What lenses to buy?

webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
edited January 4 in D5x00
I am somewhat new to photography with some ideas on what I want to photograph. I plan on purchasing a D5600 with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. Also was going to get AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G lens for low light.

But I have just noticed Nikon is having a sale: Macro & Portrait 2 Lens Kit. With that I get the 35mm F1.8G lens AND the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR which I was also looking at as well. It seems like a good deal but would the 18-140mm lens that comes with the kit have the same performance as the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR? Basically am I spending an extra $300 for a duplicate lens or would it be worth it for the additional lens?

Thanks.
Post edited by webmastadj on
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  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 198Member
    The biggest reason to get the 85mm in this case, I think, is if you want to take Macro shots. This 85mm goes to 1:1, whereas the 18-140mm is ~1:5.
    Personally, I'd stick with your original plan, 35mm will serve you well in low light and as a general walk around, and the 18-140mm will cover you in general photography in good lighting, and maybe even in poorer lighting.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    Thanks for the info. I plan on taking photos of food and like the idea of taking photos on the macro level. If this will give me better quality images / make it a bit easier to get those shots, I would think it would be worth it?
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 198Member
    Food in what sense? Studio setting (and lighting!), where you can stand up and move around? Are you taking photos of other peoples plates across the table? Or are you only really taking a photo of your own food?
    If its just your own food, at a busy restaurant, you largely will not have enough space to maneuver to get the right angle. You don't need a macro lens to get good photos of food, trust me, I've used a 50mm equiv for the longest time to get outstanding photos of my own plate.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    edited January 5
    I would also suggest getting the 18-140 kit its a nice lense. Have a look at my quick review from a while ago. Note the macro shot I did with it using the DCR 250.

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/1664/nikkor-18-140-f3-5-5-6-vr

    However, the 85 macro is a very nice macro lense. get that if you like macro photography. Note that its a specialist lense very good for macro and very sharp. Compared to a good (maybe the best?) generalist lense in the 18-140.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,255Member
    I would use the 35 to take pictures of your food. You are going to need to stand on the other side of the table behind you to get a picture with an 85. I exaggerate, but I hope you see my point.

    My wife has a D5500 with a 35mm 1.8 DX on it almost full time. That is a great lens. In dark restaurants, that 1.8 may be the only usable lens in your kit. I often find that with f/1.8, I need to have the ISO at 1,600 or greater just to get a decent shutter speed. At f/3.5, that is ISO 6,400. You may find that the 85 f/3.5 is not very usable for this reason.

    I am inclined to recommend getting the zoom. If you find that your zoom does not get you close enough, then consider the 85.

    The 85 will also be an excellent portrait lens as it will be very sharp. However, if that is your use, I would buy the 85 1.8G which is FX and an excellent lens and will give you better subject isolation and bokeh at 1.8.

    Hope this is helpful.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @starralazn Not taking snap shots of food at the restaurants and such. My girlfriend is wanting to make a cookbook along with using the shots in cooking videos we have started filling for youtube. The shots would be done in our kitchen / dining room so not studio but not a dark restaurant either.

    @heartyfisher The lens would be an additional purchase to the 18-140 kit and the 35mm F1.8G. Since I am already planning on purchasing the 35 f1.8g, it would essentially only cost me $300 for the normally $530 macro lens; would you say that lens is worth $300 even with already owning the 18-140? I do love the macro types of photos like your shot of the cigarette butt.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    edited January 5


    Macro lenses are specialist lenses... you would get one if you are planning to do some macro. The DCR 250 that I use is good for opportunistic macro work and for people who dont usually do Macro(as its relatively cheap and of high quality). I have a dedicated Macro lense(Sigma 150 f2.8) as well as the Dcr250. Cos I cant get enough of Macro !! :-)

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,166Member
    The 18-140 is a great lens ..I have two..but I don't get the purchase of a 35mm when you have one in the range 18-140. True its F1.8 but you will get very little depth of field at 1.8 so unless you are directly over a plate you will have areas out of focus...you may want that . Lenses like this are at there worst at 1.8 check your DXO
  • SportsSports Posts: 337Member
    I know ... you asked about lenses, but make sure you really want the brand new D5600, as it's actually a bit hard to find any real improvements compared to its predecessor(s). You can probably save a fair amount of money and get virtually the same image quality and features by buying an older camera body from the 5xxx family.
    D300, J1
    Sigma 70-200/2.8, 105/2.8
    Nikon 50/1.4G, 18-200, 80-400G
    1 10-30, 30-110
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @Pistnbroke I have read that the 35mm is a good lens for low light and for shooting video. It was also a must have first lens.

