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Thread: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

  1. #1
    alexis88's Avatar
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    New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Hello to all of you! I m pretty new in photography and a couple of months ago I got a Nikon D300, with a Sigma 18-200 on it!
    However, suddenly and without any misuse the zoom of the lens broke. I consulted a photographer who said I have to send it back to Sigma for repairing, but as far as I dont have guarantee and as i can buy the lens new for 150e, I decided not to and to buy a new one.
    So, the question now is...which lens would fulfill my needs?

    To give a hint on that...my needs are everyday photography, portraits and landscapes. Not anything too extreme, as I m just having photography as a hobby. I really like sharp pictures though, and I prefer shooting in night light without flash. That means a high aperture, right?

    I m really a newbie with a super camera and not that much knowledge.. and I feel totaly lost!
    After some research I found that a 18-200mm lens covers my needs. Do you agree??

    If yes, should I rebuy the Sigma one? Or a Nikon is a better option?
    That's the lens I was thinking
    http://www.amazon.de/Nikon-AF-S-Nikk...5486515&sr=8-1
    Should I buy a second lens for portraits or low light conditions?

    Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you in advance ppl!

  2. #2

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Personally, I am no fan of travel zooms. However, since you feel that it meets your needs, it would be reasonable to continue with a lens like the one you had. The Nikon you indicate is pretty universally seen as the best of the lot. If you want a lens for portrait and low light conditions, a bright standard zoom would be a reasonable choice -- although it may make you unhappy with the quality of your travel zoom! If money is no object, the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 is very well-regarded. If money is an issue, the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is a wonderful alternative (and the lens that I own and love). If you want a compromise that is not as bright as either of these zooms, but is higher-quality than the Nikon travel zoom, you might consider the Nikon 16-85 f/3.5-5.6 VR. While it isn't as bright as the standard zooms, it has broader range, is just about as sharp as the standard zooms, has VR which they lack, and has massively better IQ than any travel zoom, including the Nikon. FWIW

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Alex

    I think Tom has started off replies to your question with some very helpful suggestions.

    Another thing to think about, particularly as you said you want to do low-light night photography, is the need for accessories. The most important of these would be a tripod and a cable release for the shutter, so that you can get long exposures without having to handle the camera.

  4. #4
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Often a single lens will not fill all the needs of a photographer.

    You mentioned that your, "needs are everyday photography, portraits and landscapes." Apparently you were happy with the capability of your Sigma 18-200mm lens, so a lens similar to that one might be what you want or need. I would review the various lenses produced by Nikon, Sigma and Tamron to see if there is one that will suit your needs.

    One of the parameters in which this type of lens falls short is the maximum aperture which is often pretty small. You state, "I prefer shooting in night light without flash.". This requires a lens of a wider aperture than what is normally found in the extended focal length lenses like the 18-200mm. However, Nikon offers 50mm f/1.8 lenses which are quite decent for low light shooting and which are not terribly expensive. The purchase of a 50mm f/1.8 lens would allow you to shoot in lower light and free you from needing a wider aperture in your wide focal range zoom.

    You also mention that you, "really like sharp pictures though". Now that is a somewhat vague term bacause what one photographer considers "sharp" another photographer might not be satisfied with.

    You could be pretty sure of getting "sharp" images by selecting a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (VC or non-VC) or a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. Neither of these lenses have the extended focal range you are used to but, selecting photography equipment is a series of decisions and compromises. Tamron offers the 17-50mm f/2.8 VC along with a 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VC which might be a nice combination. IF you are willing to switch lenses in the field. The 17-50mm f/2.8 VC lens would also give you a relatively decent lower light capability.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Nikon also has a AF-S 35mm f/1.8, which could work better for you as a fast prime than the new AF-S 50/1.8G, simply because it's "normal" on a crop body. Some folks find 50mm on a crop body to be too narrow a field of view. If you plan on framing mostly head and torso shots, the 50mm could work great for you, but if you want to do full-body framing, or shoot in smaller spaces, or just want a wider field of view (say, for street shooting) the 35mm lens could be better as a general purpose lens.

