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Question related to next spending on photography equipment


rahullele
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Hi Brian,

I’m looking for input on where to spend my money next. 

Brief history as below.

First purchase: 2010 : Nikon d3000 kit lens: just for shooting some pictures. (New) 

 

Second purchase: 2016 Aug nikon 50mm 1.4G : to put on D3000 as portrait lens. (New) 

 

October 2016: nikon d750 tamron sp 24-70 di vc ( both refurbished) 

 

August 2017: Damian symonds (all  lasses except skin. Which is galaxy far far away) 

 

September: I started going out as apprentice photographer. No money. For hobby. Requirement there dectated next purchase. 

 

October 2017: flash Godox V860IIN (new) 

 

Now I’ve around $1200 (+- 300) in budget. And inwas thinking 1 of following 3 options. 

 

  1. Sigma 85 mm
  2. Tamron 85 mm 
  3. Tamron 70-200 mm 

 

Lot of my pictures with 50 mm, I’ve to crop them a lot. Not that I’ve need for for professional printing at the moment but I realized that I’m going to need 70-200 if I’ve to cover functions like soccer tournament or gala event etc. 

 

Also I’m find something missing with 50mm 1.4G. As of now I’m thinking if I’d sell it out and add that money to above budget for lens. 

 

Appreciate inputs. 

Thanks, 

Rahul

 
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Personally? I would skip all of your three options and go for a Nikon 70-200 f/4G VR lens. It's within your budget and the quality is MUCH better than the 3rd party options. You can use it for both portraits and soccer tournaments. The only regret with going with Nikon glass is you will see the difference in the details, resulting in expensive lens purchases and your wallet will be crying out in pain. Trust me on this. LOL!

I'm sure the next question is, "...but what about f/2.8? Won't I need the wider aperture for portraits?"

Ah, my friend...let me introduce you to the world of COMPRESSION. At 135mm or 200mm, you can really blur the background if you position yourself correctly in front of your subject. Believe it or not, I typically shoot at f/4 with my 70-200 f/2.8. In the next comment, I'm going to post some examples on how compression can work for you.

Oh, by the way...

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is one of Nikon's worst lenses. Focus is so hit and miss with that lens as any Nikon D700 owner will tell you, it back-focuses, A LOT. So if you have a bunch of "off" photos that just don't look right, it's the stupid lens, NOT you. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is MUCH better, as is the more expensive 58mm f/1.4G. Honestly, I'd tell you to get a Sigma 50mm ART lens before telling you to purchase a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens, and I'm a Nikon OEM snob. I hate that stupid lens, so if you sell it, you won't be getting tears from me.

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Here is a photo taken YEARS ago, when my youngest was little and all I had was a Nikon D40 and 55-200VR lens. This was at f/5.6 and the focal length was 200mm. See how the grass behind him is blurred? I was standing on top of a picnic table shooting down. It's the compression that you get at 200mm that blurs out the background, if you do it correctly.

JasonSmile-1.jpg

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Now for a more recent photo of mine. The first is a pull-back taken with my 24-70 @ 38mm. This should give  you an idea of just how far away that barn was in the background. I circled where the Bride & Groom where standing:
 

WED_8926-clr.jpg

The couple was on the green patch and I was standing a good 10-15 feet from them.

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Here is the resulting photo. Notice how the compression from 170mm really sucked in the background, which was a few hundred feet away:

WED_8760.jpg

Nikon D3s | 70 - 200 f/2.8G VR II @ 170mm | 1/250th | f/4 | ISO 200

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Here is a shot that I took with my 70-200 f/2.8. I was using my D300s and should give you an idea of what to expect with a 70-200 lens on a crop body. I was standing near 3rd base, about 90 feet away from home plate.

ACT_5261-F (Print).jpg

Nikon D300s | 70 - 200 f/2.8G VR II @ 150mm | 1/1600th | f/4 | ISO 400

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17 hours ago, Brian said:

I'm sure the next question is, "...but what about f/2.8? Won't I need the wider aperture for portraits?"

I’d not say that from portraits ( or bokeh) perspective, but i’d ask that from amount of light needed perspective. 

