Looking at a couple used lenses and would like your input


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Jul 18, 2015
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Both good choices. They're solid lenses and perform well, given their price point.
Does that camera have a built in focus motor? I don't think it does. If not, those D lenses will be manual focus only.
Thank you, the D5100 does not have a motor. I feel like the manual focus would be okay, but I'm not sure. My vision isn't what it used to be when I shot with manual focus cameras in the past.
I use several manual focus Ai and Ai-s Nikon lenses and they are fantastic. That being said I would shy away from trying to use the more modern D series lenses as manual focus only. The reason being is that the old manual focus lenses were designed with a long travel in the focusing ring for very fine control to achieve optimal focus where as the D series lenses have a significantly shorter focus throw so that the camera can achieve auto focus quickly without having to move the focusing elements through a long range of travel.

Yes you can use the two lenses you listed as manual focus only on your camera, and your camera will even give you a focus confirmation dot in the viewfinder when focusing manually with these lenses, however due to the short focus throw you will see that it takes only a very very small movement for focus to be off. This can be fine when shooting stationary subjects, but in the event you want to shoot anything moving it will quickly become extremely frustrating to do so due to the lack of extremely fine control with the focus ring.

Back when I started photography with my D3100 in 2010 I went and purchased a cheaper 70-300 D series lens for use on my D3100 as a cheap way to get me a 300mm lens and I quickly came to regret it. Save up some money and look in to purchasing a more modern 70-300 that will auto focus on your camera. You'll be glad you did.

It looks like you're planning on buying used so I would highly recommend either the Nikon or Tamron 70-300 VR (VC for Tamron). I own the Tamron and prefer it over the Nikon. Both lenses are very very good despite being considered "budget" grade lenses. The Tamron will be a bit cheaper (both new or used) than the Nikon. The Tamron can be found for around $300 used give or take a few dollars.

Edit: I decided to check KEH immediately after I posted this, and it appears as though the Tamron 70-300 VC prices have dropped a bit. This is a super price on a fantastic lens.

Tamron SP 70-300 4-5.6 Di VC USD lens
I would only recommend lenses with a focus motor for the D5100. The AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm VR is what I have, and the Tamron is also a good option. There is also the non-VR version for closer to the price point of the D lens, or look at the AF-S 55-300mm for price.

As noted above you could pick up an old MF only lens and have better focus control and not be paying for the features of the D lens that you would not be using with only MF. I would suggest wider than the 50mm, an older 20 or 24mm, and should be able to get most things in focus and would be a fun lens.
Yeah, as Mr. Photo mentions above, using AF-D Nikkors as manual focusing lenses on a D5100 is going to be challenging...the viewfinder image is not very bright or large, and the focusing on most AF-D Nikkors is very short in focusing ring travel beyond about three meters distance, so...there's a fair number of missed focus shots when using something like say the 70-300 zoom lens at like 15 to 100 feet...the focusing is just sooooooo hair-trigger--and also often has some mechanical "slop" in zooms...

I know there is the green focus confirmation dot...yeah...but it's not the same as an AF-S focusing Nikkor lens...you WANT autofocusing on a 70-300mm zoom. And on short, hard-to-focuse lenses like 35mm,28mm ,and 24mm. And probably on a 50/1.8 as well. The $257 Tamron 70-300mm VC lens Mr. Photo links to from KEH looks like a good choice to me.
Another voice here to recommend the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G and the Tamron 70-300mm VC, instead of the two AF-D lenses for the D5100. You will eventually get tired of MF with tem.
Thanks all. I really appreciate the advice. Pulled the D lenses out of my cart, and added the Tamron.
Thanks all. I really appreciate the advice. Pulled the D lenses out of my cart, and added the Tamron.

You will not be sorry you did. Have fun with the Tamron I absolutely love mine.
Yeah I was going to give a vote for the 50mm 1.8g. I have the kit lens, 35 1.8g, 50 1.8g and 85 1.8g and after shooting this weekend confirmed the 50 is my fave of the bunch.
Update: Due to an issue I have with the business practices of KEH I didn't get the Tamron above.
A local camera shop had a Nikkor 70-300 1:4.5-5.6 G ED at the same price as KEH so I picked it up.
Really like it so far.
Thanks again for the help.

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