This may be better suited in the lens forum, in which case I apologize in advance.
Having heard about how great the 50 mm f/1.8D is, especially for the price, I'm tempted to get one. But on the other hand, I'd also like the 18-200 mm lens for its versatility, but need to save up for a while first. My question is whether the prime lens is worth it given the decent performance of the D70s at higher ISO settings. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
#1. "RE: lens question" | In response to Reply # 0CopaMundial Registered since 26th Apr 2006Thu 22-Jun-06 12:53 AM
This is one of those questions where there's no really "right" answer, it all sort of comes down to opinions... so here's my 2 cents.
The 2 lenses you're describing are each good, but they're good for different circumstances.
The 18-200mm lens, as you mentioned, is pretty flexible. That is the chief benefit of it, and the reason why so many people have chosen it as their "walk around" lens. It's not good in low light, and it's variable aperture presents some challenges to achieving consistent exposure... this can be overcome by allowing the camera to control some decisions, but the camera doesn't always make the same choices 2 times in a row, even for a given scene. So, 18-200, is a good one-lens solution for several different situations.
Fixed focal length lenses (ie the 50mm f/1.8D mentioned) typically provide the best optical characteristics available at that given length. They offer the best range of apertures, best sharpness (or lack thereof.. which is also important in the case of portraits), and they are typically a lot less imposing when you’re the subject “looking down the barrel” so to speak.
If image quality is your #1 concern then work on collecting some fixed focal length lenses in the range where you shoot most often. Just be ready to change lenses every so often, no big deal.
If flexibility and ease of travel are your #1 concern then get the 18-200.
In the end it won't matter anyway, because NAS will bite you and you'll eventually want to buy more and more lenses. So really it's more a question of what ORDER to buy them in... rather than what lens to get.
Personally, I've never found 50mm shots that compelling visually. Something about it just doesn't grab me. I like my 85mm when I know I'm shooting people and 20mm when I know I'm shooting scenery or architectural type stuff.
I've also got the 18-200 and it's a very convenient option.
One thing I have noticed, however, about fixed lenses is that everyone seems to have one lens that just matches their shooting style. One will just seem to fit your eye. Once you spend a little time with that lens on the camera you start to get a real feel for the shots that are (or are not) possible at that focal length. You can frame and compose your shot in your imagination before you ever raise the camera. A lot of people who have only ever used zooms are cheated out of this because they've never really gotten that familiar w/ a specific lens.
For me, it's the 85mm. I like to walk around and play with the super-zoomie 18-200... but I never really picture how great something will look at 18mm or 200mm. Those shots I figure out w/ my eye in the viewfinder.
Who knows, maybe photographers w/ more experience and skill can do this will all of their lenses, but for me, I pretty much see the world if it's an image waiting to be captured through an 85mm lens.
I doubt I've told you anything that's news to you, but again, just my opinion.
Best of luck, and remember that buying the stuff isn't the important (or fun) part of all of this... mastering it is. So whatever you end up getting, just get out and enjoy it.