Tokina 17-35 f/4

Standard zoom
Small sensor: 17-55 ($1479).
Ideal full frame: 24-70 2.8G ($1829).
Decent full frame alternative: 28-70 2.8 AF-S (~$1000), 24-85 3.5-4.5 VR ($599), Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC ($1299), Tamron 28-105 2.8, 24-85 f/2.8-4D ($680), 24-85 3.5-4.5G (~$300 used)

Telephoto zoom
Small sensor: 55-300 VR ($345), 55-200 VR ($235), Sigma 50-150 OS (TBD)
Ideal full frame: 70-200 VR II ($2600)
Decent full frame alternative: 70-200 VR I (~$1600 used), 80-200 ($1225),  70-300 VR ($540).

Walkaround lens
Small sensor: 16-85 VR ($700).
Ideal full frame: 24-120 f/4G VR ($1200). 
Decent full frame alternative: Tamron 28-105 2.8, Nikon 28-105 3.5-4.5D (~$200 on ebay).

Portrait prime
Small sensor: 50 1.4G ($485), 50 1.4D ($369).
Ideal full frame: 85 1.4G ($1700), 85 1.4D ($1220), 105 2.8G VR, 105 f/2 DC, 135 f/2 DC
Decent full frame alternative: 85 1.8G ($499), 85 1.8D ($470)

4/1/12: I will be reviewing the Nikon 28-70 2.8 and the Tamron 28-105 2.8.