Best all-around lens for my D3000?

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by ohsnapp, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. ohsnapp

    ohsnapp TPF Noob!

    Apr 16, 2016
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    Hi all!

    I have a Nikon D3000 and currently have the following lenses:
    - Kit lens (Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX)
    - Wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20 mm)

    I'm looking for a lens to complement these. I LOVE my wide angle Sigma, but only use it for landscape and architecture photography. So I've been using the kit lens for almost everything, and I'm looking for a higher quality "walk-around" lens to replace it.

    What I'm looking for, in order of importance:
    1) Easy to achieve bokeh - I do a lot of close-up portraits where I prefer a small depth of field.
    2) Good/decent performance in low light - I live in a very cloudy rainy place
    3) Versatile enough to be used for group photos and landscapes on occasion
    4) Not too big and bulky - I travel a lot, so I prefer shorter lenses

    Looking to spend ~$300 or less. So far, I am leaning towards the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM. Is this my best option? If not, what would you suggest? (I was also looking at the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO, but I figured that the 50mm prime lens would give me better bokeh and a less bulky lens) Thoughts?


  2. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Feb 1, 2015
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    Too hard for me to come up with one lens under $300 that will do everything you want. If I knew of it I would get one.

    1) I think the 50mm is still not going to give you the bokeh that you want.
    2) What are you shooting in the low light, if portraits then add lighting.
    3) Versatile: you have the two lenses to cover groups and landscape.
    4) A prime is usually the least bulky, unless you have 5 of them in place of one zoom.

    I would suggest an 85mm f/1.8 lens. The Nikon version in used or refurbished is around $400 (G version) and new is not that much more. It will give a much nicer background than the 50mm (I've used the older D version a few times). To meet your $300 budget you could go for the manual focus versions, but focusing is not going to be easy on the D3000 when shooting at an f/1.8 aperture.
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  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2009
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    Bokeh is a non-adjustable inherent property of each make/model lens.
    Depth of field is adjustable by changing the lens aperture, the point of focus distance, and by using a camera with a different size image sensor.
    Understanding Depth of Field in Photography

    The lens I use the most is a Nikon AF 24-85 mm f/2.8-4 D.
    The "compact" D3000 does not have a focus motor/screw-drive system in it so Nikon AF designated (no -S) lenses are manual focus on your camera though your camera has a manual focus aid feature called Rangefinder Mode that will indicate when you have achieved focus manually when using a Nikon AF lens.
    However, I would recommend Nikon's $400
    Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens that will AF on your D3000.
    F/2.8 to f/3.5 is 2/3 of a stop. F/4 to f/4.5 is 1/3 of a stop.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
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  4. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Feb 4, 2011
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    Cork Ireland
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    Maybe look at nikons own 50mm f1.8 g.

    Alternatively something like nikons 55-200 or 55-300 would give you a longer range lens that may help you separate tour subjects from background more easily, sometimes people mean this when they talk about bokeh, as opposed to how the lens renders out of focus specular highlights etc.

    I have heard good things about the sigma 17-70 f2.8/4 also
  5. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Dec 17, 2013
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    I have two recommendations for you:

    1. The Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX is an excellent choice. It will perform well in low light, is small, light, very hardy. Combined with your D3000, you'll have a very small light camera for a DSLR...easy to schlep around. Excellent choice for a narrow DoF lens. Good wide angle without too much distortion or chromatic aberration. The downside is this--it is going to replicate the focal length of your two lens.

    2. If you're looking for a walk-around lens (and don't want something too big or heavy) then you're probably going to be getting something that has a similar aperture to your existing kit lens. You can get your hands on the Nikon 18-105mm (f3.5). Superb walking around lens. Not super fast but tremendous diversity. It will basically replace the two lens you currently have but give you much more reach. Or look at the Nikon 18-200mm zoom. Tremendous walking around lens that will replace your two existing lens.

    3. The one advantage to getting the 50mm f1.8 is that everyone should have one prime lens. You'll likely be shocked at how much sharper your shots are (especially compared to a kit lens). And you'll start to get a better idea of how lens construction (and quality) have so much impact on results).
  6. Orange Elephant

    Orange Elephant TPF Noob!

    Apr 14, 2016
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    My suggestion is to go for either the Nikon 50mm f1.8G (under budget) or the Nikon 50mm f1.4G (slightly over budget). The f1.8G is easier to use as it's fairly sharp even wide open, the f1.4G does need some effort sometimes as wide-open it's only sharp in the centre.

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