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Thread: Nikon D3100

  1. #1
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    Nikon D3100

    Hi.... I am a new member. I have just bought a new nikon D3100 with a standard lens 18-55mm with an aperture of F/3.5-5.6. I would like some advice what lens should I buy for better shots. I am checking ebay but I am really confused what to buy. Thanks.... Charlie

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    That kinda depends on what sort of photos you are wanting to take. The 18-55 is a decent lens that is probably sufficient for a general walk around lens. What type of photography do you see yourself getting into?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by charliemercieca View Post
    Hi.... I am a new member. I have just bought a new nikon D3100 with a standard lens 18-55mm with an aperture of F/3.5-5.6. I would like some advice what lens should I buy for better shots. I am checking ebay but I am really confused what to buy. Thanks.... Charlie
    Hi Charlie,

    I would urge you do not rush the buying of another lens, use the one you have, a better lens will not make better pictures, especially not if you don't know what you want. Particularly in buying off eBay; you'd be wide open to get sold something others may avoid because they have more experience.

    As Malcolm says, what you need depends upon what you want to shoot; I assume you have had a camera before, so;
    what was it?
    what did you use it for?
    which focal lengths did you use most often?

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    As has been said - stick with what you've got until you:

    Know it inside out.
    Can see a picture as you walk along without the need to look through the camera to frame it.
    Find that the kit you have is holding you back.

    Then and only then should you but a new bit of gear when upon the whole process starts over.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Hi Charlie and welcome to CiC! I have the D3100 also and could get into why I chose the lenses (or other accessories) I did to complement the normal lens but at this point it wouldn't help you to make a good decision.

    As Malcom and Dave point out, it isn't the camera or lens that makes a great image, it's the skill of the one tripping the shutter. Like anything else you could purchase, If you're not sure exactly what you want to accomplish, you're not likely to make a very good decision. Just as a 60 passenger bus doesn't get good gas mileage and a VW beetle can't transport the football team, you need to get enough experience to make a wise decision.

    Fortunately, CiC photographers can really help you develop your skills and as you do, you'll develop interests in particular kinds of photography that specific lenses can help you achieve.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Thanks for your replay .... I am using an olympus FE-300 which is not an SLR camera, and as this is my first SLR camera I have no clue about focal lenghts. Normally I take pictures of what ever seems to be interesting, whether it is a building or a panoramic view. I also like to take close range shots, like family/kids.

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by charliemercieca View Post
    Thanks for your replay .... I am using an olympus FE-300 which is not an SLR camera, and as this is my first SLR camera I have no clue about focal lenghts. Normally I take pictures of what ever seems to be interesting, whether it is a building or a panoramic view. I also like to take close range shots, like family/kids.
    Based on what you've said, best to stick with what you've got until you know it inside out and have identified a specific need for a lens. You can use the wide range - 18mm end of your lens for your landscape and building photos and the other end - 35-55mm for taking photos of the family and kids. You can do plenty of learning with the lens that you currently have.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    As the other have said play with what you have and get to you know your camera like the back of your hand. The 18-55mm kit len will do you just find until your feel ready to move on. The only other len I got for my D3100 is the 35mm 1.8 which I needed since I do alot of low light stuff but found that it's a wonderful len for a lot more than just low lights, I keep this one on now 80% of time. Next up is a zoom len maybe the 55-200. Have fun with your new camera and lets see some shots.
    Cheers!

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by charliemercieca View Post
    Hi.... I am a new member. I have just bought a new nikon D3100 with a standard lens 18-55mm with an aperture of F/3.5-5.6. I would like some advice what lens should I buy for better shots. I am checking ebay but I am really confused what to buy. Thanks.... Charlie
    When you stated "for better shots." It made it seem you weren't happy with your current lens. Also, use ebay as a last resort, for the amount of money you are going to pay it would be best to get at least the minimum 5 year warranty on your purchase. I doubt if you'll one year through ebay.

  10. #10
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    There's nothing wrong with the 18-55 kit lens. It's not fantastic, but it doesn't instantly render all your images butt-ugly, either. As everyone else is saying, take the time to master it, and learn SLR technique: there's a lot to cover, starting with knowing how to hold the camera properly. Your left hand should not be at the top/side of the lens, or on the left side of the camera for starters. You should be cradling the bottom of the camera/lens on your left palm.

    Generally speaking, if you don't know what lens to look at, you're not ready to get a lens. When you've used the 18-55 enough to be irritated with it, those specific irritations are going to guide you to what features you'll want in your next lens. But until you have that experience, you can't know. There is no "best" lens that's right for everyone. Everybody shoots different subjects in different ways. You have to look for the best fit for you, both in terms of features and price.

    My suggestions for your next purchase, if you have to buy something would be two books by Bryan Peterson: Understanding Exposure for basics on exposure and Learning to See Creatively for basics on composition.

    A different lens can give you a sharper image, more magnification, a wider field of view, or a thinner DoF, better chromatic aberration control, less distortion, or more contrast. But it won't necessarily make better pictures. An ugly, badly composed image doesn't improve just because it gets sharper.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    The Nikon 18-55mm AF-S VR is an excellent lens for most photographers (meaning those that do not have to shoot at fast shutter speeds in low light).

