(Closed) Good Versatile Camera Lens(es) for Beginner

posted 5 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@CherryWaves:  

Nikon 18-200 f3.5-5.6.  It runs about $600-800 I think, but you can likely pick it up cheaper used.  I’m actually looking to sell mine if you do want to go with one!

I’m not looking to sell it because it wasn’t a great lens… it was the lens I bought with my entry level DSLR instead of the kit lens.  It really is fantastic for a DX lens and it has a great, versatile range…. you never need to put another lens on your camera.  Why am I selling it?  It’s not a pro (FX) lens and I’m a pro… lol I’ve been meaning to try to sell it for a long time and haven’t actually bothered yet.

A lot of people will probably jump in and recommend the 50mm f1.8… yes, this is an awesome lens as well and people especially like it because it’s cheap.    If you like to take portraits, there’s nothing better.  Only thing I will say about it is that obviously being a prime lens, it doesn’t have any range… since you are looking for a zoom lens, this one doesn’t fit.  Another thing I don’t like about it is the crop factor on a DX body.  You probably don’t know what I’m talking about… basically what I’m saying is it can be difficult to get far enough away from your subject  sometimes, as on a DX body, the field of view is not as great as it would be with the same lens on an FX body.  It is an outstanding lens though especially for the price… I got started in portrait work with it, and it is still sometimes useful to me as a pro.

I’d recommend checking out both but going with the 18-200 first… it takes pretty decent portraits too… not so that you will be setting up shop with it!  You won’t be setting up shop with an entry level DSLR no matter what lens you put on it – I have to say this as a disclaimer with all beginner camera advice 🙂

Post # 4
Member
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

@seAprilbride:  The 50 1.8 doesn’t have a lens motor in it, so I don’t think she’d be able to autofocus with it anyhow.

@CherryWaves:  What is it about the kit lens that you don’t like? 

Post # 5
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@continuumphotography:  Sure it does… the 50 1.8g does.  My entry level body didn’t have an autofocus motor in it either, so I couldn’t buy lenses that didn’t.  I believe the 50’s without it run about $100 and the ones with it run about $200… so not a huge difference and still very cheap.

Post # 6
Member
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

@seAprilbride:  You never mentioned G in your first comment.  Most aren’t going to know there is a difference between the D and G lenses.  Besides a 50mm on a crop body isn’t super “versatile,” not that the OP is likely looking for a prime lens.

Post # 7
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@continuumphotography:  That’s true… I actually only mentioned the 50mm because it’s such a standard recommendation that most photographers give to beginners.  I did say in my post that it didn’t sound like what she was looking for – actually I just wanted to give my opinion on it right up front as I was seriously expecting others to recommend it.

I totally wasn’t thinking about the G… yes, that’s true.  OP, you would need a 50mm f1.8G, and other lens that have the AF-S distinction, otherwise you will have no autofocus with your particular body.

Post # 9
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@CherryWaves:  Do you mean 300mm?  Most of Nikon’s lenses have VR… which is pretty good.  I can say I never noticed a problem with vibration with either my 18-200 or a 55-300 which I also owned.  The 55-300 was one of the DX lenses that Nikon intended to be like an extendor to the 18-55 kit lens.  It is alright… but now it is on the slow side compared to the 18-200.  It’s pretty much only for wildlife and butterflies, and it is serviceable for sure.  The pictures from it are very nice quality, but the speed is a factor to consider in wildlife photos.  I still like that lens though.  That’s actually the one I’m keeping over the 18-200, to use on my entry level body, for the rare times when I want 300mm. The 18-200 is objectively better… which is also why I’m selling it.  Because it’s actually worth something and the 55-300 was only like $300 when I bought it anyway, and it’s worth even less now.

Is the extra reach between 200mm and 300mm worth it?  It is a difference, I can definitely say that, but whether or not it would actually matter depends on what you’re taking photos of. I used to take a lot of really awesome photos of butterflies, and 200mm was definitely not long enough for that, but the 300mm was.  That’s about the only example of where I think it made a big difference though.

I don’t currently own a pro level telephoto lens because I don’t really have a need for it in my work.  I rent the 70-200mm f2.8, probably Nikon’s most popular pro lens with that distance, if I have to have it… which isn’t often.

ETA:  I am bad about putting the exact model numbers in here.  I don’t really have them memorized (like the difference between the D and the G… I know that one, but not some of the others).  If you want to know the specific model numbers for the ones I’m talking about I can definitely find out though!

Post # 11
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@CherryWaves:  I think you’ll like the 18-200.  It’s more money than one of the extender lens, like the 55-200 or 55-300, but you never have to worry about switching for wide angle shots… it just covers the range.  Also it is a faster lens than those are.  The problems that you notice with the kit lens are pretty similar for the kit lens extenders.  I’ve never used the 18-300 so I don’t really have an opinion on it… but if it’s not significantly more expensive than the 18-200, it’s probably because it’s lower quality.  That’s usually how it works.  It’s really tough to make a lens with that great a range that doesn’t suffer some image quality/speed decline because of it.

Post # 13
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@CherryWaves:  I would guess it’s probably not as good, since that isn’t very much more, but I’d definitely read reviews… I can’t say for sure having never used it.

Post # 14
Member
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

You have to spend a lot of money on a zoom for it to truly be good.  Personally I don’t use zooms at all, but when I did I stuck to ones that were fast (i.e. a constant f/2.8).

You’re likely going to stick to crop sensors for awhile so I’d probably suggest something like Tamron’s 17-50mm f/2.8 for a main lens, and then if you need reach pick up a 70-300mm of some variety.  But honestly fixed focal lengths are where it’s at when it comes to quality, sharpness, and performance in low light.

Post # 15
Member
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Continuum, I agree with most of your advice, but my opinion on fixed focal lengths versus zooms is a bit different. In my experience it depends if you shoot nikon or canon. I have knowledge of both and I find that the canon primes perform far better than their zooms, while the nikon zooms tend to perform better than their primes. I considered purchasing at least 3 different nikon primes but decided to rent them first – none of them were nearly as sharp as my f2.8 nikkor 24-70 and 70-200’s. I was sorely disappointed because their canon equivalents were amazing when I tried those. Oh well. That being said, for the op of consider a 24-70 f2.8 Tamron, we had one for a whole as a backup for our two 24-70 f2.8 nikkors and there is a super slight difference in sharpness, barely noticeable, amazing for the $800 price tag versus $2k (I think) for the nikkor IMO. Also, of you ever go pro it will keep up better than the other non pro lenses recommended on this thread.

Post # 16
Member
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

With all that is said still think she should get a nifty 50mm as well. For the price point and a 1.8. Even at manual focus. The 50 can advance on if she grows into a better body. I personally hated the 18-200 it was only sharp from f9-f11. However, for a beginner it may be a good choice. I also think primes are a better learning lenses over zooms.

 I love primes, I use them all the time except for events. 24-70 and my 70-200 are my go tos.

If you can OP always go for a Nikkor over generic. Glass is an investment and investing in good glass is worth it. Good glass will always grow with you.

 

At Seabride, I rent the 70-200 as well, I just dont use it enough to justify the cost of buying. renting it is sooo cheap. lol I pretty much only use it for ceremony shots. Now the 24-70 love, love, love, love!

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