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I'm looking for a lens for portraits and closeups (leaves, branches, icicles) that would be fast enough to get a blurred background. Any suggestions? I'd like to get something for $200 or less.



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See also a bunch of questions here:… (Yours is specific enough that I'm not sure there's an exact duplicate, but there's a lot of helpful answers in there already, so it's worth looking through.) – mattdm Feb 8 '11 at 17:59
Fortunately the D50 is the only entry DSLR by Nikon with a screw auto-focus engine :) – t3mujin Feb 9 '11 at 14:43

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 is certainly going to be a great option, and is well within your price range.

There are several other options, such as the NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8, but with a $200 max you're quite limited. and most are going to be out of your price range.

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I would second the Nikkor 50mm f1.8. It is an brilliant lens. The Bokeh that it produces can be quite beautiful. This is a photo I took with it. You can see what effect it can have – Designer023 Feb 15 '11 at 11:40

If you're okay with manual focus, keep the 135mm f/2.8 AIS in mind. It's a little longer than the other suggestions, but:

  • it's a very nice lens that focuses relatively close;

  • the f/2.8 is wide enough to keep the DoF thin if the subject is close enough;

  • the 135, though longer than the usual suspects, is not far off the 180-200mm range I found really flattering for head shots in full frame; and

  • the used market is lousy with them (most casual shooters who bought one ended up using a 70-210 or 80-200 zoom instead) and you should be able to pick one up well within your budget.

If you can find one that's optically good but shows a little brassing, you may even be able to throw it in your bag alongside a brand-new 50mm f/1.8 and still stay (barely) under budget. Some people seem to think that manual focus lenses have no value in the autofocus DSLR world, you see, so you may be able to pick it up at a "useless old knick-knack" price.

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I'd highly recommend the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 and the 85mm f/1.8 (I own both). You won't sadly get the latter for under $200, but you will easily get the 50mm for under $150. On a D50 they'll work out as being the equivalent of 75mm and 127mm respectively.

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Agree with both lenses! Although the 85mm f1.8 isn't expensive (bought mine for 400€) but a bit over the budget, but honestly it's worth every penny. – t3mujin Feb 9 '11 at 14:45

With that budget, you definitely can't beat the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D. It is a fantastic lens that provides some great bokeh (blurred background).

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I can second the comments about the Nifty Fifty (or Thrifty Fifty). I use mine for band photos and it is wonderful, light, fast, and sharp. It's an amazing investment for very little cash.

However, I'd argue that you can still get a nicely blurred background at maximum aperture on the D50's most common kit lens, the 18-55, if you're outdoors and taking photos of icicles etc.

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A 35mm 1.8 AF-S may be a good option for you too. It's small and light with good optics and fast focus, but costs a little more than the 50mm AF.

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