First dSLR purchase, which lenses...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by gareth_evans|1, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. I'm purchasing my first dSLR to take on vacation, I’ve
    settled on the Nikon D5100 and have decided that I’m going for body only and
    buying additional lenses. I don't want to be carrying about too much so have
    come up with 2 options:
    Option 1:
    18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX NIKKOR
    Option 2:
    16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX NIKKOR
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
    Both these options work out about the same price. Since I’ll
    be on vacation I’ll be shooting in lots of different conditions and can see the
    faster prime lens to be an advantage for the evening as well as making the
    camera less bulky and lighter as well as having 'better' glass with the 16-85
    lens, the trade-off being the reduced zoom on the 16-85 compared to the 18-200
    which will generally provide good all-round performance.
    I’m wondering if I’m better off going with the 18-200 and
    rely on the performance of the D5100 at a higher ISO for the evening or having
    2 better if more specific lenses.
    Any thoughts or advice is hugely appreciated!!
  2. Option 2 is much better. While 18-200 is more versatile, its optic does not resolve the sensor of D5100. 16-85 is a great lens, as well 35/1.8. Later on you can add a 70-300 (VR from Nikon or VC from Tamron) and you'll be covered on an extended range.
  3. I agree with Mihai re option 2; I have these 2 lenses which I use on my D-90 and am very happy with them. They are both great for general purpose photography (and travel!). Happy Shooting! cb :)
  4. It depends on how you see and what you shoot. If you use the longer focal lengths, the 16-85 will disappoint. I don't think high ISOs will get you by in low light with the 18-200.
  5. Número Dos, amigo.
  6. Another vote for option 2, although I doubt the 35mm will be any better at f5.6 & on than the 16-85mm, and the 35mm doesn't have VR. How about an SB-700 for portraits etc. instead? Another option instead of a future 70-300mm VR, a 55-200mm VR kit lens might be a smaller, more compact for travel.
    Kent in SD
  7. Option 3: Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 Macro OS - to me this is a much better and more versatile lens than the Nikkor 16-85/3.5-5.6. Then add the 35/1.8 - it's an excellent lens. A friend recently purchased these two lenses on my recommendations and he is very happy with them.
  8. option 2 or 3.
  9. The D-this is better than the D-that, and this lens is better than that lens... but you can't know how good they are for YOU until you've used them.
    I like the kinds of pictures one can take with only a standard lens, so I would go with only the 35/1.8 DX. Every time I leave home without it, I end up regretting it. I don't know what other lens you need, and I'm not saying you shouldn't have others, but you can't go wrong if there's a 35 in your kit.
  10. Option 2.
    The 18-105VR comes as kitlens with the D5100 in some countries too, it could be worth it as it would save a lot of money. The lens is not quite in the same league as the 16-85VR, but it's a whole lot more affordable.
  11. It depends on how you see and what you shoot. If you use the longer focal lengths, the 16-85 will disappoint.​
    I might argue that if you use longer focal lengths, on a 16MP camera like the D5100, the 18-200 will likely also disappoint. It looked GREAT, even at the long end (when stopped down to f8 or f11) on my 6MP D50. on my 12MP D90, it disappointed at the long end (at least when cropping much or printing big).
    I would absolutely get the 16-85 and the 35 to put in your pocket. I think that's a great travel combo. I wouldn't buy the 18-105 because of the plastic mount and corresponding "cheapness" of the internal construction.
    I would love to see someone to a test comparing the 16-85 at the long end, cropped to the field of view of the 18-200 at the long end... with the 18-200 long end. Anyone able to do that? (I can't imagine someone having both those lenses, though...)
  12. Be advised that while the 18-200 is considered by many here to be substandard, no less than National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting used one as his 1-lens kit when he was using Dx cameras.
  13. Be advised that while the 18-200 is considered by many here to be substandard, no less than National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting used one as his 1-lens kit when he was using Dx cameras.
  14. Regardless of the lens you get (considering convenience vs optical quality, etc.), get the camera and lens long enough before the trip that you can do some intensive shooting with the combo and learn a little about how to use the camera.
    For heaven's sake, take the manual in some form along in case you mis-set something without realizing it and need to get it back to default. At least at first, check the images as you shoot so you can see if something goes crazy on you. These are complex tools and require some learning to use them. Depending on what you had before, there may be merely a lot to learn or some vast chasm to cross...
