What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Started Feb 25, 2013 | Questions
Even Steven
Even Steven New Member • Posts: 8
What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Hi my name is Steven and since I have a lot of spare time I thought it would be nice to buy a DSLR and take some pictures of, well, I haven't really decided yet what I would like to do... I live near a forest and a river so I'm probably gonna shoot at the riverside, taking shots of passing boats and other landscape photo's. Of course it will probably be used for birthday-pictures, holiday-pictures etcetera as well

I've done some searching and I think my camera of choice is the Nikon D5100. I can buy it at the shop, with the standard kit-lens of 18-55mm for 480 euros or I can buy one directly from the Nikon website with a 18-105mm lense for 710 euros. But that same lense can be purchased on the internet for 181 euros, so if I want that lense I'm better off buying just the body and buying the lense seperatly.

So my question is, what lense am I -as a novice photographer- going to need most? Also, is there a big diffrence in the lenses made by Nikon, or say, Canon?

Thanks in advance!

Steven

 Even Steven's gear list:Even Steven's gear list
Nikon D5100 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR +1 more
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kgbruce01 Senior Member • Posts: 1,245
Whichever one comes with the kit. (nt)

Even Steven wrote:

Hi my name is Steven and since I have a lot of spare time I thought it would be nice to buy a DSLR and take some pictures of, well, I haven't really decided yet what I would like to do... I live near a forest and a river so I'm probably gonna shoot at the riverside, taking shots of passing boats and other landscape photo's. Of course it will probably be used for birthday-pictures, holiday-pictures etcetera as well

I've done some searching and I think my camera of choice is the Nikon D5100. I can buy it at the shop, with the standard kit-lens of 18-55mm for 480 euros or I can buy one directly from the Nikon website with a 18-105mm lense for 710 euros. But that same lense can be purchased on the internet for 181 euros, so if I want that lense I'm better off buying just the body and buying the lense seperatly.

So my question is, what lense am I -as a novice photographer- going to need most? Also, is there a big diffrence in the lenses made by Nikon, or say, Canon?

Thanks in advance!

Steven

Kokeen4231 Contributing Member • Posts: 613
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?
1

The 18-105 is much more versatile then the 18-55 and since you can get it cheap, then you should buy the 18 105. You can then play around with it and determine what lenses you need. Like do you need a lens longer than 105mm? Or wider than 18mm? Or a 50mm prime lens?

 Kokeen4231's gear list:Kokeen4231's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F2.8
scorrpio
scorrpio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,595
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Until you know exactly what you need, start simplest and cheapest.   The kit 18-135 or 18-105 will give you a good range to experiment with, and even if you eventually get better, more specialized lenses, either of these will remain a good walk-about choice.

Both Nikon and Canon produce great lenses, can't go wrong with either.

happysnapper64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?
2

Hi Steven, & a warm welcome to the forum. I am not sure I understood your post correctly, have you decided to go with Nikon, or are you undecided, as you ask about Canon lenses? You may know, but just in case, Nikon & Canon lenses have different mounts & are NOT interchangeable. As a beginner, a lens like the 18-135 would give you an idea of the focal lengths you need, or like using. The beauty of a dslr is that you can choose a lens for every purpose. Like a UWA [ultra wide angle] @ 10-20mm, is good for indoors or anywhere were space is tight. Also for architecture & wide landscapes. A 18-135, is what they call a walkabout lens which you can use for everyday shooting, & will probably account for the majority of your photography. Then there is the longer zooms, like 70-200, 70-300, Canon do a 100-400 also. Sigma, Tamron & Tokina also make lenses to fit both Canon & Nikon & most are good. Then there are single focal length or "prime" lenses that usualy give better image quality [IQ] than zooms, but are not as versitile. Don't rush into buying lenses until you know what you NEED. If you have friends who have lenses that you could borrow just to see what a particular focal length gives you, would be a good idea. Even hiring lenses out could save you a lot of cash if the lens is not what you were looking for. You will get great advice off the guys, & gals on the forum no matter which make you choose to buy. Appologies if I have gone into detail with stuff you already know. Good luck.

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lee uk.
There are old pilots, & there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.

 happysnapper64's gear list:happysnapper64's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS Macro HSM Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +6 more
DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

I would definitely agree with posters above suggesting only one lens to go with. Probably the 18-105 VR would be an option that will serve you well for quite some time, until you know what it is that you want to pursue.

The 18-55 is also a fine lens, but if you don't mind the price difference of the 18-105, it will of course give you more reach.

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Check my blog for reviews, tips & tutorials:
Amateur Nikon
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@amateurnikon

BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,714
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?
1

I like the 18-105. Since I got it I haven't used the 18-55 once.

The only downside to the 18-105 is that it is bigger than the 18-55. It seems like it's twice as big, but I haven't measured.

