3 must own primes for dx nikon

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dallasmcvickerphotography, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. All right I tried searching the FAQ and it always seems to be all around my question but not exact. So. I am looking to upgrade my current selection of zooms to equal primes. I would love to hear your list of 3 must own primes. I currently have the 50 1.8 and love it except wide open its a little soft but one stop is all it needs to be a great work horse. I would love a few others looking at wider and something with a bit more reach. Looking at sigma 24 1.8 next but interested in the collective thoughts.


  2. hmmm, personally i have the 14-24F/2.8, 24-70F/2.8 and the 70-200F/2.8 NIKOR ZOOMS, But they get very little to no use since i use them on my D700... I love primes and I use these three for my D300S & D7000. The sigma 24f/1.8, sigma 30f/1.4 and nikor 35f/1.8....with those three i do 99% of my shooting. if i had to choose 1 lens, it would be my sigma 30f/1.4...Oddly, i do not own a 50 in nikon mount.
  3. 300/f4.0 AF-S, super telephoto on DX, awesome.
    24 f1.4G - street-shooter extraordinaire.
    60 Micro from portraiture and a macro.
  4. SCL


    You don't say what your zooms are to find the equivalent primes, so I would say (based on my usage), the Nikon 20/2.8 AF-D, you already own a 50, and then the 105/2.8 micro Nikkor AF-D.
  5. Must own primes for DX: 35 mm f/1.8 DX, 85 mm f/1.8, and one that still does not exist: 16 mm f/1.8 DX. Would be the perfect lineup to me.
  6. 20 f/2.8D, 50 f/1.4G, 135 f/2D DC.
  7. Great suggestions so far. Another "low cost" option I could work with would be Sigma 24mm f/2.8, Tamron 60mm f/2 Macro and Nikon 180mm f/2.8.
  8. On DX I really like my AFS 300/4 AF-D 35/2 and the 10.5 Fisheye. To qualify my choices I'd say "must have" really depends upon what you shoot. Throughout my photo journey I've largely spent most time with longer lenses or wide lenses, mid range focal lengths are only coming to me nowerdays.
    I have the AF-D 50/1.4 and never liked it's field of view on DX .....until I went FX. The rest of the focal length range was well enough served by DX pro zooms for me.
  9. I think it depends on what you work with.
    • Sigma 30/1.4 or Nikon 35/1.8 for carry around
    • 60/2.8 for portraiture, static macro
    • 85/1.4 for portraiture, headshots
    • 105/2.8 for macro
    • 135/2 DC for portraiture, headshots
    • Nikon 300/2.8 or 400/2.8 or Sigma 800/5.6 for nature, sports
    If I had to choose 3 I'd go with the 30/1.4, 85/1.4, 300/2.8.
  10. I think the Nikon prime lens lineup is pretty awkward for DX shooters. For my D80 I had 24/2.8, 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 for a very long time. Only recently did I add a Voigtlander 40/2 to those three, and that takes some of the work away from the 50/1.8, but I'm not convinced it is quite as sharp as the 50 (maybe it's just my technique though). I still miss a 30-35mm lens, as well as something in between the 50 and 85, but I am not planning to make those purchases, because I want to move to FX soon. Unlike most DX shooters, I really don't need anything wider than 24mm, and I could do without the 50mm focal length if I had something in that 30-35 range.
    So to sum it up, if I planned to stay with DX, and I had to construct a combo of 3 primes, they would be Nikkor 24/2.8, Sigma 30mm/1.4 and Voigtlander 58/1.4.
  11. OK, this is interesting.
    I was also after a few primes for my D300. Awesome camera.
    My selection was a 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8 and 105 f2.8 macro. This covers most of my shooting needs. I am also looking at the 35 f1.8 DX but may consider something wider.
    I still shoot film with my F4s, so this works well. Maybe a 180 or 300 at the longer end would round this out.
    Hmmmm, so many fine lenes, it's hard to know. Only three primes, ......good luck with your selection.
  12. the sigma 30 is pretty much the only must-have prime for DX. as Oliver says, the prime selection is awkward on DX, and these are so many good, compact zooms it's almost extraneous, except if you need fast apertures. even the tokina 11-16 makes more sense on DX than the nikon 14 or 18mm primes.
    that said, somehow i ended up with three normal DX primes: sigma 30/1.4, tokina/2.8 macro, and nikon 35/1.8. i'm actually using all three (at different times), which speaks to the necessity of a normal DX lens. the tokina is sharper than both of the others at 2.8, btw, which makes it more utilitarian than one might think initially. i mainly got it because the sigma is horrible at close-focus. in a bokeh-off, i'm not sure which would win, but i do know the nikon 35 would come in third.
    everything else i really have covered by zooms, except for longer macro, for which i have the tokina 100. i have the nikkor 50/1.8 and the sigma 50/1.4, but they don't see much use on DX--the 1.8 is really a holdover from before i had a 2.8 zoom, and the 1.4 i use on FX. i may get the sigma 20/1.8 and the 85/1.4 as those make sense on both DX and FX. plus the 20/1.8 takes filters, unlike my current FX UWA, but i'd be giving up a lot of real estate, since my UWA goes to 15mm.
