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Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question

super cranium

UK
1 posts

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super cranium Registered since 23rd May 2012
Wed 23-May-12 05:21 PM

Hi,

I am buying a Nikon D5100.

I have two choices of lenses:

1.) 18-55mm VR Kit Lens + Nikon 55-200mm f/4.-5.6 AFS DX VR Lens

OR

2.) Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR Lens


This is my first SLR but I plan to take it up as a hobby.

It will mostly be used for portraits, however I would like for it (as much as possible) to be multi-purpose i.e. holidays, landscape.

So which would you recommend? I understand that if I go for the two lenses I have more range but then the drawback is carrying around two lenses.

If I go for the one lens 18-105, will i be sufficient at this beginner stage for most of my shots i.e. portraits and landscapes?

Lastly, I also intend to connect them to my telescope to take some snaps - will either choice of lenses be better for this?

Thanks in advance

coolmom42

McEwen, US
4168 posts

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#1. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

coolmom42 Moderator Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011
Wed 23-May-12 05:47 PM

I would go with the 2 lens combo. That is much more versatile. There will be many occasions when you want the 200 mm reach. Both of those lenses are very good.

working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
18-55 mm Nikkor VR
55-200 mm Nikkor VR
55-300 mm Nikkor VR
150-500 mm Sigma OS
MeFoto Road Trip w/Q1 ballhead
Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead

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MEMcD

US
31612 posts

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#2. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 23-May-12 10:46 PM

Hi Michael,

Welcome to Nikonians!
Even the Nikkor kit lenses are optically excellent.
As you have noted, the 18-105mm having a wider range is a little more convienient than the 18-55mm and 55-200mm combo since you might not have to switch leses as often. If you want to have your cake an eat it too, the 18-200mm is another option though significantly more expensive and not quite as good optically as the others you list.

Neither the 18-55mm or the 55-200mm are very large or heavy so carrying a second lens should't be much of a problem. I would get the two lens kit. If you can, consider the 55-300mm instead of the 55-200mm. It is only a little more expensive and provides significantly more range.

BTW:

We always encourage our members to fill in their real first and last names and have made that issue a part of our Terms of Use.

The intent is to foster a community of "real people" instead of mysterious web-personalities with anonymous screen names.

Doing this helps to establish and maintain a safe, civil and friendly environment.

Thanks in advance.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

DavidN4

Johns Creek, US
272 posts

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#3. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

DavidN4 Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Nov 2011
Thu 24-May-12 10:30 AM

18-55mm VR Kit Lens + Nikon 55-200mm f/4.-5.6 AFS DX VR Lens

I use this combo all the time, and with adding a 35mm 1.8, that is my travel kit. There isn't much that you can't shoot with it.

suzyk

near Hobart, AU
1563 posts

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#4. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

suzyk Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Dec 2011
Fri 25-May-12 11:58 AM | edited Fri 25-May-12 12:07 PM by suzyk

Michael,

I was in your position (beginner) about six months ago.

I bought a D90 and 18-105mm lens and I love the both. In the early days, I had enough to learn, without adding changing lenses. Having said that, lots of people are equally happy with the 18-55mm lens. I'm sure it is an equally good beginner's lens.

I took the chance to buy a bargain 55-300mm 2 months ago but to be honest I don't use it that much. Mostly, I haven't perfected my hand holding technique, so I'm not steady enough at the longer focal lengths.

Carrying the extra lens around isn't a hassle if you have a good bag.

I really wanted to reassure you that for at least one beginner, the 18-105mm was an excellent choice.

EDIT: I would say the 35mm f1.8 lens for low light shooting (as David mentioned) is worth considering in a beginner's kit. For me, it would rate above telephoto. (not reflected in my lens choice ).

Cheers,
Suzy

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blw

Richmond, US
28713 posts

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#5. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Fri 25-May-12 12:35 PM

> I also intend to connect them to my telescope to take some snaps - will either choice of lenses be better for this?

No. In general when one attaches a DSLR to a telescope or microscope, it is using some sort of adapter than turns the 'scope effectively into a big lens. In these cases you attach the 'scope directly to the camera, instead of a lens. So regardless of which lens(es) you have or own, you don't use them in this context.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

drmanubmengi

Chandigarh, IN
646 posts

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#6. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

drmanubmengi Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2012
Sat 26-May-12 04:52 AM

2 Lenses & a Good Bag.
1st the kit lens & the 2nd 55 - 300mm.

Reasons.
1. Versatility.
2. Not very heavy.
3. In the course of time you will want the 2nd lens.

Dr. Manu Mengi
Loves Photography

paul1208

US
3 posts

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#7. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

paul1208 Registered since 24th Mar 2012
Mon 11-Jun-12 01:02 AM

Hello,

I have a D5000 with the 18-55 mm kit lens and upgraded the zoom from the kit to 70-300mm. I am happy with both. However, in retrospect, I believe I probably should have started out by buying the 18-105mm or the 18-200. It can become annoying having to change lenses.

Andy47

Albuquerque, US
37 posts

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#8. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

Andy47 Registered since 20th Aug 2011
Mon 11-Jun-12 04:47 PM

For portraits and a 'walking-around' lens, I'd go with the 18-105mm. I don't have that lens, but instead have a 16-85mm which I love dearly, both for vacations and portraits. If you plan on doing portraits, the next lens you should get is a fast one--f1.8, to make the background blur and your subject pop.

