The *one* lens that I should get for my D40

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Steven1621, May 14, 2007.

  1. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

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    #1
    I just purchased my first digital SLR, a Nikon D40. This will be my first foray in the realm of SLR photography.

    I'd like to purchase another lens in addition to the 18-55mm that comes with the D40 kit. Over the summer, I'm going to be traveling around South America taking photos and such. My principle shots will be of landscapes and people, mostly outdoors. I'm flexible in terms of cost, but would like to keep things on the cheaper side since I'm just a beginner.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. almightyshoe macrumors regular

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    #2
    Normally, for a measly 150 bucks, you could have gotten a cheap 70-300mm zoom (Nikkor or Sigma) that's pretty decent for the outdoors (check it out at dpchallenge), but as I was searching for a link for you, I found out that it's not compatible with the d40. My bad. Maybe someone else can recommend a similar lens.
     
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #3
    NIkon has just released the 55-200mm VR and also the 70-300mm VR. One of these would work quite nicely! The 55-200mm VR is small, like the kit lens, and therefore would be easier and lighter to carry around.
     
  4. jordygreen macrumors 6502

    jordygreen

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    #4
    Ye i was going to recommend a 55 - 200mm lense i have one for my 400D and its very good because i can use standard lense and if i nee dto zoom in more i can use the next lense which goies up in teh correct number; like it doesnt skip anything out.
     
  5. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #5
    Looking to make the same or similar addition to my Nikon D40. Some brief shopping around lists the 55-200mm VR at ~US$249. Is there a better, reliable retail price? Thanks.
     
  6. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

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    #6
    Yeah. That is about the going rate.

    I was thinking about going with the 55-200mm VR, but I'm not sure if I might be better served by getting a lens with f/2.8 or something wide format. I'm not sure if I really need the zoom for my purposes.
     
  7. NickElls macrumors 6502

    NickElls

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    #7
    If you're not too concerned about price, the new 18-200 VR is supposed to be very good.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    If you're thinking zooms, that 70-300 (the ED one, not the cheapie non-ED one) will serve you well. I have the 18-200mm, and love it - but it's $750.

    If you don't need a zoom, a prime can be handy. People around here always talk about the 50mm f/1.8 cuz it's cheap; but the 35mm f/2 is more flexible. Or you could get the 85mm f/1.8 to add some reach with a great lens.

    I think my next two lens purchases (and these will cost a bit, so it likely won't be soon) will be the 12-24mm Nikkor and probably the 80-400mm Nikor. I'm really hoping the latter lens gets updated to AF-S soon.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    Beginners always think they are going to need some huge telephoto, like a 300mm. Don't fall for that. Good ones are expensive and huge and require tripods and you will not use it much just walking around.

    If you said "D50" then I'd suggest ther 50mm f/1.4 or the 85mm lens but the D40 can't use those or other non AF-S type lenses. To bad. Next I'd suggest replacing the 18-55 with a "faster" f/2.8 lens of some type. The faster f-stop will allow shooting in lower light and most importently reduced depth of field. Also all of the Nikon f/2.8 zoom are truly great quality.

    For the most part you will not be using more than about 100mm of length unless you are doing wildlife photos. In other cases simply use your feet and walk up closer.

    Also buy an external flash. It is very useful in bright daylight to fill in shadows and is the best way ti improve those short of getting an assistant to hold a big reflector.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #10
    All of these are very good. I have two of them. (three if you count the manual focus version of the 35mm) But are they available in AF-S yet? Mine are just "AF". But I bought them about 12 years ago. So they may have been updated by now. the 85mm would be a great addition to a 18-55 kit lens. would be my 1st choice.

    Remember this is for a D40 that lacks an in-body focus motor so the lenses want to be AFS.
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    Right - so they work but manual-focus only.

    Nikon has not yet updated the primes to AF-S. I'm waiting on that myself, because I'd like to buy the 85mm. :) There have been fairly widespread rumors that Nikon is on the verge of a big lens announcement; but peoples' guesses as to what it'll be are all over the map. Some people think it'll be the primes (and I hope they're right), while others think Nikon will be refreshing their pro lens lineup.

