What would be a good basic lens collection?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet
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Spinning your wheels but having fun.
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 29, 2013

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

My camera is a Nikon D7000, and in general prefer to stay with Nikon lenses.  The lenses I own now (bought to learn on) are the 18-105mm VR DX AFS f/3.5-5.6 and the 55-300mm VR DX AFS f/4.5-5.6.  For future purposes, I am considering a prime lens f/1.8 (probably 50mm, recommendations welcomed), a macro lens (probably 105mm), and (much later) a 300mm f/4 with a teleconverter.

Hi Susan. My friend, I think you're spinning your wheels but having fun at it. Moreover, people are having fun answering with their favorite combinations. That's all ok as long as you realize, and I'm sure you do, that you already have just about all you need for a good DX kit. Optically, your two lenses are very good and you'd have to spend quite a bit more to acheive not much more.

They overlap nicely too which helps to more easily be ready for what comes. You're not having to fight some unoverlapped length where you aren't quite here but not quite there. Overlap means comfort.

So, all you need is to master those two lenses and your superb camera. I know you've got talent. I've seen it. You've got a good eye and will improve there for sure. You're still in the process of learning your gear and being confident it it and you. That's understandable, but I wouldn't complicate things by buying a slew of new lenses you also would have to master.

For example, either of your two lenses focus pretty closely for flowers and even larger insects if you're willing to crop a little. A macro lens could wait, but they are fun.

You also can now go pretty darn wide, out to 18mm which is like 27mm on an older film camera or newer FX. Going wider than this requires a lot of skill to get compelling imagery. Most people just get too wide of a shot with too much boring stuff in it. They are attempting to use a super wide lens to "get it all in" which usually means getting way too much in. Using a really wide lens is a special skill that takes time, experience and a good eye to do right. You probably have that eye, but would really need to concentrate to master it. You use a wide angle so you can get closer, to climb into your subject and show depth and space. You also use it in landscapes to show depth and space with framing elements and foregrounds maybe with lots of negative space properly done.

Using a wide the right way is something i've been working on most of my life and only occasionally get it right. Mostly I use it to document environmental issues which can be fun too, but a little boring to many. At least I understand what I'm trying to do so I'm on my way. One day I might be proficient with the use of very wide lenses. I do love them though. Something like a 10-20 or so makes a great wide angle to learn with. 10-24 is fine too. I just like the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 over anything else and it's cheap as well as very sharp. The Nikon 10-24 is sharp but not so cheap. If I were to buy a new one for DX, I'd probably get the newer Sigma 12-24 because it's FX as well as DX. It's not cheap though.

For macro, if money is no object, the Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO OS Macro would be my choice hands down. I actually prefer the non-OS, but it's not made anymore. I don't need VR/OS for a macro lens, as my pal Leonard said. He does macro for a living and is an optics engineer specializing in closeups of electrical components. Not only is he a friend, but he's an authority on this and designed the equipment to do it right on a commercial basis. You and I probably couldn't afford his inventions, but then we aren't taking images of micro welds on a microscope level.

That Sigma isn't cheap nor is it small. It might well be the best though. For smaller sized macro lens I prefer the newer Nikon 60 f/2.8G over all others. It has a beautiful rendition and is also very sharp and very flat. I've also heard good things about the new Sigma 105 f/2.8 OS macro. If it's anywhere near it's big brother, the 150 f/2.8, it's a winner. It would also be my clear choice over the Nikon 105 in this range. Still the 150mm is my main choice here.

One day, you may want to good portait lens as well. I really would suggest a real portrait lens here instead of making another lens do the part because it's cheaper. Many DX shooters make a 50mm lens do the part of the portrait lens because of the price. That's a good reason, but I'd save up and get the Nikon 85 f/1.8G and if you can afford it, the Sigma 85 f/1.4 HSM for maximum magic. The Nikon 85 f/1.4G might be too expensive at $1700 and the Sigma is almost as good for that magical quality and a good bit cheaper.

Anyway, that does it for a too long of a post by far, but you know me. Good night, dear.

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Cheers, Craig
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