Looking to graduate from my kit lens
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  1. #1
    Member Mark355's Avatar
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    Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Hi guys. I've shot with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens on my Nikon D3100 for several years now and feel like I've exhausted all I can do with it. Looking for a new lens where I can play more with depth of field and expand my skill. I'm very much an amateur. Budget is $500--realize this isn't much (blame the watch hobby). I shoot mainly my timepieces and cars.

    Thinking about the 50mm f/1.8 AF-S prime lens for around $220 new. I hear nothing but good things about the sharpness and large aperture providing soft bokeh. I guess it's also a great lens to continue learning? Any thoughts on this? I'm not well versed in glass as I've held onto my kit lens for so long! Any recommendations welcome. Some of my shots:


    Last edited by Mark355; August 16th, 2014 at 01:23.

  2. #2
    Member DoubleOhSeven77's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Hi!
    I think the the 50mm 1.8 is a great choice! Just remember that on a crop sensor camera like yours, the 50mm will actually be about 75mm. This makes it ideal for portraits, but for an every day lens, I'd suggest a 35mm prime lens. That would bring you much closer to the "normal perspective" of a 50mm.

    I use the 50mm on my full frame Sony A99, and a 35mm on my crop sensor A57.

    Cheers! :)
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  3. #3
    Member Mark355's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    DoubleOh, thank you. Was doing more research and others said the same about the DX angle of view. Leaning toward the 35mm now, which is actually a little cheaper than the 50mm!

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  5. #4
    Member DoubleOhSeven77's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    That's pretty cool that it's cheaper! Sony is the other way around, lol.

    What kind of photography most interests you?

  6. #5
    Member Tetsu Tekubi's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleOhSeven77 View Post
    What kind of photography most interests you?
    this is the most important question. most ppl starting out always think they need to "graduate" or "upgrade" to a better lens to take better photos when alot of times youre really just tying your hands, esp. when you go with a 50mm on a crop.
    even a 35mm isnt going to be much better (in the sense that its not really going to change your photography as such) since you already have that range covered.
    dont get me wrong both are great lenses (i use a nikkor 20mm instead of a 35 tho) and you will get a bit better IQ but judging from what you can do with the kit lens its not something youre really struggling with/need.

    my recommendation to anyone coming up from a kit lens is to go wide. 10-20mm, 12-24, 11-16 etc. my preference has been for tokina. the 11-16 2.8 is a stella bit of kit, ive yet to read a bad review on it and it performs well, ive also used the 12-24 f4 version on my old d80 for years which i chose over the sigma equiv. because of build quality. (if you go with the latter you could maybe even squeeze the nikkor 35mm into your budget)

    either way its def. something that every photog should have in their bag, it will def. change how you look at a scene ;)

    /2.5c
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  7. #6
    Member Mark355's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleOhSeven77 View Post
    What kind of photography most interests you?
    Still life I guess. No interest in things like portraits or landscapes. I like shooting objects and capturing details, especially on the objects that bring us all here. : )

  8. #7
    Member chili555's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Judging by your results above, I'm not sure that a different lens will help much. Your shots are both really very good.

    I assume that you are using a tripod and a remote shutter release so as to eliminate or, at least greatly reduce camera shake. If not, I suggest you do. I've gained significant improvement using a sturdy tripod.

    If you are shooting relatively small objects, you might consider a purpose built macro lens like this: Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Macro Autofocus Lens 2177

    You can try before buy by renting the lens first: LensRentals.com - Nikon Lenses and Cameras I have used lensrentals.com several times previously and will do so again. Highly recommended.

  9. #8
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Nikon 105mm macro lense is a great lense. Having said that it is an FX lense but it will last a lifetime.
    As far as budgets go they can be increased by saving longer.

    john
    Last edited by Texasjohn; August 27th, 2014 at 00:48.
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  10. #9
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Agree on the Nikon Macro. Got one about a month ago and really like it.
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  11. #10
    Member M1K3Z0R's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to graduate from my kit lens

    Wow! nice pics!

    It seems you know what you want, and for that you would likely be best served with the 105 macro and a wide lens... if you had a large budget.

    The 35mm f/1.8 is excellent, especially for low light situations, though the 50mm makes a better portrait lens and allegedly produces better bokeh. There is also the Tamron 17-55mm f/2.8 if you like the versatility of the kit lens but want something a bit better, but it covers the same range as your kit.

    IMO for cars and watches a circular polarizer would be good to have, you can cut down reflections and glare, especially on car windows and watch crystal
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