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Author Topic: Is there a good quality 28 - 70 mm (or more) zoom lens for Nikon full-frame DSLRs?  (Read 19936 times)
BJL
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« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2009, 01:23:08 PM »
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Quote from: aaykay
Thom Hogan in his review of the D3X mentions that ... The high resolution of the D3X, seemingly is starting to expose the weaknesses of these newer Nikkor zooms.

The following is a quote:

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Even the vaunted 14-24mm and 24-70mm on the D3x reveal that they're not perfect into the corners as some have thought using D3 and D700 bodies.
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This visible imperfection probably says nothing about how those lenses compare to Canon or Sony/Zeiss lenses; it could well be a consequence of what I believe is a general fact: 24MP 35mm format sensors (and large prints therefrom) have enough resolution to show the imperfections (like resolution limits in the corners) of almost any lens, especially zooms.

A reality check: even using previous millennium technology like 35mm color film as the "sensor", the resolution differences between good lenses can be seen in big enough prints, and in particular the imperfections of even good zooms are usually detectable in comparison to good primes. The difference is that digital files lead us into the temptation of viewing at about 200ppi [or as low as 100ppi on-screen], meaning 30"x20" from the D3X [or an on-screen crop from up to 60"x40"], whereas I doubt that 35mm film users often judged their lenses on the basis of prints that large. Many of us were instead happy if a 35mm format lens gave truly sharp 14"x11" prints.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 01:23:34 PM by BJL » Logged
NashvilleMike
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« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2009, 01:56:11 PM »
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Quote from: aaykay
Bernard, Thom Hogan in his review of the D3X mentions that unlike the stellar performance that the 14-24 and 24-70 Nikkors demonstrated on lower res FF bodies like the D700/D3, the edge performance on the D3X is not as good.  The high resolution of the D3X, seemingly is starting to expose the weaknesses of these newer Nikkor zooms.

The following is a quote:

==========
Even the vaunted 14-24mm and 24-70mm on the D3x reveal that they're not perfect into the corners as some have thought using D3 and D700 bodies.
=========

Based on my prior experience with the Canon 24-70 and current experience with the Zeiss 24-70, I would state that they definitely got a damaged Zeiss for testing on the A900, if the Zeiss (benchtested during its development, specifically on a high resolution FF body), came in a "distant third" to these older Canikon lenses.    

I think you're making broad generalizations from Thoms short comment. Looking at Thoms comment, we don't know the following: which aperture, which focal length range, and what the magnitude of "not perfect" means. There is no perfect lens - not even the Sony/Zeiss - and thus it's unfair to broadly state opinions about the Nikkor based upon the little informatiion in that quote. I've seen enough images from all three to have a comfortable opinion that the Nikkor 24-70 and the Sony/Zeiss 24-70 are both excellent glass, and both a bit superior to the Canon 24-70 lens. The differences between the Nikkor and the Zeiss are more in regards to rendering differences that result from different decisions made by their respective lens designers. The Nikkor, for example, has better OOF rendering/bokeh than the Sony, while in some cases the Sony might have the very slightest edge in terms of corner sharpness at some (but not all) focal lengths. Both are excellent lenses. I have a slight preference for the Nikkor because I happen to like the Nikon lens designers approach to image integrity and a balance of many image quality attributes - that's why I'm a Nikon shooter (for the glass), but I could *easily* live with the Sony A900 and Sony/Zeiss lens if I had to switch tomorrow without much concern - as I stated, both are excellent glass.

-m
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Ray
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« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2009, 02:37:45 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
Ray: He was commenting on the following statement that you made and which you have not corroborated:



(The bold emphasis on 'any' is mine.)

I think your statement is nonsense. Of course I might be mistaken, and I am open to counter arguments.

