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Just bought a Nikon D3300 body. Didn't buy it with the lens that was included, which is the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, because I am thinking of buying the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for portraits and bokeh, and a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for sports and wildlife.

  • Is that a good decision?
  • Will I need the 18-55 lens?
  • Will these two lenses cover all types of photography, such as fashion blogging and family get-togethers, for example?
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Is that a good decision? Will I need the 18-55 lens?

It depends on several variables:

  • The price difference between the body only and the body + kit lens. Often the difference is negligible and not buying the kit is almost like turning down a free lens.
  • Whether you will need or use a lens such as the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Such a lens is very useful for many situations. That's why they are so popular as kit lenses. But that doesn't necessarily mean you will find it useful. But then again you might!
  • What other lenses you plan to buy in the near future. If, for example, you are planning to buy a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens which is usually a higher quality and more versatile lens that covers everything the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 can do then buying a kit lens would be superfluous.

Will these two lenses cover all types of photography?

No two lenses will cover "all types of photography". That's why Canon and Nikon sell hundreds of lenses for each of their systems. The lack of such a broad selection of lenses is partly why other camera makers sometimes struggle to gain market share even when their cameras may offer more or better features at lower prices.

The 70-300mm f/4-5.6 will do OK for sports and wildlife in bright light. But if you want to shoot sports inside gyms, sports outdoors in the early morning or late afternoon, or night sports under lights you'll quickly find that you need a lens with a much wider maximum aperture to allow you to use shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action. The same is true of early morning and late afternoon when many types of wildlife are most active. You'll likely need a "faster" lens to get the shots you want.

... such as fashion blogging and family get to together for example?

On your D3300 with an APS-C size sensor, the 50mm will do well when you have enough room to back up to get the framing you want. If you are indoors in a typical family residence you'll probably find that you won't have enough room to back up to get any group shots of the family. You'll probably find a 35m, 24mm, or even an 18-55mm lens combined with some type of flash to be much more useful in that situation.

Do you think the D3300 is good enough to get the most out of these lenses?

Not many cameras are capable of "getting the most" out of any lens, since there's almost always a better camera that can get just a wee bit more out of the same lens. Certainly no entry level camera would be considered as such. The personal decision for you is how close to "the most out of these lenses" you are willing to consider as "good enough" and how much you are willing/able to pay for it.

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There's not a massive gap between 50mm and 70mm - although obviously the wider aperture of the prime makes a difference. But an alternative which you should consider is to get the 70-300mm and a 35mm prime. If you have the opportunity to borrow a friend's 18-55mm then that would be a good way to check out the field of view you get at 35mm and 50mm and to decide which you would rather have.

For what it's worth, I personally chose 35mm over 50mm after comparing f.o.v. in my kit lens because the 35mm seemed like the better angle for candid (unposed) family get-together shots.

  • Seconded. 35mm is a wider, more "normal" focal distance for APS-C cameras...other than that, great choices! – JoséNunoFerreira Oct 7 '16 at 17:14
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Your post covers several questions in one and you might want to split it up in several different posts.

Just bought and Nikon d3300 body. Didn't buy it with the lens that was included,which is a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 because am thinking of buying nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for portraits and bokeh and a sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for sports and wildlife. Is that a good decision?

If you want to shoot portraits, sports, and wildlife the combination of 50mm and 70-300mm will do fine.

Will I need the 18-55 lens? Will these two lenses cover all types of photography.

No. For example, you'll struggle to do landscape shots where you need a wider angle, especially since you're shooting with a body that has a 1.5 crop factor. (Your 50mm is effectively a 75mm, and your 70-300mm becomes a 105-450mm on the Nikon D3300 body.)

Such as fashion blogging and family get to together for example?

I'm sure the 50mm will do great for these occasions since you'll be able to use the most natural of zooms - your feet - in case you want to change composition.

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    Thanks for replying! If I was to buy these lenses it's not gonna be cheap,so do u think the d3300 is good enough to get the most out of these lenses? – Randeep Sep 18 '16 at 19:14
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The 18-55 is a generic lens, and hence made as a "kit" piece. Almost everything near is available with 50mm full sharp, and common wildlife (zoo, pets, animals) with 70-300. The 50mm can give you landscape, but it's not meant to and the visible area will be very small as compared to the wide nature. That said, the 18-55 is an absolute low cost lens, and you can also buy it second hand as many people lose interest in it after moving to a specific genre, like portraits or wildlife. That said, you can have a specialized lens for every purpose or use a generic all the time... It's all about what interests you the most and how many lenses you can handle. Try everything a bit, then invest in whatever genre pleases you the best.

  • Thanks for replying! If I was to buy these lenses it's not gonna be cheap,so do u think the d3300 is good enough to get the most out of these lenses? – Randeep Sep 18 '16 at 19:14
  • Well you got to start out small, then identify your specific needs. In digital photography, its better to upgrade the lens rather than body. For 50mm, any body is good enough.. Higher level "pro" lenses would benefit from better bodies... But since you have just started, 3300 would be quite good. But once you feel that you need better equipment, try to identify if there's something to be improved in your technique first.. That way you will learn and save money to make better informed decisions.. But, make sure you practise and enjoy, without it, no lens or body can give the best – NitinSingh Sep 19 '16 at 11:35
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Is that a good decision?

