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Slow Money
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So for my wifes birthday, roughly 3 years after this post, I picked her up a d3300. Has a mic input unlike the d3400, I found it for a great price (like $50 less than any comparable listings), and it came with all the fixins (bag charger etc, not just a body), but despite coming with all the auxiliary shit it doesn't come with lens which I may or may not have failed to notice :lol:. I already got her some other stuff as well, so I don't wanna drop a shitload on glass right now, but whats decent for a starting all purpose lens?
 

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Señor Member
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Cassidy's right about the kit lens. I've got a bag full of lenses and I still use that one more than anything else because it's a great short to intermediate, and it autofocuses fast and accurately.

Everyone buys their DSLR and goes on all the forums and assumed they need huge range zoom lenses with fixed aperture, like they're going to film birds in midflight in the dark or something, when meanwhile the bulk of shooting you ACTUALLY will be doing fits with that 18-55 perfectly.
 

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I picked up a D5500, and other than the kit lens (18-55) I got a straight up 35mm - this one here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001S2PPT0/

I'm honestly less than thrilled about both. With enough time to setup the shot the D5500 is a damn good camera but I got it for the baby, and he moves around so much it's an exercise in frustration waiting for the camera to AF and whatnot before it fires. It feels like I miss 99/100 of the "action" shots I want because the camera is still focusing.

As for the 35mm - it's pretty good outside, but nowhere near as useful indoors as I'd hoped it would be. It's a weird focal length to get used to IMO.

I will say this - get an external flash, they aren't much money and make a monster difference shooting indoors. I got this one as an Amazon warehouse deal for like $119 and am really happy with it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ECGXAA0/
 

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Bah. I still suck.
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With a kit lens, all you really have left to cover any range of photo possibilities is a zoom lens that covers the range between 55-300mm. For some reason, Canon/Nikon mounts don't offer a 55-300mm lens but there 70-300mm lenses, particularly by 3rd party lens manufacturers such as Tamron or Sigma. I would have no problem buying a Sigma lens. In fact, at the lower end of the lens pricepoint, Sigma & Tamron might you better quality than a similar offering from Nikon.

If you want to buy used, I'd recommend buying from KEH. They're known for being very conservative with their condition evaluations so you can get a great lens at a great price.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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I shoot Canon and it looks like everyone in this thread is a Nikon guy, but one of the main things Nikon has going for them over Canon is they make a couple models that are incredibly versatile.

The 18-200 and stuff like that smokes Canon's offerings in terms of being a better all in one lens. I've thought about switching, but I have too much Canon gear to make it worth the hassle.

I'm not sure if they make the 18-200 or the 18-300 in a reasonably priced (under ~$150) model, but if you want something that's incredibly versatile I would go for one of those. Since having a single lens that works for a bunch of situations is a lot less hassle than having to carry multiple lenses and all the other shit everywhere.
 

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Señor Member
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I hate the kit lens. I really want the 18-140mm, it's sharper and obviously more versatile.
To each their own.

I went through bunch of 'in between' lenses based on wanting more range, wanting to get away from the 'kit lens' etc. and the focal lengths were always 'meh' and I've still never used a reasonably priced lens that autofocused as sharp and as fast as the 18-55. I eventually boiled the bunch of them down to the 18-55 for 'everyday shooting' (I use it for NGDs, birthday parties; indoor or outdoor), 55-200 (animals and general outdoor stuff) and a 50mm (exclusively for low-light indoors).

I guess at some point the camera itself is a weak point if you're using something 'entry level', so I'd have to see how a pricier lens functions on a pricier camera does to assess the lenses themselves. When I got into cameras, I just assumed the stock lens must be shit and anything I bought aftermarket (particularly if it's Nikkor) must be as good or an improvement, and then meanwhile I haven't put a lens on that camera yet that focuses as fast and as sharp. Truth be told, the 18-55 is the only lens I trust 100% on autofocus, any of the rest I've had and even my 50 and 55-200 I manually focus more often than not. :2c:
 

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Nikon does have a better selection of "grab it and go" lenses, if you have to buy the lens anyways, and they make a reasonably priced model or you can find it used, I would go for the 18-200 or the 18-300 over the kit lens in a heartbeat.

Buy nice or buy twice does apply. Especially if you are doing more specialized areas of shooting (wildlife photography, etc).
 

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Señor Member
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Nikon does have a better selection of "grab it and go" lenses, if you have to buy the lens anyways, and they make a reasonably priced model or you can find it used, I would go for the 18-200 or the 18-300 over the kit lens in a heartbeat.

Buy nice or buy twice does apply. Especially if you are doing more specialized areas of shooting (wildlife photography, etc).
Eh, like I said, "to each their own". The 18-200 has more range obviously but it's also substantially heavier and you're going to get barrel distortion at 18 and pincushioning right in the middle. It's not just a linear 'bad to good' for 'short range to long range'.

Also 'buy nice or buy twice' maybe if we're talking third party lenses but Nikon/Nikkor is all quality.
 

