New guy, looking for some Lens advice

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Max713, May 5, 2011.

  1. Max713


    May 5, 2011
    Albany, OR
    Hello, I'm Max, the new Nikon guy on the block :)

    I came here looking for some lens help.
    I'm an amateur photographer, with about a year and a half of shooting experience. I've only ever had a couple paid gigs (shooting friends cars), but I only do this for fun anyways so I'm ok with that!

    I have a pretty particular subject preference, but I have been known to shoot just about anything.
    My main interests include (in order):
    -Animal (Reptiles in particular, mine especially)
    -Motorsports (action)
    -Everything else

    Right now my equipment consists of:
    Nikon D60
    18-55mm VR F:3.5-5.6
    55-200mm VR F:4-5.6 w/ Hood
    Nikon Small Bag
    4GB SD Card
    1 Battery
    Camera Strap
    Sunpack 8001 UM Tripod

    I have a Lowepro Photo Sport 200 bag on order, scheduled to be here in early June, and I can't wait!
    Planning to add a shutter remote, and circular polarizer eventually, along with an extra battery.

    Sorry for so much to read, but my understanding is the more info I provide, the easier it will be for you to help.
    At the moment I'm looking at a couple lenses, a higher max f stop short to mid range lens, and one lens to replace my 18-55/55-200.

    -For the higher max f stop short/mid, I'm looking really hard at the Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D. It's an awesome value at just $135 retail... My understanding is the 50mm f/1.4 is far and above a better lens, but it is also 3-4 times as expensive. I am a broke college student, so value is HUGE.

    -For the "universal" lens I'm looking at both the Nikkor AF 18-200mm VR f/3.5-4.5G and the Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3
    Di II VC. At first I was definitely attracted to the Tamron, for both the 70mm of extra zoom, and the $480 price tag after rebate (on amazon). The reviews are great, except for area: focus. Supposedly the autofocus on the Tamron tends to be much slower than average, and sometimes focusing entirely improperly. This worries me, especially for any type of moving subject situation. The Nikkor on the other hand has nothing but good reviews, and is tried and true. Only problem? The $830 price tag... (on amazon)

    So this is where you guys come in... My inexperienced mind needs some guidance! I'm pretty set on the 50 f/1.8, unless someone has a better suggestion. I do however need some serious advice on my universal lens choice.
    Thanks everyone ahead of time!

  2. Here's my take:

    For autos & landscapes you want wide - Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 - $469 new (less used)

    For reptiles (i'm assuming snakes or large lizards), use your 55-200

    Motorsports, you likely need long. If the 55-200 isn't long enough, sell it and get 70-300 VR

    Portraits - use the 55-200. For a faster lens for less DOF, the 35/1.8 AFS (unavailable at a reasonable price right now), the 50/1.8 AF-S announced (but not shipping) or the Sigma 50/1.4 - $499. The current 50/1.8 will not AF on your D60.

    You really need off-camera flash (either by TTL cord or wireless via built in flash on the D60). An SB-700 and a Lumiquest softbox would do (about $400 total) for the reptiles, and it will come in handy for the portraits too.

    My suggestion is the Sigma 10-20 and a SB-700 flash.

    The "super zooms" you are looking at might be convenient, but the IQ will be equal or less than the lenses you currently own. Wait and pick up the 35/1.8 when the price comes back down to $200.

    The big zooms will not make you a better photographer, nor make your photos better.
  3. First off Max,

    Welcome to the Cafe! It is a great place to learn and grow. There is a sub-forum for every topic here on the cafe so go check out what others are shooting in your areas of interest. Also, make sure to post your pictures and get feedback. That is one of the best ways to learn. Members here on the cafe aren't mean or rude so you don't have to worry (to much) about people ripping your work apart. We all are beginners and start somewhere so don't let that get you down.

    Now on to your lens choices. I have heard good things about the Nikkor 18-200. When comparing the Nikkor to the Tamron (minus the difference in zoom) the Nikkor will give you a faster aperture. 4.5 vs 6.3. Personally, I have never used this lens so I can't comment on the lens itself. Next, you talk about the Tamron 18-270. Like I said before, your aperture at full zoom is smaller, but you also are zoomed in farther. So if reach will be an issue for you, you can always bump up your ISO a little more. I have not used this particular lens either, but I do have a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 I went with this lens a year ago because it was 1/3 the price of Nikon's 24-70 f/2.8. I half regret buying this lens. The only reason that I regret it is because, like you said, it focuses slow. I have to make sure I tell it exactly where to focus and even then, can take up to twice as long as my Nikkor Lenses. Even though it might be 2 second (which isn't very long) it can be a very, very long time when shooting cars or sports.

    Next, you mentioned the 50 f/1.8 @ $135. This is an awesome lens! I would recommend it to anyone. Like you said the price tag is awesome for the image quality it puts out. I recently sold mine to make way for a 50 f/1.4. The 1.8 version will not let you down but it isn't very sharp at 1.8. It starts to get real good at 2.8 and IMHO, is tack sharp at f/4.

    However, the 50 1.8 WILL NOT replace any of your lenses. It is a prime lens (meaning it doesn't zoom) so it is in its own league. I call it my Pedi-zoom lens because I have to use my feet to zoom in and out. Sometimes its nice, sometimes not.

    Also, the D60 doesn't have a motor in it, so you will have to manually focus the 50 1.8D. Nikon just released (or at least announced) a 50 1.8G which is AFS which I think is more expensive. So you will need to think about that as well.

    All the best (from college student to college student :tongue:)
  4. Max713


    May 5, 2011
    Albany, OR
  5. What makes you think the Sigma 10-20 isn't sharp enough? Have you actually used one?
  6. darkone


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    You can look at the Tamron 17-50. It is not an all-in-one but has a built in motor and in a step above compared to what you have now. It also has a faster aperture though not as fast as the primes you were looking at.

    If you still want the superzoom, also take a look at the Sigma 18-200. It has a built in hypersonic motor (AF-S) and works pretty well. I have this lens for travel and it works great for that. For more artistic shots, I usually shoot primes and my Sigma 10-20.

    Also, what do you mean by "the Sigma 10-20 doesn't have the sharpness you are looking for"? Have you looked here is see what it is capable of?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. Max713


    May 5, 2011
    Albany, OR
    No I haven't, remember I am new at this, but I guess I assumed nothing with a f/4 max aperture could produce the crystal clear clarityI'm looking for in automotive photography... Sounds like I underestimated...

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. ducky518


    Feb 11, 2009
    San Francisco
    you can preorder the new 50 on amazon - i think its ~220

    Also if you are willing - you should be able to buy a used Tamron 17-50 for <400ish - just make sure to ask if it has a built in motor
  9. Max713


    May 5, 2011
    Albany, OR
    I've got this same conversation going on, on multiple forums. I've actually changed my mind to the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8. Supposedly a little better quality, and after a little further thinking the 35mm would better suit my shooting style. Most of my automotive shots are either in the 20-35 range, or 75-100. The Tamron 17-50 looks like a fantastic lens, but it doesn't have quite the reach I'm looking for.
    At the moment I'm looking really hard at the Nikkor 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 (along with the 35 f/1.8). The 18-105 is supposedly a nice step up from my current lenses, and ~$300 cheaper than the 16-85, which although is a better lens, I don't tend to shoot in the sub 20mm range.
    Of course in the future I'd really like to pick up a nice 10-20 or 14-24, and a nice distance zoom, 70-300 etc.
    I have to be reminded over and over that I need to upgrade lenses one step at a time...
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