Soon-to-Be newbie Nikon Owner in Dire Need of Advice

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tammy_allen, May 20, 2016.

  1. I am going this evening to purchase a Nikon D7100. This I am sure of. Lenses... Not so much.

    I've been a faithful canon shooter for 8 years with the old ancient Rebel t1i. So it's about time I take the plunge and upgrade, eh? And
    just go all wild and switch to a Nikon!

    What I plan to shoot is
    *portraits of people
    *my very active, sport playing, running around, can't stay still, just all crazy 7 year old son
    *tourist-y vacation shots, so landscapes, buildings, scenery etc
    *low light shots indoors and out
    *shots inside of museums, without flash more than likely

    Out of these lenses, what are my best options for my photography needs?

    This is the first D7100 bundle that I'm looking at:
    *DX AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G ED VR

    Second bundle that's an option:
    *18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G II
    *55-300mm same as the one above
    *DX AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8
    *DX AF-S Micro Nikkor 85mm 1:3.5 G ED VR

    Then another option I'm considering is just the D7100 with the 18-140mm kit. Then adding a few extra lenses.

    Also, would I need BOTH the 35 and 55mm 1.8 G standards since I want to do portraits, low light, scenery landscaping tourist-stuff.

    What lenses options should I combine or go with to meet all my needs? Without breaking the bank too, too much. I can splurge a little....

    I've also considered the el cheapo Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC all-in-one zoom lens

    Any advice and breakdown on what lenses would suit my needs is greatly GREATLY appreciated. Please and thank you 😊

    Also, I will shoot in Raw. I have been using Photoshop Elements to edit my pictures for several years. Considering going to Lightroom....
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What lenses did you have for the Canon Rebel? These Canon and Nikon cameras are fairly similar. The lenses for work before will likely continue to work as long as you get the Nikon equivalent. If you are not sure, I would go generic and get a 18-140mm zoom. Add more lenses later on when you figure out what else will enhance your photography.
    If you still have some Canon lenses that are working for you, IMO getting something like a Canon 70D maybe a simpler option since you don't need to think about lenses immediately.
  3. Hello,
    You should enjoy the camera. I think you will be fine up to iso 3200 with a little noise reduction work. The low light part of what you will shoot is going to be the hard part. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that wider aperture/lower f number gets you more light and narrower depth of field. f2.8 zooms are expensive. I guess you know about KEH as a pretty good place for used equipment.
    The 17-55 f2.8 DX lens is dated but will work. I use the 17-35 f2.8 FX for both DX and FX and like it. The new 16-80 f2.8-4 DX VR is a very nice lens I am using on a D5500. It of course gives a 24-120 FX equivalent range.
    The 70-300 f4-5.6 VR is fairly inexpensive for the long end. Again, the light issue.
    With more light, the kit lenses should do pretty well. If you have shot in those places before look at the f stop and the iso to see what your light requirements are. I guess if the kids are moving fast you need a shutter speed faster than 1/125.
    3 fast primes may be less expensive but then you have to change lenses on time.
    Have fun.
  4. hi Tammy, my advice is to not overthink this and keep things simple. if i were you, i'd start out with the 18-140 and the 35/1.8. that's actually a pretty versatile starter kit. the 18-140 should handle most things (in good light) and has enough range that you wont have to constantly swap lenses. the 35 will be good for low-light/no-flash and also full body portraits. use that for a few months, and maybe later on add another fast prime, like the 85/1.8, for dedicated portraits. you could also get something slightly shorter for portraits, like a 60mm, but i would hold off on that initially and get accustomed to the 35 first. you may also want to add a flash and SC-29 sync cord for off-camera flash at some point.
  5. Ye gods, an 8 year old camera? How did you manage?
    Seriously, your existing camera can handle all that you mention.
  6. +1 for Eric's advice. 18-140 mm is a good choice. 35 or 50mm are too short for head and shoulders portraits, you always want to stand back at least about 6 feet, or a little more is better perspective for portraits. Start at 60mm (and a zoom will do that). 30mm is the "normal" lens for most average subjects (on the cropped sensor), but the zoom will do that with more versatility. The cropped sensor will need 18mm for wide angle like indoors (where we cannot stand back very far). Wildlife and sports will like the longest lenses.

    f/1.8 sounds good for dim museums, but 35mm might be short sometimes. Digital cameras have come a long way, and higher ISO at f/4 can work fine too (meaning, the zoom). I'd wait on the 35 f/1.8 until you sense the actual need.
  7. Do you have more than one lens for your Canon? Do you have a TTL flash?

    If so, I strongly recommend that you do not buy Nikon and buy a new canon camera instead.

    I have been a Nikon user for 40 years, but switching between camera brands is an expensive thing to do. The old saying is you date your camera bodies but you marry your camera system -- the lenses, dedicated flash units, anything else that only works with Canon or only works with Nikon.

    Nikon and Canon are roughly equivalent. One brand might get a jump on the other today, then it's the opposite six months from now. Once you've married one, I see no need to "fool around" with the other.

    By sticking with Canon you can save money by just buying a new body and using the lenses, flash etc. you already have. And you will have your existing body as a backup.
  8. I'd wait on the 35 f/1.8 until you sense the actual need.​
    i wouldn't. i'd get this right away; the need will be apparent the minute you need to take an indoor shot in available light and you realize the 18-140 is a bit slowish. since the lens is only $200, it doesnt really make sense NOT to have a low-light option. while it is true that modern digital bodies have pretty good high ISO performance, i'd suggest not relying purely on raising ISO, and practicing working with shallow DoF; with a fast lens, it's easier to separate the backgrounds to make the subject 'pop.' The reason i suggested the 18-140+35/1.8 combo is because it covers probably 85-90% of the basics with just two relatively inexpensive lenses. The 35 is also particularly good for kid pics and casual candids because of its compact size and general unobtrusiveness. it's not likely to intimidate or draw undue attention due to its size.
    35mm might be short sometimes​
    this is true, but the wider options -- 24/1.8, 20/1.8 -- are a lot more expensive and a bit less ubiquitous focal lengths, especially for a newbie to Nikon. when you're just learning a new camera, you don't need to cover every possible photographic situation, you just need a few reasonably versatile options.
  9. I'd second the recommendation for one fast prime in the kit. Otherwise a normal range zoom in the 20 or less something to ca. 100mm.
    The 50mm f/1.8 is always great, but the 35mm will serve also.
  10. Have you thought about getting the body and the 18-140 and wait before buying more lenses? Use this combo for awhile until you get comfortable with both. Then you will see what you may be lacking and decide from that experience what your next lens will be. Enjoy your new camera!
  11. First, the D7100 is a wonderful camera.
    Second, the 35mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens, a great value, which will serve you well for low light photography, landscapes, and portraits. Some have told you that the 35mm is too short for portraits. Their logic is this: if you shoot a head and shoulders portrait with the 35, you will be too close to your subject, and the perspective from that position will tend to broaden the face and enlarge the nose, effects that most of us don't seek. All you have to do to prevent that is to step back. With 24MP, you can be further away and crop. So get the 35mm.
    Third, for all-round use, the 18-140mm sounds very good.
  12. I'd be unwilling to deal with Tamron quirks & flaws to just have a bit of telephoto range extension. IMHO a 18-140 can be pretty fulfilling as a single lens for tourism etc. (I shot the Nikon once but haven't seen the results.) I took several vacations etc. with nothing above 135mm for my "DX" cameras and was content with my kit.
    If you believe in a need for a 55-300mm to shoot your son from the sports field's corner by daylight, you'll probably need such a zoom too. - If you pair it with an 18-140mm it is going to become a stay at home candidate and if you pair it with an 18-55 you'll crave a 2nd body soon, to avoid changing lenses all the freaking time. Considering Nikons' weight I'd go for the 18-140.
    Primes: I do love and recommend the 50mms on DX & everything APS. I see little use in owning a fast 35mm for the reasons: If you shoot it in low light you'll frame 2 people but have one of them out of focus. - with a 50mm you are more likely able to frame a portrait. An SLR with 50mm makes a nice counterweight to everybody else's iphones or a nice fixed 24mm lens APS compact on your other shoulder, while 35mms are a usually never entirely right compromise.
    35 & 85mm are a wonderful lens pairing on FX but for DX with just one body I'd be too lazy to change back and forth and prefer the compromise of a 50mm. - Nothing wrong about a 85mm VR macro, but are you really into small product shots or flowers? - If not: procrastinate!
    IDK how much you'll be saving with the various kits compared to single lens retail prices. If the 55-300is $50 cheaper combined with a 18-140 kit, buy it now.
    Last word on primes picking: You took photos before. There is evaluation software that figures out which were your most frequently used focal length settings. Shopping primes according to that data is a good idea, but capturing moments with a quite decent zoom is a better one. - Enjoy your new camera!
  13. if you shoot a head and shoulders portrait with the 35, you will be too close to your subject
    If you shoot it in low light you'll frame 2 people but have one of them out of focus. - with a 50mm you are more likely able to frame a portrait.​
    there is no rule that one has to shoot a H&S portrait with a 35mm. also no rule one has to shoot a 2-person low-light shot. the reason i suggested a 35mm was because the OP has a young child. They tend to move around a bit and may not even sit still long enough for a formal portrait. the 35mm focal length gives a little wiggle room and is more natural for candids on DX than a 50mm, which IMO is just a bit too short for H&S portraits, though some people like that FL. The other obvious point is that you can do full-body shots or frame 2 people with a 35 on DX. A 50 on DX is more of a one-subject length.
    35mms are a usually never entirely right compromise.​
    not in my experience. i have a 50 and a 35/1.8, i use the 35 wayyyy more on DX. Indoors, a 50 is gonna be a bit tight for many scenes, but a 35 works. you can always scoop a 50 or 60 later on, but i would start with a 35 for that reason.
  14. When I bought my first Nikon in January I did research and opted not to buy any of the Nikon lenses that had a plastic mount. I don't remember specifically which ones that had them but I got the 18-200 mm zoom lens (no plastic) and the 35 mm lens. These lenses are enough for my needs.
  15. A Tokina 12-24mm f4 is not a bad choice, I had one on a D7000 for quite some time and was very happy how it performed. A Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is not bad either, although a little slow, a bit dated as it's been out for awhile, nevertheless, it's very underrated, and makes a nice travel/tourist walk about lens. Not heavy, fairly compact, they can had for a song on the bay, if you want to go that route. The 35mm F/1.8G is also very underrated. The 35mm as you may know, has long been a favorite as a "normal" lens. The Nikkor 18-200mm VR gets some nice things said about it also.
    You can get some fine images with some of the not so expensive lenses
    Most of these lenses are a little older, but can still be had new or used without having to rob a bank!
    Personally, I had a tough time letting go of the D7000/Tokina combo, had it for several years, I really liked it, but I let it go to acquire a D810, I shoot almost entirely landscrapes (pun intended). There are many suggestions and opinions here, all have merit, but I think a good quality wide zoom, and a longer mid to 200mm zoom and a prime (35mm f/1.8G), or two, would serve you well on this format. You can do some nice portraits with a 50mm prime, should you decide on taking that direction, or you can use the 18-200mm zoom at about 80 to 105mm to make some pleasing portraits. The 35 and 50 should get you nice indoor shots, they are plenty fast, especially if you up your ISO from say 200 to 400, somewhere in that ballpark.
    I can't speak to any of the other third party lenses other than Tokina, as I've never used them, but there are some good ones out there.
    I would also add, that a move to LR would serve you well, it's more sophisticated, and very flexible, and not all that difficult to learn, (be patient) especially if you shoot in RAW format. I think it has a better workflow arrangement than Elements, and you can fine tune your images to a much greater degree, but that's just me.
    Lots of good ideas here, plenty to think about.
    Most important of all, is to have fun with it!
