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Lenses

edited September 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
Hello, I have had my D5100 for a few years now, but have mainly only used it in auto mode. I would like to buy a 135mm f/2.8 lens, but cannot figure out which have af-s, brands, mounts, ect will fit. I need the cheapest available! Could one of you point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance!

Comments

  • edited September 2016
    Only a Nikon mount will fit on a Nikon camera. Third party manufacturers, such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and Samyang make lenses in Nikon mounts as well, but the lens must have a Nikon mount.

    AFS is the Nikon code for an internal focusing motor, which is necessary for AF operation with the D5100 and others which have no focusing motor in the camera. If you're looking at Nikon lenses, and they say AF or AFG, or AFD alone, they are likely not AFS. Do not buy without being sure of a motor if you want AF to work.

    Other brands have different names and codes. Here's a link, a few years old, which can help with some:

    http://dpanswers.com/content/lenses_specs.php

    As a general rule, you must assume that if a feature is not named, it is not there. If you're not sure whether a lens has an internal motor, it probably does not. Likewise, if you are buying a Nikon product, if it is not specified as being Nikon USA, assume it is "gray market." Gray market equipment is fine, and the same as officially imported, but Nikon will not fix it (even out of warranty) if it breaks, and some fly by night sellers may also not include all the original accessories that should have come with it. Prices can be very good, but there's a risk.

    Is there some reason you specifically want a 135mm f/2.8 lens? This is a medium long telephoto length in DX format, which is nice to have, but what shortcomings are you finding now in your work that this particular lens would answer? There are a number of 135mm f/2.0 lenses made, which are very expensive, and some pretty nice macro capable lenses that are a little shorter. Check out third party manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron for things in the 100mm range, or for more reach look at around 200mm. 135mm f/2.8 used to be a very common size for full frame cameras, and a sort of standard telephoto, but it has fallen out of favor a bit these days, and you may find more choices in slightly shorter lengths for DX, or in slightly longer lengths for telephoto work. Once upon a time, everyone seems to have made a manual 135mm f/2.8 and you can find them used by the bucketful, from the most obscure off brands to the finest Nikkors. A fast prime lens with AFS in any of these lengths is something else, though, and nowadays likely to be pretty exotic and expensive.

    I suggest that as a first step in shopping for lenses, you search through the B&H website. B&H is a reputable seller to begin with, but aside from this their web pages are very well organized and informative. You will find the correct specs for any lens they sell, and Q&A and user reviews as well. Generally speaking B&H and Adorama are among the most reputable sellers, with good warranty service, and fast shipping. Their prices are good. You can find some things cheaper, but if much cheaper they may not be the things you expect.

    You might also try the KEH.Com website. They sell used equipment, and my experience with them has been good. Their prices are not as low as some private and Ebay sellers, but their ratings are honest and they warranty their stuff. But make sure you know exactly what you're looking at. Many lenses were made in multiple versions over time, and you must be sure of which version, and which features, you're looking at. In the description for any lens, do not expect to get anything that is not listed. Unless the listing says it includes caps, case, hood, or whatever, assume that it does not, and if you need those things, factor them in to the cost.

    And finally, not to seem critical, but if you are usually using auto mode, you are not in control of aperture and many other factors at all, and a faster aperture lens might not even be noticeable. There's no doubt that a nice 135mm f/2.8 would be grand lens to have but before you drop too much coin, I think you should make sure you know how to get full control of what you are now using, and how to make the fullest use of it, so that you will be sure of what you will and will not gain with any new lens.

  • edited October 2016
    Hi all around!

    I'm a newby here. Actually, I love to photograph and I've been a self-taught nature photographer about three years. I always will know more and more. So my first question is what kind of lenses I must have. For today I have only two - 18-55mm 1:3,5-5,6G ED and another one 55-300mm 1:4,5-5,6G ED VR.
    My priority is landscapes, objects and sometimes animals. Portraits not often.
    All tips will be taken with thankfulness.
  • edited October 2016
    @tunnelsen, what other lenses you need will depend a little on what you need to do, and what the current lenses don't do well enough. I have the same set for the D3200, and though I have a bunch of others, mostly manual, this pair is all I generally take travelling - which includes the Galapagos, Belize, Antarctica, etc. What you have now covers the range from 18mm to 300mm seamlessly, and with decent sharpness and portability. Other lenses may do the job somewhat better, but they will not do it a great deal differently.

    At home one of my favorite other lenses is a 35mm prime lens. This is the "normal" perspective for a DX camera, and can serve for a great many shots. The faster aperture makes it pretty good for portraits and lower light, and it will deliver somewhat better contrast and sharpness than the equivalent zoom, and likely less sensitivity to flare and ghosting in difficult light. The 35mm f/1.8 DX is relatively inexpensive, and highly regarded. Once you've gotten used to using a good prime normal lens, you may find yourself reaching for it even when a zoom might be more convenient, simply because the quality of the images is so consistently good.

    If you like portraits with a narrower viewpoint, the 50mm prime lens is nice. Not as general purpose as the 35mm for DX, it's nice for portrait.

    Either of those primes would likely be a good first choice for "next lens after the basic zooms."

    Another nice choice is the 40mm f/2.8 DX micro. Not as fast as the others, it's very sharp, right about in the middle of the normal range, and capable of very close up macro work. Like the 35mm and 50mm, it's a prime lens which means it comes in only one focal length, and if you need to change framing, you must "zoom with your feet." It's said to be very sharp.

    For landscapes, a wider viewpoint than the 18mm you now have might be nice. However, wider lenses can get pretty expensive. I'm not too well versed on the best wide angles, but there are various ones including third party like Sigma and Tamron that may be worth a look. 18mm is a wide but not super-wide angle. 16mm is very wide, and approaching the point beyond which the view may begin to seem exaggerated. 12mm is very wide indeed, and can be very dramatic, but as you approach greater width, dealing with extensive foreground and sky can be challenging.

    Most of the time, you won't need any longer telephoto than 300mm, which gives nice reach. If you get really hot for wildlife, a longer zoom is always nice, but beyond what you have it gets very expensive.

    If you are looking for sports and wildlife and need to catch faster movement, there are some faster substitutes for the 55-300mm, but again, they are going to cost.

    All of which adds up to the somewhat long-winded upshot that what you have is likely to satisfy most of the time, and you're likely best off using your current lenses until you can identify a specific shortcoming. But if you want a really nice third lens that will, in the process, probably help you to hone your photographic skills and techniques, I'd go for the 35mm f/1.8 DX.
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