First Nikon Lens?

A lot of people wonder what to buy as their first Nikon lens. Most people new to digital photography and DSLRs don’t bother reading about cameras and lenses as much since there is too much information and too many recommendations. They end up purchasing a kit lens that they use for a year or two, only to realize that they want something better. Yes, kit lenses are a good deal but are they worth the purchase? While it makes sense for some people to buy kit lenses with cameras, I personally stay away from cheap entry-level zooms and prefer solid all-purpose prime lenses instead. Read on to find out more about my personal recommendations, aimed at someone who is just getting into photography.

Which Nikon Prime Lens to Buy First?

When I bought my first DSLR, the Nikon D80, it came with a 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Anything looked better compared to my Sony Cybershot point and shoot, so I was very happy for about 6 months. Then I started getting into photography more and more. I was reading books and spending a lot of time testing the camera in different conditions. I really loved the pictures in daylight out of 18-135mm when there was enough light, but low-light conditions kept on frustrating me and indoor photography without a flash was quite challenging. Any camera shake resulted in blurry photos which I wouldn’t even notice until seeing the picture on my computer monitor (the lens had no image stabilization / VR). I ended up selling the lens for a lot less and spent more money getting better gear, or so I thought. The new lens was better (18-200mm VR) due to image stabilization and I was quite happy for a while, but I started encountering other problems such as sub-par image quality at different focal lengths. And the f/3.5-5.6 minimum aperture was still a limiting factor just like on the 18-135mm lens. As I read and researched more, I wanted to be able to shoot in low light, have better background rendering capability or “bokeh” and sharper image quality, so I got a 50mm f/1.4 lens next. Truth be told, I ended up realizing that it was all me that failed to take good pictures, always relying on the capabilities of my camera and lens, rather than focusing on my skill as a photographer. But that little prime taught me a lot of things and made me a better photographer, because I could not rely on zooming in and out anymore – the lens forced me to move and think about composing images, rather than taking point and shoot snapshots.

I’m sure a lot of people go through a similar experiences, sometimes more or less painful. After doing an analysis of different lenses and testing them, I created my own list of lenses that should be first on the purchase list. Lenses that will force you to change the way you take pictures and hopefully make you a better photographer as a result. But always remember – cameras and lenses are only tools, it is the person behind the camera that matters!

I separated the list into two categories. One is for entry-level DSLRs with smaller APS-C / DX sensors (cropped sensors) and one for full-frame cameras that are getting more and more affordable lately.

For entry-level DSLRs like Nikon D3000/D3100/D3200/D5000/D5100/D5200/D5300 and more advanced DSLRs like D7000/D7100, along with older cameras with smaller APS-C sensors (DX):

  1. Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX – a great everyday lens with excellent sharpness, great low-light and subject isolation capabilities.
  2. Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR – a great and versatile zoom lens for situations where you need to go wider or longer than 35mm. Excellent sharpness throughout the range and image stabilization (VR) for low-light situations.

For full-frame DLSRs like Nikon D600 and D610 (FX):

  1. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G – consider this lens equivalent to the 35mm f/1.8G DX listed above, since it gives a similar angle of view when used on a full-frame camera. Excellent sharpness when compared to the more expensive Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, as shown in my 50mm f/1.4G vs f/1.8G comparison article. And at just $220, you simply cannot beat the value! Check out my review of this lens for more information.
  2. Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR – a sharp, professional lens for photographing everything else. One of my favorite zoom lenses in Nikon’s line today. Versatile zoom range, image stabilization and nano coating deliver excellent results. For more details, check out my 24-120mm lens review.

I’m not taking into account special type of photography (such as macro or super telephoto) – the above lenses are good for most types of photography. I’m also not including rare / exotic lenses, because the article is targeted at beginners. If you just want to buy a couple of excellent lenses, the above would definitely satisfy most of your needs. If you can only afford one lens, I would start out with the 35mm f/1.8G for DX and 50mm f/1.8G for FX. If you have been shooting only with zoom lenses so far, give prime lenses a try – I promise that you will not regret and your pictures will have a completely different look and feel to them! Zoom lenses are great for some situations, but they often make us lazy and they cannot match the performance of prime lenses. The only exception is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens (for DX cameras), which is the first zoom lens with a fast f/1.8 aperture. At a hefty price tag of $800 it is not for everyone though; plus, the 16-85mm has a more versatile zoom range than the 18-35mm lens. If you are shopping for a third party lens, a better candidate would be the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8, which has a better range and a fast aperture of f/2.8.

If you would like to read about our recommendations for Nikon prime lenses, check out Roman’s article on choosing the first prime lens. He covers plenty of prime lenses for different needs in that article.

P.S. This article was first published back in 2008. I have updated it with recent recommendations and re-posted it with today’s date, so do not be surprised to see comments from 2008 below!


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Mark

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/fx-dx-future.htm – postmotri – interesnaya stat’ya

  2. 2
    ) Nasim Mansurov

    Mark, I agree with some points that Ken mentions in his article – that’s why I said DX is not to die anytime soon. Plus, some people want to keep DX bodies for reach due to crop, especially wildlife photographers. But when FX gets cheaper than $5K, closer to $2K range, a lot of people who use higher-end DSLR’s such as D200 & D300 will start switching to FX. And considering that you can only go up to 6 Megapixels with a DX lens on an FX body, investing into DX might not be such a good idea. Again, this applies only to those, who would eventually switch to FX when it is affordable. There will always be a consumer market in the DSLR world, so it is expected that both Nikon and Canon will continue selling DX-type bodies and lenses.

    • 197
      ) Neil

      I think DX will always be a larger market than FX simply due to 2 things: cost and good enough. A DX sensor is always going to be a fraction of the cost of FX. So cheaper body to begin with. Second is that, realistically, there is only a marginal difference in quality in FX vs DX. Most people will find that good enough. Certainly there are people who can clearly define the need for larger sensors and what they can do that smaller cannot. But I think a lot of the FX lust is more “bigger is better” than “I have a photographic need for it.”

      Another thought: Nikon is kind of forcing people in the D200/300 class to go to FX by not providing adequate lens options for DX. So if they had provided a full range of lenses for DX would there be so much clamor for FX?

      • I’d suggest that mainstream camera tech will probably converge on two different levels, the “best camera you can put into a very thin device” (e.g. an iPhone or whatever) which will be for casual users and backups, and the “best camera in a small, ergonomic package”. In my opinion 35mm succeeded precisely because 35mm film was about the biggest film you could wrap a small but usable camera around. Smaller film wouldn’t make a usable camera smaller (the Rollei 35 was already too small to be usable). Bigger film would, along with bigger optics, and so on, create an overall package that was more painful to carry around. So 35mm became the upper convergence for the second plateau pre-digital.

        I’d suggest that without the 35mm legacy, the natural size for digital sensors to converge on would be slightly bigger than 35mm since an ultimate digital camera doesn’t need to spool film around, but that would entail abandoning a lot of great optics, and also you don’t need to scale the sensor up much to drive lens sizes up a lot more. That said, there’s a lot to be gained by removing the mirrorbox from DSLRs, and there’s no huge legacy to speak of there.

        So, I agree that DX will be around for a long time, but ultimately full frame (or larger), and probably mirrorless will take over.

        Another thing we will see is lens simplification — we can stop doing things with lenses, such as correcting for distortion — that can be done digitally in less space, and this will lead to far better image capture systems in smaller, lighter packages.

        • BTW lens simplification is one of the no-brainers I’m shocked none of the camera makers have gone for. (It would work particularly well in concert with binned RAWs, another thing they seem to be clueless about.) It’s really lucky for the camera makers that their entire market is too small for Apple to really go for, because (as Thom Hogan keeps saying) if camera makers started trying to solve user problems rather than iterating on numbers they’d make a killing, and if Apple entered the serious camera market this is exactly what it would do (look at the iPhone 5S flash).

          • 208
            ) Neil

            Fuji has made some movement in that direction. Take a look at their LMO (lens modulation) technology.

      • Neil, hopefully you noticed the date when my comment was posted :)

        Interesting how what I’ve said back in 2008 is a reality today – FX is nearing $1500 mark and people are indeed moving up from DX to FX. Part of it has to do with manufacturer’s fault to provide good DX lenses. For a person that buys a modern DX DSLR like Nikon D7100, it seems like older DX glass does not cut it anymore. If Nikon wants to continue keeping the higher-end DX market interesting (D7100 users), it should focus on releasing more lighter and better glass. I just don’t think it is going to happen – the bets are on FX, given how cheap it has gotten.

        Personally, I think that DX DSLRs will be phased out within the next 3-4 years. I know this comment will anger some people, but I want to clarify – DX as a format, meaning APS-C sensor is here to stay. As you’ve noted, cost and “good enough” quality have a lot to do with it. What I believe will happen, is all DX users and future potential users will be switching to DX/APS-C mirrorless. Whether Nikon chooses to do it by releasing a new mirrorless mount with a shorter flange, or simply remove the mirror and keep the flange distance for compatibility reasons remains to be seen. I hope Nikon will find a way to make DSLRs lighter and more compact, once the mirror + pentaprism/pentamirror are removed. EVF is the future and Nikon knows it very well…

        • 218
          ) Neil

          I did after I posted :)

          I guess I hope I don’t see history repeating itself with Fuji. I was with Nikon for many years but left for Fuji because Nikon wouldn’t build what I need/want anymore. It was a hard decision, 2-3 years in the making. But I just don’t need FX (tried it for 3 years) and really prefer high performing APS-C. It seems like the manufacturers aren’t interested in that market even though it’s the vast majority of sales.

  3. 3
    ) Mark

    1. Even if that happens (it already happened in the Canon world with 5D), quality DX glass won’t fall in value quickly because there will be plenty of new users / new D300 like cameras to use DX lens on.
    2. Most of the people who buy pro-level glass are NAS affected individuals with extra $$ who don’t even know how to fully utilize the possibilities of it. (come read Nikonians.org forums)
    3. Most importantly, new cameras/ glass doesn’t affect one’s own performance – people who have older D200 and know how to use their equipment in a right way get amazing results today. Same thing with D300 – take care of it and you will enjoy using it for a decade plus.

    Btw I only have my D40 + 18-200mm VR (I think about D300 on a daily basis though) and I absolutely love it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgur

  4. 4
    ) Nasim Mansurov

    Mark, very cute daughter you have there! And the pictures are superb, I really enjoyed your family gallery.

    I agree that there are a lot of NAS-afflicted photographers (I am probably one of them). Some people buy $5K+ lenses, D3 bodies and have nothing to show in their galleries :)

    Regarding DX glass not falling in value when FX is affordable – it’s very arguable :) Those NAS-afflicted people with deep pockets are already selling their DX gear and trying to convert to FX lenses and FX bodies. There is a big crowd of individuals who think that only pro glass creates pro-level pictures. If you have been looking at prices on both Nikonians.org and Ebay, DX gear already dropped in value. It might be because of new product introduction, but I’m sure that some of the decline is because of people selling their stuff. Now imagine when FX is more affordable – those who cannot afford D3s right now will make a switch and will be selling their DX lenses. Market over-saturation will cause prices to drop and that’s when we’ll be enjoying some good prices on used gear :)

    I do agree with you on new cameras and new glass. I have seen amazing pictures taken with D40 and Canon Digital Rebel cameras. Newer gear introduces new possibilities, but only those who know how to utilize those possibilities would really benefit.

