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Thread: New to Nikon. Advice on second lens after kit lens.

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    Ausphotography Regular Hawthy's Avatar
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    New to Nikon. Advice on second lens after kit lens.

    Just bought a D5100 with the kit 18-55 mm lens. Ordered a remote shutter release and a Nikon sb-400 speedlight. I am looking for a good prime lens for landscape and portrait shots. I am thinking about the Nikon AF-S 35 mm f1.8. Is this a good choice, or can anyone suggest better for a reasonable price, given that I don't want to spend a fortune until the lens buying bug becomes incurable?
    Andrew




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    Ausphotography Regular livio's Avatar
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    Hawthy, This is perhaps the hardest question in the world to answer, like you I am Nikon user and I don't yet have that many lenses, the ones I do own I absolutely love. The D5100 id a DX or crop Sensor camera, the lens should be based on what you want to photograph, for a prime to do both portrait and landscape the 35,, is a good choice so id the AFS 50mm f1.8 it is way cheaper that the same version in f1.4 If you are going to do low light stuff you want as big and wide open aperture as possible. I also hear that the 85mm prime is a great lens. There are places where you can hire a lens for a day try some different ones so you can make an informed decision.

    Kind Regards
    Livio

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    Hiring a lens, now that is a great idea! Thanks for the tip, Livio.

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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    I have the 35mm f1.8 - a great lens, very sharp and light as a feather to carry around. Personally I prefer wider for landscapes and longer for portraits. Leave your zoom on 35mm for a while and see if that length suits you for what you want to take.

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    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    As you have only just bought the camera, I would strongly suggest that you keep with your 18-55 for a little while and see how you go. Before too long you'll figure out which focal lengths you use more than others, and this will give you an idea of what your next purchase should be.
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    Ausphotography Regular NRandall's Avatar
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    My only comment would be that you have started with a lens in the mid-zoom territory. Personally I tend to shoot more either side of this range, either very wide or very long.
    I use a 50mm lens in my kit but only for Panoramas.
    I also note that the 35mm lens you are thinking of is already covered by your zoom range, thus my initial thought would be to choose something outside the current range as your first 2nd lens.

    Most importantly it will help us greatly to know what your favourite subjects are, ie pets, people, landscapes etc, and this more than anything will help us offer constructive comments.

    As others have suggested, you will soon know what you want to see more of in your images, and this will guide you.

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    I agree with the advice that you stick with the 18-55 and see what FL you are using most.
    Cheers

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    I faced a similar situation earlier this year. Having the 18-55mm lens I next chose the AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR. The 18-55mm gives me the chance to maximise my experience with wide angle to general day-to-day focal lengths and is a fairly decent lens; the zoom lets me dabble in wildlife, sporting and other opportunities where a zoom comes in handy. These two lenses gave me excellent FL coverage to really begin concentrating with.

    When I considered landscapes I invested in the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM lens which I find simply awesome. My next lens to be added to my bag is a macro and that probably will then complete my range of lenses, leaving only the need to upgrade when I really want to invest greater $$.
    Hi! I'm Bill.

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    your 18-55 should be fine for land scape, but I do recommend a low light lens like the 35 1.8 or 50 1.8 on dx (75mm)which would be good for portrait. If you find you are more towards landscape yes look at the 10-20mm sigma or tokina 12-24mm or 11-16 tokina.

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    Ausphotography Regular danny's Avatar
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    Hi livio,

    When I went through what you are going through I ended up with the 55-200mm which was great and VERY cheap ($100 second hand). Then I got the 50mm 1.8f. (not as cheap but still cheap) If I had to choose between the two, it would definitely be the 50mm. The ability to go up to 1.8f means that you can start to do some creative shooting (of course you can do creative with a whole range of lenses but I am sure you know what I mean). It is also great to shoot inside, it instantly changed my ability to take some photos at birthdays and other events where the light is bad. Of course there are other lenses out there that are able to give you more of a zoom range but there is a reason shy every has a 50mm

    So my suggestion would be to get a 50mm as it will do a whole range of things as long as you don't mind using you feet as a zoom

    And then save for the next one whether that is a great zoom like the 70-200 2.8 or something wider like the Tokina 12-24 or 11-16.

    Cheers
    Danny

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I'd agree on the 50mm and I'd try go with the 1.4, not the 1.8. I don't know of that many people who regret buying a 50mm.

    Whatever you invest in now is wasting money if it's not part of your long term arsenal.
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    Like you, I started with the 5100 and the kit lens. My second purchase was the 35mm 1.8 DX and it is a superb lens for the money. It's sharp, light and fast. It has a focal length which can be used for everyday shots in low light or good light and can be used for landscapes. Now, I know that a lot of people will tell you that wider is better for landscapes, and I'd agree with that, but the 35mm is really just wide enough for most subjects and close enough for portraits. It is one of my sharpest lenses, even on my D7100.
    I also have the 50mm 1.8d and find it a great cheap lens (it will not autofocus on your D5100 though), but the 35mm is just a nice focal length for most things you'll come across and you could leave it on your camera most of the time.
    Last edited by secludedsea; 22-12-2013 at 10:35pm.