    I'm really hoping it's an across-the-board refresh on all their AF lenses, updating them to AF-S (and VR where appropriate). But if wishes were horses...

    I'm also hoping that any AF-S updates will be to the original AF-S motor and not the "rod type" AF-S motor, since the latter doesn't allow manual override during autofocus.
     
  12. volvoben macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Won't a used 85mm be a lot cheaper than the new af-s model whenever it arrives? I don't like the louder focusing on screw type af lenses, but my D70 is still plenty quick with them. I never use manual override (damn viewfinder is too small) unless i'm setting it to infinity, but having to use the on-body af/mf switch is also a disadvantage for some.

    For the OP: I think you'll end up using the 18-55 95% of the time no matter what other lens you choose; it's light, covers the normal and most useful range, plus it's extremely cheap so if it whacks against a patagonian rock or fills with andes snow or buenes aires sand and bites the dust you're only out $100.

    I keep my sigma 10-20mm on by default unless i'm shooting people at an event or something, but i'm probably odd in that regard.
     
  13. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #13
    Well if it's a LOT cheaper I might go that route. :D

    Thing is, every day or two I change my mind about what lens I want to buy next. And since I'm not made of money, it's possible I might not be getting the 85mm for a while... anything you don't like about that Sigma 10-20?
     
  14. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

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    #14
    I would recommend a 35-mm f/2 prime lens. Why? 35-mm on the D40 will be equal to a 56-mm lens. 35 X 1.6=56-mm. This will give you the best go at learning photographic techniques. A 55-mm lens sees approximately what you see. A zoom lens is only for the lazy or uninteresting. Trust me this approach will be cheaper and more fun. You will get to approach the subject rather than zoom in on it. :D

    1.6 is approximately the ratio of a SLR film sensor to the sensor of your D40.

    Read this photo.net article on building a DSLR system.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    The 35mm f/2 is a great little lens -- it's small, light, fast, unobtrusive and razor-sharp. Manually focusing this lens isn't all that difficult. It is great for those low-light and nighttime shots, too. Best of all, it is relatively inexpensive. I have the 35mm f/2 and I also have the 50mm f/1.4, but I actually use the 35mm f/2 more.... It works a treat on that D40, too!
     
  16. volvoben macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Well, I'm a big fan of its performance, but the 'feel' isn't great, it has a cheap looking finish, the lens cap it ships with is terrible (it's not the center pinch type, i bought a tamron one for $7.50 instead) it's variable at 4-5.6 (not a big deal at all to me), the focus ring is at the front of the lens and the zoom towards the body unlike most newer nikon zooms (although of my 3 main lenses 1 is a push/pull, 1 has the zoom forward, and one has the zoom aft), and also the focus ring turns in the opposite direction of most lenses, meaning infinity is on the right when looking from the top.

    I'm perfectly willing to live with these negatives though since it gives that extra 2mm, quiet quick focusing (I've heard that focus points other than center have trouble functioning with the sigma, but I only use the center point unless i'm shooting some sort of action (never)), my copy is really quite sharp at 10mm including corners, it's not too huge or heavy and it even comes with a very nice padded zipping case. I've never owned a non-nikkor lens before this sigma, but considering i'm not a huge fan of nikon's 12-24 and this was almost half the price, I love it and recommend it to anyone, particularly if you really love getting close to your subjects and those 2mm will make a difference.

    also, a note on its distortion; it's a little more complex at 10mm than the competition, but it is fixed quite well with lensfix (i had trouble getting databases to work in their new CI beta, but it worked well with their older plugin version). I've only fixed a handful of photos though, and only when there's a very flat horizon that looks too unnatural when not flat (ocean). 99% of the time i don't notice the distortion, there is almost no distortion when it's at 15-20mm, and usually i like how minor distortion adds a feeling of depth.
     
  17. volvoben macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Am I crazy here or does Nikon not produce a single af-s prime lens, meaning none of these ideas would work with a D40?

    also, Nikon uses a 1.5 crop ratio. Canon uses 1.6 with their consumer line, while Nikon uses 1.5 throughout.