    I personally switched to D300 because I shoot a lot in low-light conditions. Being able to have acceptable ISO 800-1600 is very important for me, which is why I upgraded. That was 90% of the reason why I switched. The rest 10% was because of better focus and other features that were absent in D80. I tried the D300 out and performed several tests and my conclusion was that it was well worth the upgrade. The ergonomics and the convenience of the buttons are extremely useful. The camera is heavier, but there is definitely a different feel to it. Changing ISO in D80 was painful, since it wasn’t available in the viewfinder. Now I can concentrate on taking pictures rather than looking for buttons and settings.

    The 18-200mm VR lens you have will work on the D300. Upgrading from D40 will be a big jump for you though :) Get ready to learn a lot!

    If you are wondering if you will be taking better pictures with the D300 – you absolutely will! If you are not convinced, I recommend borrowing/renting a D300 and trying it out. Be warned though, as NAS will haunt you!!! :) LOL

  5. 5
    ) Mark

    why, oh why did I read your post.. the NAS is overwhelming me right now!

    Once again – congrats on your purchase – I know you will enjoy it for years to come! Your family looks very nice, too! :)

    Actually, I do have a plan – right now I live in NYC, work long hours and I simply don’t have time to improve as a photographer a lot. I am not even getting a very affordable 50mm 1.8 at this time – in a tiny NYC apartment 50mm doesn’t work that well, and I don’t shoot that much outside these days.

    Once we move out of NYC, I promised myself – I will upgrade :)

  6. 6
    ) Ken

    Greetings,

    I like taking close-up photos; plants, and insects mainly; what
    lenses for a Nikon D90 would you recommend in that case?

    • Ken,

      Close-up photography is called “macro” or “micro” photography. To get the best results, you need a macro lens that can focus at a very close range and provide all the fine details of your subject. I personally use a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 lens, but there is also a lower cost alternative, the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 lens. Both work extremely well, but I prefer the 105mm lens, because you can stand further away from the subject and still get plenty of details.

      These lenses will work with any DX or FX sensor, so they are great investments for your future photography needs.

  7. 8
    ) Sis

    Nasim,

    I, recently, start reading your Photography articles, and I have to admit it helps a lot in understanding DSLR camera. I appreciate your simplicity in explaining how to use DSLR camera and all its features.
    Not to long ago, I have received my new Canon EOS Rebel xsi. To be honest, I enjoy it. As you said, everything looks better comparing to my Sony CyberShot point and shoot. Yes, I had exactly the same camera, and I really liked it, until I found out about DSLR cameras existence.
    However, it was a little confusing and painful to understand all its features and how to use it correctly, I fell in love with DSLR camera more and more.
    Now that I’ve been using it for a while with my Canon zoom lens18-55mm, I want more. I realized, that there are a lot of things that I am not being able to shoot with this lens, and I want to upgrade it to Telephoto lens. A friend of mine (photographer) recommended me a new type of lens Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3. He said that for me as a beginner this type of lens is enough. As I understood, it is type of universal lens that can shoot from far, and close-up.
    SO, my question is, what are your thoughts about that lens? Can you write briefly how to use that lens, and if it’s worth of buying it?
    Also, what do you think about Canon EOS Rebel xsi/.

    Thanks

    • Sis, thank you so much for your feedback! I’m glad that you found my articles useful.

      As far as the Tamron, to be honest, I really don’t have much experience with Tamron lenses. One thing I know for sure though, is that Canon’s lenses are typically better (sharper, better contrast) than Tamron lenses. What is your budget?

      If you need a telephoto lens, I would stay away from lenses that cover both wide-angle and telephoto needs, because they will be optically worse than dedicated telephoto lenses. If I were you, I would look into Canon 70-300mm IS or a similar lens, because you already have the 18-55mm range covered and there is no need to have another lens that has the same zoom range…

      • 10
        ) Sis

        Nasim,
        My budget to stay around $500-$600. However, if I can find telephoto lens cheaper than that, that will help.
        How important is filter?

  8. 12
    ) Jetron Lamanilao

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m new to photography. I just got my Nikon D40 a month ago.
    What’s the best prime lens should i use? Right now i have the Nikkor 18-55 II.

    thanks,

    • Jetron, it depends on what you want to do with a prime. A good general-purpose prime lens for a DX body is Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S. Another very good lens is the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens, but it is twice more expensive.

      • 14
        ) Jetron

        Nassim,

        yes, just a general purpose lens will do for me. i was thinking of nikkor 50mm 1.8D because it’s much cheaper compare with the two lens.do you think that using manual focus on nikon 50mm 1.8D will be easy for me?

        thanks again,

        • Jetron, do not buy the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D, because autofocus will NOT work on your D40. The Nikon D40 body does not have an internal focus motor, which is why you need an AF-S lens. The above two lenses that I pointed out will work great on the D40.

          As far as manual focus, you do not want to be focusing manually on the D40, especially if you have never done it before. The viewfinder on the D40 is tiny and it will be extremely difficult to acquire focus on a 50mm lens.

          Hope this helps.

          • 16
            ) jetron lamanilao

            Nassim,

            my budget cannot afford the other prime AF-S lenses.so i was thinking it will be practical just to have the 50mm 1.8D.

            i would appreciate if you could suggest more for me.

            thanks,

            • Jetron, why don’t you try the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G instead then? I provided the link above and it is only about $200.

          • 226
            ) vincent lagua

            hello sir, i would like to ask if what is best prime lens for my d90? 35mm 1.8g or 50mm 1.8d? i have only limited budget.. or i will buy first my speedlight before buying my second lens? i have my kit lens already.thnx

    • 184
      ) Manuel

      Dear Jetron,

      if you’re looking for a general purpose prime lens, consider the 35mm/1.8 lens. 50mm isn’t very useful as a general purpose lens on a Nikon DX camera – the angle of view is too small, imho. On the other hand, 50mm on a DX camera like the D40 is a perfect and extremely affordable prime lens for portraiture.

      For street photography and photojournalism, 35mm on a D40 may not deliver a wide enough angle of view. On FX or film, 35mm is the classic prime lens for this kind of photography – the equivalent on DX (D40, etc) is 24mm. If this kind of photography makes it for you, take a look at the Sigma 24mm/1.8 (street price in Germany about 490 Euro). That’s a very nice lens.

      - Manuel

  9. 18
    ) Vish

    Hi Nasim,
    Its a great website with wealth of knowledge. It is amazing and inspiring that you put in all your hardwork and learning experience in a form that is useful for lot of people like me. Thanks to you, I now feel I have some knowledge in making a better choice in buying a DSLR and the lens. I wanted to run by you before I place my order.

    After going through your website and few other articles on google, I have decided to buy
    1. Nikon D90.
    2. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S based on your recommendation that it has on the potraits with bokeh effect.
    3. Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR , for regular use
    4. Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 VR lens

    My primary need I foresee is for potraits, low light photography and secondary would be for landscapes and wild life photography.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    -Vish

    • Vish, you have made the right choice of gear for sure! :) Love your selection of lenses.

      Don’t forget to get the $250 off by buying the Nikon D90 + 70-300mm lens combo!

      Congratulations on your upcoming purchase and please let me know if you have any questions! :)

  10. 20
    ) alice

    Nassim,
    your article here really really help me a lot, maybe i wanna buy D90 next week, like you said i’m intresting with 50mm f/1.4G and 105mm f/2.8G but my budget can’t take both of this lens >.< can you help me? or do you have another recommend lens for me?

    i'll using this camera almost for outdoor since my job is reporter, can you recommend for me which one better for me?? for the truth i like 50mm f/1.4G more but sometimes i need zoom too..

    • Alice, the Nikon 105m f/2.8G might be too long for everyday photography on a Nikon D90 body, due to a 1.5x crop factor. I would start out either with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens or the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens first. If you need a wider angle and zoom capability, check out the Nikon 18-200mm VR II lens that Nikon is giving away $300 on. In order to get the instant rebate, you need to buy the D90 together with the 18-200mm VR at the same time. Here is the link for the combo. I would hurry if I were you, because the promotion ends in just three days.

      Hope this helps.

      • 22
        ) alice

        thanks nasim, i am really like nikon 50mm f/1,4G but since sometimes i need zoom too so i can’t buy this lens for my 1st lens… yeah i saw this combo… wow so expensive here i got NT$44.000 (Taiwan) around US$1400, my friend buy d90 combo kit (lens 18-105mm vr) for US$ 1100… which combo do you recommend if you wanna buy one? i’ll going to hongkong next week, but i still looking a good price in Taiwan….

        • Alice, if you can’t get any of the rebates that are currently being offered in the US, then go with the 18-55mm VR lens. It is very cheap and it works great on Nikon D90. In the future, you might want to add the 50mm f/1.4 or the 35mm f/1.8 DX for low-light environments.

          • 25
            ) alice

            thanks Nasim, is it good for wide angle?? do you think i can have a good price for wide angle lens?? cos maybe i’ll buy 50mm f/1.4 for the 2nd lens… this is my 1st camera so i must need becarefull to buy it >.<

            • Alice, it is good enough for wide angle shots, but if you need something wider than 18mm, then you would have to get a more expensive dedicated ultra-wide angle lens.

  11. 26
    ) Ken A.

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for the blogs, I learned a few from it. I have D5000 and enjoying it very much. I have the 35mm 1.8 and 18-55vr, considering getting my “final lens”. I’m leaning towards 16-85 or 18-105, not very interested in telephoto, more of a landscape and people shooter. What do you think?

    • Ken, if you already have a lens that covers the 18-55 range, why do you want to buy another one?

      • 28
        ) Ken A.

        Hi Nasim,

        I guess I want a tad bit more telephoto and wondering whether an 85 or 105 would be enough for what I want and somewhat an improvement on my kit lens. Also, my 18-55 is kind of inadequate for my lowlight shots, dusk or I could be just rushing and not fully explore my kit lens? Thanks.

        • Ken, to be honest, I do not think it is a wise decision to buy another slow lens like the 16-85 or 18-105.

          Why do you use your 18-55mm in low-light instead of your Nikon 35mm f/1.8? Here is what I would do if I were you:
          1) Use 35mm f/1.8G in low light environments.
          2) Use 18-55mm for landscapes.
          3) Get the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR for portraits and macro or wait until Nikon releases an update to the superb Nikon 85mm f/1.4D or f/1.8D.

          Hope this helps.

          • 31
            ) Ken A.

            Hi Nasim,

            Thanks for the input, I’ll definitely give it a thorough thought. I guess my main concern is to take a decent landscapes with adequate wide shot capability. I don’t mind the 35mm but a bit wide would help.

  12. 32
    ) Shalom

    Hi Nasim,

    Would the 16-85mm lens be good idea on a D300s?
    I intend to get it for walkabout lens.

    I’m from Singapore, they don’t carry kit lens for D300s here.

    • Shalom, yes, the 16-85mm is a good overall lens, slightly better in sharpness compared to Nikon 18-200mm. I haven’t done much testing on these though.

  13. 34
    ) George Gutierrez

    Nasim,

    I have a question? I am looking into getting the 24-70mm lens and I have the following lens.

    18-105mm Nikon Lens

    I’m thinking of selling my 18-105mm lens. Should I buy the 24-70 lens for shooting in low light… i.e. clubs, concert and such???
    I tried to use the 18-105 but I get lots of blurry shots and using a tripod in a crowd of people is next to impossible. I also tried using the 50mm f/1.8 but got the same results. Maybe I am doing something wrong. I also read your article on shooting in low light. Suggestions??

    By the way I have the Nikon D90.
    Thank you,
    George

    • George, if you did not get any good results with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8, then the 24-70mm lens will not help.

      Go back and check out your old images to see what shutter speeds you were shooting at. I’m sure they are very long, which is the primary reason why images would be blurry. The only option is to use faster glass like 50mm f/1.8 and higher ISO levels (ISO 800 and higher) – two ways to increase camera shutter speed. If your images still come out blurry, it means that the amount of light is not enough and it would be impossible to capture the scene without using a flash of some sort.

