The Way I See It

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What Lens(es) Should I Buy?

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Shanghai Freeway at 60 mph

Shanghai Freeway at 60 mph

Quite regularly, friends who are moving into the DSLR/EVIL world ask this question. Here are some thoughts that I hacked out this morning…

“Regarding lenses, I think the important thing to consider is what your requirements are. If you are looking for a versatile all-in-one lens, the 18-200 might be a better choice. I use the older VR (not VR II) version and for travel and convenience, I like it a lot (it was on my camera most of the time that I was in China). The tradeoff is that it is not as sharp at the larger apertures (i.e., small f-stops) as the more specialized (more $$) lenses. But as I recall, it is just as sharp (if not more) than any of the Nikon 18-something zooms.

Alternatively, instead of an 18-something zoom, you might consider getting the 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR kit lenses. These are also plenty sharp and great value for the money.

If sharpness is the most important (within budgetary considerations), I’d go with the 16-85 + the 70-300 VR. These are the best of the consumer/prosumer lenses. I love my 70-300 and have almost bought the 16-85 a couple of times (I’m still trying to decide whether to go full frame). Plus, the extra 2 mm at the wide angle end is incredibly useful for interiors and landscapes.

As far as fast lenses go, (apart from the 50 mm f1.8), you are looking at a pretty significant investment….so it’s important to first figure out what kind of focal length you will use most often. I think that first playing with that 18-something or 16-something lens will probably help you decide. But overall, I think that you are on the right track.”

Written by xinapray

October 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

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