I’m (.. currently) in Chicago and it’s winter here for next 5-6 months. Meaning whatever event I’m going to get is going to be in indoor lighting conditions. (Which means inadequate lighting conditions.. I don’t know if it’s only Chicago .. but there is strange fascination with very warm colored lighting ... all party rooms got that. ). 

Also (and this is what i heard ) lens do better stop down or 2 ? ( for my 24-70 2.8 i find sweet spot to be 4..). For f/4 if I’ve to go step down or 2, I don’t know how crazy my ISO need to be? 

From that perspective, I’m thinking, I’m not going to buy lens again and again and if i do have 2.8 then given low light, i can use aperture as way out. 

I know tamron 70-200 got focus breathing issue. But it is at (nearly) same price range as nikon 70-200 f/4. 

Hence the question, won’t i need wider aperture as 2.8 ? 

In that case? Focus breathing of tamron is as bad as to ignore $1400 saving I’d do by not going for nikon ? 

I can delay purchase and rent for a while i save more to go for best possible option. 

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Oh, I get the weather. I live just outside Harrisburg PA and am waiting for the constant grey to sit above my head within the next few months.

Yes, you are correct, most lenses are at their best around one stop down from their widest aperture. You buy a f/1.2 lens to be excellent @ f/1.8. A f/1.4 lens is great at f/2.0 and when it comes to a f/2.8 lens, it's excellent at f/4. That said, the Nikon 70-200 f/4 lens is really really good at f/4. Go figure...I guess there are exceptions for almost every rule. The biggest drawback is your D3000. Pro-Grade f/2.8 lenses are HEAVY. The Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G is 3lbs all by itself and will dwarf that D3000. The D3000 is what is known as a "Bridge Body," meaning it's meant to get you hooked on a DSLR body, but will have enough drawbacks that you feel the need (or force you) to upgrade to a larger body, especially when shooting with larger lenses. 

6 hours ago, rahullele said:

I’m not going to buy lens again and again and if i do have 2.8 then given low light,

If you seriously only want to buy the lens once, I'd set your eyes on a 70-200 f/2.8G lens at the very least, or invest in a larger body. Until you have shot with the true professional-grade Nikon glass, you have no idea on what you are missing out on. I know there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me and say a "Sigma ART is blah-blah-blah" or a "Tamron is just as good as..." NOPE, I'm not buying it. It just isn't, and you aren't going to convince me otherwise. The difference is in the fine-details, when you go pixel-peeping. The photos taken with Nikon glass just look better to my eyes; it's the overall look, sharpness, color rendering, contrast, dynamic range, Auto Focus response, build quality etc. If all you are doing is posting photos on Instagram or Facebook, get whatever lens you want. If you are really looking for long term and are shooting professionally go straight for Nikon. Period. Even if you have to purchase it used to save some money. Speaking of used, those Tamron lenses? Even though you might spend $1400 on them, you will be LUCKY to get $300 for them if you ever decide to sell. Seriously. 3rd party lenses do not hold their value and having a 5 year warranty is a nice thing to have with Nikon glass.

I know this stuff is expensive. I totally get it. I personally thought I would NEVER be able to afford a 70-200 f/2.8G VR II...but strangely enough, I made it happen. It was painful to fork out $2600 for a lens (the cost when I bought it) and I was feeling it for awhile. Took a whole tax return, some savings and had to give up some luxuries in order to afford it. But you know what? I will have that lens for 20+ years. I'm on my 3rd camera body with that same lens!! That 70-200 f/2.8G has made me money and it has paid for itself multiple times. It's my favorite lens and is my go-to lens for practically everything, and I don't worry about focus breathing or if the lens is adding too much red in my photos, which Tamron lenses do A LOT, or if it's sharp enough. I mount it and get to work and don't think twice. I shoot Weddings. I can't afford to worry or "Miss" a shot because I wasted my money on a 3rd party lens.

My Nikon 70-200's name is Bertha, and she gets shit done.