  14. 35
    ) sam

    Hi,

    I’m thinking of buying a D90, should I go with the 17-55 or 16-85, which is sharper. I don’t like to change len often and want a good all arounder. Mostly, I like take family photos and landscape when I go on vacation with my family,wife and daugther.

    Cheers,

    Sam

    • Sam, why do you want to get the 17-55 or 16-85 instead of the kit 18-105mm? Sure, those lenses are better than the 18-105mm, but they are so much more expensive…

      I would recommend to get the D90 with a cheaper lens like Nikon 35mm f/1.8G to see what you want to do first.

  15. 38
    ) Sam

    I got the d90 with 50 1.4g two days ago as this Len works on fx too should I step up in the future. Do you have any moderate zoom lens suggestion that will work well with both dx and fx format as I may step up to fx in the near future. I didn’t get the 18-105 as I think it’s not very sharp, I may be wrong here.

  16. 39
    ) Neets

    Hello,
    Firstly, I must repeat was ever other newbie does – this is a great website to help get me started.

    I was happy to see a recommendation for 1st lenses, but find myself still abit unsure. I will be buying, in the next few days, a D90.

    I’m very captivated with architectural details (doors, windows, stained glass in churches) when I travel. I love the details of bicycles in outdoor settings. I love the mountains and I like to capture candid shots of people across a room in a discreet way.

    In your readings I was convinced that I need the 50mm f/1.4G, but then when I read this article I see you have 3 recommendations (50mm or 85mm or 70-200mm) and so now struggle to know which one of these 3 is the best for me.

    Also, you also did mention in a blog that the 50mm could be too long compared to the 35 mm…. what does that mean exactly?

    I could buy the kit set 18-108 but don’t feel married to that. I do have the opportunity to buy the 70-300 mm used and so it becomes another option.
    I’m willing to spend the money it takes to get lenses I won’t be looking to replace in a few months. Can you help? tks.

    (BTW – going to Alaska in a week so there will be great mountains to enjoy :))

    • Neets, the Nikon 18-105mm is a good all-around lens for most needs. I would get something like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G or Nikon 35mm f/1.8G for portraits in addition to the kit lens.

      Now for your trip to Alaska, you might want to look into the 70-300mm for wildlife as well.

      • 43
        ) Neets

        Hello again Nasim,
        I’ve just noticed that the 70-300mm has with or without VR. I have an opportunity to buy the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 D ED (but without VR). Price is $300 used. Would a novice benefit from the VR or would I not know the difference.

        Sorry for such type of questions. tks.

        • Neets, I highly recommend getting the VR version, especially for a lens like the 70-300mm. As the focal length increases, so will camera shake and VR is very useful in those situations.

  17. 42
    ) Neets

    Thank you Nasim! You’re site is a tremendous help! BTW – I like recipes too… another hobby :)

  18. 46
    ) Sarah

    Hi Nasim,

    So, I have decided to buy a Nikon d90 and cant wait to get my camera. But now i have the hard part of trying to figure out what kind of lenses to get. I do have two kit lenses that came with my nikon d40. They are the 55-200mm 4-5.5ED and the 18-55mm.. I also have the 50mm 1.8f that i got as a gift and is waiting for the d90.

    I like to take a lot of portait pictures especially candid pictures, so I like to a couple steps back from when i take portrait pictures. So i was just wondering will my two older kit lenses work okay with the d90? And is there another lens i should invest in since i already have the 50mm?

    I was looking at the nikon 18-70, nikon 18-185mm and the 85mm. Money is a big thing for me and im trying to stay approximate around $500 for a lens. Are any of these lense a good investment or should i sell my old kit lenses and go for a more expensive one like the nikkor 24-70?

    thanks again,

    Sarah

    • Sarah, congratulations!

      No need to sell your lenses, I think you have more than enough for your D90 for now.

    • 48
      ) Rodrigo

      Nasim can get you a better answer but I think that it first comes to the question what range do/would you use more often when doing candid shots? Is it 50 or 85?

      You already got the range 18-200 covered with both kit lenses (and they will work just fine with the D90), so the 18-70 and the 18-185 will not be better than the ones you already have. In my opinion would be a (very) bad investment.

      Not comparable with a prime lens but what do you think about the extra coverage of the 70-300 VR? You could replace the 55-200 with it, but if you don’t use the extra range might not be a good investment either. What could be interesting is to keep on saving and try to get a better lens in the future like the 105mm or even stretch it to the 70-200 f/2.8 (this one would last you forever but maybe is too bulky for candid’s).

      regards,

  19. 49
    ) M. Penrose

    Hello Nasim,

    I recently bought a D90, and in lieu of the kit lens I got a 35mm/1.8. Now I cannot decide on what next lens(s) I should buy. I do know that I like fast lenses and super-sharp IQ. I prefer to avoid using a flash if I can get away with it, although I know that will not always be possible. The kinds of photography I like are low-light, candid shots indoor and out, architecture, hope to try some night shots. I have no interest in sports. I’m neutral about landscapes.

    Another question. I got the 35mm/1.8 so I could get closeups (and a nice bokeh) of the cats at my local shelter. But, if the head is at an angle, the far side turns out blurred. Could it be the DOF is actually too shallow? Perhaps I should get an inexpensive 50mm/1.8 for this?

    Thank you for your time and expertise!

    • M. Penrose, I don’t think you need anymore lenses at this point. I would first learn how to use the D90 and what you have, and then decide on what to purchase later.

      In terms of your question about photographing cats – if one side of the cat is sharp while the other is not, your depth of field is too shallow. You need to stop down a little or move away from the cat.

      Hope this helps.

  20. 50
    ) Pradeep

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m planning to buy Nikon D300S or D90 by the end of this month. Delaying just to check if Nikon announces D90 replacement as indicated in Nikon Rumors forums.

    I’m planning to buy the following lenses
    - AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
    - AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

    For the telephoto range, I’m not able to decide between “AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED” and “AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED”. Which one do you suggest? I do plan to use this lens for wildlife & bird photography.

    Also, Can you let me know the benefits of Internal Focus lens?

    • Pradeep, no D90 replacement in August. D3100 will be announced tomorrow, but that’s about it, as far as I know.

      Instead of the 55-200mm lens, I would certainly get the 70-300mm VR – it is sharper and has more focal length. Internal focus (IF) lenses typically acquire focus faster.

  21. 54
    ) alice

    hi Nasim, what is the different between Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and Nikon 35mm f/1.8G, i saw the price of 35mm much cheeper than 50mm, i am looking for my 2nd lens now…

    • Alice, if you shoot DX with a kit lens, go for the 35mm f/1.8G.

  22. 56
    ) alice

    Can’t u write about ‎​AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8G? What is the advantage and disadvantage this len? Kind of worry to buy 2nd lens :(, I’m really confuse which one I want to buy ‎​AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8G or 50mm f1.4… Really expensive “toys”

    • Alice, what are you trying to achieve with the 17-55mm or 50mm lenses? If you are shooting portraits, go for the 50mm f/1.4 lens…

      The problem with 17-55mm lens is that it is very expensive and it only works on DX cameras, so if you ever upgrade to FX, you will have to get a new lens.

  23. 58
    ) dr sudhir gaikwad

    how much of video recording can be done with d 90.

    • Up to 5 minutes of non-stop video I believe.

      • 65
        ) dr sudhir gaikwad

        at last i’ve got my dslr nikon d7000. as of now i am practising with kit lens ie.18-105 but in due course wish to buy telephoto zoom, which one should i go for , nikon 80-400 or sigma 150-500 for birding and wild life?

  24. 59
    ) sain

    Dear Nasim !
    I’ve been doin helluva tiring research on DSLRs :) and decided to buy D90 only after reading ur article “Nikon D5000 vs D90″. I’m anyway a newbie to DSLRs. I’m ready to dedicate as much time as possible to learn photography. With lot of budget restriction I’m buyin D90. I cannot afford another lens for a year or so. I’m really concerned about the kit lens – 18 – 105 mm (http://www.alanphoto.com.sg/nikonslr.html) . I’d like to shoot portraits, buildings and landscapes. Should I buy with kit lens or go for something different ? Please give me your suggestions ( Kit lens – 299 $; If I’m to buy 18 – 105 separately – 599 $)

    • Sain, I would personally get the Nikon D90 body only and get the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G prime lens. It is a world better than the 18-105 in terms of colors and sharpness. Sure, you will have to get used to a lens without zoom capabilities, but it will be better to learn with it. Plus, the 35mm f/1.8G is very good in low light – something lots of beginners have challenges with.

  25. 62
    ) Renzon

    Hi Nasim

    I have a Nikon D5000 and I bough it with a nikon 18-105mm VR kit lens. I’m thinking in a 2nd len and one option is the 70-300 mm. With this len I’m looking for some more zoom capabilities but I’m very interested in taking very good portraits and macro photography whit good bokeh. My budget is limited to $500. What woul be your recomendati0n? Thanks in advance.

    • Renzon, the 70-300mm is a good candidate for your budget.

  26. 63
    ) Biplab

    Hi Nasim,

    I have recently upgraded from a Sony H10 to Nikon D5000 with 18-55mm VR kit. Have been reading a lot of your articles about DSLR photography and found them very useful and informative unlike some other more technical ones elsewhere. Am looking to do some macro and bird and wildlife with zoom. Also looking for good bokeh performance. Which lenses would you suggest I can get other than the kit lens? I would be looking for budget lenses, cannot afford to go for expensive ones right now. Would be looking forward to your reply.

    Thanks in advance.
    Biplab.

  27. 64
    ) George Lama

    Good evening Nasim,

    I know this is an old post and chances are that you probably are not monitoring this anymore, but here it goes :

    I currently have a Nikon D5000 that came with a Kit lens, a week after getting the camera I had the opportunity to buy a used (but in mint condition) 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G lens. After putting that lens on my camera I have never again used the kit lens that came with my D5000 again (I have it as a backup lens).

    I currently wish to buy a low light lens that I could use to take pictures of my daughters school events and volleyball games (mostly at night and mostly in large auditoriums or gyms). I have been thinking about the 35mm and the 50mm (1.8 D version, I can focus manually just fine), the thing is that I’m not sure if those lenses would be a good choice for school events, since some of the times I may need to take pictures from a distance.

    Would love to hear your suggestion regarding this matter.

    Kind regards,

    George

    • George, if you have a low budget, then the 35mm f/1.8G DX is a great lens for low-light situations. Obviously it does not have any zoom capability, but that’s what you get for $200…fast telephoto zoom lenses are super expensive. I would not get the 50mm f/1.8G – you will have a hard time manually focusing with it on the D5000.

  28. 66
    ) dr sudhir gaikwad

    i’ve got my nikon d7000 my first dslr, presently practising with the kit lens 18-105, but plan to buy a telephoto. which one should i go for , nikon 80-400 fx or sigma 150-500 for birding.

    • As I have suggested above, go for the Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 + 1.4x TC instead.

  29. Dear Nasim,
    Your site is absolutely AWESOME! I have been reading Ken Rockwell’s pages a lot for my potential photography purchases. I must admit that your pages have turned my photography head completely around. Currently my bag consists of a D300 body and two lenses: Nikkor 18-200mm and a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 so far. I knew better and I have allowed the sales guy to talk me into the 18-200mm when I truly needed a ultra-wide angle even until now for interior and landscaping…
    So,there are two things that I need to hear from you about…
    One: there is no mention of third-party lens i.e.Tokina. Why?And, are Nikkor lenses your only and preferred lens gear?
    Two: I have encountered the same problems as you have with the Nikkor 18-200mm well before I have been reading your pages. Therefore, If you were to replace the 18-200mm Nikkor lens; which lens would you replace it with? Factor low and high budget…
    Btw-I have trying some wildlife stuff… My other interests are in interior photography due to my real estate background. Thanks for reading….
    Cheers!
    J.R.

