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January 27, 2011

Which wide-angle lens should I buy for my Nikon D90?

I've gotten pretty good with cameras and photography over the years, and sometimes I'm asked for advice.

Hey man any thoughts on what I should get for group shots with my D90? I have this Nikkor 50mm f1.4  and love it for portraits but it's rough shooting groups of people or in close quarters. Would like to stay under $600 if I can.

It's a great question, because getting a decent wide-angle lens under $600 is a challenge. The best wide-angle choices from Nikkor are very expensive. For instance, one of my favorite lenses is this Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens and Amazon currently has it (discounted) at over $1700. I don't take it out of my bag too often, but when I do the results are pretty damn cool.

Here's one of the first shots I ever did with it, on the Tokyo subway using my D200, which has a DX sensor. The zoom setting was at 15mm, which means this shot is at about 32mm:

The Brow

My everyday lens is a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens which is an extremely versatile piece of equipment on my D700. Since getting it, the 14-24mm only comes out to play on special occasions.

But back to the original question, which is how to get quality wide-angle shots under $600. The most cost effective Nikkor choice might be the 20mm 2.8, but it's still over 600 bux. (ouch)

All things considered, the right choice that won't break the bank is probably the Sigma 18-50 with a MSRP of $420, but available from Amazon for only $199 - Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 SLD Aspherical DC Optical Stabilized (OS) Lens with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras.


If you get that particular Sigma, I suspect it will become your default lens. The zoom range is super versatile and the 2.8 aperture when you have the lens at it's widest is fast enough for most purposes. You might even get away with using it for non-flash interior shots although I don't personally have experience with high-ISO performance on the D90. All my zoom lenses are f2.8 and they serve me well with the D700 at ISOs up to 3200.

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