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Old Nov 19, 2010, 1:37 PM   #1
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Default New to SLR, first lens?

I'm going to buy my first dSLR and will probably get the Nikon D90. I can buy body-only and choose a lens, or with the 18-105 VR bundled for $200 more.

The bundle does seem like the way to go, given the discounted price for that lens and its versatility, but I'm so new to this that I can't shake the feeling that I might just end up not using it in favor of something better later.

But my budget for a lens right now is quite low (~$200) so the only other options that I've found would be the somewhat cheaper 18-55 VR, which could prove to be always handy given its size and weight. Or maybe a 35mm or 50mm 1.8 prime, which I think I'll want down the road regardless.

While there are a lot things I'd like to shoot, from macro to far-off action, my primary use will be chasing my toddler around, both indoors and out, scenery and wildlife. I know that no single lens will do all of that very well, but just trying to figure out what would be my best, first choice.

I'd greatly appreciate any insights or recommendations.

Thanks
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 1:52 PM   #2
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Neither the 18-55 nor the 18-105 is a particularly good lens, and that's to be expected in this price range. But neither is particularly bad either, and for the range and the price, the 18-105 is probably a better lens for you to get started with for shooting a toddler, since you'll probably need that longer focal length often.

But neither lens would be appropriate for shooting indoors unless you want to get a flash as well.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I actually already have an SB-800 speed light that fell into my lap a while back, tho I don't relish shooting with flash in general.

Is there a decent lens that could also handle indoors, sans flash, that you'd recommend?

Thank you
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:18 PM   #4
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There are the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Sigma 18-50/2.8, both of which are very good, but they cost more than $200. Also they're not stabilized, and the stabilized versions are not as good and they're more expensive.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:22 PM   #5
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Thank you, I'll consider those.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:25 PM   #6
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I don't like flash myself, but without flash you'll need longer shutter speeds with typical kit lenses, and that won't work well when your subject is a toddler.

If you want to shoot indoors with available light, you should get image stabilization. The Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Sigma 18-50/2.8 I mentioned are available for Pentax and Sony, where the stabilization is in the body. (Of course, that won't do anything for the motion blur due to subject movement.) Have you considered Pentax or Sony?
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:37 PM   #7
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Pentax, yes, but not Sony. My main issue with both is not wanting to get deep into lenses, impeding a shift to Nikon or Canon later.

This a larger concern for Sony than Pentax.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:37 PM   #8
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My advice is to learn how to use the flash. I have a 4 year old son and a camera with still-good high ISO performance (Canon 1dmkIII) and f1.8 and 2.8 lenses. The truth is - there are simply way too many instances where there isn't enough light to not use flash. Available light photography is great when you toddler is still and near a good window:


But, when you don't have the luxury of good sunlight:


Or God forgive, your toddler moves and you want a photo at night with dim lighting:


Or you actually want to see their eyes and the light source is behind them:


Or you actually want more than one person in focus:


Then you'll need good command of flash. You're buying into a system with arguably the best flash capability and own one of the best flashes on the market. Life with a toddler just isn't always posed portrait shots. Trying to rely on high ISOs and f2.8 is going to cost you way too many shots.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:57 PM   #9
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Those are some great shots. Thank you for sharing those. Yes, being completely new, I'm probably over thinking and expecting too much at the same time.

I think the 18-105 is likely my best choice at this time, since it covers the most bases while I learn the camera the find out what I'd most like to have next, and the 18-55 VR isn't that much cheaper when non-bundled.

You're definitely right that I should not overlook the value of that speed light (another reason against Pentax/Sony).
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