View Full Version : Which lens is the better option?

11-06-2011, 4:28pm
I am looking to buy a Nikon D7000 and can get it in a kit with either a 18-55 VR lens or a 18-105 VR lens and a 55-300 lens....So which lens would be more useful the 18-55 or the 18-105? This will be my first DSLR.


11-06-2011, 4:33pm
The D7000 is a great body from Nikon, and the 18-55 is a good kit lens, but you will probably find you want more reach, so with all the lenses noted here being cheap kit lenses, I recommend you get the 18-105+55-300. The 18-55 really doesn't need VR either given it's focal length.

You will probably want to get better glass later, but at least the 2 lens kit will cover most focal lengths for now while you are learning. Start saving, this hobby and Nikon pro glass is a bottomless pit!

12-06-2011, 11:28am
Shez I have a nikon D3100 I love it but I got the 18-55 kit lens and like Wayne said it does not have the focal lengths I really don't know any better as right now this is the only one I have but looking for more soon but for me right now I am not very good at taking photos so happy with the lens

13-06-2011, 10:11am
Thankyou, I think I will get the 18-105 and 55-300 kit. I would love to get into macro (or micro) photography one day too....can the 105 micro lens be used as a normal lens as well as a micro lens?

13-06-2011, 11:24am
The 105VR Micro is often used as a sharp portrait lens. The focal length is good for portraits on FX, but on a D7000 DX (crop sensor) it may be a bit tight for portraits other than really tight head shots. For non-portrait use on DX it will be just fine.

If you are really keen on macro, take a look at the Nikkor AF200/4, it is arguably the sharpest macro lens ever made.

13-06-2011, 11:37am
the af 200 f4 is also bloody expensive :p

i think you made the right choice going for the 18-105 :) enjoy!

13-06-2011, 11:44am
the af 200 f4 is also bloody expensive :p

When talking glass, "good" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive;)

13-06-2011, 2:51pm
Definitely go for the 18-105 and 55-300 lenses, the range of focal length will give you the ability to capture almost anything you can think of at the moment and will help you work out which lengths you use the most often for when you do decide to upgrade.

Personally (I shoot Canon), I started with a 18-55mm & 55-250mm and realised that I most commonly use between 18-30mm and 150mm+. Knowing this meant that I could narrow down my search when I wanted to upgrade the glass. I've just ordered the Sigma 120-400mm and am currently saving for a decent wide angle :)

Hope this helps!

13-06-2011, 3:36pm
I reckon Wayne was right on the money ... well until at least this part!. ...

When talking glass, "good" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive;)

I always reckon that if you look hard enough and are prepared to put in a bit of effort, excellent and cheap can easily be regarded as mutually inclusive criteria.

One particular lens that comes to mind as an excellent macro lens with a 'cheap' price tag is the Sigma 150/2.8 macro(as well as the Tammy 90mm /2.8), but in many respects the Sigma is nicer to use(lens collar!!) at least as a macro lens.
I reckon this one would easily at least match the Nikon 200/4 for sharpness detail.

Even having just said that, I have to admit that I'm still looking for a 200/4 for myself actually, but the prices they command is stupid to say the least.
Although, with the strength of the AUD, these lenses are better looking value than they once were, so I got to be quick before the Aussie peso goes south again any time soon.

Back on topic, I reckon the 18-105VR as oppose to the 18-55VR lens was the best way to go, even if it did cost a hundred bucks more(or whatever price premium it may have added).
At least this will minimise the need to swap lenses as often as one would otherwise normally do, but more importantly as the 18-105VR is one of Nikon's nicest consumer lenses(at least in terms of resolution).

13-06-2011, 6:10pm

Have you seen the MTF's for the 200/4 and Sigma 150/2.8??????
The Sigma is a good macro lens but that extra 50mm of Nikkor goodness is worth the price of entry.

I @ M
13-06-2011, 6:27pm
Wayne, have you seen the test reports for both lenses?

The photozone MTF scales make interesting reading on DX bodies and I suspect that an FX body would yield similar results.

Nikon. (http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/227-micro-nikkor-af-200mm-f4-d-ed-review--test-report?start=1)

Sigma (http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/304-sigma-af-150mm-f28-apo-ex-hsm-macro-dg-d-review--test-report?start=1).

