Would like some tips for Lenses (Nikon)


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Mar 28, 2006
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Washington, DC
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Heya. I've never owned a DSLR but have been wanting one for a long time. I spent quite a bit of time researching back and forth and for the most part it seems my best bet would be to go with a lower end model and then spend the rest of my money on lenses, so having said that I believe I'm either going to get the d3100 or d5000. I'm going to wait for the 3100 to hit stores so I can go play with it and decide for sure if I do like it better than the 5000.

Anyway. I assume my best bet for this camera would be AF-S lenses. That aside, there are 3 basic things that I want from whatever lenses I decide to buy.

1) A very good wide angle. Maybe even super wide. I have been looking at the Nikon 10-24 f/3.5. This seems like a very well rated lens that will produce overall crisp pictures throughout the frame, taking into account I will not be using a full frame camera. I want to mainly use this for interior shots of houses and for landscape photography. Due to suggestion below also looking at the Tamron 11-16 f/2.8.

2) A FAST lens. For this I was looking at the 50mm f/1.4 or the 35mm f/1.8. I would like to use this for indoor photography without a flash, as well as maybe portraits.

3) A decent zoom with fast glass for night photography. Edit: Looking at likely the Nikon 80-200 f/2.8.

I would like any comments or recommendations for lenses. I would like to be able to for example take night shots of the local softball games (some type of zoom with fast glass), take wide sweeping landscape shots, and have a lens with good bokeh that can be used up close. I'm also looking for a lens that can be used without flash in a night time city setting without a tripod. I'm thinking the 50mm would be able to handle this.

I know I'm asking for a lot here but if you have any suggestions other than what I listed here please by all means..

Edit: Updated some of my lens picks due to suggestion.
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1) A very good wide angle: The Tamron 10-24mm isnt a 3.5 lens. It is a variable aperture F/3.5-4.5 lens. This means at 24mm, indoors, F/4.5 might just get in your way a bit. Ive also heard that the optics of the Tamron 10-24 arent great at all. The Tokina 11-16mm, however, is a fantastic lens. Almost no distortion throughout the range, almost no vignetting at all, near perfect optics. Can't get much better. And it is a constant aperture of F/2.8 throughout the range.

2) A FAST lens. Both of the lenses offered fit the suit. On the other hand, though, there are also better lenses out there. If you want a fast lens for indoor photos, both of them will do. If you wanted a fast lens for indoor portraits, the 50mm may work. A better lens for portraits would be the Nikon 85mm F/1.8D, 1.4, or 1.4G AF-s. All three are good, with the 1.8 versions having the best optics of the grouping. The 35mm is just too wide to really be satisfied for portraits. The 50mm proves too wide sometimes, also. 85mm seems to be a great distance and Nikons 85mms are all great performers optically, especially the 1.8 versions.

3) A FAST ZOOM. Well, the two lenses you offered just arent the case. The varying apertures are just too small to be really effective in most indoor situations. The 28-300 is a F/3.5-5.6 lens. 5.6 being very slow for 300mm. The 55-300 lens is a varying aperture of F/4.5-5.6. Both of which are a little slow for indoors. A much better option for indoors would be any of the following(sorry there are so many options, you didnt quite say what you wanted to be photographing..):

Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8 (if price allows)
Nikon 80-200mm F/2.8
Nikon 17-55mm F/2.8 ED IF AF-s
Sigma 18-50mm F/2.8
Sigma 70-200mm F/2.8
Sigma 50-150mm F/2.8
Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8 (if price allows)
Sigma 100-300mm F/4 (stretching it with the F/4)
Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8
Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 (slightly better optics than the sigma, but significantly worse AF)

Any of the lenses above would be great performers, and all have great optics. They are a tad more expensive than the lenses you suggested, but, like you said, you should start off first with the best glass you can afford. You will be much happier in the long run.

I hope I helped a little.

EDIT: A good starter group lens setup would be the following:

Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8ATX PRO-X
Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8
Sigma 50-150mm F/2.8 or any of the 70(or 80,,)-200mm F/2.8 models
Any combination of the following:
Nikon 35mm F/1.8 AF-s DX
Nikon 50mm F/1.8 or 1.4
Nikon 85mm F/1.8 or 1.4
I own the Nikon 80-200mm F/2.8D ED IF Two-Ring lens. The lens has outstanding optics. Almost as good as the 70-200mm.
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Thank you for your well thought out reply.

Only thing of note is I was speaking of the Nikon 10-24 not the Tamron. I did look at and very much like the 70-200 but that's about double than what I would have liked to spend on a zoom. I was budgeting for around 1k.

