Deciding on nikon lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Johntomk, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. Johntomk macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2009
    I recently purchase a nikon D5000. I am looking to buy a few different lenses. I would like a wide angle lens and a better general purpose lens than the kit lens. I would also like a lens with a little more focal length. I have also been looking at a nikon 35 mm dx lens f/1.8 for around $200. I think this would be a good lens for nightshots. Any suggestions would help. I don't wanna cheap out on my lenses but I am also far from a professional so I don't need the best. Thanks

  2. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    a 35mm on dx is not a wide angle, it is pretty close to 50mm equivalent which is standard. The 35mm will be good for night shots and I would recommend it, or the sigma equivalent. Getting a wideangle prime for a crop sensor is tricky. I used the 20mm f2.8 but it isn't even that wide on DX (but ultra wide now I have moved to full frame). It won't focus on the D5000. Sigma is probably the only choice for prime wideangles that will focus on your camera.
    Depending on when you think you will ever go full frame be wary of DX lenses. I never bought a single DX lens but I like old lenses and I knew I would go full frame if it ever became an option
  3. M-5 macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008
    I just recently purchased a D5000 as well. I purchased it yesterday online, so it should arrive on Monday, but I can hardly bear the wait. I decided to purchase the D5000 Body-only with a 35mm 1.8 lens.

    I had the most difficult time deciding between this camera and the Nikon D40, but I'm confident in my decision. I'm looking for a wide angle lens as well, but I'm not too familiar with lenses and would also appreciate suggestions.
  4. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007

    What is the kit lens is it the 18-55VR?
  5. Alasta macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2005
    Wellington, New Zealand
    For night shots the kit lens should be fine since you'll be using a tripod anyway and you won't need to capture a lot of detail. However, the 35mm f/1.8 DX is very useful to have for depth of field control which is why I'm planning to buy one myself.

    You might also want to consider the 18-105mm VR. This is very sharp for an affordable consumer grade lens and offers a very useful range that takes care of the vast majority of my shooting. For me the 18-105mm minimises the need for lens changes, although I could see myself switching between the 18-105 and the 35mm prime quite frequently once I get my hands on the latter.
  6. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    A good upgrade on the kit lens is the Sigma 17-70, this not only goes wider than the 18-55 but it also has 2.8 at the wide end. The lens will also focus close so will give you a degree of macro capability. With regard to longer the cheapest first choice is a Nikon 55-200 VR which is good for the money or if you want to spend a bit more the 70-300 (this has the benefit of being FF if you ever upgrade the body in the future)
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What to buy depends on the subject matter. You don't say what that is. When people ask these kinds of questions here and don't provide a lot of details they get answers like "buy what I have, I like it". So watch out for those kinds of answers.

    The best why to decide what lens to buy is to go out and shoot lots and lots of photos with your current lens then look at the results. Think about the shoots you missed and why. Also look at the recording lens setting. Was the zoom ring against the stop? Which stop, the wide or tele one. Was the aperture run all the way open much of the time? Then buy the lens that address those problems. The ONLY reason to buy a second lens is so you can get the shoots the current lens can't get. So shoot about 1,000 frames with the current lens

    Some mistakes that all beginners make, that you should watch out for are to not use your feet to move the camera location. Buy a wider lens if you find yourself backed into walls and a longer lens if you keep running into physical bearers (railing, cliff, fences) and can't get close enough.

    The fast primes are nice to have so that you can isolate a subject with narrow DOF or shoot in existing light. Which to get depends on the subject distance you want to work with. "perspective" is the relative size different between foreground and background objects and is determined _solely_ by subject to camera distance. So if you only have one prime it's lllength will influance th look of the photos. People today seem to like the look of closer distances, it more "in your face" and draws in the viewer. Try and experimant. Put tape on the 18-55mm zoom ring fix the lens to 35mm and try that for en entire week or two. Then tape it off at 24mm or 50mm and try that. resist the tempation to remove the tape. it takes hundreds of shots to get used to the foocal length and begin to "see" with that lens. Keep the tape on even if you miss some shoots.