    however, if i was prime shopping for DX right now, besides a 30 or 35, i'd probably consider the voigtlander 58, the tamron 60, or the sigma 70, followed by the nikkor 85/1.8 or 1.4, and then the 180/2.8, and then the 300/4. the ultron 40 looks cool, but i dont know that i'd use a MF 40/2 that much, since i have 30 and 50 1.4s. also, i much prefer 30 over 35 as far as focal length on DX. the sigma 24 is supposed to be the best of their W/A primes, but for me the 20 makes much more sense.
  13. 20/2.8, 50/1.4, 180/2.8 Nikkors. if your camera accepts AF lenses, or else get AF-S lenses.
  14. I'd add the Tamron 90 macro to the list. It's very sharp, makes a great portrait lens and (except for extreme situations) you'll never be annoyed because you're too close to a subject to attain focus.
  15. Depending on your focal preferences you can pick from this list:
    • CV 20/3.5 - MF, little lens, performs well on DX
    • Sigma 30/1.4 - low light, walk around
    • Tamron 60/2 -macro
    • Nikon 85/1.4 D (1.8 D) - portrait
    • Nikon 180/2.8 - lightweight unbelievable good tele
    If you force me only on a three lens primes kit for DX, I'd pick a 24, a 85 and the 180 and I can survive.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    3 must own primes for dx nikon​
    Sorry, I can't come up with even one. The only DX prime I own is the 10.5mm fisheye, but that is clearly not for everybody. Other than that, I mainly use very long fixed lenses and macro lenses on my DX bodies; again, those are not for everybody.
    For those who use consumer DX bodies, the one "prime" lens to get is probably the 35mm/f1.8 AF-S DX. It is not the greatest lens around but provides a lot of value for $200.
  17. I'm not sure there are 3 "must have" primes on DX since no one makes a 16/17mm prime. For me it looks like this:
    • 17-55mm f/2.8
    • 35mm f/1.8
    • 50mm f/1.4
    • 85mm f/1.4
    • 105mm/135mm f/2
    • 300mm f/4
    Reality is that I use primes for portraiture and people photography, not landscapes, and the 17-55mm outperforms most of the lenses within its zoom range with the exception of the new f/1.4G primes that I cannot justify the cost of. (24, 35, 50) However, if I could only choose three primes for my bag it would likely be these three... at a total cost close to USD $3500.
    Just my 2 cents
  18. If we only knew what kind of thing the OP tends to photograph, our answers might have meaning and usefulness.
  19. Depends on what price ranges you are talking about.
    If money for lenses were no object, but I were still restricted to DX, I would use the Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 as my main lens, and the Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 Ai as my portrait lens. I would probably add a Nikkor 135 f/2 DC as a moderate telephoto. If you need something longer and can stand the weight, the Nikkor 200mm f/2 AF-S VR lens is amazing on any format. However, with the price of lenses in that kit, you'd be better off with a D700. I know this is controversial here, but I would contend that DX is not relevant for professional use except for some very specific long-telephoto wildlife applications. In almost all instances the higher quality per pixel of an FX camera trumps any perceived "pixel density" or "total pixel count" arguments.
    So if one is talking about more reasonable consumer budgets, the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 is the first, natural choice. However, I find that lens a little long for my tastes on DX, and would prefer the focal length of the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AF-D. When I used a DX camera, however, I employed the Nikkor 28mm f/2 Ai-S lens, which I prefer for its speed and optical quality. I must say that despite a general dislike for Sigma lenses, the optical quality of Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is excellent, just the lens is not as mechanically reliable as Nikkor lenses. The Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 lens is not too expensive (especially if your camera can focus with the older, cheaper but still excellent AF-D version) and makes a terrific portrait lens on DX. The Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 AF-D lens can be found used relatively inexpensively. Less expensive still in the telephoto range would be the Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai lens, or a more flexible, if slower, 70-300mm zoom.
  20. If I was starting from scratch on DX, I'd probably go with a 24, 30 or 35, and180/2.8. The 4th lens I would add would be a 55 or 60 macro.
  21. Dallas, just as Luis mentioned, you didn't say what you tend to photograph, so whats going to work for one person may not work for you at all. For me, a 35 1.8, 50 1.8, 105 Macro and a 180 2.8. Throw in an 11-16 or equivalent zoom and it's probably all I need. If you are left wondering, find a source to rent some primes (if I knew of one, I'd recommend it, sadly I don't) and try them out.
  22. There is no "must". As said already, depends too heavy on what you want to do.
    For myself, the 3 primes I use the most (DX user): 24 f/2.8, 35 f/1.4, 105 f/2.5. I never got the point of a 50mm on DX and to me is the least must-have of them all. Others like it - there you go: your must-have is my don't-want.
