I have four lenses
that I'm using nowadays: a Nikkor 80-400 VR zoom, Nikkor 12-24
zoom, Nikkor 24-120 VR zoom, and a Tamron 90mm Macro. I'll address
each of them below.
Note that with the
D2X's small sensor, there is a crop factor of 1.5x relative to
a 35mm SLR. This means that when I use a 400mm focal length on
the D2X, it acts like a 600mm focal length on your average SLR.
Many digital SLRs have this sort of crop factor.
AF VR Zoom-Nikkor
80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
It used to be that
about 95% of my photos were taken with this lens, but since I've
started doing photos of things other than birds (like insects),
that percentage has been going down. Most of the time when I use
this lens, it's extended all the way to the 400mm end. So maybe
a prime would've been a better choice.
The VR in the lens
name stands for Vibration Reduction (the Canon equivalent is IS,
or Image Stabilization). This feature allows hand-holding of the
lens two to three stops slower than you would normally expect.
I generally without hesitation will hand-hold the fully extended
lens down to 1/100 of a second. From 1/100 to 1/30 of a second
is what I think of as the grey zone, where shake definitely shows
up but occasionally one can pull off a clear shot (relax, and
take lots of photographs). I prefer using a tripod in the grey
zone, though. Below 1/30 of a second, I won't even try without
a tripod and shutter release.
The minimum focal distance
is somewhere around a meter or two; I have found myself having
to back up to focus on some subjects. This is inconvenient, but
it goes with the territory of having a long lens. I have used
the lens with extension tubes, and with a Canon 500D Close-up
Lens on the end of it, and it works fine, but gives very narrow
DOF. My 24-120mm and 90mm are much better for macro work (but
heavier and more bulky than the 500D).
For distant subjects,
I use the VR lens with either a 1.4x or 2x (Kenko) Teleconverter.
Unless there is loads of light, I lose autofocus capability. Manual
focus with the teleconverters and this lens seems an iffy proposition,
though, even with the D2X. So I find myself shying away from the
teleconverter option, saving it for when I absolutely need the
magnification or I know I can shoot a lot of photos, refocusing
between shots. Teleconverter use demands a tripod and remote control.
The lens has a bit
of chromatic aberration, but not so much as to be a problem all
of the time. It becomes more of a problem when using a teleconverter,
where a sharp contrast in the image will often necessitate touch-up.
The VR lens cost around
$2000 (Canadian). Nikon also makes a VR 200-400mm f/4 lens, which
would be very sweet (because of the speed), but it costs three
to four times as much.
This page is under
revision; the text above is new (October 2006) and what follows
is much older, and includes lenses that I no longer use.
AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
This is the D70 kit
lens. I use this when I need a wider angle than the 120mm-equivalent
that the 80mm end of the VR lens delivers on the D70. This is
a pretty rare situation in wildlife photography, but sometimes
I'll shoot landscapes or typical journalism shots where this sort
of focal length is best. (Although I often use the VR lens for
landscape.) At short focal lengths, this lens has a fair amount
of disortion, and also the lens hood must be removed to prevent
At medium and long
focal lengths, it's a fairly good lens, but I don't have near
the experience with it that I have with the long lens.
Tamron SP AF90mm
f/2.8 Macro 1:1
This is the only prime
lens I own. I'm quite happy with it; it's fast and very sharp.
I haven't been shooting a lot of macro this year (when I was using
the CP995, about half my shots were macro), but every time I've
used this lens, I've been happy with the results.
It'll focus down to
about 30cm, and I've yet to try it with my extension rings...
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6
II Macro Super
This was the first
lens I bought for the camera, not including the kit lens. It gave
me a decent magnification power, and I got a few good bird shots
However, I quickly
became frustrated with the camera shake that I usually got when
using this lens. A tripod is a necessity with this lens. Chromatic
aberration is also problematic.
About a month after
buying this lens, I bought the VR lens, and since then, I've never
put this one back on the camera. The VR outperforms it on all
fronts. The tradeoff is cost and weight: the Sigma cost only $225,
and is significantly lighter than the Nikkor.