    Then look at the shots later and see which batch yo like.
  8. smythey macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    I can certainly recommend the 35mm f1.8 - it is noticeable sharper than the 18-105 kit lens I got with my D90, and great for shallow DOF / low light shooting.

    For wide angle, Im looking at the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 - it gets very good reviews, and doesnt break the bank (too much...!)
  9. ArtandStructure macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Klamath Falls, Oregon
    If your kit lens is the 18-105mm I would probably just suggest shooting with it for awhile and see what you like and where you come up short as ChrisA suggests.

    If you have the 18-55mm kit then I would suggest getting the 55-200mm VR as well.

    If you want an ultra-wide I can heartily recommend the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 but I wouldn't suggest plunking down the cash for that lens until you've shot with the kit 18mm and are sure it isn't wide enough for you.

    I posted some broad thoughts on this as well as what I shoot under various conditions in 2 posts here:

    All the best,

    Jesse Widener
    Art and Structure
  10. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 SP XR Di II LD has a good reputation for being a sharp, affordable fast- and constant- aperture lens, and for being better than its Sigma counterparts. It's DX only, though, but I'm sure that isn't a consideration, since everyone seems to be suggesting DX lenses (such as the 35mm 1.8).

    As for wide-angle, I'm surprised no has has suggested the Sigma AF 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX HSM DC. It's affordable and has a great reputation (more so than its newer iteration with a constant f/3.5 aperture, and much more so than the Tamron 10-24mm). There's also the possibility of the new Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, but for an extra $300 or so more than the third-party alternatives, it's definitely not the cheap option (Nikkors usually aren't).

    I agree. It seems like half of the posts in the MacRumors photography forums are along the lines of, "I just bought a new camera last week and have decided that the kit lens is worthless what should I buy now anybody?" However, when you look at the original post, you can see that he's very specific about what he wants to buy:

    (1) "I am looking to buy a few different lenses."
    He's looking to buy 2 or more lenses.

    (2) "I would like a wide angle lens[...]"
    He wants a wide angle lens.

    (3) "[...]and a better general purpose lens than the kit lens."
    He also wants to upgrade his kit lens (probably the 18-55mm VR).

    (4) "I would also like a lens with a little more focal length."
    He also wants a telephoto lens. Or maybe a superzoom. Or maybe just a slightly larger zoom range.

    (5) "I have also been looking at a nikon 35 mm dx lens f/1.8 for around $200. I think this would be a good lens for nightshots."
    He wants to buy a large aperture lens for night shooting instead of a tripod, which he should be buying for night shooting.

    (6) "I don't wanna cheap out on my lenses but I am also far from a professional so I don't need the best."
    He wants consumer-grade (and let's say, sub-$700) lenses.

    In summary, he wants to buy a wide angle (zoom? prime? fisheye?) lens, a "better" midrange zoom (in terms of... aperture? sharpness? zoom ratio? build?) lens, a lens with "more focal length" (???), and the 35mm f/1.8 for night shooting (at ISO 3200? at 1/5 s shutter speed? with or without supplemental lighting?), all at a not cheap but not expensive cost.

    See? A simpler question could not have been asked.

    (Also, I haven't mentioned a single lens that I personally own.)
  11. jammiefreerider macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006

    I just bought a D5000 as well. I like the photos just not the video. Question I have is whats the letter/s for Nikons top of the range lenses eg. like Canon L series.
  12. benzslrpee macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2007
    i don't think they have a dedicated letters for it, however i could be wrong. i've noticed anything wider than 2.8 carries a hefty price so i'm going to assume it's probably their top range glass.

    f > 3.5 w/ VR i guess would be classified as their prosumer stuff.

    f >3.5 w/o VR lens are the least expensive, geared for general consumers.

