All purpose lens set for beginner?

Started May 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,365
Re: All purpose lens set for beginner?

trax87 wrote:

I thought a NEX made more sense because of the size, weight (especially) and convenience and so I went that route.  I do really like my NEX 6.

It was suggested to me that a good initial set of lenses for a beginner would be a fast zoom (e.g., f/2.8 18-50) a telephoto (e.g., 70-200)  preferably with a max aperture around F4 and maybe a macro lens.  This makes some sense to me as It would cover in a general way most typical shooting situations and then someone could get specialized lenses based upon their learned shooting preferences.

I have the kit 16-50 pz and the 55-210 tele zoom.  Unfortunately neither of these lenses are fast and the are no E mount zoom lenses that are faster that I am aware of.  For a beginner on a NEX system, what would be considered a good "get you feet wet" set of lenses?

I'm not sure what you're looking for ... there are no faster zooms for NEX.  You could adapt lenses from other systems (including Alpha mount lenses via the LA-EA2 adapter) but then you may as well have bought a DSLR.

The zooms are certainly slow.  Fast zooms are big, heavy and expensive.

I've never been crazy about an f/2.8 midrange zoom.  Too much of a compromise to me in terms of both range and speed.  For an event photographer who needs flexibility, they're probably essential.  I used an f/2.8 zoom (28-75) on my DSLR for quite a while before opting for a slower zoom paired up with faster primes.  On my DSLR, the motivation for the slower zoom was to get better range (5X instead of 3X zoom).  On NEX, the motiviation is to keep the zoom small.  Then the faster primes give you shallow DOF and/or better low light capabilities.

So my recommended NEX kit is:

18-55 or 16-50
55-200 or 18-200 (I don't mind the redundancy with the 18-200 and the short zoom because I want the option of a smaller lens)
35/1.8 OSS
rumored 85mm or, if you really can't wait, 50/1.8 OSS

Not for everyone's taste, but that would work for me.  I don't really need an ultrawide, particularly if choosing the 16-50 over the 18-55.  The 24/1.8 is nice, but big (and expensive) and I prefer a more normal lens anyway.  The Sigma primes are sharp & cheap, but lack OSS and at f/2.8 aren't much faster than the kit zooms at the WA settings.  The new CZ primes are very expensive and lack OSS.

- Dennis

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