D5300 Lenses for a newbie?

1990eam1990eam Posts: 11Member
edited December 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hello people! Kind of new to the forum. I´ve been waiting for the right moment to start with photography and I think the moment has come. I´m making a trip to South Lake Tahoe, California and I will be living there for the whole winter season. Great landscapes, mountains, a big lake, snow. What else could you ask for?

I´m about to buy a D5300 (body only). It´s my first DSLR and I want to be able to take some nice pictures of the lake and the mountains. There´s a great observatory up the mountain and the view is great there. I´ve been reading A LOT but I´m a bit overwhelmed by all the kinds of lenses so I have a couple questions.

I´d like a good landscape lens and another one for when I´m not shooting landscapes. What are your suggestions for these 2 scenarios? I know I should include an estimate budget so.. the camera is $700ish so I think I have another $800ish to spend on lenses (I also need a tripod, etc.).

Anyway, sorry for the big chunk of text. I hope you can help me! And thanks in advance :)
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Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,343Member
    edited December 2013
    That's a tough position to be in. Unless you have any specific requirements, I'd be tempted to say that you should just go for the 18-200mm VR, since it would give you the flexibility to shoot landscapes and distant subjects, while fitting your budget. There are some other combinations you might enjoy, like the 16-85mm VR and 70-300mm VR combo, but that would be well above your budget.

    Normally I wouldn't recommend the AF-S 18-200mm VR, but since it is your first DSLR, and your budget, along with the fact that you have lots of to learn about using the camera itself, it might be better to start there. You can always add other lenses later once you figure out what focal lengths you like working with.

    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,142Moderator
    That is good advice. +1.
    Always learning.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,420Member
    edited December 2013
    What PB_PM said. I had that lens on a D90 for a while and found it very useful. Not spectacular, but the flexibility was very convenient and the image quality was very good. You're going to love it there. If you can, try and hike the Rubicon Trail.

    I know the 18-200 lists for $850 retail, but since the introduction of the 18-300 you'll have no trouble finding gently used copies much cheaper. If you get further into photography and decide to buy a higher end lens, then you don't have too much invested in your "starter" lens. If not, then you have a good lens for a good price.
    Post edited by proudgeek on
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Sound advice above, you won't go wrong if you go 18-200, but a dissenting opinion from me:

    I'm showing D5300 $800 at Adorama, not $700 you quote. So if we say your total budget is $1500 (as you were thinking $700 for body, $800 the rest) here's what I would suggest:

    Not the D5300 but the 5200 + the 55-200mm at the same $800 as the 5300 body alone. I don't think the incremental difference of 5300 over 5200 will matter. That leaves $700 and a stack of choices at the wide end. Where you're thinking landscape, I would want the wide end glass to be as nice as possible. Fast aperture, maybe, not necessarily, but nice if you can.

    18-55 kit lens about $120 and you're "done" with cash in your pocket...
    ... or you can add the nifty 50 1.8G or the 35mmG 1.8 for $200 (would just get one or the other, not both...) and still have some cash...
    ...or get a refurb 28mm 1.8 if you want a wider prime (refurb currently showing $520)
    ...or forget the prime, think extremely wide, and add the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 for $550 and you're still on budget (assuming the tripod etc. isn't part of the $700... if it is, forget I mentioned it)

    There are, of course, slightly over budget options like the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8.

    The good news is, DSLR bodies and consumer lenses are at a point where I don't think a person can make a bad decision.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,823Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Welcome to the forum. The 35 or 50 1.8's are the ones to start with IMHO. They are both sharp lens and for the price perfect for DX bodies. In addition, you would want to get yourself a CPL filter to cut the glare that comes off the snow. As for tripod and good ballhead, please state your budget as well. For telephoto lens, the 18-200 VR II is a great all purpose lens to have. For night shots however, use one of the 1.8's to cut down on noise, hence you ISO settings will be less.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 3,774Member
    edited December 2013
    Agree with PB_PM & spraynpray on the 18-200 VR II. That is good advice. +1 & +1.

    Second step would be to buy one of the prime lens suggested, the 35mm would be equivalent to 52.5mm, that is where I would start. Later when you want better results from the zoom lens, you will be pleasantly surprised how much you can get fro the 18-200 VR II. Use that money for the next step and by then you will know what you want.

    The 5300 + 18-200mm are good tools and will bring much enjoyment. Don't forget to buy a UV filter for every lens you buy and put it on as soon as you remove the lens from the box. That gives great protection especially from rain & snow.

    Golf's is right when he said both the prime lens are "sharp". Assume you figured out his typo.

