Nikon's July Lens Sale

NikonUSA has put a handful of lenses on sale until the end of the month. As always with these lens-only rebates, I offer you my quick opinion on each one (the links in each of the names goes to this site's exclusive advertiser, B&H, who often throws in an additional 4% reward or other goodies):

  • 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E — US$150 off. I haven't completed my review of this lens yet. It's an interesting lens, as it basically subs for both the 10.5mm DX and the 16mm FX, plus it has a range of other talents. If I were a DX shooter, I probably wouldn't swap my 10.5mm for the 8-15mm, as the 10.5mm is a unique, small lens and the 8-15mm is a unique, large lens. But on full frame, I'm finding it slightly more useful and better optically than the 16mm. If you need "extreme," this is a good lens to experiment with.
  • 14-24mm f/2.8G — US$200 off. An old but highly competent lens that belongs in every pro kit. Sure, no filters and some field curvature to be aware of, but other than that this lens is basically faultless still. My review.
  • 16-35mm f/4G VR — US$100 off. Here's my issue: lots of linear distortion. Sure, you can correct that in camera for JPEGs or in raw conversion, but that means you're not seeing your final composition in camera, and the amount of "move" in the corners has a tendency to make them look a little whacky (pixel integrity). But if you can handle that, the lens is quite good, and it's one of the few ways to get VR at wide angle with Nikon DSLRs. My review.
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G — US$100 off. This is the old lens, and quite frankly, it needs to be put out to pasture now. I have difficulty recommending this lens for the D8xx crowd, and there are better options out there today.
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR — US$200 off. I'm having trouble recommending this lens these days, even though it's a pretty darned good lens. The problem is this: the 70-300mm AF-P is better for the handholding crowd up to 300mm, and the 80-400mm is optically weakest at 400mm, the one thing it adds. Still, it's one of two reasonable ways to get 400mm handheld in the Nikkor lineup (the other being the 300mm f/4E PF with the TC-14E). So I'd say this lens is just hanging in there for FX shooters, still a good choice for DX shooters. My review.
  • 200-500mm f/5.6E VR — US$150 off. The bargain telephoto becomes even more of a bargain. Just don't think this is a handholding option, though. It's awkwardly big and problematic to zoom when using it handheld. But optically, it surprisingly does quite decently even on a D850. If you can't afford an exotic, this is the lens you get. My review.

We also have a few prime lenses on sale:

  • 24mm f/1.4G — US$200 off. This is one of the best of the bunch (f/1.4 primes). It's a big lens, though, so you're buying it for the fast aperture, not that it makes for a nice compact walk around kit with your DSLR. 
  • 28mm f/1.8G — US$100 off. I tend to avoid this lens because of one thing: it has considerably focus shift. Thus, if you stop down from the f/1.8 aperture, you'll find that your focus has shifted from where you thought it should be. That's a real pain to deal with when working quickly in the field. My review.
  • 50mm f/1.4G — US$50 off. I'm just not a fan of Nikon's 50mm lenses. They just aren't at the same level as the other recent primes and really need a redesign. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with this lens—it's a competent performer—but it also isn't the best option for the "normal" focal length you can find. If you want a better modern lens, try the Tamron 45mm or the Sigma Art. My review.
  • 85mm f/1.8G — US$50 off. This and the 85mm f/1.4 are almost the opposite of Nikon's 50mm efforts: really good optically. The f/1.8G is the mild telephoto prime that I think should be in everyone's bag, though. Opting for the f/1.4 doesn't gain you a lot for the price you pay for it, and the 85mm tends to be bargain priced when you get discounts like this, even though the discount doesn't seem like much. Besides, if you want a really zapping sharp 85mm for your D850, you should be looking at the Zeiss Otus anyway. DX users should really try this lens. It's a little on the long side on DX for portraits, but boy does it shoot nicely. My review.

Given Nikon's sale, I'll prioritize updating my 16-35mm and 24-70mm G reviews, and finishing my 8-15mm review.

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