    I appreciate prime lenses as well, I used a 28mm and 50mm on my K1000 many years ago, and mostly a 20mm on my F3 after that, however these days zooms are popular...for a reason. Zooming is convenient and allows you to get shots that would be impossible with 1 prime lens. The main advantage of a prime is speed, but with digital i'm more likely to just up the ISO and keep my DOF deeper.

    If you want the healthy experience of a prime lens, set your zoom to 35mm (52.5mm in 35mm terms) and don't move it. I personally think though that doing everything manually at the beginning is the best option, new folks are forced to understand shutter speed and aperture, focus, metering etc without having the 'eh, i'll just put it on auto...' option, but it's just impossible to focus manually with the tiny viewfinders on consumer DSLRs.
     
  18. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #18
    Well, I can't speak to your sanity :D - but all of Nikon's "normal" primes are just AF, and so would need to be used manually on a D40.

    I don't know if any of them have been updated design-wise since Nikon started offering digital cameras, actually. They're full frame (that's not a complaint!) as well. We'll have to see what this rumored lens refresh brings us.
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    Thank you for spelling out the plusses and minuses from your perspective. That extra 2mm is like a siren's song... and I'd think that variable aperture likely wouldn't matter much for landscape shots (which is how I'd use it) since I'd probably be at f/8 or f/11. The flipped focus ring might drive me batty though - that's something I have to think about.

    Off-topic: With my old Pentax K1000 I had a Tokina zoom (80-200mm I think) that was one of those push-pull single-ring designs. That thing creeped like crazy, but it was sharp as a tack (seriously - it was amazing how sharp it was side-by-side against other zooms) and only cost me $100 in a used camera shop way back in the day. I think I loved it for its idiosyncrasies, and cuz I felt like I got a steal. :)
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    The Nikon primes I'm aware of that are AF-S aren't in the realm of what most folks who have a D40 would look at (200VR, 300/4, 300/2.8, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4.) Mostly, they got AF-S early because they're big pro lenses and pros often need fast focusing and the screwdrive focus was probably underkill.

    They work, they just don't autofocus. The D40 was aimed at folks coming up from the P&S crowd who'd likely get the kit lens and that's about it.

    Paul
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #21
    Unless you're a serious VR fan, I'd really recommend the Sigma 50-500 over the 80-400 Nikkor. The Sigma is longer, sharper at the long end and cheaper. I own both, the Nikon wins on contrast, but that's about it.
     
  22. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #22
    Well, it's going to be a while before I can afford it, and I think the 12-24 (or Sigma 10-20) will almost certainly be purchased first; so I have plenty of time to re-think this. But it seems like the Bigma has some downsides. It's over a pound heavier; it takes 86mm filters, so I'd have to re-purchase for that lens (I'm certain I'd want at least a circ polarizer); and no VR would mean no possibility of hand-holding. Adding another 100mm is certainly a big plus though...

    Of course there's another part of me that's wondered about getting the 70-200 f/2.8 and adding one or two teleconverters to the mix (I realize that goes against my "weight" argument). And, since we're probably talking a couple years before any such purchase takes place, the options may change significantly before I buy. :D
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    I'm waiting on the 10-20mm from Dell (*sigh*, it's back-ordered any place I'd trust online.) Since I usually haul around a 400/2.8 these days, I just smile at the weight arguments. I always carry a tripod because I think my shots deserve it, and I don't shoot things that make it much of an issue over hauling it around.

    The few times I've seen the 70-200 with a 2x compared to the 80-400, the 70-200 won, but I'm snobbish enough to never shoot with a 2x converter. The 70-200 is pro glass, IMO the other two are "prosumer" lenses, so it's no contest IMO.

    Before I started shooting with the prime, the Sigma was in the bag much more often than the 80-400 because the extra and sharper 100mm won for me for mostly bird shots.
     
  24. phuong macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    for walking around taking photos on the street, the ideal range is 28-135mm
     
  25. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

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    #25
    I think this is what I have. I just bought a D40 a few weeks ago and love it (my first SLR), and at the shop I bought it from they had a deal (well, according to them) for a 55-200mm lens, so I picked it up. I haven't had many opportunities to take good shots, but so far it is awesome. I, as a noob, highly recommend it :)
     

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