  23. I currently own the following primes and I am exclusively shooting DX; some of the lenses listed are "left-overs" from the film era (the ones in bold are the ones I purchased after I went DX digital:
    10.5/2.8 DX, 20/4 AI, 20/2.8 AF, 24/2.8 AF, 28/2.8 AI-S, 35/1.8 DX, 50/1.8 AF, 85/1.8 AF, 105/2.5, Sigma 150/2.8 Macro, leitax-converted Apo-Telyt 180/3.4, 300/4 AF-S. The only other Nikon "DX" prime - the 14/2.8 - would be needed to fill the gap if I was to be restricted to using primes only; but I would take the Tokina 11-16/2.8 over the 14/2.8 anytime.
    As Shun pointed out - the 10.5 isn't for everyone and it sees very limited use for me either. The 20mm still aren't very wide on DX and hence see limited use. The 24 was a recent impulse buy to get the 35mm-equivalent FOV on DX; somehow that lens doesn't impress me much though; I like the 28/2.8 AI-S better for all situations that don't require AF. The 35/1.8 is the only one I would stamp as "must have"; I purchased it reluctantly but it has grown on me since. I have no specific use for the 50/1.8; though I can envision using it together with the 85/1.8 and the 105/2.5 for portraits. The Sigma 150 was chosen over the Nikon 105/2.8 VR because of the larger working distance and to fill in as a medium tele. The 180 is inherited and has come in handy on several occasions - it's my 180/2.8-equivalent. The 300/4 AF-S again isn't for everyone, most people would choose a zoom instead.
    If I were to invest in primes for DX and money wasn't an issue, then I'd get the following 24/1.4, Sigma 30/1.4 or Nikon 35/1.4 AF-S, Voigtlander 58/1.4, 85/1.4 AF-D or AF-S.
  24. <p>The 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 is very useful for low light and close up portrait shots.  However other primes would be more specific to a persons needs.  So I guess my suggestion is to wait until you recognize a significant need for a lens before buying it.
  25. I just switched when I got my D7000. My true prime lens is the Sigma 10-20. The next two are the Nikkor 18-105 and the 70-300. The 10-20 stays on the camera. The others are grabbed as needed. Prior to this mix, a Nikkor 20 was my prime on my D70.
  26. If money is no object then the Nikkors will be hard to beat in the 24, 50, and 85mm range. But for me I'll have the S-M-C Takumar 24mm f/3.5, S-M-C Takumar 50mm f/1.4, and the S-M-C Takumar 85mm f/1.8.
  27. There isn't even one "must own", since many can get by with zooms. My 11-16 Tokina, and my Nikkor 18-70 and 70-300 can probably get me there for virtually all my photography if it was all I had. If I'm stopping down for a tripod shot to f8, I'd rather have the zoom so I can adjust my field of view a little.
    that said, I own a 55mm f3.5 micro, a 35mm f1.8 DX, 105mm f2.5 AI, and a 50mm f1.8. If I lost the 50 I probably wouldn't miss it, but I love those others. My 35 is the stay-on lens and I switch to the others as needed. (I was a BIG 50mm fan when I shot film.)
  28. I use the following three on DX camera and am very happy with their coverage, wight, and IQ:
    24/2.8 AF
    50/1.8 AF
    105/2.8 AF macro
  29. If money is no object, these three:
    24/2.8 (street shooter)
    85/1.4 (face it)
    Tamron 180/3.5 macro (birds and bees)
    But I have to admit, the 35/2 sees most use.
  30. Wow! Lots of great info. Sorry I am getting back so late. I currently shoot tokina 12-24; kit 18-105; the 50 1.8; and the 70-300. I shoot a variety of subject matter had a few paid jobs but really hobby and a tech nerd. I even like the zooms I have but love the dof of the primes and the speed in low light. in short just trying to figure out where to spend the tax return. :). Thanks again.
  31. For 40 years I stayed away from zooms because the images were not as good. I cannot discern any difference today and with the power of computer processing it doesn't really matter. Photography today has more power in the CPU for post processing than in the capture of the image with the lens.
  32. As others have said, there are no must own primes for dx. However, if I were limited to shoot with only 3 primes on my dx body, here is what I would select for general shooting:
    24mm f/1.4
    50mm f/1.4
    105mm f/2.8 macro
  33. I use the following four AF primes:
    • Tokina 17/3.5
    • Nikkor 24/2.8
    • Nikkor 35/1.8 DX
    • Nikkor 50/1.8
    The all-rounder is the 35/1.8 DX, an excellent lens. The weakest is the 24/2.8, but the Tokina 17 and Nikkor 50 are both very good.
  34. For general usage in FX I use a 28mm, 50mm, and 105mm. For DX I have a 20mm f3.5 on my D5000 "hiking setup". I would like to try and D7000 with my 500mm f4 P which would probably stay mounted. If I could only have three for DX it would be a 20mm, fast 30-35mm and 500mm.
  35. Must own? As you suspect, that would be different for everyone. I am a night shooter so fast lenses are important. For me, that's the speedy use of f2.8 zooms though. As for "must have" primes, hmm. The only one I carry with me is a Sigma 30mm f1.4, for times that even f2.8 isn't fast enough. Really, that's the only one I use any more. Dumped the rest of them. If Nikon releases a 300mm f4 VR, I would very likely buy that one though. I also lust after a 24mm f2.8 PCE, but it's hardly "must have" for me. I still use a 4x5 when I need movements.
    Kent in SD
  36. I use the following with a Nikon D300:
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8

