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I am looking for any one (single) lens that can cover the 24-200MM range for my Nikon D850. Constant aperture is not needed, however it would be nice to have. Vibration reduction would also be a nice-to have feature. I am looking for any full frame lens with autofocus that can fit my criteria. What options do I have? I am open to learning about discontinued lenses as well. In order to keep this question non-opinion based, I am only requesting a list of options, not which would be best for the D850.

In my research using the site pixelpeeper.com/lens-finder I came across DX format lenses, such as the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Nikon, however I am in search of full frame lenses.

The main reason I am looking for this focal range is because I spent several thousands already on constant aperture zoom lenses (the 14-24 f/2.8 and 200-500 f/5.6) as well as a prime (50mm 1.8) and as a still new and relatively inexperienced photographer, I realized I was missing a big focal range, so I wanted something that could cover it as my photography style and interests develop, after which I can pick certain other primes or higher end fixed aperture zoom lenses. Additionally I was running out of room in my travel case.

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    Done any searching before asking here? What did you come up with? – osullic Apr 15 '18 at 23:45
  • @osullic I did and came across Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Nikon , however it is not a full-frame lens. Do you have any suggestion? – ITWorker Apr 15 '18 at 23:51
  • By the way the site I used to do research is: pixelpeeper.com/lens-finder – ITWorker Apr 15 '18 at 23:58
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    Related question on why what you're looking for will be hard to find: Why do superzoom designs keep expanding on the telephoto rather than wide-angle end? – scottbb Apr 16 '18 at 1:26
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    So basically, you want us to search and compile a list of possbile lenses within criteria you provide. With no sign of any search effort on your part... – remco Apr 16 '18 at 4:43
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Nikon makes a 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, with all the advantages and disadvantages that come from super-zoom lenses.

There's also a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens. You'll have to decide whether the wide end or the long end is more important to you.

  • I was looking for coverage starting from 24MM, so is this the only closest choice available given my criteria? I can accept if that is the case but just wanted to make sure. – ITWorker Apr 15 '18 at 23:57
  • I have accepted this as the answer since it fits the closest to my criteria and there doesn't seem to be any others. – ITWorker Apr 16 '18 at 21:32
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    I've made some edits. – Aram Hăvărneanu Apr 16 '18 at 21:35
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There's a reason no one makes a 24-200mm FF lens. Several, in fact.

  • The main one is that not many photographers who know what they are doing would ever consider buying such a lens for a FF camera, particularly for one with as high resolution as the D850.
  • To get anywhere approaching a constant, usable aperture the lens would be very heavy and large.
  • Such a lens would be very expensive to produce at any level of decent image quality.
  • Lenses with smaller zoom ratios can be smaller, lighter, cheaper, faster, and produce higher image quality than a larger, heavier, more expensive, slower lens with inferior image quality.

The entire point of an interchangeable lens system camera is to allow you to use different lenses that are better or even great at one thing but unsuitable for other things. Fixed lens cameras force you to use a single lens that is mediocre or worse at a lot of things but better at nothing. Insisting on using a single lens for everything on an interchangeable lens camera is not much different than using a fixed lens camera. In some cases the fixed lens camera may meet your needs better than an ILC with only one lens.

The best lenses are all prime lenses. That means a single focal length. No.Zoom.At.All. They're really good when they provide the field of view and other characteristics you need. This is because they can be optimized to do one thing at one focal length. A good flat field 100mm macro lens is different from a good 85mm, 105mm, or 135mm portrait lens. But they are not very flexible, so you need a lot of them for various different things. Some are pretty good for not much money (e.g. EF 50mm f/1.8 STM @ $120). Others are incredibly good for a boatload of cash (e.g. EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II @ $10K). Most fall somewhere in between.

Compared to their zoom lens counterparts, in addition to equal or better optical quality at a lower price prime lenses can also be smaller/lighter, have wider maximum apertures, and often still be much cheaper.

Short ratio zoom lenses, that is zoom lenses with a less than 3X difference between their longest and shortest focal length, can also be very good. But the best ones cost a lot.

When you move outside of the 3x limit is when image quality really starts to noticeably go down. Some 4-5X zoom lenses that fall entirely in the telephoto range can be pretty good. But when you start trying to design a lens that goes from wide angle to telephoto and covers a 5X-10X or more zoom range, that is when it really starts getting difficult to keep it affordable and manageable with regard to size and weight and still provide excellent image quality. You'll usually get better image quality and spend less buying something like an 18-55mm and a 55-250mm pair of zoom lenses than you would get with an 18-200mm 'all-in-one'.

The main reason I am looking for this focal range is because I spent several thousands already on constant aperture zoom lenses (the 14-24 f/2.8 and 200-500 f/5.6) as well as a prime (50 mm 1.8) and as a still new and relatively inexperienced photographer, I realized I was missing a big focal range, so I wanted something that could cover it as my photography style and interests develop, after which I can pick certain other primes or higher end fixed aperture zoom lenses. Additionally I was running out of room in my travel case.

If you are looking for a three lens kit to take you from 14-500mm then the real overkill in your kit is the D850. To do 14-500mm with anywhere near the quality to match the D850, you need four lenses: A 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 200-500mm. That keeps the zoom ratio below 3X for any one lens.

If you don't need or want quality any better than what you can get with a 24-200mm FF lens, a D600 or other lesser FF camera would serve you just as well for that purpose. By the time you go through the development process you describe in your comment, the D850 will be out of date compared to the newest, greatest, hot off the assembly line Nikon high resolution flagship. (Assuming Nikon hasn't gone under by then...)