    @Sports I thought about getting the D5500 but I do like the additional connectivity to my phone along with the time lapse feature. Plus I figure if I am going to get a camera, might as well get the newest one as I plan on keeping it for awhile.
  • SportsSports Posts: 337Member

    the additional connectivity

    It's quite sad, but so far, Nikon has not been able to implement their own ideas very well. It looks good on paper, but SnapBridge and the related software really needs substantial improvements to be what it's supposed to be. Some say, it's useless. It's so sad that Nikon finally saw the potential of "connectivity", but weren't able to do it right. With some luck, there'll be firmware upgrades, but right now, it's definitely not worth those extra 300$ compared to the D5500.
    Time lapse - you're right, that's a new feature that looks like it's adding some real value the D5600. (I have never been near a D5600, but I assume that all photography related features are properly implemented.)
    D300, J1
    Sigma 70-200/2.8, 105/2.8
    Nikon 50/1.4G, 18-200, 80-400G
    1 10-30, 30-110
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    @webmastadj Nice link to the web site discussing first lenses.. Re 35mm "no brainier" status .. I guess I am a no brain cos after 40 years of photography and having 4 dx cameras I still don't have a 35mm prime!! :-) I am not saying the 35mm is not for you but to decide for yourself after experiencing and shooting a bit before buying your next lense. It may well be the 35mm F1.8 or the fancy new Tamron 35mm 1.8 VC but it just as likely its some other lense you find that you really really want.
    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.

  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,786Member
    I've been shooting Nikon DX for a long time and I think getting the 35mm 1.8 was one of the best gear purchase decisions I've made. It's not really all that wide, but it would give you some nice low light photography options for DX, which there aren't that many if you stick with Nikon.

    I would highly recommend getting the 35mm 1.8, and if you decide to go macro is your thing, I would get it along with the 85mm macro too. I decided to splurge a bit with my macro choice though, I got a 105mm macro. I agree that if you want to do food shots indoors, the 85mm might be a bit on the long side. I will say though, if you want to do insects it might be a bit harder with the 85mm macro, as there's a minimum distance with macro lenses. The longer the macro lens, the farther away you can stay away from your subject.

    TL;DR-
    If you're restricted to only two lenses, I'd get the 18-140mm and the 35mm 1.8. That would cover most of what you need to shoot most of what you need. Macro is nice, and you can pick up a lens later on if you need.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    edited January 6
    There is the 40mm macro .. which for food photography will be excellent! otherwise any of the old Micro nikkor any thing really 60mm or less is really good for food macro photography ... There is also a tamron 60mm F2 that is nice for macro work and portrait.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,786Member
    That's true, I forgot about the 40mm macro.

    I forgot about that lens.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 346Member
    Have done quite a bit of food photography. I find 35mm not quite the right perspective. I prefer the look of the 50mm or 85mm in DX crop format. Usually shoot at f/2.8 - f/4.0. Unfortunately, most zooms can't give you that isolation at 50-85mm. At that focal length you usually get f/4.8-f/5.something. I'm sure the 60mm f/2.8 would make a gorgeous food photography lens but don't have one. 85mm is just a little too zoomed in for me - you get a smaller portion of a plate, not the whole thing.

    Macro for food isn't so necessary, unless you're really into crumbs or the fur on certain berries. Some food is scary that close-up. I think a recipe asks for at least 50% of the plate. Chefs should know how to plate a dish, and that's a large part of what you capture with food photography.

    The 18-140 is a great all around lens and may be good enough for you. I love the idea of the 35mm DX, but it doesn't get as much use. I only pick it up when I'm going to a party and only want one lens. Good for people in groups, good for low light, good for pets.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @WestEndFoto Thanks, glad to know your wife loves the 35mm f1.8. I have seen on multiple sites that state it is a great lens. I have read about the 85mm 1.8 but that is a little more than I am willing to spend on a single lens at the moment. Trying to get a nice little set-up to explore at the moment. I will add that lens to my wish list though. :smile:

    @heartyfisher Lol, maybe you are missing out on that 35mm prime? I think the main draw to that lens is the $200 price tag; inexpensive low light lens for newbies. Someone with your experience is probably rocking much better lenses. Might need to look into that 60mm at a later date. Don't want to go too crazy considering it will be the first DSLR I have owned.

    @NSXTypeR Thanks for the recommendation. I figured I start with the 85mm macro and see how it goes. Later I can always trade up!

    @KnockKnock That is one of my goals for the food photos, maybe some macro shots on berries and the such. But again also need to get those plate shots for videos and photos.

    I did end up pulling the trigger, put my order in at B&H photo:
    Nikon HB-32 Lens Hood
    SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro SD
    Nikon Macro & Portrait 85mm f/3.5 and 35mm f/1.8 Two Lens Kit
    Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera with 18-140mm
    Nikon Compact Backpack

    Hoping that will make a good custom kit to get a feel where I want to focus. May considering adding a 70-300mm lens at a later this year as I think that would cover everything. Will wait though to see how I do with the 18-140mm first.

    On the plus side as well, looks like the D5600 is already discounted $200, so is only about $100 more than the D5500. I do like the red D5500 as it is "different" but the black will be less "look at me."
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,786Member



    @NSXTypeR Thanks for the recommendation. I figured I start with the 85mm macro and see how it goes. Later I can always trade up!

