Hello, I just sold my old minolta and am going to purchase a D300. What two lenses would you recommend as a good starting point for my collection? I shoot mainly landscape and would benefit from a pretty wide angle on one of them, but would also shoot some wildlife, birds etc and therefore need a capable zoom. I'm only a keen amatuer so money is an object, my budget would be around $1,000 -$1,200 for the lenses. That said, I'd rather invest properly now though than buy something cheap only to have to replace it in 12 motnhs time. Hopefully the two lenses would suffice for at least year or so before I would need to add to them.
#1. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0Fri 21-Dec-07 12:08 PM
Welcome to nikonians! Wildlife and landscape are two extremes in lenses and with that budget some compromises may need to be made. Something like the Tokina 12-24 or Sigma 10-20 for landscape would be good for the wide end. The Nikon 70-300 VR will be nice for the long end. Not long enough for most birds but still pretty good for most wildlife.
#2. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0benveniste Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Fri 21-Dec-07 12:22 PM
First, Welcome to Nikonians!
Second, one quick question. Are you willing to consider used lenses?
If so, you should be able to get a Nikon 20-35mm f/2.8 and a 80-200mm f/2.8 for around that $1200 figure. Both lenses were Nikon's top of the line offerings about a decade ago, and still deliver great results today.
If you want new gear, or if a 70 degree angle of view is narrower than you'd wish, or if you are looking for wider gear, here are some other options. Try substituting an 18-70mm f/3.5~4.5 or 18-135mm f/3.5~5.6 DX for the 20-35mm and a 70-300mm VR for the 80-200mm. These are lighter, more modern lenses. They offer less control over depth of field and fewer options in low light, but are very good in their own right. The 70-300mm has vibration resistance built in, which acts as a partial replacement for a tripod or other camera support. The 18-xxx lenses are less expensive than a used 20-35mm f/2.8, leaving you with a little extra money for a flash or a tripod.
The 18-200mm is also a good choice, but that in combination with the 70-300mm takes you over your $1200 limit. If possible, I'd suggest a visit to your local camera store so you can see what these new lenses can offer you before buying.
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck
#3. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 21-Dec-07 12:43 PM
At the upper end of your budget is a three lens combination:
- wide angle from the Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24, about $500.
- "normal" shots with the Nikkor 18-70/f3.5-4.5 - used, about $200 in pristine condition.
- wildlife and maybe birds with the Nikkor 70-300 AFS VR, about $500.
Neither the wide or telephoto are typically available used, since those who have them generally like them, and especially since the 70-300 VR is pretty new.
The 18-70 is well liked but is often an upgrade candidate for those wanting VR (ie the 18-200VR), f/2.8 (ie the 17-55/f2.8) or full frame (24-70/f2.8).
You can do a lot with these three, and they are good enough that you may never need to upgrade them. If you do, the upgrade price is likely to be steep, as the obvious way to do that is:
Nikon 14-24/f2.8 AFS ($1800)
Nikon 24-70/f2.8 AFS ($1700)
Nikon 70-200/f2.8 AFS VR ($1700)
Nikon 200-400/f4 AFS VR ($5500)
The "older model" upgrade path is like this:
- Sigma 10-20 (keep it)
- Nikon 20-35/f2.8 ($800 used)
- Nikon 28-70/f2.8 AFS ($1200 used)
- Nikon 80-200/f2.8 AFS ($900 used)
- Nikon 200-400/f4 AFS VR ($5500 new, very few are ever sold)
I show these to put the $1200 package in perspective.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#4. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0
I just wrote an article about lenses. I recommend 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 (depending on your budget) as the first lens. However, since you shoot landscape and wildlife the best choices for you would probably be 17-35mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 (on the higher end of the budget) and 18-200mm (on the lower end of the budget). For ultra wide, 12-24mm f/4 would do the job.
#6. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 21-Dec-07 04:26 PM
I agree, that's why I suggested 18-200mm VR for the low-budget. I don't consider the 70-300mm lens to be a good lens for any kind of photography and I wouldn't bother wasting money on gear like that. $1200 is a very tight budget and I would probably get a used 18-200mm along with a used 12-24mm for the wide end of things. Both can be bought for around $1200-1400 used. If ultra wide is not needed, 50mm along with 18-200mm VR would be a perfect combo!
Yes, 70-200 VR is too short for wildlife, but anything longer would be considerably expensive. Some people prefer 80-400mm for birds, but it is nowhere close to be as versatile as 70-200 VR is.
