Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ask Clane (Part Three)

Being that I ONLY have an 18-200 Nikkor VR lens for my Nikon D200... ...and knowing what I like to shoot (buildings, people, landscape, etc)... ..what would be a nice “next lens” to get?

Thanks Brandon. The 18-200mm Nikkor lens is an all-around winner. Great capabilities, a bit of wide angle and a lot of zoom, and VR to boot. Great for just about everything. The problem with zoom lenses (of any kind) is that they inherently have distortion. And the greater the range of zoom, the greater the distortion. For this lens, the ideal range to remove distortion is 24mm (see Ken Rockwell's review HERE). For landscapes, I would use this lens and shoot as close to 24mm as possible- it's a decent wide angle on a APS-C sensor. To shoot people and buildings, though, I would recommend staying away from this lens. I would get a prime lens, such as the 50mm F/1.8 (HERE- about $100) or the 85mm F/1.8 (HERE- about $400). Even though you already have those zoom ranges covered, I promise the 50mm and 85mm with give MUCH better photos (noticably better) because they are fast and have extremely low distortion. That is exactly what you should look for when shooting people and buildings. For something wider, use your 18-200 but try to keep it around 24mm to lessen distortion. Beyond that, the Nikon 12-24mm would be my next target range, you can get some really cool effects with super-wides. If you have a photography question, please email it to me at clane.gessel(at)