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Thread: Beginner lens choices for Nikon D90

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    Member earlyreflections's Avatar
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    Beginner lens choices for Nikon D90

    Hi All,


    I have been wanting to get into photography for quite some time now and after a lot of research (thanks to this site!) I am looking at purchasing the Nikon D90 body as my first DSLR camera.


    The pictures I will mainly be taking will be landscapes / portraits and lots of macro photography - insects / plants etc.


    I have narrowed down my lens choices to the below which I think should cover the ranges I need but I was wondering if anybody with experience with these camera/lenses could advise if there are any cheaper (but still high quality) options worth looking at or even other lenses all together!


    Portrait – Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G


    Macro – Nikon Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR or Sigma 150mm f/2.8G EX APO DG HSM


    Landscape – Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED or Tokina 12-24mm f4


    Thanks for your help!

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    Hiya and Welcome to the Forums

    A D90 is a decent choice of camera (provided you get one at a reasonable price and in good condition). I would also have a look at something like a used D300/D300s as they can be found really reasonable and come with the pro grade autofocus systems, metering, weather sealing and are generally a bit more rugged. The latest generation equivalent is a D7000 for the D90, but this of course comes with the latest in price.
    Sounds like you are looking for a reasonable range of lenses, so I will go through step by step based on what you have said:

    *Normal* Portrait – Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G : This is a really good option on a DX camera (multiplying focal length by 1.5), if cost is a factor, I can highly recommend the F1.8 variant of the same lens as it will give you great quality and has some great features. But if you want the quality you won't be disappointed by this lens - the Sigma 50mm F1.4 is also of a similar quality from third party. This lens focal length and type is also fantastic for a general walk around, panoramic compositions - its the first lens I would buy were I starting out again.

    Another option here is the DX designed 35mm F1.8 DX which is a great little lens - effectively a true 50mm equivalent.

    *Telephoto, Portrait* Macro - Nikon Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR: choosing the nikon here is going to be worthwhile (I am not familiar with the sigma so can't really offer an opinion), as not only is it a stunning macro lens, but its also a fantastic little telephoto portrait lens as well. Personally I would go with this over the sigma given what you are looking to do - for its price I am of the opinion it can't be beat. The only reason you don't see one in my kit is its the next thing I want to buy .

    Landscape - Quite a few options to go with here. I would definitely advise against the 14-24 F2.8 unless you are planning to go to FX any time soon - the focal length really isn't going to be great on something like a D90 (being effectively a 21-36). However, you will be pleased to know there are a whole bunch of great options for wide angle on DX.

    Nikon 12-24 F4 DX - Good lens but comes at a price (you might be able to find one at a reasonable price second hand).
    Nikon 10-24 F3.5-4.5G DX - Much better lens than the above from all reports - reasonably priced and good quality - I'd say its comparable to the sigma below in terms of the sort of lens, but its going to produce great images used correctly.
    Sigma 10-20 F3.5/F4-5.6 - I love this lens - its what I had for my crop bodies and found it really versatile, good quality and at a great price - could be a very good option if you ever plan to go to full frame (as not too expensive but resells well).
    Tokina 11-16 F2.8 DX - This little beauty is a pearler for wide angle - technically more an ultrawide because of the top end it has the wide aperture if thats what you need and a really useful focal length (effectively 15.5-24mm).

    That will give you some options, naturally have a fixed aperture is nice, but it also depends on the focal lengths you are looking for. A couple of good kits of the kit you are looking for:

    Nikon 10-24, 35 F1.8 or 50 F1.4, 105 2.8VR Macro.
    Sigma 10-20, 50mm F1.4, 105 2.8VR Macro.
    The only instance where I would suggest the Tokina is if you really need the wide open aperture. Any of these three lenses are going to get you what you want and do it well.

    If you plan to upgrade to full frame you will have to probably upgrade wide angle lenses anyway, so I would suggest in that case you get the wide angle of choice, plus a 50F1.4 and the 105 2.8VR Macro. I would really suggest going into a camera store and trying the lenses out on a crop frame body (best option probably the Nikon D7000 as I doubt they will have a D90) and see what you think of the focal lengths - its one thing to wax lyrical about focal lengths its another to actually see them in action. I hope this helps you out, if you have any other questions feel free to ask. Look forward to seeing some photos .
    Last edited by Xebadir; 26-04-2012 at 12:31pm.
    John
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    I'd recommend that if you think that you'll stay with the Dx format for a while, then as alternatives to your choices:

    Nikon 50/14 -> 35/1.8 AF-S for portraits .. cheaper and more flexible for a Dx camera.

