1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Lenses for Beginner?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by lms6241, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    I'm looking at getting the D50. What lenses do suggest for a beginner? I will be shooting kids and landscapes. Is there somewhere that explains what all the numbers mean on lenses? The lenses also need to be affordable but a few "if photography gets more serious" or "look into when you know what your doing" lenses would be great too. Thank you.
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Well every bag should have a 50 mm 1.8 or 1.4
    Not expensive and you will have it forever
    That will shoot landscape and kids for now.
  3. There are two sets of numbers on lenses... one represents the focal length. This is zoom range on zoom lenses (18-70mm) or the fixed focal length on a prime (non-zoom) lens. The smaller the number the wider the field of view or the less magnification (more in the frame, objects seem farther away). The larger the number the narrower the field of view or the greater the magnification (less in the frame, objects seem farther away). In more basic point-and-shoot cameras this is usually represented by a multiplier (3x, 5x, 10x, 12x) instead of the actual focal-length range.

    The other set of numbers on a lens are the maximum aperture. This is the size of the opening of the lens, represented as a reciprocal of the focal length (f/2.8... 55mm/2.8=19.65mm) and determines how much light can pass through the lens. The larger the bottom number, the smaller the aperture opening, the less light can pass through. The smaller the bottom number, the larger the aperture opening, the more light can pass through. These numbers are often referred to as "f-stops" and each full f-stop is a multiple of the square root of two. The aperture size also determines the "depth of field", or how deep of a plane is in focus. The larger the number (smaller the aperture) the deeper the plane of focus... the smaller the number (larger the aperature) the shallower the plane of focus. Less expensive consumer-oriented zoom lenses usually have variable-max-aperture that gets smaller as you zoom in. More expensive lenses geared towards enthusiasts and professionals have constant-max-apertures that do not change throughout the zoom range.

    Now to your original question of a suggestion for a starter lens... since your shooting will be kids and landscapes you'll want something wide enough to fill the frame but with enough range to keep up with kids movements... a large aperture will also help with kids as it will allow more light enter to keep shutter speeds which will help minimize blur in action shots. I'll break some recommendations down into price categories:

    Cheapest ($100 - $200):
    Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (cheapest, least range, smallest aperture, this is my baseline for comparisons)
    Nikon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 (not as wide but large range, slightly better build)

    Mid-priced ($200 - $400):
    Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (more range, better build, larger aperture at long end)
    Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 (more range, better build, larger aperture long, largest aperture wide)
    Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 (not as wide but longer, better build, large constant aperture)
    Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 (same range, better build, large constant aperture)
    Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (large range, slightly-better build)
    Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (not as wide but longer, slightly-better build, large constant aperture, light for f/2.8 lens)
    Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (not as long but wider, slightly-better build, large constant aperture, light for f/2.8 lens)
    Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (large range, slightly-better build)

    More-expensive ($400+)
    Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (large range, better build, vibration-reduction, most expensive over $700)

    If you want the reach of the 18-200mm and VR function (helps counter-act hand-shake at higher focal-lengths) you can cover the range for less money and better quality (at the loss of convinience) with two lenses... something like a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 and new Nikon 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR would be a great light-weight 2-lens kit giving you a large constant aperture zoom and a longer VR zoom when more reach is needed. The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 can be had as low as $200 used or $300 new and the Nikon 55-200mm VR is around $250 new.
  4. Start with the 18-70. It produces really sharp photos, and will be a great beginner lens.
  5. But whatever you do stay from the Lens Lust forum! If you can spring the bucks I'd recommend the 18-200. A person could go the better part of a year relying on that lens and learning. I love it.

