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Lens Choices


Big Dog
My camera finally just went to crap. I have had it a few years, and I've sent it into square trade last fall, when they nearly completely replaced it with all the new parts. However, it's now not keeping my fstop settings (I set it at 2.8, it immediately changes to 4.0 on the LCD, then in post processing in Lightroom shows it was actually taken at 8.0....best part was one photo showed being taken at 12 and my camera doesn't even have a 12 fstop. lol) Also, the sensor is messed up and I'm getting really grainy images even in well naturally lit settings. I've tried adjusting the ISO to ad nauseam. Nothing is working to fix the quality. I was going to get a DSLR at the end of last fall, but I opted to get my Z990 fixed and deal awhile longer due to Christmas and other things. Since Tank bought another gaming computer about a month ago, now I don't feel so bad. I'm doing this!

I'm getting the Nikon 3200. I've researched extensively, and although I do like some of the features in the Canons, and I'm not too keen on the shutter lag expected with the Nikon, when I go through sites like deviantART and look through photos comparing cameras used, I have to say, I'm more pleased with the quality of the outcomes from the D3200 vs the T3i. Also, I do plan to be taking low light photos, so the extra ISO range of the Nikon is another bonus for me.

So, to the meat of my question....

Do I really need the stock 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR zoom lens that seems to come with most D3200 models? I plan to get a 50mm f/1.8 AF lens. I also plan to get a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AFS DX VR lens, but I'm not sure on getting it with VR or without. Won't the VR version slow down shutter speed even more? I have a pretty steady hand on my shots from tons of practice, but regardless I also have a great sony tripod. I use my camera A LOT for action shots with the kids and dogs, so long range action photos are going to be a must capability.

My thinking is to get the body only of the d3200, the 50mm, and the 55-200mm. If I do that, will that be enough, or is there a valid use for the stock 18-55mm lens that will leave me feeling without if I don't get it?


Big Dog
My thinking is to get the body only of the d3200, the 50mm, and the 55-200mm. If I do that, will that be enough, or is there a valid use for the stock 18-55mm lens that will leave me feeling without if I don't get it?
The Kit lens (stock lens) 18-55 is a DX lens which translate to a 27-82.5mm field of view at 35mm. Technical crap aside, it means at 6ft from your human subject with the camera vertical, you can capture the entire body and at full zoom...from the shoulders to the top of the head. As a scenic camera, it's effective for group shot with the background or full zoom it'll give you some magnification (think of it as having a bit of tunnel vision...not too much peripheral) hope it makes sense. PM and ill send you some links.


eta..oh! your 50mm will not be 50mm, but 75mm. So the nifty fifty idea will not translate on the 3200 (DX camera) thus the kit lens 18-55mm
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Big Dog
I was scouring amazon again for hours today. I can get a lot better deals on the T3i, so it's tempting, but when I go to review sites, they all say the D3200 beats the T3i quite a bit in image quality, which is obviously most important to me. My budget here is $700. I'll get the best of what I can to start for that amount, then invest a couple hundred a month for awhile to get other things I need. I'm planning a wedding, have spoiled kids, and spoiled dogs, and vehicles that seem to forever need some mega expensive repair, so that's going to have to be the way I do this.

The types of shots most important to me are:

Portrait shots

Action shots

Secondarily, we take an annual family vacation each year, where all the pressure is placed on me for the entire family to have images from the trip, so for those times, distance, dynamic range, and low light ability will play a big factor (and when researching, the d3200 also beat the T3i in dynamic range and sensor size). However, our next trip isn't planned until March 2015, so that kind of photography isn't as important right NOW. I can wait to get the lenses required for that.






Big Dog
Here are the things I have been trying to choose between:

D3200, stock VR 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G and VR 55-200mm f4-5.6G
$600, leaves me another $100 play room for something else (like extra batteries or external flash)
Amazon.com: Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR and 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: NIKON: Camera Photo

D3200, stock VR 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G and Sigma 70-300mm Non-VR f4-5.6G and 52mm 2x Lens and 52mm Wide Angle Lens (and a bunch of random crap which I probably won't use except the extra SD cards and wireless remote...maybe)
$690, so this is it for this purchase and I'd need to wait to add other things
Amazon.com: Nikon D3200 24.2 MP Cmos Digital SLR with 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 Af-s Dx Vr Nikkor Zoom Lens + Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SLD DG Macro Lens with built in motor Lens + 52mm 2x Professional Lens +High Definition 52mm Wide Angle Lens + Auto Flash + Uv Filter Kit with 24GB Complete Deluxe Accessory Bundle: Camera Photo

This is the actual 50mm lens I want, but I'd need to save up a couple months after this purchase for this one.
Amazon.com: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: NIKON: Camera Photo


Big Dog
Great images you've captured!