There's no one who can really answer the question of whether or not you did the right thing except you. But without a time machine to reverse your decision, why agonize about it? You'll find out soon enough. Gear can be sold/returned as well as purchased. It doesn't sound like you made a grievous error and if you did, it's easily rectified as used 18-55s are easily found cheap.

Every newcomer to interchangeable lens system cameras has a "chicken and the egg" dilemma going on. To know what lenses you need, you need experience with lenses. But everyone is different. Everyone has a different budget, a different set of subjects they're interested in, and their own individual ways of shooting. So, whatever you need is individual, and you need to tailor your choices for your own needs.

Folks online can freely spend your money when they recommend lenses. They're also more liable to recommend what worked for them. You are not them. Keep that in mind. For example, the first lens I had to buy out of the gate was an 8mm circular fisheye. I'm very eccentric and I bought a dSLR to learn to shoot 360x180 panoramas. For 99.9% of shooters, my choice was dead wrong. But it was dead right for me.

Will I need the 18-55 lens?

The 18-55 is more of a vacation I-was-there snapshot lens, decent at landscapes (with the right technique) and a general-purpose walkaround lens. Since a lot of folks like to do these things, and the manufacturers figure you'd like to use your shiny new camera out of the box, and you can't use a camera body without a lens, this is why it's included in kits.

It's routinely trash-talked on boards because it's so "low quality" but the truth of the matter is it does not automatically turn all your images butt-ugly. And a high-quality lens can't stop you from turning out butt-ugly images if you can't compose or don't know how to use a camera/lens. Yes, there are nicer lenses out there, but technique is more likely to get in your way in the beginning than your lens (see: Why are my photos not crisp?). There are sharper, faster, wider, longer, and bigger-zoom-ranged lenses out there. But they also cost 5-10 times more.

The 18-55 is a good way to help solve that "chicken and the egg" dilemma by giving you experience with a lens, even if it's not an ideal lens. To me, the "body only" option is offered not so beginners can ala carte their lens choices, but so folks who already have their glass and want to upgrade the body don't have to get stuck with another kit lens.

Will these two lenses cover all types of photography, such as fashion blogging and family get [..] together for example?

They may. They may not. The family get together in particular may be tough, because your only low light lens is going to be the 50/1.8. It may be a little long on a crop (DX) body for group shots or across-the-table shots. Fashion blogging, possibly, depending on the blog and the type of shots you're envisioning. Full-length body shots with a 50/1.8 can mean being farther away from your subject than you'd like.

But essentially, even with the 18-55, you've only gotten what I call "the training wheels triple": the three low-cost decent lenses that you're going to want to replace eventually down the road with what you really want.

The 50 is fast, but may not be wide, sharp, or long enough, depending on what you want to do with it (portrait shooting, really, is about lighting, not bokeh). The 70-300 is slow (i.e., has a maximum aperture smaller than f/2.8 (usually f/3.5-5.6)--a smaller maximum aperture means you have to use slower shutter speeds or higher ISO in lower light) and optical image quality @300mm may require a little coaxing and technique, so not great for fast-moving subjects or long enough for small wildlife (like birds). The 18-55 is wide, but not ultrawide, and it also is typically slow.

And none of them are macro lenses. :) Just saying. I did what you did, only I also got the 18-55. (In my day, with the Canon XT, it was the 18-55 II, the 75-300 III, and the EF 50mm f/1.8 II). And I thought I was all set. I now no longer shoot with my XT or any of those lenses. I have a 50D, a 5DMkII, I own three Ls, each of which cost me about $1k, and I also have a full micro four-thirds setup. The path you're embarking on can get very expensive.

But again, I'm an eccentric. And you're not me. :)

See also: Lens upgrade paths (sub $1000) for the EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens for Canon APS-C cameras [while it seems like a Canon question, you can translate into Nikon terms].

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Just bought and Nikon d3300 body. Didn't buy it with the lens that was included, which is the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 because am thinking of buying nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for portraits and bokeh and a sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for sports and wildlife.

Is that a good decision?

Good decision? Yes, great decision -- eh. I'd say instead of the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 to go with a Nikkor 50mm 1.4 AIS. Will last the rest of your life even when you upgrade to full frame and can be had for half the price of the 1.8 on ebay. Alternatively, get a Nikkor 35mm AIS which will be a bit more expensive but will give you a closer to normal lens. The 50mm as others have mentioned will be more like an 85mm lens on your APS-C body which is wonderful for headshots but even full body portraits will require standing a good ways back.

Will I need the 18-55 lens?

No. Will you possibly want it from time to time. Sure. Depends on what you're doing. On an APS-C it is a good lens for generic uses like family outings and such. That's what its made for.

Will these two lenses cover all types of photography, such as fashion blogging and family get to together for example?

For your examples --- yes. For all types of photography, not even close. You can't do bird photography. You have no ultrawide for architecture and some landscapes. You have no PCE for serious architecture. But these are specialist jobs that involve expensive specialist equipment and may be completely irrelevant to you.

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    1. AIS lenses will be manual focus only on a D3300. That might not be what a beginner wants. 2. It's possible to do bird photography with a 300mm lens. Sure, we all want 1000mm f/4, but it's not a hard requirement. I've taken plenty of keepers with a 300mm lens on a 6MP sensor, so with a 24MP sensor it would be possible to crop as tight with a 150mm. – Peter Taylor Sep 19 '16 at 15:15

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