lens for D5100

Started Aug 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
gisle Senior Member • Posts: 2,468
Re: lens for D5100

rrporto wrote:

pretty soon I am gonna get a D5100 but I can't make my mind about the lens.

I am on a budget but at the same time I don’t want to buy any crap stuff which I will regret.

Then buy as little as possible, because what is offered beyond the standard zoom in budget packages is crap stuff which you will regret paying for after you've gained some experience.

I am looking for a pair of lens: 18-55 and 55/70 - 300

Buy a D5100 with a single kit lens (Nikon 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 G AF-S DX VR or Nikon 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED AF-S DX VR). Both these are pretty decent and you usually pay next to nothing for the first lens when you buy it has part of a starter "kit" - in particular the Nikon 18-55mm. (Check out the price of the "kit" vas "body only" to figure out what you pay for the lens.)

Having a camera with a single decent lens allows you to take photograhs and gain experience.

Avoid two-lens kits with a dirt cheap tele zoom (typically 55-200mm or 70-300mm) thrown into the package. These cheap consumer tele zooms are IMHO pretty useless because they are slow to start with and need stopping down to become sharp, so they can only be used in bright sunlight. Postpone buying a tele zoom until you've some experience with using the camera - then you can better pick what suits you best as your "second" lens. E.g.: wide angle, "travel" zoom, macro, portrait, fast fixed focal length, quality tele zoom, or - if you still thinks this is something you want - a cheap consumer tele zoom.

I am considering AF (built in) and VR as essentials ... are they really essentials?

I'd say AF-S is essential for a beginner using the D5100.

For slow consumer lenses such as those offered in "kits", you also need VR to be able to shoot static subjects hand-held in low light.

For better lenses, with a large aperture of f/1.4 to f/2.8, VR is not essential, as you can open up the aperture to gather more light. I'd say having a large aperture is much "more" essential than VR. All my lenses are now f/2.8 or better. Very few have VR.

Nikon, sigma, tamron??? which one should I get?


Sigma and Tamron has some decent glass too, but the "kits" with third party lenses rarely contain decent Sigma or Tamron offerings. They are, as a rule, bundled with the cheapest and crappiest products these companies make. (Nikon "kit" lenses are also the cheapest lenses Nikon makes - but since Nikon does not manufacture anything that is so bad as the worst third party lenses. It all boils down to this: Nikon's cheapest lenses are far better than Sigma's or Tamron's cheapest.)

Nikon are considerable more expensive than the others ... are they really that good and superior quality? Or just a little bit??

They are better. Lenses vary enormously in quality, and price is a pretty good indicator of what you get.

So what is the price of a really, really good lens (as opposed to a "pretty decent")?

Well, just to let you know what you're getting into, a really, really good standard zoom lens, such as the Nikon 17-55 mm f/2.8 G ED-IF AF-S DX will cost you about USD 1374 - and it doesn't even have VR. USD 1374 is probably about twice of what you pay for the D5100 with the 18-55mm VR kit lens. To some, this may look like a big premium to pay for just one more mm at the wide end. But within one year of getting my camera, I sold the Nikon 18-55 mm (for about the same I paid for it as part of the "kit") and replaced it with the 17-55mm. It was worth it.
– gisle [ See profile/plan for equipment list ]

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