Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    66
    Real Name
    Dave

    Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    Dear Folks,

    I have decided to purchase my first DSLR, a Nikon D5100 (refurbished). I want to initially concentrate on landscape and macro photography. Maybe some stop-action sports later. Any recommendations? I don't mind a manual focus on a landscape or macro lens (as I will probably use a tripod). Can I use extension tubes for macro to maybe get another lens and have macro as an option? My budget will be approximately $2000. The Nikon refurb will cost approx. $600. I will be purchasing some post processing software, which may cost another $500 - $700. So that leaves "approximately" another $700 for lenses. (Used is certainly o.k). Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,916
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    Dave

    I haven't come in to respond because I'm not a Nikon user (although we can all comment on 3rd party lenses - Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc).

    I realise that you are just getting your thoughts together on this .. but they do seem pretty well developed. The one thing that struck me was your early comment about think about about landscape and macro at the moment and maybe spots photography later. I'm not sure you're going to get that bundle in one lens and it might be appropriate to think of your first intention at the moment; i.e. landscape and macro. If your wish to get into sports photography then develops further then you can start to think about the equipment you'd need for that and set out goals to be able to add to your equipment list. I'd concentrate on getting as good a bit of glass as you can afford for the landscape and macro in the first instance.

  3. #3
    Momo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    177
    Real Name
    Darren

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    My reply relates to only Nikkor lenses...

    I am a Nikon D5100 user. I was stumped yesterday when I first read this thread. Why? Because, at least for me, it boils down to personal choice. The best I can do is provide you with some resources that will narrow down what you need and then you can make an informed decision as to what you want to buy. I found that Nikon's website was most helpful in choosing which Nikkor lenses I wanted to research further. If you go to the URL I provided, simple click on the graphic, "Nikkor - welcome to our world". Then, be sure and go to the positioning map to find out which lens suits your needs. You might also want to look at the lens simulator. After you have chosen a lens or two, read some reviews on dpreview.com or similar sites. DPReview has a pretty cool tool that lets you view a test image taken with your chosen lens. (even non-Nikkor lenses) Last, but not least, go to eBay and see if you can find a sweet deal on your chosen lens.

    I don't know if any of this helps, but it's my usual process for scoping out lenses. Best of luck and have fun with that kit!

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,000
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    The problem with researching lenses from Nikon or Canon's web site is that they only consider OEM lenses and there are a lot of third party lenses on the market today that could be (but are not necessarily) the best choice for some shooters.

    A forum like this with a wide range of experience combined with photographers who use varied types of equipment could help a person either get the best lens for his or her choice of camera or, perhaps, shy away from choices which other photographers have had bad experiences with.

    However, always realize that all of us are coming from our own personal spaces in photography. As an example, one of my dog rescue sites has a photography group and a member asked about a reasonably priced "good" color printer. I mentioned that I had just purchased a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 Mark-II for $399 U.s Dollars with a rebate of $200; bring the bottom line price down to $199, which I consider an excellent price for a "good" color printer. I was surprised when the poster said that she thought $200 was very expensive for a printer. I had been coming from my space and our spaces did not overlap one bit when it came to price. Her idea of a "good" printer and my idea were also probably quite different.

  5. #5
    Scottm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Posts
    22
    Real Name
    Scott

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    Hi Dave

    Firstly, your choice of your first DSLR being the D5100 is a great choice and should serve you well for some time. Before going into options, understand that camera bodies are easily upgradable as technology improves (budget being available), so do not get hung-up on the actual body you buy. What is important is that you get the best quality lenses you can afford, for that can last you a lifetime, and learn to fully exploit whatever equipment you have.

    On the issue of lens choices, you have identified three different subjects that would (probably) require different solutions. I would suggest that landscape photography requires a relatively wide-angle lens, and you could get away with a kit lens (18-55mm VR) and have plenty left over for other lenses. However, if you find that 18mm at the lower end is just not wide enough, then your options are somewhat reduced. Nikon make a 16-85mm lens which has had great reviews, and the additional 2mm on the wide side may make a difference. They also make a 14-24 and a 12-24 lens, but your budget will dictate how wide (and how fast) you can go.