    Ken Rockwell in his review of the lens says "This 18-55mm VR focuses closer than either of the more expensive lenses, weighs less, is smaller and has less distortion at the long end. So there. The 18-55mm VR has superb optics in a plastic mount for light weight and low cost. What you lose for paying less than one-third the price is durability, instant manual-focus override and zoom range". He also writes "I'd get one! It's super-sharp, and can give images as good or better than the more expensive 16-85mm and 18-200mm lenses. You lose mechanical durability, not image quality, compared to the more expensive lenses".

    I have one and use it most days. I takes excellent photographs, focuses fast, and is light weight to carry. The image below was taken with it.

    Nikon D3100

    Do not think more expensive lenses are the way to excellent photography, better to know how you camera and lenses work and to learn exposure and focusing.

  12. #12

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Hi Charlie
    I am also a new member-the replies you received are fantastic from such knowledgable people.Just by browsing threads for two days I have learnt a lot.I agree with the experts,get to know your camera and current lens properly,I would utilize your current lens fund and spend it on a good tripod,if you have one I would like to share two scenarios : My wife started with an 18-200 lens and decided she needed more zoom-28-300 currently and she sometimes misses the wide angle 18-28,she has to take a step or two back.My lenses range from 10 to 500 on 4 bodies,my mostly used is an 18-200,extremely versatile.Neither my wife nor I specialize in any particular field of photography.Reading between the lines I think it is zoom that you feel you are lacking,as any newcomer to DSLR does most likely because the upgrade from a point and shoot or bridge camera with zoom was a great feature.I have a Nikkor and a Sigma 18-200,the latter gives the Nikkor a good run for its money.I did a little excercise after a weekend away and found most of my shots were taken at between 18 and 120 zoom shooting a variety of subject matter.I sincerly hope I didn't confuse the issue as I deviated from the technical replies.

  13. #13
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by siggi View Post
    Reading between the lines I think it is zoom that you feel you are lacking,as any newcomer to DSLR does most likely because the upgrade from a point and shoot or bridge camera with zoom was a great feature.I have a Nikkor and a Sigma 18-200,the latter gives the Nikkor a good run for its money.I did a little excercise after a weekend away and found most of my shots were taken at between 18 and 120 zoom shooting a variety of subject matter.I sincerly hope I didn't confuse the issue as I deviated from the technical replies.
    I have a feeling that Siggi is probably right with what you're thinking Charlie. I've only had my DSLR for about 6 weeks but have an old 28-210mm from my film SLR from a long time ago. I think I've used it a grand total of 6 times - each time was purely because I couldn't get close to the subject I was trying to capture. The majority of time, my zoom is my feet which works a lot better than I thought.

    Like Paul I find myself with a prime lens on my camera most of the time now - a 50mm rather than 35mm because I take portrait shots most of the time. I do a lot of backwards and forwards walking - but I think that can help with becoming a better photographer as you explore different perspectives and angles rather than staying fixed in a single position.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Here is a review of the 18-55mm lens. I found the SQF chart useful but of course you should analyze for yourself.
    Nikon D3100

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    The 18-55mm should be in everone bag, good around len for sure. The only con if any is a all-plastic construction (Hey most are anyways) rotating front element maybe annoying for some filter users, somewhat susceptible to flare, with little or no help from a lens hood and it's short travel of focus ring makes critical manual focus rather tricky.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    It's funny how everyone calls the cheapo plastic of the 18-55 a down-side. Personally I see it as a plus. If you break it, it won't cost you months of savings. It's almost cheap enough to keep a spare one at home just in case.

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    Re: Nikon D3100

    nowt wrong with the 18-55 VR there are things lacking (inability to manually override autofocus for instance) but image quality is good.

    as every one says learn how to use the camera. learn what changing f-stops does etc. THEN and only THEN consider other lenses

    good follow ups would be the 35 f1.8 and a 55-200 or 55-300 and maybe 50f1.8 if you're into portraits.

  18. #18

    Re: Nikon D3100

    I am also a new member and this is my first post. The advice i can give is not to believe that a bigger lens is always better. dont be afraid to get closer to the subject you are trying to photograph, zoom isn't always the right way to go. The best thing about digital photography is that apart from the price of your memory card, taking pictures is free so take loads of them. Also find out what works for you and best of all enjoy what you'r doing.

  19. #19
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife View Post
    inability to manually override autofocus
    You should have an A-M switch on the side of the lens. In the M position, you should be able to manually focus.

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife
    inability to manually override autofocus
    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    You should have an A-M switch on the side of the lens. In the M position, you should be able to manually focus.
    I believe the issue being referrred to is that this lens just has a switch with "M" and "A" positions (one or the other), whereas many (dearer) Nikon lenses have "M/A" and "M" positions. In "M/A" it auto-focuses, but you can just grab the focus ring and manually focus it without fumbling for the switch first (or graunching the cogs inside ).

    All my lenses are thankfully the "M/A" variety, but I can see that having an 'odd one out' being a bit of a nuisance, that said, I see (from research) that kit 55-200mm is the same; "M" or "A", as is the 55-300mm
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 20th December 2011 at 06:07 PM. Reason: updated from further research

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