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Life after kit lens

edited January 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Hello Moose,

First of all, I am so glad to find your site. It is very informative.

I just got a used D3200 as my first DSLR. I am very new to the photography world.

What lens would you recommend for me to buy after the kit lens?

I am planning to shoot mainly landscape, or people with landscape as background.

Thank you for your help.


  • edited January 2016
    I suggest you decide first what focal lengths of the current kit lens you use most or miss most. The 18-55mm kit lens covers the range of both the most popular and bargain priced prime lenses, the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens, and the 50mm f/1.8. 35mm is considered "normal" for a DX format camera, and will give you a nice overall look, with perspective that resembles closely what your eye sees. 50mm is a mild telephoto that still does not affect perspective much, but compresses it slightly, produces good portraits, and narrows your viewpoint a little.

    From the purely optical point of view, the kit lens is quite decent. A prime lens will likely be a little sharper, a little contrastier, and open wider for low light and shallow depth of field, but if the kit lens does what you need, \don't assume a better lens will bring better results. Most of the economy in the kit lens is achieved by the use of plastics and cheap materials, and relatively small apertures.

    There are other focal lengths as well, but those two are among the most common and least expensive lenses for this format. You might also consider the 40mm micro lens, which though not the best dedicated macro lens, can shoot very close, and gives a nice compromise between the two other primes.

    Look at the pictures you've taken so far that you like the most, and you may find that there is a trend in which focal length you favor. If you can't remember details, every digital image contains a file called "EXIF", which includes information on camera settings including what focal length your zoom was shot at. Many file readers can recover this, as can the camera itself, if you enable it in the playback menu.

    If you keep wishing for more reach, and cropping what you have, then look at telephotos. The 55-200mm and 55-300mm are good complements to the base kit lens, though somewhat "kit-ish" themselves.

    If you tend to want landscape as a recognizable background in your pictures of people, then I'm guessing you want a somewhat wider angle than the 50mm, and do not need to limit your depth of field too much, and the 35mm will come closer. Even wider might work well, but you won't find such bargain prices. If you really like landscapes, and find yourself frustrated that the kit lens doesn't go wider than 18mm, look at wide angle zooms. Some are pretty pricey, but there are some pretty nice third party lenses from Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and the like, that might work well.
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