    • J.R.,

      Thank you for your feedback! The reason why I did not mention Tamron/Sigma/Tokina lenses, is because I personally don’t use them. I did not have good experience with a 3rd party lens in the past and I have been sticking with Nikkors ever since. I’m sure some 3rd party lenses are very good though.

      As for replacing your 18-200mm, it all depends on what focal lengths you use the most. I personally use a lot of the mid-range focal lengths, so I shoot with the 24-70mm lens a lot. However, I shoot full-frame and you shoot with a crop-sensor, so there is quite a big difference in FoV between the two with the 24-70mm lens. If you shoot wide-angles more than the long end, check out the Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 lens. If you shoot the mid-range more, either the 24-70mm or the 24-120mm lenses work great for the job.

      If you are into wildlife/birding and need the reach, the best low-budget lenses are Nikon 70-300mm and Nikon 300mm f/4. I use the latter with a 1.4x TC and love the results.

      Hope this helps.

  30. 74
    ) Johan

    Dear Nasim,
    When I read your post, your experience bear the same experience as mine. At the beginning, I never got into photography until my son was born. I took couple of pictures using my crappy sony cybershot and the quality of images kept me wanting for more. So my wife persuaded me to buy our first Nikon DSLR D3000 together with kit lens. This camera never dissapoint especially on outdoors. But when in comes to indoors or lowlight, i have a bit difficulty in getting quality images. Guess what?after reading a lot of magazine and your website, I decided to invest a little bit more on lens. I’m planning to buy 50mm 1.4G. so wish me luck!

    • Johan, congratulations on your lens purchase – the 50mm will not disappoint! If you are dealing with very low-light conditions, then you should learn how to use flash a little with that 50mm and you will get even better results.

  31. 76
    ) Mun

    Dear Nasim,

    My interest are in potraits (facial expression/close ups) and macro. at my end, i am not sure should i go for d700, d300s or d7000. d7000 is obviously the newer model where the rest are relatively ‘old’. fyi, i dont mind resting on dx.

    as such, should i decide to go for d7000, please advise me should i get ALL 35mm f/1.8g DX, 50mm f/ 1.4g AF-S, 85mm f/1.4g AF-S and 105mm f/2.8g (macro).

    on the other hand, should i decide to go for FX, should i get ALL ALL 35mm f/1.4g, 50mm f/ 1.4g AF-S, 85mm f/1.4g AF-S and 105mm f/2.8g (macro).

    “in nasim we trust” :-)

  32. 77
    ) Xtian

    Hi Nassim,

    I just got my D3100 and I was wondering maybe you can give some advise on what kind of lens should I buy. Im planning on focusing on portraits and doing some bokeh shots. Im a total newbie here so I hope you can help me out. I checked the ones that you mentioned above but their with my dslr, I have to manually focus them, I think. Can you mention any other lens that have an autofocus feature that is compatible with my camera? Thanks!

  33. 78
    ) Aaron Lucas

    Hi Nasim!

    Off lately I’m hearing a lot of good things about 50mm 1.4G lens. But is it as good on DX as on FX? I mean its a fx lens and on dx body won’t it become 75mm? Keeping this thing in mind, what will you suggest for a dx body like D5100 or D7000? Hope you understand my dilemma.

  34. 79
    ) jack

    Good Evening, Nasim,
    Thank you so much for the information you offer to so many of us on your wonderful website. I am fortunate to have been given a D700 and would love to compliment this camera with excellent and practical lenses. While your website offers thorough reviews of lenses, I wonder which characteristics of lenses are the most critical in obtaining the best photo possible (other than technique). For example, your review of Nikon’s 24-120 F/4 suggests that it is an excellent and useful lens but you also criticize its problems with distortion and vignetting ( and you utilize the 24-70 lens in your equipment). Other websites rate this lens poorly for this reason. Is the sharpness of a lens the most critical aspect one should consider? Also, how much does value play in a choice of lens? For example, is Nikon’s fabulous 70-200 2.8mm VRII that much better- in real world photography- than is their older 80-200mm 2.8D, which costs only half as much?
    I recognize that the photographer who takes pictures for his livelihood may value his equipment in a different manner than will a less discerning individual. Practical advise, sometimes, is the most important information that can be offered to the majority of “budding photographers.”
    Thank you again for all the time you and your wife have spent helping so many others. I am appreciative.

  35. 80
    ) Sally

    Hello Nasim

    I’m about to purchase a new Nikon DSLR. I have two questions. Which of the following lenses is best in low light conditions ( i.e. Low Light King)? Which of these is best for an APS-C Nikon DSLR for portraiture?

    AF-S DX NlKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
    AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/I.4G
    AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/I.8G
    AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4D
    AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D

    Thanks
    Sally

  36. 81
    ) Chris

    Hi Nasim , thankyou for the great information here, I was recently given a Nikon D80 and am a beginner. My goals are to learn and concentrate mostly on landscape and wildlife photography, what would you say for lens purchases for me possibly under $700 as I am on a students budget. Thank you.
    Also, although I do acknowledge and appreciate the wealth of high quality information/tips you give on your website, is there anything by way of free online structured courses that include projects to complete or should I stick with picking topics straight from the photography tips you offer here.

    Once again thanks

    • Chris, I would start with reading the articles here and go from there. If you need more information on something, you can always ask or you can look up other sites that offer photography articles/content. As for your lens question, I would start off with the cheap, but great Nikon 35mm f/1.8G – it is a great lens that will work beautifully on your D80. It has no zoom, but offers good sharpness and bokeh at a good focal length.

      Don’t forget to subscribe to our feed.

  37. 83
    ) HC

    Hi Nasim,

    Love your work with the website, really appreciate your effort in replying every single comments and the attitude you’ve shown. Thanks for all the time and hardwork.

    I do have a few questions i am unsure about, just started to get into photography lately maybe about 2 months, I like night and landscape photography and currently still using the kit lens that come with my D3100, 18-55mm.

    I noticed that my results with night photography are lacking sharpness taken with 18-55mm, however having a 50mm/1.8g really helps this issue but being a fixed length, i can’t take a wide shot like the 18-55mm.

    Can you please recommend a wide angle lens that have decent sharpness and works well at night? I am interested in getting the 14-24mm but from what i heard it doesn’t work well with an entry level DSLR like D3100, is that right? At the moment, my only option seems to be 12-24mm/f4G, since it can autofocus on my D3100, Do you think this is the best option?

    Thanks again,
    HC

  38. 84
    ) Rickey

    Hi Nasim,

    I feel lucky i reached your website :) It is full of information for first timers like me. I am going to buy a Nikon D5100 with 18-105mm VR kit lens. Should i go for it or should i go for 18-55mm VR kit lens? I am really confused. I do not have any special taste for photography. So I want a kind of all rounder lens. I searched a lot and people does suggest 18-105 over 18-55. maybe in future I could buy another lens, for something special I am missing from one of the lens I buy. Please give me some inputs on the same.

    Thanks,
    Rickey…

  39. 85
    ) Rinn

    Hi Nassim,
    Have been reading here and also watching your Youtube videos! All are great! Love it!

    I just bought a Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm kit lens.I am thinking of getting the 35mm F1.8G prime lens for low light conditions, especially indoors. Do I still need to buy an external flash, eg SB700 ?

    Thanks,
    Rinn

    • Rinn, if you can, I would certainly get the Nikon SB700 for indoors and outdoors photography. You can do a lot of creative stuff with the flash and you will have much better-looking portraits.

      • 87
        ) Rinn

        Thanks Nassim! Will be getting it soon!

  40. Hi, thank you for ur article. It is very help me :)
    I user nikon D3100 and now, i confuse to choose my first lens beside lensa kit from D3100.
    Finally I found it there :)
    If u want, please visit my blog :) http://pelangiituaku.wordpress.com :)

    regard,
    betania

  41. 89
    ) Toni

    Your articles are extremely helpful, as I’m just starting out in the DSLR world. :)

    I have the Nikon D60 and the kit lens that came with it (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) and I’m having so much fun playing around with it. My goal though is to take full head to toe body shots and have the background blurred. Do you think the AF-S 50mm f/1.8 will do that for me? I’ve been looking online trying to read reviews, but my head is swimming. What’s your opinion? Thank you so much and I look forward to reading more your articles!

  42. 90
    ) Rush

    Dear Nasim,

    ihave been reading your articles recently. Its been an eye-opener with respect to DSLR camera and I am enjoying reading your article. I own Nikon D500 camera with 18-55mm lens. Recently I attended a workshop on basic photography and I have been exploring my camera. The frustration with me right now is I could not capture my son’s vivid expressions and his fast movements of his Bday which we celebrated indoors in the night time. Finally i had to (hate) shoot in auto mode.
    Kindly suggest suitable lens for my camera. Do i need to upgrade to an FX camera, if I need to buy AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR ?
    Kindly pour your thoughts.
    Thankx
    Rush

    • Rush, get the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens to capture good portraits in low-light situations. If there is not enough light, no lens will help – consider getting a good flash like the SB-700 for those situations. The 28-300mm is going to be no different than your 18-55mm in those situations, so don’t bother with it.

      • 105
        ) Rush

        Thanks Nasim for your suggestions.
        Iam also planning to buy a zoom lens apart from the prime len.
        Since I have dx D5000 camera, is it okay to buy 18-200mm vr2 lens or 28-300mm?
        I am little confused here :(

        Thanks in advance
        Rush

  43. 91
    ) Ruby

    Dear Nasim,
    After reading your articles I have decided to buy one Nikon D3100, I have been always found of photography specially nature and obviously my kids in action, I just wanted to know about 18-55 VR lens which the company is providing with camera, because I am a beginner will this lens be supportive to me or should I buy Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 – and
    Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR – please help your guidelines will be useful for me

    • Ruby, just start off with the D3100 and its kit 18-55mm lens. Learn how to use it, take lots of pictures and you will know what you are missing later. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G would be a nice addition, although I would personally recommend the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G instead.

      • 94
        ) Ruby

        Thanks Nasim for your guidance but still some questions are blowing up my mind, one of my friend said that every time when I will click pictures I will have to use different lens keeping in mind the weather, the indoor outdoor lights etc, still I am new to camera he says this just for professional use is it true? keeping up to change lens thought gives me sweat how come I will know which lens to be used at what time and then again do I have to run to the market to arrange one? pls help

  44. 95
    ) Pavan

    hi,
    i started photography a year ago, with my nokia e72 5 mp cam, its really good, want to jump to a dslr. i dont want to change my gear at least for next two years, thought of d7000. can you fix a pro lense to this gear????? confused please suggest

    regards
    pavan

  45. 96
    ) Arthur

    Hi nasim!great review as per usual!Got my 50mm 1.8g af-s last black friday and am loving its bokeh rendering ability, although i find the focal length longer than i would’ve wanted (i use a dx body-d3100). i was considering getting 35mm from your reviews but was afraid that it wont produce the great bokeh the 50mm produces, plus i want a portrait lens, and ive read in your articles that the 50mm is a great portrait lens (the nifty fifty!)
    Thanks again for the reviews. already subscribed to your email list!

    • You are most welcome Arthur! If you were after bokeh, you have made the right choice. The 35mm does not have as good of a bokeh in comparison!