  13. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    There isn't a letter that appears in the name of the lens, however, the newer pro f/2.8 lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200) as well as the most recent FX f/2.8 macros (60, 105) are all labeled with an <N> logo to signify that they've undergone nano-crystal coating. In contrast, the more affordable new DX lenses (35, 85 macro) and the new nifty 50 haven't undergone this treatment. I'd say that the lenses that they bother to stamp with that logo are their top-of-the-line ones, although the macros (or "Micros", as they like to call them) are much less expensive than the zooms, so who knows. It's like they haven't fully committed to the idea of the <N> branding, besides the prominent size and placement of it on the lens barrel. We'll probably see more if they ever get around to updating their FX prime lenses. Until then, look for an f/2.8 constant aperture, the <N> logo, and a hefty price tag.
  14. spooky.genius macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2009
    Nikon DX format Wideangle lenses

    A good wide angle lens choice is the Sigma 10-20 F3.5. Its cheaper than the Nikon equivalent.

    The low F-number is not important for landscape but is if you want to shoot a room indoors.

    I actually have the Nikon 10-24 DX F3.5 - F4.5 lens. This is fantastic to get the whole scene in shot.

    At the 10mm end you don't get any distortion at reasonable distances. However, got some very back of spoon shots of peoples faces up close.
  15. spooky.genius macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2009
    Minimum F number

    You spend a lot of money to get a low F number for your lens. However, if you are outside in reasonable light or in the studio you won't be at the "wide open" point anyway.

    I have the Nikon super-zoom 18-200 mm and that has a F number from 3.5 to 5.6. The VR helps of course but that is more for the lack of tripod in museums etc. I've found it most useful to use the VR when shooting travel from a moving vehicle.

    Even with a 35 mm F1.8 lens you can't get blur free shots in a dark museum. Works fine in an ordinary ambient light setting of course.

    You only need a large aperture to shoot sports under floodlights, will be fine in daylight.
  16. spooky.genius macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2009
    50mm AF-S F1.4 vs 35mm AF-S F1.8

    The price difference between these two prime lenses is significant. BTW: Don't be confused when you see the 50mm AF F1.4 lens at a low price as this needs you to have a camera with a motor drive. Otherwise you will have to manually focus the lens. Maybe thats what you want to do anyway so now worries there.

    As you have a DX format camera it has a crop factor of 1.5. This means the 35mm lens acts like a 35x1.5=52.5mm lens would on a 35mm camera. 50mm used to be the "standard' lens people would use for 35 mm film. So this is the lens for you. I wouldn't bother with the 50mm AF-S F1.4. I can't really see that the F1.4 versus F1.8 is going to be a big deal.

    If you had bought a full frame camera e.g. D700 then you would need to have the real 50mm lens.

    I have to say that the inability to zoom the lens is quite annoying once you're been used to a zoom. However, in low light or where you're not allowed flash having an F1.8 prime is great.
  17. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    I think given the number of ???? in your summary both the question and answer are far from clear and people have tried to provide suggestions to their interpretation of the question. Maybe if the OP provided further detail based on the responses to date people would be able to provide additional input.
  18. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S has an internal motor, hence the AF-S designation. As a new FX lens, it commands a higher price (~$200 more) than the 35mm DX. Now, the 50mm f/1.4 AF-D (and anything else labeled AF-D) DOES require the camera to have a built-in autofocus motor. Despite that, it still sells for $50-100 more than the 35mm. The 50mm f/1.8D, however, is about $100 cheaper than the 35mm.

    I thought that, given the number of question marks in my comment on the original post, the sarcasm was fairly obvious. Beyond the snarky language and the ironic use of the word "specific", I did in the beginning suggest a general purpose and a wide angle lens, so according to my convoluted dissection of the original question, that's almost maybe halfway to what might be the answer he could conceivably be looking for.
  19. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    If you are going to pick holes in people not reading the post properly, perhaps you should listen to yourself. He said night shots. He did not say what he was taking pictures of at night. You assumed he meant citiscapes etc. He could have meant taking pictures of people at night, for which a tripod would be useless.
  20. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Or maybe he's trying to hint at the fact that maybe what the OP really needs is more shooting experience and not more gear. A lot of these "just bought a XYZ DSLR, what lenses should I get?" type questions are best answered with "NONE!" Go shoot with the kit lens until you learn a little more about what your specific photography needs are. Then go back and buy gear to supplement that kind of shooting.

