Best sub $400 Prime lense for Nikon DSLR

Discussion in 'Art, Media & Photography' started by JmCastor, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. JmCastor

    JmCastor SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys!

    I'm pretty much a total beginner at photography. I'm currently in Hawaii so I figured i should take advantage of the beautiful Landscape.

    I've been reading up on the benefits of prime lenses in particular for composition practice (forces you to be creative in some aspects) and consistency.

    So my question is: What are is the best sub $400 prime lense for Nikon DSLR (5200) when taking pictures of primarily landscape and wildlife?

    I definitely am looking for opinions and preferences based on experience.
     
  2. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    Landscape and wildlife are going to require radically different focal lengths in general.
    For landscape the 20, 24, or 28mm f/2.8 can be had used from reputable sites like KEH for well under budget (but I don't know if your camera has an AF motor so YMMV).

    I don't know of any long(er) prime lenses in the Nikon lineup that can be had for under $400.
     
  3. JmCastor

    JmCastor SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the response! Definitely misspoke on my end. Wildlife and Landscape are my goals but this Prime lens in particular will focus on Landscape (Beach/ocean views). I'm open to used lenses as well and I'd like to keep it around 400 but could go a bit higher if the lens was recommended enough to save for it.

    The D5200 does not have an internal AF motor so I have to get a lens with its own.
     
  4. Promit

    Promit SS.org Regular

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    For landscape it depends on personal style but I would start with one of the ultra wide zooms. (Nikon unfortunately doesn't make wide angle DX primes.) Don't worry, a lot of them don't feel very zoomy when it's that wide. Something like the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 II would be a great inexpensive starter. For wildlife, I don't know exactly what sort of wildlife shots you have in mind. The traditional cheap choice would be something like a Sigma 150-600mm for really getting close to animals who don't really like being close to humans. Of course that's $900, so I'm thinking that's not what you have in mind.

    If you're going to absolutely insist that it has to be a prime, I guess it'll have to be the Nikon 35mm, or you can go to something like the Rokinon 24mm manual focus prime. FWIW, I consider the Tokina ultra-wide to be nearly indispensable. The 35mm bores me, it's a forgettable characterless focal length with nothing to say. Probably going to anger a lot of photographers in saying that. Still, you should be able to get BOTH the Tokina and the 35 in your budget by going used, more or less. That would be a solid kit.

    Lastly, and it kills me every time I have to say this, but Ken Rockwell is right, for once. Squeezing the world into the frame is not the right way to do landscapes or use ultra wides.
     
  5. JmCastor

    JmCastor SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the response!

    Doing my research, I had settled on getting the Nikon 35mm (very inexpensive and most people say its a must have as far as DX goes) but its back-ordered on amazon so I may have to wait a week or two. I will most definitely check out the Tokina as well! My budget is in place because I know I'm new to this and I don't want to get into the habit of thinking I can create good photographs by just throwing money at it, at the same time I know that I need solid lenses for a variety of situations.
     
  6. Philligan

    Philligan The White-Knuckler Contributor

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    What about B&H? They have the 35mm in stock for $166 right now.

    I agree, if you're really interested in shooting landscapes, you'll likely get a lot more milage out of the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 than a sub-$400 Nikon prime. If you go that route, make sure you get the mkII version of the lens, because the original didn't have an AF motor IIRC.

    If you want a more all-purpose prime, the 35mm 1.8 DX is definitely it. But it's not a great focal length for sweeping landscapes.

    If you don't mind using manual focus for landscapes, the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower (all the same lens) 14mm 2.8 is $349.
     
  7. Promit

    Promit SS.org Regular

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    This is definitely the time to buy the 35mm, now that it's on sale and before it's out of stock.
     
  8. ericguitar48

    ericguitar48 SS.org Regular

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    depends how far you plan on being away from your subjects but if only getting one lens id get something with some zoom. i got a canon 70-150 for 150$ on amazon and its amazing.

    Dont worry about fstop. get the cheaper lenses with the higher fstop because unless you are photographing fast moving targets like sports or something its really just a perk not necessary.

    I would also recommend anything by sigma. Slightly more expensive (than canon anyway) but their glass is amazing quality. i own the Sigma 17-70
     
  9. CykkVii

    CykkVii SS.org Regular

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    Damn, I'd go for vintage Canon FD lenses. They're insanely awesome and considering you won't have to take fast action shots you might as wel go with the analog manual road :cool:

     
  10. Alborz

    Alborz SS.org Regular

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    personally i don't know anything about these specific lenses but i really recommend you try it in person before you buy it.. just my 2 cents
     
  11. Kodee_Kaos

    Kodee_Kaos NegRep For Free Porn

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    Nikkor 50mm/1.4.
     

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