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Help finding two versatile lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by bigsushi, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. bigsushi


    Jul 22, 2008
    Cotonou, Benin
    I'm new to the whole DSLR scene and I'm trying to plan out a good starting point as far as lenses go. I want to purchase quality lenses that will last but I can't purchase ten different lenses, although the idea is appealing. Given my situation I've concluded that I need a couple of decent to good quality lenses that are very versatile and will function for the types of photographs that I like to shoot (landscapes, macro, and some action shots).

    I've read a lot of good things regarding the 70-300 VR (Frank's thread) and the Tamron 28-300 VC. I think either one of these (or a similar lens) would take care of a lot of my needs.

    I would also like another smaller to mid-range sized lens that would fill in a majority of the gap left by these lenses though. This is where I have the least knowledge. Given that I probably can not afford anything more than two lenses at this current time, what lens would compliment the larger lenses mentioned previously given the photographs that I enjoy taking?

    Of course I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any lens ideas that they think would be better than what I've found. I could be completely off my rocker too in which case feel free to set me straight.

    I apologize ahead of time if there have been similar threads with the information I'm looking for. I've searched and lurked for a few days but the Cafe is a big place with lots of info that I may have missed.

    I appreciate any help that anyone can give me. Thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  2. You may want to pick one lens, based on what you shoot most or would like to shoot most. Start there and then determine your likes/dislikes about it which will "lead" you to an appropriate next purchase.

    If you think the longer zoom would be used a lot, the 70-300 would certainly fit. On the midrange side, the 18-70mm can be had for around/under 200.00 on the used market and renders nice images.

    Here's a link to a useful site: http://www.bythom.com/DigRecs.htm
    A great deal of info can be had there.

  3. Maybe you can afford 3 lenses if you buy used copies.

    The Tonika `12-24mm f/4 is a terrific lens for landscaping, and can be found in mint used condition for $350-400.

    The Nikon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 is a solid performer for the midrange, and includes an excellent 2:1 1:2 macro capability. It's available used LNIB for $125-175.

    The 70-300VR sells for $480 new, but I've seen them for as low as $375 used.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2008
  4. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    Frank, the 28-105 has a 1:2.7 magnafication ratio. I saw the 2:1 and almost fell out of my chair and did a quick search for it. It does get some good reviews from around the net though. I appreciate you mentioning it as Id like to get a cheaper wide to mid range zoom to fill in around the primes.
  5. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    The 28-105 is 1:2.7 at 50mm which is the shortest focal length of its macro mode, and 1:2 at 105mm. I have one and it works great.

    Also to the OP, don't discount the 18-55 / 18-55VR kit lenses. They're more limited yes, but for landscape type shooting they're just as sharp as even pro lenses. I have the $1200 17-55DX f/2.8 and stopped down a bit for landscape shots you can't tell the difference between them. I'm going on a nice week long vacation in a few months and am going to leave my 17-55/2.8 at home in favor of the 18-55VR which is a ton lighter, cheaper, more compact, and just as good the way I'll be using it.

    Another great lens to consider is the 18-135, available for around $200 used right here on the Cafe. The range is great during the day, but it's not fast and doesn't have VR so it's less useful at night than a lot of the other lenses. Awesome lens though.
  6. bigsushi


    Jul 22, 2008
    Cotonou, Benin
    Thanks Tom and Frank for your suggestions and thanks for that link Tom. I've already been there but didn't quite know what I should be looking for since I'm still new to DSLRs and lenses.

    Your suggestions Frank sound very tempting. Can the 28-105 be utilized for landscapes? I may take Ted's advice and go with the 70-300VR for starters since that is the one I'm most sure about and see what I think may be the best compliment to it for me.

    My Absolute maximum price for lenses is $1000 right now but I'd like to stay closer to 600-800.

    Thanks for the tip Steve. I'm definitely looking at all my options.