    Bodies: Nikon D7100 / D5100
    Lenses: Nikkor 35mm 1.8, Nikkor 50mm 1.8d, Tamron 60mm Macro, Nikkor 55-300mm, Tamron 17-50mm 2.8, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

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    This is a tough question and it depends what sort of photography you are doing or plan to do. There are all sorts of suggestions above.

    I started with the D5000 with the twin kit lenses (18 - 55mm and 55 - 200mm). These got me started.
    My next purchase was the 35mm f1.8 DX. This is a sharp lens at a usable focal length on a crop sensor. It provided better contrast and color rendering than the kit lenses and the larger aperture permitted more creative use of DOF and better subject isolation. It is great for portraits, street photography and low light.

    I found it nice and light, compact and easy to use. It became a bit of a fixture on my D5000 (until I bought the Nikkor 24 - 70mm f2.8 and 70 - 200 f2.8 - but that is another story).

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    Ausphotography Addict feathers's Avatar
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    I bought a nikon FF camera body only, then a 50mm 1.8. very happy with it, but as mentioned, your feet become the zoom
    My second lens is a samyang 14mm (not expensive)which initially took some getting use too, but really love it now.(manual focus)
    Now to save and get a Sigma 150mm macro for my third choice.
    Cheers.

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    Get the 50mm 1.8 - it's the cheapest lens they make for a Nikon this side of the kit lenses.

    35mm isn't wide enough for landscapes - I've tried and it sucks. I can never fit everything I want in the frame. 18mm will do you fine until you start lusting after an ultra-wide angle lens, which will set you back at least $400 or so, depending on what you choose to get.

    The 50mm, on the other hand, will work well for portraits and allow you to have a much shallower depth of field to give the portrait look you're after. Considering that the kit lens will only go as wide as f5.6 or so at 50mm, this will be a much better investment. It'll also allow you to shoot in low light, something that is pretty difficult with the kit 18-55.
    I'm Sam.

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    I recently bought a D5100 with the kit 18-55mm zoom. My next buy was the 55-200mm zoom, which I have hardly used. I bought a 50mm AF f/1.8 for $119 on eBay and it is my favourite lens. Manual focus but the low light capabilities are great.

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    Just realised that I replied to my own thread....doh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdison View Post
    Get the 50mm 1.8 - it's the cheapest lens they make for a Nikon this side of the kit lenses.

    35mm isn't wide enough for landscapes - I've tried and it sucks. I can never fit everything I want in the frame. 18mm will do you fine until you start lusting after an ultra-wide angle lens, which will set you back at least $400 or so, depending on what you choose to get.

    The 50mm, on the other hand, will work well for portraits and allow you to have a much shallower depth of field to give the portrait look you're after. Considering that the kit lens will only go as wide as f5.6 or so at 50mm, this will be a much better investment. It'll also allow you to shoot in low light, something that is pretty difficult with the kit 18-55.
    If you're recommending the older 50mm 1.8d, it will not autofocus on the OPs camera body. That may or may not be an issue for the OP. It's a fine and cheap lens. Very good bang for the buck, but that might be a problem.
    I disagree about 35mm not being wide enough for landscape. I prefer my Tokina 11-16 for landscape, but have used the 35mm in a pinch and it's fine. It really all depends on what you're trying to fit in the frame. There's no right or wrong here. I've used a super tele before at the long end to grab one aspect of a landscape. That's still landscape photography, it's just not wide or ultra wide landscape photography. I think sometimes it's easy to use the same lenses time after time for certain subjects and forget that a lens is just a lens and can be used powerfully for a variety of subjects.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    Just realised that I replied to my own thread....doh!
    Yes, I just got my 50mm 1.8d and love it so far. Cheap but good quality lens, much like the 35mm. Of course it autofocusses on my body, but if you're happy with Manual focus then go for it

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    Member StephenK's Avatar
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    Just bought the 35mm 1.8 as a second lens myself for around $220 from a local supplier.

    My initial impression is that it is a lot better under low light than the 18-55mm kit lens, and perfect for the indoor shots I take of my family.

    One tip I read and tried before buying was to set my kit lens at the focal length of the options being considered, and shoot at that length for a while and see which suited my needs best.

    In my case, I also looked through some of my recent shots and worked out which focal length I typically chose, and found it was close to 35mm in a lot of shots.

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    I recently got an 85mm 1.8 lens and I am loving the portraits I am able to take without having to get right in the subject's face. It has been a fixture on my camera lately.

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