Help Choosing a Nikon Lens.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by GoGoSamGo, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. GoGoSamGo macrumors member

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    #1
    So I'm looking around to try and find the first lens to purchase for my Nikon D40. Even though this camera is still on it's way and will be here by the end of this week, I want to have a goal of having another lens aside from the kit one. I've narrowed it down to 3 choices.

    Nikon 55-200 mm vr $249.99

    Nikon 70-300 mm vr $529.99

    Nikon 18-200 mm vr $749.99


    I've read many reviews and I know that the 18-200 has a lot of good things said about it, but the only thing is that, I'm a college student (which means very low on $ most of the times). If I want to get the 55-200 I could probably get that one by this month. If I wanted to get the 70-300 (while all are close, I'm leaning towards this one the most) in the next 2-3 months. As for the 18-200 that would be anywhere between a 5-6 month month wait. I'm trying to be patient and wanting to get the best lens I can get, that's why I'm not quick to jump the gun and just go after the 55-200 just because I could have it now. So any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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  3. GoGoSamGo thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Well I like all three, but like I said I'm slightly leaning towards the 70-300. The only reason I ask for opinions though is due to the fact of not have exactly a lot of money to be gambling around :-/. I really don't know if the 70-300 is worth more than 2x the amount of the 55-200, and then the 18-200 being 3x more than it. Really I just want to know what's the best way to invest my money on a lens that will last me at least a year until I might then possibly consider upgrading again. After the lens I want to get some filters too. Funny signature by the way, I'm really not a Kobe fan, T-mac is the man though :).
     
  4. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

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    #4
    My advice is to wait until you've played with and learned how to effectively use both the camera you have bought and the 18-55 lens that comes with it. You'll then get a feel for what aspects (if any) you are limited by your equipment.

    You might decide you need a fast low light lens for indoors (i.e Sigma 30mm/f1.4).

    Or an ultra wideangle like the Sigma 10-20.

    Or you might decide that you want ultimate versatility (zoom-wise) and will plump for the 18-200.

    This flexibility is the beauty of D-SLR system - you buy what you actually need.

    I got my D70 with the 18-70, and was happy using it for over a year, as I learned to master the camera as a tool - it has a great range for most standard photography, and a relativley fast aperture. Recently I purchased the 70-300VR for one thing: cheapish entry into wildlife photography. (You can now get the 70-300VR for under $500 from B&H by the way.)

    However, if you really feel like you need more zoom flexibility from the start, I'd suggest getting the 55-200VR. It is a hard to beat deal for $250. Together with the 18-55, it will likely match the quality of the 18-200 for significantly less $$$ (albeit with slightly less convenience).
     
  5. IscariotJ macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    The 70-300 is a great lens, but it does tend to upset the balance of the D40 somewhat. I'd imagine the 55-200 better suited, and from what I've read, it doesn't seem to suffer from the amount of vignetting that the 18-200 does.

    I know you didn't mention it, but, I tend to use the 18-135 on my D40 as a walk-around lens.
     
  6. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #6
    Get the 55-200vr. Especially being a college student, the 70-300 just isn't worth 2x the price, IMO. I have the 55-200vr and I love it. And with my bank account, it's all I could afford right now, but I couldn't be happier, pairing it with my D50.
     
  7. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #7
    I haven't seen the 55-200mm VR but I would recommend that for now. First, it's reasonably priced and secondly, it will do the job for you as you're learning your way around a DSLR. It pairs nicely with the 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the camera, so you will have a full range between 18mm - 200mm with which to work. After that the next purchase you will probably want to make would be a faster lens, one for shooting in low light situations. I am told Sigma's 30mm f/1.4 works very nicely with the D40 because it has the HSM (internal motor) and that's what is needed for autofocusing with that camera. Apparently right now the 30mm f/1.4 is in short supply and high demand....

    Further down the road after you've had the chance to really explore the possibilities of shooting with a DSLR you may then be ready to move on to something else: other camera body, other lenses....
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    Given the circumstances, I'd probably get the 55-200. If you get the 70-300 you'll have a gap between 55 and 70. You probably think it won't matter; but I bet you'll find situations where you wish you had it.

    The 18-200 is very nice - I love it - but it's a lot of money to partially replace a range you've already got covered.
     
  9. almightyshoe macrumors regular

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    #9
    I have the 70-300; I like it, but its nothing to write home about. But I do most of my stuff with the thrifty-fifty.
     
  10. The Past macrumors 6502

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    #10
    If your are not looking for taking pictures of wild animals that you can not get close to or that close-up head shot of that rare grasshopper, then do not worry about the focal length at the 300s for now.

    Same logic, if you will be shooting a lot of portraits, then you will not be served well by 70 at the lower end. Sometimes, you just want to get a bit closer.

    If you will be doing more middle of the road photography, make sure you get at least one prime lens (and I would recommend the 50mm 1.8D as it is excellent and a steal at $130). I presume it will work with the D40. Then add the 55-200 because you will not believe how useful VR is at 200. Of course, the kit lens will serve the wide-angle purpose for you.

    All this assumes that you will change lenses and do not mind moving back and forth yourself a bit (instead of turning the lens) to compose a shot the way you desire. So, it comes down to what you will be shooting and how open you are to taking advantage of the lens change option that SLR will give you (while point-and-shoot will not).
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    Actually, this prime (and I think all others) will require manual focus on the D40.

    I'd hold off purchasing any primes until Nikon updates them to AF-S (lenses w/ internal motors). That might happen very soon.
     
  12. job macrumors 68040

    job

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    #12
    Do tell...

