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lens question for camera mavens

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i purchased an entry-level, cropped sensor nikon dslr a couple of years ago (the dx 3300) and have been enjoying playing with it. soon after purchasing it i also purchased a 35 mm 1.8 prime lens and that's really been my primary lens (the other that i owned was the 18-55 mm zoom that came with the camera). i'm never going to be good enough of a photographer to justify (the price of) a full-frame camera and so when i recently decided to add on to my lens collection i decided to get a 10-20 mm ultra-wide and a 55-200 mm zoom from nikon's dx/crop format series. i figured that this covered the entire focal length i'd ever have interest in (the 55-300 mm zoom costs too much more than the 55-200 mm to justify the extra reach for someone who is not going to do sports/wildlife photography).


i then decided to sell my 18-55 kit lens--this on the basis that i really don't use it very much/at all. right after i sold it i realized that nikon now makes a more advanced version of that lens (quieter auto-focus, maybe a bit sharper). i'm trying to decide whether it's worth using the money i got for the older kit lens to subsidize the price of the new version. i guess the answer to the question is in the fact that i didn't use the old one very much. but i don't know if there's value in having the 18-35 mm end of the focal length range covered as well that i'm not seeing now but might want later (actually 27-52 mm since this is a cropped sensor camera).


so what would you say:


1. kick myself for selling the old kit lens and bite the bullet and purchase the marginally better new version*?




2. save the money and just step back a few feet with the prime lens for anything that i might need the lower end of the 18-55's reach for?




*sigma makes a 17-50 mm 2.8 lens that i could see myself using a lot more than the kit lens 18-55 as it offers the 2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range. but it's both more expensive and apparently highly variable from lens to lens.

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When I considered the same question a few years ago for lens on a Nikon 3200, I rented various lenses from Camera World (in Fairfield NJ). Sampled them for my usual subjects of trains and architecture.


Compared the results, and decided to stay with what I had. The 18-55 and the longer lens. For my purposes, they worked fine and I didn't see any significant difference.


I believe the total cost was under a hundred bucks for several lenses over a few weeks

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i thought of that. i'm not sure, however, if there's much to be gained by going up the dx ladder. the move to fx (full frame) would be a crazy financial jump: the cheapest full frame nikon body alone costs more than my dx camera and all my lenses combined. it's not one i could justify at my level of ability (with a pretty clear-eyed view of what the ceiling of that ability is). if i made a lot more money, of course, i wouldn't care.


but yeah, the lower-level dx cameras will also be a lot better in a couple of years.

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to your point about bodies getting better over time, its usually better to spend your budget on glass anyway. That said, I'm not a Nikon guy so can't speak to that lens in particular. If nikon is like canon, you really shouldn't buy the kit lens. Better to spend a bit more on a better zoom that you will still be happy with five years from when you do upgrade your body.


have you checked in on the lunatics at DPReview?

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If you haven't already purchased the 55-200mm, would you consider the 18-200mm? Wider range, but more importantly, larger aperture than the 55-200mm. Yes, more expensive than 55-200mm, but the sale of the 18-55mm will help offset that.


When I first started with an slr (nikon f80 in addition to my dad's nikon f1), I, too, was told not to bother with the kit lens, but I can't remember why. I still have the f80 (and f1), and have a basic d90. I can't remember what lenses I have, except the 50mm f/1.4.

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i've already purchased the 55-200. reviews suggested that image quality on the 18-200 and 18-300 is not great across the zoom range. i was also unsure about putting a long zoom lens with a plastic mount on the relatively small dx3300 body. plus, the 18-200 costs more than the 18-55 and 55-200 combined. an extra $250 for the convenience of carrying one lens is a bit much for me, especially when i'm not sure i even need the 18-55 focal length range (not on lenses that can't handle low light anyway).


for now i'm going to stick with the 35 mm prime and the 55-200 zoom i think. and i'll play with my 10-20 mm ultrawide (which was not cheap and which i absolutely don't know how to use). tempted by the sigma 17-50, which is 2.8 across the zoom range but it's about 10 years old at this point. don't want to buy it and then see it replaced in the next year.

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If you have the 20mm (~35mm FF equiv) and you have the 35mm (~50mm FF equiv) then you dont really need anything to cover the range between them.


If the convenience of having that zoom wasnt useful before, its not going to be useful with a slightly better version of the same lens.


I think you have everything you need already.


For full frame its not really about ability anyway. Unless you want to do really shallow depth of field gimmickry, full-frame would probably be worse, since its heavier and bulkier.


And by the time your current setup goes obsolete, given that you mostly use the normal lens anyway, youll probably be able to replace it with your phone.

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