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Lens help

Saoirse C , Nov 07, 2010; 01:51 p.m.

Hi, sorry for another post, but my head is feeling scrambled after 5+ hours researching lenses and I really appreciated the advice I got last time.

Basically I have a D700 and I'm looking for a pretty much default lens, mostly used for portraits. My budget is only really £400, at a stretch.
I dont mind buying third party lenses either, tho I would much appreciate what the difference between them and nikkor is in your opinion!

Thank you :)


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Wade Thompson , Nov 07, 2010; 02:01 p.m.

get you a used nikon AF 85mm f1.8. on a FX, that should be about right for a portrait lens....used one will cost about $350 USDollars.

good luck.

Wouter Willemse , Nov 07, 2010; 02:29 p.m.

It could be helpful to know which lenses you already have, and how you'd like to define 'pretty much default lens', since it is a bit vague and may mean different things to different persons.
Purely for portraits, indeed the 85 f/1.8 would make a good choice on the budget. For 400 UK pounds, should be available new for that money. If you do not mind manual focus lenses, one of the nicest options out there is the Nikon 105mm f/2.5.
As a more default lens, meaning an allround zoom which can also do portraits, the AF-D 24-85 f/2.8-4 or AF-S 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 may do the trick within the budget, though the primes will do better at portraits.

Saoirse C , Nov 07, 2010; 02:41 p.m.

I only have a 55mm micro and a 28-80mm 3.3-5.6 and I get awful vignetting on that.
Sorry for not being very specific, I'm just so confused by reviews and Ken Rockwell has ruined my opinion. I'd prefer to not have a fixed focal length tho. Also, I've got quite a shakey hold, I cant afford VR though... :(

Wouter Willemse , Nov 07, 2010; 03:05 p.m.

Other option I just think of, a 35-70 f/2.8 second hand, may well fit the budget. A bit short for portrait, though that depends on style and the type of portrait too.
And VR... well, the D700 is quite capable with high ISO, else big apertures help too ;-)

Charles Beddoe , Nov 07, 2010; 03:18 p.m.

I'm just so confused by reviews and Ken Rockwell has ruined my opinion.

Step away from the Ken Rockwell site and no one gets hurt.
As Wade said, the AF 85mm f/1.8D lens is a good choice. It's very, very good for the price.

Mihai Ciuca , Nov 07, 2010; 03:19 p.m.

If manual focus is not a problem, Nikon 105/2.5 AIS is a magic portrait lens.

Eric Arnold , Nov 07, 2010; 03:46 p.m.

i'd get a tamron 28-75/2.8 before a nikon 35-70. still a little short for portraits on FX but that extra 5mm will help.

but if i were the OP, i'd consider selling the d700 and getting a d7000 and some better lenses--it doesnt make a whole lot of sense to stick a cheapo lens like the 28-80 on a $2000+ camera. assuming the d700 is in LN condition, you should clear around US $1000 on the deal, which combined with your £400, would be enough to get the voigtlander 58/1.4 MF, the tamron 28-75, and the nikon 85/1.8, which would be three nice portrait lenses for different situations. on DX, the VL would be close to an 85/1.4, the tamron would be a 42-112.5 zoom, and the 85 would be a 127.5 tele. i think the d7000 will meter with the 55 micro as well, which would be an 82.5mm on DX.

otherwise, the nikon 105 VR, tamron 90, and tokina 100 will all do double-duty as portrait/macro lenses on FX. you might also be able to find a used copy of the non-VR nikon 105 within your budget.

Eric Brody , Nov 07, 2010; 03:54 p.m.

Look at Bjorn Rorslett's site, http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html. He does lens reviews though some are old. His opinions are universally respected; I'll not say what most serious photographers think of KR, I want to be civil, and not direct any traffic to his website.
I agree that in your price range, for auto focus, the 85 f/1.8 is an excellent choice. If you are willing to manually focus, there are many choices, including the 85 f/2 and the already mentioned 105.
The arguments about third party lenses are endless, suffice to say, few people complain about the quality of Nikon prime lenses. Cheap zooms are another story.
Good luck.

Stephen Lewis , Nov 07, 2010; 04:26 p.m.

If you went with a fixed focal length rather than a zoom, for about $100 USD (or less) you could get a used 100mm/2.8 Series E lens. I got one last year, thinking it would be a poor performer and I'd probably resell it, and much to my surprise, it has really gotten a workout. Not outstanding at f2.8, but by 5.6 it does a great job. In fact I just came back from doing some nature and landscape shots with it on my last roll of Kodachrome today, and I frequently use it on my D300 as well. It's an inexpensive, but not cheap lens, if you get my meaning.

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