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Thread: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

  1. #1
    carloshpvp's Avatar
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    Carlos Henrique

    Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    As I've already mentioned in a previous post I'm planning to buy my first DSLR. I've been reading a lot about gear but there are too many options that sometimes let us very confused. Hopefully we have this forum!

    My choice at the moment is the Nikon D7000. There are the options for going for the camera + 18 - 105 mm f/3.5 - 5.6 VR kit lenses or get the body only. Until recently I was decided to keep this kit for general purpose and get a prime for portraits. However, I've just seen the Sigma 17 - 50 mm f/2.8 OC as a good alternative for the kit, mainly for its wider aperture for low light.

    So here the questions go:

    1. Is it a good idea to get the D7000 body only + Sigma 17 - 50mm f/2.8 instead of the Nikon 18 - 105 mm f/3.5 - 5.6?

    2. To complement the choice from the first question, which lens would be better considering that the main shooting preferences are for landscapes and portraits: Nikkors 35mm 1.8G, 50 mm 1.4G (or 1.8G) or 85 mm 1.8G (or any other suggestion)?

    3. Regarding the Sigma lenses, what does it mean that it doesn't have full time manual focus (from DxoMark)? Is it possible to manually focus with this lens?

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    If I were to quote you prices I could only give you U.S. prices so leave that out of the question for now.
    1. You have added too many variables to safely answer your question. You stated you were interested in portrait and general purpose photography and the 18-200mm would get you there. But you also expressed interest in the Sigma lens supposedly because it would be good for nightscapes. Here you are leaving out how well the camera will function (what ISO levels are available and how well the camera functions-noise).
    2. Here you added the 35, 50, and 85mm lens to the equation. While the kit lens isn't as fast, it will cover this focal range and assist you in portraiture. Too many additional lenses being added to your arsenal already.
    3. Refers to not being able to manually override in single shot AF mode. It will autofocus on the camera and you can manually focus the lens.

  3. #3
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    Hello Carlos,

    I shoot exclusively with the Nikon D7000. I use only what are refered to as kit lenses, the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 AF-S VR and the 55-300mm 4.5-5.6 AF-S VRII, both lenses give excellent results if used correctly. The optics are excellent as I am sure the 18-105mm is. In my opinion Nikon has better glass than Sigma. Below I am posting a photograph from each lens.

    This was shot with the 18-55mm...

    Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    This was shot today with the 55-300mm...

    Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    The so called kit lenses from Nikon are excellent, the only negative is that instead of metal much is made of plastic (but high quality) and a few bells and whistles are missing that only professional photographers might use or need.

  4. #4

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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    For me I wanted to travel with just one lens so the 18-200mm is I think one of the best Nikon lens. Pricey, its $800 or thereby but worth ever cent. I used it on a D90 before upgrading to D7000. At home I keep a AF-S DX 18-55mm kit lens I think for the money is outstanding. But apart from trading the 55-200 kit lens I have every Nikon lens I ever bought & they all work to some degree on the D7000. It depends just how much you want to lug around for what you want to shoot frankly. Just BTW I have been experimenting with an old zoom-Nikkor I used years ago as my 'portrait' lens. Its 35-105 with a sliding zoom & doubles as a macro lens 1:4 to approx 1:6 OK real macro is 1:1 I know but the results are amazing.

  5. #5
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    There is a lot of truth in the old adage "you get what you pay for". If you buy something that costs less money, you can assume that the manufacturer has cut corners somewhere. That could be in the quality of the optics or in the mechanical elements. There have always been rumours of Canon or Nikon "price premiums", but if they exist, they are not all that large.

    One thing to remember about the Sigma; the zoom ring turns in the opposite direction of what Nikon does. This may or may not make any difference to you. I'm not sure if we just got unlucky; but our Sigma is the only lens that has ever gone back for warranty work (twice). We own the 150-500mm Sigma, and it is not nearly as well built as the Nikons.

    I'm not quite sure why you are looking at both the Sigma and the Nikon. There is a large overlap in the zoom range. I would tend to not duplicate the range and if you decide to go for the Sigma, get something like the Nikon 55-200mm or 55-300mm. If you have the money, the Nikon 18-200mm is a nice walkabout lens; and rumour has it that they will be announcing an 18-300mm this year. These will get you a more versatile portrait range too. I find that 105mm can be a tiny bit short at times.

    I do own the 35mm lens and I primarily use it as a walkabout / street photography lens. The fixed focal length and small size are much less obtrusive and threatening looking versus some of the other lenses. Don't forget, this lens is pretty close to a "normal" lens on the 7000, i.e. similar characteristics as a 50mm lens on a full-frame sensor / 35mm film camera.

