Kenko Extension Tube Set
These lens are identical, except the Nikon 28-300 goes on a full frame sensor. Many reviews have been written about this lens, but the most poignant thing I read was that this is basically the only lens that renowned street photographer Jay Maisel uses on this Nikon D3. He’s rational being that you have a fairly wide angle and zoom in one lens. If you waste time changing lens, you lose the moment for the shot. He also advocates simplifying your life and always have one camera body with one lens and take it with you everywhere
Though the lenses is not a full wide angle lens, with the ability to handhold a panorama and stitch the images together in Photoshop, the limitation is not major. Also, I have found that each lens does vignette at the wide end of the aperture range with a filter attached. Also, these are not fast lens as there minimum aperture range is f 3.5-5.6. Despite these limitations it does make a great one piece lens for all round shooting, whether as a walk around lens for travel, or for a family event or outing. These lenses work great when simplicity is foremost.
As said this lens, is the same as the Nikon 28-300 lens except it is used on a DX lens with a 1.5 crop or magnification factor. This lens makes a perfect combination with the Nikon D7000. I did look into the the new Nikon 18-300 DX lens, but after reading reviews. I decide that if I wanted to carry the extra weight that this lens creates, I would carry my Nikon D700 with the 28-300 lens instead.
The Lens Triumvirate- Nikon 16-35mm/ Nikon 24-70mm/ Nikon 70-200mm
OK, actually a disclaimer. The actual professional triumvirate includes the Nikon 12-24mm, not the Nikon 16-35mm. However, when looking at my needs and my funds, I decided to go with the Nikon 16-35mm lens because it allowed the use of 77mm filters where the Nikon 12-24mm does not. I also read a review by Matt Kloskowski , a Kelbytraining instructor, on his blog where he traded in his Nikon 12-24mm for a Nikon 16-35mm.
Here are Matt’s thoughts: “For my photography style at least, I’ve noticed that sometimes my 14-24 didn’t work for me. On the wide end, all I lose from going from the 14-24 to the 16-35 is 2mm – I can deal with that. On the zoomed side, sometimes I simply want to zoom in a little more than 24mm and I can’t with 14-24mm. I’ve also hated the shape of this lens. I lose the lens cap all the time when I take it out of the bag. Usually not a big deal for a lens, but the glass on this lens bulges out so far that I always felt like I was going to scratch the lens. And the biggest problem (for me at least) I’ve had is that I can’t put filters on it.”
Truthfully, for me, I don’t use this lens very much. I will keep it around to see if my shooting style changes. However, though this is one of the go-to lenses for shooting portraits, I shoot mostly landscapes and wildlife. Why did I purchase it? I was still working, but getting ready to retire. I wanted to make as many of my camera purchases as I thought I would need while still drawing a salary. After doing extensive reading, these lenses came up again and again as the professional camera triumvirate. However, for now, though this is a beautiful lens, it just doesn’t come out of my camera bag. Hmmm! So, I will give it a couple of years and then reconsider whether I keep it.
Once again, this is a go- to portrait lens. Cliff Mautner at www.kelbytraining.com has some wonderful classes where he uses this lens. I, however, use the lens on a second body when shooting wildlife. Wildlife, Bird Photographer, Arthur Morris (www.birdsasart.com)also uses this setup. When shooting wildlife, I have a Nikon 70-200mm, possibly with a teleconverter, on a DX body over my shoulder and then my full frame Nikon D700 with a Nikon 600mm lens mounted on a tripod with a Whimberly ballhead.
Big Lenses- the Nikon 200-400 and the Nikon 600mm
As Moose Peterson, a nature and wildlife photograher says,”The 200-400VR is my main big game lens. When I’m heading out to photograph bull elk or moose or any other ungulate, I’m going to grab the 200-400VR”. I have not been lucky enough to shoot big game yet, but I have used this at my local high school soccer team’s game. I used it on the sidelines with a monopod. It was long enough to cover the distant field and yet zoom back to 200mm to get the players coming towards me. It obviously is not as big and heavy as the 600mm lens,, so I do reach for it when I am hoping the 400mm will cover the distance. A great lens and as one Canon shooter said to me, “This is the lens that was making Canon shooters think of switching to Nikon”.
What is left to be said about this essential wildlife lens?? I guess, with a limited budget and unsure what my professional status will eventually be, I had to make a choice between the Nikon 500mm lens and the Nikon 600mm lens. There is a $1500.00 difference between the 2 lens and that was a concern for me, but my primary concern was the difference in weight between the 2 lenses. The Nikon 500mm lens weighs in at 8.54lbs (3.87kg). The Nikon 600mm lens weighs in at 11.16lbs (5.06kg). That’s a 2 ½ pound difference between the two lenses. Knowing that this would be a lifetime purchase, I read as many views as possible that compared the 2 lens side by side. There were mixed opinions as you might expect, but in the long run, I went with the 600mm lens.
Here’s why. One, I knew that I would only purchase one of these beast. I already owned the Nikon 200-400 f/4 lens and I wanted the 600mm lens for bird photography as well as wildlife photography. I was concerned about the extra weight, however. When using the 600mm lens, I use it on a tripod with a Whimberly Head. This makes using the 600mm a breeze. I have yet to carry the lens for long distances on sandy beaches, but carrying it for short distances has been quite manageable for me. I have read reviews on two beach carts that folks use to carry around this lens on beaches and boardwalks but have yet to give them a try. It would be something I would definitely consider, especially if driving by car to a site. One cart is called the “Mac Sports Folding Utility wagon”. The other is called the “Rio Beach Wonder Wheeler Plus Beach Cart”. Both are available at Amazon. I would be interested what others think of these carts if they own one.
I love my 600mm lens and am glad I made this choice. There is nothing close to it in the Nikon line. Put a tele-extender on this lens and it is as close to wildlife as you can get except for moving your feet.
I love this lens for its low-light capabilities. When I travel I often weigh the option of including this lens in the kit for those indoor low-light situations. I took the below image of my friends kids decorating the Christmas Tree. I was using ISO 800 on a D300 camera. The only light in the room was the Christmas lights. Also at f/1.4 the soft bokeh is sweet.
The Nikon 105mm Macro and the Sigma 150mm macro
The 105mm macro is the quintessential macro lens. It is light enough to handhold- though tripods are usually used with macro images. Many people use this as portrait lens. At f2.8 has great shallow depth of field and nice smooth bokeh ( a Japanese word- for nice, creamy background). I love macro photography as it makes shooting at home look like you are worlds away.
I choose this lens over the Nikon 200mm macro for several reasons. One, the Sigma 150mm has excellent reviews and is about $700.00 cheaper than the Nikon 200mm macro. The Sigma is considered very sharp wide open. The Sigma 150mm macro provides a very nice compromise in size, weight, working distance and cost in addition to focal length while retaining the f/2.8 aperture. If used with an off-camera flash, you can even handhold this lens for shooting moving subjects such as butterflies and insects.
The image below was taken with the Sigma 150mm: