(news & commentary)
As always, you'll find lots of sites hyping Nikon's latest rebates in order to collect affiliate fees, but none will really tell you whether you should be excited about these lenses or not. And, as usual, before I present an affiliate link you can use to help this site, I'm going to tell you what you should think of the deals. None of these lens rebates require that you purchase a camera.
- 28mm f/1.8G US$100 rebate* — This is a fine lens with no real issues other than perhaps some field curvature you need to be aware of. It's one of my recommended FX prime trio (28, 50, 85 f/1.8) for those on a budget, and the discount is substantial here, almost 15% off. Definitely pick one of these up if you need the optic.
- 40mm f/2.8G DX US$30 rebate — A lot of folk buy this lens, but be aware that macro 1:1 with this lens has virtually no working space in front of the lens. Consider it a close focusing 40mm more than a macro lens. If you really want a more useful macro lens for DX, the 85mm f/3.5 is discounted US$100 (see below). Skip.
- 50mm f/1.8G US$20 rebate* — Not a large rebate, but not an expensive lens to start with. Frankly, I tend to like the f/1.8 better than all the other choices at normal. You pay a lot more for very little more regular optical performance when you opt for one of the f/1.4 lenses, especially the 58mm. If you don't have a fast FX normal, this is a cheap enough lens you can fill that gap with something pretty darned good.
- 50mm f/1.4G US$100 rebate — See what I just wrote about with the f/1.8G. With the rebates you'll pay twice as much for the f/1.4 and get very little more. At f/2.8 these lenses are nearly identical, and at f/2 they've very close. So you really have to need that extra fraction of a stop to warrant paying extra money. Low light shooters might want to opt for it, others should get the f/1.8G.
- 85mm f/1.8G US$100 rebate* — Yep, all three of my budget prime recommendations are on sale. At US$400, this is a no-brainer. This is one heck of a good lens for that price.
- 85mm f/3.5G DX US$100 rebate* — Not a perfect lens, by any means, but if you're into heavy macro work on a DX body, it's the cheapest Nikkor available that produces really good results and gives you enough working distance to get and modify light on the subject. But consider the next lens, too.
- 105mm f/2.8G US$185* — This is a classic lens, and quid a good one, at that. It's probably Nikon's best macro lens in modern form at the moment, and with the price now down under US$800, it's definitely on sale (about 20% off). Well worth considering.
- 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DX US$150 rebate — Over time I moved away from the Sigma wide angle zooms to this one, simply because it's reasonably well-behaved. All the wide angle zooms for DX have weaknesses, especially in the corners, but this was my go-to landscape lens for DX for quite some time. If you need a wide angle for indoor use, consider the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 instead. Otherwise, this is probably the lens that should be in your kit.
- 16-35mm f/4 US$300 rebate* — The discount moves this lens under the US$1000 mark. Sharpness is very good, and so are most of the other characteristics except for one: linear distortion is highly visible if you don't correct for it. Still, I find myself using this lens far more than my 14-24mm these days because it takes filters and is smaller. The VR is just another small plus.
- 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 DX US$100 rebate** — Still the mid-range zoom of choice for DX bodies, at least from Nikon. Another 15% off lens, it's worth considering even if you have the pretty good 18-105mm. Personally, I find the extra 2mm at the wide end much more useful than the missing 20mm at the long end. Moreover, the 16-85mm is a bit sharper and better behaved overall. Note: this is a lens that is rumored to be replaced soon. My guess is that any replacement would be far more costly than the US$600 price now on this lens. Far more.
- 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DX US$250 rebate* — If you're still back on the 12mp or lower count DSLRs and need a convenience lens, maybe. But if you're on the 16mp or 24mp DSLRs, this lens is showing its warts now. You just won't get the snap in the results that the cameras are capable of. Skip.
- 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 US$100 rebate* — This D610 kit lens is vastly underestimated by most. It's actually a darned good lens, and better than the one it replaced, which I also liked. Here's the thing: zooms with short focal ranges are just easier to make good than ones with long focal ranges. At 17% off, it's a decent buy, but look for versions of eBay, as a lot of folk got this lens in an FX kit and decided to sell it; you might find a better bargain there. (Though remember in the US we get 5-year non-transferable warranties with lenses.)
- 24-120mm f/4 US$300 rebate* — I think a lot of folk underestimate this lens, too. Some of that is how poor the predecessor was. But as I've pointed out, this newer version can hold its own on a D800E. It's not perfect, but I find myself using it more than my 24-70mm f/2.8 these days. At 23% off, it's well worth considering.
- 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 US$150 rebate* — I know there are other pros that have written about how convenient this lens was for them and was the only lens they took on a trip, but personally I find it too much compromise across too many things, especially on a D800. It's also not a small, light lens. I'd rather have the f/1.8 prime kit and something like the 70-300mm myself. That said, this super zoom is the best FX super zoom Nikon has made, and by a pretty healthy margin. If you're the super zoom type, this is the only one I'd ever recommend on FX bodies, especially the lower pixel count ones.
- 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 US$400 rebate* — Well that was fast. When I saw this pop up on the list, I thought it had to be the older, non AF-S version. But no, it's the latest and greatest. This is a really good lens, far better than the original, and actually functionally good at 400mm on cameras with high pixel densities such as the D7100 and D800. No, it doesn't match the 400mm f/2.8, and not even the 200-400mm f/4, but that said it's actually quite good at 400mm. Strongly consider this lens at this price.
* If you order from this site's advertiser using the following link, you'll also get a 4% reward on future orders (lenses not marked with this have a 2% reward).
** No B&H future order reward
Help support this site by purchasing from this advertiser: B&H