      • 102
        ) Arthur

        I appreciate the reply Nasim!:) yeah, im lovIng the bokeh on the 50mm 1.8g, and the way i see it, its good i chose it over the 35mm 1.8g as the former is an fx lens (still usable when i upgrade to full frame) as compared to the latter which is a dx lens (wont work well with a full frame from what i understood from your blogs) so yeah, good deal ;) thanks again Nasim!:)

      • 124
        ) Sandesh

        Hi
        I’ve a precision design 0.45 wide angle lens. So, if I use this lens with 50mm in my Dx, then it will be equvalent to 40mm focal length approx ( which is near to normal).
        The question is that – will i get the same quality image of 50mm with the original f stop value or bokeh and sharpness? How useful will it be in practice?
        I know this is a little complex here :) . but i want to get one ( 35 or 50mm) which could be more useful.
        Thank you :)

  46. 97
    ) Mehmet

    Hi

    I have a D90 and think to upgrade D800.

    The lens kit I have
    Nikon 18-105
    Nikon 35 f/1.8

    Since I will upgrade to D800, think to buy lenses and wonder about your thoughts
    Nikon 80-200 f/2.8
    Nikon 24-120 f/4
    Nikon 16-35 f/4
    Nikon 50 f/1.4

    • 98
      ) Mehmet

      Sent buy mistake before finish

      Thanks in advance.

      Best regards

      Mehmet

    • Mehmet, D800 is not out yet and it won’t be till the end of Q1 of 2012.

      As for lenses, the list looks fine, except I would not get the 80-200mm and get the 70-200mm instead. If you cannot afford it, skip the 24-120mm and get a 70-200mm instead.

      • 122
        ) Max

        Do you recommend for a DX camera a 35 or 50 mm as a first prime lens?
        (see the questions below, at the end of this site. I’m replying here, hoping that you might get a notification)

  47. 101
    ) Mehmet

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    I have thought that I will buy one of 80-200 or 24-120. 70-200 is very expensive and no budget for it.

    What do you think that if I buy 70-300 for now until get the budget. Then buy 70-200.

    Thanks a lot.

    Brgds/Mehmet

    • Mehmet, the 70-300mm is also very good, so get that one now if you need the reach. 70-200 is obviously a completely different class lens.

      • 104
        ) Mehmet

        Hi Nasim,

        I think Nikon 16-35 is a good substitute for 14-24, isn’t it? Any other?

        Is there any this kind of substitute for Nikon 70-200? Or save money to buy it from now on? :))

        Brgds/Mehmet

  48. 106
    ) Avirup

    Hi Nasim,

    First of all , I am following your website for quite a long time now. And as i am new this DSLR world I am really impressed that you (and your wife) guiding amateur like me for last few months. It has been really helpful.

    Now I am using Nikon D3100 with kit lens(18-55) for last 4 months and planning to buy my first prime.
    Keeping the budget in mind I have 2 option,
    Nikkor 35mm 1.8G – 12800 Rs.
    Nikkor 50mm 1.8G -13100 Rs.

    I am interested in Bokeh, Landscape (Skyscape) and Street photography. But using my kit lens I never got sharp image of a landscape.

    Can you please help me to choose my first lens. As I checked by putting my kit lens at 35mm and its very suitable focal length for me. But most of my friends telling me to buy 50mm. and I am confused. :)

    Waiting for your valuable reply.

    • 107
      ) Ajay

      Hi Avirup,

      I recently bought my new D5100 and did not buy kit lens as I prepared myself to get my hands dirty with pro stuff :D lol! anyways… even i was confused which one to go for 35mm or 50mm.. then i read lot of reviews and Nasim’s comparison of 35mm and 50mm nailed it.. I purchased 35mm 1.8G its a great great lens. I also have a zoom lens 55-300mm but I use 35mm all the time. and its a perfect lens. 50mm you wont feel that comfortable when clicking inside a room or a hall… and I find bokeh is smooth.. did not test it in night yet.. but its perfect for me atleast.

      I had great shots on Diwali night.. all pics i took without flash, natural colors and so well lit pics. You really dont need a flash with 35mm lens coz 1.8G is good enough to capture even small light. I think you should go fir it. as we are using DX cameras so 35mm is almost like 50mm on fx :) you wont regret.

      I would also like Nasim to comment on this :) He’s expert ;)

      –Ajay

      • 136
        ) kimoena

        if i don’t get answer i will follow like u did, ajay ” )

  49. 108
    ) Carolina

    Hello Nassim,

    I have a Nikon D9o with an AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm lens. First of all, I would like your opinion about this len. Second, what lens would you recommend if I want to change it for another one that would be for all purpose neat and sharp photography, like portraits, landscape, low light photography, events, travel ect? and should I upgrade the camera too, or the D90 with another lens would work good. Also, what lens would you recommend for a girls ballet show in a auditorium, and would I need a flash? if, so which one? Would I need a tripod or nothing to move around or at what distance should I be? should I use a remote control? One thing I want to mention is that I use the auto, I don’t do anything manually.I’m sorry to ask so many questions but I really need your help as it is obvious that I am not a proffessional photographer. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

  50. 109
    ) Carolina

    I forgot to mention that I will also be taking pictures backstage for this ballet dance event. Thanks

  51. 110
    ) Martin

    Hello Nassim,

    I admire your work and what you are doing here, you both produce beautiful images.

    I have:
    Nikon D7000
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G

    I recently traded in a 18-200mm VRII for the 50mm. I was disappointed with the 18-200, I found it to be ironically very limiting in terms of producing quality images (my skill and craft aside). My question is….what would YOU get next and why?

    Kind regards,
    Martin

  52. 111
    ) KathyMorgan

    Since my old OM1 I have used only the point and shoot but am ready to get back to an SLR. I want to be able to use the camera for pictures of birds in the wild, so need excellent telephoto capabilities, sometimes in low light. B $ H has this kit (thru 12/31!):
    Nikon D90 SLR Digital Camera Kit with Nikon 18-105mm VR Lens & AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm VR Lens. Both Lenses are DX format. $1296.90
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/588977-REG/Nikon_D90_SLR_Digital_Camera.html
    Should I spring for the extra for an FX telephoto?
    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens
    Thanks in advance. Loved your article about DX vs FX sensors

  53. 112
    ) James Suerken

    Nassim,

    I enjoy all your posts. Two years ago I bought a D200, nearly new at a real “bargin” price. I really love the camera. It has a lot more capability than I have begun to explore.

    I have a flash, a Nikkor 18-70 and a Nikkor 70-200VR. I like them both and am now looking at the 50 1.8 you recommended. Can you recommend anything else for me at this time?

    Next I will be buying lots of filters.

    Thanks in advance, Jim

  54. 113
    ) Bob

    Hi Martin,

    I love you site, very useful and informative. Its very easy to understand for beginners like me on the photography. Quick question, I have D5000 with kit lens 18-55mm. I would like to upgrade a better lens you would recommend. I also have the twin lense kit 200MM VR lense with the.

    I would to go for budget lens. Your advice is much appreciated.

  55. 114
    ) Rahul

    Hello nasim.
    I wanted to know your opinion about the following lenses for a d7000-
    18-55mm for random shots where wide and medium telephoto are required.
    50mm f/1.8G or 35mm f/1.8G (confused between these two greatly)
    55-300 or 70-300 mm for long range telephoto.

    Would the combination of these 3 lenses be good for covering a wide array of photography?
    And also, I’m really confused between the 50mm and 35mm lenses.

    Would love to know your opinion and if you’d suggest any other lenses in the same price range.
    Thank you.

  56. 115
    ) Ramesh

    Hi Nasim,

    Been reading your pages for last few days and been getting plenty of ideas for upgrading my gear and a lot of questions too. :)

    I have a D5000 now with 18-55 kit lens, 70-300mm VR and 50mm 1.8D.

    Would like to upgrade to a body with built-in AF and am considering D7000. And also a fast lens like 24-70mm or 24-105mm for general event coverage use. Please advise.

    Also am considering going to a Canon 5D MII for mainly to use its video capability but that would also give me a full frame still camera too. And plan to get the following lenses with that – 24-105mm/f4,
    70-200/f2.8 and 16-35mm/f2.8.

    Now does this make any sense to go both on Canon and Nikon this way? For event coverages, I would intend to use both the cameras.

    Thanks
    Ramesh

  57. 116
    ) Mark

    Hi Nasim

    You recommended as a first lens a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 or f1.8. Was this meant for a FX or DX camera?

    I want to buy my first DSLR camera. Up to now I did just shoot with an old Kodak point and shoot film camera, but I want a good one now, not sure, maybe something like D7000 or D300s. What would you recommend of this two? My philosophy: “Buy something good that you like and that you can keep for a while, than buy scrap and need soon anyway to buy something new …”

    Yet, when it comes to “details in fotos” I am a bit unsure what to do. When I look at the crops in this article about “details in fotos” http://kimletkeman.blogspot.com/2010/11/pentax-k5-versus-nikon-d7000-versus.html , for instance this first crop: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/crop1_k5etal.JPG, then I find that D7000, 60d and K-5 look crappy and blurry, only the D3s excels. Same here: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/crop3_k5etal.JPG , its’ such a big difference between a D3s and a D7000! Are normal cameras like D7000 (and D300s) really that much fuzzy? … Maybe better to wait some more years, to give digital cameras more time to develop … ?

    • 117
      ) Mark

      Is a D3s really that much better in terms of “details”? But I guess it would be exagerated and inapropriate to buy as a DSLR beginner a camera like that one.. Thats why I asked if its maybe the best to wait some more years till normal DSLR improve in quality

  58. 118
    ) Max

    I would also like to know if 50 mm is the first prime lens for a FX or also for a DX camera.

    P.S. I followed your link. Nikon 3Ds delivers by far the most details in these crops.

  59. 119
    ) Sandesh

    Hi, thanks for the very informative post like many of your other posts
    This is a great site that i came across about DSLRs.
    I have got d5100 with 18-55mm VR lens that came with body.

    I wanted to know something more about lenses. Is the photo taken by nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens supposed to be much sharper than 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 af-s VR lens, even if taken in the same f stop and focal length? what about the quality of glass used?

    I’m planning to get 35 mm f/1.8 lens soon. Please suggest me if i should go for 50mm f/1.8 or 35 mm f/1.8?

    Thank you in advance

    • 121
      ) Max

      1) a kit lens is allways not the sharpest
      2) additionally a prime lens has normally a better quality then a zoom lens, they are optimized for that single focal length
      3) with a f/1.8 you have more possibilities than with f3.5 – 5.6

      in short: its surely no waste of money to buy one of this prime lenses, 35 or 50 mm

      • 123
        ) Sandesh

        Hi
        I’ve a precision design 0.45 wide angle lens. So, if I use this lens with 50mm in my Dx, then it will be equvalent to 40mm focal length approx ( which is near to normal).
        The question is that – will i get the same quality image of 50mm with the original f stop value or bokeh and sharpness? How useful will it be in practice?
        I know this is a little complex here :) . but i want to get one ( 35 or 50mm) which could be more useful.
        Thank you :)

  60. 120
    ) Max

    Sandash, Mark and me, we all have pretty much the same question: 50 or 35 mm for a DX camera ?!?

  61. 125
    ) Stephanie

    Same question here :)

    I’m a beginner with a Nikon D5100 (Dx I believe)? Which would be better for me to start with 35mm or 50mm? I tend to shoot nature, landscape and events/parties. I completely agree that the starter kit lens (I have the 55-200) just isn’t doing it for me. Clarity isn’t there.

    You’re really helpful! Glad you started this site.
    ~Steph

    • 127
      ) Max

      Mark put this question on march 5th, maybe better looking for a dslr forum

  62. 126
    ) Max

    I dont think we will ever get an answer here

  63. 128
    ) Yana

    Hey Nasim,

    First of all wanna THANK YOU for all your amazing hard work, reviews, dedication and advises! I’ve learned so much new useful information!

