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Lens Therapy: Nikon DX Lenses Under $300

by Gevon Servo on 08/25/2011

A lot of Nikon photographers think they need to spend thousands, on lenses, to take great photos. They read all the information available and think they know the best of the best. However, they cannot always afford these lenses. Some even let this hold them back. They can though, save money or think differently, especially if they are Nikon DX(D7000 , D3100, D300s)  shooters. There are lenses available, under $300 USD respectively. These lenses will allow them to shoot most styles of photography, and do it well. It’s not always the gear, its person behind it.

Update:No Wide angle Lenses?

At this price point there are no wide angle lenses beyond the 35mm and the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR which was reviewed with the D3100 .Because its a common ‘kit’ lens i did not include it. The 18-55 is available on its own, though, for around $150


Lens Nikon 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 Camera Nikon D3100 Exposure 30 Aperture f/22.0 Focal Length 18 mm ISO Speed 400

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

This is the first lens I purchased, outside of my kit lens. The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is 11.8g ,properly quick, prime, and a  good size. In essence, it is a thing of beauty. The 35mm 1.8 is a practical lens, if you so choose, you could use every day. The images are sharp and the lens is always consistent, from landscape to food photography. Released in March 2009 this lens is light, weighing 7.2 oz. The Nikon 35mm f1.8 focuses precisely and is uncannily fast. Rear-focusing elements allow for a non-rotating lens front, enabling easier usage of rotating filters such as circular polarizers. If I could do it all over again, I would have bought my Nikon, body only, and the Nikon 35mm f1.8 G. It is a great learning lens as well as a great lens for seasoned photographers. The price point has been around $200 USD lately.

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8D

Shot with Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D

When was the last time, you just woke up just to go for a photo walk, at five in the morning, just to think to work stuff out? That is just one of the things I like to do with the Nikon AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8D. Introduced in 2002 this lens is the older cousin of the 35mm f1.8G. The 50mm f1.8D is an FX lens also. On a DX camera like the D7000 or my D90, the 50mm is a 75 mm equivalent. This makes it and excellent portrait lens. Even though the lens is not the newest one on the block, it is tack sharp and flexible. Its size makes it excellent for photo walking, but it also excels many styles of photography. I really like using this lens for low light photography. Every Nikon Photographer should have this lens. This lens can also be used with the Bokeh Masters Kit. If you want to move to a FX (full frame) Nikon camera, this lens will make the jump with you. If you have a camera D40 or D60 this lens will not Auto Focus. Nikon has a remedy for that, The Nikon 50mm f1.8G. I have not tested this lens yet but as the successor to the 50mm f1.8D I am sure it measures up. The Nikon 50mm 1.8D will cost around $125 USD and the newer G will cost you $199 USD

Shot with Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D

Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G

You cannot reach everything, with a 35mm and a 50mm sometimes, you need a zoom. That is where the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G comes in, especially if you are on a budget. Released in 2007, it is great with every DX camera. It is not super-fast f2.8, but for the price, it performs very well. This lens is dignified and composed. It zooms nicely and is properly sharp. The VR works well, handheld, even in low-lit situations. The lens gives you three stops to work with, enabling hard to get shots, even when zoomed all the way out. This lens has a nice size and weighs about 12oz. The Nikon 50-200 VR will not take up a lot of room in your bag also. You can take this lens on a trip and not worry too much about it. This lens with cost around $150 USD

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G (Nikon Sample image)

Nikon recently announced a reasonably priced macro lens for DX cameras. I have not had a chance to test it yet, but it is impressive on paper. The lightweight lens offers a 1:1 macro image. It uses a silent wave motor like the other G Lenses. The Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8Gwill autofocus on all Nikon DSLRs and has a focus distance of around 6.4 Inches/ 16cm. As with the other lenses on in this post, this lenses can be carried anywhere. From Nikon’s samples, it seems, it has great versatility also. This lens will cost around $280 USD and we will review it here as soon as we can.

Shot with Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G (Nikon Sample image)


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