    Another good walkaround lens to consider is the 17-55/2.8 if you want a walkaround zoom that covers the wide angle, but it's pretty expensive. A lower-cost alternative is the Tamron 17-50/2.8.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    My first and most obvious thought for night photography would be a prime such as the 50mm simply because it tends to have fewer elements and less propensity for flare. It is also available at the wider aperture of f1.4, and whilst you may choose not to use it wide open for other reasons, it gives you that extra flexibility in low light situations. The 35mm is a recent addition to the range and as Kathy says, is a 'standard lens' on DX crop frame cameras such as the D300.

    The 17-55mm is a superb lens, and I would still be using it now if I hadnt gone over to full frame when the D3 came out. Even then, it was my last DX lens I sold. It is much sharper IMHO than the Do it all 18-200, good all rounder that it is.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    I am a newbie too. Been taking picture with a Canon G10 point and shoot for a few years, and want to upgrade everything. This is a great place to learn. People are kind and give lots of constructive criticism to help you improve. I have been looking at someone named Bobobird...the recent threads are Red, and From a Recent Walk. She/he (not sure which) used a 70-300 lens and got quite close. I was very surprised. I thought those lenses were only for far away, but her close up shots are beautiful. I am getting a 70-200 which is in between for starters. If I can take pictures close up like those...well, maybe not as good, but as close, then it will be great. I eventually want 3 lenses...telephoto zoom, regular, and macro.

    Oh...I have asked lots of questions, and googled everything to research what everyone has said. Amazon has good user reviews, and also used like new lenses. I think people do buy used equipment, it saves a lot. Also the digitalpicture.com has very good reviews of tons of stuff. He does a very thorough review and is very easy to read. That is how I am making my decision about what to buy. I am buying a Canon 60D and the advice on here is to spend the money on the lenses. I am going to try and do that.

    Correction on the web address... www.the-digital-picture.com without all the dashes, you'll never find it.
    Last edited by lizzy310; 9th September 2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: fix something

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Thank you for the great help all of you!
    After considering all your advice, checking reviews and prices I have narrowed a little bit my choices...!
    However I still have some questions... and I d be glad if you could help me!
    So... let's see...!

    The lenses I m thinking of right now are these:

    Zoom Lens:

    Nikon 18-200 mm f/3,5 - 5,6G ED VR II -----> multi tool
    Questions: Over what focal length I ll see the quality and the sharpness of the picture decreasing? Let's say over 105mm? Or sharpness and quality aren't really affected?

    Nikon 24-70 f/2,8 & Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2,8G IF-ED ----> TOO expensive for me

    Nikon 16-85 f/3,5-5,6 VR ----> sounds like a good choice, but why should I prefer this one than the 18-200mm? They have the same apperture and pretty much the same price..! Has this lens better quality or something?

    e.g. If I shoot the exact same picture in adequate light conditions with a Nikon 18-200, between the focal lenght of 16-85 and the same picture with a Nikon 16-85... will there be a difference?

    Prime Lens:

    Nikon 50mm f/1,8 AF
    Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1,8G
    Question: 1. Is there any other difference in these two other than the focal lenght? I am talking about quality of the picture or sharpness.
    2. Are these lenses suitable for portraits? Would the result be different in case I use the 18-200 in a 50mm focal lenght with higher aperture and adequate light?
    3. Can I change the apperture in these two lenses? Or is it fixed as well?

    I have declined the option of 70-200 that lizzy310 recommends, because I would need to have the lower focal length and I think I need it more than the super zoom!

    I have also decided to stick into Nikkon, but I dont know if it's important. Is it working better a Nikon lens with a Nikon camera? Or it doesnt really matter? I was just not that satisfied with my Sigma once, so I decided to stick on the Nikon brand.

    I was thinking that I could make a combination of Nikon 16-85f/3,5-5,6 VR and Nikon 35mm f/1,8 instead of buying Nikon 18-200mm f/3,5-5,6. Any piece of advice over that??