In saying that, as your title says...Lenses are a better (long term) investment. The camera body is pretty much obsolete after a few years. So how to cut thru the (marketing and spec's) hype?! First and foremost, a 10MP camera/image has surpassed the best 8x10 film quality print...it's Vogue centerfold quality. A 24.2MP can easily give you HD quality on a side of a bus. My D800 at 36.2MP can display a museum quality print on a side of a barn. 1.8MP (1080x1620=1.78blah.blah.blah) is considered more than HD (hi-definition) for the internet/web/computer/smart phone and 720x960 loads faster.

So...who needs a HD-SLR like the 3200? Indie video producers (cause the video quality is the shiz-it and cost effective), Fine Art photographers/students, Fine Art photographer printers that print 13"x19" and larger. Photography enthusiasts, Birders (cause the hi-res and crop factor of 1.5x allows them to get real close to the birds) and a few commercial photographers that would use it as a throw-away backup camera so they won't ruin the multi-thousand $ DSLR if they drop it off the side of a building or run over by a car as they do architecture photography (don't laugh...you'll be amazed how many photographers are hit by cars cause they lose track of where they are)

In saying that...The Nikon 3200 (3300 was released this Jan) is the best ENTRY (H)dslr on the market as Nikon would want you to believe...for now.

Now to the lenses ...Why i use Nikon and it may not be your glass of choice. Nikon has
...Nano coated lenses (Nikon's special pixie dust that does wonder)...look for the gold N on the lenses that has them.

...Nikkor lenses tend to be on the cool side (not attitude but color, it's has a neutral flat color)...i.e. the images from my other post...top has been (exaggerated) processed vs bottom being straight from the camera. The Nikkor lens are known for their natural colors and it's able to differentiate the depth of the different red in the original (bottom) image. I can use that very subtle difference to isolate my subject in post (the top image). Canon lenses tend to be a bit more warmer and saturated, giving their images a punchier color tone from the get-go but in post its a PitA.

***you can use Nikon lenses on a Canon, BUT you cannot use Canon lenses on a Nikon

***Canon has two lens mount...EF lenses can be mounted on EF-S bodies but EF-S lenses cannot be mounted on EF bodies.

here's a good vid on DX lenses choices.

I'll share my thoughts on VR in the next post


Big Dog
here's the vid on DX lenses

Why I could care less for VR but it's a miracle tool I can't live without.

Camera's get heavy after you wield it for several hours. My hands start to shake...bad!

The technology is amazing!

I like long lenses (tele's over 100mm) and your handshake is magnified the longer the lenses.

The longer the lens, less light goes through them. Less light means slower shutter speed. Slower shutter speed leads to motion blur (handshakiness)

VR is to be turned OFF when on a tripod (the VR technology will seek out vibration that doesn't exist...thus vibrate [VR=vibration reduction] on it's own)

I always use a tripod...so i usually turn it off.

hopes this help answer some q's


Big Dog
Thank you so very much for the excellent information. That video is so helpful.

I'll go with the kit (the body, 18-55 and 55-200 both VR) for $600 to start. In time I won't use those lenses, but they'll give me a decent range to get me started.

Next I'll be saving for the 18-105VR for $400. I'd love to start with the body and that lens, but the body alone is gonna run me about $400 everywhere I look. If I'm lucky, I might be able to find one on craigslist though for less, and I've been looking. If I can find a d3200 body for $300 or less, I'll just get that with the 18-105VR to start.

The 18-105 will be my interim lens with the optimal goal to get the 18-300 VR in time, but that'll run me over a grand alone, so that one will be awhile in the making.

Meantime, the next on the list will be the 50mm f1.8G which is only about $200, then the 28mm f1.8g, then get a couple of the macro lenses and I will be complete besides the incidentals like batteries, flash, softboxes, etc., which I'll get along the way.

