Lens help


TPF Noob!
Jan 8, 2008
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I am new to photography and recently bought a Nikon D200. I also bought a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D lens. I enrolled in a class and my instructor said was lens was cheap and not any good. :er:

Can someone please recommend a general purpose lens? Unfortunately, my budget is about $200. Thanks!
Well what is General purpose to you?
The 50mm f1.8 might not be a fantastic lens (and I think the nikon version might be worse that the canon in this class - but I am not fully certain) but its still a prime lens with decent sharpness and not to budget breaking.

First things first though - for a new lens you have to identify your uses for that lens and your requirements as based on your shooting style and budget. If your not really sure on these points then it might not be the best time to get a new lens.
For example - some people like street photography - but one can use a 35mm lens or a 70-200mm lens for such work - shooting style and end result help determin what lens of the two (ok its many more in reality) is the best for you
Tell your instructor that it's the quality of the photographer, not the quality of the equipment, that matters most.

You aren't going to find anything better for less than $200, so stick with that lens and prove your instructor wrong.
Thanks for your reply. Mostly I like to shoot my family. Candid shots as well as portrait. But, I also like to shoot street scenes. I live in New Orleans and the French Quarter is a great place to shoot.
I am new to photography and recently bought a Nikon D200. I also bought a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D lens. I enrolled in a class and my instructor said was lens was cheap and not any good. :er:

Can someone please recommend a general purpose lens? Unfortunately, my budget is about $200. Thanks!

Did you ask your instructor why he think that lens is not any good? I want to know as well (even I do not own any Nikon camera) since a lot of people who own the Nikon lens said it is pretty good. May not be the sharpest lens in Nikon lens lineup, but it is pretty decent from what I read.
Explain to your instructor that the lens is what you have to work with for right now and when you can afford different lens, you'll consider getting one. If you want to butter the bread (as it were) a bit more, say something along the lines of "if your course can help me realize the limits of this lens, then the need for a new one will naturally present itself."
At its one fixed focal length, your prime lens is better than most zoom lenses.

For under $200, the 17-50mm f/2.8 zoom lens deal that was in this thread would have been appealing for general photography with your D200, but it's sold out now. The only other new lens in your price range that I can think of (coming from a noobish Canon user) that would equal the quality of your AF 50mm f/1.8D might be the $200 AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G, and it's also a prime lens. The $190 AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR has a useful range of focal lengths, but it's image quality won't match your existing prime lens. The $375 Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM DC or the $395 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di-II are well-reviewed lenses in this same range of focal lengths, but they're double your budget. Rufus' advice is probably best.
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The 50 is a great lens for what it does now what I think your teacher was getting at (i hope at least or else you need to find a new class) is it's a lot harder to compose your shot if you are manually (with your feet) zooming. Don't get the 35 (i have one and it's an awesome lens but you need at least one zoom) you will not be happy with 2 prime lens. For a cheap great zoom go with the 18-55 VR kit lens: ~ 130ish
[ame=http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-55mm-3-5-5-6G-AF-S-Nikkor/dp/B000ZMCILW/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1238024156&sr=8-10]Amazon.com: Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens: Electronics[/ame]

Or if you want to step up get the 18-135mm for about 330ish: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-135mm-3-5-5-6G-Zoom-Nikkor-Digital/dp/B000HJPK0Y/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1238024396&sr=1-15"]Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras[/ame]

I will be adding the 16-85mm ~ 600ish to my set up soon!
Personally if it were me I would ask for my money back. Not on the lens, but on the class. If that is the knowledge level of the instructor then I would say that the instructor is, if I may quote that instructor, "not any good." :mrgreen:
Wow, that is kind of surprising, but yeah, I would definitely ask why he thought it wasn't any good. That lens is very good, sharp and fast for the price.

Well, I can see that if your photography course is landscape or wildlife based , he may have a point, the focal length is not appropriate. But if it is a general photography basics class... he needs to learn a lot more before he teaches.

I have a D200 and this lens, and it did me very well. It was even quite sharp at F/1.8!
Of course the 1.8 is not as good and is cheaper than the 1.4 and the 1.2. Of course the lens is very plasticy and fragile. But thats why you pay under $100 for it.

My first photo teacher constantly said that getting cheap lenses is not worth it. The image quality and build construction of the pro lenses is really worth it, more so than upgrading a camera body. He didn't like 3rd party lenses, he liked the manufacturers. He was really big on this.

But even he, when we had a class focused on equipment and lens choices, spoke highly of the 1.8 as one of the best kept secrets in the business for anyone starting out.
the nikon 50 1.8 is way better made then the canon 1.8 so i dont know why people are complaining about the build quality so much. i mean it definitely isnt pro glass but its pretty damn good expecially for about 100 bucks.
so he only teaches how to use lenses of certain price?
I would consider finding a new instructor.
Thanks everyone for the replies. It makes me feel better about my decision to puchase that lens. I did research and it got very good reviews on the B & H website. And the price was in my budget. I was really shocked about my instructors opinion on the lens. He said he was surprised Nikon was still sending that junk out. He thought it came with the camera. He said maybe they had extra of the lens and were trying to get rid of them. I didn't have the nerve to tell him I paid $125+ extra for it. :blushing:

He uses Canon so maybe he doesn't like Nikon.
He uses Canon so maybe he doesn't like Nikon.

Oouff... I hope you are wrong about that. There are fewer more discouraging things than wasting time trying to do your best learning something than when the instructor is a brand snob and you are not using his brand of choice, no matter what the course or brand.

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