In the past month I’ve sold off the majority of my DX lenses. The fantastic Tokina 11-16/2.8. The go-anywhere 35/1.8. The reliable and bullet-proof 17-55/2.8. And the D7000. I just didn’t have the money and space to have redundant systems. What I was left with was four prime lenses covering a range of 35 to 85mm, not exactly a dire situation as these are the focal lengths I have always used the most. Still, I needed something wider than 35mm. My choices were:
- The affordable, small, light Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 with no VR, no nanocoating, no constant aperture.
- The middle man Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR N, a lens with mixed reviews but with great build quality.
- The Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8, a fast and affordable lens.
- The ultimate. The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 N. This lens truly is the best wide angle lens you can buy for any system. But it’s big, heavy, bulbous.
What I’ve realized in collecting lenses is that the famous saying is completely true. The best lens is the one you have with you. Sure, I could have invested the money and bought the 14-24. But it’s size and weight would keep it out of my camera bag for most of the times I would want a wide-angle lens: when traveling or hiking. Instead I chose the new 18-35, a lens that costs and weighs less than half that of the 14-24. And I have no regrets.
The 18-35 weighs less than my f/1.4 primes and it’s about the same size. It’s as sharp as I would ever want. AF is fast enough and completely reliable. The negative features of the lens, some distortion and vignetting, are easily fixed in post processing. Chromatic aberrations are negligible.
This is a lens that I can keep in my camera bag without feeling weighted down. I can see bringing it with me on every adventure I take.
Here are a few shots with the D700.