What would be a good basic lens collection?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions
Leonard Migliore
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What does DX have to do with it?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 29, 2013

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

nelsonal wrote:

I didn't think of it before but you could do the same for 105mm, too.  I think the 18-105 hits about 1:5 magnification which isn't close to 1:1 magnification though it'd be a reasonably close to the portrait lens.

Great idea!  Why didn't I think of that?...  It wouldn't be quite the same, though, since the 105mm micro will function a bit differently on a DX camera.  I don't have any closeup lenses to add, wonder if there is another way to simulate?

I'm not clear on what you mean by "will function a bit differently on a DX camera". The 105 micro will have a similar field of view to the 18-105 set at 105mm. The zoom won't be as fast (f/5.6 at the long end) and won't focus as close but you'll be able to see if you like the framing for portraits.

There is no difference in focal length between a 105mm DX lens and a 105mm FX lens.

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Leonard Migliore

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: LBA beware
In reply to roby17269, Mar 29, 2013

roby17269 wrote:

Yes the problem with the 200 is that it is big and white... so it would stick out like a sore thumb.

Other lenses are all of similar size and black, so if you do not pay close attention, they look like the same

You make a good point there.  It won't be possible to "sneak one in" this time!  Seems like the best way is to let her in on your innermost desire to own this lens.  I am sure you can find a way to get her on your side so she won't object.  Unless of course you plan to put it in the middle of the living room!!!  (I have seen some lenses that need their own garage...).

Good luck with this.  Sometimes when I tell my husband about something I want to do or buy, he says go ahead!

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

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Leonard Migliore
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It has to be a real cheap 50mm lens
In reply to NancyP, Mar 29, 2013

NancyP wrote:

Buy a relatively cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens, so you will have some ability to get narrower DOF and to shoot in low light. This will be a nice portrait lens. Then, for macro, buy a reversing ring sized to fit your 50mm lens. This will let you play with macro for approximately ten to fifteen bucks over the cost of the lens, for a total charge of ~$210.00 to $220.00 plus tax. Or, you could pick a non-reporting cheapo set of extension rings for close to the same price as the reversing ring.

One caveat here is that the 50mm lens has to have an aperture ring to be used as you suggest. The 50mm f/1.8G, while greatly superior to earlier 50mm Nikkors, gives you no control over the aperture if you reverse it or use extension rings with no electrical contacts.

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: What does DX have to do with it?
In reply to Leonard Migliore, Mar 29, 2013

Leonard Migliore wrote:

I'm not clear on what you mean by "will function a bit differently on a DX camera". The 105 micro will have a similar field of view to the 18-105 set at 105mm. The zoom won't be as fast (f/5.6 at the long end) and won't focus as close but you'll be able to see if you like the framing for portraits.

There is no difference in focal length between a 105mm DX lens and a 105mm FX lens.

You are right.  I have heard so many people talk about the "added reach" of a lens for full frame cameras when put on a crop-sensor camera, that it keeps messing me up!  Time for me to hammer it into my head...

Focal length is constant, but the crop factor decreases the angle of view.  That is what confuses people into thinking it gives extra reach.

Let me know if I got it right this time!  Since I have not used these lenses yet, it makes it a bit more difficult to keep things straight...

Thanks, Leonard!

Susan

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nelsonal
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Re: What does DX have to do with it?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 29, 2013

Looks like you have the 105mm figured out.  You can get close up filters cheaply many places.  Most aren't great quality (some of the branded ones are achromatic doublets and can be quite nice) but a set generally aren't expensive if you just wanted one for testing the close up look.

http://www.amazon.com/Vivitar-Series-Close-Up-Macro-Filter/dp/B004E580PO/

Here's a cheap set (if you use Amazon prime/had some other little thing you wanted to order).  You don't need them to test the portrait field of view, but they'd let you get to test how focusing on bugs could work.

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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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gear1box
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 29, 2013

Ma'am --

Mainly photography is about lighting, composition, technique, and timing.  Lens quality (provided more-or-less of the right focal length and adequate aperture) is far down the list of photographic limitations for most people.  Even post-processing is more important for most images than initial quality.  And you have a fairly flexible collection as it is.

But . . . you asked, and i have been shoot the D7000 since it came out with, crikey, over a dozen -- well, okay, two dozen -- Nikon lenses of various flavors.

Your collection is reasonably complete for the assignments you cite.  For the 4.8 micron sensor on your D7000, though, none of them truly exploits the resolution available unless you are very careful with aperture selection and technique, and even there the corners will be wanting in some focal lengths, particularly toward the long end of your tele.

Also i note that you have at least one much-used focal length/FOV:  16mm (or 24mm FOV in FX), which is a very very useful one indoors, for example, or for landscapes.

