Getting a new lens for my D40. Advice?

Hey all,

I have a D40 that I use to take pictures of anything from products to architecture. Sometimes people, but never portraiture. I’m looking into getting a new prime lens. I was wondering if I should get 35mm or 50mm. Recommendations, anyone? Needs a motor since the D40 doesn’t have one.


You said you’d be using the lenses primarily for architecture and product shots, do you mind focusing manually?
It won’t help much on the wide angle end of things (certainly not with a APS-C sensor!) but if you don’t mind
doing things the old fashioned way… You gain a few things; 1. A manual aperture ring (imperative for video), 2. full frame compatibility (if you might like the idea of a full frame camera down the line or they become more common) 3. they for the most part will work on older film cameras

I’d recommend a 50mm 1.8 E series as a decent portrait/walk around/crisp lens. Should run you under $50

For product shots I would rarely if ever utilize auto focus, if you’re wanting a depth of field drop off the camera may not know where you actually want it to focus. Other considerations for a macro lens would be their ratio, really great macro lenses will give you a 1.1 ratio (or close to it), decent ones 1.2 (objects would photograph at half actual size), and many telephotos a 1.4 (ok for most uses but not products). Also the distance you want to be from the object and how that affects perspective may affect your choice.

The later manual, AF, and AFS 105mm Micros should all be 1.1,
the 60mm 2.8 (AF so no Autofocus on your D40), 55mm 2.8 MF are good and I think they work out to be about 1.2.
If you can afford a 105 afs micro go for it, if not for under a 100 you should be able to pick up the 55 2.8 micro.

As for AFS lenses the 35 1.8 is a great choice.

For product photography Ken Rockwell has a write up at Product Photography but you might want to check out some of Scott Kelby’s books.

Also I’m not sure if they are AFS lenses but you might want to look into the Tokina 11-16 2.8, or the Sigma 8-16mm for wide angle lenses.

i have the d90 and bought the 50mm prime. its a great lens that takes awesome shots, but i wish i would have gotten either the 35mm or something like an 18-55mm.

Good comments so far. Except be warned the Tokina 11-16/2.8 doesn’t have a motor–but don’t reject it right away, see below.

I have the 35mm/1.8 This is the “normal” lens for a DX sensor camera (equivalent to the 50mm on an old style film camera). Great all around lens, especially for low light. Also, nice for having a wide aperture for putting the background out of focus (“bokeh”), an effect which is very difficult to do with a point&shoot. Since having purchased the 35mm, I haven’t even picked up my 50mm.

I’m assuming you have the 18-55mm already, because if not, I’d say this one is probably your best bet for versatility, over the 35mm.

For architecture, I’ve read that people often want to shoot really wide, and people rave about the Tokina 11-16, but this one wouldn’t autofocus on your D40. However, you could still focus manually, or get a split screen insert for the camera to help you focus better. If you absolutely need autofocus look at the Sigma 10-20mm, but this one is not a preferred lens for architecture because it produces some slight but unusual distortion with straight lines, which are typically present in this subject matter.

I’d recommend looking at site, and look at the D40 and Nikon SLR Lens forums. HTH!