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Upgrading from basic lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by smitty24, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. I've been wanting to upgrade my basic lenses for a little while. I've got the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens as well as a Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 AF-S VR. I didn't want to invest too much in the beginning in case I lost interest, but fortunately my interest keeps growing. I've got a D40 now, and will keep it for awhile. Eventually I'll upgrade, but for now I'd rather put together a nice lens collection. Anyway, here's what I'm considering:

    Nikon 18-200mm VR DX f/3.5-5.6
    Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
    Sigma 10-20mm f/4

    I considered going with the 50mm f/1.4D since I'll upgrade from the D40 eventually and can manually focus for now, but I'm leaning towards the AF-S. Actually thought about the f/1.8 as well, mainly due to price. I'm on a bit of a budget, so no $1000 lenses unfortunately. Also, I'll be getting these (or others, based on your recommendations) piece by piece. The Wife said "no way" to buying them all at once. So I can probably get one now, then I'll have to wait for Christmas/birthday/anniversary for the other two. So do these seem like good choices? I want to be flexible and have the ability to shoot almost anything, and from what I can tell and on my budget, these sounded like my best option. But I'm open to suggestions from the much more knowledgable and talented group here! Thanks!
  2. Hey Smitty -

    That does look to be a fine and flexible set of lenses (especially if it meets with the CFO's approval - lol!).

    You'll likely have a range of opinions from the kind folks here at the Café, but to my eye, you'll have a whole lot of bases covered with those.

    Good luck, and keep us up-to-date with your progress and pics . . .

  3. Thanks Eric! With a name like that I can't help but think you're an incredibly knowledgeable, and most likely very handsome guy. (My name's Eric as well). Versatility and quality lenses I can keep for a good long time is what I'm going for. I know I'll probably want something else here and there, but I think for a good solid starting point I like these choices. I've always wanted a wide angle, and taking pics at my sister's wedding last weekend I realized I really need something faster for low lighting. Plus I really love the look of the pics people have posted with the 50mm. I hope the AF-S 50mm is as good as it should be. Thanks!
  4. Goofy


    Jul 6, 2007
    Palos Verdes, CA.
    Hi Smitty,

    My wife has a D40x with the same two lenses and her Uncle has the 18-200, I don't have much experience with the latter but IMHO it's not an upgrade from what you already have. Those little kit lenses might feel cheap but for the price they're hard to beat.

    I'm sure you'll get many suggestions for lens combos but for a good, all round kit on a budget I'd go with something along the lines of...

    Sigma 10-20
    Nikon 18-70
    Sigma 50-150 or Nikon 70-300 VR (constant 2.8 or extra reach?)

    Those are assuming you're staying with DX for a while?

    I'm sure the new Nikon 50 will be a good performer, you could add that later after the reviews and the rush is over.

    Just my 2 cents.
  5. Preston


    May 2, 2005
    Reno, NV
    The two lenses you have are just fine so don't get rid of them. Your next lens should depend on what you like to take pictures of. The Sigma 10-20 is a great lens but keep in mind that Ultra Ultra wide lenses like that are more difficult to use well than most realize. The Sigma 30mm 1.4 would also be a good lenses to go with, & probally a better choice than a 50mm at this point. Only you can truly answer this question and you should base it on what you what to photogragh or achive. Hope this helps.
  6. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    easy, get the sig 30 1.4 and be happy...;-)

    d40/sig 30 1.4 wide open

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  7. Thanks! I'm going to look into the Sigma 30 1.4. Will it auto focus on the D40 by chance? As far as the lenses I have, I really have no complaints. My reasoning for getting rid of them was simply consolidating those two lenses in one with the 18-200mm. Maybe intead of consolidating my two basic lenses into a $750 single lens I can spend $75 and just get a better camera bag with more room! Hmmm. Then I think I could convince the Wife (CFO) to let me go ahead and get the sig 10-20mm AND either the 50mm AF-S (when it's available) or the sig 30 1.4. I think I might like the 30mm versus the 50mm, actually. I think I remember the 50mm on a DX was close to 70mm or so in reality.
    I have heard a wide angle like the sig 10-20mm is more challenging, but that's kind of the reason I want it. I see a lot of great shots with it and love the perspective of a wide angle. I don't want to just point and shoot. I like the idea of challenging myself to become better, and I think the sig 10-20mm might force me to try things I've never had to do before. Now I have some thinking to do. Thanks for the input. That's exactly the sort of info and opinions I was hoping for!
  8. kirbinster