Since i infer that you do not shoot for cash, price is an issue.  There is no question that the most cost effective high resolution lenses (even absolutely most sharp in many cases) are primes.   So, heck, start with the now canonical Nikon "f1.8s":  28mm, 50mm, and 85mm.  These are a great trio that work well with your D7000 (as i can attest) and you will never regret getting even after you have gone on to other bodies.

They don't solve your wide or your tele problem though.  On the wide end i lean toward the  . . . Samyang 14mm: gawd-awfully sharp and who needs to focus a 14mm anyway?  Get the one with the Nikon chip (fer $20 more).  On the long end, it is the 300mm f4, as other posters have said.

I cannot agree with the 70-300mmVR on the D7000.  My copy is frustratingly soft past 200mm, which is a problem i did not have with it on my earlier, 10meg, Nikon.  The VR is excellent, though, and it works well with a monopod.

If you have cash for mega$ zooms, don't look here.  All the lenses i cite are FX and will be useful when you get a 36meg FX body in a few years . . .

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to Rich Rosen, Mar 29, 2013

Rich Rosen wrote:

  1. You may also want to consider a Nikon 12-24 DX Afs f4. Its not as wide as the 10-24, but with a constant top aperture, it produces very good images. its corners are better than the 10-24, and its distortion at 12mm is not as radical as the 10-24 at 10. It is expensive.

Someone I was speaking with today mentioned the distortion issue with the 10-24, which made me wonder about it.  The 12-24 has had some excellent reviews, so it might be a better choice.

  1. Since you have a D7000, the AFS DX 85 3.5 macro is an alternative. Photozone has a comprehensive review of this lens on your camera: http: //www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/636-nikkorafsdx85vr  .  I would agree that the Nikon 105 vr is preferred, but is twice the cost. 

Will probably stick with the 105mm, for the added working distance for bugs.  I will look at the review for interest sake.  About the 105 as a multi-purpose lens, I have heard arguments both ways.

  1. The 300 f4 is a lovely lens. I wish I hadn't sold it. There is a good chance that a new model with VR will be coming out. Since you are not buying  right away, either wait until the new one comes out, or when it does come out, buy the current model used or on discount. The current model does have a slight flaw. Its tripod mount is flimsy. Kirk has a remedy at about $170. 

Thanks for the suggestion.  It is always a good idea to buy when the price is reduced!  How bad is the tripod mount?  Is the problem with stability?  Or is it prone to break?  I guess what I am asking is whether I would need Kirk's remedy right away.

  1. I have no problem with you wanting a 35 1.8 DX

My only question is do you intend to go full frame (FX) at some point in the future? If you do, only buy DX lenses that you absolutely need. Buy the rest of lenses that will handle FX cameras. I am now out of DX and still have two lenses which I will be selling.

There isn't much chance I would go FX.  I prefer to continue learning to use the camera I have effectively, and to build a decent collection of lenses for it.  I am very happy with it - it fits my hands well, and more size/weight is not what I want to carry around.  (Unless of course someone wanted to give away one of those humongous long primes that cost as much as a small car!)

Thanks for your very useful comments!

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: Spinning your wheels but having fun.
In reply to Guidenet, Mar 29, 2013

Guidenet wrote:

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.

Yes, you are right!  It is fun...  But it is a learning experience as well.

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.

Thank you for the compliments.  I really only want to add a couple of lenses, and gradually.

You also can now go pretty darn wide, out to 18mm which is like 27mm on an older film camera or newer FX.

That's true.  One of the things I have learned through listening to OP's suggestions and comments, is that I do already have a good range with what I already have.  Hence the thought of setting a lens at a certain focal length and shooting with it like that for a while to learn how it feels, and what I can do with it!

For macro, if money is no object, the Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO OS Macro would be my choice hands down.

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.

Someone else also suggested the Sigma 150 macro in a different thread, and it isn't too much more expensive than the Nikon 105 micro.  I will look into it more closely as a possible first choice.

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.

While I do like doing portraits, it isn't as high on my list as macro, so not in a hurry for it.  The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 sounds like a better choice when I am ready.

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

I always like to hear from you, Craig.  What you have to say makes a lot of sense to me, and you have been very helpful to a lot of people.  So don't worry about the post being too long!

Good night, friend. 

Susan

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Rich Rosen
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 29, 2013

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

Thanks for the suggestion.  It is always a good idea to buy when the price is reduced!  How bad is the tripod mount?  Is the problem with stability?  Or is it prone to break?  I guess what I am asking is whether I would need Kirk's remedy right away.

Its a stability issue. The lens on a tripod should be rock steady. The 300 f4 isn't, with the tripod foot will flex just slightly. It doesn't break, or rather I have never heard of it breaking. At a slower speed, using your hand to actuate your shutter, it may move on the tripod, just enough to give you an unsharp image. Using a remote release, may alleviate the problem in some instances,  but the mirror, going thru its motion of lifting, could also cause a problem. It's sounds worse than it is, but it is a consideration. Do you need the Kirk foot right away? It depends on what you use it for. It's narrow FOV (field of view) does accentuate any movement of the lens while taking  images. Because of the high speeds required for sports,  its less of an issue than say taking a wildlife portrait.

