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Looking to extend my glass collection

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  • #2044
    Plamadude30k
    Participant

    So, it’s starting to look like I’ll be able to not only afford a new camera this summer, but also some additions to my lens collection. I certainly won’t have enough money to clear out my entire wishlist, though, so I’m going to have to make some tough calls. I’d like to know what people have found the most useful. I do a lot of landscape and nature photography, but I do want to expand my abilities, especially into macro.

    My current, pitifully small, collection:
    Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
    Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR

    Lenses on my wishlist:

    I will almost certainly get:
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 or Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (if I can afford it)

    And possibly one of:
    Vivitar 7mm f/3.5
    Tokina 12-24mm f/4 or Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5
    Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 or Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 (macros)
    Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6

    I was also lusting after a 500mm (or 800mm) mirror lens, but I feel very wary of that for some reason. Can anybody confirm or allay my trepidation on that matter?

    EDIT: I forgot to mention, I will at the very least be getting the D7000 kit lens (18-105mm f/3.5-5.6), since I will be selling my old camera with its kit lens (the 18-55mm).

    #33303
    ravnostic
    Participant

    I’ve been really happy with my 50mm f1.8 (Canon, it’s the new version that doesn’t use the messy old black powder). Of course, it’s more an 85mm with the sensor size. It takes wonderful shots. I would suggest the 70-300mm; it allows for shots down to 4-5 feet, which does pretty well at zooming in on stuff for ‘macro’ work, but you’ll love having the added distance capability.

    #33294
    chupathingie
    Participant

    Throw in some extender rings, for $75/set you’ll really be able to get in close with some macro (I’m all over that soonly, myself)

    #33293
    soosh
    Participant

    well, with macro, I’m starting to think you can’t beat enlarger lenses and a bellows, and I may be moving on to microscope objectives pretty soon. fascinating stuff.

    The Tokina 12-24 is one of my very most favorite lenses. I use it for all kinds of stuff.

    Mirror lenses can vary in quality and can also give you some strange out-of-focus bokeh that is kind of donut-shaped, but I’ve seen some good results from them. They all do seem to have pretty slow aperture speeds.

    The Vivitar lens seems pretty well made, but I don’t like the fisheye effect. I rarely come across instances when I need something wider than 12mm, and when I do, I can just stitch photos together. I think fisheyes are good if you’re going for the curved/rounded look, but not so much for anything else.

    50mm, for me, is an awkward lens length to use on a 1.6 crop camera. I find myself much more likely to use a 35mm or wider or an 85mm or longer approach to things. I just don’t seem to run across a whole lot in the 50mm range to take photos of. If I do, I’ve got a manual-focus Contax-Yashica lens I picked up in a pawn shop for $5 that goes to f/1.4 (and only f/1.4), so I use that.

    #33288
    Curious
    Participant

    when i bought my D3000 i also got a AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm F:4.5-5.6 ED VR and really like it. replaced the 18-55 kit lens with the D7000 kit lens 18-105 and find it works much better for what i shoot.

    Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 — as you probably know that is an FX lens which means you will get the 1.6 crop factor on your new D7000. with the 18-105 and the 70 with crop at 112 you won’t lose any appreciable coverage. and you get an effective 480 at full zoom. BUT you will pay almost $200 at MSRP more than the 55-300 i have.

    #33287
    sleeping
    Participant

    I will almost certainly get:
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 or Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (if I can afford it)

    If you do get the 50/1.8, you could get a 52mm reverse coupling ring too. That plus the 55-200mm makes a very decent setup for high magnification macro shooting:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/awrose/3177643125/ (I used a 50mm series E which is an older manual lens but has the exact same optics)

    The new 50/1.4 is only worth the money over the 1.8 if you *really* need high sharpness wide open or the extra 2/3 stop

    And possibly one of:
    Vivitar 7mm f/3.5
    Tokina 12-24mm f/4 or Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5
    Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 or Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 (macros)
    Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6

    I would recommend starting with one of the rectilinear wide angle options, too.

    Fisheyes are fun, but not something most people use every day, or even every month (unless you’re planning on taking up snowboard/skateboard photography…)

    A 55/60mm macro and a 50mm standard prime seems kind of 50mm heavy for a DX kit, and I’d generally recommend a longer macro lens than 55-60mm (tamron 90mm, 85 or 105 nikkor, sigma 105 or 150mm etc). Although the 60mm F2 macro could probably safely double as a fast-ish portrait lens as well as a macro, so that might be a useful way to go instead of the nikon 50s…

    The 70-300 VR is a very decent lens, but it’s not an overwhelming improvement on the 55-200, which is actually an excellent bargain for the optical quality it has. Unless you really need faster focusing, I wouldn’t priortize it.

