DSLR Lens Recommnedations for Nikon - Looking to go Prime Only

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
31,420
9,725
136
Hey All,

I'm looking to go to prime-only lenses vs having overlapping (or nearly-overlapping) zoom lenses. One of the big things being it's easier for a prime to hold a wider aperture, which I like both for the artistic purposes as well as the need when shooting sports photography.

I have a Nikon D7100, and here's what's in my camera bag:

-Tokina 12-24mm F/4 (<3 this lens)
-Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (pretty solid for what I paid)
-Nikon Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6 (selling this)
-Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 (sold)

So I'm looking to get something like a 100mm-ish lens, maybe a 60ish, and then Nikon's 300mmF/4 lens, which is supposed to be excellent for sports photography.

Some of the lenses I've seen in the 50-100mm range are "plain" prime lenses while other are designated as macro lenses. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to getting a macro-specific lens? Obviously they'll be able to focus at closer objects for the purposes of macro photos.

Open to recommendations for any brand, not just Nikon-branded lenses (both my Tokinas have served me very well)

Thanks!
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
68,643
26,235
136
Nikon's 105mm macro is one of the best lenses in the Nikon stable, big, heavy, great optics, nice bokeh.
 

Pneumothorax

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2002
1,182
23
81
Second on the 105 Nikon. Super sharp and a good portrait lens but maybe too long for that on a DX body

A zoom lens with a macro label can never substitute for a true macro
 

CuriousMike

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2001
3,044
543
136
You mention 60/100/300.

Your 35 gets you 50mm equiv which is close enough to 60?

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is almost a no-brainer at it's price point... but that's 75mm equiv.

The 85mm f1/.8G has dipped down the $400 recently - that'll get you > 100mm and other than some chromatic aberrations, it's sweeeet.

But then you could also look at the Sigma 50/85 ART's.

If I was looking at a 300mm prime, I don't think i'd look at anything other than the Nikon PF.
 

Cerpin Taxt

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
11,943
541
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You mentioned sports -- which sports? What else are you going to shoot, predominately?

The 105 macro others mentioned is indeed very good. I have the AF-D 300/4 and I really like it, but the old auto-focus tech makes it a little slow for sports. I'm sure the AF-S is up to the task.

85/1.8 is a good lens for portraits.

If you like your 12-24 you should see about the Tokina 11-16/2.8, unless that's just a field of view you won't use. Yeah, it's not prime, but it's a widely renowned lens.

You really can't go wrong with any of the Nikon primes.

Any thoughts on moving to full frame?
 

Syborg1211

Diamond Member
Jul 29, 2000
3,297
26
91
The 85mm f/1.8g is an amazing lens and also quite affordable.

The 105 macro is also a great lens, but one thing to keep in mind with that lens is that the maximum aperture gets smaller at closer focusing distances. This always bugged me when trying to shoot in manual mode as your exposure would drop if you got too close.
 

Cerpin Taxt

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
11,943
541
126
For what it's worth, the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR is an outstanding value if you're shooting outdoor sports. They can be had around here for $250-$300 second hand.

I sold mine to get the AF-D 300mm/4 but found I really missed the VR, the zoom flexibility, and the AF-S speed. I had to carry a second body with a medium length lens for when the action got too close to my location on the sidelines. The only downside was the lack of pretty, fuzzy bokeh due to its aperture limitations.
 

Paladin3

Diamond Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,933
877
126
Depends on the sports you are shooting and your budget, but don't expect primes to make the job necessarily any easier. You already sold the best lens you had for sports, the 80-200/2.8, assuming the AF on it was fast enough to keep up. On a crop body that is about the best general sports lens you will ever find. I would have killed for a 120-300/2.8 AF lens back my newspaper days. What made it not work for you for shooting sports?

Any of the fast, mid-length teles (85/105/135) can make great sports lenses, again, if the AF is fast enough. If the 200mm end of an 80-200/2.8 on a crop body isn't enough for you then consider a 300/4, assuming you can't afford or don't want a 300/2.8.

And a lot of sports photographers on the sidelines will have a camera with a wide to normal zoom just in case the game winning pass is caught right in front of them.

I currently make do shooting outdoor youth sports and senior portraits with an AF Nikkor 75-240 4.5-5.6D I got from eBay for around $80. It's sharp enough to shoot wide open even at the long end. Indoors it's almost useless unless I'm lighting things. I've got a Tamron 17-50/2.8 that I make do with for everything else I have to shoot. I could press it into duty if I had to shoot basketball from the floor, but 50mm on a crop body is still pretty short.

I guess my dream team lenses on a crop body for high school, college and pro sports would be, in order of importance (and each on it's own camera if possible:

80-200/2.8 (fantastic workhorse lens perfect for so much)
300/2.8 (general sports lens for anything where you can't get close)
85/1.8 (so small and great for shooting basketball on the floor)
17-55/2.8 (when the action or celebration is right in your face, or you want to get a little creative)
400.2.8 (assuming my employer is supplying the gear, and it's my f'ing dream after all)
 
Last edited:

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
31,420
9,725
136
Depends on the sports you are shooting and your budget, but don't expect primes to make the job necessarily any easier. You already sold the best lens you had for sports, the 80-200/2.8, assuming the AF on it was fast enough to keep up. On a crop body that is about the best general sports lens you will ever find. I would have killed for a 120-300/2.8 AF lens back my newspaper days. What made it not work for you for shooting sports?

Any of the fast, mid-length teles (85/105/135) can make great sports lenses, again, if the AF is fast enough. If the 200mm end of an 80-200/2.8 on a crop body isn't enough for you then consider a 300/4, assuming you can't afford or don't want a 300/2.8.

And a lot of sports photographers on the sidelines will have a camera with a wide to normal zoom just in case the game winning pass is caught right in front of them.

I currently make do shooting outdoor youth sports and senior portraits with an AF Nikkor 75-240 4.5-5.6D I got from eBay for around $80. It's sharp enough to shoot wide open even at the long end. Indoors it's almost useless unless I'm lighting things. I've got a Tamron 17-50/2.8 that I make do with for everything else I have to shoot. I could press it into duty if I had to shoot basketball from the floor, but 50mm on a crop body is still pretty short.

I guess my dream team lenses on a crop body for high school, college and pro sports would be, in order of importance (and each on it's own camera if possible:

80-200/2.8 (fantastic workhorse lens perfect for so much)
300/2.8 (general sports lens for anything where you can't get close)
85/1.8 (so small and great for shooting basketball on the floor)
17-55/2.8 (when the action or celebration is right in your face, or you want to get a little creative)
400.2.8 (assuming my employer is supplying the gear, and it's my f'ing dream after all)

slow AF (....autofocus). my tokina lens was older and had a gear-driven focus mechanism. also, pictures at wide apertures were pretty soft, meaning I really couldn't take advantage of the selling point of the f/2.8 aspect of the lens. that being said, on a bright sunny day, i could take some damn fine photos with it stopped down, and it's definitely a great intro-to-sports-shooting lens (they can be had about for $200-250 on ebay)

several photo friends have recommended lenses mentioned here - 50/1.8, 85/1.8, and i definitely want the 300/F4 for sports. all the action shooting I do - motorcycle track days/autocross events, I'm generally well away from the subject and so the extra reach is much appreciated.
 
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