Dec 27, 20161172 views

Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8 prime vs. 18-55mm Starter Kit

Hi there, I'm fairly new to this community and am currently researching to purchase my first DSLR camera. I am all but certain that I will opt for the Nikon D3300/3400 but have been struggling to determine whether or not to purchase it with the 18-55 mm lens kit or opt for just the body and then purchase the 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I am aware that this lens will not auto-focus on the DX body so I am leaning towards the 18-55 lens for starters and then adding the 50 mm once I get a hang of things. That being said I have read some reviews that just bash the 18-55 lens, I was wondering if anyone had any advice or could share similar experiences?

If you are wanting to work with nature and landscape, you will find the 50mm prime to be both too limiting and not wide enough on a DX body. For a starter lens with this kind of photography (which I primarily do myself) you will get much more mileage on a "superzoom" style lens as you learn. Nikon 18-300mm (more expensive) or Tamron 18-270mm (not a bad choice and less expensive) would be on my short list. I use the Tamron 18-270mm a lot. If you don't work at the extreme ends of the zoom, the optical artifacts are controlled.
When I started checking on my compositions after some time, I found I was shooting in the 25mm-35mm range more often than not. But the long reach of the zoom is good for the occasional animal you get opportunities to shoot. And you will find subjects like sunrises/sunsets work better on a longer zoom to give the illusion of a larger sun. Really the first prime lens I would recommend for a DX body is the Nikon 35mm DX f1.8. It is a "normal" on a DX body and works great for candid indoor photography as well as some landscape photography in lower light settings.
Hey thanks for your reply, I actually bought a lens prior to reading this - it was the Nikon 35mm f1.8 and I am really enjoying it so far. It is a bit chilly at the moment where I am so I have not yet had an opportunity to shoot outside a ton but I will be heading to Central America shortly where I intend to use it a fair bit for both street photography as well as nature and landscapes. Thanks for the info
Alright, first off unless you're talking about an old Nikkor 50mm AI / AIS then there is no reason why a 50mm 1.8G or 1.8D won't autofocus on your lens. Any FX lens can autofocus on a DX body. The only difference will be the effective cone of view. So a 50mm will end up being closer to 75mm.
Now as far as advice on which is better -- since you're getting a DX camera body I'd either go for the Kit Lens or a wider angle than 50. Either of these would be more versatile options for you to start with:
AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm F2.8G (Micro is the Nikon word for Macro Photography, it works like any other 40mm lens but has a shorter minimum focus distance)
There's nothing wrong with the Kit Lens though either. To give any more specific advice I'd have to know more about what you want to shoot photos of.
Thanks Ryan, thats helpful.
I'm looking to do mainly landscape and nature shots while travelling. I would still like to do some portraits so I think the versatility of a zoom lens would be good for learning the ropes. I figure once I have a good understanding of the basics I can add a prime lens.
The Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx series bodies do not have a built in focus motor. If you mount a D series lens, which relies on the body to actuate the screw drive, then the lens will not autofocus. G series lenses have the focus motor integrated into the lens and will autofocus correctly on these bodies.