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Newbie Lens Advise


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I’ve recently gotten into DSLR photography, purchasing the intro level Nikon D3500 with NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.3G and 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G kit lenses.  The pandemic allowed me a lot of time to practice and finally feeling comfortable.   Pictures of past cruises, where I used my phone or an inexpensive point and shoot, were pretty disappointing so I’m really looking forward to practicing my newfound skills on our upcoming Caribbean cruises.  I’ve thought about expanding my lens inventory past the kit lenses and would like some advice.  If you were to bring/purchase only two lenses for a cruise what would you bring?  Of course the cheaper the better but the important thing is value for what I get.  I’m primarily interested in internal ship pictures and landscape/street while ashore.

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32 minutes ago, WI-Cruiser said:

I’ve recently gotten into DSLR photography, purchasing the intro level Nikon D3500 with NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.3G and 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G kit lenses.  The pandemic allowed me a lot of time to practice and finally feeling comfortable.   Pictures of past cruises, where I used my phone or an inexpensive point and shoot, were pretty disappointing so I’m really looking forward to practicing my newfound skills on our upcoming Caribbean cruises.  I’ve thought about expanding my lens inventory past the kit lenses and would like some advice.  If you were to bring/purchase only two lenses for a cruise what would you bring?  Of course the cheaper the better but the important thing is value for what I get.  I’m primarily interested in internal ship pictures and landscape/street while ashore.

 

I would look for a  faster aperture 'prime' lens - 35 f/1.8 is a 'normal' lens on an APC-C size sensor.

 

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I would go with what TheOldBear said. You ware going to want a fast lens (lower f-stop). The 35mm mentioned is a 50mm equivalent focal length on the D3500. My advice is to learn where there controls are on your camera for Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. Determine if you want to shoot in A, P, or M mode and learn how to use each and take better pictures outside of Auto mode.

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Posted (edited)

When I was shooting predominantly with my A6300, I had the excellent Sony 18-105 f/4 G zoom lens on it most of the time. When I moved to the full-frame A7III, I went with the Sony 24-105 f/4G. Both are medium zooms with a constant f/4 aperture and in researching them, I found the sharpness of a modern high-quality zoom gave up very little to prime lenses within their ranges. As with the A6300 before it, I have had the zoom on my A7III probably 99% of the time since I got it, only switching out for the 70-300 occasionally for kid sports or a zoo (to be fair, I usually pack my A6300 with an alternative lens on most trips). To my knowledge, the Nikon product line doesn't have a high-quality APS-C zoom like the Sony 18-105 G with most of their marketing and lens development targeting the full-frame and now their mirrorless market. They do have an excellent 24-105 for full-frame but the 36mm equivalent minimum focal length on an APS-C camera isn't really wide enough for a walkabout zoom. Sigma, however has an excellent normal zoom for the APS-C Nikon in its 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM C. It has a wide maximum aperture at the short end of the focal length which is great for indoor shots and the vibration reduction is always handy. Showing your "pro creds" with a bag full of prime lenses sounds good on paper but being able to adjust for the wide variety of photo opportunities that present themselves on a daily basis with a twist of the zoom ring is hard to beat for practicality. A high-quality medium zoom and a long zoom are the two that I use the most with a lot of the shots towards the short end.

 

Here is a link to our Iceland/Ireland cruise where the photos were taken by percentage in the table below.

image.png.0b8a66f92f09700384147ef7624ebcfe.png

 

The 24-105 never came off the A7III and only about 1% of the total were taken with the Rokinon fisheye or the Samyang 12mm f/2 on the A6300. The rest of the time, the 70-300 was on the A6300. Almost 60% of the pictures were taken between 24mm and 50mm which I find about typical on a cruise...unless it's Alaska with all those enticing beasts running, swimming and flying around.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Dave

Edited by pierces
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

The lenses you have are certainly provide enough range in the field of view for almost anything you're going to need.

 

So, the question I'd ask is what do you plan on doing that you want more lenses.

 

Right now, I'm shooting with a mirrorless Nikon.  I bought the 24-200 f/4-6.3.  (I would have gotten a 24-105mm, but it's not currently made for the Nikon Z mount) Admittedly it's a little slow on the high end, but when shooting landscape or with the zoom, I'm usually at f/8 or f/11 anyway, so it's a good starter for me.

 

How much money do you have to spend -- You can get either  Nikon 35mm f/1.8 or the 50mm f1.8 for a couple of hundred dollars, perhaps less if you're willing to buy used.  I'll be honest, I don't use my nifty-50 much, but I always have it with me, and it has bailed me out a couple of times with low light. 

 

Another thought is to get a travel-zoom something like the Tamron 16mm-300mm f/5.6-6.3 -- which you should be able to find used for ?400 or less.  (If you wanted to spend much less, there's the Tamron 18mm-200mm for a couple of hundred.  Sigma also makes third party travel lenses that are inexpensive.  As far as quality, these lenses probably won't be better than what you have, but the advantage is you don't have to change lenses.  When travelling, I've found myself in dusty or rainy conditions more than once where changing a lens wouldn't be a good idea.  Alternately, a number here have mentioned.

Otherwise -- it again comes down to what you're going to shoot -- for example, when I was shooting an APS-C camera, I began to do some milky-way shots.  I got a 14mm f/2.8 lens for this purpose.

 

In any event -- I think your decision should be governed by what you expect to shoot.  More important -- if  you're just starting out, TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES, maybe take a course or two.  For a beginner or an intermediate, learning composition and learning the craft will do more to improve your pics than an extra stop of light or a tiny bit of sharpness.

 

 

Edited by KenProspero
typo
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