    Good luck and let us know which way you go.
    Post edited by Photobug on
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,030Member
    I have the 18-200 and recently replaced it with the 18-140. The 18-300 is also an option for you. The are all good choices
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,189Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @1990eam

    "I´ve been waiting for the right moment to start with photography"

    Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera with 18-140mm Lens (Black)

    Induro Alloy 8M AT313 Tripod with Induro BHL1 Ball Head

    If you are beginning in photography, I would not have more than this set up to begin with. Your learning curve is going to be steep. Before purchasing any other equipment, I would spend my time taking a few basic photography courses at a community college, master the basic techniques of the process, understand post processing if you find this interesting, and then after shooting a few thousand images, decide what you want to have as additional equipment.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • 1990eam1990eam Posts: 11Member
    edited December 2013
    Wow! Lots of answers! Thank you!

    There's one thing I think is worth mentioning. I'm not from the US. Back home, lenses, cameras and pretty much anything photography related costs as much as 80% more than in the US. This doesn't mean I'm gonna go around and spend money in a non-sense shopping spree (that's where you guys come into action!) but I'd avoid a lot of hassle and actually save a lot of money if I bought something while I'm in the US that would last through the beginner stage and whatever is the next stage as well.

    I looked up most of the lenses you suggested and the 18-200, Nikon 28mm f1.8 and Tokina 11-16 are all around the same price ($550ish).

    Someone suggested the Tokina 11-16 or the Nikon 28mm f1.8 as good choices for a wide angle lens. They are about the same price. So what are the differences/which one would you recommend?

    Now I got to ask, would it be too bad to go for 2 separate lenses instead of an "all purpose" lens like the 18-200? I know my budget is kind of small (it's some what flexible as well) but wouldn't that be a better idea? I'm not stubborn, but really asking out of ignorance really >:D<

    I won't have much use for a wide angle back at home but I don't want to sacrifice good shots for that reason, since if I ended up buying one I could always sell it again and keep a "general" lens for home use. So if I did that, what combo would you suggest?

    And finally, what tripod and memory card type/size do you recommend?
    Post edited by 1990eam on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,142Moderator
    My advice would be get a zoom not a prime. You can go the prime route if you like later, but the zoom will be more convenient and flexible at first, allowing you to concentrate on the basics. As outlined above, you only need the body, a good walk around lens like 18-200 or 18-140, and a tripod then you need to learn, learn, learn.

    Always learning.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 3,774Member
    Don't worry about "stupid questions". It's the only way to learn. It's better to ask first and buy a lens and then have to sell it to buy what you really needed.

    Nothing wrong with two separate lens. Have several friends that started with 18-55mm kit lens and then bought telephotos, either:
    55-200mm about $200
    55-200mm VR about $250
    55-300mm about $250
    70-300 about $590
    Consider checking the DXO web site for their evaluation on sharpness, distortion, etc.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • 1990eam1990eam Posts: 11Member
    edited December 2013
    Thank you!

    How would the 18-200 perform in mid light situations like sunrise/sunsets?

    Some reviews online state that image quality with the 18-200 is some what questionable and I suppose that's why some of you said you wouldn't normally recommend it for a non beginner. A review online stated that I could get the same focal length if I bought two separate lenses (2-lens kit made up of the 18-55 and 55-200), save money and get better image quality (less distortion) with the only disadvantage being having to switch between lenses.

    What do you think about that?
    Post edited by 1990eam on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,343Member
    It depends on how you intend to shoot the scene, but it should be okay. I would recommend using a tripod for that type of shooting, no matter what lens you end up getting. I say that beacuse you'll still need to use smaller apertures for dawn and dusk landscape shots (F8-10). In such situations having a lens with a F1.8 aperture wont help much.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,142Moderator
    Shooting that kind of scene REQUIRES a tripod IMHO so you have no problems. You don't shoot those scenes at hi ISO so the shutter speeds you use mean a high chance of shake. Don't make the mistake of thinking VR = shake-proof.
    Always learning.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,420Member
    Shot this several years ago with a D40 and a 55-200, neither of which will deliver anything close to the kind o f image quality we're talking about with a D5300/18-200. You'll be fine.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdanford/5561358984/in/set-72157626356410298/lightbox/
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,142Moderator
    Great shot Greg.
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,823Moderator
    @1990eam: Your understanding of photography and the gear needed is going to take some time. For the moment, let the web be your friend. YouTube has some great stuff for you to watch and get to know all about lenses and more. I will send you a PM for some to look at.

    Prime lenses have a some advantage: constant aperture (i.e 1.4, 1.8, 2.8 or f/4), they are usually much lighter than telephoto lens to care around (35-105mm focal length), great for night shots due to their larger aperture, thus allowing to use lower ISO setting which yield much more cleaner images. Prime lenses in general also have reasonably fast performance. The big disadvantage: you have to use your feet as your zoom. But this is not a bad thing...you will learn all about composition and framing; how DOF (depth of field) works and how it come into play. Learning how to shoot with a prime will advance your photography skill greatly. In short, try to get one you will see the what I'm talking about.

