Looking for Advice On a Good Beginner's Lens

SG8

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Hello everyone,

Last weekend I picked up a Nikon D90 at a yardsale for a really great price. However, it needs a lens. Right now, the budget is tight (I'm hoping to spend less than $100 and used is ok, as long as it works as good as new), so my question is largely two-fold.

One, what is some general advice for buying a lens on a budget? Used off eBay ok? How about refurbished from amazon? Local camera shops? What should I look out for and/or ask? General thoughts would be appreciated.

Two, what lens (in general or specific) would you recommend for someone who is just starting out (my only other camera experience comes from using my Sony Cybershot DSC-W30, which is a point-and-shoot)? Is some variation of a 50mm lens a good beginner's lens? I'd like to be able to have lens with at least the same capabilities as my Cybershot, ie, macro, zoom, indoors, outdoors, etc.

I understand the concept that no lens can do everything, especially for a cheap price. But I'd like a universal lens that can do as much as possible.

If this topic belongs in another section, let me know.

Thanks,
SG8
 
There is not a lot available for $100 that will work on the D90. If you up your budget to $150-200 then you have a few more options. KEH.com is THE place for buying used camera gear.

That being said it's not a lost cause. A great beginner lens that is very affordable is the Nikon 18-55 3.5-5.6 G. This lens comes in either a stabilized version (VR) or a non-VR version which will be a bit cheaper. Prices range between $75-125 depending on whether it's a VR or non-VR lens, what condition it is, and if it comes with any of it's original accessories.

Another option (if you only want a fixed focal length lens) is the AF 50mm 1.8D. Used prices on these have risen a bit, but if you're savvy you can find good ones on Ebay or through other used camera retailers for between $70-95.

If you want something with a slightly broader range of zoom then the above mentioned Nikon 18-70 3.5-4.5 G is a great option although good condition ones will run you closer to the $150 mark.

As I mentioned, KEH is the best place for buying used gear. They offer a 14 days no hassle return policy as well as a 6 month warranty against defects on all used gear.
 
Thanks for the advice!
 
100$ ?

18-70mm
or
18-55mm
 
Thanks again for the great pointers. From what has been said here and my research, it looks like if I want a lens with a large aperture (say less than 3.5), along with zoom capability, there is practically no way I'm going to find a lens for less than $150, right?

I understand you get what you pay for, but I'm still trying to "feel out" what you can expect to get for a given price.
 
Thanks again for the great pointers. From what has been said here and my research, it looks like if I want a lens with a large aperture (say less than 3.5), along with zoom capability, there is practically no way I'm going to find a lens for less than $150, right?

I understand you get what you pay for, but I'm still trying to "feel out" what you can expect to get for a given price.

About the cheapest fast aperture zoom lens I can think of is one that I own which is the Tamron 17-50 2.8 which can be bought used for around $300.
 
If you can find a 18-70 f/3.5-4.5g for around $100, I think that would be perfect for you to start out on. There is no stabilization, but if you keep the shutter speed above the focal length, you'll be fine. My cousin just picked up one for her D3200 for $100 brand new..so they are out there.

nikon 18-70 | eBay
 
Ok, sounds good. Thanks again for all the help!
 
Adorama has the 18-55 for $69.95 refurbished by Nikon, USA. They state that the price has been reduced $20, or a 22 percent savings from the normal price...Nikon 18-55mm
 
SG8 in case you haven't totally wrapped up the thread and won't be reading it: you can find other options for that price IF you are open to using manual focus lenses. To go back to your first post - yes - 50mm is the typical (or was) starter lens that people got with an SLR. On a crop sensor DSLR your depth of field is deeper compared to a film SLR, by about one third (e.g f4 is like f5.6 depth of field). There is a Tamron lens 35-80 f2.8 (f3.8 at 80mm macro). Adaptall 2 in Nikon F. Manual focus lens. Called an 01A. Maybe find that for about $75. Will it meter on a D90 ? I don't know, but it would be equivalent to a 50-120mm on a D90. Very good optically. The 18-70 would be the best choice IMO, with the AF and the rounded 7 blade iris. 18-55 not as good.
 
I'm looking at either the 18-55 or the 18-70. I'm leaning towards the 18-55 because it seems smaller and lighter.

Thanks again for all the comments; they have been most useful!
 

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