What type of lenses do I need to be looking at?
Hello! I recently purchased the D600 and so far I love it! I owned a D90 and sold it when I purchased the D600. I have two kit lenses, the 24-85 and the 70-300 Nikon lenses. The 24-85 came with the camera and the 70-300 I purchased along with.
My friend has a D90, and he helped me shoot a couple of weddings. We each had our D90's at the time, but he has a Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens. When I sat down and edited those images compared to mine, I was BLOWN AWAY! Only then did I understand how much difference a lens can make!
Well, I can tell a difference in the full-frame compared to the D90, but I'm still using kit lenses. Since I saw my friend's (and another friend's) images using higher-quality lenses, I really, REALLY want one! But, I don't think I can afford the Nikon lens just yet.
So, my question is, what brands should I be looking at if I can't afford the Nikon? I'm a portrait photographer mainly, but have shot a few weddings, and I do enjoy landscape and nature photography, although I realize that's more for fun since the trees don't usually purchase pictures of themselves
What lenses should I be looking at? I have the 70-300 that I really like, and I think it's a higher-quality lens than the 24-85. And, it's got the reach I want. So, I've been drooling over the Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens. Is that what I should be looking at for portraits and weddings? Or should I be looking at something else? And if I can't afford the Nikon, is there a different brand that's comparable (like Tamron, Sigma, etc.)?
Just curious as to your thoughts - thanks so much!
#1. "RE: What type of lenses do I need to be looking at?" | In response to Reply # 0mklass Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Tue 09-Apr-13 01:41 PM
For portraits and weddings, I would expect you would want something with the ability to better manage the Depth of Field, which basically means something that will open up to f/4 or more. A zoom is also a good choice sine you cannot always "Zoom with your Feet" to get that shot that just presented itself.
For wedding photography I use the Nikon 24-120 f/4 and the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8. The 70-200 is pretty standard for wedding photographers, but many use the 24-70 f/2.8 instead.
There is no 3rd party substitute for the 24-120, but both Sigma and Tamron make 70-200 f/2.8s. I suggest getting the latest models with OS/VC. These lenses are good for handleld shots in venues that may not have great lighting and do not allow flash.
Tamron now makes a well regarded 24-70 with VC that is less expensive than the Nikon 24-70.
For portraits, you can certainly use a mid-range zoom, but I prefer primes. For single subject head and shoulder shots, I like the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. For full length or shots of 2 or more people, I usually use a Sigma 50mm f/1.4. While the Nikon f/1.4s are more expensive, you might be just as happy with the Nikon f/1.8 versions of the 50 and 85mm. The older D versions are not slouches, either, compared to the newer G lenses, and are less expensive.
Don't be afraid to get a good, used lens, if you want to save a few bucks.
Visit my nikonians gallery
#2. "RE: What type of lenses do I need to be looking at?" | In response to Reply # 0Photo_Art_W Nikonian since 21st Nov 2005Wed 10-Apr-13 05:49 AM
I'll also recommend the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens, along with a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 if you're serious about portrait and wedding photography.
With those zoom lenses above, a 50mm f1.4, a 20mm f2.8 or faster, and maybe a 85mm lens would be great additions. A 105mm macro lens doubles for close ups of rings and use as a portrait lens nicely.
In my experience, Nikon makes the best quality zoom lenses. I've tried comparable Sigma and Tamron zoom lenses over the years and they don't come close to the sharpness, resolution, color & contrast performance of the Nikon lenses. They've all been sold and replaced with Nikon lenses if that tells you anything.
Some 3rd party prime lenses are excellent performers though and can be considered. But I've had some occasional odd issues mechanically with a few that I've owned. One well regarded 3rd party macro lens of mine is going in for service soon, and am already in the process of replacing it with a Nikon version.
If you're going to charge serious money for your work & time, you'll want the best equipment at hand to help produce the highest quality images for your clients. Also have a spare backup DSLR body or two on hand just in case.
#3. "RE: What type of lenses do I need to be looking at?" | In response to Reply # 2mkbee1 Registered since 26th Nov 2012Wed 10-Apr-13 01:34 PM
Welll...if you really don't like your 24-85, send it to me. I'll take good care of it, give it a good home and warm place to sleep, with plenty of other lenses to play with, and I promise not to work it too hard! I'll even pay the postage. What could be fairer?
But, the question remains: What is it you don't like about the IQ of your present (excellent and marvelous) equipment?
Your 70-300 won't match the I.Q of a lens that co$ts 4X as much? Hmmmm...There's a surprise!
Won't it produce 40 X 60in. enlargements? What's the proper viewing distance for that? The width of your living room?
Are you in a competition with your buddy to see who can get sharper relults?
An old song goes..."It's what you DO with whatcha got, nevermind how much ya got..." Several areas of human endeavor come to mind, but it is nevertheless true!
Good photography is committed by the mind behind the camera, only minorly assisted by expen$ive equipment! Throwing money at a problem that doesn't exist just leads to hate and discontent.
It is a Fine and Pleasant Madness
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#4. "RE: What type of lenses do I need to be looking at?" | In response to Reply # 3RENIX Registered since 29th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 07:31 PM
Thank you all for the information - much appreciated! Believe me, I do understand that it's not what you have but how you use it. But I can't help but notice a noticeable difference in quality from my kit lens to the F2.8 lens. I do suppose, however, that with enough light, my images from my kit lenses are pretty sharp, but not as sharp as the 2.8 lenses that cost 4 times as much . . . It's not about competition with my friends, but about the crisp and clear images coming from those lenses! I like the good stuff!