What is a good lens for the Nikon D5100?

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QOTD from Ashley: "I have a question! I am getting ready to buy the nikon D5100 and I was wondering if anyone could help me decide on a lens! Would it be better for me to buy the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm All-in-One Zoom Lens for $999 or save some money and just buy the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Telephoto Lens for $499 I am looking for a lens mainly for portraits/head-shots & etc! And those were the two lenses recommended to me so which one is better or do I need to buy both? Does anyone have any suggestions on which lens will work best for me?"

 Erika: 24-70 2.8

Jason:  f1.8 is pretty tight for portraiture.

Silver: If you do portraits I recommend a prime lens at 1.8 or smaller

Silver: All lenses shoot the same at a larger apature... If 1.8 was tight she could always adjust. But if your lens only goes 5.6 you are stuck with that... And it's much harder to get bokeh at something like 5.6

Alicia: Prime lens for portraits! I'd start with the 1.8

Tyann:  The prime for portraiture because of the f/1.8.

Andrea: My next lens is the 85mm
I've rented it a few times and it's wonderful. You can always play with the aperture, so I'd go with that especially if it's going to be mainly portraits. Like headshots even chest up or waist up... Great lens

Bridget: Have you considered the 50mm 1.8G? Probably better for a cropped sensor and vastly cheaper, but it's a great lens. I think it is great for portraits and will be more versatile as an only lens.

Haley:  i'd get the 85

Patty: An 85 on a crop sensor is going to act like a 127mm lens. If she wants the 85mm look for the d5100 she would be better off getting a 50mm which will give her a 75mm look on the crop sensor.

Chris: Get a 50 mm for a crop camera

Morgan:  85mm is a great lens!! But the 50mm is excellent too!

Matt: The 85mm 1.8 is awesome but remember on your cropped 5100 its really like a 127mm lens (not in look but in distance to subject to fill the sensor). I love the 85 on my D800 but maybe you should get a 50mm or even the amazing dirt cheap 35mm 1.8 for a prime to start with and then get a mid level zoom. You'll want both eventually but 85mm on a DX means you're either just doing a headshot or your standing quite a ways back from you subject if you're wanting torso or more. You'll be in the next room if you want a full body shot. I'd recommend that you get the 50mm (or 35mm) 1.8 and then the maybe something like the Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 or something similar. All in one zooms are good as long as you have good light. You might want a 2.8 zoom if you want to be ready for more situations and less light. I bought the 35mm 1.8 as my first prime and I love it still on my D7000. I think on the DX, they are better portrait lenses than the 85mm.

Shannon:  Like Matt said, I loved my 35 & 50 on my dx senored camera & got the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for a good price.

Kelli:  85!

Jennifer;  85mm 1.8 you will love it!!!!

Jfs Photoguy: 85mm is too big on a 5100 (127mm) you are better off with a 50mm (75mm) or a 35mm (52.5mm)..the 85 would be good for sideline sports (not many) but on a 5100 I wouldnt (I have the D7000 and they both have the same sensor 16.2meg) 50mm would be the better choice, or even the 60mm macro, which will double as a great portrait as well...

Kimberly: I love my 50mm 1.4...not expensive and great for portraits

Sasha: I love my 50 mm 1.8. I bet the apature on the 300 mm zoomed in like that is really high! It would probably never be ideal for any indoor pics....and the 85 mm would be my choice between the 2, but you would have to really stand far away from your subjects in order to get a good composition. I would recommend a 50 or a 35 prime. I LOVE prime so much more than zoom!

Jen: I have the d5100 and can't imagine using the 85mm because you have to stand ridiculously far away for your subject. The 50mm would be a much better choice. And I would never get that huge zoom lens for portrait photography unless you are doing a lot of weddings, and even then I would recommend something else first. Good luck!

Ashley: Thanks to everyone for your advice :D I appreciate all the help!

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