    Thanks again for all the replies! I m really happy that I found this forum!

    P.S. Donald I already have a tripod, but I prefer to start with the lenses now and then I will re-evaluate my budget for the accessories! Because right now I cannot even use the camera without a lens...!
    Last edited by alexis88; 9th September 2011 at 07:53 PM.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Alexandros
    The two lenses are very close to each other in quality but you can read up on the strengths and weaknesses of each at this website. http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests
    Both lenses would be suitable for portraits. They would work better than the 18-200mm because you would be able to create a shallower depth of field with the larger aperture. The aperture is not fixed on the lenses. Lenses are described by their focal length or range and the max aperture.

    Paul

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Nikon 18-200 mm f/3,5 - 5,6G ED VR II -----> multi tool
    Questions: Over what focal length I ll see the quality and the sharpness of the picture decreasing? Let's say over 105mm? Or sharpness and quality aren't really affected?
    Hi Alexandros,

    I have this lens, I'm not one to take pictures of brick walls (or test charts) to determine this kind of thing - I prefer to see it emerge as a general feeling over several months of 'real' use. I have no such feelings, I used the lens exclusively for about a year before I got a longer one for birds. I will generally shoot at whatever focal length the image needs, the only bit I avoid if I can, is the bit between 18 and 22mm, on a wide range zoom like this, design is a compromise, so the extremes are liable to be worse than the middle - on this lens, I'd say that applies to the wide, not telephoto end. Like almost all lenses, it performs a bit better stopped down I suspect, but it isn't as noticeable on the 18-200mm as it is on the 70-300mm. With the 18-200mm, I'll use at all apertures right up to wide open, but with the 70-300mm, I do try to avoid wider than f/8.

    I don't regret buying the 18-200mm for one second, it isn't entirely without issues, but no lens is. I wandered around a city centre shooting last month and was so glad I could get decent quality at every focal length just by zooming (and I used 'em all) and not have to phaff around swapping lenses every 5 minutes. I am a spur of the moment shooter though, folks that are tripod oriented work at a far slower pace and wouldn't worry about it - I got a good range of shots in about an hour, not possible if I'd been swapping short zoom or prime lenses willynilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Nikon 16-85 f/3,5-5,6 VR ----> sounds like a good choice, but why should I prefer this one than the 18-200mm? They have the same apperture and pretty much the same price..! Has this lens better quality or something?

    e.g. If I shoot the exact same picture in adequate light conditions with a Nikon 18-200, between the focal lenght of 16-85 and the same picture with a Nikon 16-85... will there be a difference?
    Don't know, possibly a bit, if you're paying same money for less range, I'd hope so

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Prime Lens:

    Nikon 50mm f/1,8 AF
    Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1,8G
    Question: 1. Is there any other difference in these two other than the focal lenght? I am talking about quality of the picture or sharpness.
    2. Are these lenses suitable for portraits? Would the result be different in case I use the 18-200 in a 50mm focal lenght with higher aperture and adequate light?
    3. Can I change the apperture in these two lenses? Or is it fixed as well?
    1. Probably not much, the 35/1.8 AF-S may auto-focus quicker (and quieter) as it has a USM motor in the lens, whereas the 50/1.8 doesn't, it uses the body mounted motor turning a screwdriver slot through lens mount.

    2. As someone else wrote in another thread here today, given the D300 is a DX (crop body) - for head and shoulders the 50 will be ok, for full length or small groups, the 35 will be better. Even these may not be long enough though for face shots if you want to avoid big nose/chin/forehead effects if you get too close with the 50mm. That's why a zoom is more versatile.