    I cannot comment much on macro photography and the associated lenses, but once you get into sports photography, the options again become huge. There are many issues to consider, such as venue, lighting available, type of sport, distance from the subject and the type of photographs you intend to capture. Sports photography generally requires faster (read more expensive) lenses than general photography and could be considered to be quite specialised. For example, there is a huge difference in requirements taking pictures at an indoor basketball game to photographing surfers on the waves in Hawaii.

    I would suggest that you more closely define your wants and desires in each of the three categories you mentioned (Landscape, Macro and Sports) and then, given your budget, consider starting to fulfil the desires of just one of these categories, moving into the other areas when your budget allows. For example, consider foregoing the software and exploit the various freeware options available on the web, and rather invest the cash into better quality glass to fully satisify your requirements in one category so that you do not have to upgrade (only expand) in the short and medium term. Software can come later?

    Finally, once you start the journey into the photographic world, note that it can and often does become a very expensive obsession.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Western MA, USA
    Posts
    389
    Real Name
    Tom

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    I own the D5000. If the $2K were my budget, I'd do the following: Get the D5100 for $600, get the current PaintShopPro for around $100, and spend the remaining $1300 on my two favorite lenses -- the Tokina 12-24 f/4 DX II and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. These are wonderful lenses, and PSP will do pretty much anything you're likely to want to do in post. If you decide to get special plugins to augment it, you can do that with PSP -- most Adobe plugins will also work with PSP. I actually use three such -- NeatImage for noise reduction; FocusMagic for sharpening using deconvolution; and Topaz Detail for tweaking detail of different granularities. Each is good for what it does, but none are really necessary.

    The lens choices are perfect for me, but they might not suit you. The things that I really like about them are: they are both very sharp all across the field of view, even at the largest aperture; they have terrific color contrast; and they are both bright enough to use indoors if you so desire. The 28-75 is my default lens for just about anything. It doesn't really do macro -- it tops out at about 4:1. But, for closeups, that's very serviceable. Personally, I use the Tamron 90 f/2.8 for macro work. I'm a bit ambivalent about it (its working distance is not great, for example). But it is a true macro lens. I have Kenko extension tubes that should be able to be used with the 28-75, but I've never used them with that lens.

    The biggest downside of the 28-75 to many people's minds is that it does not have VR. Personally, I don't use VR on anything below about 100mm, so I don't miss that at all. But some folks really want VR on everything. The biggest complaint about the Tokina is that it is prone to lens flare. That is generally true of UWA lenses, and I haven't found the Tokina to be any more subject to it than other UWAs. There was an earlier version of the Tokina that didn't have a focusing motor built-in. The DX II was supposed to have improved the coating for flare resistance at the same time that they added the motor, so maybe this is a difference between the early models and the current lens. But, for whatever reason, I don't find the lens to be unduly touchy with lens flare.

    I haven't really found a tele lens that I love. My current one is the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR. It's not awful, but it's nothing special. I replaced the Nikon 55-200 f/4-5.6 VR to get this, and I wouldn't do that again. The 55-200 is OK, and this one is just a more expensive OK. I would love to get the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VRII, which really has some magic in it. But it costs about $2500, and I can either have that lens or my wife. So far, I've opted to stay married...

  7. #7
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,798
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    Another alternative is the Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4. It has optical stabilisation (VR equivalent), a macro reproduction ratio of 1:2.7 which I used extensively until I purchased the Tamron 90mm macro for my wife, and has a good working range. It's photos are reasonably sharp across the range - think of it as a lens that sits between the kit lenses and the professional ones. It's ideal for crop sensor cameras, going wide enough for landscape shots and long enough for portraits and everything in between.

  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,408
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    This is just my take, but if you can get an 18-55 kit lens with your refurbished D5100 for a small additional cost (say <$100), go that route, and hold off on getting any more lenses for a little while.

    Since this is your FIRST dSLR, there are a lot of things you're going to have to relearn, starting with things as basic as how to hold your camera, and learning how to focus accurately. The learning curve is going to be pretty big, and having multiple lenses may confuse the picture at the beginning. Just give it a few weeks before adding more kit.

    The 18-55, when stopped down into the f/8-f/16 range makes a great landscape lens. And taking time with it will tell you what focal lengths you may or may not want to shoot landscapes with. You can use everything from ultrawide to telephoto to shoot landscapes.

