Lens Question from a Total Newb

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BDBWTE, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. BDBWTE

    BDBWTE TPF Noob!

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    I recently bought a Nikon D5000 as an entry level DSLR and step into photography other than point and shoots and bridge cameras. I have a Nikon 18-55mm AF-S lens now and I want to be able to get more zoom. I do realize how "dumbed" down this sounds but I don't fully understand focal point or the many variables of the lens. With that said should I buy a telephoto lens that screws to my 18-55mm lens like a 3.5x? Or buy a 55-200mm for a cheap medium telephoto lens, save up for the do all 18-200mm? Photography is so much at once like taking a drink from a fire hydrant over whelming. What would you guys do and thanks for the help.

    Best Regards
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  3. DanFinePhotography

    DanFinePhotography TPF Noob!

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    Never buy more lens than you know what to do with. Only will waste your money. Figure out what type of photography you want to be in and get lenses that work within that. Start with some Prime (fixed focal length) lenses. They really teach you alot about your camera
     
  4. Bad Andy

    Bad Andy TPF Noob!

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    Zoom, simply means a lens that has a range of focal lengths, meaning it can very from wide to not-so-wide. I would assume by your question that you want a more telephoto lens, or one that has a longer "reach". Before recommending, you should answer what you really want that longer "reach" for. If it is sports photography, you will get one type of lens (fast), if it is for landscapes and such, speed isn't important.

    Do you have a price range in mind? As you may know, you can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand on a telephoto lens.

    Now a few things about the lenses you questioned:

    55-200: This is also considered a kit lens. Nikon kit lenses are generally good for snapshots and taking decent photos. I would recommend getting the VR version, as this may help reduce some motion blur, depending on the type of photography you are doing.

    18-200: Jack of all trades - master of none lens. When I first bought my D5000, this was the only lens I bought. I thought it would be better to have one "do-it-all" lens than have to carry multiple lenses. Depending on what you are photographing, it can be a great lens. I have this lens and am very happy most of the time. Image quality is good, but no where near great. It has some strong lens distortion issues (any lens with this large of a focal range (zoom) would have some issues). It isn't very fast, but if you know the limits of it, it is a great lens. For travel, and not knowing what you are going to take pictures of, it is good.

    A better lens suggestion:

    70-300 VR 3.5-5.6: This lens is a little better than the 55-200, and has the capability of working on full frame, should you decide to upgrade to that at a later date. It is big, but not so big that you can't carry it around all day. It is certainly lighter weight than a professional lens. If you are looking for a longer telephoto (zoom), this one would be good, without breaking the bank.

    Best overall telephoto:

    If you have the money and really want to get great pictures. You really should look at a professional 2.8 zoom such as the 70-200 2.8. This is truly an amazing lens. It is big, heavy, and expensive. If you buy one of the more recent models with the AF-S motor, it will focus on your camera. For an all-around great zoom, you will never need another telephoto lens (unless you get into sports, then you will need expensive long telephoto primes....). This lens will also work later if you decide to upgrade to a full frame sensor camera (D700, D3, etc).

    You do not want to buy a device that screws onto the front of your existing lens to "get you more zoom". These will severely impact image quality. The reason you purchased a DSLR is to have the option of changing lenses. Get a new lens.

    You should also pick up a few books on photography. There is a lot to learn. DanFinePhotography has a great comment in buying a prime lens. It will really force you to concentrate on composition of your photo, and they all are going to be much sharper and better glass than any zoom lens. For your camera, an inexpensive and good prime lens to start with is the 35MM 1.8 AFS. It is a great buy at $200.00 or so. I will be getting one soon to supplement my 50 MM prime.

    Be sure to come back here and post some of your pictures, and we can help you become a better photographer.

    Welcome to the forum, and go out and start shooting.

    -Andy
     
  5. sovietdoc

    sovietdoc TPF Noob!

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    the lens with a very big focal length difference like that 18-200, will usually have pretty mediocre visual quality. it's alright if you only care about the whole picture as you shoot it, but if you take 100% crop of what the camera sensor saw, the result will usually be too bad to print. Just something to think about.
     
  6. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    it all depends on what your taking a picture of and what you plan to do. I like bad andy's advice about the different lenses. I would always sugest having a couple different lenses anyway one for more regular shots that are within like 100 yards or so and one that you want to be able to zoom in. I like you analogy about photography being like drinking water from a hydrant... my dad feels like that sometimes he had a nice 35mm back when he was in the navy about 30 years ago and now has a high end point and shoot that has a program mode on it and he feels the same way.

    So heres some advice just take it a little at a time get use to the settings and changing them experiment with taking the same picture with different settings that way you can actually see how adjusting the settings here and there effects your picture alot.
     
  7. BDBWTE

    BDBWTE TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much for the help. My spending right now on a lens would be limited to around 600 or so, but I could always save up. My primary interest right now is nature and wild life that's why I want to be able to get closer. The more I read about photography the more I realize I no nothing just trying to understand the mechanics of the camera is rough. Add how to get effects and the adjustment's and whoa great pictures are definitely an art form.

    Thanks
     
  8. peterhanowell

    peterhanowell TPF Noob!

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    Not sure I buy this first claim - if you are learning about your camera (and don't anticipate that learning process ending), then you are going to want 'more lens than you know what to do with' precisely because tomorrow, or next week, or later this year, you will then have the right 'amount' of lens given your knowledge.

    Sorry, this is a weird way of wording it, but I think you get the gist. If you really think that you will continue learning and expanding your photographic skills, save and spend what you might take to be 'big money' on the glass - you won't be disappointed.

    Peter
    --
    Wedding Photographer Tallahassee
    Photography in Tallahassee
     
  9. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    i would also check out youtube search digital photography and it will also teach you
     
  10. DanFinePhotography

    DanFinePhotography TPF Noob!

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    Exactly, i just see alot of new photographers jumping in and getting a $600 lens when they should be getting better with the camera and understand why they need better glass before making the plunge.
     
  11. bradschak

    bradschak TPF Noob!

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    I agree with going to YouTube and searching for your camera and finding out how to use it. Start with the kit lens and have fun taking pictures. Also, Nikon makes a great video for the D3000/D5000 that is worth watching. Once you have a good understanding on how to use the camera, then you can drop some money on lenses.
     

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