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to Rich Rosen, Mar 29, 2013

Rich Rosen wrote:

Its a stability issue. The lens on a tripod should be rock steady. The 300 f4 isn't, with the tripod foot will flex just slightly... Using a remote release, may alleviate the problem in some instances,  but the mirror, going thru its motion of lifting, could also cause a problem. It's sounds worse than it is, but it is a consideration.

Rich, Sounds like an issue that will not deter me from buying this lens when I am ready for it.  Especially if the price is reduced!  Thanks for explaining.

Susan

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roby17269
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Re: LBA beware
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Mar 30, 2013

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

You make a good point there.  It won't be possible to "sneak one in" this time!  Seems like the best way is to let her in on your innermost desire to own this lens.  I am sure you can find a way to get her on your side so she won't object.  Unless of course you plan to put it in the middle of the living room!!!  (I have seen some lenses that need their own garage...).

Good luck with this.  Sometimes when I tell my husband about something I want to do or buy, he says go ahead!

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

Let me know how it will work out for you when you will get to "toys" for which the unit of measure of price is the "grand"

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: LBA beware
In reply to roby17269, Mar 30, 2013

roby17269 wrote:

Let me know how it will work out for you when you will get to "toys" for which the unit of measure of price is the "grand"

Unfortunately, Roberto, a large percentage of the "toys" we play with have "grand" prices!  As the old saying goes, "you wanna play, you gotta pay"...

Susan

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NetMage
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Re: What does DX have to do with it?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Apr 1, 2013

Just want to make sure you are clear - on a given sensor (e.g. DX) the angle of view of a lens, whether FX or DX, will be exactly the same. So there will be literally no difference in framing a 105mm prime FX lens on your camera and a DX zoom set at 105mm.

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Re: LBA beware
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Apr 1, 2013

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

Unfortunately, Roberto, a large percentage of the "toys" we play with have "grand" prices!  As the old saying goes, "you wanna play, you gotta pay"...

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

Susan,

I do wanna play and I think I do play as well

I will find a way... after all I managed to get a 1D

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garrywatson
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, Apr 23, 2013

Hey GreenMountainGirl,

It’s not so difficult to choose the right camera lens; just understanding the few basic will help you choose the right one for your assignment. Here is a helpful link I have found for you. Read it. It clearly explains which lens does what. Moreover, don’t worry so much about overlapping of focal ranges; that will always be there. Don’t expect these equipments to have fixed and non-lapping coverage. In fact being overlapping is an advantage in case you forgot one of your lenses. So don’t hesitate to buy lenses. Relax and enjoy photography.

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garrywatson
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to garrywatson, Apr 23, 2013

garrywatson wrote:

Hey GreenMountainGirl,

It’s not so difficult to choose the right camera lens; just understanding the few basic will help you choose the right one for your assignment. Here is a helpful link I have found for you. Read it. It clearly explains which lens does what. Moreover, don’t worry so much about overlapping of focal ranges; that will always be there. Don’t expect these equipments to have fixed and non-lapping coverage. In fact being overlapping is an advantage in case you forgot one of your lenses. So don’t hesitate to buy lenses. Relax and enjoy photography.

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Garry Watson

Hi Friends, I am unable to add specified link here as Dpreview doesn't allow to post links.

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?
In reply to garrywatson, Apr 23, 2013

garrywatson wrote:

Hi Friends, I am unable to add specified link here as Dpreview doesn't allow to post links.

Garry,

Other people have posted links to helpful websites, including their own blogs.  Perhaps the website you wanted to post falls under the following:

"Commercial website linking or advertising is not allowed, if you wish to advertise on the site please contact us. This rule includes owners of other digital photography websites promoting themselves on the forum."

I think if you post the web address, not as a link, you will be OK, or just describe where the content is to be found.  Such as:  Thom Hogan's site and the name of the article, eg. "The best lens at any focal length".

Regarding what you were saying about overlap, I have realized that there are lenses that have the same focal length, but one may be better for one purpose while the other may be better for another.  My "all-purpose" lenses are both zoom lenses with the widest aperture being 3.5.  Just purchased a macro lens (Sigma 150mm f/2.8) and have also used it for other photographs besides macro.  The better light-gathering ability is a bonus and the sharp images make it a pleasure to work with.  However, it does have the limitation that I have to move my feet, and I like taking pictures of critters that don't always like me to get too close!

Looking forward to finding out what your reading suggestion is!

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

 GreenMountainGirl's gear list:GreenMountainGirl's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM +2 more
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