If I set aside a couple hundred out of my monthly budget for the next year, then I should have a pretty decent collection before our next trip (which also happens to be our honeymoon!). I'm very excited. This has been a very long time coming. I've done my time with the point and shoot Z990. I've suffered and cussed and missed far too many amazing shots. I'm ready!
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Big Dog
eta, and I'll be keeping the Z990 because a couple things that it offers that are awesome that a lot of the DSLRs don't (at least not without dropping a ton on lenses) is the 30x zoom and in-camera panoramic stitching. So, I'll probably be that weirdo carrying around a couple cameras on our trips, but who cares?! Lol


Big Dog
If I set aside a couple hundred out of my monthly budget for the next year...

I couldn't resist posting this *warning* I'm sure you've done your research and have your mind set on the camera and I do wish you get what you wish for...but did you see my last post? On the Go

I thought I add that there are some great mirrorless/interchangeable lenses cameras out there to be had at very discounted prices if bought used from reputable outlets. It's an option to explore if you have the time and want to save. Saving is always good because you can buy the peripherals or get prints of your images. Beware of the GAS attack ::Gear Acquisition Syndrome::

Refurbished Nikon 1 J1 Digital Camera w/Nikon 10-30mm VR - Silver - Refurbished 27532 B
This is my backup camera to my $6g setup...really!


Big Dog
Haha! Yes, I did see that post and must say that is quite the impressive collection! While I don't plan to take it quite that far, I do intend fully to indulge a bit on this. Fortunately, I have Tank's full support on it. He's spent so many thousands over the years on his hobbies like vehicles that rarely are used (the suicide door lincoln that sits in the garage--his project car, custom dually that sits in the driveway, VR4 that needs a new tranny that no shop around here can find, lifted jeep that sits beside the house that he goes mudding with maybe twice a year, 84 z28 that sits in our other garage goes out once a year followed by a thorough wipe down with diapers and q-tips, the customized Night Train that is his baby that he actually does use A TON, etc) and computer gaming (I won't even get into all the custom computers/monitors/cables, etc in this house....it's crazy). The only thing "expensive" I've ever spent money on is the dogs. I'm the frugal thrifty saver of the two of us. I drive ONE car, an '02 diamante lx, and my favorite store on amazon is the 15dollarstore, lol. I totally would've been ok with a fake engagement ring and felt weird for the first couple weeks wearing something on my finger that cost more than my car. So for me to dish out this kind of money for myself is a huge leap for me, but he's all for it. I take on average 10-50 photos a day with my Z990. It really started years ago just taking photos to practice my design software skills. Once I got a camera with more manual control, then it became a new passion to learn what seemed the very complicated relationship between aperature, ISO, and shutter speed. The Z990 was a great camera while I learned. I really enjoy the ease of crossover between design and photography where so many of the same rules apply (odds, thirds, leading lines, etc) while also experiencing the challenge of so many things unknown to me in photography. I just may end up with GAS, lol, but the product will be amazing shots that will provide the entire family lasting visuals of special moments. That's a worthy investment to me. :) I could lie and say it will help with client photos for my design gigs, but to be quite honest, my Z990 does achieve that just fine. This is really purely for my own enjoyment.


Your best bet is to get a decent body t3i and invest in good glass. You can pick up L glass for pretty cheap in the used form.

Bodies are important, but glass is more important.



Shot with t2i and 70-200 2.8L USM 2.

Just because I didn't want to drop my 5d in the snow. ....lol

Cosmic Charlie

Good Dog
Is there a budget on your lens? That is the real limitation when finding a lens. For action shots on a Nikon I recommend a 70-300mm, 80-400mm or 70-200mm. There are some good options out there but budget restricts the buyer. It can range $500.00-$3000.00+ for a good lens. Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8G VR II is a great telephoto lens but is expensive. You can cut that price down by more than half and get the 70/300 vr. The major difference between the two lenses are the desired conditions you will be shooting in. If you will only be shooting bright sunny days then some of the cheaper ones will work great. If you will be shooting in all conditions a higher quality lens with a higher aperture. The bigger difference between those two lenses (besides price) will be adaptability to shoot high quality images in all light conditions. If money is no factor get a lense with a lower Fstop such as f2.8 (listed above) vs a higher fstop such as the f4.4-5.6 listed above as well.
For close shots or wide range pictures I recommend a great fish eye. But, if money is a factor and you can only get one high quality lens I suggest getting one of these at a later time. You will not be able to take action shots from a distance such as a telephoto lens. Amazing for landscapes, lifestyle and portrait photos. Great for creating interesting photos.
My next lens is probably a wide angle Nikkor 14-24mm lens. The only thing stopping me is a change up in equipment. I have some gear I am going to be selling, such as lenses and bodies I don't use anymore. My main dslr has been messed up for sometime. It's not worth the $ to fix at the moment. Especially as every year that goes by new technology comes out.
I will try to upload my lenses and some pictures from each for you.


