Affordable lens for portraits for a beginner

Hi y'all! I am starting to get into photography. I recently got the Nikon D3400 and the 2 standard lenses that come with it. I am looking to get an affordable new lens. I would like to get something that has lower aperture. I will most likely order from Amazon. The 3 options I've seen are Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus, and Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus. Which option is best? I want to take crisp photos that have a nice blurred background


  • The D lens listed first will not auto focus with your camera, and on a D3400 it will also not meter! It will function, but only as a manual lens would, with metering by guesswork or post-shot histogram, and only in manual mode. This, by the way, is a new development on the D3400, as older members of the D3x00 family would meter (though never auto focus) with a D lens.

    Of the remaining two, if portraits are your goal, you'll likely do better with the 50, which has a somewhat narrower field of view, as well as slightly shallower depth of field than a comparable 35. The difference will be pretty small, as the 35 will have to come closer (diminishing depth of field) to get the same view as the 50, but there is a small difference in focal length that still favors the 50.

    Either the 35 or the 50 should give you crisp photos, good contrast, and overall good behavior. If you're in some doubt about which focal length will suit you best, stick with the 18-55 kit lens a bit more, and try to see whether your style favors the long or the short end. 35 is "normal" on a DX camera, and a 35 is very versatile. 50 is a mild telephoto, better for portraits, but somewhat less versatile for general use, because its field is narrower. But if you are generally satisfied with the kit lens for sharpness (which it usually has plenty of) and general use, then the 50 is probably the better for your intended use.
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