    Unless you have more money than you know what to do with, it seems like the OP is trying to assemble a fully fleshed out glass kit in one go, seemingly without even having any real shooting experience. I say this because the OP does not specify what shooting experience (s)he has, and because of vague statements like "a better general purpose lens than the kit lens" and "think this [35mm f1.8] would be a good lens for night shots". If the OP had said "I don't find the pictures taken with my kit lens to be as sharp as I would like" or "I find myself cropping down a lot on my long focal length shots" or "all of my evening/nighttime pictures are blurry" then you would know that he's finding limitations in his gear and not hoping that better gear will expand his picture taking abilities.

  21. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    I fail to see the need to post sarcastic remarks in this thread, it was a valid question that probably required further clarity to provide a better answer. Most people on this forum are trying to help others. John is a new member, as are you and I think it is likely after reading this thread that he will post again, I think that is a bit sad.
  22. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Although AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is a very good lens, and particularly irresistible at $200 price tag, it does have two main issues potential buyers should be aware of. (1) Unlike the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G big sibling, it has very noticeable barrel distortion. While it can be corrected during post processing, it does make it less appealing as portrait/group shot lens. (2) Chroma aberrations (also known as purple fringing), both lateral (correctable) and longitudinal (not easily correctable) kinds.
  23. spooky.genius macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2009
    Prime lens pricing

    It seems there are a few offerings of small prime lens from Nikon so I'm listing prices I've seen in the UK (which includes the 17.5% sales tax).

    50mm F/1.8 AF-D ............ £109
    35mm F/1.8 AF-S ............ £199
    50mm F/1.4 AF-D ............ £249
    50mm F/1.4 AF-S ............ £279

    The AF-D lens are for cameras with motors e.g. D90 and above. Also you won't get cropping on full frame cameras if you ever upgrade.

    This to me still tells me that I made a good choice in getting a 35mm F/1.8 AF-S for my D60. However, this is a personal choice.
  24. daveproctor macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2009
    El Cabong

    Gee what a friendly place this is! I registered today as my interests are anything Mac and even more anything photographic.

    I've seen some pretty arrogant posters on other forums but El Cabong, who openly admits to being sarcastic, takes the biscuit.

    The OP admits he's a new DSLR user and makes a genuine request for some help - hopefully he'll find others a bit more friendly and helpful.

    Think I'll have a look at some of the other posts to hopefully confirm that I've been unlucky in picking this as my first forum experience
  25. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2007
    Maui, Hawaii
    Here is my $.02 . I would suggest the Nikkor 16-85 as your walk around lens. The 2mm on the bottom is a lot wider than you may think and going to 85 on the top, takes you into short telephoto territory. Some compain of the cost of this lens, but those that actually own the lens, speak very highly of it. Next, I would suggest the Nikkor 70-300. Again, most reviewers feel this lens offers very good PQ. I would also buy the 35 mm 1.8. For $200 this is a bargin and will take care of those shots that need more speed. If you find you have a lust for wide (I do), then consider the Nikkor 10-24. Others will suggest the Sigma or Tokina (good option), But I have not regretted paying a little more for the Nikkor. If you can justify the cost and want a "fun" lens, take a look at the Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye. I use this lens a lot more than I thought I would. I know others here love fast primes (me, too), but the cost to cover from 16 mm to 300 mm in 2.8 or faster will cost much more than the zooms I have recommended. 90% of the time the zooms have been plenty fast for my uses (your needs may be different) and the 35 mm 1.8 has covered the othe 10%. Best of luck to you with your new camera and whatever lenes you choose. Have fun.:D

    P.S. Go to . That is a very friendly and supportive forum with great advice for Nikon users. There is a whole section (Lens Lust), that will give you a lot of advice on lens choices, both Nikkor and others.

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