    A Macro lens might be a good first buy, since you really can't replace the function with anything else. But you could also get a 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8 prime lens for notta lotta dough, and then use one of the "poor man's macro" methods with it: lens reversal, close-up filters, or extension tubes to get some limited macro function out of it until you know which one you want. And the prime will help you out with low light and/or blurring out the background with its larger max. aperture.

    If you do decide to blow cash on a macro, but the Nikkor 105 f/2.8 Micro is too rich for your blood, then consider the Tamron 90mm, Sigma 105mm, or Tokina 100mm macro lenses, or possibly picking up an old manual focus Nikon macro lens. However, if you go for a used lens, and you don't know how to judge condition, I'd highly recommend sticking to reputable sellers with set return policies, like B&H, Adorama, or KEH.

    For the sports shooting, my only advice is look for an AF-S lens. A lot of which lens you want is going to depend on what sport you're shooting, if it's indoors or outdoors, and where you're going to be positioned. For the most part, though, a 70-300 VR zoom is likely to be what you can afford, but may not be what you want. Sports shooting typically is one of the most demanding subjects (along with wildlife) that you can choose to shoot when it comes to buying glass. You typically need speed AND reach in combination, and the cost for that can get astronomical. The most recommended sports lens for a hobbyist is probably a 70-200 f/2.8 AF-S VR lens and it's in the $2000 price range. The third-party versions go in the $800-$1000 price range.

    Definitely read up on maximum aperture and realize that focal length is not the only way to choose lenses.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    66
    Real Name
    Dave

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    To all of the above kind folks who have responded to my query about lenses....much appreciation and thanks. You all are so friendly, gracious and helpful. I really appreciate the great advice!!!

    Dave

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    468
    Real Name
    Larry Saideman

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    I just wanted to add a plus to the Sigma 17-70 os recommendation. I use mine for landscapes and flower closeups. When I recently bought a Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro, I thought I wasn't going to use the zoom for closeups anymore. That has not been the case at all! The excellent os gives me a hand holding ability and a versatility that along with good sharpness makes for some nice images and a fun time shooting. I do hand hold the macro at times, but I prefer to use it on a tripod. A very nice feature of the Sigma 17-70 is the bokeh--if that is important to your style of shooting. Also, if you start out with Photoshop Elements, you will spend a lot less initially and then get occasional discount offers for Lightroom and Photoshop. If you do that, you will have enough money left over to get the Tamron 70-300 vc which is what I use for sports shots. My advice is to shoot RAW and develop your images using a RAW processor of your choice (I use Adobe Camera RAW).

  11. #11
    Administrator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,732
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    My only caution would be that the 5100 does not have a built-in focus motor, so the older (and third-party) screw type autofocus lenses will not work on it. I haven't shot with it (I own a D90), but suspect that manual focus will be a pain, especially with budget lenses. The 18 - 55mm lens will be more than sufficient for landscape work and it is a very good lens for the money. My main issue with it is the plastic lens mount.

    For sports work you want a fast lens; which will be expensive. The 55-200mm lens is quite cost effective, but may be a bit slow for sports work (I'm not a sports photographer, so I can't really provide personal experience here). It has the same plastic mount as the 18 - 55mm, so again, care must be take.

    For the money you are looking at for software, it sounds like you are looking at Photoshop. If you want to save a lot of money, look at downloading GIMP. It's a free, open source editing package that is almost as powerful as Photoshop. I personally would stick to those two lenses until you figure out your needs, abilities and the limitations of the equipment.

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,234
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5100

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    My only caution would be that the 5100 does not have a built-in focus motor, so the older (and third-party) screw type autofocus lenses will not work on it.
    I agree, this is very easy to get wrong when you own a Nikon D40, D60, D3000/3100, D5000/5100 and are new. (have I missed any models out?)

    It is confusing enough with Nikon's own range (must be "AF-S"), but with third party, you need to read plenty of independent reviews and hope the reviewer bothers to mention it.

    In earlier days, personally I have been seconds away from clicking the 'buy' button before realising this and there are several members here who found out the hard way

    If anyone is not sure about a certain lens (even a Nikon one), just ask here and someone with a little more experience will be happy to advise.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 31st March 2012 at 11:51 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •