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What lens do I need?

by Abby
(Ky, USA)

I have done a lot of research I have settled on the Nikon D5000. I am a beginner photographer and, unfortunately, I am on a budget. What is the best all-around lens? I want to be able to take a close-up then turn around and take a landscape photo, all without switching lenses. What do you think about the AF-S 18-55mm VR Lens? I have seen mixed reviews. Thanks for your time!!! It is much appreciated! (Lens research can be quite over-whelming!)

Answer:

Abby,

When shopping for a lens for a Nikon D5000 it is important to know that not all Nikon (NIKKOR) lenses will work with this camera. The reason for this is that the D5000, like other entry level Nikons, does not have an autofocus motor built into the body. Therefore you need to make sure that the lens you buy…if you buy it separately from the camera…is compatible with the Nikon D5000. This means that you need to look at Nikon (NIKKOR) AF-S and AF-I, or compatible third-party lenses only.

As for the best “all around lens” I recommend a telephoto lens with a wider focal range such as an 18mm to 200mm range. While it really depends on what you will be photographing, for a “walk-around” lens that is able to go from wide angle landscapes and still zoom in for a close up I prefer something with a wide focal range. I believe this is even more important if you will be limited to just one lens or do not want to carry a bag with several lenses with you. A good example is the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II. This lens is designed for the DX image sensor in the D5000 so ”Crop Factor” does not come into play, giving you a true 35mm equivalent focal range of 18mm-200mm. That covers the range from wide angle to moderate telephoto and should serve as a decent all around lens.

Nikon also makes some telephoto lenses with a focal range of 55mm-200mm but with 50mm being what is normally considered a “normal” angle of view you would be losing out on the “wide angle” focal range which is important when photographing landscapes, etc. As for the Nikon AF-S 18-55mm VR lens you ask about, it really does not have the zoom range you would likely want for a single all around lens. If that was your only lens you would be very limited in your ability to zoom in on a subject. Depending on what your budget is and what kind of deals you could find you might consider getting the Nikon D5000 with the 18-55 lens and then adding a telephoto lens such as the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm VR lens, or even the 55-200mm as a second lens. This combination would give you a really good focal range but would mean the extra expense of having two lenses and having to switch them when you wanted to zoom in on the subject. Other than the need for two lenses this combination works well and gives you great versatility for landscapes, wildlife and sports photography.

From what I have seen both the 18-200mm and the 55-200mm NIKKOR lenses get pretty good reviews so it really comes down to what you can afford and if you would prefer to have one lens that covers that focal range or two. I hope you enjoy your camera and lens once you decide on the one that fits your budget and needs. Please visit our Facebook page and post some pictures that you take with your new camera once you have it and whatever lens you choose.

Alan

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