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Equipment Help with lenses for a beginner

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by MightyBenihana, 18 Aug 2014.

  1. MightyBenihana

    MightyBenihana Do or do not, there is no try

    8 Sep 2011
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    Hi photography forum,

    I am getting a D3300 with the 18-55mm kit lens. However, because lenses are so expensive where I live I need to get any lenses I want while my folks are visiting.

    At the moment I am looking at these:




    I could probably afford all of them but would this be worth it?

    I know it may be better to buy 1 super good lens but then I am a beginner so I have no idea which I will prefer.

    I will be shooting pictures of the children a lot but would also like it to be usable for a lot of the landscapes around here too.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated, thanks.
  2. Instagib

    Instagib Well-Known Member

    12 Mar 2010
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    The 50mm is an excellent choice for a crop sensor camera like your D3300. The crop factor gives you an equivalent focal length of 75mm, which is a great working length for portraits. The quick f1.8 aperture will also teach you the significance of aperture and its impact on depth of field. It'll also be handy in low light conditions.

    I was never a fan of 35mm lenses for some reason. Just never needed one, so I cant really comment on them.

    The 55-300mm will offer you some incredible reach, but it's not particularly quick and will restrict your use to well lit situations like sunny days.

    For landscapes, you will need a fairly wide angle lens and a tripod. Your kit lens should be okay at the 18mm for starting off.

    You can spend silly money on lenses, but until you know what you really want to achieve from them, the potential to waste your money is high. You might, for example, invest in some fast wide angle lenses, but then decide you like taking portraits. (Wide angles distort the features on a face up close.)

    Having said that, the best advise for people starting out is to get an alright body, and invest more in lenses. Good lenses will see you through body upgrades.

    What I'd say is this; get all three of them as they will offer a very versatile package of focal lengths for a beginner, then get out and shoot as many shots as you can. Have a look over what kind of shots you tend towards and what lens you use the most. This will give you an idea as to what kind of photography you have an affinity to. By then, you will also have an idea of what you are missing; eg you might decide that you want a faster prime of a certain length, or that you never use the 300mm end of your kit and can get a faster, but shorter tele.
    Last edited: 18 Aug 2014
  3. JazzXP

    JazzXP Eh! Steve

    30 Apr 2002
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    Another +1 for the 50mm, that one lens on my old crop sensor (I've now moved to full frame) made me think and learn about photography more than any other lens.
  4. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

    15 Aug 2007
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    Personally I would buy the 35mm over 50mm. Although I rate my 85mm on full frame highly, I rate the 35mm equivalent x100 even higher, covering 90% of all my photography needs. If choosing between 2 standard primes, I'd always the wider one because you can always step closer.

    So if I'm buying, I'd get 35mm f1.8 and 55-300 lenses to cover for most cases. But that's me, I prefer wider angle.

    Look through your viewfinder, see if you prefer to shoot most of your photos at 35mm or 50mm, then decide which prime lens suits you.
  5. sonicgroove

    sonicgroove Radical Atheist

    16 Mar 2011
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    I just bought 15 Olympus OM lenses and 12 Olympus 35mm film bodies for £80 from a family who's father died. within that lot, I got a 50mm f1.8 prime, and it's been a revelation for me. I put it on my GF1 and the quality shots I am getting is making me want to use the camera every hour of every day. Not only that, because it's an old lens, everything is manual and it is teaching me so much. I now understand what an aperture setting does and how combinations of white balance, ISO and f stops affect a picture inside and outside. I am loving every second of it.

    Grab those cheap lenses and a new world opens up. The DoF on the 50mm is truly something to behold, and the bokeh is lovely!
  6. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

    26 Apr 2006
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    I have the 35mm f/1.8G one and the smaller brother of that zoomlens, the Nikon 55-200MM VR DX.
    Both for a D3100.

    For me, for taking low light landscape shots, or dawn or evening, the 35mm could be wider, the 50mm nust be extremely narrowing.

    Try running around with your kit-lens set to 50, and don't touch it all day, if you're happy, the 50mm is for you. I suppose if you're into portraits and the like it could work.

    The zoom lens is definitely needed, I've tried shooting rather large animals (Kangaroos) 10-15m away, and failed to get a single usable picture with the kit-lens.

    The 55-200mm is a lot smaller and cheaper than the 55-300mm, and in the end it's about a zoom factor of 2x that's the difference.
    Try the Nikon Lens simulator, the difference wasn't worth the cash for me, that and the camera with the 55-300mm didn't fit in my bag anymore. :hehe:

    Nikon Lens Simulator

    Best Regards, Eric
  7. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

    4 Dec 2007
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    I've got a D3200 and a version of most of the lenses you're looking at. The 18-55mm kit gets a lot of use, although I switch to the 50mm f/1.8 where possible for indoor shots where I need all the light I can get. I also do a fair bit of close-up product photography for magazines with it, but that should change when my new 40mm f/2.8 macro (or as Nikon calls it for no readily apparent reason, 'Micro') lens arrives. I also got the 55-300mm to round out the kit, but haven't used it in anger yet. Always been lucky enough to snag a seat at the front of events!
  8. bdigital

    bdigital Is re-building his PC again

    10 Aug 2010
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    35mm wpuld be my choice. A nice fast prime if possible.
  9. veato

    veato I should be working

    15 Jan 2010
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    As an alternative to the Nikon 55-300 the VC USD version of the Tamron 70-300 is worth a look at.
  10. leonetu

    leonetu New Member

    29 Oct 2013
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    May I suggest looking at pre-owned premium lenses for better quality for the same (or a little more) money? Unlike camera bodies, lenses are less risky to purchase used due to its mechanical nature. Premium lenses do not depreciate much (my nikkor 70-200 f2.8 would sell now for the same price I paid 5 years ago, used). Just watch out for molds and weird gear sounds. Bring a focusing card to test shots; if OOF you can always have it calibrated and cleaned for a small fee. Best to buy from a reputable shop if you'd consider used/refurb units.

    I would go for the 35mm 1.8 DX (new or used), which has the equivalent of 50mm at full frame, which is regarded as the focal length resembling 'normal' eye view, is fast, and inexpensive. I'd partner this with a fast, longer zoom range to complement your 18-55mm. The 24-120 f4 has a DX equivalent of 36-180mm and is a good choice to round out DX focal range from wide angle to medium zoom.

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