I have the Nikon d5000 camera, and I am looking for some new lenses. I am not quit sure what to get that will service all of my needs, and I would like to know the options before I shell out a lot of money. I currently have the AF Nikkor 55-200mm 1.4-5.6G ED and AF- S Nikkor 18-55mm 1.3.5-6G.

I have been looking at the Nikkor 60mm F/2.8G ED AF-S lens as a close-up and portrait lens. I have also been looking at the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S to give me additional reach to capture more distant subjects. I just don't know if there are really any differences between these two lenses and the two lenses I already own. If there are differences, what are they, and how do they better serve my needs?


2 Answers 2


For portraits, the general recommendation on an APS-C camera (like the D5000) is to go with a wide-aperture lens in the 50-80mm range. That would be either a Nikkor AF-S 50mm F/1.4G or its slightly slower sibling the Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G.

For subjects at a distance, well it really depends how big your subject is. Wildlife for example is usually done with 300mm+ and birding often with 500mm. It also depends whether you are shooting moving subject or in low-light, or worse both at once! If it is only street photography that you are doing, then 200mm can be enough.

One of my favorite lens in that range for wildlife and street-photography is the ultra-sharp Sigma 100-300mm F/4. If you need something faster than look at the twice-heavier Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8. Most birders that I see use the Sigma 50-500mm which has a much more versatile range at the expense of lesser image quality.


The 60mm macro is a great short telephoto in general, with the added bonus that it's a macro lens, which means you'd be able to get really, really close (within 8 inches) of your subject and still focus. You could use it just fine as a portrait lens (its field of view is right in the middle of the classical 'portrait lens' range). But if you're not planning on getting right in someone's face, you can save some money and also get a brighter lens with the the 50mm F/1.8 (or the more-expensive, faster F/1.4) or the 85mm F/1.8 (if you want something with a bit more reach). Either of those might be more useful for you for general-purpose shooting and portraiture unless you really need the close-focus ability of a macro lens.

The 70-300mm would be a step-up in build and (possibly) image quality from your 55-200mm, and if you're taking pictures of things that are really far away, you'll appreciate the extra 100mm. But it's not really any faster than your 55-200mm at the long end of the zoom range, so unless you think you really need that 200-300mm range (what are you planning on shooting from that far away?), it probably won't really open up a lot of new options for things to shoot. If you find yourself wishing that your 55-200mm was brighter, another option would be the 70-200mm F/2.8, but that's vastly larger, heavier, and more expensive than the lenses you're looking at.


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