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06-15-2014, 12:07 PM   #1
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Buying A Gift For A Beginning Nikon User

Hello everyone, I'm hoping to get your advice again. I'm going to buy a gift for a friend of mine, but I wasn't sure which lens to get. I was debating between:

Amazon.com : Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras : Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

Amazon.com : Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras : Digital Slr Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

The person is just starting off so they don't really have a style or a thing that they like to shoot yet. Right now, the only lens the person has is the 18-55 kit lens that came with the camera (I think it's a D3200). I know the 35mm will be more "all-purpose", while the 50mm will be better for portraits. Anyone have both of these lenses? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

06-15-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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Not knowing your friend it is hard to say. But generally new shooters expand their lens capability and both of those primes are already covered by the 18-55. Even though we Pentaxians love our primes maybe a longer zoom would be more useful to them? Give them a chance to experiment with longer focal lengths?
06-15-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
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I agree with jatrax. For a beginning photographer, those lenses will seem confusing and redundant since they both fall within the zoom range of the lens they already have. They will likely not have a developed 'eye' to appreciate the quality difference at this stage.

A telephoto zoom or a super wide angle prime might be better choices, depending on this person's choice of subject matter. Again, at this stage, it's tough to predict.

A good quality flash unit, CPL and ND filters, sturdy tripod, remote shutter release - these would all be great gifts for someone just starting out.
06-15-2014, 01:32 PM   #4
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I disagree with both Jatrax and Jim. Get either of the primes, it will be night and day difference with the kit lens when used indoors. The 50mm would be more noticeable because kit lens are generally quite bad at 50mm and slow f/5.6. But the 35mm might be easier to use indoors... Anyway, either of them will be excelent. Dont worry very much about which, he will end up getting the other one later...

06-15-2014, 02:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Hello everyone, I'm hoping to get your advice again. I'm going to buy a gift for a friend of mine, but I wasn't sure which lens to get. I was debating between:

Amazon.com : Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras : Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

Amazon.com : Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras : Digital Slr Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

The person is just starting off so they don't really have a style or a thing that they like to shoot yet. Right now, the only lens the person has is the 18-55 kit lens that came with the camera (I think it's a D3200). I know the 35mm will be more "all-purpose", while the 50mm will be better for portraits. Anyone have both of these lenses? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The main difference between those lenses is that one is for full frame cameras and thus more expensive, and the other is for DX (APS-C cameras). The latter is much more affordable, so you could probably get it and the 55-300mm for the same price as the FX 35mm.

I'd recommend going for the prime, as it'll get your friend much better image quality while helping him develop a photographic eye.

Adam
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06-15-2014, 02:42 PM   #6
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The best gift I got from my husband was a lenses cleaning kit if really in doubt why don't you get them a voucher a little less personal but allows them to get what they want either way what a nice friend you are.
06-15-2014, 05:27 PM   #7
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The 35mm would get my vote.

06-15-2014, 07:34 PM   #8
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O.K., here's a roadmap for your Nikon beginner:

First off, the 50mm/1.8 G is a very fine lens and has sold recently at B&H, et.al., for a few pennies under $200 with a Nikon promo. And it's a keeper, even over the price-y f.1.4 version. With all the Nikon bodies below the D7100 level, you're really stuck for intelligent, high-performance AF bargain options in a prime lens, unfortunately. What I'd REALLY like to see that beginner do is ditch the kit lens for cash, get a quality 28mm AF prime, and master that, without leaning on the crutch of a zoom lens... assuming that person is really interested in becoming a photographer, as opposed to a point & shooter; and in accomplishing this as expeditiously as possible. These two Nikkor G primes make a versatile pairing to start (crop a bit on the short tele shots, if necessary for better perspective), and they cannot be outgrown within the Nikon system unless more specialized needs come into play much later.