    Nov 24, 2007
    NJ, USA
    The glass you get should depend on what you like to shoot. Do you shoot mostly city scapes, people, animals, sports? I have a D40, D80 and D300, and started like you with the 18-55kit and then added a 55-200vr. I got tired of changing lenses so I got an 18-200vr which lives on one of the bodies all the time. It is a great lens in that it handles just about everything and I never am in the situation of having the wrong lens on the camera for a given shot. BUT it is not the sharpest lens, the 55-200 in my mind is sharper at 200 than the more expensive 18-200vr. You can pick up an 18-200 for about $550 on the used market these days.

    I bought a 50mm f/1.8 as people rave about it, but with my style of shooting I almost never use it. I also have a sigma 10-20 HSM, again don't use it that much. My second most use lens is my 70-300VR as I shoot a lot of wild animals and it gives me great reach. I recently added an 80-200 f/2.8 for better low light capabilities - great lens but a little on the heavy side.

    Bottom line think about what you will use a given lens for before you go and buy it just because others say it is good. It does you little good if it does not fit in with the way you will use it.
  9. if i were you i'd keep the 18-55 and 55-200 as i think both either match or exceed the 18-200VR in performance (i've owned the 55-200 and still own the 18-200 and have used the 18-55 on several occaisions). neither lens is a slouch. the 10-20 sigma is fantastic also!

    instead of the 50 f/1.4 buy the 50 f/1.8 and with the money you've saved buy some other fast primes such as a 35 f/2 and 85 f1.8.

    there is no substitute for fast glass! :wink:
  10. kirbinster


    Nov 24, 2007
    NJ, USA
    I would actually say skip the 50mm until you upgrade the camera. The 50mm will not autofocus as your camera does not have a motor in the body. While it is physically possible to manually focus, it is hard to do it on that camera. The camera is really designed for AF-S lenses and the focusing screen does not have the prismatic set up the way old 35mm films camera did. Thus, it is tough and slow to get a perfect focus.
  11. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    I agree the the 50mm models are very nice, wonderfully sharp and the fast apetures really help. However as kirbinster noted the lack of AF might make things difficult as modern DSLRs really aren't designed for manual focusing.

    I owned the 50/1.8 AF for a while but sold it simply because I couldn't gel with the FoV on a DX Nikon, it always seemed to long for general use. I am doubtless that it'd make a great portrait lens however that's not really my shooting interest, perhaps the allbeit more expensive Sigma 30/1.4 HSM would be a better idea.
  12. Wow, thanks for all the replies! I'm definitely considering the sig 30 1.4, as well as the Nikon 50 1.4 (the AF-S lens, when it comes out). I think if I went with the cheaper 50 1.4 or 1.8 D I might shy away from using it as much since I would be manually focusing until I decide to upgrade from the D40.

    As far as what I shoot, I guess I shoot everything. I try to have my camera with me as much as possible. I'd have to say I probably do more landscape, outdoor type stuff, but I want to be able to do more. I love candid shots of people, portraits, and simple items or scenes from different views (like with a wide angle). I guess that's why I want a variety of lenses. I want to be able to do it all, or at least most of it. I'm still new, so I'm still in the stage of just taking pics of everything!

    Thanks again for all the help. I'm definitely leaning towards keeping my lenses and not getting the 18-200mm. That'll actually save me some money so I can get the other lenses I want. I didn't expect to save money! I figured you guys would convince me I needed extra/better/more expensive glass! This should certainly please the Wife.
  13. Whippski


    Oct 19, 2007
    Pacific NW
    Once you get a taste of fast glass, you'll be the one convincing yourself you need more. Welcome to the journey....it's only beginning:wink:
  14. gunfighter48

    gunfighter48 Guest

    I've got a D60 and decided to upgrade from the 18-55VR and 55-200VR. I went with the 16-85VRII and the 70-300VRII. I'm extremely pleased with both lenses, very sharp, and the VRII works extremely well. It also has two modes of operation normal and active. In the active mode it stops your vibration in both the vertical and horizontal directions. This works especially nice on the 70-300 lens.
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