    Nikon 105VR is a good choice .. or Sigma 150 Macro also both good, I think the Sigma is a touch sharper, but there's not enough in it to sway one way or the other.
    Both these lenses also make great portrait lenses when longer focal length is required(hence why I suggested the 35mm over the 50mm as your every day portrait lens!!)

    If macro is the main use, then the Sigma's longer working distance is an advantage, if the mix between long portraits and macro is more even, then the slightly wider FOV of the Nikon 105VR is the advantage.

    For an ultra wide for landscapes, I'd suggest the Sigma 10-20 /4-5.6 as the best value for money lens for Dx, or alternatively in lower light and ultra wide, you may want to consider the Tokina 11-16/2.8.
    Many folks may claim that a fast aperture on such a wide angle lens is a waste and not necessary, but these folks havent' shot in a dark small room with people dancing about the place! Every possible shooting advantage helps.
    If it's predominantly landscapes and you want to squeeze in as much value for your money then nothing will beat the Siggy(that I know of).

    Save some money for a good tripod and head, and possibly a polariser filter too.

    If you can afford the extra money for a D7000 over the D90 you'd be best to do it now rather than realise later that the D7000 has the features you really wanted.
    If you had to forego some of the budget on a lens here and there(eg. 200-300 saved in going with the 35/1.8 rather than the 50/1.4!!) and this gives you the leeway to get the D7000, then you're better off doing so.
    D7000 will make it easier to spend less money elsewhere later down the track ... as an example: cheaper old manual macro lenses for dedicated macro work instead of the $1K 105VR or 150Sigma lenses.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks for the responses so far - been incredibly helpful really appreciate it!

    I'd love to go the D7000 -> D90 but I think the price could be an issue, I was looking to spend $1500 max all up to get a decent camera body and 1-2 lenses to get started. I will try source one second hand if I can for a good price.

    If I did get the D7000 what lenses would you suggest for Portraits/Landscapes and Macro? Being a beginner is the D7000 a much steeper learning curve in comparison with the D90?

    Do you think the 35mm is a better choice for portraits on a DX camera?

    Thanks!

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    Gee $1500 wont go far if you are looking at the Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR: lens its around $900
    The Tamron 90mm macro is a great lens I have it and so do many of our members here that shoot Macro
    Its half the price of the Nikkor .. Macro lenses are also good Portrait lenses so is that nifty fifty 50mm f1.8 at around $120 ?
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    I agree with Mary Anne here. The Tamron 90 macro is a great value for money lens. Get one second hand for 2-3 hundred (probably) . If you budget is 1.5K then you wont get much. Personally I`d get the D7000 over the 90, s/h 35 f2 or 1.8 and the tamron 90. Wont put you much over the money.
    Graeme
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    Nikon: D7000, D80, 12-24 f4, 17-55 f2.8, 18-135, 70-300VR, 35f2, SB 400, SB 600, TC-201 2x converter. Tamron: 90 macro 2.8 Kenko ext. tubes. Photoshop CS2.


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    I have a mate selling a D90 with cards etc for $650 at the moment, if youre interested I can PM you his details
    Darren
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    The Nikon 60mm micro would be an excellent choice for macro and portraits also.

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    Tamron 90mm f2.8 Marco, brand new OS stock $365 on fleabay.
    Cheers,
    Ian

    All the 7's: D700, D7000, D70

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    Quote Originally Posted by earlyreflections View Post
    .....

    I'd love to go the D7000 -> D90 but I think the price could be an issue, I was looking to spend $1500 max all up to get a decent camera body and 1-2 lenses to get started. I will try source one second hand if I can for a good price.

    .....
    OK, now we have more info, as already said, this puts all of the lenses you've mentioned way out of reach.

    Nikon 14-24mm lens is already at $1800 grey market and over $2K from a bricks and mortar store!!

