Nikon Lens Bundle Offer is Back, and So Is My Table

(news and commentary)

Nikon has resurrected their camera+lens discount deals. A few lenses got axed (mostly primes) and a few got added (mostly consumer telephoto zooms). Also, the two Speedlights get small discounts now when bundled with a camera purchase (US$30 for SB-700, US$50 for SB-910).

If you want to see the discounts presented as an interactive table with the cameras, click here (advertiser link).

Lens Regular Price Instant Savings Thom's Commentary
28mm f/1.8G US$699 US$100 Well worth it at the old price, definitely a strong choice for most people at the new price. As I've noted before, a set of f/1.8G primes makes a lot of sense for new-to-FX users, and at these prices much easier to get. X
50mm f/1.8G US$219 US$20 A 50mm for <US$200 that's sharp and reliable? A pretty good bargain. But this lens has always been one of the better prime bargains; it's just gotten a bit better. X
85mm f/3.5G DX US$529 US$100 A better choice than the 60mm for DX users, probably.
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G DX US$849 US$250 The price looks tempting, but pass. This lens had its day with the 6mp and 10mp cameras, but shows its weaknesses clearly on the 16mp and 24mp cameras Nikon's been putting out recently. See next.
18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G DX US$999 US$300 Still not a huge fan, but if you're going the convenience route this lens makes a tiny bit more sense.
24-70mm f/2.8G US$1889 US$200 A workhorse in the FX bags. It's a very good lens, but it lacks VR and it's weaker than the f/1.8 primes, which is one reason why I tend to suggest new FX buyers pick up something like the 24-120mm for convenience, and the f/1.8G primes for optical quality. Z
24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G US$599 US$100 On a D3, D3s, D4, D700, or D600, this is a good lens to consider. Optically, it's about right for those cameras, and on a D600 it's nearly the perfect kit lens.
24-120mm f/4G US$1299 US$300 D800/D800E users would want this over the 24-85mm, I think. It's a step up optically, which that 36mp sensor will greatly appreciate. The more I use this lens, the more impressed I am with it's well rounded performance. X
55-200mm f/4-5.6G US$249 US$100 A decent telephoto zoom and a good match to the low-end consumer DX DSLRs. Certainly worth considering (along with the next lens in this table) Z
55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G US$399 US$150 Also a good match with the consumer DX DSLRs. The 70-300mm VR has faster focus and a better build, though.
70-200mm f/2.8G US$2399 US$300 The discount puts this lens back closer to the pricing level of the lens it replaced. The 70-200mm is a staple in most lens kits, so any discount is welcome, and those opting for third party versions now have to take a closer look at Nikon's offering. X
70-200mm f/4G US$1399 US$300 Wow. This new lens is on a substantial discount. In many ways this lens is better behaved than the f/2.8 version. Certainly if you don't need f/2.8, this is an excellent choice. X
70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G US$590 US$200 The best of the variable aperture telephoto zooms, and a lens that performs well even on a D800 (though stopping down tends to present diffraction impacts). If you're looking for a great lens but can't afford the 70-200mm models, this is your choice.

You may have noticed the X, Y, Z markers in the table. Here's what they mean:

  • X — Lens I would consider highest likelihood to see go off discount, or go to a smaller discount.
  • Z — Lens with a reasonably high likelihood of being replaced in 2013-2014. 

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