TOTAL Lens Noob - Lens(es) for the Nikon D90?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ArntorFTL, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. ArntorFTL

    ArntorFTL TPF Noob!

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    I am a total lens noob, so maybe any answer to this should be prefaced by a link to a site or thread that adequately explains the basics of lenses. Namely, why some cost $1000+ while others with nearly the same specs cost $150.

    Anyhow,

    Last year I bought a Nikon D40 with Nikkor 18-55 3.5 kit lens. I recently upgraded to a D90, but kept the 18-55. I'm realizing that it's probably time to get a lens that complements awesomeness of the D90 with real crispness and sharpness, which the 18-55 seems to lack. What lens options will give me the most bang for the buck in the ~$300 range?

    Also, and slightly unrelated, how do "macro" lenses work? Do you use them only for closeup stuff or can you use a macro lens as a walkabout lens taking pictures of buildings, people, etc? (and did I use "walkabout" right there?)

    Any help you guys can provide would be most appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    all macro lenses work as normal lenses do - but they have extra optics which let them focus much closer to things - and also much finer focusing systems (though their AF performance is generally poorer than most other lenses - not a problem as macro workd is done nearly always in manual focusing mode).

    The only macro lens (that I know of) that won't do anything but macro distance stuff is the canon MPE65mm which is (clearly) not a concern for you
     
  3. R9R Photography

    R9R Photography TPF Noob!

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    1. Use the google search tool on the RH side there --->
    for something like "D90", "lens choice", etc. You'll find a whole bunch of stuff. Also, you'll notice we tend to ask the same questions: What are you shooting? Do you care about branding? (Nikon vs. Tamron, Sigma, etc).

    Search around and see where you fit in. I've found that most helpful when I'm looking for stuff :p

    Also for macros, you can use them as a "normal" lens if you want, but they let you get really close to subjects and tend to be faster lenses (bigger aperatures).
     
  4. ArntorFTL

    ArntorFTL TPF Noob!

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    Ok, sorry, I should have done a little more research on here first. I primarily shoot people, gatherings, my cats, and landscapes. I really don't need a telephoto right now.

    I'm not picky about brands, so long as I get a crisp, clear photo.

    Still, the various lens choices are dizzying, especially for someone like me that has a short attention span and doesn't really know what I'm doing, yet, as far as lenses go.
     
  5. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    An awesome lens is the Tamron 17-50 F2.8. It can be had for $325 used if you look hard enough, and is on par with Nikkor professional lenses. Its sharpness is amazing from what I've heard. It works for both portraits and landscapes.

    The difference between high end and low end lenses is determined by many factors, optical quality being the first and foremost. The pictures that come out of a cheap lens will be aesthetically worse than pictures out of a high-grade lens. In addition, high-grade lenses tote better build quality, speed, and autofocus.
     
  6. dhilberg

    dhilberg TPF Noob!

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    I would say that maximum aperture determines almost everything, including optical quality. If I were a lens manufacturer I wouldn't waste my time creating an f/2.8 lens that wasn't the pinnacle of quality. You can skimp a bit (OK, a lot) on the variable aperture consumer-level zooms. ;)
     
  7. brileyphotog

    brileyphotog TPF Noob!

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    I found the 18-55 remarkably sharp although slow on the autofocus. Of course, that was before I dropped it. That was probably the best $100 lens I ever ruined.

    If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Nikon glass, I have had good success with Sigma.
     
  8. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

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    Get the Nikkor 18-200mm vr ;) If your budget is tighter, I'd recommend the Nikkor 18-105mm vr.
     
  9. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Look at the 16-85. I have it with the D90, and you can get excellent results.
     
  10. ArntorFTL

    ArntorFTL TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. I've looked around a little bit for info about the Tamron 17-50 F2.8. It seems a lot of people really like this lens. For comparison shopping's sake, is there some other lens(es) comparable to this?

    I guess I'm starting to lean towards the Tamron, but need more information.
     
  11. potownrob

    potownrob TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget about the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 which can be had in a MACRO version unlike the Tamron 17-50. I have the Tamron and think it's great, but if you have any inclination of using it for macro, the Tamron will NOT cut it. You can of course get a separate macro lens, but if you want your walk-around to also have macro capabilities, you'll want to consider the Sigma.
     

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