Essential Lenses

edited June 2013 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
What lenses do you consider essential when getting started with a D3100? I am interested in all kinds of lenses (telephoto, wide angle) and specific models. Amazon links would be helpful if you have a specific model. Please also say what you like to use each one for if you have the time. Thank you!


  • edited June 2013
    The kit lens is great; 18-50mm is a perfect focal length and in daylight traveling it works well.

    Here's what's in my kit now:

    Tokina 12-24mm f/4 wide angle. 77mm filter size, big, heavy and well to handle. Nothing moves in lens when zooming. Great lens for traveling (taking photos in tight places, museums, architecture, taverns, pubs). Needs lens changing though because 24mm is is still pretty wide. I love wide angle lenses!

    Nikkor 35mm 1.8g. My personal workhorse. Decent for portraits, but also works for street photography. One might consider 50mm f/1.8g over this.

    Tamron 70-300mm VC zoom lens. This must be the king of amateur zooms. Problem is that I so rarely go over 70mm now days. I'm going to sell this in near future.

    My plan is to keep the Tokina and get a 24-70mm f/2.8 fast lens. There are great 17-50mm f/2.8 fast zooms out there, but 17mm is not wide enough for me.

    For lenses, think what you are shooting. If you have no idea then get a used Nikkor 18-200mm or Tamron 18-270mm and learn the focal lengths you find yourself using the most. Remember that the kit lens is good optics, and if you only shoot daylight normal photography then you won't need expensive fast lenses.
  • edited June 2013
    Hello @lightrailcoyote,

    I just want to complement what kravattisolmu said.

    The 35mm/50mm fast prime lenses are great for bokeh as well. I don't know if you like that type of photography but it is really nice!

    Bokeh can also be achieved by using a telephoto lens; the more zoom you have more fuzzy the background will be.

    Another upside of a telephoto lens is that you can be far away from people. Therefore, you can have candid photos. Personally, I really like candid photography because you can have a person without a posed appearance. Candid photography is not an exclusive telephoto characteristic but it’s easier to achieve when you’re not being seen by the subject.

    There are classic things as well about the prime and telephoto lens, like wildlife, low light photography and moon pictures.

    My best advice is to buy based on what you think you will use and what kind of photography you like.

  • edited June 2013
    One might consider the new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8. + 50mm f/1.8g. Sigma's new beast that costs $759 when it was assumed to be $1500. Can't wait to get used one. :D
  • edited July 2013
    Wide: 10-24mm

    Walk around: 16-85mm

    Tele-zoom: 70-300mm

    Primes: 35mm & 85mm f/1.8

    These five lenses cover every base I've ever needed and all are under the $1,000 mark, which is what I refuse to pay over. :)

    They could be faster, but the primes make for great shots in less than perfect conditions.
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