Thursday, December 15, 2016

Comparing 3 Complete DX Lens Lineups

Today's article was inspired by something I saw on a photography discussion group. Someone was asking: "What lenses should I get for my Nikon D3300?" I was about to offer the obvious answer, meaning, that it depended on her personal photographic aims, what kind of photography she was interested and so on.

And then it hit me.

I realized that the answer to those counter-questions was already there, unconsciously hidden in the original question. After all, someone asking a question as generic as that can only be a beginner without a clear view of what it is s/he is after.
Entry-level DSLRs usually come with a kit lens. But is it the only thing you need?

In this article, I will offer you 3 possible answers to a question such as the one above. In other words, in today's article I am comparing 3 complete lens lineups for your DX camera, with the assumption that you are a beginner photographer who isn't exactly sure what you're after. Even if you are not a beginner, I suggest you read this too, because it will offer you perspective on lens choice-making

The lens lineups I picked are:
  1. "Jack-of-all-trades": Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-300mm
  2. "All eventualities": Sigma 10-20mm, Nikon micro-Nikkor AF-S 40mm f/2.8, Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-300mm
  3. "Low light": Sigma Art 18-35mm f/1.8, Sigma Art 50-100mm f/1.8
It's more than obvious that although all these are "complete" lineups in the sense that you don't need anything else if you pick any of these, this still depends on your personal preferences/situation, as they cater to very different needs  (not to mention, budgets). So, let's take a closer look.

1. Jack-of-all-trades
This is an obvious and easy solution. Stop worrying about the lenses you need and realize that, if you're a beginner, you have a lot to learn before you worry about equipment. Get the great Nikkor 18-300mm, which lets you shoot anything you see. If you're on a budget, consider a used 18-200.

2. All eventualities
As the sane suggests, this is a lineup focusing on giving you the tools for absolutely everything and every situation, while being budget-friendly at the same time. The Sigma 10-20mm gives you some seriously wide-angle opportunities (here's tips on how to shoot wide angle properly), the micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 not only gives you macro but also a great so-called normal prime for low light, and the brilliant Nikkor 55-300 is all the DX beginner needs for a tele.

3. Low light
If low light is your thing (and budget is not a problem) this combo is truly unbeatable. With a small, not very important gap between 35-50mm, you basically have a two-lens lineup that gives you 18-100mm f/1.8 - think about that for a moment. Optically they are both on very high levels, but so is their price.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Well, the assumption is of course that you know which of these suits you the best. Most people going after absolute quality will be tempted by the third option. People who want the easy way-out will pick the first. Probably most will be better served by the second. Whichever you pick, remember two things: a) You can always sell a lens and recover most (if not all) of your investment; b) these are nothing but tools, the person behind the camera is all that matters for a great photo

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