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  1. #1
    Member frog4gators's Avatar
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    best low light, landscape lens?

    I need some help finding the best lens for the buck. I take a lot sunrise/set, landscape photos. I also take several indoor, low light photos of which are usually hand held w. NO flash. That being said I would like some feedback on a lens that would suit both of these needs. I own a Nikon D80. I really don't want to spend more than $700 for the lens. Here are a few lens that I've read about and gotten decent reviews:
    Nikon 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5G ED DX AF-S
    Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G Nikkor AF-S
    Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX AF

    This is my first of hopefully many posts!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    Welcome to the forums.

    Those are all very different focal length. For the purpose of landscape photography, focal range makes a big difference. The difference between a 10-24 and a 50mm is huge.

    In your short list, I'd ditch the Nikon 10-24 in favor of Tokinas 11-16. The difference in f-stop is significant, and you specifically requested a low light capable lens. The 50mm is way too telephoto for landscape, I love the 50mm but its very limited for landscape. The 35mm is even a very tight landscape, and is at the edge of the ideal landscape focal range.

    Though, personally I'd lose that short list and go for a fixed ~24mm lens, at f/2 or so (Sigma has a 24mm f/1.8). Or for a more multi-purpose zoom range, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8...

    Think also about the difference between 10-16mm in focal length, at that low of focal range, its also a very big difference. A lens like the 11-16 is exclusively super wide angle, and not nearly as general purpose or versatile as a fixed ~25 or the 17-50. It is though the only way you get those super-wide shots, definitely a specialty.

  3. #3
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    Agree with Anbesol. Landscape and low-light interior are two different subjects:

    Low-light/interior = 35mm f1.8 DX (or the 50mm f1.8 if you want a tele)
    Landscape wide-angle = Check out the various 10-24mm from Sigma, Tamron, Tokina

    The Nikon 10-24 is the best but from the tests it looks like the others aren't far behind. I have the Tamron 11-18 (discontinued) which is all-plastic but good enough for my needs

    For landscape I really think you should use a tripod. You want no noise (100 ISO) and the lens at it's sharpest setting (f8 or f11) so no way are you going to be able to hold the camera steady at dusk/dawn

    BTW what lens do you have on your D80?
    Charles

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  4. #4
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    I don't have the Tokina 11-16 but I do have the Tokina 12-24 and consider it to be excellent and the 11-16 has just as good reviews and a wider aperture. I wouldn't use it for indoor specifically though unless I was shooting rooms.
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  5. #5
    Active Amateur havana_joe's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    The AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is one HECK of a good lens for indoor / low light, no question. I have this lens, and I'm a big fan. Not sure how it would be for landscapes, although Anbesol is much more knowledgeable than me, and says it would be within the focal range. It’s only $200, and you said your budget is $700, so that would get you a great indoor lens with another $500 to spend on something else. It looks like you can get a Tamron 10-24 for around $500, which Franglais says might be ok, and he is also much more knowledgeable than me!

    Sometimes you just need more than one lens. I hate changing lenses, but no one lens can do everything, and indoor / low light is pretty different from landscapes!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    Actually what I meant was that the 35mm is at the most telephoto length of the ideal focal range. Ideal focal range for landscapes being, in APS ~ 10-35mm. The 35mm would function as a fair landscape but with strong limitations to how wide it is.

    For the simple fact that you specifically want a low-light capable lens, I'd forget considering anything with a slower f-stop than 2.8. Though franglais brings up a good point about f/8 tripod. Think about your desire for low-light ability and why you want that, if having a tripod and shooting f/8 is a better option, then maybe an f/2.8 or faster lens isn't neccesary. This is an important thing to consider because it means a big difference in cost, and in focal range.

  7. #7
    Member frog4gators's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    Looks like I may be going with the Tokina 11-16mm. I've found it for $600. Will I be happy?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    Link - Ken rockwell compares the 11-16 to Nikon's 12-24, on edge performance theTokina looks to do a ton better. And its a stop faster.

    Anyway yes you should be happy, let us know and show us some of your first fun pics.

  9. #9
    Member frog4gators's Avatar
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    Re: best low light, landscape lens?

    I go to Peru in April and Africa in May.... hopefully I'll have one or two good ones!

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