I do however like the Nikon 80-200. Only thing I notice there is that it's not an AF-S lens which means I will have to manually focus on either of the bodies I want to get, correct?

The 85mm f/1.4 is a suburb lens and I have looked at it a great deal, however that will require a bit more saving so perhaps I'll just stick with the 50mm for now.

If you could maybe compare between the Nikon 10-24 and the Tokina 11-16, or anyone else maybe?

I suppose at this point I'll be looking at getting the 50mm f/1.4 for sure and then either the Nikon 10-24f/3.5 or Tokina 11-16f/2.8. Then for a zoom likely the Nikon 80-200.
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I do however like the Nikon 80-200. Only thing I notice there is that it's not an AF-S lens which means I will have to manually focus on either of the bodies I want to get, correct?
Yep! Which is why the D90 makes more sense, but there may be a D90 replacement announced (D7000?) in the next week or two (Photokina trade show).
I didnt say the Tamron 11-16mm. I was speaking of the Tokina 11-16mm. Here is a review comparing alot of the ultra wides: Digital Wide Zooms .

That is right, none of the lenses mentioned besides the AF-S, HSM, or whatever the Tamron version of internal motors are. If you save a tad more, you could get the D90 body. I also own one of those, and it is a fantastic camera. Including a built in focusing motor. You could find them used for something around $625-700.

@KmH: Good point! The D7000 is going to be another $350-450 over the D90, though.

Hah sorry, yeah if I said Tamron I meant Tokina. In any case, I looked for a long time at the D90 until I read about the d3100 being released. I'm trying to get a camera before my trip to Germany in November. I wouldn't mind waiting to upgrade to the (possible) D7000 as the only reason I strayed away from the D90 a bit was I wanted a more recently designed camera.

Edit: Well now that I think about it, I could always get a D90 and then upgrade to it's replacement when it comes out. Maybe you could help me see what I would be missing out on, if anything by getting the D90 over the D3100? I guess nothing because the D90 is a higher end camera.

Hmm... Dammit back to square one!
These are the speculated specs for the D7000:


The better points for this camera is that it has two memory card slots rather than 1, 1080p HD, 20 min recording instead of 5, Saving photos from video, AF during video, 1.5 mor FPS, higher possible ISO, but no telling how well the camera will do at those high ISOs.., 100% instead of 96% coverage from the viewfinder, 39 AF points instead of 11, and weatherproofing. All of which the D90 doesnt have. This shows for the D90 being ~$860 new, the D7000 being speculated at $1200 new

This decision mirrors more and more my computer purchasing decisions of the late 90's. Something better will always come out 6 months later haha.

Well I likely won't be able to wait until the D7000 gets released. Unless they plan for a release in mid October.

I appreciate your help with the lenses and I guess I'll just have to see how the D3100 stacks against the D5000 to make a good decision there.
The motor is an amazingly huge thing for me. You will save alot of money if you dont have to have the AF-s, HSM, etc lenses. Also, this opens you up to alot more lenses since the D90 will mount and AF with every AF lens ever made.

Other than that:

Viewfinder Coverage: D90 has 96%, D5000 has 95%
Eyepiece size: D90 has 19.5mm, D5000 has 17.5mm
Focusing Screen: D90 hasType-B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines, D5000 has no grid lines
DOF Control: D90 has it, D5000 does not.
FPS: D90 has 4.5, D5000 has 4.
ISO sensitivity: D90 allows for steps of 1/3 1/2 or1 EV. D5000 has 1/3 or 1.
Face Priority AF: D90 has it, D5000 does not
Flash Bracketing: D90 has 2 to 3 exposures in increments of 1/3 to 2 EV. D5000 doesnt bracket flash.
Flash sync modes: D90 has Red-eye reduction with slow sync. D5000 does not
CLS: D90 has commander flash mode for off-camera flash. D5000 does not.
White Balance: D90 has Kelvine fine-tuning and Auto. D5000 has neither.
White Balance Bracketing: D90 has it, D5000 does not.
Screen: D90 has 3". D5000 has 2.7"
Screen Resolution: D90 has 921,000. D5000 has only 230,000
Playback: D90 has Pictmotion (slideshow with music), D5000 does not.
Camera Settings: D90 can save and load custom camera settings, D5000 can not.
Battery Life: D90 has 890 shots, D5000 has 510 shots

:thumbsup: :mrgreen:
Okay. I don't know why that information is so hard to come across haha. You have sold me on the D90 then. I'll upgrade bodies later to whatever it's predecessor is.
Haha. Fail. Thank you for collecting it and comparing it for me then. :)

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