    Well I wanna ask you as a specialist about my lens dilemma. I used to be a cruise ship photographer but you probably know that it’s kinda far from photography itself lol)))) and more of a posing. Used D200 with Nikorr 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S DX lens. Anyways I found my passion and got myself D300S and now want to get the ‘right’ lens. I read so much and looked up so many articles. So since it will be my first OWN lens and I thought that I’ll need some good-in-one solution (love bokeh, portrait, landscape, wedding, event, architecture photography). Of course i understand that in future I will need at least 3 different lens but for now I’m thinking about general 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX AND for portraits & bokeh etc. the lens that you top rated in your reviews Nikon 50mm f/1.4G .

    I really want bright and juicy pictures so what you think is it a good choice to make (18-105mm and 50mm f/1.4G) since budget is about 1100 $?

    I was thinking about your words that – “Nikon released a much cheaper, compact and lighter 50mm lens in 2011 – the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. It actually performs better than the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G in many ways, so I would recommend to get the f/1.8G model instead”.

    So may be pair up 18-105 with 50mm f/1.8 G OR 18-105+ 50mm f/1.4G is good enough for my D300S? by the way wanna ask about filter sizes too for both lens.

    Really looking forward for your answer. Good luck and Thanks!

    • 129
      ) Daniel

      … another person who tries to get an answer. good luck and be (very) patient :)

      • 130
        ) Yana

        haha THANK YOU :)

    • 134
      ) Sara

      Yana is just kidding. She made up the whole story with Nasim, she is an intelligent and imaginative girl. Nasim never replies to old threads. Got you, Yana! :)

  64. 131
    ) Yana

    Hello, if anyone was interested about response about my lens dilemma, Nasim replied to me and here is the answer:

    “Yana, I apologize for a late response! Yes, pairing the 18-105mm with the 50mm f/1.8G would be a good choice for your photography. The 18-105mm would be your general-purpose lens, while the 50mm would give you great portraits with beautiful bokeh. I believe you are on the right track!”

    THANK YOU))) and Good luck everyone, stay in focus and be creative)))

    • 132
      ) Daniel

      How did you contact him?

    • 133
      ) Max

      Did you contact him via the “contact us” button? There is written no questions about camera gear.

      But how else is it possible to contact him? How did you get a response?!?

      I am waiting since 9 weeks for an answer… (!)

      • 145
        ) Yana

        Via facebook ;)

        • 146
          ) Max

          Really clever, you are creative, I have to say! ;)

        • 147
          ) Max

          Now I finally know where he comes from, thank you Yana, I was all the time wondering about that … ;)

  65. 135
    ) kimoena

    hi and thank you for a wonderful site. i am new to photography, atm, i have a sony bridge camera hx100V, its really nice for everyday pic but can’t really do bokeh etc.,…. i am taking a photo course online to better my skills, so i want to upgrade to DSLR. after reading here, i decide to go for Nikon D5100, which my friends will bring me from HK, but i am baffled to ask them what lens to buy along with it. i’m really interested in macro photography, but i also want something i can use for everyday pics, like, family outings, landscape (atm living in namibia, alot of dunes and wildlife i would like to capture)…, for travelling, food etc. also my husbands company ask me to help them capture all sorts of granite blocks etc. i think not necessary for me to buy very expensive lens at this moment, but at least something i can learn with and practice….OK, i know there hasn’t been a reply on this thread for a long time but i still keep fingers crossed and hope someone can advise me soon……pleassse !??? thank you ” )

    • 137
      ) Daniel

      Hi Kimoena

      You have to contact him via the “contact us” button. Nasim does not reply here

      • 138
        ) kimoena

        thks, but i didn’t dare because it has said don’t contact us here with ur photo questions.

        • 139
          ) Marc

          After some month of waiting you will dare it :)

          What can happen to you in the worst case ? Nothing. Yana dared it, and she got an answer.

  66. 140
    ) Amol

    Hi Nasim,

    I want to buy my first DSLR and really not sure which one to buy (D5100 or D90). I have read lot many reviews on both the cameras and both look excellent. The D5100 is the latest one where as D90 (launched 2008) still goes strong with the Pros. But I seem to hear lot about D90 getting discontinued and may be D5xxx new DSLR’s coming out. Can you please help me in deciding which camera to buy. Also I want to decide on which first camera lens to go for. I have heard quite good things about 18-55VR Kit lens but a lot of people suggest not to go for that.
    My interests include Landscapes, people and wild life. If you know of any links where to buy from then that would be helpful.

    Thanks

    Amol

    • 141
      ) Mark

      Hi Amol

      Normally Nasim will not reply to such old threads. But fortunately I remember that another person ask Nasim the same question: D5100 or D90. Nasim replied to go rather for the D5100 because the picture quality is better, and also the movies, and because the camera is genereally more modern. Check this out:
      http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Nikon_D90
      http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Nikon_D90/specs

      Just a thing: The D5100 has no depth-of-field preview when using the viewfinder (I think I have read with live view its working). If depth of field preview with iewfinder should be very important for you, then go for the D7000 (D7000 has a bigger viewfinder too). Else go for D5100 or D3200.

  67. 142
    ) Amol

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your reply.

    D7000 indeed is a very good camera. But in India it costs around 70000(approx 1300$) . This seems to be expensive for me for now. I have heard news about the D5200 or D7100 being launched but really not sure about that. Do you forsee any of these camers to be launched soon. If D7100 is launched then might be the D7000 prices might come down and I might be able to afford that. If not then will surely go with D5100. Do you know if the D90 is going to be discontinued?

    Also about lenses, I would be buying the 35/50 mm f1.8 lens as Nasim has suggested in his reviews. Which lens should I buy for landscape and for wildlife?

    Regards

    Amol

    • 143
      ) Mark

      Hi Amol

      About prices: I am from Switzerland and at moment Swiss Franc to US Dollar is 1:1, these are the prices (german: “Preis”) in the red field: https://www.digitec.ch/ProdukteVergleichen1.aspx?artikel=213031,198510,239544,234213,178663
      Therefore it would be a lot cheaper for you to not buy it in India.

      About news: New cameras allways come out in spring and autumn. This the only sure thing. The rest is speculation. And as Nasim and Bob said: The first wave of production is likely to have some faults. If you want to be sure that your camera is working right, you maybe want 3-6 monthes before buying a newly released camera.

      All other question you must ask somebody else, preferably in a Nikon forum. Good look, Amol ;)

  68. 144
    ) john

    I would like to buy Nikon D600 and lens Nikon 24-85 vr. Could you let me know whether it is a good combination? how about the lens 24-70 (too expensive)?

  69. 148
    ) David Liu

    Do you use a UV protect lens ?
    It decrease the lens sharpness always .

  70. 149
    ) Ganesh

    I am confused which lens to buy 35mm 1.8g or 50mm 1.8g.
    I have D5100 SLR with me.
    I wanted to take mainly portraits, and for all other purpose like out doors, scenaries of a day to day life with a good bokeh.
    I have read in one of your posts that 50mm 1.8g lens are only for portraits on Dx SLR and it will not be good for other purposes.
    So please help me out.
    Thanks in advance.

  71. 150
    ) Bill

    After using D7000 for a few years , I made decision to go back to full frame(still have my N90s) Started with D-200 Dx first. I am part time hobbyist and print my own and sell a few. I have a 20mm-2.8 AF 105mm Micro , 200 f4 manual focus, 300 f4, 400mm f3.5 manual focus and 600 manual. D600 came with the 24-85 so I got kit at reduced cost under 2,000. I noticed you said the lens is not so great, should I just try to sell and get a 14 -24mm ? I do a lot of close up of cars , using mostly my 10.5mm DX or my 18-200mm . Was planning on keeping 7000 also but maybe sell it and 3 lenses?

  72. 151
    ) krishnakumar

    Sir,
    I am having NIKON D5100 with kit lense of 18-55. Recently I purchased NIKKOR 70-300 lens also. Now I wish to replace my 18-55 kit lens. Can you suggest which lens I have to buy with less cost.
    My requirement is to capture dance stage prgrammes in low light to create fantastic scene. Landscape is also seeking . Requesting you to please help me.
    KICHU

  73. 152
    ) Venkat Siva

    Hi Nasim,
    Firstly, your site is of tremendous help for me. All your articles are very much informative and neatly organized. I started reading and saving your articles for my reference, sometime in the morning and just now realized that I have 50+ in my kit. You might be surprised to hear that I am not yet a DSLR owner, but planning to buy one in couple of months. I have a basic point & shoot with me (powershot SX 210 IS) which I use to learn and apply the basics of Photography through its manual settings. I hope DSLR world would be much different from what I am experiencing now. I am eagerly waiting to get hold of my first DSLR which might probably be Nikon D5100 (considering my budget) and share my views on topics you post and learn from your experience.

    Cheers!

    Something you might be interested of – How did I get here? Searched Google on “How to sharpen an image” which landed me here.

  74. 153
    ) Dom

    Hello..I am planning to buy D7000.Please suggest me good lenses..My total budget is 1500$(body&lens)

  75. 154
    ) Dom

    Hello Sir..I am planning to buy D7000.Please suggest me good lenses..My total budget is 1500$(body&lens)

  76. 155
    ) Dom

    Hello Sir..I am planning to buy D7000.Please suggest me good lenses..My total budget is 1500$(body&lens).

    Please select A or B below or any other good combination.

    “A” option- ”18-105mm or 16-85mm”+ 35mm 1.8.

    “B” option- ”18-105mm or 16-85mm” + ”50mm 1.4 or 50mm 1.8″

  77. 156
    ) Dom

    Hello Sir..For my D7000,

    Please select A or B below or any other good combination.

    “A” option- ”18-105mm or 16-85mm”+ 35mm 1.8.

    “B” option- ”18-105mm or 16-85mm” + ”50mm 1.4 or 50mm 1.8″

  78. 157
    ) katie

    Hi Nasim, I own a d5000 with a lens kit and have started getting more into photography and was recently given a 50mm f1.8d. i was reallyexcited about this until i found out it will not auto focus on my camera body. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on which lens to get .. the 1.4 that will autofocus or would a 35mm be better? I mostly shoot my 18 month old toddler, portraits, daily life & the beach!
    Thanks for any help.. i am having a really hard time learning to manually focus on the 1.8

    • 160
      ) mark

      f1.8G

  79. 158
    ) Ramesh

    Hi Nasim I owned D-40, and have 18-55 Body lense and 18-105 VR also, now i want to buy 14-24 ultra wide, my question is shall i change /upgrade present D-40 or go ahead for 14-24 ultra wide 2.8

  80. 163
    ) Ramesh

    Simple, Me using D-40 Nikon, D-40 have Auto Focus Motor or Not, Can is use
    Nikon 24mm f/1.4/ or 14-24 G 2.8 in my Camera, bcz I want to take Landscape photos,

    Or I have to change My Body, Give me advise for my simple question?

    • 164
      ) Mark

      Hmmm, I guess you dont want to read the three articles from Nasim about first lenses and landscape lenses…

      Okay, the first thing you have to know is that *all* AF-S lenses have an build-in autofocus motor (motor in the lens) and can be used with D40.

      Examples of AF-S lenses you can use with D40:

      not expensive:
      - AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G (210 gramm, 200$)

      medium expensive:
      - AF-S 28mm f/1.8G
      - AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

      very expensive, and heavy-weight:
      – AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED
      - ED AF-S, 24-70mm, f/2.8G ED
      - AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

      How much money do you want to spend to improve your equipment? Whats the limit?

