Nikon zoom lens for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by brian steinberger, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,561
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I'm seriously considering thru-hiking the Appalachian Trial beginning early next month. I would definitely take my Nikon F100. I only want to carry one lens (a zoom). I have a Nikkor 28-70 3.5-4.5 D that I've had for years and is a great lens. I'm thinking that I may want more on the telephoto end though, something more like 105mm. As for the wide end, 28 is fine. I'm not going to want f2.8 lenses because of their weight and bulk.

    Anyone have any suggestions on an all around great Nikkor zoom that would be a better choice than my 28-70? I know Nikon makes a 24-120. Anyone have experience?
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,414
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have a 24-120 and it works like a charm. Very sharp and stands up well for flare. The only thing that is a negative is the slow speed. When you have it out to 120mm in relatively low light you will have to go to manual focus. 95% of the time I'm on manual anyway so it's not a big deal for me. I use it on both a N90s and an F5.
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Though you might have a slight amount of light fall off, you might even consider a 2x tele for room's sake. Especially on a thru hike. That's a long way to carry a second lens. You could take the extra space and pack in a couple extra bags of granola.

    Hiking thru, huh? I had such aspirations in my youth. Starting at Springer Mt? S-N? Or headed off to Katahdin and beginning in the REAL cold.
     
  4. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,561
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Chris, excellent idea with a 2x converter. How much does one weigh?

    If everything falls into place I'll be leaving within the next month and heading north from springer mountain GA. If I were to head south I would probably wait til late May, which will be my other option if everything doesn't work out.
     
  5. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 24-120/3.5-5.6 sounds like a great idea but BEWARE there are two versions out there.

    The 24-120 AF-D is the only Nikon lens I've purchased in the last 30 years that was a disappointment. They are slightly soft overall as in never sharp anywhere in the frame. Thus they are really cheap on the used market.

    I donated mine to my yearbook staff since it is sharp enough for their D****** Nikons.

    The newer version is has the VR and I think is AF-S as well. I've not used it but it gets good reviews on the boards here. Its higher than the non VR version but still not expensive.
     
  6. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have an F-100 with a 28-105 macro...fantastic lens.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,588
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Two recommendations:
    Nikon f/3.5 28 to 200mm
    Tameron f/3.8 28 to 300mm

    I have both. My 35mm primes are zooms.

    Steve
     
  8. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    28-300 Zoom!!!! How much does that thing weigh??? The OP is going on a 1,000+ mile hike! I think a 28-300 zoom will probably last about a day before it found itself at the bottom of some body of water.

    so how much film is the OP planning to take along?
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah, but it would make a great weight for the center of a solar still. (drip, drip, drip)

    Converter would weigh less than another lens in all likelihood. Weight would not be a factor so much as room. You could cram a converter and a couple of extension rings and a couple extra filters in the space of another zoom. Or just the 2x and about four more rolls of film. And don't forget to bring duct tape. Great for blisters and holding things in places and mending tears in fabric/pack material/tents in a pinch.

    Have fun.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh, and if you don't have yet, I might be able to find my maps/books from Springer Mt. through the Smokies. Their six years old but you're more than welcome to them. If I can find them that is. I haven't seen them since I was single five years ago. And the've moved three times since then. But if you want, I'll look.
     
  11. Karl K

    Karl K Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,605
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    NJ
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Another vote for the Nikkor 24-120

    I've got the AF-D version (non-VR) which I bought about two years ago from the APUG classifieds and it has served me quite well. I've used it when I'm traveling light with just the F100 or N80 and even on a D50, once. Yes, it's not the sharpest lens in the Nikon lineup but it's very good stopped down one or two stops and makes gorgeous 8x10's. Also it's very short, when collapsed. Have a great hike!
     
  12. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,182
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If you can live without the 28mm wide angle, the last version of Nikon's AF 35-105 3.5-4.5 (the D version) is very small, it's a push-pull design with a 52mm non-rotating front element. It doesn't focus closer than 3 feet, unfortunately, but I had one and it was pretty sharp. Personally this would not be my first choice because of the missing 28mm end.

