I have an important question for all the experienced photographers who happen to read my blog. I just spent a couple of weeks working with my colleagues in the Google Dublin office. Everyone there is great, and it’s really impressive how they cover so many different languages and help webmasters in so many different markets.
Despite Ireland’s rainy reputation I had plenty of opportunities to take photos, and you can see a picture from the top floor of one of the Google Dublin buildings at the beginning of this post. I also managed to drop my camera, a Nikon D60, lens-first to the pavement. This was right before a trip to Ireland’s beautiful west coast, including Connemara. My 18-55mm Nikon kit lens wasn’t completely smashed, but zooming is painful, autofocus doesn’t always work, and something is out-of-plane because I get annoying directional blur in the sides and bottom corners of most shots.
So I need to replace the 18-55mm. I don’t have a lot of budget for cameras and equipment, hence the D60. I have a few ideas about what I might get, but between the experienced photographers I know and rest of the web I hope to get some suggestions, pointers, and other wisdom.
Here’s what I’m thinking about:
Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. I keep wanting more telephoto than my kit lens, and I’d like to have one versatile lens that I can leave on the camera for entire trips. It’s got decent reviews, and more importantly, it looks like I can pick it up for under $500, compared to $750+ for the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II. One drawback with any super zoom lens is weight, and this one clocks in at 628 g. I might also consider the older Sigma 18-200mm is it’s significantly cheaper.
The Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens is tempting too, but Ken Rockwell isn’t a fan and I’ve had luck with his recommendations in the past. It looks like I can pick it up for $360 and probably get a lightly used one for even cheaper – this is the kit lens for some cameras so a lot of people sell it when they upgrade. Not as much zoom as the Sigma but also not as much weight – only 420 g.
I’m also really interested in picking up a prime lens at some point. I take a lot of photos of my kid, and she’s moving faster every day. Any recommendations on 55mm vs 35mm? Should I pick up a used 18-105mm and use the savings to pick up a prime lens too, or is buying used a big risk with these kinds of lenses?
Please tell me what you think (or that I’m crazy and should pick up something completely different instead) in the comments below.