    3. They are "G" lenses, yes you will be able to change aperture via the camera body controls, but there is no aperture ring on the lens itself, as there used to be in olden days. I don't miss it to be honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    I have also decided to stick into Nikon, but I dont know if it's important. Is it working better a Nikon lens with a Nikon camera? Or it doesnt really matter? I was just not that satisfied with my Sigma once, so I decided to stick on the Nikon brand.
    I had a Sigma once too, now I buy Nikon (only at the moment), 'nuff said?
    It wasn't that bad, but Nikon is better, no doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    I was thinking that I could make a combination of Nikon 16-85f/3,5-5,6 VR and Nikon 35mm f/1,8 instead of buying Nikon 18-200mm f/3,5-5,6. Any piece of advice over that??
    You'll miss being able to shoot at longer than 85mm.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 9th September 2011 at 10:45 PM.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Just to let you know, I finally bought Nikkon 18-200mm 3,5-5,6. I ll see how it goes with that and maybe I buy another one later!
    Thank you all for your advice and your help!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Just to let you know, I finally bought Nikkon 18-200mm 3,5-5,6. I ll see how it goes with that and maybe I buy another one later!
    Thank you all for your advice and your help!
    Congratulations, I hope it lives up to my expectations

  13. #13
    alexis88's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quick question! I found out that my old lens had that filter on
    http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?art=115&roz=17
    Do I need it?? Does it protect the lens? Does it change the pictures? I looking it up online.. but I m kinda confused..!

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Quick question! I found out that my old lens had that filter on
    http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?art=115&roz=17
    Do I need it?? Does it protect the lens? Does it change the pictures? I looking it up online.. but I m kinda confused..!
    Quick answers; Yes, yes and no.

    I have one fitted.

    UPDATE;
    The answers above were assuming it was a UV filter, which I fitted all the time, but I now see the link is a picture of a CPL (circular polariser) - I do have one, but you wouldn't leave that on all the time as protection, it loses 2 stops of light.

    So get a UV (or Daylight) filter and don't worry about a CPL for now.

    Here's the tutorial on what filters are all about.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 12th September 2011 at 11:12 PM.

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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Quick question! I found out that my old lens had that filter on
    http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?art=115&roz=17
    Do I need it?? Does it protect the lens? Does it change the pictures? I looking it up online.. but I m kinda confused..!
    I would endorse Dave's comments on the CPL. Don't buy one of these (They're expensive anyway) until you have a better understanding of what they do and how to use them. They should never be seen as 'protection' and as Dave points out you'll lose 2 stops of valuable light.

    I'm no longer a fan of UV filters. In my younger days, which would find me clambering up mountain sides and piercing jungles (literally) I smashed a few of these and they may well have saved the front element of my precious lens. But, now I move at a more sedate pace and look on UV filters as another couple of glass surfaces to degrade my image. I've never damaged a lens element in 50+ years, with or without a UV. So, unless you're taking pictures in a risky environment, and I wouldn't count portraits and landscapes in that category, I'd skip them. However, if it makes you feel more comfortable, go for it

  16. #16
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Alex...I too am a new photographer...I have been getting ready to upgrade and have asked hundreds of questions. Everyone is so nice and helpful on here. I got as many suggestions and there are people here and a site I used to look up reviews on all the lenses is http://www.the-digital-picture.com I also read reviews on Amazon which has been helpful. I am getting ready to buy my stuff in a month or 2, so the research has been extensive. When someone suggests a lens, I go right to those 2 sites and look up about it. I also have been looking at the weight, and size or lenses because when I travel, I try not to go too heavy. Good luck and welcome to the site!
    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Hello to all of you! I m pretty new in photography and a couple of months ago I got a Nikon D300, with a Sigma 18-200 on it!
    However, suddenly and without any misuse the zoom of the lens broke. I consulted a photographer who said I have to send it back to Sigma for repairing, but as far as I dont have guarantee and as i can buy the lens new for 150e, I decided not to and to buy a new one.
    So, the question now is...which lens would fulfill my needs?

    To give a hint on that...my needs are everyday photography, portraits and landscapes. Not anything too extreme, as I m just having photography as a hobby. I really like sharp pictures though, and I prefer shooting in night light without flash. That means a high aperture, right?

