Lenses for landscape and miscellaneous inanimate shots

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Eoin, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Eoin

    Eoin TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys,

    I've been lurking a little while here now. :) I'm about to purchase my first DLSR camera. I've read a lot of the previous threads about this and looked at a few online prices for shops in my locality (I'm in Ireland, so buying from the UK seems most economical and simple at present). I'm currently leaning towards a Nikon D60 with 18-55mm AF-S VR lens, which I can get as a kit for about 475 euros before shipping. (any thoughts on better alternatives appreciated, Nikon or otherwise, of course)

    At this stage, I'm mostly wondering about lenses. I have an interest (but no professional aspirations) in photography in general and I like take pictures of lots of things - but my primary interest would be natural perspective scenery or urban shots, and not so much portrait shots, action shots, or zoom shots at the moment. It would be pretty important to be able to take decent night shots. Any suggestions about prime lenses I should look at?

    I gather for pretty much any prime lens with the D60 I'm not going to have any kind of auto-focus ability. Would this be a terrible thing? I kinda reckon I'll be okay just learning how to focus manually. I shouldn't be in a rush for most of the shots I'm taking.

    I thought seriously about a D80 or even stretching for a D200 but I only have a budget of around 700-800 euros at most right now, and I think I'd rather spend it on a lens or two that will last me.

    Thanks for any suggestions anyway. :)

    Eoin
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Well, those of us who harken back to the 35mm days remember when there was no autofocus. We did just fine and we didn't have instant digital display to show us that we did ok. It is a modern added convenience (although sports photographers may argue that it is a necessity). The disadvantage with most current dSLRs, however, is that we used to have good ground glass and split-circle focusing screens which no longer exist on most stock cameras (although frequently they are available as add-ons). This makes MF a bit more difficult for those of us with weaker eyesight, but not at all impossible. I still use MF frequently especially when doing macro (and plan eventually on buying a focusing screen -- http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/ ).
     
  3. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off, you can auto-focus with some prime lenses with the D60. The '60 doesn't have a built-in focusing motor to save on weight and money, and so only the lenses marked "AF-I" or "AF-S" will autofocus (these have motors built-in). Any others will only manually focus, but any lenses with "AF" in them will otherwise work normally. Just to clear that up.

    Anyway, onto lenses. The kit 18-55mm lens is actually a very good one, to be honest. It should do you for most landscape/"miscellaneous" work, and is also very good for close-up photographs. Another good lens to have is a 55-200mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. This will be good for street photography where you want to be a decent distance away from the action. There are 3 that I would recommend: the AF-S Nikon 55-200mm, the AF-S Nikon 55-200mm VR (Vibration Reduction helps stabilise camera shake), or the Sigma 55-200mm HSM (will AF with the D60). They are all very good lenses, but you may prefer one over the others based on their handling, looks or just the price.

    One last lens which is very worth getting is a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. This has an AF-D mount, which means that it will not autofocus with the D40 range (D40, D40x, D60), however, this is a really fantastic lens that is very useful for making a subject "pop out" against its background, and is also very good for portrait work. Even better, it's one of, if not the, cheapest lens in Nikon's lineup. Also, you can looks for the autofocus conformation dot in the bottom-left of the viewfinder to see if you've focused correctly. Really, it's an incredible little lens.

    Best of luck getting into the world of photography, I can't wait to see some of your photos!
     
  4. Eoin

    Eoin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses. :)

    That's kinda funny... I had my eye on that very Nikon 50mm f/1.8. It's pretty inexpensive so I think I'll start with that, and then maybe pick up the 55-200mm AF-S VR later in the year. Possibly a wide angle or something at that stage too.

    I can't wait to see some of my photos either. ;)
     

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