I either presently own, or in the past have owned, a significant number of camera lenses. Not all of them Nikons. I’ve had Tokinas, Minoltas, Sonys and Tamrons too. But I did, at one point in my photographic development, make the decision to dispose of any non-Nikon lens and to, henceforth, only put Nikon glass on my cameras. Whether that was a wise decision, or not, is possibly open to debate; but that is what I have done.
And consequently, whenever I spot a lens that I also own, up for sale, I will read the description and sometimes watch, to see how much it sells for.
And two fairly common statements are made, which I find quite intriguing.
With regard to the AF-S 28-300 f3.5-5.6 ED VR Fx lens and its 18-200 Dx equivalent, owners say “I never take it off the camera – it is so versatile.”
And so both of these lenses are. And excellent lenses too. But the owners are missing a great deal by restricting themselves to the sole use of these Fx or Dx multi-functional zooms. Both, for instance, barrel or pincushion at their extremes, to varying degrees, and both are subject to some measure of softness, due to difraction when stopped right down.
Other lenses which overlap, or also operate within these parameters, are excellent in their own right. I have an AF 20-35 f2.8 ED IF Fx lens and an AF 80-200 f2.8 ED IF Fx lens; both of which are simply superb. Not necessarily fundamentally better than the AF-S 28-300 f3.5-5.6 ED VR, but they were designed for specific purposes, at which they are, in my opinion, quite without equal. And I use these two, in addition to an AF 50 f1.8 Prime lens, as much as I use the multi-functional zooms.
With regard to the AF 20-35 f2.8 ED IF Fx and AF 80-200 f2.8 ED IF Fx lenses, when offered for sale, the owner will almost always declare that their lens “has been owned from new and has had little use, being kept in it’s case: it therefore is offered for sale, ‘as-new’ ”
Now both of these lenses are quite old, in terms of the date upon which they were first introduced to the market. But Nikon still make them. You can still buy a new one. Both have been superceded by plastic variations. The AF 20-35 f2.8 ED IF, for instance, by the magnificent AF-S 17-24 f2.8G ED VR Fx. A pro lens with a wider angle with more elements and groups. And stunning sharpness – less fall-off and sharper corners.
But it’s enormous !! Humungous, even !!!!
And you can’t fit either a front lens cap, or sacrificial, UV, or polarizing filters to it, because of the curvature of the front element.
And the first AF-S 70-200 f2.8G ED VR Fx which was supposed to replace the AF 80-200 f2.8 was very quickly replaced itself by the AF-S 70-200 f2.8G ED VRII Fx, because the first VR performed better on Dx bodies. And the dear old AF 80-200 f2.8 was quickly reinstated to the sales brochure, to contend with the two pretenders. And the reason Nikon originally wanted to replace the 20-35 f2.8 & the 80-200 f2.8 was because it was, and still is, necessary to physically press a button and turn a ring on the body, to move between manual and auto-focus (M-A), whereas Canon had developed the ‘grab the focus ring and it changes automatically to manual‘ technology – and Nikon were losing professional clients to them. And are only now beginning to regain the same clients, with their own ‘grab it‘ technology.
The other factor which is often cited, is that the modern lenses are lighter.
And yes. Indeed they are. Because the modern lenses are made of plastic. Whilst the two old warhorses are precision machined from aluminium and metal. Consequently, they are much more robust. Which is exactly what a pro photographer requires, in the hurly-burly of getting the picture, fit for publication. And, the elements are precision ground glass, whilst the tendency with modern lenses is toward moulded plasti-glass composite lenses. (which are undeniably lighter, cheaper to produce, and arguably at least comparable optically too. Time will tell whether they retain their quality and resilience.)
And this is why you can still buy these older lenses new, with a full warranty, for only slightly more than you will pay for them second-hand.
(when a lens doesn’t depreciate drastically, it is usually a good indication that it was, originally, a very worthy purchase)
[generally, lenses will retain their value much more realistically than bodies will]
Nikon, or indeed any other global manufacturer, don’t keep a product in their marketing brochure if it is no good and not realising the sales targets. And both of these two AF stalwarts have been around since the very early 1990′s.
And 20+ years is a lifetime in the electronic consumer world
And the remarkable thing that I like about both of them, being metal and solid, is that you don’t need VR. Because they are both IF, you line up your shot, focus, AF-L, check and shoot. At a suitable shutter speed (1/200th, or not more than 1/250th, because on Fx there’s no crop-factor to consider) with ISO set to enable the aperture setting that you require for DoF, the shot is razor sharp. And the barrel, pin-cushion, fall-off and dark corners, are nothing like as evident. Difraction is about the same
And both of the ‘two-old-warhorses’, purchased new, are approximately only 1/3rd of the price of their plastic counterpart, and will last you for a lifetime. And if you fall over whilst taking a shot, you’ll come up, shaken but not stirred, still shooting and the kit won’t even have noticed.
So one can only assume that the people who offer second-hand examples ‘as-new‘ are amateur photographers who have erroneously believed that it’s the professional kit which produces the stunning photographs, and not the thinking, creative accessory, who presses the shutter button.
And when they have discovered, to their immense chagrin, that their presumption is incorrect, they have consigned their precious, but apparently inadequate kit to the cupboard, disappointed, if not dejected; until, after a few years, they decide that they really ought to sell it; declaring as they do so, quite rightly, what a truly wonderful lens it is. :roll:
Funny old world, isn’t it ??