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Looking to buy lens(es) for D40 - but which?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Henriette, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    I have a D40 with the 18-55 mm kit lens, and a 55-200 (without VR) that I got for free. Being on leave I now have the time to explore the camera, and I'm thinking about buying a/some lens(es) during a period of time (years?). I would really appreciate some advice.

    I'm the typical DSLR newbie shooting pictures of the kids, holiday shots, landscapes etc. I've only looked into the Nikon DX lenses, so feel free to suggest other brands as well. I'm looking for good picture quality and lenses that are good enough for a future upgrade of the D40 (properly still DX).

    I'm thinking about the following:

    * AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

    * AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

    * AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR OR
    * AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR OR
    * AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED OR
    * AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

    All suggestions/comments are more than welcome

  2. I would get the 35mm 1.8. It's a great lens and a must have for anyone with a d40/d60.
  3. Just my opinion....but the best way to "explore the camera" is just to get out and take a lot of pictures. Get an idea of the type of pictures you like to take.....flowers, people, animals, etc. And what focal length do you use the most. You can do this with the lens you have now. After awhile you will have a better idea of what lens (es) would be good upgrades. Have fun and good luck!!

    (the 35 1.8 would be great!!)
  4. DangerKilo


    May 14, 2009

    I always recommend and ultrawide, or wide angle lens. a 20mm is a lot of fun. But my carryaround is the 28mm. I would check it out. But shooting is the best way to discover your needs.

    One thing to note before you jump 100% DX is that there is a future, and FX holds different lenses... Before you go all in DX, perhaps move a bit slower and figure out what you like, how you like to shoot, older/newer lenses, all these will affect your decisions.

  5. get the 35 for 199 and hurry
    b&h has them in stock now
  6. Go with the 35/1.8. Terrific walkaround lens at a terrific price. If you don't like it there will be plenty of takers for a used unit.

  7. As mentioned above, the 35 f/1.8G is a must have for D40 owners.

    * AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

    This little gem will pull in over 4 times as much light as your current lenses at there shortest focal length (the 18-55 @ 18mm, 55-200 @ 55mm) and 8 times more light when there fully zoomed out.

    * AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

    The 70-300 is another one you might want to add to your list. The image quality is said to rival the $1700 70-200 VR. Problem is the lens needs some quality light to shine. Plus it would really complement the 16-85mm if you plan on that route.

    Good luck with your choice.
  8. In my humble opinion, you could do very well with your D40 and present lenses. Surely, you will feel the need for better optics in the future as you upgrade to a more professional camera.
    All the lenses you mentioned are good lenses but your selection will be based on the type of photography you will be doing or plan on doing. No reason, at least for now, to buy the 55-200 VR when you have the same version without it. I use mine with a tripod, something I have been doing with all my lenses for years.
    Use what you have till you feel the need to upgrade. Learn your gear. To me that is the first step for good photography. Chances are excellent that by the time you are ready to update you will know exactly the lenses you will need.
    Welcome to Nikon Cafe.

    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  9. erewhon


    Jan 12, 2009
    > Just my opinion....but the best way to "explore the camera" is just to get out and take a lot of pictures. Get an idea of the type of pictures you like to take.....flowers, people, animals, etc. And what focal length do you use the most. You can do this with the lens you have now. After awhile you will have a better idea of what lens (es) would be good upgrades. Have fun and good luck!!

    Right on. I started with the same equipment and I believe this is excellent advice.

    When you DO know what you want...you will have the most impact by expanding your possibilities, either to low light, or wide angle, or whatever. The last 4 lenses on your list are "better" but they won't change your life (or your photography, very much).
  10. I have a D40 and have a 35mm 1.8G and love it. Heck you say you are using it for Kids and holidays... I took all of these at a 4th of July party with the 35mm 1.8G there are shots there outdoors, indoors, low light, fireworks, just about everything. No tripod was used with any of them either.. all hand held. so I'd get at least the 35 1.8G for the time being.
  11. seusa


    Nov 22, 2008
    I am having trouble seeing your photos. I would love to see them.
  12. Foques


    May 13, 2009
    Streamwood, IL
    I have the same lens / camera set up.

