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Old Feb 7, 2011, 10:20 PM   #1
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Default Beginner needs help picking a lens

Hi
My husband bought a camera Nikon d3000 for me...and I need advice on buying a lens. I take mostly close ups of my daughter and would like a different lens. It came with a 18-55 len but it doesn't work for close up (head shots..portrait). I take more of "face" pictures than I do full body or waist up. I am sure all you pros can tell me what lens I need to capture the pictures I want.

Thanks.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 5:43 AM   #2
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I'm surely not a pro, but I would be interested in the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 BIM for that kind of work. It will cost you about $500, which is basically as good a price as you're going to find to move up from the kit lens. The things that are attractive about this lens to my way of thinking are that it is brighter than the kit lens so can be used in dimmer light and can give you better subject isolation, has excellent sharpness across its entire field at all zooms, and covers the full range of classic portrait focal lengths on your camera's DX body. If you are not really taking portraits, but are catching your daughter unawares from a distance, you would want a longer lens than this though.

Last edited by tclune; Feb 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 6:35 AM   #3
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... I take more of "face" pictures than I do full body or waist up. ...
For that, you'll need a longer focal length. A shorter focal length will give an odd perspective, and may distort noses and ears, for instance.

For 35mm flim SLRs, focal lengths from 85mm to 135mm were generally accepted to be good lenses for portraiture. On an APS-C dSLR (like your D3000), lenses with focal lengths of from 57mm to 90mm will provide the same angle of view. Since you take more "face" pictures, a longer focal length would be better. Also, a large aperture will make it easier to blur the background.

Nikon's 24-120mm f/4 VR (~$1,050), and 85mm f/3.5 Micro VR (~$476), Sigma's 85mm f/1.4 (~$899), and Tamron's 90mm f/2.8 Macro (~$460) are good choices. The Nikon 24-120 could replace your 18-55 kit lens for conventional shooting, and the Nikon 85/3.5 and Tamron 90/2.8 are also macro lenses, and so could let you explore that type of photography as well. The Nikon lenses are stabilized, which might come in handy for what you want to do; the Sigma and Tamron aren't.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 8:29 AM   #4
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Are you sure these first two can autofocus on the D3000?
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 8:47 AM   #5
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Are you sure these first two can autofocus on the D3000?
You're right. They can't. Thanks for catching that. I'll remove them from my original post.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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I own the Tamron 90 f/2.8, and can vouch for it as an excellent lens. Tamron has its usual $50 rebate in effect from now until some time in April, so it will cost around $400. I chose it over the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 because it is a much sharper lens -- the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 is one of the least capable macro lenses you'll ever find (which is still quite good, BTW). The advantages of the Nikon lens are that it has VR (image stabilization) and an ultrasonic motor, which is faster and a bit quieter than the Tamron focusing motor. For me, the unbelievable sharpness of the Tamron was the deciding factor, and I really like the lens.

However, any prime will be a big adjustment if you are used to zoom lenses. You will have to move your feet, and you may not be able to back up enough to get even the face-only shot you want indoors -- on a DX body, 90mm focal length is a lot more zoom than you expect it to be.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 1:16 PM   #7
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I'd like to ask what is it about the 18-55 that "doesn't work for closeups"? I agree that there are MUCH better lenses for portraits but I first want to know what is it about the lens that you don't like?

Personally for an APS-c I think I would tend to go with a 50mm f/1.4 as my first portrait lens for taking pics of my kids. Especially if a lot of your pics are indoors and candids. With the 85 I think it's going to often put you pretty far away on an APS-c for taking pics of your own children. I've even gotten plenty of up-close face shots of my kids using my 35mm 1.8 dx and they look great. Though for your specific needs I would definitely choose the 50mm over the 35. Of course if your problem with the 18-55 is that it doesn't zoom in far enough then you would want to go with the 85 I guess. For me that would just be too long of a focal length for my indoor pics of my kids. You will be amazed at the increased quality of pics from ANY of the lenses I mentioned above!

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Old Feb 12, 2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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I also had the questioning why the 18-55 "doesn't work for closeups"? I have taken head and should portraits with that lens. I guess the better question is, how far away are you when taking the picture? And kudos on the close in framing.

Since lens speed isn't an issue, with the same f-stops and a huge step up is the Nikon 16-85. At the long end, it is generally in the range at the long end of the other lens discussed - but won't do macro like the Tamron 90. While it is relatively expensive, a cheaper alternative is the Nikon 18-105 that you can find around $289 as a white box special that includes NikonUSA 5 yr warranty. THat would free up some funds for the Tamron 90 macro.

Remember, if the long end of the lens is too short, even the 18-55, you can always zoom further with your feet or crop the image.

Last edited by tizeye; Feb 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM.
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 2:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopesMom View Post
... I take mostly close ups of my daughter and would like a different lens. It came with a 18-55 len but it doesn't work for close up (head shots..portrait). I take more of "face" pictures than I do full body or waist up. ...
I think HopesMom is trying to take "face" pictures of her daughter, Hope (I just took a guess at the name. ), who, I presume, is a small child. So while a focal length of 55mm might work ok when shooting adults, it might not work so well in HopesMom's situation.
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