    I did end up pulling the trigger, put my order in at B&H photo:
    Nikon HB-32 Lens Hood
    SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro SD
    Nikon Macro & Portrait 85mm f/3.5 and 35mm f/1.8 Two Lens Kit
    Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera with 18-140mm
    Nikon Compact Backpack

    Hoping that will make a good custom kit to get a feel where I want to focus. May considering adding a 70-300mm lens at a later this year as I think that would cover everything. Will wait though to see how I do with the 18-140mm first.

    On the plus side as well, looks like the D5600 is already discounted $200, so is only about $100 more than the D5500. I do like the red D5500 as it is "different" but the black will be less "look at me."

    Congratulations on your purchase!

    I took a look at your purchase list and I thought the hood model # was familiar. It's the same lens hood on my 18-135mm. That gives me a lot of good memories, my first kit was the D40 with the 18-135mm bought from B and H in 2008. I'm a little disappointed that Nikon is cost cutting and not supplying basic accessories though.

    Just to reiterate, I think I make 98% of my shots with my 18-135mm and 35mm lenses. I think those two lenses along with a macro is a great starting point. The only thing you may miss is the wide end, but you'll find out soon enough is 18mm is wide enough for you.

    Remember to share your work on the POTD thread!
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    edited January 8
    Congrats !! I am excited for you !! so much "fun" coming your way .. by that I mean the joys(ohh.. smells nice) and frustrations (... WHERE IS THAT BIN... piece of crap !!! )
    of photography...

    re: 35mm on DX never missed it. I have used film before getting my DX and i have used the venerable nifty fiftys which I dont really use much.. my first DSLR lens was the kit that came with the D70 ie: 18-70. Loved it (still use it !!). then 18-200 for many years...

    Then I did my audit of what I photograph and would love to photograph. Then, Boom, a whole bunch of lenses !! On my "list" of lenses to get is the 35mm ... but its way down the list.. Haha !!

    Yes, I would suggest you get time with your current set of lenses and camera .. and learn techniques and post-processing techniques.. lots of genres of photography to explore. !! years and years worth !!
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,786Member
    Heartyfisher, I think since you have the 24-70 you have something a fast normal lens already. For someone who can't afford a fast normal zoom, it would be very helpful to pick up a 35mm 1.8.

    Also, you'll be surprised how small your DSLR gets when you put a 35mm 1.8 on it. Additionally, I never store the hood backwards because it's so small to begin with.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,255Member
    edited January 8
    I slapped my 15 3.5 on my late grandmas F4 last night. I was getting sentimental. My wife said "Oh my god this weighs a tonne!" It felt really good to me. By comparison, her 35mm 1.8 on her D5500 is as light as a feather and she has never complained. It feels like a toy to me but I appreciate its technical excellence. Weight is one argument of mirrorless over DSLRs that I don't buy.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • decentristdecentrist Posts: 18Member



    Macro lenses are specialist lenses... you would get one if you are planning to do some macro. The DCR 250 that I use is good for opportunistic macro work and for people who dont usually do Macro(as its relatively cheap and of high quality). I have a dedicated Macro lense(Sigma 150 f2.8) as well as the Dcr250. Cos I cant get enough of Macro !! :-)

    Could not be further from the truth. 55-60 Nikkor macros, and to a slightly lesser extent the 105s are multi purpose lenses. They qualify as the most useful category of lenses made. Look no further than the tokina 100 if that suits you, or the older 55-60 Af .......before you do this buy a D7100/7200 first, not the 5600 mini

  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    The 105/2.8 Micro is one of the most popular beauty lenses out there. you can get in really close to take super sharp photos of shots for makeup ads and the like.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,103Member
    edited January 8
    Re: macro lenses being useful .. multipurpose.
    As I mentioned I had my super zooms for a long time. Until I did my audit. I found that i shoot mostly at 170mm DX !! almost 70% of my shots ! so My first "other" lense on DX was the 150 F2.8 Macro. Yes used it as my main lense for a long time. I wouldn't recommend it to others but for me I can use the 150 macro the whole day on my DX. I use it for street, portraits, and of course macro. These days I dont use it as much as I like to.. bec my new 70-200 F4 is superb !! and I still can "macro" with that 70-200 cos I take my DCR250 with me everywhere ! :-)
    70-200 F4 + Raynox DCR250


    The 24-70 is nice but only a recent purchase. before that I had found a cheap second hand 35-70 F2.8 ($150 !! ). its really an awesome lense in spite of its weaknesses.
    Recently I got an old 35-135 Nikkor($150!). another fun lense ! (even with its slight fungus).
    so for 35mm I have it covered in zooms :-) (18-70 &18-140 too!)

    Yeah sorry to mention this, but the D7xxx class of cameras has been good to me. I have so many old cheap AFD lenses :-)
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,255Member
    That is a hell of a shot Heartyfisher!
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