New Nikon D40 Body just need lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by troy_ward|1, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Hey everyone, I am just getting started and could use some help. I just purchased a D40 body (looked like a nice reasonably priced camera to start out with) minus the kit lense that normally comes with it. I am looking for one or two reasonably priced lenses to get started with. Preferably something that will carry over if/when I upgrade to a higher end model in the future. I am interested primarily in portrait type shooting and possibly some landscapes. Thanks for the help.
    Troy W.
  2. The 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR would be a nice combination for that camera. This will give you coverage out to 200mm with image stabilization.
  3. I'd suggest the 50mm 1.8D. I got my D40 second hand (less than 1K pics on it. yay!) without the 18-55, but with the 50mm. It is a great portrait lens, and really sharp as well. Comes in handy when it gets darker, since the kit lens is a bit on the slow side. OF course, the only side effect is that it is a manual lens on a D40, but I find it very easy to focus.
  4. How much can you spend on lenses? Reasonably prices differs per person after all.
    I can recommend the Nikon 16-85VR, it's a great lens, but pricey. The 18-105VR offers a lot of quality for it price. Some will recommend the 18-200VR, which is not a bad choice too. The suggested 18-55VR and 55-200VR combination is solid value for money too from all I've seen. And then there are the offerings from Tamron, Sigma and Tokina - I cannot really comment on those by lack of experience.
    I would not recommend starting out with only a 50 f/1.8. It will make the learning curve steeper, potentially more frustrating and if that happens, your D40 will turn out to be a waste of money. If you feel attracted to starting with a non-zooming lens, go for the 35mm f/1.8 DX. It's a far more usable lens on a APS-C sensor body than a 50mm.
    Anyway, if budget is somewhat tight, my first choice would be the 18-105VR.
  5. the 18-70mm kit lens ($200). you can use the 20-24mm range for landscape and the 60-70mm for portraits (with backdrop or huge area behind the subject, it being only f/4.5 at 70mm).
    if you can spend a little more, you can look into the tamron (motorized) 17-50mm f/2.8 ($400). still not the ultimate tool for portrait but very pleasantly usable at 50mm. you will be happy for landscape at 20-24mm.
    either one will go well with the 55-200mm vr ($200) to start with and get you going. better will be the 70-300mm vr but is more more money.
    the nikkor 16-85mm has gotten good reviews and people here in the forum have been happy. but again, more money than the two i mentioned above.
  6. I you feel that this a starting point of a hobby I would buy lenses that fits your camera but with a more long termed perspective.

    I would avoid the the 18-55 and I think offers limited performance wide open and the focal range is limited too. I would opt for a medium range fast zoom like the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or the sigma 18-50 f/2.8. I have the tamron and I think is a very nice lens for the price. It would offer you a wide 17mm for landscape and a 50mm for portraiture.

    Of course many people would liked to have wider than 17mm for landscape and narrower than 50mm for portraiture, but as a starting point, in my opinion this would be suficient to form you a criteria for what you like/prefer. Then you can decide your next movement by yourself based on your preferences.
  7. Lenses for portraiture and lenses for landscape photography are different. It depends on your ambition level but for portraiture I would avoid any of the 18-55 VR, 55-200 VR, 16-85VR, 18-200VR, 18-105VR or similar.
    What you want is large aperture lenses (for natural light portraiture) and you want f/2.8 constant aperture lenses when it comes to zooms. There are not so many to choose from that can autofocus on your camera and are not very expensive. Popular zoom lenses are Sigma 18-50/2.8 HSM, Tamron 17-50/2.8 BIM, Tamron 28-75/2.8 BIM and popular prime lenses are Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM.
  8. The 18-70 Nikon is real nice, too. But I'd get a lens with VR, like the 16-85 (which will cost more than the camera did.
  9. I would recommend the 18-70 lens, too. Nikon no longer makes it but it can be found new or almost new on line.
  10. honestly, i'd get the 18-105 VR, the newest of nikon's DX kit lenses. thom hogan has a nice summary comparing the kits here:
    if you're just starting out, it might be better to familiarize yourself with camera and lens operation before getting all crazy with new lenses. plus, 6 months from now, you will probably have a better idea of what your interests are photographically, and what specialized lenses you might need. also, you most certainly can take portrait shots with a kit zoom lens, though obviously a 2.8 zoom or fast telephoto prime would be better.
    the 17-50 tamron is better optically than any of the nikon 18-xx zooms, and has a fast 2.8 aperture to boot, but if i was just starting out on a d40, i think i'd be tickled pink with an 18-105 VR and possibly a 35/1.8 for low-light and candids.
  11. Troy: What's your experience like? Have you had a film SLR before and are used to carrying & swapping lenses? What about filters? What's your budget? Have you thought about other accessories like a decent tripod / flash / bag etc? Are you opposed to buying used?
    Just trying to see where you're coming from and what's important to you :)
  12. I call for Nikon 18-70 very nice and sharp lense
  13. BJ, really no experiance. As I said, i already have the body, and for lense and everything else would like to somewhere around 500 or so. And no, I have no problem with used.
  14. I'd get a 18-70, used maybe $200, and also budget for an extra $200 for a decent tripod. Spend $20 on the infrared remote, spend another $60 on a circular polarizer. The 18-55 kit lens can be had used for as little as $75 from what I've seen...
    All that should bet you started with a pretty decent kit.
    If you find that you want more telephoto you can always pick up a 55-200 VR for maybe $200 - $300 used. If that's outside the budget a the non-VR version will sell for a fair bit less. Or you can look at the 70-300 (non-VR) for some savings.
    Really, when starting out it's less about the gear, more about getting comfortable with it and learning how to take some interesting photos. To quote Thom Hogan "The best lens is the one you have on your camera ... used correctly." :)
    Start inexpensive, see what you like and what appeals to you, then step up from there.
  15. The problem with the 18-70mm is it doesn't have VR. That does help. Needing something light and compact for a recent Disney trip, I went out and bought a Nikon 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR. They share same filter size (big plus,) and are actually very good optically. That's what I suggest. I bought the 18-55mm VR for $113 and the 55-200mm VR for $149 on e Bay, Cameta Auctions I think it was. It was an outstanding value. I've been very happy with the results.
    Kent in SD
  16. Kent: Your really think on a relative 'short' lens like the 18-55 the VR makes a huge difference?
    On the 100mm+ end I definitely agree. I do plent of shooting with non-VR lenses (35mm, 50mm, plus of course all the film stuff) and I don't really think it's that vital. Now, I also shoot with the 18 -200 and on that lens it's a definite plus :)
  17. BJ--
    Yes, I think it can. The reason you might think it doesn't is that typically images made with wider lenses have subjects in the frame that have relatively small size (in relation to the frame.) While it might look sharp at normal viewing, when you blow it up you quickly see it was not sharp. This is why a 4x6 print might look fine but when you enlarge to 8x10 it suddenly looks pretty bad. If you were to start cropping the image, same deal. If you are shooting at 1/500, obviously VR won't do much. However, many who buy VR lenses do so as an aid to shoot in low light. I don't think anyone will argue that VR is a definite plus when you're shooting at 1/30 sec. Remember, these consumer zooms are not very fast. As for "huge" difference, that's relative. The price difference (e Bay) between the VR and non VR lens is about twenty bucks. That's not a huge difference in price by any means. So, why not VR? My thinking is if it increases the numbers of keepers (and it seems to for me), it's a no-brainer at that price. I got some excellent images from those two cheap lenses on my Disney trip. I doubt my mega-thousand dollar regular lens selection would have done all that much better, at least with the sunny outdoor shots.
    Kent in SD
  18. I would also recommend the 50mm/1.8 lens. I have it and find it to be quite nice. I bought it for a Disneyland trip (indoor displays, low light) and it worked out pretty well, even with manual focus. I'm also using a D40, as it is my first dSLR as well.
    I've never really tried the Tamron or Sigma lenses, but I'm thinking I'm gonna give them a try here soon, as they seem to be more affordable. I've seen the results of those lenses, and I know they can help produce some great images.
  19. It seems to me you probably need a reasonably flexible, reasonably inexpensive lens just to get started, and that using it will give you a better idea where to head next.
    I would agree with those who have mentioned the 18-105mm VR lens as an ideal choice. There are better choices for any given application, but that's a good all-round lens that you can either keep and augment in the future, or sell with little loss of your initial investment. A good alternative would be the 18-55, 55-200 VR, and 35/1.8 combo - tremendously flexible and just as good for image quality.
    For special purpose photography, such as portrait photography, you need special lenses. However, they aren't cheap and are less flexible in other regards than a basic kit zoom, which is after all designed for people in exactly your situation.
  20. Hi! You will do an excellent aquisition if you buy either the 16-85 VR or the 18-70!
    But judge by yourself and see these tests:
    They are very well done. Remember that a higher resolution needs a better lens. If you are thinking of upgrading, one day, to a higher resolution camera and you do not want to have to upgrade your optics, buy a better lens now. Both lenses I mentioned are suitable to resolutions between 10-12 million pixels in DX format and are adequated to landscape and to portrait, having the first place the 16-85 VR. Of course the AF 50mm f1.8 will be the sheapest and the best acquisition you will do for portrait!
    See the Jean-Sébastien Monzani ( tutorials in his web page
    or directly in his tutorials page
  21. Buy the kit lenses until you get some experience. The new 35 1.8 is a very good lens made to be used as a "normal focal length" on DX format cameras like yours
  22. Buy the kit lenses until you get some experience. The new 35 1.8 is a very good lens made to be used as a "normal focal length" on DX format cameras like yours
  23. This is the same question I faced when I started out. I would suggest that you first decide which type of photography interests you and invest accordingly. If you want to enjoy your D40 and plan to keep it for sometime rather than graduating fast to high-end version I would suggest stick to Nikkor lenses buy AF-S and if possible VR and of course buy a decent tripod also. First decide on a range you want to photograph and then buy the best lense to fit your budget. As you graduate and accumulate some bucks buy the next range that you wish. Each lense has its pros and cons.
    Nikkor 16-85mm VR would be best if you later plan to buy a 80-400mm or 70-300 or some important prime lense. that way you get to explore that extra bit of wide-angle and later the telephoto. Wish you happy clicking.
  24. This is the same question I faced when I started out. I would suggest that you first decide which type of photography interests you and invest accordingly. If you want to enjoy your D40 and plan to keep it for sometime rather than graduating fast to high-end version I would suggest stick to Nikkor lenses buy AF-S and if possible VR and of course buy a decent tripod also. First decide on a range you want to photograph and then buy the best lense to fit your budget. As you graduate and accumulate some bucks buy the next range that you wish. Each lense has its pros and cons.
    Nikkor 16-85mm VR would be best if you later plan to buy a 80-400mm or 70-300 or some important prime lense. that way you get to explore that extra bit of wide-angle and later the telephoto. Wish you happy clicking.
  25. Again, I think it is a matter of you real interests in photography. If you plan to use your camera as a "better quality" point and shoot, then the kit lenses (nikon 18-55 and 55-200) will serve you well, go for it.
    But if your plan is to develop your skills in photography and make this a hobby I think a f/2.8 zoom, like the tamron or the sigma listed above, will be a more flexible learning tool. And their picture quality will serve you even if you upgrade your body later on.
    If you buy cheap you get for what you paid for. For me is better to have one good lens than two bad ones. Again, It is really a matter of your real interests.
  26. Welcome to the slr club!
    Do consider a 18-55VR for a start, then 55-200VR if you want more reach. Both of these are great for landscape purposes - landscapes are not only shot using wide angles - telephotos are great at isolating specific objects in the field. In terms of portraiture, well I'm not one to ask about this subject, both lenses do a decent job. You may need to look into a fast 2.8 zoom for improved subject isolation, if you need it or even a fast prime (50/1.4G comes to mind)
    These are great lenses for a D40, small, light, balances well, affordable. I've used both for a fair bit before migrating to my current setup. The 55-200vr is surprisingly good. Perhaps I got a good copy. I miss both of them when I'm out hiking - they are light, and good! If you are upgrading to a newer model DX camera, should carry right on along. Both should give you enough range to figure out what you like , then you can progress further.
    For me, these ranges are are not very useful as my favourite focal ranges start at 300mm. Play with the kit lenses then decide what kind of photography pulls you in, then acquire lenses that allow you to go delve further into your area of interest :)
    NB: If you do intend to stick on DX for a long while, consider the 16-85VR, I use it when I'm travelling, exploring new places etc. A bit expensive, but its got great IQ, nice build, great focal range, though it is a bit big on a d40 :p
  27. I'd suggest the 50mm 1.8D. I got my D40 second hand (less than 1K pics on it. yay!) without the 18-55, but with the 50mm.​
    I got my 50mm 1.8D brand new around 1992. I use it on my D90 and it's still a fantastic lens. I just don't think I'd use it with a D40 because the manual focus would drive me crazy without a proper split ring focusing screen. I commented on that to a Nikon rep and he said it's no problem because the in-focus light still comes on in manual mode. I also have the 35-70mm D series kit lens from the same era but I never use that one because I've got the 18-200. I guess the moral is buy fast primes, you'll get more years out of them.
    Out of curiousity, how do you know it has less than 1k pics on it? The lens doesn't have a counter.
  28. A lot of people are mentioning newer lenses with VR, but if you are going to focus on landscape and portrait, do you really need those things? Chances are you will be using a tripod a lot of the time - another path you could take is to go the "old lens" route. The d40 by virtue of the way its built can mount almost any lens Nikon made, even non-ai lenses which 'better' Nikons cannot. There is a plethora of old, high quality lenses - if you don't mind manual metering (by guessing or by purchasing a hand held meter) and manual focus. Many of the older lenses are cheap, too - $60 or less each. Just another thing to think about. good luck!
  29. I would be very careful with the lenses you look at. Check BH because many of them have warning and will not work with the D40\60. You need to check the details and specs carefully. Not sure if someone already covered that but I thought I should say it before you drop a bunch of money on a lens. Peter
  30. I have the D40 with the18-55kit lens a 90mm.Tamron 2.5 with,50mm.1.8 E series manual focus lens,70-300ED.lens & Kiron 1.5 teleconvertor,lots of filters I"m really good to go with these combinations
  31. I should also have mentioned that if you purchase a 50mm.1.8 for the D40 try to get a manual focus model as the auto focus D model is sloppy when manualy focused and does not have the damping of the manual models.
  32. I am interested primarily in portrait type shooting and possibly some landscapes.​
    Although with portraiture and landscape you will do quite a bit of manual focusing, I would recommend a lens with AF-S so that you can still auto focus, in case you decide to use the lens for other types of shooting where auto focus might be nice.
    For portraits I would recommend the 50 1.4 AF-S. It is an excellent lens, very sharp and on a crop sensor is actually a good focal length for head shots.
    For landscapes, you probably want a wide zoom such as the sigma 10-20 or Tokina 11-16.
    Another good option might be a macro lens such as the Nikkor 60 or the Tamron 90. These are sharp lenses that work good for portraiture but are also great to pack along if you are doing any type of nature photography.
    I honestly don't see why you would need a lens with VR if you are mostly interested in portraits and landscape because you should be working on a tripod anyways. But the 16-85 is a nice little lens, I have gotten to play with one and was impressed by the speed of focus and the VR did really make a difference hand-held. Of course, with its small maximum variable aperture you won't have as much control over depth of field, and might be able to pull off a handheld shot in low light, if your subjects aren't moving much.
    As far as price goes, you get what you pay for. I'd much rather have a 50 1.4 AFS than two kit zooms. But that is just me.
  33. The one I would buy again is my Sigma 17-70mm/2.8-4.5 Macro HSM, it is on my D90 all the time. The Nikkor 60mm Micro is also a very good lens, but you probably will need an overall lens. The Sigma 17-70 is in my opinion just as good on 60mm (but is not a real 1:1 Macro/Micro) and it is a real bargain.
  34. I suggest, either the 50/1.8 or the 50/1.4G if you can afford it.
    The 1.8 wont have AF, the 1.4 will, but they are both superb lenses and I think that you must start with one of those.
  35. Just my 2 cents here...

    I have (well, had... fixing) a D40 with the kit 18-55 AF-S (non-VR), the 55-200 VR, and the 35/1.8. All three lenses have served me very, very well so far (except the 55-200 can be fragile when dropped... :)

    I can say with absolute certainty that for the first six months of owning my first dSLR (or even SLR) that the kit lens was NOT the limiting factor in my education. Especially if you're doing landscapes, you will be stopping the lens down to f/8 or f/11 anyway so it's not like you actually need a fast zoom (unless you want a short depth of field, but that's typically more for portrait/macro stuff which generally use longer lenses).

    You'll be surprised just how close you can get with the 18-55, especially zoomed to 55mm. Your lens will be within inches of your subject. Learn macro shots this way with friendly targets (flowers instead of stinging insects), and then look into dedicated macro lenses if it's your thing. I find I rarely really need VR with this lens, and if I do, it's usually because I really should be using a tripod or flash. :)

    Use the 18-55 set to the focal lengths of the prime lenses people talk about here to see if you like them. You'll get a pretty good idea of how they act if you can avoid temptation to zoom and just set it to 30mm, 35mm, and 50mm. Of course you won't get the fast aperture, but you'll get an idea of how they handle.

    Try using your 55-200mm for portrait shots. At 55mm, it's f/4 which will yield a reasonably short depth of field. At longer lengths, the aperture goes smaller sure, but your focal length will really make up for it. Try portraits with this lens and decide if you like making portraits. Then buy a portrait lens (which can be the same as your macro lens, incidentally). I do find the VR helpful on this lens.

    I recently got the 35/1.8 and have done some shooting with it (primarily at my sister's wedding). It's a fun lens that frees you from the zooming and reframing and makes you move your feet. The very short depth of field it can give is also fun to play with. Manual focus override is a nice feature that the other two lenses I mentioned don't have.

    I really love the setup I have and I think it's a great, inexpensive way to learn. Stick with the cheap kit lens for now, learn to shoot the camera, learn to deal with holding it steady (they've done it for years without VR, after all) and have fun. Wait at least six months before you get the Expensive New Gear itch. :)
  36. Troy,
    I also own a D40 and I have the 2 kit lenses (18-55 VR, and 55-200 VR).
    I've had very nice results with each. Examples are included here (even though the reductions here don't do them justice). The one of my wife is with the 18-55 lens at a fixed focal of 20mm. For this I just used the 'Auto' setting which I normally don't use.
    The soccer photo was taken with the 55-200 VR at a zoom of 150mm. I used a Shutter Priority setting for this shot since I wanted to catch the action as quickly as possible.
    I have purchased a Tamrom 70-200 2.8 lens to make the action shots a little quicker, but it's more so for me to experiment with a faster lens and expand my hobby. The 55-200 VR provides GREAT shots!
    If I were you I would buy the two kit lenses I have, or pay the little extra to get them all into one lens (18-200 VR from Nikon). That 18-200 lens has nice resale value should you ever want to unload and upgrade to some 2.8 lenses.
  37. @Jeff - Beautiful work. I love the action shot of the girl (daughter?) and her expression. What was the aperture on that? It's worth pointing out, notice that even the humble 55-200VR managed a decent depth of field in that shot, throwing the ref and the opposing player out of focus. Wonderfully timed shot! Where was the beach shot taken?
    Worth mentioning though, the 18-200 is double what you'd pay for buying the 18-55 and the 55-200VR seperately. Even if you bought them new (~$120 and $220 respectively) they don't match the price of the all-in-wonder (~$650). So far I haven't found changing lenses to be that much of a problem, so long as you just think ahead a little about what you're going to need.
  38. Tim,
    Thank you for the very nice comments. The soccer photo of my stepdaughter has the following specs:
    Lens: 55-200 VR with the shutter priority setting
    Aperture: 5.3
    Focus mode: AF-C
    Shutter speed: 1/1250
    Exposure comp: -0.3
    White Balance: Shade setting (gives it a much warmer look than the 'auto' setting)
    ISO 400
    ....And Tim is exactly right. The 18-200 lens costs a few hundred dollars more than the 18-55 and 55-200 combined. It's only a minor incovenience for me to switch lenses also.
    The beach shot of my wife was taken in Runaway Bay, Jamaica in early April on our honeymoon. She's my favorite photo subject :)

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