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May 29, 2012
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Most commonly used lens? (+ Opinions on getting 50mm!)

:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm wondering what lens is generally most commonly used, and what type of photography you use it for?


Also, I want to get a 50mm for my D3100 (I have a 18-55mm kit lens and a 55-200mm), and I'm wondering exactly how versatile it is.
I'm loving the low light capabilities and shallow DOF, but I know I'm gonna have to really adjust to using a fixed focal length lens, plus due to availability I think I'd be getting the non AF-S version, which I'm hoping wouldn't be too much of a drawback.
Also considering the crop factor on my camera body, would it be a better idea to go for a 35mm?
Anyone have any advice for me?
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Devious Comments

:iconviator-defessus:
Viator-Defessus Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
For my Canon my primary lens is a 24-105mm f/4L because it's a very nice, light, general use lens. I have a 50mm f/1.8 prime though and I like it, especially for the price. The next lenses I'm looking to get are a 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and a 300mm f/4L IS USM to retire my current telephoto, a 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS.
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:iconrebel-bambi:
rebel-bambi Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional Photographer
My most used is a 50mm f1.8. Cheap use while I'm waiting for my f1.4
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:iconoldagardner:
OldaGardner Featured By Owner May 31, 2012
The Nikon 35mm F1.8 AF-s is a nice inexpensive walk around lens for normal perspective on a crop sensor body. However, if depth of field effects or portraits are more to your liking you would get more out of the 50.
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:icondelahkel:
Delahkel Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Professional Photographer
My most used lens at the time, which is also my walk around lens is my 24-105...I wish to buy a 50mm lens though as a walkaround, as it's much lighter, and seems to be enough for what I need it to.
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:iconkgallant:
kgallant Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Professional Photographer
I got a 18-105mm lens with my Nikon, and I find that it is a very well rounded lens for studio and outdoor use. My next purchase will be a 35mm lens I think, for the closer Depth of Field.
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:iconmr-java:
Mr-Java Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Photographer
Check out the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX. Its a 50mm equivalent lens of DX bodies like the D3100.
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:iconcaliphos:
Caliphos Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I greatly enjoy the 50mm I have for my D3100, though my lens is only MF (way cheaper than the AF version that was available at the time). I usually carry my standard 18-55 and 50mm with me, though I've come into the habit of bringing my 55-200mm with me more places (but it feels really big). I would certainly advise getting it; the shots I can get with it are quite different (at times) from when I use other lenses, in a noticeable way.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Haha I have exactly the same situation with the AF-S thing. Do you ever find yourself wishing it had AF-S?
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:iconcaliphos:
Caliphos Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes and no. Yes becaue with the AF-S, I can get a certain amount of clarity that I can't otherwise, but by not having AF-S, it creates a challenge for me to get just the right shot that I want. So I, ultimately, consider it a sort of virtue and a vice.
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:iconcaraway:
Caraway Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Photographer
In terms of 50mm versus the 35mm, I would recommend the 50mm. True, the 35mm will give you roughly the same framing as a 50mm on a full-frame, but the 35mm still shows some of the qualities of a wider lens. The Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 is the only option I can think of that you might consider for your camera, and its 40mm and 50mm cousins generally perform better.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
So you would recommend the 35mm for the D3100 in regards to framing, and the 40mm or 50mm for better image quality? Sorry, the phrasing of your comment confused me a little ^^;
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:iconcaraway:
Caraway Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Photographer
In my opinion, the focal length of the 35mm is a convenient one (or so I've found), but the quality of the 35mm available from Nikon isn't as good as the longer lenses. If you were planning on focusing manually, the AF 50mm is better cost-effective option.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the advice! :hug:
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:icongeorgewjohnson:
georgewjohnson Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I use my 24-70 f/2.8 for most of what I do, nice clarity throughout the range but I do sometimes find it a little limiting on the lower end so I am looking at a 17-40 or a 16-35 to get those moments when you need a little more depth in the perspective and a little more scene in the frame when you can't step back.

I know a hell of a lot of people love using the 50mm primes as they by their design, no moving parts for zoom, mean the quality goes through the roof, especially sub f/2 as most of them are. I've been tempted myself to try one out but being a lazy git it would mean more walking back and forth, not having a zoom on my landscapes, I'll wait until I have some money to burn LOL!
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:iconskankinmike:
SkankinMike Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
Which are you swaying to? I like the look of the 17-40, and for what i'd want it for, F4 would be fast enough!
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:icongeorgewjohnson:
georgewjohnson Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I've read some really good reviews on the 17-40 and it's only half the price of the 16-35. The last ultra-wide I had on my old cropped sensor was an f/3.5 so 17-40 f/4 could well be more than adequate.