The 28mm field of view on APS-C, a 42mm FF-equivalent, is very versatile -- much more so than what the 35mm DX lens can offer. A very good Kiron-built 70-150mm manual focus zoom (Kiron - Vivitar - Nikon Series E) can be picked up in nice condition as low as $13 plus shipping from you know where to complement the 28mm; but metering would have to happen with the G-lens in place. It's perfectly do-able, though. The catch is, the very sharp 28mm/1.8 G Nikkor is expensive in this context. But it, too, is a keeper.

If a midrange sort of zoom is still preferred, the best option here by far for a D3200 is to again (!) ditch the kit zoom; take the $95+ or so, and pick up a Nikon 24-85mm G VR ED used -- Two "Buy It Nows" are presently listed as SOLD at evilBay for $200 each! That's just a steal. You give up some range at the wide end, but this model is arguably a much better performer on DX than on the full frame models for which it was intended. A Tokina or Tamron 17mm MF prime can be picked up anytime later as a complement, if a stand-in becomes necessary while maneuvering for a better wide angle option... and easily re-sold. Also, take note that the discontinued Sigma 18-50mm/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM (highly rated for its type in the PF lens database) is still available new on ePray for just $162 in Nikon mount (sorry, Pentaxians)! I have to suspect this one is a worthwhile step up from Nikon's kit lens (and plainly faster), if what Pentaxians report is accurate. And, yes, it has built-in image stabilization -- also highly praised here.

The obvious great wide angle option for the D3200 is the image-stabilized corporate cousin of our own DA 12-24mm/4 -- the Tokina, either version 1, or the somewhat upgraded version 2. These can be had for close to $200 these days -- another screaming bargain.

The ultimate $-smart route to true all-around, practical high performance from a D3200 is 1) the Tokina... 2) the Nikon 35mm/1.8 G... 3) the Kiron variety MF option* until the Sigma 70mm/2.8 macro can be swung, used or new... plus any of a number of good options to cover the longer telephoto end**, if absolutely necessary. Lens options 1-3 should handle 95%+ of all photographic requirements for a typical D3200 user who finally figures it out. Keep in mind the cropping option to effectively push the Sigma F-O-V further within the telephoto range, given 24mp to work with. A Tamron SP or equivalent Kenko 1.4x tele converter is probably also a wise pick up in this context at circa $100 used, if you're patient. Supply makes these much more affordable for Nikon than for K-mount. There are various routes to a similar end here.

* An even better option in this context, following the "stand-in" strategy, is the MF Nikkor 50-135mm/3.5 AI-S; though at maybe $115 or thereabouts, for a clean example, it may take a bit longer to re-sell down the road. I own this one myself, but focusing on a K3 is certainly a step up from dealing with the lower-end penta-mirror and screen in the D3200; and it meters on a Pentax! The poor man's DA 50-135mm... 😉

** The Nikon standard 55-300mm DX zoom is a sensible conventional choice here -- It's no substitute for the Sigma at that very useful F-O-V, of course, but good for what it is. These are plentiful used, and the market price is stable, so it's hard to go far wrong with this one. But again, I just don't like the idea of scattering a neophyte's attention in too many different directions until the time is right. Long tele is not a necessity; at least, not frequently. Nikon's 55-200mm DX is inferior to the former, but useable enough... and cheap secondhand.

P.S.: Here's a bonus $-saver -- the Nikkor 50mm/2 AI, which is virtually equivalent in practical terms to the much more sought after 50mm/1.8 AI/AI-S. It's a better lens than the Series E "pancake", but will sell for the same price, or less -- circa $40. This would effectively be the Nikon equivalent of an SMC-M 50mm/1.7... except there is no in-body metering with Nikon! Did I mention maybe that fellow should have bought a K-30? 😇 This Nikkor is also the prettiest of all the auto-indexing Nikkor 50mm lenses, in my view. My own looks fabulous on my Photomic F. Look for a used Nikkormat and maybe get the lens for close to "free", if you set up a search in My eBay. It could offer a useful "fill" focal length between a 28 or 35mm, and the 70mm Sigma, or whatever. The Nikon AF, AF-n, and AF-D 50's won't auto-focus on the D3200.

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 06-16-2014 at 05:29 AM.
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