#9. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 6briantilley Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Fri 21-Dec-07 05:24 PM
>I don't consider the 70-300mm lens to be a good
>lens for any kind of photography and I wouldn't bother
>wasting money on gear like that.
I'm not sure which 70-300mm lens you are talking about.
The current 70-300mm VR Nikkor is an good performer by any standards, and excellent in its price bracket. The older "ED" and "G" versions were not too shabby either. Check back through some threads here if proof is needed.
#12. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 6Dendrobium Registered since 21st Jul 2007Fri 21-Dec-07 10:45 PM
>I agree, that's why I suggested 18-200mm VR for the
>low-budget. I don't consider the 70-300mm lens to be a good
>lens for any kind of photography and I wouldn't bother
>wasting money on gear like that. $1200 is a very tight
>budget and I would probably get a used 18-200mm along with a
>used 12-24mm for the wide end of things. Both can be bought
>for around $1200-1400 used. If ultra wide is not needed,
>50mm along with 18-200mm VR would be a perfect combo!
I have to disagree, I hate the 18-200mm VR compared to the 70-300mmVR.
There are less complains in this forum about the 70-300mmVR than a mix bag of opinions about the 18-200mm VR. 18-200mm VR is NOT a low budget lens. PLUS 70-300mm VR can be used FX as well, and best of all no creep issue.
#7. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 21-Dec-07 04:30 PM
By the way Neil, just looked at your gallery and your bird photos are amazing!!! Good job, excellent pictures!
That 200-400 VR of yours is top of the line. I'm hoping to get it later, when I save up some $$$
#10. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 8DigitalConvert Registered since 09th Nov 2005Fri 21-Dec-07 09:55 PM
Welcome to Nikonians, please fill out your profile so we can better assist you.
If you don't have a solid tripod and head, I'd get that first.
My next suggestion is to forget the D300 and get a D80.
This gives you $2200 to spend on lenses instead of $1200 (assuming you have a tripod).
Get a 70-200 f/2.8VR for $1600 and a Tokina 12-24 f/4 for $500, and there's $2100.
Is there a reason why are you getting a D300 and not a lesser camera and spending more on glass?
#11. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 8IntegrityPhotos Registered since 26th Apr 2006Fri 21-Dec-07 10:26 PM
As an "old" photographer, and a long time member of this forum, I "advise" you to take the advice of both Brian and Neil above. They're expertise is top notch, and they have a long history of accuracy in information reported. I agree with Brian's initial recommendatio of three lenses, with a near second choice being these lenses purchased new within your $1200 budget:
Sigma 10-20 $500
Nikkor 18-200 VR $700 or less
(You could throw in a 50mm f1.8 for $120 prox as advised above.)
The only problem with the second choice is you're still too short on focal length for much wildlife shooting, but have quality lenses for the lengths covered. To obtain the longer length for wildlife, if you can afford additional funds, a 300 f4 would be an excellent choice at around $500-600 used for the Nikon ED version, and aroung $900 for a used Nikon AFS model. Either lens will out perform the 70-300 optically, but with the VR capability of the zoom, you may be better off initially, unless you're shooting from a tripod, which is excellent advice previously offered. You'll eventually want a good one of these for much of your long focal length shooting.
In any case, it's easy for us to spend your money, but I agree with the basic premise that purchasing quality equipment at the beginning is important, both from a performance standpoint and from a long term optimal use of funds standpoint. Good luck!
"If everyone possesses some measure of this intangible quality called creativity, photography is unprecedented as an outlet for its expression." - Ansel Adams
#13. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0
My photographic interests are similar to yours. My outdoor work also includes macro shots so I have the 105mm single focal length "Micro Nikkor VR". It has exceeded my expectations for sharpness and general image quality. Not cheap but it delivers the goods a way no zoom can do and if you are serious about macro it will not disappoint.
Also have the 70 - 300mm VR for wildlife (birds especially) which is a bargain. The relatively low cost comes from the low speed (F4.5 - 5.6) but it is amazingly sharp. Critics claim some softness at full 300mm but even there I find it coming up with excellent images of birds. If you want to save on a long telephoto without giving up image quality, this might be a good bet. The zoom ring is a bit sticky but I like this because it prevents "zoom creep".
The 80 - 400mm is undoubtedly better but it's also $1500. I might consider one but lack of AF-S means it cannot take full advantage of the D300's remarkable action tracking AF. The 70 - 300 has AF-S so combined with the you can get amazing shots of birds even when they jump around. It really works.
The 18 - 200mm is a great all 'round lens. There have been a few complaints in these forums it is not sharp. This assessment is not supported by professional reviewers and in my experience it is very sharp, delivering excellent images suitable for making very large prints. For best landscape versatility you might want something wider, however, as has been suggested elsewhere.