My statement is clearly not nonsense, but it might be misleading if I have implied that only Nikkor lenses suffer from this problem. If that's the impression I gave, it wasn't intended. Most of my lenses are soft in the corners. It's a fact of life for those using full frame 35mm. It was a joy to find the Nikkor 14-24 which is less soft than most, in the corners.
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Ray
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« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2009, 03:04:31 PM »
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Quote from: Colorado David
Was it possible that anyone was ever able to shoot a sharp photograph before lens stabilization technology?  Yes, I think it was.  But as soon as some new technology becomes widely available does everything that came before become suddenly obsolete?  No it does not.  I love VR technology, particularly on long lenses, but it is not a prerequisite for every single lens purchase.

Nor is image stabilisation necessarily a prerequisite for me when choosing a lens. After all, I recently bought the Nikkor 14-24. However, all else being equal, I'd prefer the lens with IS or VR. I switched from Minolta to Canon several years ago, whilst still shooting film, primarily because Canon lenses had image stabilisation and Minolta lenses did not. I was disappointed with the image quality of ISO 400 film which I often felt compelled to use to get sharp results without tripod.

It looks to me as though my 50D with EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS will adequately take the place of a D700 with Nikkor 24-70.
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Slough
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« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2009, 04:16:14 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
My statement is clearly not nonsense, but it might be misleading if I have implied that only Nikkor lenses suffer from this problem. If that's the impression I gave, it wasn't intended. Most of my lenses are soft in the corners. It's a fact of life for those using full frame 35mm. It was a joy to find the Nikkor 14-24 which is less soft than most, in the corners.

Let me again remind you of your statement:

"This seems to be a common problem with any modern Nikkor lens, weak in the corners on FX, "

Where is your evidence that any Nikon lens suffers from 'weak' corners on FX? It contradicts all the reviews I have seen. Do you own a range of Nikon lenses and an FX camera?
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Ray
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« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2009, 07:24:38 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
Let me again remind you of your statement:

"This seems to be a common problem with any modern Nikkor lens, weak in the corners on FX, "

Where is your evidence that any Nikon lens suffers from 'weak' corners on FX? It contradicts all the reviews I have seen. Do you own a range of Nikon lenses and an FX camera?

All lenses tend to suffer from weak corners. The evidence is in the body of hundreds of MTF charts at Photodo. Any lens which has a reasonably flat response out to 22mm from the centre is a rarity, whatever the brand. Such corner weakness is particularly a problem at wide apertures and at short focal lengths and is a pronbem which becomes greater as the FF sensor resolution is increased, as with the D3X.

It might not be the case that Nikon lenses are more prone to this than other brands, which is why I corrected any impression I might have created that this was the case. However, what does appear to be the case, is that Nikon have been concentrating on producing DX lenses in the past few years, and there is perhaps a shortage of modern Nikkor designs for the full frame format. It certainly doesn't look at this stage that I'll being buying any more Nikkor lenses in the near future, except perhaps the new Nikkor 50/1.4, or I might settle for the cheaper and lighter 50/1.8.

When browsing the specs of a number of Nikkor lenses yesterday, mainly to find out the weight, I got a fright when I saw an image circle of 35mm specified in relation to one of the Nikkor 50mm designs. Perhaps I was imagining it or perhaps someone was trying to make the point that this would be the relevant image circle for a DX camera when the lens was used as a portrait lens.

Okay? Are you able to calm down now?
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happyman
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« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2009, 09:09:02 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
When browsing the specs of a number of Nikkor lenses yesterday, mainly to find out the weight, I got a fright when I saw an image circle of 35mm specified in relation to one of the Nikkor 50mm designs. Perhaps I was imagining it or perhaps someone was trying to make the point that this would be the relevant image circle for a DX camera when the lens was used as a portrait lens.

It is time to go out and take some real world experience. As soon as you got some pictures touching your soul all the fright will be healed regardless what lens you use.

If an image circle will bother you that much what will a picture cause taken by another guy with exactly this "imperfect" lens that is surprisingly looking good?

And donīt forget to check out your personal image circle. That works wonders. Trust me ;-)
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Ray
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« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2009, 10:37:49 PM »
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Quote from: happyman
If an image circle will bother you that much what will a picture cause taken by another guy with exactly this "imperfect" lens that is surprisingly looking good?

