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Old Jan 12, 2011, 9:58 AM   #1
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Default Lens questions

I have a Nikon D3000 which I recently bought during the christmas period. Now I want to get a "better" lens than the 18-55mm that came with the kit. I'm fine with the 18-55mm so far, it works pretty well for what I need to do most of the time... but I want some better depth of field effects.
So I want to know... would a 35mm f1.8 Nikon AF-S lens be okay for a mild depth of field image? My main purpose is to take photos of cars and objects... and also the random portrait at parties etc.
I did also look into a Nikon 50mm f1.4 AF-S lens, but I'm not willing to pay the $700 price tag... as that's 1.5 times what I paid for the camera itself...

So is the 35mm okay for what I need to do?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:07 AM   #2
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For cars you'd probably use the wider angle so your kit lens is good. if my depth of field effect you mean background out of focus, i'm no expert but a longer lens focused close will do that better. Find an image on flickr that appeals to you and post the link. That'll clarify your desires.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:27 AM   #3
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Something like this...?



Because this is what I'm currently getting with my car...

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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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You can wrestle with just about any subject with any camera and lens and get a blurred background, but a large aperture will help. If you want to take photos of cars in parking lots or at car shows, you'll probably find it difficult without a short focal length/wide angle of view. I don't think 35mm is quite short enough.

This was shot at a focal length of 45mm because I had plenty of room to back up:



This was shot at 22mm because I didn't:



And for portraits, 35mm is probably too short for a flattering perspective.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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That bmw pic was shot at f/2.8. Yours doesn't have the exif so i don't know. but given it's daylight, maybe f/8 or f/11? try getting close, aperture priority set to your lens's widest (f3.5?), focus on the brake lights and snap. by close i mean 2 or 3 feet.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 11:01 AM   #6
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I think that "portraits at a party" would be well-suited to the 35mm, which is a terrific lens BTW. On your camera, the field of view is equivalent to the traditional "nifty fifty" lens. A longer lens would be a real problem in most indoor settings.

While it is true that an awful lot of car photos are taken with WA lenses, it sounds like you are interested in getting less depth of focus. A WA lens will give you more, not less, DOF. So you might prefer a longer focal length to achieve the OOF look. I can imagine that something like the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 (which runs a hefty $900+) or the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (at a more affordable $400ish) would be an attractive walking around lens for you. FWIW.

ETA: It looks like the Tamron now lists for about $500. Tamron is offering a $25 rebate until spring (Tamron seems to always offer some kind of rebate, so this isn't really the reason to pull the trigger now if you aren't ready to buy.) One word of caution -- the current Nikon mount Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 has "BIM," which means built-in motor. If you buy the same lens used, it will probably not have the built-in focusing motor. Tamron retrofited focusing motors into most of their Nikon mount lenses a year or two ago. The older generation of the same lens doesn't have the focusing motor, and Tamron is not great about naming their lenses in a way that would make that clear.

Last edited by tclune; Jan 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 2:23 PM   #7
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while true that wa gives more dof, when you put it all together, it works. with the kit lens, the op will be able to experiment with focal lengths to see what produces an image he wants. just as an example, from
http://www.bobatkins.com/photography...l/dofcalc.html
you can see that the dof at 2 feet is not much. i don't want to get into coc and such. with a 4 inch dof, there'll be plenty out of focus.

another consideration is that the lens will not be very sharp wide-open and will probably be stopped down a little. increasing the dof.
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 10:24 AM   #8
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I ended up buying a Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8 from a close friend for only $190 when they retail double that. He's a professional photographer and has only used it once or twice. I'm very happy with it and it works great!
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 1:41 PM   #9
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Congratulations! That's a nice lens. I hope it works out welll for what you want to do.
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