Now for the f/2.8 vs f/4. Here is the thing when it comes to shooting with a crop body, since the Angle of View is different you can get away with shooting at f/2.8 all the time. I was ALWAYS using f/2.8 on my D300s. Yahoo!!! f/2.8 ALL-THE-THINGS!!! LOL. Then I got a used D700 and started shooting full frame. The Angle of View was different and guess what? f/2.8 is not as forgiving on a FX body. The shallow Depth of Field @ f/2.8 really bites you on a FX sensor. I usually stop down to f/3.2, which is more forgiving than f/2.8 on a FX body. That's why I'm at f/4 a lot. The results are what I experienced when shooting with my D300s.

So yes, having one-stop more light is a good thing to have. Just remember that things are different on a DX body if you ever do decide to upgrade to FX, like a Nikon D700 from Keh.com, it will take some getting used to. Oh, one more thing, the newest version of the Nikon 70-200, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens will not work with your D3000. The focusing system is not compatible with your D3000. The older 70-200 f/2.8G VR II, the one I own, will work fine with your D3000.

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1 hour ago, Brian said:

will not work with your D3000.

D3000 was my first body. I’m having D750 and using it most of the time. 

Thank you for your insights. Nikon locked for sure now.

 Even DXO mark site puts f/4 above 2.8 version and shows really good sharpness at wide open f/4. ( not that it’s full proof of anything but another good to know stuff)

so its Between low weight and less money of f/4 against  AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR I’d say. 

I’d sell my 50 mm 1.4G and add that to my (stretch) budget of 1500. I don’t think I’ll get any refurbished copies of new  AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR so early... But in case i do, I’d jump right in ? 

 

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I take the DXO stuff with a grain of salt. Anyone can make up numbers and say that X is better than Y. 

You are correct in your assumption that it's between the f/4 & f/2.8 version of the Nikon 70-200. It all boils down to what game you are playing, is it long like a Marathon or a short one like a 400m Dash? The f/4 is obtainable now due to your budget, and is a fine lens, but if you want to purchase it once, then it's the f/2.8 version that's in your future. 

If you are shooting professionally now or in the near-future, and can recover the cost within 6-8 months, than get the 70-200 f/2.8E FL. If you are still learning then the f/4 might make more sense. 

The only pain you will feel is when you purchase the 70-200E f-2.8 FL. You won't regret buying it and using it. Honestly, you won't think about it in a year or two. How about saving some more and putting in money from a tax refund? Are there things like headshots that you can do? Make money with what you have? 

It seems that the 70-200G is sold out everywhere and there is a lot of 70-200 f/4 lenses on the used market in good shape. No doubt from people who have upgraded to a f/2.8 version. LOL! So you might want to try getting a used 70-200 f/4. More than likely you will be selling it in a few years, so why pay full price?

Bottom Line: Get the 70-200 f/2.8E FL lens. Ask for gift cards for Christmas or for your Birthday or whatever. Try to get that out-of-pocket cost down as much as possible.

Buy it Right, Buy it Once  

As for renting, as long as you have income covering the cost of the rental AND shipping fees, go for it. if you don't have income to pay for the rental, and rent it three or more times, you are throwing money away and it's better to just buy it.

PS: I'm sorry for going on-and-on about your D3000. I misread your original post. You have a D750 and ISOs above 6400 at your disposal. Don't worry about cranking up the ISO. 

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I just saw on Nikon Rumors that on Black Friday the 70-200E lens will have an instant rebate of $200, so the lens will be $2599.99. I know it's still over your budget, just thought I'd give you a head's up. 

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Thank you sir. I’ll keep you posted. I don’t see sign of me turning pro any time soon. (Photography work I’m doing is for NGO.) 

I’ll continue saving money and added both lens to wishlist. Fingers crossed.  

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Thanks again Brian. 

i just realized i wasted too much time on this decision and could have used that time on completing courses/editing pictures.

Placed that order to get 70-200E with black Friday rebate. i think i'll receive it by next weekend.

 Hopefully i can focus on learning now. 

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Lens is superb. I never knew this kind of quality is possible (or believable ).

I do have Tamron SP 24-70 mm. (which was rated top by DXO mark and hence i purchased it at that time. ) I'll know more when i'll edit but the first impression is ..  This stuff from Nikon is notch above the rest !! 

Let me know if you are interested in ... out of camera JPEG, for all 3 lenses. 

