Buying a second lens…

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  • #51151
    Martha Lapp
    Participant

    Hi everyone,
    I am looking into buying another lens for my Nikon D7000 camera. I have a 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens currently. Would a 50mm lens be a good option or what would you all recomend? I basically want it for a second lens and to give me more options. I am hoping to go into portrait photography at some point:)
    Thanks for your help!:)

    #51152
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I basically want it for a second lens and to give me more options.

    Hmm… 🙂 A 50mm lens sounds like a nice addition; it’s fast and will make nice bokeh for portraits. But if you don’t have a pressing need/usage case for it, I’d recommend waiting to see if REALLY need another lens, or if it’s just a case of LBA (lens buying addiction) cropping up. 🙂 Trust me, I have had symptoms for a long time, and just today I finally created “For Sale” listings for some lenses that I haven’t used for years. I’ll probably lose quite a bit of money on some of them because our house was kinda humid, and it looks like there’s some mildew growing down inside of some of them!

    So… If you have a good usage case for a new lens, and you find a good deal, buy it! If you’re not sure you need it, then you probably don’t need it yet. 🙂

    That said, one my most-used lenses is the “nifty fifty”. I use it mostly for puppy photos, and it’s perfect for small subjects like that! Haven’t used it a whole lot for portraits, but it does work for that as well.

    #51161
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    If you want to get into portrait photography, then the 50mm f/1.8 would be an excellent second lens to have!

    You’ll love using prime lenses too! They’re so cheap, yet such great quality. With such a wide aperture, you’ll love having more light to work with.

    Another popular portrait lens is the 35mm f/1.8. I personally feel like I’m too close to the subject when I use that focal length for portraiture, so I prefer 50mm. A longer focal length, like 85mm, is also common for portraiture, but I feel with a prime lens it would mean stepping back too far to get wider shots.

    That said, here’s a bit of perspective. While the nifty fifty is an excellent lens, I hardly ever use it. I always find myself reaching for a f/2.8 zoom lens instead. Why? Because most of the “portraiture” I do is family photos or weddings, and in these situations I find myself stepping forward/backward a lot when I’m restricted to a prime lens. The 50mm is great when I’m shooting in a studio (or individuals, which I don’t do much of), but I just prefer the ability to zoom in and out instead of stepping forward and backward when I’m doing weddings or family photos. Plus, why not have the ability to shoot 50mm, as well as 24mm, 70mm, and everything in between while still having a beautifully wide aperture? The obvious answer is, price. A 24-70mm f/2.8 is going to be 10 times more expensive than a nifty fifty! And of course, there are other factors like size, weight, and aperture (f/2.8 is 1 and 1/3 stop narrower than f/1.8, after all, though in all practicality it’s close enough.) But I just wanted to share a bit of perspective from my experience so if you had all the money in the world to spend, you wouldn’t overlook the benefits of a good, quality, professional-grade zoom lens.

    #51172
    Amber Nelson
    Participant

    I wholeheartedly recommend the 50mm!! I’m a portrait photographer and love this lens! It really is all in what you can/want to afford at this time. When I first started out, I was forced to work with the basics of kit lenses, but quickly invested in the 50mm, and that has been my go-to lens of choice ever since. It’s true that you step forward/backward a lot, but it’s not usually a problem for me, as I shoot my sessions outside, and have plenty of space…I’ve also gotten used to it, though. 😁

    A few months ago, after lots of studying and discussing on this forum, I ordered the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 as a second choice zoom lens, and it works pretty well for being a knock-off brand (although I definitely prefer Nikon! Can’t afford it, though! 😄). I found a like-new Tamron lens on Amazon for $222 (brand new $500), so while it’s more than the 50mm, it’s not bad at all for a nice quality zoom lens for portraits. I’ve also enjoyed using this as more of an “everyday” type of lens, because of the ability to zoom in, or out, for that matter. My intent in buying the Tamron lens was to be able to use it for weddings (possibly), but I’m not quite sure if it’s worthy of wedding photography, but maybe I just haven’t used it enough…😄

    #51200
    Martha Lapp
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your replies! I haven’t had time to look into it much, but I want to sometime soon..😄

    #51206
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Hi @martha-lapp!
    I too was in the same boat (only I had the Canon 18-200) looking for a second lens. The 18-200mm is a great jack-of-all-trades (and nothing gets from wide to close faster, making it a good choice for when you need to travel light and get the shot at an event), but it can come short with image quality, bokeh (what you’re after in your portraits), and low light performance.

    So, when I went lens shopping two years ago… I ended up purchasing a 50mm 1.8 and a 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 (they came together in a kit).
    I was definitely wowed by the sharpness of the 50mm. I would often leave it on my camera instead of my 18-200. I also loved the bokeh, and it definitely performed better when I was taking pictures of my little siblings. It even became my go-to flower lens (I eventually was gifted a set of extension tubes, which added further value to the lens).

    After a while, I wanted something with a little more versatility (and a wider angle so I could shoot groups easier), so I ended up going with the Canon 17-55 2.8 IS (which is a great quality zoom lens).

    My 50mm is my second-most used lens in my kit (the 18-200 is the least used at this time), and is my go to lens for flowers and individual portraits. It’s a fantastic value for the price.

    All that said, you should probably ask yourself what kind of portraits you’re looking to shoot. If you’re shooting groups or full body portraits, you might want to consider something wider like around 24mm. If you’re photographing kids running around, you’re going to want a zoom lens. If you’re shooting headshots primarily, you might like something a little tighter like an 85mm. If you have no clue, the 50mm is a pretty good bet.

    (p.s. if you want to try something for a while before you buy it or only need it for a specific shoot, I’ve used LensRentals a couple of times [and if you use my referral link here you and I both will get $25 off 🙂 ]: https://share.lensrentals.com/x/KbHDTP)

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