Wishlist Number 1

This is probably the first in a series of posts about what I dream of buying if only I had a lot more spare cash. First up – a wide angle zoom.

I currently have a Nikon D80 and a Nikon FE, two very different cameras which therefore would have an impact on what I would buy. The D80 while still competent is ageing and will be the probably be the target of my second post in this series and therefore this needs to be considered here. The D80 is not full frame and has a 1.5 crop factor i.e. a 50mm lens will actually be the equivalent of a 75mm lens. What the D80 does have going for it is that is has an internal motor to focus any lenses which do not have motors themselves. My Nikon FE is a manual focus film camera, I have no desire at all to replace this as I love it. The only limitation (which is a problem with the lenses rather than the camera) is that any lenses you use must have an aperture ring so ‘G’ lenses are out.

My current wide zoom is the Nikon 18-55 VR DX. In many ways this is a great lens, it is small, light, takes small 52mm filters, focuses really closely and has vibration reduction. For the price it is unbeatable.

But for me it also has significant disadvantages – it is relatively slow (f3.5-f5.6), it is made of plastic, and most importantly because it is a type G lens (i.e. it has no aperture ring) it won’t work on my Nikon FE.

What I would want from a wide zoom is:

  1. Would work on my D80 and my FE therefore must have an aperture ring.
  2. Would not be a DX lens. I don’t have a full frame DSLR at the moment but one day I hope that will change.
  3. Would be fast, e.g. have a constant maximum aperture of f2.8.
  4. Would be built like a tank – I want lenses that will last a lifetime.
  5. Doesn’t need to be “ultra wide”, if I ever need something really wide then the best choice is to get a specialist lens.
  6. Doesn’t need to be particularly long since I have a good 50mm lens and a good 100mm lens, I rarely need anything longer than these.
So what is out there that meets my criteria? Top of the list must come the Nikon 17-35mm f2.8D AF-S. This is the wide angle zoom for professionals (at least those that use Nikon) and it ticks all the boxes in the list above. The downsides? Firstly it costs over £1000 but this post is about what I would buy if I had loads of money so that’s not necessarily a problem. Secondly it is very big and heavy – it takes 77mm threads so I would need to buy new filters to fit, and it weighs almost 750 grams. A review of this lens can be found here.
If I couldn’t afford that then my second choice would be the Nikon 20-35mm f2.8D. Yes this is an older lens that is no longer in production but it still meets all the above criteria. It isn’t quite as wide as my first choice but it is still wider than my current 18-55mm DX because of the crop factor. You should be able to pick these up on eBay for around £600 and you can read a review here.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or have used either of these two lenses as you never know, I may win the lottery tonight.

3 thoughts on “Wishlist Number 1

  1. I used to have a Sigma 21-35mm F/3.5 – 4.2 which I recently sold, so I cannot offer it to you, but that lens was litterally built like a tank. It is an older lens but an excellent performer , au par with my 16-85mm. Google it. It can still sometimes be found on ebay for less than 100 euros. OK probably not fast and wide enough for your wishes but still, it is cheap.

    1. Thanks, I will have a look into it. I don’t see the 21mm being a problem but it I think it would be too slow for me. After all, this is a wishlist where money wouldn’t be an issue.

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