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17 hours ago, rahullele said:

This stuff from Nikon is notch above the rest

Here is a true story. I once took my D300s and 70-200 f/2.8G VR II out on a boat. I was going to photograph humpback whales. Well, the sea was really rough that day and the whales were nowhere to be found. I was at the very front of the boat and all of a sudden, I looked down and the ocean practically went away. I said to myself, this is NOT going to be good and then a large wave crashed over the boat soaking me and my camera. I was supposed to shoot a wedding in a few days and there was no time for my 70-200 to be replaced / repaired due to salt from the ocean. I cleaned the front lens element, and then physically poured a whole 20oz water bottle on top of the lens to clear out any other salt residue that might have gotten in tiny places.

The lens was fine and I shot that wedding with no problems. Now a few years later, the rubber rings are wearing out / becoming loose. I will order a replacement set for about $20 and keep shooting. I would never-ever-ever try that with a Sigma or Tamron Lens. (Pouring water on it to wash salt off.) The build quality / weather-sealing just isn't there with 3rd party lenses. Hopefully this will change in the future.

There is more to lenses than just sharpness and DXO scores and believe it or not, it's relative due to manufacturing variances. You might have gotten a good copy of your Tamron 24-70 and love it; I know lots of other people who regret their purchase, eventually selling the Tamron lens at a loss, and ended up going with a Nikon 24-70. They would have saved money just by buying the Nikon glass to begin with!

Of course, there are bad Nikon lenses. It happens. But overall, that isn't the norm...you stand a much greater chance of getting a good copy from Nikon than 3rd party lenses. At least as far as Nikkor lenses are concerned. Nikon bodies have really been slipping in the QC dept in recent years. The SB-900, D800, D600, etc. all have had problems. The D750 had at least 3 recalls and Nikon is replacing D600 with D60!! That's one of the reasons I bought a used D3s that was in good shape over a new Nikon body. I will more than likely get a new D5s, but that will take a few years of savings and will use what I have now.

17 hours ago, rahullele said:

Let me know if you are interested in ... out of camera JPEG, for all 3 lenses.

Sure! I'd love to see samples taken with your Tamron 24-70 and new 70-200.

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One more thing...

I've enabled you. You now have a case of NAS, Nikon Acquisition Syndrome. Someone let me borrow a Nikon 24-70G many years ago after only shooting with consumer-grade kit lenses.  That single lens was responsible for me spending thousands on Nikon gear over the last 6+ years. LOL!! Your wallet will be crying out in pain from this point on!! LMAO!!

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2 hours ago, Brian said:

Sure! I'd love to see samples taken with your Tamron 24-70 and new 70-200.

This is with 50 mm 1.4G. D750 Auto Mode with flash (i don't bother manual mode for casual occasions where i'm going to enjoy my time and not to shoot.) f/5 ISO 800 1/60 Out of camera normal quality JPEG. 

DSC_6136.thumb.JPG.f44b604dabac3129ce8689293cc43e97.JPG

 

Tamron SP 24-70 f/3.5 1/60 ISO 800 Again Auto mode No flash.

DSC_6532.thumb.JPG.72d930601590c953ddcafdfa3a6c4a96.JPG

 

And f/3.2 1/60 ISO 800 with new lens. 

DSC_6452.thumb.JPG.af9e5fb7532c95eb5256259e60bd08c3.JPG

 

 

This is not exact comparison and all. But .. wanted to keep same ISO and just see how out of camera looks like. 

 

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2 hours ago, Brian said:

You now have a case of NAS, Nikon Acquisition Syndrome. Someone let me borrow a Nikon 24-70G many years ago after only shooting with consumer-grade kit lenses.  That single lens was responsible for me spending thousands on Nikon gear over the last 6+ years. LOL!! Your wallet will be crying out in pain from this point on!! LMAO!!

Overall question on minimum and sort of lens you need. I'd 50mm, 24-70 mm and now i've 70-200. I'm very happy with 70-200 and not thinking of any prime in that range. 

but i'm convinced that tamron sp 24-70 is not exactly 24-70 :) Specially after looking at 70 mm from new lens. i'm guessing it is more of 24-55 ish.  I'm quite determined that i'm going to sell 50 mm in second hand also thinking if i should get tamron out of the door .  

1. what other lens you'd recommend (than 70-200) as must have?

