Tag Archives: Nikon

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Which lens should I buy for my Nikon D60?

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.

What Digital Camera Should I Buy?

A lizard in the leaf litter In addition to creating web apps, doing research, and pontificating on usability and social software, I like to wander around and take photos.  Until now I’ve gotten along pretty well with a Nikon CoolPix 5700.  It has a number of features that have turned out to be really, really useful – an 8x optical zoom that makes it easier to take photos from far away, a nice macro mode for very very close shots, and a swiveling LCD display that makes it easier to do overhead shots and candid photos.

But, it has a few limitations that I find myself bumping into again and again.  No vibration reduction, poor performance in low light, slow autofocus, and it definitely does not give you the kind of manual control that traditional SLR film cameras have.  So I’m looking into getting a DSLR.

I definitely want to get a new camera before our kid is born in November.  The only thing stopping me from running out and buying a DSLR is that I don’t want to turn my minor photography hobby into a major production – I like the relatively small size and light weight of my current “prosumer” camera, and the fact that I don’t need to carry 2 or more lenses around with me at all times.

So here’s my project:  to find a combination of camera and lens that gives me a nice balance between control, portability, and versatility.  I’m not as worried about super-high resolution (by the time you hit 5-6 megapixels, you can do pretty much anything you want with the prints), or having really professional gear.  Price is also a big consideration.

My guess is that I’ll have to try to find a small, entry-level DSLR and attach a “walking around” or “vacation” lens – something with a wide range, like 18mm – 200mm.  Another thing I’ll be looking into is automating geotagging – I’m a big fan of photo sharing systems like Flickr and Picasa and it would be great to have faster, more accurate place data on photos.

This definitely calls for a spreadsheet.  I have a tendency to approach major decisions with the application of spreadsheets and/or databases.  But before I start laying out facts and figures, any recommendations?  Suggestions on brand names, specific models, etc. are all welcome.  Please post in the comments below.