    So with a D90, Sigma 10-20mm, Nikon 35mm/1.8 and Tamron 90mm/2.8(for macro and long portrait shots)... I think you maintain your budget and got the genres covered.

    Problem with 50mm as a portrait lens is simply that it's harder in most situations(unless they're posed!!) to get a full body portrait.
    That is, at most household parties or out and about on the streets .. it's just too limited.
    And when you are far enough out, it then tends to be too wide and so you end up cropping the image.

    35mm of Dx is a better all rounder, you will get more distortion effect than a 50mm, due to the shorter focal length when you're in close for a head shot .. but to be honest it's not really noticeable.
    But it does give you a meter or two more space to work with when you have to be in at close quarters.

    When you want that more spontaneous candid type portrait from a way off, the 90mm Tammy will be more useful.

    The other alternative for the 90mm Tammy is the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 VR Micro.
    Not a perfect lens from what I've seen from it, but it's not too bad either.
    They're not too badly priced, but it may place more pressure on the $1500 budget.

    The items I've listed(with the Tamron 90mm) will set you back approximately $1700 from a reputable grey market retailer.
    The Nikon 85VR will stretch that to $1850.

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    The Nikon 60mm micro would be an excellent choice for macro and portraits also.
    The only thing with shooting macro with a 60mm is you are right in their face and thats not good sometimes, 90mm-105 is just right
    That does not worry me as I shoot with a 65mm macro as well as a 90mm and a 100mm Macro
    There would be plenty of people who would not like their face to be that close to a Spider for instance.
    Another thing also is being so close to the subject the lens tend to bump the leaves or branches the so does the speedlite then the image is oof.

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    I think I will go for the Nikon D7000 as it seems to be the better overall option and I will have some extra money to play with as my birthday coming up as well, I'll scout around for a good second hand deal.

    Does anyone here have any examples of insect/flower pictures with the Tamron 90mm? Would I better better of with this or the Sigma 105/150mm?

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    Anyone know about this version of the Tamron 90mm? http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/180865624...ht_1039wt_1035

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    From what I've taken from your guys help I could do the below within the price range;

    Either Nikon D90 brand new or D7000 second hand / Nikkon 35mm 1.8G / Tamron 90mm / Sigma 10-20mm

    What are your thoughts? Is the Tamron the way to go? Or the Sigma 105/150mm?

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    Here is an assortment of different subjects taken with the Tamron 90mm Macro lens.
    Moody Frangipani, Raindrops, Bright Freesias, Bee on Julias rose, Caterpillar, Fly, Pot of Dahlias, Cropped Huntsman's Spider, to give you an idea on what it can do.
















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    You have to make your own mind up, we can give advice but we cannot choose for you..

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    Great pictures Mary Anne

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    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    If you want to go Nikon, perhaps wait a little while for the new 3200.
    It has a great sensor of around 24mpx, and if you are a begginer, it has a lot of good stuff on it that guides you through the settings, and it will be MUCH cheaper than a D90 or 7000.

    Then you'll have more $$$$ for lenses, whcih really are more important than the body.

    I have a Sigma 150mm Macro with OS, and it is a fantastic lens. Amazingly sharp, but big and heavy and needs a bit of a learning curve to get the best out of it.
    I'd recommend the Tamron 90mm Macro as I've seen some very good results from it, and the focal length on a crop sensor is very good too.

    Can't help you too much re the Nikon lenses (as I shoot Canon), but the Tokina 11-16 is what I use and it is not only sharp, but has great colours and contrast too.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    The D90 is a great body, albeit a little dated. I sold mine in incredible condition recently for around $650, which gives you an indication of their current value.

    The D7000 is excellent, although more exxy of course.

    I've owned them both and they're lovely cameras. At the moment I'm really enjoying my new Pentax K-5. In my opinion, all of the D7000 (plus a little more in some areas, a little less in others) for a lot less money. Outstanding value.



    For an ultra-wide zoom, look at the Tokinas - the 12-24 and 11-16 are both spectacularly good lenses.
    Last edited by Eberbachl; 26-04-2012 at 8:10pm.
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    + 1 for the Tokina, lovely lens.

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