I'm renting a 16-35 ( rev II ) for a trip to Scotland in August, when I get back I might rent the 17-40 and do a proper comparison.
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:iconskankinmike:
SkankinMike Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
You're pretty much always going to have it stopped down, so i don't see the F2.8 as a benefit in those circumstances ;)
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:icongeorgewjohnson:
georgewjohnson Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Better detail in the shadow areas in low-light is the only thing I can think of, but 600 for one extra stop is a tad excessive, LOL!
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:iconskankinmike:
SkankinMike Featured By Owner May 31, 2012
That's pretty much what i'm thinking! If the light was too low, it would be a case of exposing it longer!
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Lol that's what's probably going to take me a while to get used to too, the moving around bit!
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:icondiananohelova:
DianaNohelova Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Professional Photographer
It's possible that statistically the most used lenses are the kit ones.
Other than that, you can't generalize. Lenses each serve a very different purpose. Name a photography field and then maybe you can make a list of most useful lenses for that specific field.

50mm is great for portraiture and I'd recommend it as your first prime lens.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That's true about the kit lenses. I'm hoping the 50mm will be versatile enough to cover a few styles of shooting, obviously it won't excel in all but by what I've read so far it should be pretty good for general shooting as well as portraiture, am I right in thinking that?
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:iconeuphrein:
Euphrein Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Also look at the 35 1.8. I picked one up for $199 and love it.
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:iconmrmushroomman:
MrMushroomMan Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think that's true if you're getting around 50mm. With the crop factor I've found it to be just ever so slightly too long for general shooting compared to when I was using a 50mm on my film camera. If you're outdoors a lot, then that shouldn't be a problem though. Don't get me wrong, it is a good, cheap lens.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Another point I shall take into consideration, thank you!
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:iconsamrickim:
SamRickim Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Photographer
Cool, you have the lenses I have.

I shot manually on everything (which I think is the best for most situations) so lack of auto-focus wouldn't bother me. If you're shooting portraits and can muck around with the settings, I don't think the versatility of the AF-S would make the biggest difference for you. Out in the field it might be a slightly bigger problem if you're shooting something like wildlife where you might need to adjust the focus manually on the fly. That's about all I can say.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I agree, I usually shoot on manual the most too, I like having more control, and considering the AF isn't always accurate it can be faster to use manual anyway. But, there are occasions where I need AF, but considering the big difference in functionality between the lenses I have now and the 50mm, I'm hoping I wouldn't need it at all. Thanks for your input!
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:iconplage-photo:
Plage-Photo Featured By Owner May 29, 2012   Photographer
Special note: I don't believe the D3100 has a built in AF motor, which means it will not support autofocus for older AF or AF-D lenses...

I never leave home without a 50/1.8 in my bag. I often isn't the best lens for any given subject, but is can be used for most subjects.

However, your observation is correct about the crop factor - you may find the 35mm more usable and giving a perspective closer to what the 50mm was on the film (full framed) camera bodies.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for you're reply - I'm aware of the no AF problem with the D3100, I'm hoping I can compromise though because the older 50mm f/1.8D is quite a bit cheaper lol, and I'm hoping I won't need the AF much anyway. And I'll consider what you said about the 35mm!
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:iconplage-photo:
Plage-Photo Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012   Photographer
To answer the other part of your question -

The lens I use the most is probably my 80-200/2.8 (I shoot a lot of sports).

My most used studio lens is my Tamron 17-50/2.8 - I also have a Nikon 35-70/2.8 which was my "go to" lens before I got the Tamron.

The 80-200/2.8 and Nikon 35-70/2.8 are both AF-D lenses (but full frame), the Tamron is an AF-S (and DX).
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:iconvargson:
Vargson Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
To make this clear, the D3100 does not have a built in AF motor. Only the Nikon DSLRs from D90 upwards have one.

I use the 50mm F/1,8 as my primary lens and take about ~65% of my photos with it. Like already mentioned, you should consider the crop factor, but since you will have to move a lot with every fixed focus lens, this should be a minor concern.
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:iconpeppermint-ambi:
peppermint-ambi Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I know about the D3100 not having an AF motor, only new lenses which have built in AF motors work with it. I suppose I wish I'd understood what that meant as well as the whole crop factor thing before buying it, it would've made things simpler now!
You make a good point about the crop factor/fixed focal length situation, thanks for your input :hug:
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