  16. do not buy an 18-200 for use on a 24mp sensor like a d7100. nice things were only said about that lens when sensors were 6mp. the 18-140 is the updated version. you lose some reach but gain more acuity with high-mp cameras. it's perfect as a walkaround lens on DX, a little slow but the range makes up for it. i had, actually still have, a tokina 12-24/4. love the contrastiness stopped down to about 6.3-8 but if i was buying today, i'd look at the tokina 11-20/2.8 or 12-28/4. we havent discussed wide angles on this thread yet, and that wouldnt be my first lens purchase with a new camera. i'm saying, cover the basics first -- all-purpose zoom and low-light lens. that's it for 6 months. after that, you'll have a better idea of what you might want to add.
  17. To try to avoid confusion that may have been created by my posting together with Eric's. We are both saying that the 35mm is fine for portraits. It will work well for you.
  18. Simplify. Get a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM OS. Fast enough for portraits, very sharp, and plentiful used.
    Kent in SD
  19. I'd go with the 18-140 and the 35. Very versatile kit. I did a whole 3 week trip to Europe last year with a Fuji DX camera,
    an 18-135 lens and a 23mm and didn't feel I was lacking for anything.
  20. For lenses, look from experience in canon land and take that experience to nikon land. Nothing very surprising is going to happen. A crop is a crop. 18-55mm is just about perfect touristy lens, small and lightweight. Beware of AF-P versions though with D7100, as fysical controls are limited in AF-P lenses. Older 18-70mm is very nice to use. I suppose the 18-140mm must be the big thing these days. 35mm DX is all, but FX coverage and distance scale.
    PSE is very good program if one is looking to produce few stunning images from array of raws, but free Nikon Capture NX-D is capable program to make batch conversions, with perhaps more vivid colours than competitors, from array of raws. Lastly do not underestimate current incamera built-in jpeg engine, tune in preferred settings and save plenty of computer time.
  21. You might try going to Flickr and typing in a particular lens, take a look at images that others have posted, there's a lot of 'em, and it'll give you a good idea of what each lens is capable of and how someone used it.
  22. Get a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM OS. Fast enough for portraits, very sharp, and plentiful used.​
    i have this lens too. it is sharp. i use it for events/reportage/street. IMO it wouldnt be what i would choose for the OP as a primary lens. 2.8 constant aperture is nice to have if you are covering events or doing PJ work. but that zoom range is really too short for everyday walkaround use. it may not end up simplifying things, since you'll probably want some telephoto coverage if you get this. OTOH, the 18-140's range is such that it replaces two lenses in the bag (standard zoom/telephoto), and covers the entire portrait range (approx 55-85mm on DX). sure, it has a variable aperture and is slowish on the long end, but you can always just use a flash. another reason why i wouldnt suggest a 2.8 zoom for the OP at this time is that 2.8 is sometimes not fast enough for available-light, and doesn't provide all that much shallow DoF on DX at that focal length. being able to shoot at f/2 or 2.2 with a 1.8 lens gives you a whole 'nother stop over a 2.8 and 1 1/2 stops from the 3.5 max aperture of the 18-140 (at 18mm). that's the difference between ISO 1600 and ISO 5000, as well as additional subject-isolation capabilities.
  23. Links above are to 2 of my images using the Nikon 7100 with the 18-200 mm zoom lens.
  24. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Congrats on the D7100. After forty-some years of Canon--film FT/QL to XTi--I jumped to the dark side due to a number of body considerations. It's been a year now with this kit and I am well pleased.
    My decision was to go mostly with Sigma lenses. Their newest 'Contemporary' offerings feature outstanding optics and the ability to fine tune the lens at four points along its range via a USB dock. My current kit is the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro (OS) HSM | C, and an AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II.
    This has me covered from one end to another for most conditions that I might encounter. I have macro rings for the short end, and a Nikkor telextender for the long end. Later, i might think about adding a prime or two--and maybe a general purpose 18-200mm for public event work.

