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tharsis 11-21-2012 01:41 AM

looking for a lens for Nikon D3100
My wife recently surprised me with a refurbished Nikon D3100 camera (body only) so I am now trying to figure out what lens to get.

I want to keep it fairly cheap and versatile.

I will be taking pics of my kids and my aquariums/pets mostly, but I will also want something for landscapes etc.

I have been looking at the nikon DX Zoom Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm lens. It seems I can get a refurbished one of of ebay for ~$85 or try to win one in auction for ~$65. It has good reviews but I am not sure if it will be suitable for aquarium pics.

Will the 18-55mm lens be good for what I want or should I get a 70-300mm?

Also, are there any other brand lenses that will fit on a Nikon without any adapters?

Thanks! Looking forward to picking a lens so I can play around with my camera.

Geniusdudekiran 11-21-2012 02:35 AM

18-55mm is fairly cheap quality and just generally sub-par, but good for wide shots. I would suggest the 18-105mm Nikkor, I love mine and rarely swap lenses for my purposes -- perfect for tank shots, portraits, landscapes, and almost anything I shoot. If I'm not shooting any of these I'm usually shooting wildlife (i.e. birds) in which case I whip out the 55-300mm.

SMB 11-21-2012 02:43 AM

All the off camera brands make lenses with Nikon mounts, Tokina, Tamron, Sigma.
Look at the used B&H photo site. You are looking for Dx format lenses. Not sure one lens does it all, kids, dog, fish tank...
The Nikon 18-200mm Dx VR lens has always been a good walk around lens. If you are looking to get serious about fish then a macro lens at some point.

Da Plant Man 11-21-2012 04:41 AM

Don't be afraid to use prime lens. A great quaility len's is the 50mm prime or 35mm prime. They are cheap and are excellent. I would highly recommend getting one of those until you can save up a decent amount for a Lens you really want and isnt sub-par

Kai808 11-21-2012 07:06 AM

You can also get the Nikon 18-300mm. It's a $1000 but you will get a lot of use out fo that range and lenses don't depreciate too much.

tharsis 11-21-2012 01:27 PM

Thanks for the help guys, I will keep an eye out for a good deal on some 18-200mm or 18-105mm lenses.

Do the off camera brand lenses automatically come with the Nikon adapter or do I have to buy that separately?

IWANNAGOFAST 11-21-2012 07:07 PM

the off brands are made to fit the nikon bodies so you don't have to get an adapter. I have a sigma 55-300mm and it's not bad.

My main go to lens is the nikkor 18-105mm, it's a decent lens that's not too expensive and can be used for almost any situation. You can get wide angle shots to really close up.

I also have an 85mm nikkor micro lens that's great for macro shots, gets super up close to shrimps

sidefunk 11-24-2012 06:06 PM

Many people love the 18-55, for the price and quality it has received many good reviews. It really is a great lens for all around stuff like shooting your tank and family stuff. Pairing it with a flash will be the real thing to help improve your image quality for tank shots. Personally, i am not sophisticated enough to see that big a difference in the image quality, especially not if you just want to share pics online. Many people have also told me that the image quality at f8 is just as good as much more expensive lenses.

As stated above the 35 and 50 1.8g lenses are awesome. However, I would recommend starting with the 18-55 like you have been seeing on e-bay. That way you can get a good feel of what focal length you like shootings with and can pick up one of those nice primes if you start getting a little more serious.

Patriot 11-25-2012 03:39 AM

Prime is the way to go. They will force you to think outside the box because you have to move around.

killswitch 11-25-2012 10:05 PM


Originally Posted by tharsis (Post 2085211)
I will be taking pics of my kids and my aquariums/pets mostly, but I will also want something for landscapes etc.

The Nikon 18-55mm kit lens is a cheap plastic mount. I would personally skip it unless thats all my budget allows.

I suggest the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 (Non-VC). Its about $300 brand new though. It can come in a Nikon F-mount so theres no need for adapters. You can do landscape and mid-zoom shots with a constant aperture.

Primes are nice and sharp but it might not be versatile enough for the uses described. Youll find yourself running back and forth just to get the subjects in frame. If you dont midn that then the Nikkor 35mm or 50mm f1.8 is a winner.

albino_pleco 12-01-2012 02:17 PM

Prime lenses are the best. You can the 18-55 on craigslist for next to nothing for your landscape pics where speed does not matter. everything else a prime lens will give your photos a pro look for a small price.

tharsis 12-02-2012 05:18 AM

Thanks for the help guys, I think I will avoid a prime lens for now as I want something more versatile and it really needs to be < $100.

I found this on craigslist: Nikon/Nikkor 55-200mm lens f/3.5-5.6 for $60

Is this lens compatible with my camera and will I be able to take pics of my fish with this lens?


albino_pleco 12-02-2012 08:31 PM

Yup, its compatible. With no vr and slow as a snail you will be able to take nice blurry pics of your fish!

tharsis 12-02-2012 10:47 PM

are you saying that because it is a nikkor or because it is 55-200mm?

albino_pleco 12-02-2012 11:42 PM

The focal length and brand have little to do with it. Nikkor/Nikon is the same thing, its Nikon brand. That lens will be ok at best on bright sunny day taking pics of your kids. I think it will struggle focusing on a fish in a tank. I would recommend at least a lens with a max aperture of 2.8. Your wife may have got you into a hobby more expensive than fish keeping! I looked at your tanks I think they are awesome and combining the hobbies can be very rewarding.

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