Originally Posted by iriponsnow
My wife and I are looking at getting our first real digital camera and we are totally lost as to what lenses and equipment we need. We are generally considering the camera above, yet have no idea what lenses we would want for actions and general family use.
thank you very much, advise.
1) Determine why you are using the camera. Do you want to be artistic? Learn everything you can about photography? Take the kind of photos that grace magazine covers? Make posters from each photo or simply an occasional 8" x 10" will do, etc.
2) Determine your budget. Good glass can easily cost more than the camera.
3) Remember that in a few years time you can become very good at almost any endeavor, and photography is no different.
4) Remember that many of the iconic photos of the 20th century were taken by cameras with the quality of a modern iPhone. It is just like skis. A great skier on 20-year old equipment is still a great skier on any hill today.
5) Use www.photozone.de and other sources to help pick lenses. Generally, prime lenses are the sharpest but offer less versatility. This is like a condition specific ski (think a 66mm SL ski that is great on ice but sucks in powder). Zoom lenses range from crappy, to decent (most "kit" lenses sold today), to very good to outstanding. There is a HUGE difference in price between "kit" lenses and great lenses. Kit lenses are sharp enough for general use...well, make that center sharpness. They won't be good enough for professional work and the corner sharpness won't be that good. For the average photographer, this is no big deal because your wife won't be at the edge of the photo. Contrast is also a little better with the better lenses. Don't worry about having to use the same brand lens as the camera. Sigma and Tamron make great alternatives that are sometimes cheaper and better.
6) Manual lenses for specialty work can save you a bundle. For example, if you want a dedicated portrait/headshot or a macro lens, you can easily save 75% by going manual. Chances are you will focus any macro subject manually, anyway. If you want to shoot landscapes like splitter (in the photo of the day thread), you need a really wide and sharp lens (the typical zoom isn't going to 14mm or whatever he uses). Again, for occasional use a great manual lens will save a bundle.
7) Photography is basically painting with light, and using and modifying light is a lifelong learning experience. The good news is the Internet has everything you need to know, and lots of it is for free. Joining photo sites like 500px gives you 1000's of photos to look at on a daily basis, with many having the f/stop, shutter speed, and other information to see so you can replicate the shot. Want to use filters, shoot RAW vs. JPEG, light modifiers, etc. for the first time? Someone already has a video for you to look at. I like www.fstoppers.com and www.diyphotography.net, and all the helpful videos at Adorama and B&H Photo. Both Adorama and B & H are honest and reliable places to purchase equipment at reasonable prices. I am not saying you shouldn't purchase your Nikon at COSTCO, just that the two retailers previously mentioned are considered the best in the business.
8) To start out, a basic 17mm-50mm zoom (or anything close to that) plus something longer, say a 75mm-250mm will do. It doesn't have to be exact, just that anything close to these ranges will give you most of what you will likely shoot. Generally, the "super zooms" are not as sharp. When you go on a trip that 18mm-300mm super-zoom is easier to take, but the photos may look a bit "soft."
9) The faster the lens, the more it will cost (all other things being equal) and the better bokeh you will get. Bokeh? I think it is a Japanese word--not sure--but it refers to background out-of-focus blur. A lens that only has an aperture of f/4 may not be able to blur the background as well as a lens of f/2.8 or f/1.4. Being able to blur the background is very important for portrait, newspaper and other work that draws attention to the subject in the photo. If shooting wide open doesn't matter to you, you can save money by purchasing sharp and slower lenses.
10) Regardless of what camera you purchase, get at least one piece of good glass. It doesn't matter if it is a cheap $50 manual prime or an expensive zoom. There will be times when you want to know you have the best image possible for your camera.
11) There are lots of great cameras out there. Again, you can get more bang for the buck for lenses using a site like photozone.
Edited by quant2325 - 8/24/14 at 7:56pm