Nikon Adds Some Lenses to Rebates

Nikon's "See, Thom, we do have some DX lenses (unbuzz, unbuzz)" instant rebates are now active. As usual with Nikkor rebates, I'll outline my thoughts on each lens [all links go to this site's exclusive advertiser, B&H, who often throws in some extras]:

  • 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G DX — US$30 off. A modest discount on a modest lens. For most more casual DX shooters, this is probably the wide-angle DX zoom you want. It's small, it focuses fast in both regular and Live View use, and it has VR. Like virtually all the wide angle zooms so far created for DX, it works pretty well stopped down, but has corner issues wide open. This is absolutely the lens that D3xxx and D5xxx owners should consider, and even D7xxx and D500 users will find it pretty good. And for the <US$300 price, a value, at that.
  • 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G DX — US$100 off. This lens still manages to list for US$800 or so with the discount, so it needs to be US$500 better than the preceding one, doesn't it? It isn't. Sure, it gains about a stop of aperture ability, but it also loses VR, is sluggish in Live View, and doesn't really push the optical edge you'd expect from paying so much more. Skip.
  • 12-24mm f/4G DX — US$200 off. This is one of Nikon's oldest DX lenses. I'd argue that it's starting to show its age and really needed an update it never got. On the 6mp and 12mp DSLRs it was great. As we pushed higher into pixel counts, its flaws became more evident, though in the middle of its range stopped down a stop it's better than most anything else. Hard to justify picking it up, even with a discount that brings it under the US$1000 mark.
  • 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G DX — US$50 off. Remember that there are two 18-300mm lenses, this being the "slower" and less expensive one. I'm not a fan of superzooms. This one has lots of optical issues to discuss, including extreme focal length breathing, which means it really doesn't get to 300mm at the distances you'd be using it at. Skip.
  • 35mm f/1.8G DX — US$30 off. A perennial best seller and a DX lens that should be in everyone's kit. That's despite the fact that the lens is showing its age a bit now with the high pixel density bodies. Still, it's f/1.8 and competent, and stopped down it is quite good. All that in an inexpensive and small lens. Where the 16mm and 23mm versions of this lens are, no one knows. They would have stopped quite a few Nikon DX users from going to Fujifilm. Best buy of the bunch.
  • 40mm f/2.8G DX Micro-Nikkor — US$30 off. Okay, I can't fault the optics here; this is a really strong performer in terms of optical quality, particularly as you move in closer to objects. But that's the problem. At 1:1 magnification, it has exactly 2.1" (52.5mm) of working distance from subject to the front of the lens. It's difficult to get light in that space that looks good. Most people end up using it as a slightly short "telephoto" lens, which is fine, but it's a bit pricey for that compared to the next one.
  • 50mm f/1.8G — US$40 off. Another lens that probably ought to be in every DX user's kit, as it subs in as a very low cost (<US$200) portrait type lens. It's acceptable for portraits at f/1.8 (the corners will be a problem, but you don't shoot portraits into the corners). It's excellent at f/2.8 for portraits, and it's fine for any telephoto work at f/4 onwards. It's small, a trait that works well with DX, but like most of the Nikkor primes, it's a bit sluggish for autofocus. 
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