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Context:

  • I have a Nikon D3000 with its kit lens, 18 to 55mm, f3.5-5.6.
  • I find that I am not getting close enough to subjects and want to force myself to get more close ups by getting a telephoto or zoom that starts no wider than 50mm (equiv)
  • I don't like carrying a lot of equipment
  • I want to spend $200 to $350

I would appreciate it if you could you recommend a choice of lens for me!!

Thanks

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1  
70-200mm is a common size, you might want to rethink the "not less than 50" requirement. So you have gap, big deal, at those distances take a few steps forward or backwards. –  Paul Cezanne Dec 8 '11 at 15:32
    
+1 to Paul - you really don't find many telephoto lenses starting below 70. 70-200 or 70-300 are quite common, and you can find budget (but still decent) lenses for around $250. Personally I have a Tamron, which I find good if a little slow. –  TZHX Dec 8 '11 at 15:57
1  
@Paul 70-200mm (105-300mm equiv) is longer, but not wider than 50mm equiv, and therefore would fit the question just fine –  Imre Dec 8 '11 at 15:58
    
@Imre, correct! Thanks all for your feedback. What do you think about a non-zoom as an option? Forces me to work within that artistic constraint, and I get a faster lens for the money. Good tradeoff or bad idea? –  pitosalas Dec 8 '11 at 16:54
    
Yes, primes are wonderful. Especially in macro photography. In telephoto usage, though, "zooming with feet" might mean a long way to run. –  Imre Dec 8 '11 at 17:21

5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The Nikkor 18-55 has minimum focusing distance of 0.9 feet (0.28 m); if you really want to get closer, you'll need a macro lens. There are very few options in this price range. There's the Nikkor AF-S 40mm f/2.8. Other options, such as a used Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro or a new Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro, would leave you with manual focus (which is actually quite okay for close-up shots).

However, if you meant that you want to magnify your subjects more without actually getting closer to them, these focal lengths will obviously be too short (you already have those). If you had asked for image quality and low light performance, I would have suggested the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, which is praised for those properties, but its rather heavy weight (1.4 lb / 635 g) and lack of AF will probably put you off. I don't know any other primes worth considering in your price class (the Nifty Fifty is cheaper and not longer than your kit zoom).

So in this case, you're left with zooms. On Nikon, I have only used 70-300 VR which was quite impressive for its focusing speed and image quality, and it seems to be available $380 used. Perhaps your budget can be stretched a little or some hunting around will find a better deal.

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I have a Nikon D3000 I purchased in September 2010 that only came with the 18-55mm kit lens.

In December 2010, I purchased a Tamron 70-300mm lens as my close-up telephoto that I purchased for around $200 and I'm very happy with since I didn't want to spend more than $200. I made sure it had the auto-focus motor in the lens because the D3000 doesn't have an auto-focus motor.

The only negative comment I have on my Tamron 70-300mm lens (f/4.5-f/5.6) is it slow to auto-focus when trying to capture things that are moving, but I think that is more due to my limited photographic ability.

Here's a shot I took at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo with my lens.

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I don't know which kind of subjects you are aiming for (people?) but I'd recommend the Nikon 55-300, falls within that price range and gives you plenty of zoom. You can find it cheaper than the price on Nikon site.

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Thanks! Yeah, it's people that I am aiming for. Also, what about a non-zoom? Pros / Cons in your opinion? –  pitosalas Dec 8 '11 at 16:52
    
What does everyone think of this one: amazon.com/Nikon-55-300mm-4-5-5-6G-ED-VR/dp/B003ZSHNCC/… Looks like it meets my needs nicely. But you might have a counter suggestion or information that would be relevant... Thanks!! –  pitosalas Dec 8 '11 at 22:31
    
That's quite cheap. I forgot this one has image stabilization which is a good thing too. I recommend it better than others of similar price like the Sigma 70-300. The Nikon 70-300 has better image quality but it's heavier (may concern you) and more expensive. The Nikon 55-200 is cheaper but going to 300 is nice to have. –  Luciano Dec 8 '11 at 23:27
    
thanks. That's the one I will get then! –  pitosalas Dec 9 '11 at 16:10

As an alternative for the above mentioned zoom lenses I would like to mention the Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro lens. It relatively small and lightweight, has excellent optic qualities and is great for both portraits and macro.

(Edit: not sure if it is within your budget)

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Do you mean the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro? I don't think there's a Tokina 90mm f/2.8 lens. There's a Tokina 90mm f/2.5 macro, introduced in 1986 and is currently discontinued; and a Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro. –  Parampreet Dhatt Oct 27 '12 at 5:08
    
Oops, yes it's the Tamron. Edited my answer –  Rene Oct 29 '12 at 14:09

Go get a Nikon 55-300mm

Relatively,

  • It's cheap,
  • It's lightweight,
  • It does its job perfectly ...

But, hey remember, it's NOT a Macro lens

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