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I shoot Canon and it looks like everyone in this thread is a Nikon guy, but one of the main things Nikon has going for them over Canon is they make a couple models that are incredibly versatile.

The 18-200 and stuff like that smokes Canon's offerings in terms of being a better all in one lens. I've thought about switching, but I have too much Canon gear to make it worth the hassle.

I'm not sure if they make the 18-200 or the 18-300 in a reasonably priced (under ~$150) model, but if you want something that's incredibly versatile I would go for one of those. Since having a single lens that works for a bunch of situations is a lot less hassle than having to carry multiple lenses and all the other shit everywhere.
Totally agree. I'm not an either guy, I just ended up with Nikon because I got a good deal. I only want to carry one lens, and last time I owned a really good 300 zoom, I think I took one useful picture with it the entire time I owned it.
 

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MG.ORG Irregular
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Nobody really gives too much of a shit about distortion when they are taking pics of their kid around the house. The biggest killer of all is always lighting, getting a VR (lens stabilization) lens will help, but low shutter speed can mean it can still be blurry. A flash will help a lot like Chris said, good flash use improves your shots immensely.

Other thing is that if focus speed is your issue then the lighting is probably too dim. The pro cameras have better focus sensors so they can focus in lower light, but the consumer models don't for the most part. Some flashes do flash-assisted focusing which might help a bit.

I've got an FX camera so I don't really know much about DX lenses since I ignore them, but most of the ones with VR are pretty solid, I think any of those with a sync flash would be good. If you got lots of dough the 16-80 DX VR or 24-120 FX VR would be good I would imagine those are both like prosumer models meaning they are not weather sealed but are a lot better than the cheaper models.

Oh I misread your post, if you don't have a lens then the kit one would be good place to start. Those are usually pretty decent to be honest, some are better than more expensive models. The thing to note about wider range and more expensive (brighter) lenses is that they weigh a hell of a lot more. My D3X with the 28-70 is like 6+ pounds :lol: I think your wife would hate you if you got something that heavy.
 

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To each their own.

I went through bunch of 'in between' lenses based on wanting more range, wanting to get away from the 'kit lens' etc. and the focal lengths were always 'meh' and I've still never used a reasonably priced lens that autofocused as sharp and as fast as the 18-55. I eventually boiled the bunch of them down to the 18-55 for 'everyday shooting' (I use it for NGDs, birthday parties; indoor or outdoor), 55-200 (animals and general outdoor stuff) and a 50mm (exclusively for low-light indoors).

I guess at some point the camera itself is a weak point if you're using something 'entry level', so I'd have to see how a pricier lens functions on a pricier camera does to assess the lenses themselves. When I got into cameras, I just assumed the stock lens must be shit and anything I bought aftermarket (particularly if it's Nikkor) must be as good or an improvement, and then meanwhile I haven't put a lens on that camera yet that focuses as fast and as sharp. Truth be told, the 18-55 is the only lens I trust 100% on autofocus, any of the rest I've had and even my 50 and 55-200 I manually focus more often than not. :2c:
I respectfully disagree. A sharper lens on an entry camera is still going to yield better results. Not only that, but the sensors are often the same or similar until you get a couple models up anyway. That being said, the 18-140mm isn't a cheap lens.
 

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Señor Member
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I respectfully disagree. A sharper lens on an entry camera is still going to yield better results. Not only that, but the sensors are often the same or similar until you get a couple models up anyway. That being said, the 18-140mm isn't a cheap lens.
You're entirely right, I overstated my point to the extent it became unclear. The 18-140mm, by all accounts, is a quality lens.

My main point was that even nice lenses have SOME idiosyncrasies, which is something I didn't realize until I started buy/borrowing shit and trying it out firsthand. When you see great pics from a certain lens on Flickr or whatever, they're the end result of usually ideal circumstances; it feels a lot different when you're there fiddling with it.

My current set is based off of what I've tried and liked, and what I could afford. I have had some lenses I've tried out like Chris mentioned with 35mm, where it sounded great on paper but the focal length felt weird in practice. I ended up with the 50mm 1.8, which is ALSO a well regarded lens but it does NOT autofocus accurately at close range and the large aperture that most people are buying them for makes everything but the very center of your picture blurry in 99% of general picture taking. Other lenses I've tried also had their shortcomings the same way, so I guess my point was MY experience regarding what lenses struck a decent balance in my circumstances but obviously that varies from person to person.

And I don't say that like I know anything you don't, just stating things as full discretion for anyone that happens across this thread.
 

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The nice thing about a good 35mm lens is that it's fast, and when given the 1.5x factor, becomes the standard focal length most similar to human vision, 50mm (well, 52.5mm). However, when I shot weddings every weekend back in the 90's, I found that a better multipurpose lens was an actual 35mm focal length, which on a 1.5x conversion would be something like a 24mm. Unfortunately those lenses are usually a stop slower, which sucks.
 

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