      Because you seem to have only kit lenses (true?) which have only bad image quality, first thing you should do is to buy a better lens.

      Cheap and easy solution: For 200$ you get the AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G, wich will be on a D40 like a 50mm lens.

      Medium solution:

      If you are going for the really expensive lenses around 2000$, if quality is that much important for you – and you have the money for it – then you should probably also invest in a FX camera like D600, which is not a crop camera and has no x1.5 factor. With D600 you have wider angles which is good for landscape photography and you will have a better image quality, take a look here and here:
      http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D600-vs-Nikon_D40
      http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D600-vs-Nikon_D40/specs

      Hope that helps this time.

      P.S. Please note that I am only a layman. If you want to be sure, ask a professional photograph.

  81. 166
    ) vignesh

    Hi Nasim,

    Your site is awesome.

    I went through your posts and have deided to buy Nikon 5200 as my first DSLR camera.

    But i am not too sure about the lens.

    I want to mainly focus on landscape photography like architectures (with bright color contrasts) and natural scenarios (falls , mountains).

    Can you please suggest me a lens for such purpose ? My budget is less than 500$.

    Awaiting your reply.

    Regards,
    Vignesh

  82. 167
    ) Anil Mathur

    I wish to buy a dslr camera next week for my daughter. After going through reviews, etc. I think a Nikon D5200 with af-s 18-105mm vr kit lens will be o.k. My daughter is interested in photography and this is going to be her first dslr camera, so please advise if there is a better choice for me in the same budget.
    Can you pls. e-mail your advise to mathuranil01@gmail.com

  83. 168
    ) Chandan

    Nasim,
    I am going to buy D7000 next month. Already decided to go for 50mm1.8G, 70-300VR, Now I am confused whether I will get D7000 body only or with 18-105. I have other two choice 35mm f1.8, and 18-55 vr. I have my future plan to ad tokina 11-16 and nikkor 300f4. Now is it wise to choose 35mm (already finalised 50mm f1.8G) or 18-55 (CPL filter problem) or 18-105 ($ 250) as kit. Your view please. By budget for this focal lenth is within $ 250.

  84. 169
    ) Pavel

    Nasim, good day! If you do not consider the budget in terms of ease of use, which lens is more interesting to the APS-C camera (Nikon D7000) 50/1.8G or 35/1.8G. Given that I have the Sigma 17-50/2.8 OS and 85/1.8G?

    • Pavel, I apologize for a late reply! I would personally go for the 35mm f/1.8G for DX.

  85. 170
    ) nelson

    Hello Nasim

    maybe you could point me a good direction.. just purchased a Nikon D600, and a sigma 35 1.4 as my general purpose lens. Yes the sigma really is impressive – so much so i weighed against purchasing a 24-70 general zoom. I also purchased the 70-200 f4 VR3. Its also great… my only concern is whether ill get enough use of the tele… wonder if i should have complimented he sigma with the Nikkor 16-35 VR4 instead? how would you start out in a similar situation? i am finding the 70-200 useful only for action photos of my kids at the moment… something i think i could pull off with the sigma 35 by just getting closer to the subject. Hope you can help one confused buyer! thanks

    • Nelson, the 16-35mm f/4G VR is amazing for wide angle shots. If price is an issue, the new 18-35mm is also superb optically, but has no VR. I would say if you have a super wide angle like 16-35mm, 35mm prime and 70-200mm, those three would cover most of your photography needs.

  86. 171
    ) Vignesh A

    Is Nikkor AF-S 55-300mm VR f/4-5.6 DX-Nikon DX lens(super Telephoto) good for Nikon D3200 for wildlife pictures?
    Kindly advice on this, since am not able shoot distance objects.

    Regards,
    Vignesh A

    • Vignesh, it is an OK lens. I would personally pick the 70-300mm over the 55-300mm.

  87. 172
    ) Melynda Juni Kesuma

    Hey there , just wanna have some suggestion , I’m buying a new lens for my Nikon D3100 . Can I have some suggestions please ? Because I don’t really know what to buy because the lens that I need is the one that have a great focus and the colour will be nicer than the ones that is given for free . And of course , the budget will be $200 to $400 :D

  88. 173
    ) Fernando Nampo

    Hi, Nassim!

    Congrats for the amazing job you’ve been doing!

    Well, I am going from DX (D7000) to FX (D610) and need some help with my new glass. My budget is 1.400 USD + a kit 24-85 that I could sell. I used to have a 12-24, 105 micro (no VR), 50 1.4G and 55-200. I do photos as a hobby and love baby portraiture. Once my first baby is on the way, I know I’ll need a tele in a few years. By now, my biggest dillema is about a 105 micro VR vs 85 1.8G for portraits. It seems that the 85 is amazingly sharp (DxO mark). Is it too much shaper than the 105 VR? I’m not a true macro photographer, but details from babies are a must.

    What would you recommend as my new set of lenses?

    Thanks in advance, hugs from Brazil!

    • Fernando, I would go with the 85mm f/1.8G over the 105mm micro for portraiture. Looks like you do not need a macro lens, so why get the 105mm? Plus, there is a huge difference between f/2.8 and f/1.8 in terms of low-light capability and bokeh.

  89. 174
    ) KasperW

    Hi Nasim (Mark, are you answering here for Nasim)

    Thanks for all the help I am getting here.

    May I suggest you up-date this article as I am uncertain that the recommendations still hold?

    For instance, do you not now recommend the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 over the 50mm f/1.4?

    Cheers from Denmark
    Kasper

    • Kasper, thank you for your patience – I updated the article today. And yes, I still do recommend the 50mm f/1.8G over the f/1.4G version.

      • 185
        ) KasperW

        Nasim, good!

        I did purchase it earlier this day. Got my first camera (d600) monday and now my second lens (the first was the 70-200 f4 – a little difficult reading and trying in the evening). Have also purchased 2 used TCs (1.4 and 1.7).

        All started as I wanted to help my daughter get some reach for our upcoming safari, hence the tc1.4 II and the 70-200 (not too heavy). Got so caught up in this photo thing so I ended up getting myself the D600.

        So, I am reading and re-reading the reviews and tips, learning a little new every time as my understanding moves on and my trips to the park give me a little experience.

        So now I need reach for myself and my TC1.7II. Do not want to duplicate with 70-200 F2,8. Any suggestions?

        From a freind I can borrow either 300 2,8 AFi (minus vr) or 70-200 2,8 vr1. Will any of these work with D600 and TC1.7II?

        A side question, do you have any experience with Capture One SW from Phase One?

        Thanks once again.

        • I would definitely take the 70-200mm f/4 to Safari and see if I could borrow the 300mm f/2.8G + TC 1.7X. And yes, both will work perfectly fine with the D600.

          As for Capture One, I have used it once before, but it was a long time ago – I am a Lightroom user.

          • 191
            ) KasperW

            Nasim, the 300mm was AFI – not G, that is why I do not know!

            • Any 300mm f/2.8 prime from Nikon is superb! If there is no VR, just keep the shutter speed high enough and you will be in good shape.

  90. 175
    ) Tomas Manrique

    What about the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 over the 16-85 f/3.5-5.6? IMHO has better capabilities in low light and the 50-85 range you’ll cover with a nikon 55-200 or a sigma 50-150.

    • Tomas, since the title of the article is “first Nikon lens”, I did not specify third party lens options. The Sigma 17-50mm is a nice lens for DX cameras though, so I added a sentence that refers to it in the article.

  91. 183
    ) Thomas Eckert

    I’ve been out of photography for some years, but getting back in – just bought a D800 and love it – my main interest is in bird photography. However, (1) my af-s 500 f/4 was purchased in 1998 – so its a dx lens . In the past I always used a TC-20 on my F5 to shoot little birds cause’ it was the only way to get enough magnification. Would the TC-20e lll on the D800 give me an improvement in either clarity or auto-focus over the old teleconverter?
    (2) In March I am going to Costa Rica for a bird photography trip for 35 days. How can I know how many gigbytes of sdxc cards/cf cards to take with me shooting RAW, as well as backup.

    • Thomas, congrats with the D800!

      The TC-20E III is not really designed to work with f/4 lenses. The D800 will focus in good light, but AF accuracy will not be very good.

      As for how many gigabytes, since you will be shooting a lot of frames, I would recommend to buy several 16 GB or 32 GB SD / CF cards. Those are cheap nowadays…

    • 188
      ) Manuel

      Dear Thomas,

      your AF-S 500 f/4 lens is an FX lens, not a DX lens. It’s a perfect choice for the D800, it can’t get any better.

      The TC-20e lll should be better than the original TC-20 – I don’t have any experience with either of them.

      Your question about card storage: If you’re shooting your D800 RAW only, 14 bit color depth, lossless compressed, a 32 GB card will store about 400 images, according to the manual. The rest is at you to calculate.

      - Manuel

    • 189
      ) Mike

      The TC III is better than the II, worth the money if you are putting it on a D800.

      You get about 500 raw files on a 32GB card when using the D800. The count will say 400, but you can almost always get more (use lossless compression). Only you can say how many shots you will take based on your shooting style, factor accordingly.

    • 190
      ) Manuel

      Dear Thomas,

      one more thing to consider: I’m using DSRLs since the Nikon D2x came out, and, as a matter of fact, today I’m shooting about five times as many pictures of the same subject in average than I did with film then. Therefore, a 32 GB card in a D800 (400 RAWs) may only last as long as two or three rolls of film.

      - Manuel

    • 221
      ) Colin Scott

      Thomas,

      I have the 500f4 VR and a D4 and they work well with the 1.7x converter being pretty sharp at f8 and the AF is adequate in good light.

      I would not consider any 2x with this lens. The AF will slow down and, in poor light will be virtually unusable. You will almost certainly need to stop down to at least f11 to maintain sharpness and then you are getting the grey area where diffraction effects start to detract from any benefits gained by the magnification and the fantastic resolution of the D800.

      With the 500f4, the naked lens is best, 1.4x is VERY good and 1.7x adequate in good light.

      Personally, I would say get the 1.4x and crop a little more. I have been amazed at the cropping I can do with the D4 and I ONLY have 16MP.

      Good luck.

  92. 192
    ) Jaz

    Hi Nasim!

    What about 16-35mm f/4? I own both the 50mm f/1.8G and 24-120mm f/4 with the D600 body (planning to trade in for a D610 or should I bear with the oil speck and dust issue). Also, I’m thinking about the 85mm f/1.8G too! How about for videos? Is 28mm f/1.8G good enough for videography?

    Thanks Nasim! :)

    • Jaz, the 16-35mm is an excellent, pro-grade lens and definitely one of my favorites and the 85mm f/1.8G is also amazing – check out my reviews of both. As for videography, the 28mm f/1.8G should work pretty well – but keep in mind it is pretty wide. Often people want to shoot narrower to bring out the subject and blur the background in videos.

  93. 193
    ) Nitcha

    A really nice article . I wanted to know if there are third party primes worth considering . Like sigma 30 f 1.4 for dx vs nikon 35 f 1.8 dx

    • Nitcha, I am currently evaluating the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and I like it so far – hopefully a review will be posted soon, along with comparisons to Nikon 35mm f/1.8G.

  94. 194
    ) Bloomyears

    Hi Nasim,

    Really appreciate on your helpful article! I’m junior on photography and have a fujifilm S100FS on hand. After a few travel shots in 2 years, now I want to replace it with my 1st DSLR – D610. My thought is to buy D610 + 18-35 F3.5-4.5 + 24-120 F4 for my future trip. But I do not know which one is better for me between 50/1.8 and 85/1.8. Could you give me some advice and any suggestion on my overall selection? Thanks!!