Image circles do bother me. No image circle, no picture. Small image circle in relation to the sensor, poor corner resolution. If you want to take the view, the camera (and lens) doesn't matter, I can go along with that, as long as you don't take the view to absurd extremes    .
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NikosR
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« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2009, 10:56:48 PM »
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AFAIK Nikon is not publishing specs for the image circles of its lenses. The most one will find is if the lens is supposed to cover the full FX, 35mm, 135, 24x36 (take your pick, it's all the same) frame or the DX crop. Ray is once again taking, knowingly I suspect (since I'm sure he understands what that 35mm reffered to unless his experience is limited to digital days), something he purports to have seen in a regional Nikon site, out of context and out of all proportion just to be able to increase his post count and cause reaction. Classic troll behaviour IMO. I'm switching the ignore flag on for the guy to save my sanity.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 11:02:35 PM by NikosR » Logged

Nikos
KenS
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« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2009, 11:21:13 PM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
The most rigorous lens test I know of are those performed by the French magazine Chasseur d'Image. Recently they have been testing as a combo with a body.

Their Jan issue had a comparison of all the pro zooms for different mounts:
... snip ...
Bernard

Does anyone know how Chasseur d'Image tests lenses (lens charts,  in the field, a combination?) and what metrics they use (MTF, SQF, lp/mm, etc)?
Do they only test one lens of each model?

I'm asking because I don't read French and some day I might buy a FF DSLR.

Also (with the hope of not starting a war!) the following remarks on lens testing may be of interest:

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/lenstest.html


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Ray
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« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2009, 01:30:40 AM »
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Quote from: KenS
Also (with the hope of not starting a war!) the following remarks on lens testing may be of interest:

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/lenstest.html

I agree with this view expressed by Bob Atkins. Test methodology does vary. Lens quality from batch to batch does vary. Subjective opinions vary most of all.

The solution to these problems appears to be too expensive and I'm not sure that manufacturers want solutions. Manufacturers like brand loyalty. I don't believe they would welcome a method which would make it easy for critical and objective scrutiny of the performance of their lenses by consumers.

I believe there's a statement on Photozone's site to the effect that they reserve the right to remove any test report which they subsequently believe is a-typical of the performance of that lens.

In my own situation, I feel I would like at least one other lens to go with my D700. I'm very pleased with my Canon 50/1.8 because it's very lightweight and remarkably sharp for its price. I imagined the Nikkor 50/1.8 would be similarly good value. However, when I looked at the Photozone results, I almost fell off my chair. Fortunately, I didn't bang my head.

The Nikkor 50/1.8 certainly seems sharp in the centre, perhaps even sharper than the Canon 50/1.8, although one has to bear in mind that the Canon test was performed with an 8mp camera (the 350D) and the Nikon test with the 10mp D200. I think it would be fair and reasonable to add 10% to the Canon figures for comparison purposes.

But what caused me to almost fall off my chair was edge and corner resolution. Is this a lens designed for full frame? If it is, how can it be that bad at the borders? If the borders are that bad on a cropped format camera such as the D200, what are they going to be like on a full frame like the D700? Well, one could reasonably assume, much worse.

You judge for yourself. I post the Photozone resolution charts for both lenses below. Hope Photozone doesn't mind.

[attachment=11041:Nikkor_C...mparison.jpg]


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Slough
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« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2009, 02:24:09 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
All lenses tend to suffer from weak corners. The evidence is in the body of hundreds of MTF charts at Photodo. Any lens which has a reasonably flat response out to 22mm from the centre is a rarity, whatever the brand. Such corner weakness is particularly a problem at wide apertures and at short focal lengths and is a pronbem which becomes greater as the FF sensor resolution is increased, as with the D3X.

It might not be the case that Nikon lenses are more prone to this than other brands, which is why I corrected any impression I might have created that this was the case. However, what does appear to be the case, is that Nikon have been concentrating on producing DX lenses in the past few years, and there is perhaps a shortage of modern Nikkor designs for the full frame format. It certainly doesn't look at this stage that I'll being buying any more Nikkor lenses in the near future, except perhaps the new Nikkor 50/1.4, or I might settle for the cheaper and lighter 50/1.8.