    I m really a newbie with a super camera and not that much knowledge.. and I feel totaly lost!
    After some research I found that a 18-200mm lens covers my needs. Do you agree??

    If yes, should I rebuy the Sigma one? Or a Nikon is a better option?
    That's the lens I was thinking
    http://www.amazon.de/Nikon-AF-S-Nikk...5486515&sr=8-1
    Should I buy a second lens for portraits or low light conditions?

    Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you in advance ppl!

  17. #17
    alexis88's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    I didnt buy it! It was on the previous lens! My dad had bought that 3 yrs ago..! I just noticed that it was on! :P I m really a beginner! lol!

    Thanx a lot for your advice! I ll go for a UV filter 'cause it makes me feel unsafe having the lens unprotected!

    @krispix: I may not go to jungles and stuff, but still I have the feeling that my lens would be easily scratched exposed like that...!

    @lizzy: I checked the reviews and stuff.. but still I was pretty confused on what to get! Every lens has pros and cons and the really really good ones that seem to be "flawless" - if one could say - cost more than my camera!

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    Every lens has pros and cons and the really really good ones that seem to be "flawless" - if one could say - cost more than my camera!
    Hah, most are more than my car is worth (it is 15 years old, bless)

  19. #19
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    If there is one thing I am taking to heart...it's go lower on the camera body and spend more on lenses. I am getting the Canon D60 camera which is around $950-$1000. The lenses are all more than the camera, but that is what everyone says. The lenses will make the difference in your photos. See my new thread post...All those lenses are around $1100 -$1400...more than the camera. The thread name is Final Canon Lens Questions? There are tons of threads on lenses, beginning camera and lenses...etc. I have pestered all these fine peeps until they probably want to shoot me ...and maybe not with a camera!
    I have looked at lots of tutorials which are sometimes way over my head, but I am trying to learn. Maybe start with a medium one to practice and save up for something better. If you have to do it that way...go for it! I may rent the 70-200 lens for my trip, and just buy the walk around one.
    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    I didnt buy it! It was on the previous lens! My dad had bought that 3 yrs ago..! I just noticed that it was on! :P I m really a beginner! lol!

    Thanx a lot for your advice! I ll go for a UV filter 'cause it makes me feel unsafe having the lens unprotected!

    @krispix: I may not go to jungles and stuff, but still I have the feeling that my lens would be easily scratched exposed like that...!

    @lizzy: I checked the reviews and stuff.. but still I was pretty confused on what to get! Every lens has pros and cons and the really really good ones that seem to be "flawless" - if one could say - cost more than my camera!

  20. #20
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: New photographer, new camera, which lens?

    If there is one thing I am taking to heart...it's go lower on the camera body and spend more on lenses. I am getting the Canon D60 camera which is around $950-$1000. The lenses are all more than the camera, but that is what everyone says. The lenses will make the difference in your photos. See my new thread post...All those lenses are around $1100 -$1400...more than the camera. The thread name is Final Canon Lens Questions? There are tons of threads on lenses, beginning camera and lenses...etc. I have pestered all these fine peeps until they probably want to shoot me ...and maybe not with a camera!
    I have looked at lots of tutorials which are sometimes way over my head, but I am trying to learn. Maybe start with a medium one to practice and save up for something better. If you have to do it that way...go for it! I may rent the 70-200 lens for my trip, and just buy the walk around one.
    Quote Originally Posted by alexis88 View Post
    I didnt buy it! It was on the previous lens! My dad had bought that 3 yrs ago..! I just noticed that it was on! :P I m really a beginner! lol!

    Thanx a lot for your advice! I ll go for a UV filter 'cause it makes me feel unsafe having the lens unprotected!

    @krispix: I may not go to jungles and stuff, but still I have the feeling that my lens would be easily scratched exposed like that...!

    @lizzy: I checked the reviews and stuff.. but still I was pretty confused on what to get! Every lens has pros and cons and the really really good ones that seem to be "flawless" - if one could say - cost more than my camera!

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