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    I like the bit in bold, and the rest of that paragraph. – osullic Apr 16 '18 at 9:09
  • You're spreading that zoom are not a s good as primes. They are nowadays. This is outdated information. Pro 24-70/2,8 zooms from Canon, Nikon, Zeiss are better than many primes. Fujinon HK zoom are better than almost all zooms and primes, but it's PL mount and image circle is fitted for S35. – Soleil Apr 16 '18 at 12:44
  • @Soleil They're a lot closer than they used to be. But the best primes are still better than the best zooms, particularly when use for a very specific purpose comes into play. No zoom can touch a really good flat field macro in terms of flat field of focus. There are other distinct qualities where primes do better than zooms. There's a reason I'll pull out an EF 135mm f/2 and leave the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II in the bag when I need the smoothest bokeh at 135mm. – Michael C Apr 16 '18 at 19:59
  • But if you don't believe me, ask Roger Cicala, the founder and chief lens guru at lensrentals.com: Things You Didn’t Want to Know About Zoom Lenses – Michael C Apr 16 '18 at 20:02
  • Thanks for the reasoning behind prime lenses. However, the main reason I am looking for this focal range is because I spent several thousands already on constant aperture zoom lenses (the 14-24 f/2.8 and 200-500 f/5.6) as well as a prime (50 mm 1.8) and as a still new and relatively inexperienced photographer, I realized I was missing a big focal range, so I wanted something that could cover it as my photography style and interests develop, after which I can pick certain other primes or higher end fixed aperture zoom lenses. Additionally I was running out of room in my travel case. – ITWorker Apr 16 '18 at 21:39
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As rule of thumb, 10x-ish zooms are either low quality (typically for aps-ish light camera) or very expensive (typically for broadcast and cinema markets) and very heavy; such as 45x Canon zooms or this 7.5x Fujinon HK. And their quality is also extreme, and as good if not better than primes.

Zooms are indeed interesting since you don't have to change lense between different shots. That's extremely useful in cinema, where time is very expensive. Those zooms are often used as infinite number of primes, as constant focal, changing focal only between shots and not with the ability to zoom as you shoot.

The problem is that the point of a camera such as the D850 is to provide very high resolution. And to achieve a good match between the sensor resolution and the lense resolution, you need a lense which is good enough in terms of resolution, if not, it's as if you're shooting at lower resolution. That's not really a problem if the print remains small, or if you're not cropping the image.

Unlike what is being said in other answers, zooms today can be of extremely high quality, rivaling primes, and being better than many primes too. But those are heavier and more expensive. I'm talking about the 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 from many brands including Canon, Nikon, Zeiss. In order to avoid changing lense, many pro are using those 2 lenses with 2 bodies, do they can react as fast as they can.

It looks like you're searching for all-in-one camera+lense set, maybe for traveling; in that case you have indeed the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens Nikon, but realy don't expect to reach full potential of you D850. Which might perfect for your use cases.

  • No one said zooms can not be extremely high quality. But the best primes are still better than the best zooms, and yet usually still cost less. And the larger the ratio between the widest and longest focal lengths, the more compromised even today's zoom lenses are. This is particularly the case with designs that begin as retrofocus designs and transition to telephoto formulas at the other end of the range. – Michael C Apr 16 '18 at 20:12
  • Explain downvote please. – Soleil Apr 16 '18 at 20:12
  • Besides the fact that lenses such as the 9.3-930mm f/1.7-4.7 aperture DigiSuper 100 AF only projects an image circle large enough for a 2/3" broadcast camera sensor, the size, weight, and cost of producing such a lens in the EF mount is why Canon nor anyone else offers such a lens for high resolution still cameras. To create a lens with the same general properties that could project a 43mm image circle one would need to make the front element 4X larger in diameter and focal length, it would probably weigh 16X as much, and cost about 64X as much! – Michael C Apr 16 '18 at 20:17
  • Did you see the 43x zoom from Canon for 4k I mentionned ? there are such zooms. My point was: it doesn't matter, what is the best, what matters is that you got what you need for a certain body / sensor. Furthermore reality is more complex than "best primes are better than best zooms". For instance, Fujinon HK zooms outperform any "best prime" from DSLR world in terms of resolution, contrast, color rendering, and especially distorsion, or any Zeiss CP2-3 prime. But indeed someone might prefer the rendering of Leica Summilux C in terms of color, or depth of field. – Soleil Apr 16 '18 at 20:28
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    Thank you for your insights. I have decided on the 28-300 lens. – ITWorker Apr 16 '18 at 21:49
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I've come back to this question with an open mind. I think your request is understandable for someone new to photography, but other answers explain why you won't find exactly what you want.

As I see it, you have two options:

  1. If you find changing lenses simply too much hassle, then don't bother with an interchangeable-lens camera. Something like a Sony RX10 might be more suitable for your needs. It doesn't give you a full-frame sensor of course, but then again, you possibly/probably don't need that anyway, and only think you do based on marketing and hearsay. The RX10 IV offers a focal length range equivalent to 24-600 mm in 35mm terms.

  2. If you want to keep the D850 but accept that you won't find a single-lens solution, then consider a two-lens solution. The obvious two lenses for high quality are a 24-70/2.8 paired with a 70-200/2.8. These are "workhorse" lenses for pros using any camera brand, and for the small inconvenience of having to change lenses, you will have two great quality lenses that cover the full focal length range you are after.

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