Lens pls.
September 26, 2011 8:27 PM   Subscribe

What's the best affordable (below $200) lens for my Nikon D40 camera?

I am traveling soon and I would like a good lens that's good for portraiture, food, and architecture photography.
posted by LittleMissItneg to Shopping (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The 35mm f/1.8G DX is the way to go. Nothing else in that price range has the speed necessary for food photography (which is often done in low light) and a wide enough angle for portrait and architecture shooting. The 50mm full frame lenses would be like a 75mm on the D40, which is probably too narrow for architecture and makes group shots a little challenging.
posted by jedicus at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Were it me, it'd be the Nikkor 35mm f1.8 DX
posted by bz at 8:42 PM on September 26, 2011

Oops. Got beaten.
posted by bz at 8:43 PM on September 26, 2011

Here's Rockwell's run-down of the same. This lens and a D40 is a great combination. The lens is a must-have.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:44 PM on September 26, 2011

I was going to make the same recommendation as Jedicus.

It's lightweight and compact, and what you lose in ability to zoom you will make up for in ability to shoot in low light without flash.

If you feel you must have a zoom, the 18-55 VR is a good bet. Great for tight quarters on the wide end, and when zoomed in, it makes a great portrait lens. But it won't shoot in low light like the 35mm 1.8.
posted by The Deej at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2011

Your interests conflict: architecture generally favors wide-angle lenses, but portraiture requires normal or slightly telephoto lenses unless it's full-body.

If you want to shoot a lot of interiors, give some thought to a wide-angle. It will let you capture the feeling of a whole room, as opposed to one particular feature. In my experience, the interior photos I compose in my mind's eye usually correspond to a 28mm (full frame) lens.

If interiors aren't very important, go with the 35 for all the reasons others have mentioned.

If you are particularly interested in food, consider one of those little tabletop tripods with the goose-neck legs.
posted by scose at 8:53 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The 35mm f/1.8 is a great lens but, as mentioned, portrait, food and architectural photography are very different genres and a 35mm focal length is not ideal for any of those.

If you get the 35mm lens, you might also consider buying a neutral density filter. The Nikon D40's minimum ISO speed is 200, so you will likely find that in bright conditions you won't be able to shoot with the lens wide open (which is necessary in order to get the blurred background effect in portrait photography). This is especially the case if you want to use fill flash, because then your max shutter speed drops to 1/500s. They're also handy for doing long exposures of waterfalls, etc.
posted by mattn at 2:52 AM on September 27, 2011

this lense also works great (outperforms any other lense that i have) in low light situations,
posted by fozzie33 at 7:56 AM on September 27, 2011

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