When browsing the specs of a number of Nikkor lenses yesterday, mainly to find out the weight, I got a fright when I saw an image circle of 35mm specified in relation to one of the Nikkor 50mm designs. Perhaps I was imagining it or perhaps someone was trying to make the point that this would be the relevant image circle for a DX camera when the lens was used as a portrait lens.

Okay? Are you able to calm down now?

Okay, so you haven't taken any photos yourself with Nikon lenses on FX/film cameras, and base your judgements on MTF plots. Well, the reviews and MTF plots I have seen show that Nikon lenses do not have a problem with weak corners on FX.

Almost all lenses from any maker will have stronger centre resolution, especially wide open. Many lenses are soft at the edges on FX when used wide open. Is that what you mean by your sweeping statement?

I am quite calm. I simply want to know the justification for your statement, because in my experience of using Nikon lenses on film bodies it is nonsense.
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eronald
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« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2009, 04:21:12 AM »
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Why don't we tell Ray to get on with his life? A 12MP D700 won't exactly stress any decent Nikon lens, and there are plenty of nice MF and AF prime antiques around which are sharp. The camera will run out of pixels before any full-format Nikon PRIME lens, old or new,  would be my guess. The only truly soft lens I have ever owned was a Canon 24-70 F2.8. It was also the last zoom I ever bought.


Edmund
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Ray
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« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2009, 04:26:03 AM »
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Quote from: Slough
Well, the reviews and MTF plots I have seen show that Nikon lenses do not have a problem with weak corners on FX.

Well show us those MTF plots so we can all judge for ourselves and learn something. As you can see, I'm interested in lenses that do not have weak corners, otherwise I wouldn't have have gone to the great expense and trouble of getting the Nikkor 14-24/2.8. It seems clear that the Nikkor 50/1.8 is not going to be much good with FX cameras. However, the Nikkor 50/1.4 AF-S seems a lot better. The Micro-Nikkor AS-S 105/2.8 VR seems also excellent. It's got VR too.
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Ray
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« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2009, 04:42:36 AM »
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Quote from: eronald
Why don't we tell Ray to get on with his life? A 12MP D700 won't exactly stress any decent Nikon lens, and there are plenty of nice MF and AF prime antiques around which are sharp. The camera will run out of pixels before any full-format Nikon PRIME lens, old or new,  would be my guess. The only truly soft lens I have ever owned was a Canon 24-70 F2.8. It was also the last zoom I ever bought.


Edmund

Edmund,
There are many things that contribute to resolution. I have no shortage of lenses. I've got everything covered from 14mm to 900mm (with no gaps) if I include the 1.4x extender.

You can understand therefore that I would be reluctant to buy any lens which did not offer something in performance that I don't already have. I find it rather strange that some people's ego seems to be tied up to their camera equipment in such a way that any hint of criticism seem to send such people into a paroxysm of rage.
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eronald
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« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2009, 06:52:05 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
Edmund,
There are many things that contribute to resolution. I have no shortage of lenses. I've got everything covered from 14mm to 900mm (with no gaps) if I include the 1.4x extender.

You can understand therefore that I would be reluctant to buy any lens which did not offer something in performance that I don't already have. I find it rather strange that some people's ego seems to be tied up to their camera equipment in such a way that any hint of criticism seem to send such people into a paroxysm of rage.

Reluctant to buy, Ray ? Just go into the nearest pawnbroker's and stock up on old primes if you really need  a focal length;  I really don't understand why a smart guy like you would clutter up your time on trivial details - is a used 50/1.8 or 35/2  lens really worth the bother of a discussion ?  The used junk dealers have all these old primes sitting there and waiting.

The last time I needed a lens for my 39 MP back and Mamiya I walked into Adorama in NY and paid $225 (!!!) for an AF 150mm F3.5 lens which was used by fully functional. At that price do I really a lens test or an MTF chart ?