    I am noticing and learning what lenses I will need to get next (i'm just too cheap to do that still), but the equipment that I have allows me to take pictures you can find on my page

    you should be ok for a while with those lenses
  13. Steinar


    Aug 16, 2007
    You allready have fine lenses for your D40 - I have D700, two D40 and two 18-55, this 18-55 lens is so sharp in the center at the wide end, and you can get so fine close up pics with this lens,too.

    That said I would also recommend 35mm f/1.8 as I also have, if you (as I am) are suffering from NAS :biggrin:
  14. Varmint


    Apr 21, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Definitely shoot a lot with your current lenses, otherwise you may learn some technique and mistakenly attribute the improved quality to the new lens. For ex., you might shoot landscapes handheld in auto mode at f/5.6, while it would look a lot better at f/8 or f/11, with a tripod or timed shutter release.

    Better technique will make the fancier lenses shine too.
  15. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    Thanks for all suggestions and comments so fare. I get "the picture" ;o)

    Anyway, I do experience that the amount of tele I get from the 18-55 kit lense is a bit short. I'm finding changing between the 18-55 and th 55-200 all the time somewhat annoying. That's why I'm looking for a lens that will extend my "zoom". I've read in some tests that the picture quality of the 18-200 is not that impressive (true?). That's why I've looked at some of the other zoom lenses. Also because my experience is that I only go to about 80-100 mm most of the time when using the zoom.

    Any comments of the picture quality of the mentioned lenses?


  16. Your pair of kit lenses are a great starting point... except it's a shame you don't have the VR version of the 55-200. Personally, I don't think there's much merit in exchanging consumer lenses for more expensive consumer lenses. They're all slow, and they all deliver wonderful images in good light. So until you're ready to upgrade to a new camera body, I'd suggest you buy, in order of importance...
    1. Photoshop Elements: It costs less than $100, but it will allow you to salvage bad shots, and turn good shots into masterpieces! If you want to make good pictures, photo-finishing is an essential skill.
    2. 35/1.8: It's a terrific idea. Everybody should own at least one fast prime. It's only $200, but it's 1.7 f/stops faster than the fastest $2,000 zooms.
    3. SB400: It only costs $110, but this tiny flash is a thousand percent better than your popup flash. It will make all of your lenses useful in low light.
    4. VR: It's extremely useful for telephoto lenses. It might be worthwhile to upgrade your 55-200 to the image stabilized version... or you could consider a major upgrade to the prosumer 70-300VR.

    Have fun shopping, Henriette!


    I'm not a fan of the superzooms. They exchange image quality for convenience, which, imho, defeats the purpose of using a dslr. If changing lenses was a problem, I'd have stuck with upper end digicams. But the good news about dslr lens swaps is that after a while you won't even notice you're doing it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2009
  17. lovD300


    Feb 25, 2008
    I like the first two options of the 10-24, and the 35 1.8. then I would get the 70-300. that to me sounds like a perfect kit. You Have the UWA, the low light lens, and a tele zoom. then only other lens you could try to get is a macro if you into that type of shooting or maybe a extension tube for the 70-300? But I don't know much about putting a tube on the 70-300, maybe some others can add to that idea, if it is good or not?
  18. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    I think you missed my point - or I wasn't too clear about it :wink: Most of the time I end up taking pictures somewhere in the range 30-80 mm, which makes it a pain to have a 18-55 and a 55-200. That's why I'm looking into the superzooms - and then again not quite looking for one :smile: I'm thinking something like the 16-85 for a walk around lens, and then maybe later on (=more money saved) a zoom - maybe the 70-300 like suggested. What's the 16-85 like?

    I have the SB400 by the way. Got it for free with the kit.

  19. 1. 10-24, 35 and 55-200. :) 
    2. 10-24 35 70-200/70-300 :) 
  20. 16-85 is a very nice range on DX, covering landscapes to portraits. I've never used a 16-85, but Thom Hogan has, and he gives a very positive review. http://www.bythom.com/Nikkor16-85lensreview.htm
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2009
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