    I've never used the Nikon 28-105, but it has a decent reputation and might be the best choice, as it covers the range you'd like to have. It focuses pretty close. It is a little heavier than the 28-70 and takes a 62mm filter. Another possibility that I have no experience with is the cheap 28-100 G-series lens. It has a 3.5-5.6 slow maximum aperture and has a vestigial focus ring, but it weighs almost nothing (less than any of the other lenses discussed here) and covers the range you want.
     
  13. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,956
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    First, don't read "A Walk in the Woods". :smile:

    I've never found that I've gotten much use out of a longish telephoto when hiking. My usual lens was a 28-85. I would have preferred a bit more length, say 105.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,561
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm thinking more and more about just using my 28-70mm. I'm thinking that while the 2x converter is a great idea, every time I'll want to use it I won't want to fumble around getting it out and changing it and the lens. If I have one body and one lens, I'll never have to fiddle with that. I might check into the 28-105. One down side is that it's 6oz more than than the 28-70. (I know, what's 6oz? But ounces add up to pounds!). The other downside is the 62mm threads. My lens has a nice 52mm thread and I really did want to try to take (and keep clean) a circular polarizer filter. We'll see how that goes.

    Anyway, as far as film, I'm thinking of shooting Provia 100F. I would really like to shoot Velvia, but I'll surely be taking pictures of people that I meet along the way and Provia offers nicer skin tones, plus the lower contrast is nice too. I'm not going to take a ton of rolls with me, but rather buy a bunch of rolls and have them mailed to me as I need them along with my food drops and other supplies my family will mail me along the trail.
     
  16. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,414
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Gee I must have got one of the good 24-120 AF-D's as mine is very sharp on the film bodies. On the Digi body not so sharp.
     
  17. Rod Downes

    Rod Downes Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    Hampshire,Un
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have no hesitation in recommending the Nikkor 28-105 AF-D.Easily as good as the 28-70 you already own,possibly slightly better.My copy is more than decent even wide open,at all focal lengths and has the advantage of a very good closeup facility.(goes to 1:2) Stopped down to 5.6-8 I find it virtually as good as prime lenses.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,588
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Slightly more than the 35 to 105mm zooms. The 300mm is good for wild life.

    Steve
     
  19. clay

    clay Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,125
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Asheville, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 24-120 must have a lot of sample variation. The one I had was one of the softest pieces of crap I have ever owned. Dog doesn't begin to describe how crappy that lens was. And I bought it brand new! Boy, did I get spanked on that purchase.
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got a very good 24-120 VR :wink:
     
  21. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is usually better to do a long distance walk from South to North (In the Northern Hemisphere): That way you usually have the Sun behind you.

    Have fun! Might jump the Pond to do that one too one day....
     
  22. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey, Brian. Not a bad idea on leaving the 2x out on second thought. Light and Life move fast out there and won't wait for you to affix everything to the front of the camera. Not to mention, you won't have to open your camera to dusty air either.
     
  23. chop61

    chop61 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If there's one lens I couldn't live without, it's the 28-105. It is a little heavier, but just that little oomph past the 70 could make all the difference. I've done some dayhikes on the AT with it and can't think of too often that I've wanted more.
     
  24. matt S

    matt S Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    boston
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    through hiking lens

    first of all, congratulations!

    I have never done the AT- but have hiked the PCT many, many years ago. I took a minox 35gt and still marvel at the slides. The one piece of advice (that I remember) was that I always wanted a wider lens- and a very few times needed a long lens. The long lens was usually for pictures of faces- 99% of the time I was wishing for a wider lens.

    Travel light and take your time!

    I am jealous (and old)- when you get to new england send an email.

    Matt
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah, come to think of it, hiking with a zoom might get to be a pain. How about a really light body or two with primes.

    Not to incite debate, but for hiking and such I much prefer an RF kit.
     
  26. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Had that same thought, something like FM2 (light compared to the F100 and only two #76 batteries to worry with) and some plasticy light primes like any of the AF-D types.