Zoom or Prime?

Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
14
Location
United States
Hi everyone,

I've been taking photos for about a year now, even less than that with my D2H.
I currently have a Nikon 85mm 1.8 and nothing else; that's all I've been shooting.

I use this lens to take candid portrait shots (more like I can only use this lens for portrait shots). I had trouble taking a group photo of 5-6 people because I had to step back 5000 miles to get everyone in the picture.

So I'm thinking it is time to invest in another lens and I'm debating between a standard zoom lens or a few primes.

In the end, my goal is to cover focal lengths under 85mm.
But for now, I do want a lens that can take some decent group pictures and landscapes (doesn't have to be ultra wide).

Lenses (zoom or prime) I will be considering are:
-lenses between the 20-70mm range
-not ridiculously heavy or large
-somewhat fast
-preferably made by Nikon, although Sigma, Tamron, Tokina are fine too


I've been looking at the old Nikon 20-35mm 2.8 with a Nikon 50mm prime.
A Sigma/Tamron/Tokina F2.8 zoom lens sounds good too...
But I could probably buy two used primes for a similar price...



So what would be the best choice for my next lens?


Thank you in advance!
-Jason
 
Joined
May 26, 2008
Messages
529
Location
Idaho
I could think of a thousand different answers to this.

Nikon 35 F1.8
Nikon 16-85VR
Nikon 17-55 F2.8 if you have the money
Tamron 17-50 F2.8
Tokina 35 f2.8 Im loving this lens so far, just got it though. You may be happier with the Nikon.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
1,959
Location
Australia
a 'boring' 20mm f2.8D is ~30mm on the D2H and is FX compatible.

edit: the nikon 20-35D is a fine lens, i have one myself and have (ab)used the crap out of it for 16 years. but if you can spring for it, the 17-35mm AFS is a better option, especially on a DX camera.
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2008
Messages
4,122
Location
Newark, Ohio
Hmmm...

Preferring a Nikon, somewhat fast, not heavy/large, something you can use for landscapes also...

This is easy. Get a 50mm 1.8. Haven't been able to get mine off the camera since I got it at the beginning of the year. :smile:
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
320
Location
Granite Bay, CA
Welcome to the cafe Jason!

My vote would be to consider one of the following:
Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 - yes it is a consumer zoom, but it is quite sharp and would provide a nice range below your 85. You can find them quick inexpensively on the used market.

Nikon 35 f/2 - probably my most used lens and a great focal length for DX.

Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 - I haven't used this lens, but if you want a fast, constant aperture zoom this would be worth considering. It is the heaviest of these three options, however.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
3,040
Location
Wilmington, NC
while i agree with the sentiment, pity it doesn't qualify as even moderatly wide glass on a DX body.

Compared to the 85 he has now the 35 1.8 would be considerably wider and certainly a great lens to have on a D2H. A good one to pick up as well may be a cheap zoom like the older 18-70 which is a pretty good performer for the price they go used or a 18-55 VR...
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
14
Location
United States
Thank you for all the thoughtful responses!

I would love to have a 17-55 but the price on that thing is too much for me to handle..
Looks like the 35/1.8 is getting a lot of praise... I would definitely enjoy that focal length beside my 85mm. Would 35mm be a good focal length for group half-body shots?

As for the 18-70... though it looks like it's the ideal focal length in my situation, my main concern is its performace in low light... I would want to somehow compensate for the iso performance on my D2H :(
While the 16-85 does have VR to compensate for that... it does in a way overlap my 85mm prime.
A Tamron 17-50 2.8 does look tempting... has this lens generally been good for those of you who have it?

In a way, I think I favor the primes for their low light capabilities... while a zoom just straight out covers a big part of the focal length that I want...


hmmmmm...
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,116
Location
Canada
I think a 35/1.8 is a great idea. I had a sigma 30/1.4 and afd85/1.4 with dx body and it was my most used lens combo. Now with fx I favor a wider combo of 24/85mm. Unfortunately there are no wide fast primes for dx. For the money I also thought the tamron 17-50/2.8 was a fantastic lens for the price. Tough choice!
 
Joined
May 16, 2010
Messages
520
Location
Guam
I would say if your on DX you have to get the 35 1.8 lens, it is crazy sharp at 1.8 and you can get away with full body and half body shots with ease, check out what I got with the 35 1.8 when I was on DX.

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Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
14
Location
United States
The 35mm 1.8 sounds really good at this point. Thanks for sample pics jberry.
As for the 50mm 1.8, I can always borrow my friend's :)

So it's between a Tamron/Sigma 17-50 2.8 and
a 35mm 1.8 with a ultra wide zoom some time later (may be a Tokina 11-16)

I wonder if the 17mm end of the Tamron/Sigma is wide enough...

Decisions decisions...
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
1,011
Location
San Jose, CA
Hi everyone,

I've been taking photos for about a year now, even less than that with my D2H.
I currently have a Nikon 85mm 1.8 and nothing else; that's all I've been shooting.

I use this lens to take candid portrait shots (more like I can only use this lens for portrait shots). I had trouble taking a group photo of 5-6 people because I had to step back 5000 miles to get everyone in the picture.

So I'm thinking it is time to invest in another lens and I'm debating between a standard zoom lens or a few primes.

While you can use wide lenses for portraits, such as the 20/2.8, they introduce the prospect of perspective distortion and aren't ideal in terms of working distance, even on the dx platform. I'd suggest a 35/1.8DX, a remarkable lens that is remarkably affordable. The pairing of 35mm and 85mm covers virtually all portrait situations. Imho.
 

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