Need advice on which lens to buy

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by ernie, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. ernie

    ernie TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    Been reading up a bit on lenses (thanks for the advice in the other thread) and I narrowed down what sort of lens I want. I hope you can give me some advice on what lenses would be most suitable for my purpose. Body is nikon D80.

    First off, I need a decent zoom lens. I want to be able to cover wide angles as well as object in the distance without needing two lenses for it.
    And I need it to be a fast lens. I want to be able to blur everything around my subject (small DOF is what it's called i believe?) and I heard a fast lens is the way to go because it can let in more light. Plus I heard they're good for low-lighting situations, and I'm planning to take on nighttime photography (altough I'm guessing slower lenses with a longer shutter time can acheive the same result?).

    I also love macro photography, so I need a macro lens as well. Or can you do macro photography with the above mentioned kind of lens as well?

    Thanks a lot,
    Ernie
     
  2. bla

    bla TPF Noob!

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    If you want a fast zoom lens, then expect to pay upwards of 1000$ for anything good. If you've got that kind of money, then by all means look up a Nikon zoom lens going from 28mm to 100mm with f2.8 (I think that's as fast as they go). Otherwise, if you want a fast lens, go for a prime, they're worth it.

    If you want to do real macro, then it's better to get a dedicated lens with a 1:1 factor. Beware that these will have a hard time focusing to infinity, so their use will probably be limited. Otherwise, there are some hybrid-macro lenses that have a 1:2 factor. I know of one from Sigma.
     
  3. Buszaj

    Buszaj TPF Noob!

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    try looking at the sigma lenses. go to their site
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Ernie, first zoom just means that you have available more than one focal length on the same lens and could be anywhere from 12mm to 500mm. The best of the best by all accounts are the 17-55mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 VR and the 200-400mm f4.0 VR Nikons. All of these are the price of a smallish boat.

    Nikon's 18-200mm gets mixed reviews but I have seem some very good results posted here and there. It's a VR which means you can hand hold to a very low shutter speed allowing low light shots. If you shoot in bursts you can usually get a shot without much motion blur too. The OEMs don't make a 12-400mm F2.8 because first, no one could afford one and second, no one could carry one. ;)


    If you really want just one lens then I have not heard of any better than the Nikon 18-200mm.
     
  5. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have an 18-200, and I really like it. Having said that, it is not in any way, shape or form a fast lens.

    The strength in this lens is the VR, and for whatever reason the VR seems to work better in it than just about any other Nikon lens that has it (I have used several, the VR works better on the 18-200 than on the 105 Macro, the 200-400 f/4, the 55-200 and on the 70-300... I can reliably get 4 stops of VR out of the 18-200). I have not (yet) tested the 70-200 2.8 VR.

    VR only helps for things that are not moving fast (or, preferably, that are perfectly still) and while the lens is very sharp it does suffer from all of the design limitations that come along with the superzoom range of 10x or more.

    If you want fast lenses that are of excellent quality (and who doesn't), get ready to dig into the wallet.

    If you want to really do macro, get a macro specific lens (personally I would get the Nikon 105 2.8 non VR version used... I own the VR version and the VR on it is not worth the extra money).
     
  6. Sweetsomedays

    Sweetsomedays TPF Noob!

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    I got the 55-200mm f/4 vr nikkor, pretty good pretty quick. Used it for photographing horses. I just got my 80-200mm f/2.8 and love it even more but it is much more expensive. What is your budget?
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the 55-200mm f/4 VR Nikkor as well. For the money a very good lens.

    This link may help.
    http://www.photozone.de/
     
  8. ernie

    ernie TPF Noob!

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    I'm willing to look at anything up to 1200 dollars. Above that is getting definitely too pricy for me.

    I was looking at the 17-35 mm f/2.8, seemed a good (fast) one. Just noticed there are two versions, a DX one and a regular one. What's the difference exactly? The 35-70 mm f/2.8 looked alright also. What do you guys think is the best of those two?

    Friend of mine got me thinking though ... why not just get a good fixed lens (not zoom) and take pictures at high megapixels, then just cut out the piece of the picture you need in photoshop (instead of zooming in with a zoom lens to get that piece). You'd be saving a few bucks on a lens that way. Make sense?

    Also, if I were to get a fixed lens with a macro function, could I expect quality macro pictures? Or do you really need a seperate macro lens to get some decent results?
    Oh and one last question: are sigma or tamron lenses a good alternative for nikon? I keep seeing good sigma lenses that are less expensive than their nikon counterparts, but are they of the same quality?

    Thanks
     
  9. ernie

    ernie TPF Noob!

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    Anyone?
     
  10. bla

    bla TPF Noob!

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    DX means that the lens was specifically designed for dSLRs, which implies that the lens was made with an image circle that more appropriately fits the smaller sensor on the camera (as compare to a 35mm). As such, the lens is also smaller and lighter than its 35mm counterpart.

    I've tried this... but while it sounds good in theory, unfortunately in practice it doesn't work so well (for me anyway). You're essentially doing a digital zoom (a feature on some P&S), which sucks for image quality. My two cents...

    If you really want to do macro, get a true/real/1:1 macro lens. The 1:2 and 1:4 macro-wide/normal hybrids may be able to get some macro-ish pics, but can't really compare to the real thing.

    They make good lenses, I'd still say the Nikons and Canons are better. I was going to buy a Sigma lens, but a quick search online yielded a few problems, so I decided to go with a Nikon. Still, keep in mind that they do make some very good glass.
     
  11. ernie

    ernie TPF Noob!

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    Thanks all for your replies. Placed my order today. I got myself:

    - Nikon D80 body (dropped the kit lens)
    - Nikon 17-55 mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Autofocus Zoom Lens
    - Nikon Full Size Bogen Tripod with 3-Way Q.R. Pan/Tilt Head

    Cost me quite a few bucks but still saved me over 1000 euros if I were to buy it here. Can't wait to get my order in the mail :)

    Thanks again for the help everyone!
     

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