    Don't be afraid to use the camera at the start in automatic modes. Don't try to master everything at once.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Be advised that while the 18-200 is considered by many here to be substandard, no less than National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting used one as his 1-lens kit when he was using Dx cameras.​
    Two years ago, I went to a 4-day seminar with Frans Lanting, and he mentioned using the 18-200. I explicitely asked him about that, with a tone that was quite clear that I meant "Are you kidding me?" And Lanting explained to me that he only uses the 18-200 for non-critical, non-serious work.
    During those 4 days we went out shooting a lot and I didn't see him use the 18-200 at all. I posted about that seminar back in 2009:
    I had opportunities to test several samples of the 18-200, both versions 1 and 2, which are identical optically, on 12MP DSLRs. It is a very decent lens on the wide end with fairly serious barrel distortion. I consider its long end unacceptable and therefore I don't own one. Not only it is soft near 200mm, chromatic aberration is serious and it affects the colors. In comparison, the newer 28-300mm AF-S VR, while also a 11x zoom, is optically better, although the 28-300 still does not fair well on modern 16MP DX bodies.
  16. I agree with Shun. I personally have the 16-85 and 70-300 and they are both, great lenses. I would replace them only with 24-70 and 70-200. I never used the 18-200 and honestly I don't think I will. That lens would never beat what I got, so I recommend to make an effort and go for that combo and you will not regret.
  17. I'll vote for #1 since it and my 35 f/1.8 is my most used vacation lenses with my D300s. I have all three lenses mentioned and while my 16-85 is a great everyday day lens if I don't need f/2.8 the 16-85 can't reach out to 200 (300 efl). My lens is very sharp at f/8 at the long end and during the years I've owned it I've never had a problem. I got my lens several years ago when it was first annonced so maybe I got an exceptional lens. BTW, I don't have the zoom creep that people complain about either.
  18. A combination of a 35/1.8, Sigma 17-70 OS and Nikon 55-200 VR is only $20 more than a 35/1.8 plus a 16-85. So I'm going to call the 35, 17-70, 55-200 combo #4 and vote for that.
  19. Based on my experience with the 18-200mm VR, this lens would be your best choice. Believe me, you will run into situations where you would want to zoom in to get the shot, and you won't have the luxury of time to switch lenses. If it helps, have a look at my South Flo folder of my portfolio. Most shots were taken with my D60 (older than the D5100) and the 18-200 VR lens which in my opinion, is a must-have lens for travel. The performance of this lens is quite decent, even in low light situation for night scenes.
  20. I have the combination of the 16-85 and the 35 f/1.8. It can't be beat on DX in my opinion, but I've never used any third party options described/suggested by others, which I hear are quite good. You definitely want that 35mm f/1.8 for low light, and unless you like to take a lot of photos at longer focal lengths, the 16-85 will give you a sharper, more color-rich photo. Not to mention that 18-200 will develop the awful zoom-creep issue pretty fast.
  21. If you plan on being out for a long time, get a second battery, especially if you do not bring a separate flash. And as said it is mandatory you bring the manual or electronic copy of it on your laptop if you bring that too....
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A second battery is pretty much a must, regardless of whether you plan to be out for a long time or not. Lithium ion batteries can somehow die all of a sudden although that is uncommon and actually has never happend to me, but Nikon provides no warranties on batteries for a reason. Moreover, Li-ion batteries will gradually hold less and less charge over time; that process may take 3 years, 5 years or 10 years. Having a 2nd battery is always a good idea.
    But for those same reasons, I wouldn't buy too many batteries all at once either. If the battery type doesn't change, you are better off adding more every 2, 3 years.
  23. Can i just say a big thanks to everyone who commented and gave their opinions, it's really
    helpful and as a newbie sites like this are indispensable to someone getting into photography.
    It’s seems like opinions are pretty mush split and a few other ideas as well, buying in about a week so will undoubtedly read this another 50 times before then and before making a decision.
    JDM, great point about having enough time to practice, I plan on having it all for about a month before the vacation to get used to it and get out and take a whole heap of pictures!
  24. And i think i've loaded every device i own (Kindle, iPad, iPhone) with a copy of the manual and also the "D5100 for Dummies guide" :)

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