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Nikon D3100 Help!


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Showing 1-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2011 8:25:17 AM PDT
I bought this camera a few months ago and i've been using a 18-55mm lens. I'm looking to move up a step but i'm not sure on which way to go. Any recommendations on which lens is the best way to go.
Thanks for the help.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2011 8:54:10 AM PDT
Photog Bob says:
Sheryl, I have had the same camera for about a year and added a second lens a few months ago. I primarily do landscape and nature photos (wilderness with an emphasis on birds found there). After reading lots of reviews and web site information on possible lenses I bought the Sigma Zoom 50-200mm. It has OS (optical stabilization) and powered auto focus both of which do an outstanding job. I have no complaints and the price was also good. Hope this helps. Photog Bob

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2011 12:37:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2011 11:28:03 AM PDT
® says:
I posted this on amazon a few times:

Look for "AF-S" lenses with a lens motor in them for Nikon/nikkor lenses. Most 3rd party lenses for Nikon are lens motor (one tokina wide angle isn't but the rest are) For family situation the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S should give you the best IQ for the buck, but it is a prime and you can't zoom.

General focal lengths for situational photography. (Granted the further back you walk/stand the more area you can cover.)

10-18mm are wide angle for super cool landscape.Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras or Tokina 12-24MM F4 Pro II Zoom Lens for Digital Nikon SLR Cameras

18-50mm for general landscape, full people body with landscape in background, street photography. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 or the expensive Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G

50-85mm are typical portrait shots from shoulder to face. 50mm is the natural length for the human eyes before things gets too distorted like to wide or too narrow. Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S

90-100mm you'll find the typical macro lens (most say macro 1:1) Tamron AF 90mm f/2.81:1 Macro Len
70-200mm are typical sports/ wildlife lens where you are further away from the action.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED you can get a cheaper Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 which will work on your camera.

Beyond 300mm are for wildlife/ sport too.

A walkaround lens is the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED

Most f1.8 or larger aperture lenses are prime without a zoom. The F2.8 aperture zoom lenses are the most expensive, since it can keep the large 2.8 aperture constant on any focal length (all zoom mm). Most of the cheapest lenses have the largest aperture of f3.5 (which is much smaller then f1.8) like the kit lens. Bigger glass aperture (ex. large 1.8 vs a smaller 5.6) let you get more light in for darker situation and speed. So you get greater bokeh and a sharper image. Most professional stick with nikkor lenses over 3rd party, I am not, so I get the cheaper stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_aperture
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I don't like to use the cheaper kit lens. I don't buy lens that start with the largest aperture under f3.5 and under 250mm zoom anymore.

I got the Nikon 18-200vr a long time ago for $675ish as my first lens (other then the kits lens that came with my D40 18-55 and 55-200). Then the 50mm 1.8, 35mm 1.8, SB-700 speedlight, tamron 90mm macro, sb-600, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8, Tamron 70-200 2.8.

inexpensive zoom with VR:
Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC (Vibration Compensation) Aspherical (IF) Macro Zoom Lens with Built in Motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Sigma AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS (Optical Stabilizer) Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras has OC which VR on Nikon. The bad news is the sigma failed on me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 7:29:44 PM PDT
Brett Cihlar says:
You already have a good lenses for portraits and everyday shots. With out all the specs and if you want a great lens for a good price I would recommend nikons new 55-300 lens. I also have the d3100 and after my signa got a scratch from a hungry gator I researched many of the lenses posted here. I love my NIKON 55-300. I use it for wildlife , landscapes and it. is amazing when tracking birds. As I read in a review it will become your everyday lens and they were right I never go into the everglades with out it. Take a look at my site cihlarphotography all my birds and wildlife were shot with it. You will not regret it. Hope this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2011 8:23:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 30, 2011 8:33:37 PM PDT
Neo Lee says:
To answer your questions better, you should tell more about your type of photography interests, because each lens is optimal for specific purposes. What do you take photos of the most? Portraits, wild animals, landscapes, insects, flowers, sports, paparazzi, or travel?

Are you considering of upgrading the camera body? As far as I know Nikon D3100 lacks Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) which is useful for HDR photography, and it also lacks Highspeed Flash Sync for advanced flash photography.

Do you have an external Speedlight flashgun, or do you often use built-in camera flash? An external flashgun when used in certain ways make the subjects look a hundred times better.

Do you shoot mostly in A, S, M, P or other modes? This tells if you have explored your camera to full extend or not. Some who use DSLRs stick religiously to AUTO when other modes are usually better choices.

Have you finished any photography book? Before any attempt to upgrading, I highly suggest that you've finished a couple photography books and done some good practicing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 3:46:20 PM PDT
Michael Long says:
Well said. you hit it right on the head...!

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 11:22:15 AM PST
Terry Perry says:
I also have the D3100 and I do mostly landscape and wildlife photos so i would like to know what would be a good lens to buy for these types of photos. I also took some pictures at my daughters wedding and they cam out really nice. I also bought the compact field guide for the D3100 by: David Busch and really got some good information out of it.

Terry Perry

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2012 11:33:08 PM PST
® says:
landscape and wildlife lenses are on the opposite focal length spectrum. Landscape will be wider like the 10-24mm range and wildlife you will need a zoom. The Nikon 18-200mm will do both fine, but you won't win any IQ contest. Look at tamron alternative for cheaper price and look for VR. Sigma makes them too, but their quality control produced a few more lemons.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 2:21:46 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2012 4:50:53 PM PST
PerrynBecky says:
I also shoot landscape and wild life, especially birds, and I got the same camera with starter lense. I moved up to a 55-200mm lens, but it's not enough. Here's the thing, you have to get a lense that is specific to the D3100. I recommend at least a 55-300mm lens, but they are $400 from Nikon. You can get a cheaper lense, but make sure it won't affect your warranty, and make sure that it is compatable. Your camera has VR and AF. That's what you will need to get to work on your camera. The other thing is that you have to make sure it mounts to your camera (mates up with it correctly), so you don't damage your camera. You can get a cheaper lens, but you don't want to do so at the expense of your camera or quality of pics.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2012 5:04:06 PM PST
PerrynBecky says:
I also shoot landscape and wild life, especially birds, and I got the same camera with starter lense. I moved up to a 55-200mm lens, but it's not enough. Here's the thing, you have to get a lense that is specific to the D3100. I recommend at least a 55-300mm lens, but they are $400 from Nikon. You can get a cheaper lense, but make sure it won't affect your warranty, and make sure that it is compatable. Your camera has VR and AF. That's what you will need to get to work on your camera. The other thing is that you have to make sure it mounts to your camera (mates up with it correctly), so you don't damage your camera. You can get a cheaper lens, but you don't want to do so at the expense of your camera or quality of pics.

Posted on Jan 21, 2012 6:01:32 PM PST
Any lens with a Nikon mount will work with the camera, and not void the warranty or damage the camera.

The only thing to be careful of is that since the D3100 has no focusing motor built into the camera you need to buy a lens with the focusing motor built in or you will have to manually focus.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 8:17:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2012 8:24:58 PM PST
aznpoet says:
A lot of people thumb their noses at this lens but it is as sharp as Nikon's other consumer zoom lenses, i.e. 18-105mm VR and 18-200mm VR. Unless you are into scenery and need wider angle lens (12-24mm, 16-85mm), I would consider getting 50-200mm VR to complement 18-55mm lens or get 18-200mm VR lens to replace both lenses. I have both 18-105mm and 18-200mm lens and I really like the convenience of 18-200mm lens' zoom range.
Some people advocate getting f/2.8 lenses or prime lenses but 2.8 lenses are very expensive, large, heavy and might be "too much" lens for D3100. Prime lenses, while useful in low light situations, are not versatile enough for me. 18-200mm VR lens has metal lens mount to better support heavier weight.
With D3100, always stick to Nikon lenses with AF-S designation, which have built-in motor in the lens.

Another device that will help these "slow" consumer lenses is an exernal flash that allows for more light when you need it versus just using camera's built-in flash. Using bounce flash technique with external flash indoors greatly aid these consumer lenses in achieving better result than without the flash.
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Discussion in:  Nikon forum
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Initial post:  Oct 26, 2011
Latest post:  Jan 27, 2012

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