2. is it necessary to have at least a prime ? i used 50 mm extensively over year and i got feeling that it was neither here or there. 

3. Good place to sell used lens ? i've 0 experience with eBay or amazon or selling anything. 

 

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Keh.com or B&H Used dept. Adorama as well are good places to sell gear. That said, it's pawn shop payouts; meaning don't expect to get any real money for that Tamron lens. I will be surprised if you get $300 for that Tamron. Why? It's a Tamron, even though it "...has a really good DXO score." LOL. It's still 3rd party. Hopefully, I will be proven wrong and you'll get around $600 for it. 

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is a total crap lens, it's one of the few lenses I'd tell people to skip and get a Sigma ART, and I'm a Nikon OEM snob. Get rid of that 50mm f/1.4G ASAP. You could list it on Craigslist to a DX shooter. Since the DX Sensor is physically smaller, it's using the best part of the lens, aka the sweet-spot, the flaws aren't as aparent on a DX body. 

I have the Nikon Trinity, 14-24 f/2.8G, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8G and the 70-200 f/2.8G. 

The 14-24 is a legendary lens. It has a short focal range, 14-24mm but is as sharp as a prime in that range. There is a reason that Canon shooters would rent an adapting ring and then rent a Nikon 14-24 lens, it's that good. Now they have the Canon 16-35 f/2.8, so you don't hear that work-around being used as much, but the Nikon 14-24 lens remains as one of Nikon's best. 

Next up is the 24-70G and the newer 24-70E. Both are fine lenses. I own the 24-70G. I can say that this lens is decent and has made me money over the years. The newer version, 24-70E has VR and is sharper at 24mm and 70mm, is ok sharp at 35mm and is "meh" at 50mm. The older version that I own is decent at both ends, and is better mid-range. Kinda opposite of the 24-70E. The E version is also larger and heavier and if you are into filters, the thread size is different. (Larger @ 82mm).

Which one to get? Either. If you are planning on getting a D850 and shooting 36+ MP, go with the newer E version. If you are content with 24MP or less, and want to save some money, get the older 24-70G. You really can't go wrong either way. 

Personally, if you are a zoom person, your sights should be on a 24-70 next. 

Primes that I recommend. 

Nikon 58mm f/1.4E. Great lens  it blows the 50 1.8G and 50 1.4G out of the water. Great Bokeh and if you shoot video with your Nikon body, this lens is a must have. That said, the 58mm focal length isn't for everyone.

85mm f/1.8G - Sharp and not too expensive  Bokeh is decent and it's actually sharper that the 85mm f/1.4G. This lens is great for headshots.

85mm f/1.4G - Legendary Bokeh. If you shoot portaits or brides, this lens is on your short list.  Damn sharp in the center and is decent around the edges. The 85mm f/1.8G is sharper from corner to corner, but doesn't have that magnificent buttery look that you get with the 85mm f/1.4G

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E - This lens is superb. It's Nikon's current sharpest portrait lens. Photographers that I respect and shoot professionally state that it's one of the greatest Nikon lenses. Great for portraits and commercial work.

The older Nikon 135 f/2.0D. The new 105 kicked this Sharpness King off the throne, but this lens still holds its own. That said, it's a old lens and is in dire need of a refresh. 

Nikon 105 f/2.8G VR Macro. If you are into detail shots or Macro Photography, the 105 VR Macro lens is THE one to get. 

Lens that will be my next purchase: 

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens. I call this my "Vacation Lens." I do lots of boat rides and lighthouse / whale-watching tours. This focal range is excellent for that type of stuff since I will be at f/5.6-f/8 anyway. I also call this lens the "Little League Lens." The focal range lets me zoom in on the player running to 1st base, then zoom out to the outfield as the player catches the pop-up fly ball. 

Lens that I like but won't be buying:

The Nikon 200-500mm. If I was headed to Yellowstone and wanted to shoot bears, I'd get this lens. I wouldn't take this lens with me due to the focal range starting at 200mm when photographing Whales and LightHouses. I also don't like how the zoom ring needs a lot of turning going from 200mm to 500mm, but that's nit-picking. I would buy this lens if I really needed it. 