Even Steven
OP Even Steven New Member • Posts: 8
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

happysnapper64 wrote:

Hi Steven, & a warm welcome to the forum. I am not sure I understood your post correctly, have you decided to go with Nikon, or are you undecided, as you ask about Canon lenses? You may know, but just in case, Nikon & Canon lenses have different mounts & are NOT interchangeable. As a beginner, a lens like the 18-135 would give you an idea of the focal lengths you need, or like using. The beauty of a dslr is that you can choose a lens for every purpose. Like a UWA [ultra wide angle] @ 10-20mm, is good for indoors or anywhere were space is tight. Also for architecture & wide landscapes. A 18-135, is what they call a walkabout lens which you can use for everyday shooting, & will probably account for the majority of your photography. Then there is the longer zooms, like 70-200, 70-300, Canon do a 100-400 also. Sigma, Tamron & Tokina also make lenses to fit both Canon & Nikon & most are good. Then there are single focal length or "prime" lenses that usualy give better image quality [IQ] than zooms, but are not as versitile. Don't rush into buying lenses until you know what you NEED. If you have friends who have lenses that you could borrow just to see what a particular focal length gives you, would be a good idea. Even hiring lenses out could save you a lot of cash if the lens is not what you were looking for. You will get great advice off the guys, & gals on the forum no matter which make you choose to buy. Appologies if I have gone into detail with stuff you already know. Good luck.

First of all, thanks everyone for the fast replies!

I've made up my mind (or pretty much atleast) about the Nikon D5100. The reason I asked about Canon is because, say, if they produce more expensive bodies, but cheaper lenses, in the long run it may save me some money to go for Canon. But I understand it may have raised some questions. Anyway, forget about that

I think I'm just gonna start off with the 18-105mm lens and work my way from there. My uncle has a 10-24mm and a 70-200mm lens, so yeah it's a pretty good idea to ask him if I can borrow one -if they are interchangeable of course- and find out what I like best.

And happysnapper, there is no such thing as too much detail

 Even Steven's gear list:Even Steven's gear list
Nikon D5100 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR +1 more
Spillicus
Spillicus Contributing Member • Posts: 678
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Even Steven wrote:

First of all, thanks everyone for the fast replies!

I've made up my mind (or pretty much atleast) about the Nikon D5100. The reason I asked about Canon is because, say, if they produce more expensive bodies, but cheaper lenses, in the long run it may save me some money to go for Canon. But I understand it may have raised some questions. Anyway, forget about that

I think I'm just gonna start off with the 18-105mm lens and work my way from there. My uncle has a 10-24mm and a 70-200mm lens, so yeah it's a pretty good idea to ask him if I can borrow one -if they are interchangeable of course- and find out what I like best.

And happysnapper, there is no such thing as too much detail

Definitely a good idea to borrow lenses from your uncle.

I haven't been shooting with a DSLR all that long, but one of the first lenses I've bought was a 35mm F/1.8 prime.  I shoot with a Sony camera, and they make a great cheap 35mm prime, under $200.  The wide aperature of F/1.8 of the prime means it lets in lots of light, great for indoor shooting, and it also gives you a great out of focus background effect.

I think most of the manufactures offer a good cheap 35, and it looks like the Nikon DX one, similar to the Sony I have, is also under $200 here.  I've never used that lens, so somebody can correct me if I'm wrong, but I bet it has good image quality for a cheap lens.  Sony and Nikon both seem to sell the 35/1.8 as a sort of starter prime, and Canon has a 35/2 as well, although not quite as cheap.

Having a lens that doesn't zoom in or out may sound inconvenient, but 35mm is a pretty flexible focal length and it makes you become a better photographer I think.

 Spillicus's gear list:Spillicus's gear list
Sony SLT-A65 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
photosen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,077
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

All brands make good lenses, but at different focal lengths and prices; you need to decide what's appealing, what's good enough and how much you want to spend. Then you need to look at specific aspects like how much weight you want to be carrying, if you don't mind swapping lenses... I have a Canon 70-200 f4 which is great but also white and attracts too much attention (where I live, I don't think the birds in the forest would mind!). In truth the photographer still makes a much bigger difference than lenses or cameras. Watch out for people who married their brand.

For forests and rivers wide angle lenses are useful; some recent entries by Samyang/Rokinon are getting great reviews (14mm f2.8), aren't horribly expensive; a camera with live view and a rotating screen might be useful as those lenses don't autofocus.

I have the Canon 10-22 which is great but expensive - and it's half the price of the big boys...

 photosen's gear list:photosen's gear list
Canon EOS 30D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 35mm F2.0 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM +3 more
Duckysaurus
Duckysaurus Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Hi Steven,

I started out with the D5100 a while ago, and my first mistake was buying a 55-200mm. The second mistake was buying the 50mm 1.4D.

Now let me explain my mistakes:

- The 55-200mm seemed a bit too constricting at first, and I was hard-pressed to get a wider angle for many of my photos.