And then there is the price difference between the lenses. A well known grey importer is offering the Nikon without delivery or warranty at $300.00 more than we recently paid for a grey market Sigma with a 7 year Mack warranty


13-06-2011, 9:40pm
Wayne, have you seen the test reports for both lenses?

The photozone MTF scales make interesting reading on DX bodies and I suspect that an FX body would yield similar results.

Nikon. (http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/227-micro-nikkor-af-200mm-f4-d-ed-review--test-report?start=1)

Sigma (http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/304-sigma-af-150mm-f28-apo-ex-hsm-macro-dg-d-review--test-report?start=1).

And then there is the price difference between the lenses. A well known grey importer is offering the Nikon without delivery or warranty at $300.00 more than we recently paid for a grey market Sigma with a 7 year Mack warranty


MTF from the manufacturers;

Nikon (http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/specoalpurpose/micro/af_micro200mmf_4d_if/index.htm)

Sigma (http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/150mm-f28-ex-apo-dg-hsm-macro-sigma)

CA's?? Nikon by some margin

I would be most interested in a test on FX...

Yes, the Nikkor is more expensive, no dispute there, but that extra reach for macro is useful.

I @ M
14-06-2011, 5:48am
Wayne, keeping in mind that Shez is looking at a macro lens down the track to mount on her DX body ( at present, we all know what happens when the gear bug bites and the D700 D800 starts to tempt us :D ) and not knowing which particular camera was used in either the Nikon or Sigma testing to obtain "their" figures I see the photozone tests as very relevant as the results for the 200/4, 150/2.8 and 105/2.8 vr were all conducted on the same model body, which in this case happened to be a DX body.

In short,
The 105mm vr Nikkor yields very good resolution figures and the highest CA levels at the second highest price. It offers the dual goodness of being a very capable macro lens and an accomplished portrait lens. Combine the very good build quality with the usefulness of VR and it has the qualifications to be a winner. The only "negative" for some may be the lack of a tripod collar for macro work.

The 200mm Nikkor offers plenty in the way of resolution, great build and exceptionally low CA levels with the extra working distance courtesy of 200mm.
The negatives are price, a reportedly flimsy and prone to breakage manual / auto focus switch and weight.

The 150mm Sigma offers resolution figures and colour that compete directly with the Nikkors, compared to the 200mm Nikkor it is a physically smaller and lighter lens that is significantly cheaper# and can be used happily with a 1.4x extender if a little more reach is needed without sacrificing large amounts of IQ.
Negatives = no VR but the new model offers that ( if it ever gets to the market place after Nikon have sued Sigma :D ) with a jump in price.

The issue of CA is a bit of a moot point to me, The 105 vr has low levels, the 150 has less again and the 200 Nikkor outstandingly low levels. I don't consider the amounts yielded by the worst performers to be even really noticeable and they are certainly able to be corrected easily with intelligent processing programs.

# I did the mathematics more accurately, the Sigma 150 delivered with a 7 year Mack warranty works out to be $412.00 less expensive that a 200mm Nikkor delivered without a warranty.

14-06-2011, 7:03am
The nikon 60 micro would be a getter focal length to double as a portrait lens

Can you spring o the 18-200 vr as a single kit upgrade ? You may not need anything else.

14-06-2011, 9:21am

The Sigma 150 is a good macro lens and with it's price it is a compelling option for many. I wouldn't think anyone who bought it going to disappointed. A point to add to yours above, the 200/4 is also sans VR, another Nikkor (like the 80-400VR) that is screaming out for VR. I would still love to see the corner sharpness on the 150 on FX, but for DX users, like many lenses it will not matter much given the crop sensor.

Out of interest what price are you quoting the 200/4 as having in your comparison?

14-06-2011, 9:49pm
Whilst none of this info may eventually become relevant or even interesting to the OP, I think a bit more context should be added to the apparent capabilities of the two macro lenses first mentioned.

The (manufacturers) MTF figures are more of an indication of a lens's ability which in 99.9% of instances is not a true indicator as to how well a macro lens is going to serve the owner.

Manufacturers MTF figures are all quoted for an wide open aperture value, so in the case of the Nikon f/4 would be the operating aperture, and for the Sigma f/2.8 would be where it's at.