    As for the 18-200 VR II in shooting sunrise and sunset, you will find it will do the job, but it all about the optic of a lens in conjunction of f-stop used. For these type of images, an ultra wide lens is the way to go, like the Tokina.

    A few advice on sunset & sunrise: under expose by two stops (this will give you the great colors); Use the rule of thirds, hence do not put the horizontal line in the middle of the frame...have it up high or down low; also don't forget to turn around and see what is behind you..the sky with cloud formation yield great images; use a ND filter if you have water in front of you.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    That is a ridiculously good example of mixing colour, light, and shadow PG. Just stunning.

    At the OP, I mentioned the Tokina 11-16 because if you're thinking wide-angle landscape, that's the market's best blend of both "fast" (low light capability) and ultra-wide. If you're on a tripod, fast is less important: as s-n-p points out, the tripod is how you really cut shake and can lengthen exposure time.

    My claim would be that, "sooner or later", you'll buy a 35mm or 50mm prime. Pretty much everybody does for those times they want to shoot hand-held in either low-light situations, going semi-un-noticed situations, or both. Drop a 50mm prime on a DX body like the D5300 and you have what most people consider to be one of the optimal focal lengths for portraits--flattering with none of the distortion that wider angles can give.

    Best of all, the 35mm and 50mm primes are small (particularly the 50s), light, cheap compared to other lenses, and provide serious value for money. The 1.8 might "only" cost $200, but as your technique grows it'll always grow with you. At 28/wider or 85/narrower, it's $500+ to get in the game with a high quality lens. At 35 or 50, it's $200.

    As I said before, the good news in my mind is that no matter what you choose to buy, where camera and lens tech are today, I don't think you can miss.
  • 1990eam1990eam Posts: 11Member
    Of course I'm buying a tripod, that's out of question.

    Would I need an ultra wide angle like the Tokina to take long exposure shots of the stars? I realized there's a dock that goes into the lake and I'm pretty sure the view from there at night is awesome. So yeah, I thought of throwing that into the bag of "things I'd like to do" while I'm here this winter..
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 968Member
    edited December 2013
    Gosh I have tons of examples of the 18-200 VRI on my D5000. It is a great all around lens. It isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it. It really brought me into photography and I was a little sad when I sold it to eventually to buy some more expensive lenses.

    I wouldn't worry about an ultra wide zoom unless you have money to spend to get multiple lenses which it doesn't sound like you do. An ultrawide and a prime is not good either. I say stick with a 16to18-140to200 ish lens to get all you need for now. Add on later.

    Some 18-200 pics below...
    008BW

    DSC_0023-1_2

    20110101_348-1_061

    DSC_0270-1

    DSC_0020-12_7

    DSC_0011-1


    It is probably a personal preference, but I have the 35 F1.8 and it is a great lens, but I never use it. So even though cheap and sharp...it isn't a useful prime for me. Especially when I have a zoom that covers that range...it has become a specific rarity lens to me.
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,343Member

    Would I need an ultra wide angle like the Tokina to take long exposure shots of the stars?
    In simple terms? No.

    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • 1990eam1990eam Posts: 11Member
    edited December 2013
    And what tripods would you recommend?
    Post edited by 1990eam on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,142Moderator
    There are a thousand answers to that question, but the end answer always contains one word (and it isn't a brand name), it is RIGIDITY. If you are 6 foot 4 inches tall, weigh 250lbs and are thirty years old, you will not care about weight, if you are 60+ and 140lbs, you will. Best rigid bargains are aluminium, best weight/rigidity is carbon fibre. Remember if it looks flimsy it is, and don't get more sections than you need as each joint loses rigidity. Be wary of people trying to spend all your money on premium brands like RRS, there are plenty of VERY good cheaper brands that will serve your photography well.

    I fit into the 170-180 lb and 60 YO bracket and so I have CF now, but my previous SLIK PRO was all metal (alu/mag/tit) and super good support, but cold in winter and heavy to carry (only a few pounds, but that really made a difference).

    You need to spend $500 minimum (give or take) to get something that is not a waste of money. Remember, they all look like tripods, but they don't all work like a tripod should!
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,030Member
    Yup the good ol tripod. .the most underrated photography accessory by a new photographer.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 968Member
    I think this is one area that I probably don't agree with everyone. I have a ~$50 sunpack tripod from best buy that I rarely use...and it has always been fine and done the job. So I don't agree to spend millions on a heavy duty tripod. None of the above were taken with a tripod...and the only time I can think of it being crucial is a long exposure. I have a manfrotto monopod I carry and use some, but still under $100. So take it for what it is worth...I personally don't think it is as crucial as many.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
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