    Any thoughts/ideas?
     
  13. IscariotJ macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    From what I've read, Nikon have a press conference on the 10th May, and some sites are speculating that it could mean the launch of new lenses. I'm assuming this is what Westside Guy is referring to.
     
  14. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #14
    -GoGoSamGo

    I'd highly recommend the 18-200, damn fine superzoom all-purpose lens, and caution you about the 70-300 as you will suffer contrast issues much above 200mm. For those ranges you'd need a larger objective like that on the 200mm, 300mm, 80-400mm, and 200-400mm to collect more light.
     
  15. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #15
    I'm channeling Thom Hogan there ; plus there is some well-connected Spanish photographer that's been saying the same thing - a bunch of new lenses in spring 2007. Can't remember if I saw that on dpreview.com or on Nikonians.

    In any case, they certainly do seem overdue...
     
  16. fall3n macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Is there 2 versions of the 18-200mm? Because I saw a deal at London drugs that was the D40 + 18-55mm and 18-200mm for $950 can, I'm thinking I should jump on this ASAP as this is what I want, just don't exactly have the funds.
     
  17. job macrumors 68040

    job

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    #17
    Is the 70-300 that bad? I recall seeing decent reviews for it.

    Gotcha, thanks guys.
     
  18. GoGoSamGo thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    Thanks for all the quick responses guys/gals. Wow I really didn't think I was going to get as many people to say the 55-200 as it did. A lot of the points made were great, espically that it would be a good pair with the Kit Lens (sadly to say that never really crossed my mind.....ya I'm that new to this game). I think I'm probably going to go for the 55-200 which would also be the best cost efficient for me too. Thanks again for all the help!
     
  19. IscariotJ macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    No, it isn't that bad. Have a look through the picture of the day thread, especially freebooter's ( D40 + 70-300 ). I've the 18-135, 18-200 and the 70-300. The 18-200 is very good lens, but only till a certain point. The 18-200 used to live on my camera, however, just lately, I've started using the 18-135 and the 70-300.

    If Nikon come out with the a VR version of the 18-135.....
     
  20. Trogloxene macrumors regular

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    #20
    I use non-Nikon lens on my D100 and I'm very happy with them. Non-Nikon is way cheaper. I have a Sigma 70-300 for telephoto and mico, and 20-40 for wide angle. This covers pretty much all my needs. Two professional photographers helped me pick these lens out. One was a National Geographic photographer, the other a photographer for the Chargers football team; they knew their stuff.

    -T
     
  21. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    #21
    I also use a Sigma 70-300 with my Nikon, and I've had awesome results. My kit lens usually clads my D70s, but for sporting events and such, the Sigma works out well.

    But by summer, I'm looking to pick up a nice prime for low light shooting, concerts, etc...
     
  22. volvoben macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I agree with this post entirely. I got the 18-70 with my D70 way back when, great lens (doesn't feel as nice/smooth as the 17-55 or many older nikkors, but it feels much better than the 18-55) for about 50% of my photos, but I knew I'd want something wider. Unfortunately at the time that meant the nikkor 12-24 for $1k+ or nothing, so I bought a cheap zoom, the old push/pull 70-210 (screw focusing, won't work on D40) for fun and the occasional 'i don't have binoculars but wonder what that is in the distance' shots. My film setup was an F3 with 20mm f/3.5 75% of the time, and a 28-85 the rest, so I knew what I really wanted was something wide. Eventually I got the Sigma 10-20mm and am very happy with it (the tokina felt a bit nicer but that 10mm setting is a pretty big difference from 12).

    If you haven't done enough photography to already know that you'll want a long lens, I'd just tool around with the kit lens for a while and notice whether you wish it zoomed in or out more...or if you'd prefer some filters or a tripod, ball head, speedlight, bag, memory, software, monitor, remote release, storage etc etc etc
     
  23. GoGoSamGo thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    No I completely agree, I need to get as good as I can with the kit lens before anything, but from trying a few different D40s with the kit lens, I've already noticed I will need a longer range zoom for the things I am planning on shooting. As for the extras, the package I purchased came with a Nikon case, memory card, and I just purchased a Nikon remote and CS3 Photoshop, but filters are something that really interest me, but sadly I don't know very much about them than the the basics :-/
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #24
    The extra 100mm for the 300mms may be more what you want for your shooting, I wouldn't worry about the "gap," there's an over-done "I can cover everything" thing that happens now we have all these super zooms. However, many, many photographers tend to shoot their zooms at one extreme or the other, or both extremes. For lots of shooting, more reach is significantly more important than having to take a couple of steps back.
     
  25. freebooter macrumors 65816

    freebooter

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    #25
    I like my 70-300 VR. The contrast is seems good to me and if I want more I could fiddle with the camera settings or later say, "Hello post-processing!" :) It's just about the easiest thing to adjust. I took this yesterday with the 70-300: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=204316&page=236 picture #5896
    It would be nice to have a wider aperture, but price and weight sky-rocket. As it is, the 70-300 is a good compromise for amateur use.

    The 18-200 range is great, but the price is steep considering the reputed medium quality of the output. (I'm just going by the reviews, of course.)

    I'd say keep the kit lens and get the 70-300 because that extra 100mm reach does make a big difference--much better bokeh, tighter framing, etc.

    If weight/size is a concern, however, then choose the 55-200mm. It looks sweet.

    If you really hate to change lenses or you are always traveling, then get 18-200mm.

    If you're worried about the price differences, maybe waiting until you can afford what you really want might be a good idea.

    Also, keep in mind that the equipment is only part of the quality-photo equation.
     

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