    I was also lusting after a 500mm (or 800mm) mirror lens, but I feel very wary of that for some reason. Can anybody confirm or allay my trepidation on that matter?

    Mirror lenses are really hard to use effectively because of the slow fixed aperture and weird bokeh. It’s not impossible, but I’d rather have something a bit more usable (which is why I bought an old 200-500 F5.6 Tamron adaptall last week, 300$ and no donut bokeh: http://www.flickr.com/photos/awrose/5676880587/ )

    #33286
    Plamadude30k
    Participant

    Well, donut bokeh on the mirror lenses is to be expected-it’s more or less the same optical design as a telescope (basically looks like a cassegrain), and since the bokeh shape is basically just the aperture shape, it would have to be a donut.

    So what I’m hearing so far is that the the 50mm, f/1.8 is probably the best bet , with possibly the 70-300 mm or a longer macro, or the Tokina 12-14mm if I can afford more than one lens. At this point I’m leaning towards going with the 50mm, macro rings (found a nice set on B&H) and possibly the Tokina, which I think would cover most of what I want to do. I like the idea of the 70-300mm, but I’m just not sure if it would give me that much extra capability over my beloved 55-200mm.

    I think I might be able to fit this all in my budget! Horray!

    #33280
    soosh
    Participant

    that tokina is a hell of a lens. I have a gallery at the manufacturers web site.

    http://www.thkphoto.com/gallery/g-07.html

    #33281
    SilverStag
    Participant

    I find the 35mm f/1.8 to be the single most useful prime I own. 50mm is kind of awkward, and if I had to have only one, it would be the 35.

    #33282
    caradoc
    Participant

    Bang for the buck, I dearly love my Tamron 90mm f/2.8. Works fine on a D7000, but has some AF issues for video/Live View. However, since I don’t do much video and I primarily use Live View for manual focus for macro work, it doesn’t bother me at all.

    Works great for portraiture and macro:

    #33279
    orionid
    Participant

    I’ve got the Nikkor 60mm 2.8 macro and love it for macro work, but I do find it limiting as a walkaround. It’s too long for wide stuff, and not long enough for tele work.

    Spider Warning

    Recently, though, I’ve been using one of my dad’s/my old Pentax lenses, a sigma 200mm prime tele/macro, which, according to the internet, doesn’t exist. I bought a $15 PK to Nikon F adapter from hong kong, knocked out the conversion lens and dremeled out the inner diameter, effectively making it a 10mm extension tube, added a 12mm extension tube, and use it as a dedicated macro to wonderful results.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionid/4759129050/in/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionid/4759130374/

    The 18-105 is a good walkaround, as is the 24mm 2.8 (not on your list)
    We also have an older version of the 50mm 1.8 (stuck wide open… The aperture blades rusted after a hike through a thunderstorm, so after cleaning and oiling failed, I just took them out), and it makes for a good portrait lens, but due to its limitations, not much else.

    Just my $.02

    #33278
    Kestrana
    Participant

    Macro! We have both the 55-200 and the 70-300 and let me tell you I never use the 55-200 anymore unless for some reason orionid is using it and I want more zoom, but the focus element at 300 is either messed up or really soft focus. You pretty much have to manually focus between 270-300mm. I pretty much use the 18-105 or a macro lens although lately I’ve been pushing at myself to use more primes. We’re probably going to rent the 105mm Nikkor for Hawaii and can speak more to that then.

    #33306
    Curious
    Participant

    for macro work i have (and really like) a set of extension tubes

    #33305
    zincprincess
    Participant

    Macro – I rented the 60 mm before I bought the 85 mm. I like the 60 mm for lots of reasons but decided to buy the 85 mm because it allows you to get more up in the business of the subject. I have sets of both on flickr.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/38736385@N02/sets/72157625181810196/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/38736385@N02/sets/72157626034807314/

    I have the same two kit lenses and almost never use them. Generally I’m using either the 35mm f/1.8 or the 85 mm. I will probably sell both of the kit lenses at some point to get a better zoom.[/url]

    #33304
    Farktographer
    Participant

    If you haven’t already gotten one, I’m in talks with someone on craigslist to buy a Nikon Series E f/1.8 50mm lens, hopefully today. If it goes according to plan, I can let you know how it works with the D7000 shortly.

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