- The 50mm 1.4D was a pain to manually focus with since the viewfinder in the D5100 is small (since I've moved up to FX, all DX viewfinders scare me), and made me realize I should just get a G llens. Felt pretty stupid. Then I got a prime which I'll recommend that changed my life.

I read several websites such as dpreview and photographylife (formerly Mansurovs), and asked around till I realized that I only needed 2 lens: the kit lens I started with, and a 35mm 1.8G (DX).

From what I've learned and personal experience, I strongly feel that any new DSLR shooter should have 2 lenses for about a year before purchasing more. The reasons:

- Too many lenses means you'll be worried about carrying them all around, or having the right lens for the situation. You don't get a chance to learn to shoot with what you have, and learn to position your feet.

- You'll only need one zoom: the 18-55mm kit lens. Why? Because there's a crop factor of 1.5x, meaning your 18-55mm provides you about the equivalent of a 24-82.5mm in focal length on a FX, which is more than enough for 95% of your photos!

- You'll need 1 prime, and it will be the 35mm 1.8G (DX). This lens is tack sharp and wonderfully priced for DX shooters (about $140 used to $200 new). This lens will teach you how to shoot at different apertures, and force you to move your feet to get the shot you want. The limitation on this lens is its focal length equivalent (52.5mm). But that limitation will help with composition and positioning.

If after a year or so and about 5000-8000 photos you feel that you've outgrown the camera (usually people outgrow the cameras and not the lenses), then ask yourself if you want to stay DX or FX. If DX, the D7000, D300s, D7100 are wonderful options right now. If FX, invest in a nice FX lens or two first before even buying a FX DSLR. The reason? A nice FX lens on a DX DSLR is better than a cheap lens on a FX body.

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Looking to second shoot for a pro in NYC!

 Duckysaurus's gear list:Duckysaurus's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon D600 Nikon D610 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR +7 more
MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Even Steven wrote:

Hi my name is Steven and since I have a lot of spare time I thought it would be nice to buy a DSLR and take some pictures of, well, I haven't really decided yet what I would like to do... I live near a forest and a river so I'm probably gonna shoot at the riverside, taking shots of passing boats and other landscape photo's. Of course it will probably be used for birthday-pictures, holiday-pictures etcetera as well

I've done some searching and I think my camera of choice is the Nikon D5100. I can buy it at the shop, with the standard kit-lens of 18-55mm for 480 euros or I can buy one directly from the Nikon website with a 18-105mm lense for 710 euros. But that same lense can be purchased on the internet for 181 euros, so if I want that lense I'm better off buying just the body and buying the lense seperatly.

So my question is, what lense am I -as a novice photographer- going to need most? Also, is there a big diffrence in the lenses made by Nikon, or say, Canon?

Thanks in advance!

Steven

Good choice!  I'm sure you'll have fun with that.   I think you'll find the 18-105mm the ideal general purpose lens.   Yes, it's bigger, but you've already committed to a dslr, so what's a little more size matter (it's not THAT big.)   It will save you having to buy a longer telezoom for a while, maybe forever if you find 105mm long enough.   You might, if you don't shoot birds or other wildlife, or sports.

DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?

Duckysaurus wrote:

If after a year or so and about 5000-8000 photos you feel that you've outgrown the camera (usually people outgrow the cameras and not the lenses), then ask yourself if you want to stay DX or FX. If DX, the D7000, D300s, D7100 are wonderful options right now. If FX, invest in a nice FX lens or two first before even buying a FX DSLR. The reason? A nice FX lens on a DX DSLR is better than a cheap lens on a FX body.

All the advice in your message is solid, but keep in mind that each photographer - no matter what their level - has individual needs. For some people an 18-55 might not be enough. And a 35mm f/1.8 might equally be too short. Some people shoot sports, some people shoot landscapes, and so on..

I think the most fundamental thing of all - and you do express that yourself - is that lens (and equipment in general) purchases should be a bit like chess: no move should be made if it cannot be justified and if it doesn't serve a purpose.

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Check my blog for reviews, tips & tutorials:
Amateur Nikon
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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: What lense or lenses would you recommend a starting photographer?
1

The 18-105 is a great choice. Definitely try your uncle's 10-24 zoom; my Tokina 12-24 lives on my DSLR. I only switch to another lens when I need more reach. When I travel all I need is the 12-24 and 35-70 2.8 zooms.

FWIW I'm a long-time pro with a bunch of fast 2.8 zooms and primes... I only carry what I anticipate using. When I am doing personal work I like to travel light and have fun. I don't let the photography get in the way of enjoying my surroundings/companion.

I also recommend giving an R Strap a look. It's the best photo-related purchase I've done in a  long time. I have the model with a tiny pouch on the shoulder pad that holds two memory cards. I can spend all day on the streets of a European city with a camera and lens in coat pocket, tiny unpadded fanny pack or this bag: http://www.ebags.com/product/baggallini/messenger-sling-bagg-crinkle-nylon/47360.

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