Big Dog
Just bought a D3200 today. Expect a crap ton of pictures in a few days.
JS, lol...try this

My #1 pick 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX Nikkor Lens for travel and all purpose walk around
here's a top 10 list on the web

My favorite lens vs my fast glass
Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-G [discontinued since 2006…rare to find used and cost more than when it was released, no VR, plastic mount (fragile), can’t use on DX bodies, not pro image quality (distortion on both end)…but damn good for everything!] I got this lens before I invested in a body and why i went with FX (full frame-cause i can use older lens w/o built in lens motors...the AF-S series of lens for DX)
28-200 weight 12.765oz can of soda…the two “pro” fast glass zooms 24-70 weight 31.7oz and 70-200 weight 54.4oz total of two lenses = 86.1oz or 5lb 6.1oz
That's my fist on the left. bottom pict lens @ full zoom W/hood

My top 10 wish list
If money is no object…and in order of priority
Zoom line-up:

  • 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (tele)
  • 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-G (walk around FX body only)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S (mid-tele)
  • 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S (UWA)
Prime line-up:

  • 85mm f/1.4G AF-S (portrait “THE Cream Machine” Canon has their 1.2 )
  • 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro (portrait/macro)
  • 50mm f/1.8G AF-S (sharper than 1.4)
  • 300mm f2.8G ED VR II (tele)
  • 14mm f/2.8D ED AF (UWA but old and most likely will get updated)
  • 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S (UWA)
  • 28mm f/1.4 AF-D (discontinued and rare)
DX line-up:

  • 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX (walk around)
  • 35mm f/1.4G AF-S (standard)
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S (back-up)
Manual Focus line-up:

  • Nikkor PCE 24mm 3.5D ED
  • Nikkor PCE 45mm 2.8D ED
  • Nikkor PCE 85mm 2.8D ED
  • Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T ZF.2 Manual Focus for Nikon F (AI-S)


Big Dog
I think I've made my final decision on my starter equipment. The canon really started to sway me towards the end because of the lens options later. Nikon lenses seem to be pricier, and since I can put a nikon on a canon and not a canon on a nikon, that will limit my lens options in the future if I get the nikon. However, it still went down to quality for me, and I really do like the nikon quality better. I've seen photos with just the kit 18-55 lenses for both the t3i and d3200, and I'm convinced it won't be enough for my needs. So I'm positive I will need the telephoto lens, and I'm also sure I want an IS (C) or VR (N) telephoto lens. Turns out from my research my Z990 has in-camera IS, so my "steady hand from practice" might not actually be as steady as I believe. :lol: Regarding quality, I have seen some AMAZING photos with the Canons also, but I'm quite sure that has everything to do with the photographer, and as I don't expect to be able to get the same kind of images. I'd like to "stack my deck" so to say with the higher quality product. This is totally not my norm. I go for the cheapest always, but I end up buying something five times over before I get something sustainable. Tank spends a fortune but once, and it's good forever. So, he's encouraging me to go with the higher end and telling me "You get what you pay for, remember." As far as getting the best deal with starter equipment that will suit a wide range of my needs, while not skimping on quality, I think I've found the one I'm going to go with...

Amazon.com: Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR and 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: NIKON: Camera Photo

I'll be able to get the D3200, the kit 18-55 which I'll probably just use sparingly for portrait shots, as well as a 55-200mm 4-5.6 VR lens. I'm still rather pissed I can't find a bundle with the D3200 and an 18-200mm VR lens option, no 18-55, but whatever. It won't have quite the range of the 300mm, but for $600, I don't think I'm going to find a better deal. I'm going to give it one more week, looking through craigslist for used bodies, and if I don't find something by then, I'm going to take the plunge and order from the link shown. Expect a crap ton of photos coming by the 2nd weekend in March. :)