Best Affordable Lens For Engagement/Family Photos

edited May 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
I'm looking into buying the D3300 and I'm trying to either find a kit with decent lenses or to just go ahead and purchase the body and a really nice set of lenses. My goal is to start doing photography for babies, families, and engagement sessions. I'm looking to have very clear photos of the subjects, but glowy, bright, colorful pictures like on Pinterest. I'm really not trying to spend $1000 on one lens. There are so many options, I'm not sure where to begin. I don't want the bare basic standard lens, but I don't want the high dollar professional either. Tips please?!


  • edited May 2016
    The kit lens is not that bad, and because it's bundled, and costs less than it would individually, it might be worthwhile to get it even if you expect to use others much of the time. It's a good walking-around and general purpose lens. Although cheaply made and not very robust, its optics are surprisingly good. It's a very convenient thing to have on the camera, too, when you're not sure what your next shot will be.

    I'm not a good judge of higher end zoom lenses, but there are some better quality ones out there. You'll start paying considerably for faster apertures and longer ranges. If you are satisfied with the relatively slow apertures of the kit zoom, there are other similar zooms that cover a wider range. If you want faster, you'll find the price skyrockets, and so will the bulk.

    For normal perspective, the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is a good bargain. No zoom, of course, so you "zoom with your feet" when needed. If you want closer portraits, the 50mm f/1.8 lens is also a good bargain. There are other third party suppliers of prime lenses, some very fine and expensive, such as the Sigma Art lenses, and some very cheap, like the Chinese Yongnuo.

    My own preference for lenses other than the kit zooms has been for older Nikon manual lenses, which I can't quite recommend unless you're willing to take some time focusing, and also guesswork metering. But I will say that for general use I'm inclined more toward the normal and slightly wide end, and find a 28mm or a 35mm lens most useful. The 50mm is very nice, and superb for portraiture, but a little narrow for general use.

    If you're not entirely sure what perspective and focal length will suit you best, there's a good argument for getting the basic kit lens first. You get a chance to get used to the camera itself, and comfortable with the controls, and since the kit zoom covers the two most common prime focal lengths, you can get a feel for what your style is. Some people like to go wider than others.

    Used right, the kit lens will be plenty sharp, and give you a chance to experiment with composition, color, and such. Most of those qualities are going to be in the image and the processing, and not so dependent on the lens.

    I will add one more very subjective and personal observation, which is that many of the pictures you see on line are, in my opinion, over-saturated and their colors tweaked beyond what is optimal. Many people like that, and if you do, fine, but do not be surprised if normal output of a good DSLR looks a little less lively by default. A lot of people post-process and filter and diddle about with their images, and some software on phones and small cameras juices it up too.

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