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Old Oct 17, 2012, 11:42 AM   #1
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Default What lenses to get for Nikon D5100?

I recently purchased a Nikon D5100 with kit lens (18-55mm) just to get myself started. However I want to buy a few lenses to get me going.

I was looking at replacing my kit lens with the Sigma 17-70 mm f2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM. Then I was going to get the Tamron SP AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens for when I need some reach. I have read some really good reviews for these two lenses. And I was wondering if this would be the right choice, if not which ones would you recommend?

Also I was wanting a prime lens for low light situations and indoor, i was looking at the Nikon 35mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8, which would be the better lens?

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 1:56 PM   #2
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I have the D5000, and have the following lenses:

My standard zoom is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. This is an absolutely wonderful lens. It is sharp as a tack wide open and makes for a great indoor events lens as well as an all-arounder. It is long enough to use as a very nice portrait lens, which I think is not true of the 17-50 f/2.8 group of DX lenses that many people choose for their standard zoom. The downsides of the 28-75 include that it does not have stabilization (although I personally don't care about stabilization below about 100mm), and it is slower focusing than any of the ultrasonic motor lenses (Sigma and Nikon are of this sort). But the Tamron costs about $500, while the Sigma is about twice that and the Nikon is about three times that. Optically, the Tammy is as good as any. But if you shoot sports or the like, it will be a bit slow on the focus for you.

My tele zoom is the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR. This is a very fast-focusing lens, so it is quite acceptable for outdoor day sports. I always set the aperture to f/7.1, at which point the lens is very sharp across the zoom range. But it is optically slow (dark), and so is not useful for anything other than well-lit circumstances. If I had money to burn, I'd get the wonderful Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VRII (or even a refurb copy of the VRI), but it's just too much money. The Sigma version of the same lens is optically not as good, and still runs about $1400. Tamron has announced a new 70-200 f/2.8 VS with ultrasonic motor, but it isn't out yet and isn't even priced. If it is optically sharp and under $1000, I would be tempted to get it and use it as an indoor events lens where I can't get too close. All of the f/2.8s are on the heavy side, though, so I expect I'll keep my 70-300 for outdoor daylight use. From everything I've seen, the Tamron you are considering is essentially equivalent to my Nikon lens.

My UWA is the Tokina 12-24 f/4. This is a wonderful lens, and I use it indoors and out under all lighting conditions. But I find UWAs hard to use. When used properly, they can create the photos that I like best. But they are a challenge for me to use.

I have the Nikon 35 f/1.8. It was my first lens with the D5000, and it is very nice. I don't use it much anymore because I prefer the versatility of the 28-75, and f/2.8 is generally good enough -- even indoors. I would pass on the 50, as that is too long a lens for general use on a 1.5x crop camera to my mind.

I have the Tamron 90 f/2.8 "portrait macro." It is my least favorite lens. It has serious LoCA and my copy often fails to properly focus at middle distance or beyond. I keep it because I do occasional macro photography, and it's good enough. But, unlike many folks, I just don't love this lens.

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Old Oct 17, 2012, 4:16 PM   #3
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Of the 35 and the 50 I'd take the 35 on a crop sensor. That one stays on my crop body a lot. Great, cheap little lens.

Regarding your zoom - Nikon is going to announce a new 70-200 F/4 lens next week. No idea at all what the price will be but it's worth waiting a week to find out because it will probably be a great lens and it supposedly is going to be the first Nikon lens with the next generation VR. Probably won't be in your price range but who knows! This is all rumor right now but we'll know for sure in a week. I have the 70-200 VRII that is just jaw-dropping and it stays on my full frame but yeah...it's big and EXPENSIVE!

I agree with TClune on the Tamron 28-75. Great lens. KEH has some in excellent condition for $325 but for the D5100 you have to make sure you get the one with the built-in motor:

They have free shipping through tomorrow. Only thing about that lens is it is fairly bulky compared to your kit lens or the 35mm f/1.8. Compared to the Nikon 24-70 thought it's pretty small!

I have no experience with the Sigma 17-70 but I like the sound of that focal length range on DX.

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