First Time DSLR Lens Choices! Crop-sensor. Help Appreciated.

PaulWog

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I originally was going to pick up a Canon 6D with a 24-105mm lens and a 40mm lens on sale for $2480. Last-minute I decided that was a steep price to pay, and that technology is likely moving at a faster pace than my need for such a high-end camera.

So I set my sites on something a little cheaper, and I saw the Nikon D5200 seems to offer the level of performance I want at a price-point which is quite appealing. It seems to be better than the D7100 and the D3200, to me, at its price-point.

The (implied) questions about lenses:

With a budget in mind, I can't pick up the most ideal lenses possible. However, I want to be able to do as much as possible the moment I pick up the camera. I'm thinking this will be my selection:
18-55mm kit lens
55-200mm VR lens (bundled)
35mm 1.8G AF-S

I would've picked up something along the lines of a 28mm or 30mm as a crop-sensor version of a 50mm, however the price for those shoots up significantly. So, I thought the 35mm makes a lot of sense, and it has good reviews.

I'm looking at the 50mm 1.8G as an 85mm equivalent, however I'm not sure if that's going to tip my budget -- and I don't know if it will add much to the collection of lenses. It seems tempting for portrait photography, but I don't know how often it would take the place of the 18-55, or if it would be too situational and sit at home more often than not; I could see things going either way.

So final question:

Given the three lenses I'm definitely buying, and the 50mm which I'm considering, what other lenses would you recommend I take a look at (as a budget-conscious buyer) as lenses that will really add value to my setup. I'm primarily interested in primes at this point (the two zooms clearly fill most slots for versatility already). I live in Vancouver, BC, so I would be at the beach often, on mountains, lots of scenery, lots of wildlife, tons of vacation photos with family and so on, etc. Very versatile environment with scenes and scenarios of all types. Maybe a little sports photography too.
 

Derrel

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I do not think either the 18-55 or the 55-200 VR are really anything to rave about. I do not see the 18-55 filling any spot where "versatility" is a primary criterion. The range is very limited in actual use. 55mm on the top end is not very handy, and the lens is very "slow", as f/5.6 at 55mm is just not letting in much light. But the main issue is lack of focal length; you WILL be changing lenses, all the time, with an 18-55 and 55-200 setup. 55 wil be either not long enough, or with the 55-200 on, 55mm will be too long to get the desired angle of view.

I think a slightly better lens, like the 16-85mm makes much more sense. Or, the 18-105 or 18-135. Any of those three would make more sense.

The 55-200 is an economy-priced lens. Not to say it's bad, but it *is* one of the lowest-priced Nikon zooms. If you want to do "as much as possible the moment you pick up the camera", then absolutely, FORGET the 18-55 kit zoom. It's priced to sell kits. It's not a bad lens, but it is a limited lens, that will require slow shutter speeds, or flash, or a tripod, much of the time. And for longer range shots where you want to shoot close-in shots, it's not very good. For sports, it's a terrible choice. We have a handful of people who love to talk up the 18-55 kit lenses, but let's be real; the last time an f/5.6 lens was considered "fast" must have been in the 1880's.
 
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PaulWog

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I do not think either the 18-55 or the 55-200 VR are really anything to rave about. I do not see the 18-55 filling any spot where "versatility" is a primary criterion. The range is very limited in actual use. 55mm on the top end is not very handy, and the lens is very "slow", as f/5.6 at 55mm is just not letting in much light. But the main issue is lack of focal length; you WILL be changing lenses, all the time, with an 18-55 and 55-200 setup. 55 wil be either not long enough, or with the 55-200 on, 55mm will be too long to get the desired angle of view.

I think a slightly better lens, like the 16-85mm makes much more sense. Or, the 18-105 or 18-135. Any of those three would make more sense.

The 55-200 is an economy-priced lens. Not to say it's bad, but it *is* one of the lowest-priced Nikon zooms. If you want to do "as much as possible the moment you pick up the camera", then absolutely, FORGET the 18-55 kit zoom. It's priced to sell kits. It's not a bad lens, but it is a limited lens, that will require slow shutter speeds, or flash, or a tripod, much of the time. And for longer range shots where you want to shoot close-in shots, it's not very good. For sports, it's a terrible choice. We have a handful of people who love to talk up the 18-55 kit lenses, but let's be real; the last time an f/5.6 lens was considered "fast" must have been in the 1880's.