  6. JayR


    Jul 6, 2005
    Redmond, WA.
    The 18-200 would be a good lens to get if you can swing the budget but I would really recommend the 18-70DX. It is a fine performer and should serve you well until you decide whether it would be worth investing in better (read : expensive) lenses. Ofcourse not all good lenses are expensive. Case in point, the 50mm 1.8 is an excellent performer for about $100.
  7. 18-70 and 50 1.8 would be two good lenses to start with, you can add a wide angle, zoom and macro later...or sooner depends how quickly you get the bug.
  8. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    WOW! I can't believe how quickly I've gotten replies. Thank you!!

    Is the 18-200mm lens hard to find? I like the idea of one lens to do the job of two.
  9. Another Beginner!!

    I too am a beginner and I know nothing about lenses but I have the Nikon 18-70mm kit lens and find that it does all I need it to do. I would like to get the 50mm and the 18-200 vr but I want to master the one I have first before I venture into new territory. Also I find you have to learn how your camera functions before you get too many goodies or you may get confused there is a lot too know. If i have one suggestion I say stick to one lens and spend the money on a flash for indoor shots. Looking forward to your posts.

  10. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    I haven't even thought about a flash yet!! So many things to research.
  11. Don't Worry!!

    Don't worry it will all come together. The more confident you are the better. I took a class at a local college this winter and it really helped me understand DSLR's and lighting. The internet is also a great place for info and the cafe. there is a lot of brains to pick here.

  12. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    Agreed. This duo can be had for $300 if purchased used.

    Good zoom range for handholding and a nice prime lens for learning composition and low light play.
  13. For working with the kids I think a fast normal-zoom and 55-200mm VR would be more beneficial... even a 18-70mm and 55-200mm VR would work well and be sharper than the 18-200mm VR, especially in the 55-200mm VR's range.
  14. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    What would be considered a fast-normal zoom?
  15. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    The good old Nikon 35-70mm/f2.8 is an excellent assemblage of glass and can be had used for around the $300 mark. Additionally, there are popular third party lenses such as the Tamron 28-75mm/f2.8 that give a bit more range if a less robust build quality.

    This link provides numerous reviews that might be of value to you in your study of lenses:

  16. Fast indicating large constant-aperture... normal meaning it covers a common focal length range between wide-angle and mild-telephoto. On a dSLR this would be something like an Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 or Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. It should be wide enough for the landscapes you mentioned as well as having a large aperture to keep shutter-speeds high for close-quarters action shots of the kids. Outside its range is where the 55-200mm VR picks up the slack.

    If you think you have the budget for the 18-200mm VR and don't mind spending that much money then I'd recomend going one-step further w/ a 2-lens kit made up of one of these fast normal-zooms and a Nikkor 70-300mm VR ($500 new, less used, a few available here in the for-sale section). You'll appreciate the extra reach, especially if your kids play sports. It's also extremely well build, a definite step up from the older non-VR versions (same holds true for the 55-200mm VR).

    Another good fast(er) zoom that would pair well w/ the 70-300mm VR is the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. It's not constant-aperture but very sharp, light, well built, and covers a great range.
  17. I would also quickly recommend the Tamron 28-75mm or Sigma 24/28-70mm offerings if it weren't for the fact that the OP specifically stated interests in landscape photography. On digital the 28mm could be very restricting in this use... even more so for the 35-70mm (its great sharpness at bargain price aside).
  18. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    Do you run into any problems using other brands of lenses?
  19. lms6241


    Apr 16, 2007
    I should clarify the landscaping, it's two fold. Landscaping as you think, the other is for our landscaping business. I would like a lens that I could take pictures of the landscaped areas of homes for our portfolio.

    I greatly appreciate the time and guidance everyone is giving me.
  20. 18-70 is a great lens (which I have)
    18-200 is better and mucho more expensive (just bought a used 28-200)
    50 1.8 is a required staple (I have the 85 1.8 and it's the most used lens)
    Also have Sigma 70-300 (lust for the 70-200 VR$$$$)
    Stay away from flash :)  It's adds another whole magnitude of complexity. Onboard flash does a good job.

    Where in MI are you located?
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.