    Nikon 50mm f/1.8

    Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro

    Nikon 18-200mm f/5.6
  37. bmm


    To be honest, in my experience wandering around with my D80 I've found the magic number of primes to be 2 - a 35 and an 85. This makes for a wonderfully small/light and flexible kit, and I've travelled many places in the world with just this little setup.
    Other primes that I've found handy are the 24 and the 135. I have a 50mm but find it a bit of a 'no-mans-land' focal length on DX. I also have a 180mm prime which is lovely but has limited applications on DX as it becomes quite long (for my taste) so it doesn't come out as often as the others.
    If I had to pick just 3 for a DX prime kit I would not hesitate to say 35, 85, and 135. (Note that I limit myself to commenting on stuff I actually own and use; if I loosened that constraint on myself I'd also seriously consider anything good that might become available around 20mm).
  38. To me, a perfect 3 lens prime set for DX would include the 20mm f/2.8, a 35mm f/1.8 , and a 60mm or 70mm micro.
  39. I use a Zeiss 100 F2 Makro Planar on my D200. Great lens.
  40. I think as always it depends on what you want to shoot and how these primes complement your zooms. I love the Sigma 50/1.4 for how it renders the out of focus area, which together with the 75mm-ish FOV, makes it my go-to lens for photographing people. I sold my Nikon 50/1.8 because i never use it, once I have the Sigma. Although the Nikon 50/1.8 is small and light, for traveling, I rather use the Tamron 17-50/2.8, which is sharp and delivers better bokeh than the Nikon. I keep a 24/2.8 and 35/1.8 for those days that I wish to use just one lens for a very light package. I love it when I do, although I find myself grabbing the Tamron 17-50/2.8 most of the time as it is not that heavy and big and covers a very wide range. I also have a 85/1.8 for head shots or for traveling as a short telephoto lens as it is rather small and light.
  41. Hey bud, what's up!
    My personal opinion, and I am only going to recommend one lens for you...
    Many people are talking about the 85 1.4/1.8 as well as the 135 f2 DC. Since you already have the 50 f1.8, I would ignore the 85 and jump to the 135 f2 DC. I am in love with that lens. I think it is just as sharp as the 85 f1.4 and it shows a little contrast as well. It also has the defocus control (DC) which is interesting to play around with. On a DX it will be a great telephoto and it's light and fairly compact.
    So go with a wide angle of your choice, keep your 50 1.8 (I have that too) and get the 135 f2.

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