    I should have put this in my original post but another reason I was trying to limit myself to two versatile lenses is because I plan on doing a lot of travelling and thought that if I could get two lenses it would cut down on weight and cost, but if I can really get those three lenses that Frank mentioned (or similar) for those prices I might be tempted to endure the the extra weight. Now to just get that post count up and wait a bit to get access to the FS/FT forum ;) 
  7. Oops, sorry for the typo. I've corrected it. The Lens Database describes it at 1:5.2 in normal mode and 1:2 in macro mode.
  8. There's no reason why it can't. It's quite sharp at all focal lengths. But its widest setting is 28mm, which isn't all that wide on a dx camera. Here's a few samples from the 28-105.

    landscape taken at 28mm
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    portrait taken at 62mm
    View attachment 226352

    macro taken at 105mm.
    View attachment 226353

    and here's what the lens looks like at full zoom.

    View attachment 226354

    It's pretty cool for a cheap $150 lens :smile:.
  9. LDB415


    Apr 26, 2008
    I would think some more before going with the 70-300 and 35-300 you originally mentioned. I say that because 35 with crop factor equals 52.5 on a 35mm film camera. You have no wide angle capability with that pair. Based on a later comment about traveling and staying light etc. I'd also suggest at least considering the 18-200VR lens as a one and only lens that covers 9x% of all shooting eventualities. If you do go with the 70-300VR then something like the 18-70, 18-55 or maybe 16-85 would be better suspects than the 35-300, at least in my opinion.
  10. LDB415


    Apr 26, 2008
    What is that in the reflection?
  11. Just to clarify, there is no 35-300VC, it is 28-300.... The OP was off on that stat.....
  12. It appears to be an umbrella.
  13. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Hey Ryan, Maby, check out some of the older nikkor classic's AIS in the used market. www.Keh.com is a good place to start. One lens I stongly recomend you aquire is a Nikkor 50 prime. An Nikkor 50 F2 can be had for as little as $50-100, and that little gem will be faster(let in more light) sharper and fun to use than almost any zoom. Learn to use that one lens. Focus, exposer, depth of feild, perspective, and the all important " critical moment". Plus its a really a fun lens and very small and light. Pick up a exstension tube 12mm and you can get a taste for macro. Another "must have" is a basic non zoom prime for portraits. A old Nikkor 105 2.5 AIS are very affordable and has been used to take some of the worlds most famous images. Another must have is a basic wide angle like a Nikkor 28 F2 AIS or I guess the modern AF(not my first choice for a beginner). Oh and by the way do remember to put lens hood on all your glass. It really helps keep out flare, and is effective in protecting the front element from scatches. I know Im out of touch with all the modern tech lens and stuff. But trust me the old Nikkor AIS will never let you down. And you dont have to spend a ton of money to take world class images. It's more about the six inches behind the camera, than the six inches in front.

    F8 and be there

  14. bigsushi


    Jul 22, 2008
    Cotonou, Benin
    Yay for being a newb again! I fixed it in my first post.

    I think I'd be really interested in getting some of those prime lenses. Thanks for that site. I was just going to wait until I unlocked the for sale forum here but the prices seem pretty decent there.

    That was a really good read. I'd been to his site but must have missed that article. Thom makes a lot of sense when talking about his travel kits and the reasoning behind them.

    I have a lot to think about now and that's good. I think even though I may be able to afford three lenses I'm going to try and limit myself to two quality lenses that are versatile but can double as my travel kit, at least until I get a better feel for where I want to expand my lens collection..

    I really appreciate everyone's comments.
  15. An alternative to the 28-105 is the Nikon 24-85 f/2.8-4. This gives a wider bottom end, good reach up to and beyond the bottom of the 70-300, and provides a macro of 1:2.9 from 35mm up to 1:2 at 85mm. This is great for casual macros...flowers, bugs, etc on the fly. The lens is still in Nikon's lineup but can be found (occasionally) for around $250 - $275 used. This plus the 70-300VR would be an excellent choice.

    Should you decide on a different low-midrange zoom, you might consider the Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro zoom, for it's macro capability in addition to a decent zoom (no VR, though).
  16. Ryan...
    we started with the 70-300 ed lens, not the G nor the VR...
    bought 5T and 6T closeup lenses, and got really great closeup pictures...
    We started shooting the birds at our feeders, and quickly got hooked
    shooting the birdies!
    This lens could get you started for under $200 used...

    The 28-105 is a nice lens. (Lightweight as is the 70-300...)
    gives you a wider end, and as mentioned earlier, with the macro button, you get nice closeup shots...
    Personally, I like the 28-105 better than the 18-70...
    priced about $150, used...
    So around $350 you could be enjoying your camera.
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