#16. "I believe that MegaZ ..." | In response to Reply # 15beachbum1 Registered since 27th Jul 2008Fri 08-Aug-08 01:50 AM
I believe that MegaZ has it right with the 17-35mm 2.8 and the 70-200 2.8, BOTH superb lenses. Sometimes the glass is just right and these two lenses are the stuff. The 17-35 is great for buildings, close sports, social junk and landscapes. There are very few lenses that match the 70-200 for really tight portraits, mid-range sports, and a very wide variety of outdoor shots at f2.8. After 3 +years, they are my most used lenses. The D700 will let me use both as designed for, wide angle zoom and tight portrait/ close sports lens. The 85mm 1.4 is the portrait king (esp. in FX format) so it will still get lots of use.
Bodies come, bodies go, give me good lenses.
#17. "RE: I believe that MegaZ ..." | In response to Reply # 16mibadt Registered since 11th Sep 2006Fri 08-Aug-08 08:29 AM
While former posters have given good recommendations I'd add my 2 cents:
1. Most of the recommended lenses are DX ones. You'll have to think if your next boy won't be a FF one and decide about a lens format "policy" (e.g., buy only FF lens, or buy whatever suits DX now and maybe sell once you switch).
2. Among DX ones, I recommend also the new Nikkor 16-85VR (coupled with either Nikkor 70-300VR or Sigma 50-150/2.8 HSM).
#18. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0
There are a lot of great options listed in this thread, and all of them are capable of providing excellent photographs with the right technique and experience.
If you're looking at a D300 ($1500 minimum new) and another $1200 for lenses, you could think about a different body to increase the lens budget.
A used D200 in great condition could be had for $800, giving an additional $700 for lenses.
With $1900 available for lenses, you simply have more choices.
An 18-70mm and 80-400mm VR would be a nice combination for around $1750, because 200mm is simply not enough reach for shooting most small wildlife.....
For landscape you may want some filters and will need a good tripod and head, which will add more money to your package.
J a m e s
Using his camera as a pen, it is the photographer's job to tell a story: Each page authored in frozen moments of time.
All of my work is dedicated to my father, Terry Lee Geib (1943-2009)
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#19. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 0
Strangely, I see your main interest in landscapes best served by spending less money on the wide-angle lens. The suggestions below are both pro-quality, by the way.
The 999.00 Nikkor 12-24 is no superstar at the extreme wide end. It really begins to shine only at 18 mm or so. For this reason, I suggest checking out the 500 dollar Tokina 12-24, which is built like a tank and is only slightly bested by the Nikkor at 20-24 mm.
This leaves 700.00 for the telephoto end, which will not get you a (new) zoom of any great quality. You could, however, spend that 700.00 on the Nikkor 105 mm AF-S VR Macro! This would get you a very useful, beautifully built lens that works great for medium and large animals (not to mention being the best lens in the world for handheld flower and insect photos.) That 700.00 will have bought you a lifetime of FX-ready optical excellence.
If you want something longer you could look for a used Nikkor 80-200, which is an absolute gem.
If you want pro-quality glass, "bird lenses" are not in your budget. But drab clothing and a stealthy manner surely are =)
Best of luck,
#22. "RE: D300 lenses" | In response to Reply # 21tamrokin Registered since 09th Feb 2006Sun 17-Aug-08 09:43 PM | edited Sun 17-Aug-08 09:59 PM by tamrokin
I have developed a standard type of response to this type of question:
Walkaround lens package:
Nikon 18-200mm VR
Nikon 80-400mm VR
Not 'pro' lenses but they do deliver high IQ, compactness, lightweight and low cost (relative to 'pro' glass)at DSLR level. Plenty of comment on these forums on the 18-200mm & 80-400mm - in my view they deliver very well for what they are. It would take 3-4 lenses to replace them and you are left changing lenses while you are still shooting with these.
Pro lens package:
5 times the price, heavier, bulkier, faster, more lens changes - awesome ultra sharp glass. Can add the 1.4 TX to the longer lenses.
Choose your level and work towards it. Beyond that there are all the arguements DX vs. FX and into the realm of prime lenses. Consider primes when you have proven that the zooms don't do the job and you have a specific need for a prime.
If your needs are at 'walkaround' level you would probably achieve what you want with the D80 (and D200's are just about being given away) rather than incur the additional expense of the D300. At 'Pro' level the D300/D700/D3 are all good options.
Black camera, Black lenses, Black bag ...... & NAS Black hole .....