  6. #6
    carloshpvp's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    (...) I'm not quite sure why you are looking at both the Sigma and the Nikon. There is a large overlap in the zoom range. I would tend to not duplicate the range and if you decide to go for the Sigma, get something like the Nikon 55-200mm or 55-300mm. If you have the money, the Nikon 18-200mm is a nice walkabout lens; and rumour has it that they will be announcing an 18-300mm this year. These will get you a more versatile portrait range too. I find that 105mm can be a tiny bit short at times.(...)
    I looked for the Sigma mainly because of the aperture being wider than the Nikon 18 - 105mm and a review in DxoMark telling that it could be a better choice as a better lens. But there certainly is the drawback of the extra 55mm on the Nikon lens. So that's why I'm trying to figure out if it is worth it.

    For the longer reach I was thinking about the Nikkor 70 -300 mm f/3.5 - 5.6 VR in a near future. Any thoughts on this? Should I consider taking the kit 18 - 105 mm and the 70 - 300mm and let the prime for the future?

    Anyone who has any additional comments please feel free to shared it. I still have a couple of months to make the purchase and try to figure out what should be my start up pack

  7. #7
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    Quote Originally Posted by carloshpvp View Post
    I looked for the Sigma mainly because of the aperture being wider than the Nikon 18 - 105mm and a review in DxoMark telling that it could be a better choice as a better lens. But there certainly is the drawback of the extra 55mm on the Nikon lens. So that's why I'm trying to figure out if it is worth it.

    For the longer reach I was thinking about the Nikkor 70 -300 mm f/3.5 - 5.6 VR in a near future. Any thoughts on this? Should I consider taking the kit 18 - 105 mm and the 70 - 300mm and let the prime for the future?

    Anyone who has any additional comments please feel free to shared it. I still have a couple of months to make the purchase and try to figure out what should be my start up pack
    It depends on your shooting style regarding the prime, everyone is different. I have the 50mm f/1.8G, which I can only use in manual focus; but I like it for tight spots such as when I went cave exploring recently. You really don't want a large and semi heavy telephoto zoom dangling from your shoulder when you are in tight spots. Usually, I carry at least three lenses when traveling, my kit lens, a long focal length zoom, and the 50mm lens. Also, it was at least two years before I purchased the 50mm. I don't take everything on every excursion but it is usually nearby. If I were you I would do a cost comparison of body only, D7000 with Nikkor or Sigma kit lens (include the cost of any accessories that come with the combined purchase), and finally adding a prime at a later time. Good luck and have fun!

  8. #8

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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    If I were to quote you prices I could only give you U.S. prices so leave that out of the question for now.
    1. You have added too many variables to safely answer your question. You stated you were interested in portrait and general purpose photography and the 18-200mm would get you there. But you also expressed interest in the Sigma lens supposedly because it would be good for nightscapes. Here you are leaving out how well the camera will function (what ISO levels are available and how well the camera functions-noise).
    2. Here you added the 35, 50, and 85mm lens to the equation. While the kit lens isn't as fast, it will cover this focal range and assist you in portraiture. Too many additional lenses being added to your arsenal already.
    3. Refers to not being able to manually override in single shot AF mode. It will autofocus on the camera and you can manually focus the lens.
    even though the sigma doesnt have the 200mm range, it does have the way faster aperture for better DOF, making it a nice portrait lens as well. also, thats a zoom that cover a huge range! i dont think the image quality on that will be as consistent than a zoom that only covers a smaller range ie: 17-50 or 28-70

    i guess this answers my choice. i would take the option of just getting the body and opting for the sigma.

    as for the primes, this is a tough choice. personally, it would be the fastest or the widest. though you already cover a wider field of view with your all purpose lens... so now, im forced to consider the 85 as you do not have that focal length yet.

  9. #9
    carloshpvp's Avatar
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    Re: Kit lenses, Prime lenses...

    I'd really like to thank you all for the inputs. I'm trying to figure out a good start up package because I'm going on a trip to US where I can buy everything by less than half price in Brazil.

    I'm pretty convinced that a kit zoom lens is good way to figure out the most used focal length before going on buying primes.

    I was trying t do a correlation with the HX1 that I currently use and please let me know if my thoughts are ok:

    The base focal length of the Sony HX1 is 5mm that is 35mm equivalent to 28mm (5.6 x crop). I've noticed that I use to stay between 1.7x and 2.8x in zoom in most of the photos I take, being more time on the down side. This would let me between 48mm and 78mm in 35mm equivalent, right?

    Based on that I'm thinking about taking the 35mm f/1.8G as my first fast prime that would be very useful in many situations. However (there is always one 'however'...), I would like to hear your opinion about the analysis above because I'm in doubt between the 35mm and the 50 mm lens.

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