Just purchased a Nikon D5200. What are some "cheaper" lenses/filters but still great?

OceanMetTheSky

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I just purchased a Nikon d5200. I am new to photography, but I've always been interested in learning how to achieve that "HDR" look to photos, and that really vibrant and colorful effect.

Basically, I'm looking for some lenses or filters that are reasonably priced and that will have various features like, making my pictures appear to be more vibrant/colorful, more detail, closer up, etc.
I really like taking pictures of the beach/ocean, and I would absolutely LOVE a filter or a lens that will help me to get great night photos, such as city lights or night life.

So, what are some good lenses or filters to achieve vibrant images of things like beaches, night photos, and portraits of people, as well as achieving an HDR effect?
Please help me out!
 

bratkinson

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
1,643
Reaction score
318
Location
Western MA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Step 1: Buy a camera - DONE
Step 2: Learn to use it effectively
- - - - -a: Learn to use it in A mode
- - - - -b: Learn about exposure triangle and its tradeoffs (P-mode)
- - - - -c: Learn to use it in various lighting situations (Av/Tv/M modes)
- - - - -d: Learn to use it in difficult situations (Av/Tv/M modes)
- - - - -e: Learn its limitations and how to overcome them ($$$, usually)
Step 3: (concurrent with step 2) - Obtain and learn adequate computer for post processing your pictures
Step 4: (concurrent with step 2&3) - Obtain and learn post processing software
Step 5: Understand what can and can't be done in the camera, but can/must be corrected/adjusted in post processing
Step 6: Figure out what special effects you wish to create/use and their 'costs'...both monetarily, time, and learning
Step 7: Go from there

In short, buying a new race car does not make one instantly a race car driver. It's the same with photography. Just because you now have a good starting point in photography, there's a long way to go before one can learn to use it effectively. There's numerous 'sticky' threads in this subforum to learn from. Spend some time learning, and some time out shooting. Even after 50+ years with a camera in my hands, I am still on that learning curve.

PS, 'great' filters/lenses and 'cheap' are mutually exclusive.
 

tirediron

Watch the Birdy!
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
45,747
Reaction score
14,804
Location
Victoria, BC
Website
www.johnsphotography.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Assuming you got the 18-55 kit lens, then that is indeed a very good lens; remember that even the cheapest Nikon or Canon lens has millions of dollars in R&D behind it, and that if it didn't work well, people wouldn't buy them, and they'd have changed. The fact that it's been a 'standard' kit lens for many years now tells you something! It will do all of the things you want, but not necessarily as well in some regards as certain other lenses; that said, use the heck out of it, and DON'T rush out and buy something else until you KNOW what you need through experience. Purchases bought simply because you wanted to buy something are usually a waste of money (and yes, I do speak from experience on that point!).

As for filters, the LAST thing you want is cheap- a cheap filter will degrade your images mroe than anything. There have been a number of members here who started out with cheap eBay or Amazon filters and couldn't figure out why their images weren't sharp, colours were off, etc. Removed the filter? Bingo... it's all good. The only filter I would consider right now would be a polarizing filter, and I would look at as a MINIMUM Hoya or Tiffen's multi-coated lines. If you have a couple of more dollars than a Lee, Singh-Ray, B+W, or Heliopan.
 

Solarflare

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
2,898
Reaction score
395
AFAIK great Nikon F mount APS-C (Nikon calls these DX) lenses:

- Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX - can be used even wide open with little loss in image quality; bright enough to make indoor pictures without flash; some people complain about the strong CAs which are however corrected in software (53mm equivalent)
- Sigma 30mm f1.4 [DX only lens] - alternative to the 35mm f1.8. much better bokeh, brighter, but softer (47mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - run it at f8 between 24-50mm and you have pretty much the best image quality possible
- Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - same with 24-60mm; nice walkaround lens but f8 means very little light
- Nikkor 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - expensive but somewhat better alternative to the 18-105mm
- Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 [DX only lens] - popular brighter alternative
- Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR DX - optically surprisingly excellent all plastic telezoom, also very lightweight
- Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR [can be used with FX] - expensive pro lens with fast AF and good range for sports and wildlife
- Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 [DX only lens] - popular still affordable wide angle lens for DX, beware to get the version with af motor (17-25mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.8 [can be used with FX] - popular as cheap portrait lens for DX (75mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 85mm f3.5 VR DX micro - one of multiple alternatives for macro, no idea whats really popular in this area, though.
- Sigma 105mm f2.8 IS - expensive but pretty good alternative

Cheap Filters - dont. Even the most expensive filters (B+W, Hoya etc) are still quite cheap, compared to lenses and camera bodies, and cheap filters cost a lot of image quality.
 

snowbear

Fuzzy, wuzzy Nanuq
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
18,675
Reaction score
10,043
Location
SoMD
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Consider buying used lenses, from trusted sources. If you don't mind potentially having some limitations, there are many lenses available on the used market.
 

EDL

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
697
Reaction score
53
Location
Western Pennsylvania
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If HDR is what you want, that is done via a combination of the photos you take with the camera and post processing to combine and tone map the images. There are some cameras now that will do it all in the camera, but I don't know if the D5200 does??.

