What would be a good basic lens collection?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 16,338
Re: What would be a good basic lens collection?

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

I have noticed that among the photographers on these forums, many have a huge variety of lenses (and multiple cameras).  Some have remarked that they bought several in the process of looking for the "right" lens of a particular kind.  There also appears to be a lot of overlap of range in the lenses people own, which I do not understand why that is.  I would like to avoid this, but would like to work toward owning an assortment that would cover the most important bases.  The budget is not unlimited, but over time I can probably get most.

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.

I take pictures of a variety of subjects.  Mostly wildlife/birds, but also landscapes and plants/flowers, portraits (people and pets), ready to start macro.

I have a D300, which is a crop-sensor camera similar to yours. I have a number of old Nikkors, two of which I still use a lot (105mm f/2.5 and 55mm f/2.8 Micro).

But my working lens collection, which is what goes in my back pack when I'm out taking pictures, is a 10-24 Nikkor, a 16-85 Nikkor and a 70-300 Tamron. So my angle of view coverage is similar to yours except that I can go much wider. Since you indicated you do landscapes, I suggest getting a 10-24 Nikkor. That lens goes very wide and is quite good.

I have some prime lenses, which are nice and sharp, but I don't use them a whole lot. I have a 35mm f/1.8G, a 50mm f/1.8E, an 85mm f/1.8G and a 300mm f/4 AF-S. I don't use them a lot because their focal lengths are covered by my zooms, and the zooms are not too shabby. When I take pictures indoors, I generally use flash, so I don't really need fast lenses with their accompanying shallow depth of field.

You may want a 50mm or an 85mm for portraits. The "G" Nikkors in those focal lengths are extremely sharp wide open and will allow you to take portraits with a very limited depth of field. You have to back away more with the 85.

As is often stated here, most macro lenses are very sharp and one's selection of such a lens is primarily based on working distance. In general, the longer focal length lenses have longer working distances. They are also bigger, heavier, more expensive and harder to use handheld. Note that the stabilization on Nikon's 105mm VR Micro Nikkor is not very effective at close distances.

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Leonard Migliore

 Leonard Migliore's gear list:Leonard Migliore's gear list
Canon PowerShot G12 Sony RX100 III Nikon D300 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +12 more
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