Edmund
« Last Edit: January 22, 2009, 06:57:22 AM by eronald » Logged
Slough
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« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2009, 07:09:31 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
Well show us those MTF plots so we can all judge for ourselves and learn something. As you can see, I'm interested in lenses that do not have weak corners, otherwise I wouldn't have have gone to the great expense and trouble of getting the Nikkor 14-24/2.8. It seems clear that the Nikkor 50/1.8 is not going to be much good with FX cameras. However, the Nikkor 50/1.4 AF-S seems a lot better. The Micro-Nikkor AS-S 105/2.8 VR seems also excellent. It's got VR too.

I think we need to introduce some subtlety into the discussion rather than making blanket statements based on a small sample of lenses.

In general wide angle lenses are notorious for soft edges wide open, and usually require quite a bit of stopping down. Nikon wide pimes are often quite poor. I owned the 28mm F2.8 AFD and 24mm F2.8 AFD, and did not like them. By all accounts Canon wides are in general no better, with a few exceptions. The 14-24mm F2.8 AFS is a stellar lens. The 17-35mm AFD is a superb lens, and for years outclassed offerings from Canon. The micro lenses are excellent. The tilt shift lenses are excellent. The long primes are excellent. Really I think you are extrapolating from poor wide open performance of many Nikon wide angle lenses, and assuming that characterises them all. It doesn't.

The 50mm F1.8 is a semi-consumer grade lens. Sadly some of the older semi-consumer grade primes are not so good, perhaps because Nikon reduced the price to make them competitive, and the quality took a hit. That is why the 28mm F2.8 AFD is awful, whereas the older manual designs are far superior. I guess they assume pros and serious amateurs would not buy the 28mm F2.8 AFD and 50mm F1.8 lenses, and hence optical performance was less than ideal.  

For reviews, check out www.NikonLinks.com.
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eronald
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« Reply #57 on: January 22, 2009, 07:13:25 AM »
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Maybe we should just make a quick list of the cheap gems, that seems a better use of our time. I agree that the MF versions are often very good, and in fact they are also very cheap to get these days. I don't know whether they all ^work on the D700 though. I still have a 17-35 somewhere, and a 180/2.8 and I knew when I switched to Canon that these were good enough to keep if I bought a Nikon body again fown the road.

Edmund

Quote from: Slough
I think we need to introduce some subtlety into the discussion rather than making blanket statements based on a small sample of lenses.

The 50mm F1.8 is a semi-consumer grade lens. Sadly some of the older semi-consumer grade primes are not so good, perhaps because Nikon reduced the price to make them competitive, and the quality took a hit. That is why the 28mm F2.8 AFD is awful, whereas the older manual designs are far superior. I guess they assume pros and serious amateurs would not buy the 28mm F2.8 AFD and 50mm F1.8 lenses, and hence optical performance was less than ideal.  

For reviews, check out www.NikonLinks.com.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2009, 07:15:43 AM by eronald » Logged
Slough
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« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2009, 07:13:40 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
I find it rather strange that some people's ego seems to be tied up to their camera equipment in such a way that any hint of criticism seem to send such people into a paroxysm of rage.

Can you give an example of somone enjoying a "paroxysm of rage"? FWIW I am quite calm, if somewhat bored. Camera equipment is nothing more than a tool. But why shouldn't someone call you to task when you make misleading statements? There are of course plenty of criticisms one could make about Nikon. But I won't bore you with them.
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Slough
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« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2009, 07:16:12 AM »
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Quote from: eronald
Maybe we should just make a quick list of the cheap gems. I agree that the MF versions are often very good, and in fact they are also very cheap to get these days. I don't know whether they all ^work on the D700 though.

Edmund

I think all but the oldest, and a few early ultra wides will work on the D700. Bjorn Rorslett's web site is a good source of information regarding older lenses, and new ones too. (His name requires a Nordic character which I cannot type, but Google and you will find the site.)
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