I have both a D5100 and a D90; my other two lenses are a 50mm f1.8 and an 18-250mm and even when I have the longer lens on the camera, I rarely go out past 150mm--but that said, it really depends on what interests you as a photographer. A friend of mine takes mainly wildlife; he has a 400mm and is lusting after a 600mm.

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pjonesCET

Martinsville, US
854 posts

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#9. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

pjonesCET Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011
Mon 11-Jun-12 11:15 PM

I have both the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm Unfortunately I didn't have the advantage of getting them in a Kit (with my D3000). The camera came with the 18-55mm, then I bought the 55-200mm separately. Recently I purchased 35mm f/1.8.

They work well in fact. IF you go with just the one size 18-105mm will limit what you can do.

Unlessyour going to turn pro then you need better lens all around.

Phillip M Jones, CET
pjonescet@comcast.net
http://www.phillipmjones.net/

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rgsindc

US
25 posts

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#10. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

rgsindc Registered since 23rd Dec 2011
Tue 12-Jun-12 01:53 PM | edited Tue 12-Jun-12 01:54 PM by rgsindc

I bought a Nikon 35mm prime 1.8 (52.5mm considering "crop factor"....thus "nifty fifty") for portrait and low light work and a Tamron 18-270MM as my "walk around" lens. The latter provides reasonable wide angle and telephoto for landscapes or birding, respectively and I have been pleased with the price/weight/photo quality.

This set covers most situations for an amateur, I have found

Jason55

US
19 posts

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#11. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 9

Jason55 Registered since 16th Jun 2012
Sat 16-Jun-12 03:22 PM

At this time I'm happy with my 18-55mm kit lens on my new D5100. I will experiment a lot with it as I learn all (some) of the new cameras feature. I'm sure eventually I will want some like a 18-105 (or longer range.

Jason B

Jason55

US
19 posts

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#12. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 11

Jason55 Registered since 16th Jun 2012
Sat 16-Jun-12 03:24 PM

Sorry I meant to reply to the "thread" not to a particualr "reply." (Just getting used to the new forum)

Jason B

jameskuzman

Girard, US
82 posts

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#13. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

jameskuzman Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2012
Thu 21-Jun-12 04:56 PM | edited Thu 21-Jun-12 05:01 PM by jameskuzman

You're not alone in posing this question to be sure.

The 18-55 and 55-200 actually get excellent reviews optically, and even if purchased separately from the body, represent great value for money. I applaud Nikon for not bundling cheap optics with their kits.

Beyond the economic and image quality advantages, they're also pretty compact. Many people find they need nothing more, except maybe a 35mm f/1.8 as others here have already mentioned. That's a bargain, too, for $200.

My old Olympus EV-500 setup had something similar to this - a 14-45mm and a 40-150mm. Optically, these are fantastic lenses. The only beef I had with them is that for casual, not-sure-what's-coming-up-next shooting, I never seemed to have the lens I needed on the camera.

I can't tell you how aggravating it is to have to swap out lenses all the time.

Which brings us to the classic and dreaded trade-off dilemma we all face: Everything is a compromise. You can have reasonable quality and low price, but at the expense of convenience... You can have convenience, but at the expense of ultimate quality and low price... You can have excellent quality, but at the expense of convenience and low price.

It sounds like a cop out, but it really does depend upon how you shoot and your priorities.

The 18-200, for instance, is very popular. Depending upon who you read/talk to, its quality seems to range from acceptable to very good. The convenience of having that kind of range is hard to argue against. On the downside, it's not as sharp as some zooms with a narrower range (and certainly not as sharp as a good, fast prime) and it's pricey.

Will you notice the difference in image quality? Maybe. Will you be bothered by those differences? Perhaps. You probably won't be on-screen or in smaller prints. You might be if you print large or crop excessively.

Then again, if you don't have the right lens on your camera and need to swap out, the opportunity to make your picture could be gone, in which case image quality is a moot point, isn't it?

If budget is the primary driver in this decision, I wouldn't hesitate to go with the 18-55 / 55-200 combo for a minute. Add a 35mm f/1.8 and you're in great shape without breaking the bank.

If you have the budget and value convenience, check out the 18-200.

Or, look into the 18-105, live with it for awhile, and see if you even have the need for something longer on the tele end. It offers a nice wide range and good image quality, and other than being a bit slow aperture-wise, it is a fine choice for portraits. I didn't see a mention of wildlife shooting as a priority in your post, so you may not need anything beyond 105. If you find you do, you could then look at something like the 55-200, 55-300, or better still, the 70-300.

Jim

Lolrogge

Ayden, US
325 posts

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#14. "RE: Nikon d5100 - beginner lens question" | In response to Reply # 0

Lolrogge Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Apr 2012
Wed 27-Jun-12 01:08 AM

When I decided on a D3000, I chose the 18-105. For me that proved to be a mistake. The 105mm was not quite long enough to justify the added size and weight. I replaced it with the 18-55.

Instead of the 35 f1.8, I went with the 50 f1.8. The 50mm makes a nice portrait lens.

With my D5100, I use the 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 50mm, and 85mm macro.

Laverne

G