Our Photography Courses Blog

Good lens for D40, D60, D3000 and D5000

When we run our photography courses we see a lot of users of these cameras. Users of these cameras are really stuck for lenses, not helped by idiots at Jessops suggesting that some people like to use manual focus. You need to buy AF-S lenses, which contain an autofocus motors and cost considerably more than lenses which don’t. For example the lovely 50mm 1.8 costs about £100 but won’t autofocus on your camera – you’ll need the £300 50mm 1.4. These old lenses will work well on old cheap cameras like the D50 and D70, but not the newer ones.

(Why don’t you want to manually focus? Because it’s really hard to tell when the camera’s in focus – these cameras are really designed for auto and if you shoot shallow your pics will often be just out of focus. So don’t buy lenses that make you do it all the time.)

However, the 35mm f1.8 is AF-S and will work fine on your camera, and costs about £150 or so. Because of the crop sensor it will mean that it appears to magnify to about 50mm, which is to say about as much as human vision. So it’s a nice length to work with.

Certainly worth considering before you give up on your camera and buy an old D50 or a new D90. Here’s Ken Rockwell’s review. Nikon have hinted that if they have sufficient buyers they will produce other focal lengths, so you could force their hand by buying one. We have complained for years that new low-end nikons restrict your lenses and therefore your photography, so now’s the chance to influence production!

For our taste 35mm is a little short for portaits, but makes a great all-round lens – many early photographers used a 50mm exclusively and this lens will act as a 52mm on your camera. It can handle low light in small rooms and give sharp accurate pictures. Just watch that your shallow depth of field isn’t too restrictive and samey-looking. Just because you can do shallow pictures doesn’t mean you should all the time!

If this blog is a bit technical and incomprehensible, please drop us a line and we’ll make it simpler. The clue’s in the name!!

Comments are closed.