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Old May 22, 2012, 4:20 AM   #1
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Default Lens recommendation for D5100

Hey I am looking to spend around 3-4 hundred on a lens or 2. It (they) will be for walking around and landscapes and really anything.

I am considering the Nikkor 18-105mm
OR
just get the kit lens, the Nikkor 18-55mm and pair it with the Nikkor 55-200 IF-ED
OR
different better options??

The camera is for a beginer to dSLR with an eye for great pictures. close-ups, landscapes, really anything.
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:00 AM   #2
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The Nikon 18-135 has a lot of vignetting and a lot of distortion. If you'll always be shooting in bright light and using small apertures, and won't be shooting any buildings, it could work ok as a walk-around lens.

Nikon's 18-105 has the same limitations.

The unstabilized Tamron 17-50/2.8 and 28-75/2.8 are a lot better if you can live with the limited zoom range.

You might consider the Sigma 18-125, but I think you'll get best results with Sigma's 17-70/2.8-4.0 OS.
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Old May 22, 2012, 9:24 AM   #3
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I think TCav has the right idea. I have the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, and it is my most-used lens. It has the versatility to be used as an indoor event lens, a portrait lens, or a close-up lens. It is a wonderful walking-around lens.

What I would want to add to TCav's post is that you ought to plan for your entire kit. You don't need to buy them all now, but if you have a plan on how you want your kit to evolve, it can make your choice of individual lenses easier. For me, my standard zoom set is the Tokina 12-24 f/4, the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, and the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR. These go together quite nicely -- including the fact that the Nikon and the Tamron take the same 67mm filters. You might want to get a different WA or tele lens, and use that to drive your choice of standard zoom. For example, if you love the Sigma 8-16mm UWA, you might find combining that with the Tamron 17-50 and the Nikon 55-300 to be an ideal kit combination.

I would suggest that the choice between 17-50 and 28-75 might well be driven by what you want your standard lens for. To my mind, 17-50 is just too short to use as an event lens or for portraiture, while 28-75 is too long for many people for landscapes. Think about how you actually use the lenses, and decide which combo would provide a work flow that you would be comfortable with. I think that many folks will be able to readily choose which of the combinations would fit them, while they may be unable to reach a decision of whether the 17-50 or 28-75 by itself is the lens for them. FWIW
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Old May 22, 2012, 1:41 PM   #4
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The Nikon 18-135 has a lot of vignetting and a lot of distortion. If you'll always be shooting in bright light and using small apertures, and won't be shooting any buildings, it could work ok as a walk-around lens.

Nikon's 18-105 has the same limitations.

The unstabilized Tamron 17-50/2.8 and 28-75/2.8 are a lot better if you can live with the limited zoom range.

You might consider the Sigma 18-125, but I think you'll get best results with Sigma's 17-70/2.8-4.0 OS.
I guess i am in-between the sigma 17-70 and the Sigma 18-125. The 18-125 has a larger zoom and is a little less expensive. Is the 17-70 that much more worth it? This whole camera set up is not for me so it's hard to say what exactly will be shot. I just want to provide the camera and a GREAT starting lens as she will likely not buy another herself.

Also, was the second option with the Nikkor 18-55 and the 55-200 IF-ED not a good choice?

Last edited by schackel; May 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM.
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Old May 22, 2012, 4:47 PM   #5
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The Sigma 17-70 provides better image quality than the 18-125. In fact, it's probably the best third-party, stabilized lens, and it's better than many OEM stabilized lenses, including the 18-55 kit. Plus it's got a larger maximum aperture, so it works better in low light and it can provide a more shallow depth of field.

But for total zoom range, the 18-55 & 55-200 is a good choice.
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Old May 25, 2012, 10:55 PM   #6
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The Sigma 17-70 provides better image quality than the 18-125. In fact, it's probably the best third-party, stabilized lens, and it's better than many OEM stabilized lenses, including the 18-55 kit. Plus it's got a larger maximum aperture, so it works better in low light and it can provide a more shallow depth of field.

But for total zoom range, the 18-55 & 55-200 is a good choice.
ok TCav last question, will a beginner to DSLR be able to see the difference in getting the Sigma 17-70mm over a less expensive option? Like the Nikon 18-55mm or similar? Or am I really paying for the larger max aperture? And if so, is that really worth it?

Edit: other examples besides the nikon 18-55mm are, Tamron 17-50mm(non VC) and Sigma 18-50mm

Last edited by schackel; May 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM.
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Old May 26, 2012, 8:57 AM   #7
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The unstabilized Tamron 17-50/2.8 is the best of the lot. If you can do without the stabilization, I wholeheartedly endorse that one.

And let me be clear: None of these lenses are bad all the time. In fact, they're all good most of the time. The difference is the range of circumstances where they will continue to be good.

Larger apertures allow you to capture properly exposed images in less light (indoors, evening, etc.), use faster shutter speeds in the same light (to avoid motion blur due to subject movement), and to get more shallow depths of field (to isolate a subject from the background, like for portraits.) Plus, large aperture lenses are usually better at smaller apertures than lenses with smaller apertures are. But they mean more glass, more size and weight, and higher cost. Only you can decide if they're worth it.

If all you'll ever do is view your photographs on a computer monitor or TV, or print them at 4x6, you probably won't notice the difference in image quality you'd get with the best of these as opposed to the worst, most of the time. But you will occasionally.
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Old May 26, 2012, 8:20 PM   #8
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The unstabilized Tamron 17-50/2.8 is the best of the lot. If you can do without the stabilization, I wholeheartedly endorse that one.

And let me be clear: None of these lenses are bad all the time. In fact, they're all good most of the time. The difference is the range of circumstances where they will continue to be good.

Larger apertures allow you to capture properly exposed images in less light (indoors, evening, etc.), use faster shutter speeds in the same light (to avoid motion blur due to subject movement), and to get more shallow depths of field (to isolate a subject from the background, like for portraits.) Plus, large aperture lenses are usually better at smaller apertures than lenses with smaller apertures are. But they mean more glass, more size and weight, and higher cost. Only you can decide if they're worth it.

If all you'll ever do is view your photographs on a computer monitor or TV, or print them at 4x6, you probably won't notice the difference in image quality you'd get with the best of these as opposed to the worst, most of the time. But you will occasionally.
for a beginner do you thing not having stabilized will be an issue? she probably will never use a tripod
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Old May 26, 2012, 9:14 PM   #9
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for a beginner do you thing not having stabilized will be an issue? she probably will never use a tripod
If what you're shooting requires a fast shutter speed (sports, action, etc.) to prevent motion blur due to subject movement, then you've probably got the motion blur due to camera shake covered too. If your subject doesn't require a fast shutter speed anyway, then you could benefit from image stabilization.
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Old May 26, 2012, 10:22 PM   #10
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If what you're shooting requires a fast shutter speed (sports, action, etc.) to prevent motion blur due to subject movement, then you've probably got the motion blur due to camera shake covered too. If your subject doesn't require a fast shutter speed anyway, then you could benefit from image stabilization.
doesnt this small of range in the 17-50 not matter that much though? I guess just going off your last post i would say that she would need stabilization because she shoot mostly landscapes, flowers, people and other just cool looking things somewhat close-up. Would stabilization be a strong benefit here?
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