The 18-55 converts to 28.8 - 88mm. I've heard great things about 28-70mm lenses on full-frame cameras. I'm wondering why you would think 18-55 is a limited focal length.

The 18-55 and 55-200 are packaged at $280 extra over the camera, which seems too good to pass up. However, if I could get one great lens at $550 or under, I might consider that over the pair.

I was reading reviews stating the 17-55 ($600 or so lens?) isn't much better at all over the 18-55.

Anyway, just looking for insight, all insight is appreciated. I want each dollar invested to count.
 

McRich

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The 15-55 kit len has major limitation for me, so I tried to following lens

18-200 DX VR II, it is a bit heavy, but it covers all my focal range. It is $500.
24-85mm FX, it is a kit len from the D600. It is lighter than 18-200mm and because I am using a crop sensor, so 24-85mm becomes 36-127.5mm. This is my focal range too and it is less than $500.
 
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PaulWog

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So should I go for the 16-85mm + 70-300mm combo? That's $1200 for lenses, plus $700 for the camera. I'd be over-budget by $500, but would it be worth the investment?

lenses (for reference):
Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikkor

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G ED-IF VR II Nikkor

That brings me $650 from the cost of a Canon 6D + 24-105mm lens, which leads me to ask the question: which is a better combination? The two lenses + the D5200, or the 28-105 + the Canon 6D?
 
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PaulWog

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Going to be heading out to make the purchase tomorrow (got a camping trip coming up that I definitely want to be ready to take pictures on), so any last-second input would be extremely appreciated.

I've been looking at the 18-200 DX VR II, and wondering which would be better... that... or the two above lenses together.
 
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McRich

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Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G ED-IF VR II Nikkor
It would become 105-450mm with a crop sensor

The main question, what is your focal length, what are you shooting at? landscape, wedding, macro or else?I used Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikkor. The quality is much better than 15-55 kit. Please skip the kit len.

Personally, I prefer the 16-85mm. 18-200mm is a great travel len, it covers a good range and versatile, but I like the image quality from the 16-85mm.
 
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PaulWog

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Thanks McRich.

I've heard the Sigma DC OS HSM 17-70mm is worth looking at over the 16-85mm. The price is $150 cheaper than the 16-85mm too. And it comes down to 2.8f versus 3.5f. One last thing I'm considering right now. The reviews seem so scattered it seems like a toss-up?
 

McRich

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2.8f is better, it allows more light come through. I am not sure about the image quality of the Sigma len
 

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PaulWog said:
The 18-55 converts to 28.8 - 88mm. I've heard great things about 28-70mm lenses on full-frame cameras. I'm wondering why you would think 18-55 is a limited focal length.

The "great things" you have heard about 28-70mm lenses were most likely written about high-priced, professional level lenses like the AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8. You know, lenses built to professional standards in all respects, with solid builds, stout AF-S focusing motors, top-grade optics, and so on. Basically, $1499.99 lenses, from 15 years ago. REALLY as good as Nikon could make them. With a fixed, f/2.8 maximum aperture value.

The 18-55 kit lens on the other hand, is "limited". Quite, quite limited. It's an f/3.5~5.6 design with limited potential for low-light or non-flash shots. The loss of the fast aperture makes it totally incomparable with what a 28-70/ f/2.8 can do--on full-frame. It will not BE used on a full-frame, but a crop-body camera. GONE is the shallow DOF potential with a short lens like an 18-55, due to the APS-C sensor.

A pair of lenses spanning the 18mm to 200mm range, priced at $280 for two lenses...is gear that is priced to sell affordably.

I did not mention the 17-55 DX, but instead mentioned the 16-85, 18-105, and 18-135 lenses as three lenses that offer what you'd really "want". A single lens with some actual, useful "range".

If you want to go with what's "Cheaper", by all means, ignore all my advice.
 

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I would listen to Derrel too! His knowledge on lenses is unbelievable!
 
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PaulWog

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So I picked up the Nikon D5200 and 16-85mm lenses together. I didn't get the 70-300mm since I decided I'd just try what I have out first.

Thanks to everyone who posted in the thread and provided much-needed input :)

Now to decide whether I get a prime lens next, or the 70-300mm next. It will depend on how my shooting habits & wants go for the next while I suspect (I of course want both but yehhhh).
 

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