Additional lenses for a newbie, what should I do?


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Jan 20, 2012
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I've just got a D3100 with the 18-55 VR lenses. This is my first nice camera. I usually enjoy taking pictures of my surroundings: my family, cats, friends, flowers, and landscaping.
I'm very much in doubt regarding any accessory lenses I should get. There's the option of the
Nikon - 55-200mm Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens for Nikon DX SLR Cameras
Nikon - AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR Zoom Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras
that I could still add to my camera with a discount during the next few days. After that, I'd have to pay the regular price.
Anyone with more experience would recommend to me sticking only with the 18-55mm, add one of the above lenses, or to save some more money and invest in something more expensive like a 18-200mm VR II?
Is it better to buy Nikon lenses than any other brand? I've seen very bad reviews about other brands like Sigma.

Thank you for any help.
And some Sigma lenses have very good reviews.

I have a very low opinion of the Nikon 18-200 relative to it's price, and most other 11x superzoom lenses.

Both the 55-200 mm and the 55-300 are good choices in the consumer grade lens lineup.

The 300 mm can magnify things far away more than the 200 mm can.
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I would say shoot the 18-55 for a while before you decide what comes next. Those tele lenses might be right for you, but they might not, it depends on what you like to shoot and what your style is. If you decide you want to do low light photography, none of the lenses you've mentioned will help you out, they're good at other stuff instead. So, once you know what limitations your 18-55 has, you can decide where you want to put your money next.

And no, as a very general statement, it's not better to buy Nikon than any other brand. Nikon makes lots of great lenses, and a few unimpressive ones. Sigma also makes lots of great lenses, and some unimpressive ones, just like Tamron, Tokina, etc... If you're considering a specific lens, the best thing you can do is look for detailed reviews that include lab tests, and not worry really about who makes it. Nikon lenses _may_ hold their value better in the long term, if you ever want to sell it, but that depends on the lens as well I think.

Here are a few of my favorite lens review sites:
Canon & Nikon Digital SLR Camera and Lens Reviews at
Welcome to Photozone! - lens review, lenses reviews, lens specification -
Camera lens tests, user reviews, camera accessory reviews -!
I agree with analog. I bought the 18-55mm and the 55-300mm lens with my camera. After a month or so I bought a prime lens (50mm 1.4). I have only used my big zooms once since then. I used it at the zoo this summer and that was it.

I would wait to buy a zoom. The 18-200 probably wouldn't be the best option because you already have a lens that covers that range. Play around with the lens you have for a while. If you decide you need more reach then buy a zoom. If you want to take pictures inside the house or in low light situations then a fast prime would probably be a good inexpensive option. A fast zoom that's good in low light is pretty pricey.

I only have Nikon lenses but I would buy a sigma - no problem. Just read reviews before you buy anything - Nikon, sigma, tamron, etc.
Check out Ken Rockwell dot com for a thorough review of the 18-200 Nikkor lens. It's not as bad as many people imagine it is.

The tele-zooms are easy to design and make with fairly high quality these days. Don't sweat the differences between 55-200 and 55-300 too much. Just buy the one you think you want. Enjoy it. Either will be okay. It's only once you become serious and start plonking down $1400,$1799,$2499 for each lens that making decisions becomes a big deal.
I have a 18-200mm and a 50mm f1.4G lens. They are good enough for my learning curve before I upgrade to the f2.8 glasses.

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