    • 195
      ) Love2Eat

      If you can afford, get both. They serve different purposes in my opinion, I have the cheaper 50 1.8D and 85 1.8D and I have never picked one over the other in the same situation (presumably you’re aiming for 1.4 versions). For street photography, I would suggest 50 and for portraits and bokeh addicts, get the 85.

      • 198
        ) Bloomyears

        Thanks for your advice! Does that mean 50 1.8G could cover more range of subjects? Even that I can crop its photo for portraits if not care much on bokeh addicts? If photograph indoor, is 50 1.8 better than 85 1.8? For now, I would only choose one of them. :) Please advise.

        • 200
          ) Love2Eat

          If you need to choose between, I would suggest going with the 50 1.8G. The 85 will have very limited use from what I understand from your comments. To answer your question regarding coverage, yes, the 50 will cover more and will definitely be more suited for indoors (unless you have a large room to get the same angle of view for the 85). Check the link and the comparison table below 50 offers an angle of view of 47° while the 85 offers 28° which is a lot narrower. 50 offers enough and more bokeh, so I would not worry about that at all. 50 also allows closer shots than the 85 and above all is much more wallet-friendly.

          http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-AF-S-NIKKOR-50mm-1-8G/dp/B004Y1AYAC

          • 203
            ) Bloomyears

            I got your points now and do appreciate your help!! Definitely I will focus on 50 .18G now. So after 3 – 4 months, I would buy in D610, 18-35 3.5-4.5, 24-120 f4 and 50 1.8. Can I further ask your suggestion on my lens selection to D610? I would use them all in my future travel. Do I need to change any lens to handle more scenes? It will be my 1st DSLR and I’m sure to need much time to practice and learn more photography skills. Thanks in advance!

            • 207
              ) Love2Eat

              If I were in your shoes (and being honest), I would buy the D610 body with just one lens 24-120 f/4, to start with. That is an ideal combination and would suffice most of your upcoming travel needs. The 50 would be handy if you want to do sharp, ‘bokeh’ful and low-light shots. The 18-35 is definitely a great wide angle for the price, but perhaps you should only consider it for immediate purchase if you are planning to shoot a lot of indoors, cityscape (basically wherever you are confined for space and need an ultra wide coverage) during the travel.

    • I fully agree with Love2Eat – both lenses serve different purposes and are equally excellent.

  95. 196
    ) Balaji

    Hi Nasim,

    As always its pleasure to view your article and my learning process continues. It would be great if you could share us similar article for Canon lens. I am a learner with Canon 600D with kit lens 18-55 mm and i am looking for an upgrade which will be suitable for my interest in wildlife/bird photography.

    Again Thanks for your good work which made me to explore Manual settings and migrating from Jpg to RAW

    Thanks,
    Balaji

    • Balaji, we will soon start posting more Canon articles, so stay tuned! I know we have been mostly Nikon-centric, but hopefully that will change next year.

      As for a lens recommendation, Canon has many different lenses for wildlife/birds. Check out their excellent 400mm f/5.6 prime – it has no IS, but it is a great piece of glass for wildlife!

  96. 199
    ) lily

    so happy u picked nikkor 35mm for crop!!!
    i got my dlsr 5100 as a gift, with the zoom lens. 6 months later i got the 35mm nikkor 1.8 – AMAZING value for money adn so true i’ve learn SO much with this lens….!!

    contemplating buying my second lens…. any recommendation?

    Also, if i upgrade my camera to say a nikon 600, can i still use the 35mm nikkor? i’m careful about buying the next lens cos i’m hoping to upgrade soon..

    thanks for sharing!!

    • 201
      ) Love2Eat

      lily, if you’re planning for the 35mm 1.8 to use on an FX body, you won’t get much out of it. If you need a 35mm usable on both your DX body and future-proof on an FX body, get a 35mm f/2 or 35mm f/1.4G (both much dearer than the 1.8). My advise would be not to worry too much about future upgrade and compatibility when you can get cheap and cheerful 1.8, just get one and enjoy the ‘present’ ;-) (pun intended, of course)

      • 202
        ) lily

        hi Love2Eat,
        i already have the 35mm 1.8 and am loving it!! i want to invest in a second prime lens now…. but keeping in mind for future upgrades (cos i have the 35mm to for the present,… :)

        i actualy have no idea what is DX adn FX!!!! yikes… i have to look that up now…. :)

        • 206
          ) Love2Eat

          I’m sorry about that lily, only realised that I got the wrong end of the stick after posting my comment. ;-) Anyway, here’s Nasim’s excellent article about DX and FX to save you a bit of time searching around. http://photographylife.com/nikon-dx-vs-fx

          if you’re just looking for a future-proof prime, 85mm 1.8D might be a good choice for portraits, here’s the link for some reading. http://photographylife.com/lenses/nikon-af-nikkor-85mm-f1-8d

          Another great resource to research on is the Lens Database on this site:
          http://photographylife.com/lenses/brand/nikon

          Just pick your favourites and ask, I’m sure there’re plenty of people here to help you out.

          • 209
            ) Neil

            Not so much future proof but upgrade-proof. If someone’s photographic needs are met by the smaller sensor (and, honestly, most people’s are) then they would save a lot of money by not buying 35mm format lenses. However, if someone is definitely considering going to a larger sensor then by all means get the larger lenses. After all, that helps the company’s bottom line very much!

          • 217
            ) lily

            Love2Eat,
            thank you sooo much!!!!! that is so sweet of you :)
            i actually googled fx and dx immediatley and photographylife had a link like right there in the second result! hahaha so cool. i feel so stupid i knew about the crop/full but didn’t know the dx/fx hehe ….

            btw, I love 2 eat too :)

        • Looks like you have already gotten some help from our great readers!

          Just a quick comment – if you want to keep the same field of view (which basically means what fits in the frame when you look through the viewfinder), check out the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. Also another amazing lens from Nikon, even better than the 35mm f/1.8G in quality!

          • 219
            ) lily

            GREAT readers indeed, and just read your beautifully written article in fx vs dx (i left few questions, hope you will answer).

            thank you so much, i will contemplate betwen 50 and 85 :) i’m completely loving the 35mm 1.8G and wow, with all your comments i can’t wait to try the 50 and 85 to see the difference!!!

  97. 220
    ) Kartik kaushik

    Hello,
    i love ur articles
    I have been using the D90 for 3 years now and am looking to upgrade after reading ur article on FX vs Dx have decided on the D610, I am in Germany and expecting a price drop around Christmas. For the lens I thought i could buy a used Nikkon 24-70 and am looking for a good deal on E-bay. Photography is my hobby, and i am investing on a good body so that i can slowly build on my glasses. What do u think of my lens selection, should i go for it.
    kartik

  98. 222
    ) OC Mike

    Nasim, I have a provocative statement that you could create into an entire article. Most beginning photographers with a salary that allows them to buy any four combinations of lens: 50mm, the kit zoom, a step up from the kit zoom and a specialty lens… would learn more and be more happy if they bought a Nikon 85mmG 1.4 lens as it is the best at a cheaper cost than the four aforementioned lens that will never make the owner beam with joy. :-) One great lens instead of four. One lens that teaches you to both move your feet and stimulate your brain. :-)

  99. 223
    ) Ilyas

    Hi Nasim,
    I am a beginner photographer. I take shots of almost everything – nature, animals, flowers, portraits, streets, etc. I am planning to go for one of the two cameras – d7100 & d5300. I have read many articles about these two, however, still I cannot really decide which one to choose. d5300 seems very tempting as most of the specifications are the same as the d7100 plus a bit cheaper. Which one would you recommend?

    In regards to the lens, I was planning to go with 18-200mm or 18-300mm, but after reading your review about these, I changed my decision. Although, the two lenses Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX and Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR you have mentioned in this article, seems to be the ones I should go after, but I was wondering if they will satisfy my needs, especially for shots that need some zooming – birds, etc.

    I would really appreciate your suggestion in this regard.

    Thanks!

  100. 224
    ) Ed K

    I have a D5100 Nikon. I currently have a standard 18-55mm lens as well as the 55-300mm lens for long range shots but I am not happy with my photos of stellar objects (plus shots while I am flying my plane.) Can you recommend the next size lenses? We only have one camera store in our City but I am not happy with their quality of customer service so I am looking at buying something on line.

  101. 225
    ) Jesus

    Hi, I am looking to get two lenses for my Nikon D5100 to use for street and portrait photography. Do you think the 35mm 1.5G and 50mm 1.8G are good choices to do so? I currently shoot with 18-55mm & 55-300mm Nikkor AF-S DX VR Lenses. Thanks for the great information that your site provides and keep up the good work.

  102. 227
    ) ab

    Hello,

    I have a Nikon D3100 and have had it for a while now. I use the normal kit lens 18-55mm for everything.

    My two main photography focusses are on landscape photography both daylight/lowlight so basically anything when im travelling. The current one works fine but i was wondering if there is a better lens that would also go a bit more wide than this ?

    My second focus is people shooting. I have a fashion/personal style blog so I take a lot of full body shots and would like the bokeh effect. And at the moment I can only achieve that in close up shots. Someone told me the 85mm fixed lens is good for that but I was wondering if there is a lens that would cover both?

  103. 228
    ) Essam K

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you very much for your website, its very helpful and informative. I’ve made up my mind on buying the Nikon D7100, this is will be my first DSLR and based on your advice I decided to just buy the body not the kit, so I can get the right lenses for my usage. I am looking mainly to take family portraits indoor/outdoor, travel and sightseeing pictures such as monuments, I also would like to get the right lens that allows me to get the “Bokeh” image. can you please recommend some lenses for me. I don’t want to go crazy with spending lots of money but I need something that would get the job done.

    Thank you very much Nasim

  104. 229
    ) Volker Sellmann

    Hi Nasim
    I would really appreciate your opinion on two lenses that I’m considering for my Nikon d7100.
    Torn between the 16-85 and the newer 18-140.
    Which lens in your opinion is better/sharper ?
    Not concerned about the wider or longer reach.

    Thanks

    Volker Sellmann

  105. 230
    ) Prashant

    Hi Nasim,
    I have read lot of articles off you on Photography Life and really i found all of them extremely helpful. Reading them give insight about your passion and honesty that comes with being a photographer. I did read your article on 50 1.8G mm and 35 1.8G mm Nikon lens. I am just confused as to which 1 to pick. I bought Nikon D3100 with Kit lens 4 month back and 1 now want to scale up. I am looking from a more versatile lens between 35 and 50. I would mostly be shooting my year old daughter indoors and outdoor, Landscape (low light), light painting , light trails , sunsets & street (I know I have almost put everthing :p). I would really appreciate you recommending me a lens.
    Waiting for reply.
    -Prashant

    • Avatar of Ethan
      231
      ) Ethan

      Hello Prashant,

      Get the 35mm 1.8G. :)

      • 232
        ) Prashant

        Thanks Ethan.

  106. 233
    ) Chris

    Hi,
    I am a beginner and consider to buy a D3300 body (for now)
    Before any the purchase, I want to make sure about the auto focus motors and lenses compatibility on D3300
    Because if I am on a budget, I’d like to purchase old ones with great reputation :b

    It is said like this on the tech spec:
    “Autofocus is available with AF-S and AF-I lenses. Autofocus is not available with other type G and D lenses, AF lenses (IX NIKKOR and lenses for the F3AF are not supported), and AI-P lenses. Non-CPU lenses can be used in mode M, but the camera exposure meter will not function. The electronic rangefinder can be used with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.”

    So which lenses on the above article I cannot use and which one I can?
    Or should I consider another body with more versatile compatibility with old lenses?
    Thanks for advise (:

  107. 234
    ) elena

    Hi Nasim
    Please can you give your opinion on new 18-140 lens
    Thanks

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