I have other lenses that I'd list, but we are talking exotic $6000-$12000+ lenses. So we will stop here. To answer your question, a Nikon 24-70 should be next. 

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Forgot to answer this:

8 hours ago, rahullele said:

"...i'm convinced that tamron sp 24-70 is not exactly 24-70 :) Specially after looking at 70 mm from new lens. i'm guessing it is more of 24-55 ish." 

"Is it necessary to have at least a prime ? i used 50 mm extensively over year and i got feeling that it was neither here or there."

 

1. You would be correct. It is like a 24-55 lens or 24-60-ish, depending on your copy. Keep in mind that Nikon has redesigned the new 70-200E, it performs more like a classic 70-200 from the film days and doesn't have the "breathing" that the older lens has.

A Nikon 24-70 stops close to where a 70-200 picks up. It's not 100%, but you really don't notice the change at 70mm going from a Nikon 24-70 to a Nikon 70-200. 

2. There are Zoom People and there are Prime People  I have a 85 1.8G that sits in my bag, along with a 50mm f/1.8D. I really should use them more but when I'm photographing weddings, there just isn't enough time to fiddle with primes when I'm running-and-gunning  

Should you have a Prime? Sure. Maybe. Probably not. Clear as mud?

50mm lens is a classic focal length  I started with a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 and Minolta X-370. It's how I learned composition, learned Depth of Field using my Aperture setting, etc. and even shot my 1st Wedding at age 19 with that camera and lens. It's too bad that the Nikon 50 1.4G is total crap, the 50 1.8G is MUCH better, but you seem to not like 50mm all that much. I guess if you would take a look at your photos taken with your Tamron lens, what focal range are you at a lot? If it's 35mm or close to it, there are options at that focal length.  Same thing with 28mm or even 24mm. If you seem to be shooting 35mm all the time, then ditch the 50 and Tamron 24-70! If you are at 70mm a lot and need a wider Aperture, then take a hard look at 85mm  KWIM? It's all relative with no definitive "correct" answer.  

 

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Brian, 

To be honest, i was kind for cursing myself for spending that much money on lens .. (Even after buying it) .. today i received prints for my prints sharpening class. 

and now i'm finally convinced that .. This is it..  I'm glad i asked this question. and glad that i listened to your advice .. Now the criteria for my next lens is going to be simple .. is it similar or better than 70-200 E.. I'm going to check the which length i shoot most on all my tamron 24-70 pictures and get back to you.. but let me know if there are other lens you know which are as sharp as this 70-200E. i'm going to start saving money. 

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Yeah, it's painful to fork out that first $2000+ on a lens. Then before you know it, you will have spent $8000 on even more pro-grade lenses. Once you shoot with the high-end stuff, there is no going back. Honestly, sell that Tamron 24-70 to help out with your next purchase. If you can hold off for a few months, Nikon might offer a rebate on the 24-70E, usually around March  

Nikon 24-70 E is great at 24mm and 70mm. Is decent at 35mm and "meh" at 50 mm. 

The 24-70G, better mid-range and decent at the 24mm and 70mm lengths. The 24-70E out peforms at either end. So if you are at 24-35mm a lot, definitely get the new Nikon 24-70E.  

The Tamron isn't going to keep up. I know this ruffles feathers, but there is more to a lens than DxO scores and "sharpness." 

Things like overall image quality, how flare is handled, how chromatic aberration is handled, contrast, color quality and tonal range; when you go pixel peeping, that's where you see the difference. I've always found that Nikon Glass produces more neutral colors, especially skin tones on  caucasian skin, Tamrons add lots of Red. Sigma lenses tend to add yellow. 

As for which lens to be on-par with the 70-200E? I'd say the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8E. It pains me to say that due to the higher cost, but it's an honest answer. 

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Wanna hear painful? I played tourist in NYC this past weekend and visited the B&H store on 9th Ave. it was fun and I played with a Nikon D5. 

Guess who is seriously thinking about dropping $6500 on a D5? This guy. Now I just have to find a way to pay for it. 

Nikon Aquisition Syndrome. It NEVER ENDS. Especially if you have shot professionally with pro-gear. Gone are the days of a Nikon DX bodily with a 50mm 1.8 lens attached. 

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