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Op/Ed Testing Old Lenses on New Gear (And Moving from APS-C To Full Frame)

by G Servo on 04/18/2012

Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8D

Wanting to take my photography to its next logical step, I bought a Nikon D700. Formerly, I shot almost exclusively with my Nikon D90. Then when I put some of the lenses on the D700′s full frame sensor, it was like the world suddenly changed and a new day began. The vibrations were different, the feeling was different. I had to reassess things though, namely my current lenses. Testing these lenses has been a slight obsession lately, but I am done now.

If you’re thinking of upgrading, you should consider my findings.

Upgrading Gear

I love this camera

When upgrading gear, it’s good to test what you have and to work out what you need. The FX lenses on my gear list were mostly decent when used on my Nikon D90. These lenses always had a magnification of 1.5x. I had to see how they fared on a full frame camera.

Nikon 50mm F1.8 D

Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8D

When I shot with this lens on the Nikon N2020, a film camera, I saw its potential. On a full frame camera, I was blown away. The Nikon 50mm f1.8 D was sharp and versatile. It’s always been one of my favorite lenses, but now, it is even more loved. I will be using it for close up portraits, food photography and general photography.

Nikon 28-80mm f3.5-5.6

Taken Nikon 28-80 3.5-5.6

I bought this lens used and extremely cheap. In the early days of my DSLR photography, I used it for product photography. On my D90, due to is crop factor, it had an actual range of 42-120mm. On the D700 it is decent and not jaw dropping. Images were average in quality; I’ve seen better. I found that the lens may be useful for photo walks in the city and landscape photography, when shooting on the wider end of the lens.

Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6

Taken with the Tamrons 28-200

Ever since I got this lens, I have had a love hate relationship with it. This lens was a real pain in the beep at times. At other times the Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 is genuinely decent on my D90. On the D700: total opposite, it’s a stellar performer. I’ve taken one of my best street portraits to date with it. I am amazed. If I’m ever photo walking with the D700, this lens will be in my bag. With this lens, I can do almost anything.

Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6

Taken with Sigma 70-300 4-5.6

On the D90 I had a lot of fun with this lens, on the D700 that fun will continue. At 70mm and f/4 it can be used as a decent portrait lens. Zoomed in between 200-300mm, it’s a decent zoom & macro lens. It was one of my earliest reviews on this site and I still really enjoy this lens. Shooting with it on a full frame camera was an eye opener. It is much better on a full frame camera.

Nikon 40mm f2.8 Macro DX (no, really)

Taken with the Nikon 40mm 2.8 Macro

This was one of those moments where I shot and said, “FTW”. You see, a good friend of mine, Scott Wyden wrote a post on using a 35mm DX on his D700. There were stunning results. So I tried the Nikon 40mm 2.8 Macro DX on my D700, with amazing results. I consider the vignetting artistic, so, to me, I got surprisingly good results. I also shot with the lens in crop mode. I’ll stick with the vignetting and invest in a proper macro lens in the future.

In the End

Taken with the Nikon 85mm 1.8D

I realized I made some decent choices with my lenses. While not perfect, my kit is solid. The decision I made after these test was to buy an 85mm lens for proper portraits. Having tested everything I can move forward in my photography and plan and save for the future.

Gear Used in this post

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