Without trying to ignite a big debate on what is, or isn't "HDR", there are two basic camps of thought on the subject. One says an HDR image requires a minimum of three separate exposures; one shot at lower EV, one shot at the proper EV and one shot at a higher EV. You then use the software to combine them and tone map the result. Some agree that using a single, RAW exposure, then bumping the EV, save it, then lower the EV, save it to get three exposures, then combined and tone mapped is acceptable. One other option is to simply take a single exposure and just tone map it, although that isn't really HDR.

The idea behind HDR is to be able to capture a broader dynamic range of light in a single photo that the camera isn't capable of doing in a single shot. The result will show details in shadows that would normally just be dark areas and also show bright highlights without them blowing out...all in a single photo.

Personally I'm in the camp that says at least three shots are needed. The coloration and textures you might see in some HDR photos are the product of the tone mapping process and really isn't a necessary part of HDR per se, but rather an additional process that can be done when processing your image.

Some folks like them processed heavily with strong colors and textures (this is referred to as "over cooking" and can give a cartoonish or surreal effect), and some like them processed just to the point they look natural and realistic.

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to process your photos. It's a matter of personal taste.

So, bottom line is you should do some reading about HDR, and how to go about it. In addition to the camera, you'll need a PC and the software that will combine your shots into HDR and allow you to tone map them. Photomatix is the program I use, but there are others.

As for filters, they are not what gives the strong coloration in HDR. You will find a variety of "special effect" type filters, but those are generally not used much. Typically a polarization filter is considered good to have and if you are looking to slow shutter speeds down in bright light, neutral density filters. If inclined, you could venture into Infra Red stuff with an IR filter, but that's sort of a niche thing you don't see much of.

I would absolutely heed the advice given above and learn what a good photo is and how to take one first and foremost. Save the HDR for later.
 

jamesbjenkins

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,481
Reaction score
328
Location
Dallas / Ft. Worth TX
Website
www.ballengerphotos.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Frankly, OP, you have no business riding a bike until you have mastered walking.

Your long-term gain would be much better served by spending several months exploring all the basics you can find in any decent photography for dummies kind of book. You mentioned enjoying taking pictures of the beach and ocean...great! Experiment with all the settings on your camera while shooting beach pictures. Figured out for yourself what changing settings does. Challenge yourself to put the camera on M (manual) mode and not leave it until you have a strong working knowledge of the exposure triangle (ISO, shutter speed, aperture). It will be very tedious at first, but you will learn SO much more that way than trying to jump ahead to boutique sub-sections of photography like HDR.

As for your filters/lenses question. The way you ask it shows you have no real understanding of the way lenses and filters work. Vibrance and saturation are most easily controlled in post production. The "detail" you're looking for, better referred to as image resolution, sharpness and contrast are controlled by several factors. Your D5200 and the kit lens it came with are perfectly capable of producing razor sharp, beautiful images if you know how to use them properly. Getting "closer up" is only achieved by using a lens with a longer focal length, moving your body or cropping an image in post production.

I hate to break it to you, but there's no lens or filter that will magically give you great nighttime images. Depending on whether you want street scenes with people, or architectural images, your best best is to either get a prime like the fantastic Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (if you want to shoot people), or a tripod, quick release head and remote shutter release (if you want to shoot buildings / landscapes).

And I know you don't want to hear this, but leave the HDR alone for a while. You really have no business attempting algebra until you know your multiplication tables backwards and forwards.

Hope that helps.
 

o hey tyler

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
9,786
Reaction score
2,727
Location
Maine
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
AFAIK great Nikon F mount APS-C (Nikon calls these DX) lenses:

- Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX - can be used even wide open with little loss in image quality; bright enough to make indoor pictures without flash; some people complain about the strong CAs which are however corrected in software (53mm equivalent)
- Sigma 30mm f1.4 [DX only lens] - alternative to the 35mm f1.8. much better bokeh, brighter, but softer (47mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - run it at f8 between 24-50mm and you have pretty much the best image quality possible
- Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - same with 24-60mm; nice walkaround lens but f8 means very little light
- Nikkor 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 VR DX - expensive but somewhat better alternative to the 18-105mm
- Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 [DX only lens] - popular brighter alternative
- Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR DX - optically surprisingly excellent all plastic telezoom, also very lightweight
- Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR [can be used with FX] - expensive pro lens with fast AF and good range for sports and wildlife
- Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 [DX only lens] - popular still affordable wide angle lens for DX, beware to get the version with af motor (17-25mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.8 [can be used with FX] - popular as cheap portrait lens for DX (75mm equivalent)
- Nikkor AF-S 85mm f3.5 VR DX micro - one of multiple alternatives for macro, no idea whats really popular in this area, though.
- Sigma 105mm f2.8 IS - expensive but pretty good alternative

Cheap Filters - dont. Even the most expensive filters (B+W, Hoya etc) are still quite cheap, compared to lenses and camera bodies, and cheap filters cost a lot of image quality.

Why include 35mm equivalents when the OP is new to photography and has likely never shot 35mm format? There's no frame of reference there, so as far as they're concerned, a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens. The FoV doesn't matter to someone that's never shot film on an SLR or with a full frame DSLR.
 

Most reactions

ClickASnap

New Topics

Top