    There are a lot of good combos out there--and some great buys in the used market. Have fun, and shoot lots of frames!
  25. Check out the Nikon D3300 with a 18-200 DX VR lens, Great Reviews on this Camera.
  26. Another vote for the 18-140mm kit zoom here. For the little extra it costs over a body-only deal, you can't go wrong. I was knocked out by the image quality and versatility of it when I bought it as a kit with a D7200. And I have some top-quality primes to compare it to. It's up there punching well above its weight. OK, it doesn't have a very fast aperture and its sharpness is a hair away from perfection, but it's a great all-rounder with a decent zoom range and very good VR. Pretty unbeatable for the money I'd say.
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am going this evening to purchase a Nikon D7100.​
    I am wondering whether the OP has purchased the D7100, perhaps a couple of days ago. I know the responses have been overwhelming, but it would be nice to see how it has worked out so far.
  28. If you choose to buy a Nikon D7100, and you're interested in taking portraits, a couple of things to consider:
    • The Nikon D7100 camera is a DX format camera, with a 1.5x crop factor.
    • While effective portraits of various types can be taken with lenses of almost any focal length, the two focal lengths most often considered to be "portrait" lenses are 85mm and 105mm in FX digital or 35mm film format.
    • In DX format, the closest prime lens equivalent to 85mm in FX format is Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens. With the 1.5x crop factor, that works out to 87mm in FX format, functionally the same as 85mm. That is a very good lens, but is rather expensive. The next closest equivalent is 50mm, which given the 1.5x crop factor works out to 75mm in FX format -- a little shorter, but reasonably close. Nikon currently offers both an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, with a street price of roughly $400; and an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G, with a street price of around $220. Aside from having a slightly smaller maximum aperture, the 50mm f/1.8G has a reputation for excellent image quality, and may your best bet given its significantly lower price.
    • There is currently no Nikon prime lens in DX format that is closely equivalent to 105mm in FX format. (The DX focal length would be 70mm, and there currently isn't any DX prime lens of that focal length.)
    • Given the 1.5x crop factor, the 85mm lens in FX format works out to 127.5mm in DX format. That is a bit long for typical portrait work in indoor spaces, but would work fine outdoors if you back up a bit. Nikon currently offers two 85mm prime lenses: the AF-S 85mm f/1.4G, an excellent but expensive lens; and the AF-S 85mm f/1.8G, which produces truly exceptional image quality and costs a more reasonable $475.
    • Given the 1.5x crop factor, a 35mm lens in FX format works out to 52.5mm in FX format -- functionally the same as the traditional 50mm "standard" lens in FX format. While Nikon currently offers several lenses in the 35mm focal length, the one you want for a DX camera is the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX. Not only is that made specifically for DX cameras, but its street price is around $200 -- substantially less than either the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G FX or the AF-S 35mm f/1.4G. It's quite a sharp lens, delivers excellent image quality on a DX camera, is light and compact, and represents a great bargain considering its price and image quality. While I am now using an FX format camera, I used to have a DX camera and that lens -- trust me, if you have a Nikon DX camera, you want that lens.
    • Re Nikon's 18-140mm zoom lens for DX cameras, I used to own and use one. It is a decent lens, and delivers image quality as good or slightly better than most zooms that are comparable in terms of focal lengths and price range. Nikon's AF-S 85mm f/1.8G prime lens, however, while less flexible in terms of focal lengths, offers a larger maximum aperture, and delivers image quality that is far better, especially if an image is enlarged or cropped -- so much so that I sold my 18-140 zoom. The added convenience and flexibility of using a zoom just weren't enough to justify the tradeoffs in image quality and maximum aperture for me. As with many other things, that's a personal choice, and "your mileage may vary." If you're willing to accept decent rather than great image quality in return for the convenience of a zoom, and don't do much available-light shooting, the 18-140 zoom might be a good choice for your DX camera.
  29. Seems to me that if one is now converting between systems, one should at least plan for a future FX camera, and get some of the lenses that will work with FX. Zooms that go to 18mm normally won't do FX, but many focal lengths mentioned should be available FX. Even more, using just the center (DX area) of many lenses gives better image quality than the whole FX area.
    Otherwise, stay with the current system until you are ready to go FX, and buy new lenses.
    I presume that there is a Canon equivalent to the D7100, and lenses equivalent to the ones mentioned, but I don't follow them close enough to know.
  30. if one is now converting between systems, one should at least plan for a future FX camera
    Otherwise, stay with the current system until you are ready to go FX​
    why? there's nothing wrong with DX. and acquiring FX lenses when you have a DX camera isn't always a smart idea. the idea that there is a future FX camera in every DX user's future might make Nikon's marketing department happy, but it's not borne out by actual use/sales.

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