A Macro lens isn't going to give it's best operational performance at it's widest aperture(as far as I'm aware), as it will be optimised to work more effectively at something like f/8 or so, and most likely all the way up to f/16, whereas normal non macro capable lenses may begin to fall apart at f/8 and beyond.
Lens designers are fully aware of what makes a lens work for a given situation, and my suspicion of the differences between these two lenses is that while I think the Sigma may actually outresolve the Nikon at the lenses peak setings, I think the Nikon may well operate more effectively at real macro aperture ranges(like f/16 and maybe even beyond).

While I have the Nikon 105VR and it works ok, I actually bought it as an allrounder lens, and more so for it's closeup ability, where VR can be an advantage, and also for it's nigh on perfect bokeh for portraiture.

Both the Sigma and the Nikon mentioned are two lenses I know I'll end up having in my kit in the long term.
(ie. I''m in no rush to get them, but when I find them at decent prices I'll acquire each of them respectively).

in my view the PZ review seems to make a bit more sense than manufacturers quoted MTF values(for macro lenses.. different story for fast aperture lenses, generally used at wide open aperture ranges ;))

As an interesting side note(for really geeky people like me!) the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 is the only lens I've ever seen, read about or noted to have any setting available where the corner sharpenss actually exceeds the central sharpness of the lens for the same aperture value!
(See PZ's test with the bare lens at aperture f/8.. central MTF value 2165.5, which in itself is unbelievably high, but then edge sharpness turns up a value of 2180.5... where higher values are considered better)

Also to take into account is the pure fact that neither manufacturers nor thirdparty lens review results shoudl be taken as gospel truth, but really onkly as an indication as to how well a lens of that type may perform.

PZ, and also SLRGear(that I currently know of) have each done some limited testing that clearly indicates how much sample variation can have on final lens performance values.
SLRGear tested Canon and Nikon 50/1.4's for sample variance and found that there can be extreme cases of variation, and I remember PZ testing the famed Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR and had to test four samples to get one that performed well!

So, while I have a lot of respect for sites like PhotoZone, the actual lens performances may not be truly indicative of another lens's ability.

Eg, with the Sigma/Nikon macro comparison, this could simply have been a case where the Sigma lens that PZ tested was simply one of the best samples of this lens available, and the Nikon was one of the worst of the possible samples available randomly offered for testing.
PZ's lenses are usually sent in to Markus of PZ by enthusiastic gear heads. The lenses that Markus tests are not his own(although he does apparently have quite a few of his own to test).. so each tested lens is also subject to user wear and tear before it's tested.

on a personal level, I've briefly shot with the Sigma 150 macro(Helmut's lens) and believe it's a far better macro lens than the Nikon 105VR that I have(for macro use). My brief few hours of play had me convinced.. I need a proper macro lens(or two) to play with. The Sigma is an excellent lens full stop! This statement is independent of price. And if price came into the equation, when compared to the 105VR, the Sigma is 10x the (macro)lens that the Nikon lens is.
I'm not sure of most retail pricing levels currently offered on these lenses, but my quick search at a popular grey retailer, indicate that the Sigma 150 can be had for just under $600(with the specific note that the Sigma distributor will price match!! :th3:), and that the Nikon 105VR is priced at just above $900, and the Nikon 200/4 at just above $1200.
At hose prices the Nikon's both look sick as value for money(but the 105VR is still nice to use for all round use), but the real world difference at a mainstream retailer will be much higher again.

I'm seriously tempted to get both the Sigma 150 and Nikon 200 at these prices, but I'm currently on a bit of a mission, and I need the moola for other purposes.
Apart from this mission I have, I've allowed myself a small token amount of purchasing leeway on ebay for a few other macro accessories, up to but not exceeding the value of AU$300, one of which I'm currently ahead on.
Hopefully I'll win this one, which is the 7th such item I've now bid on, but keep getting outbid... (and it's getting tedious). But if I get this one(unlikely as well), the urgency to secure a 200/4 may become overwhelming.

..ooops! I seem to have rambled a bit too much again tonight :D

15-06-2011, 7:15am
Thanks for your opinions...it's always best if you can get opinions from people who have actually used the lenses themselves. I think the bug for better glass will kick in fairly shortly after getting the camera (there is a shortage where I am due to the earthquake in Japan and I am hesitant to buy online - I like to have it in my hand and have a base close incase of warranty issues) but I love macro so I think it will be one of the first additional lenses I acquire.