September 7, 2014 at 9:08AM

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Best Prime Lens for Nikon Video?

I currently own a Nikon D5300 DSLR camera, and I stuck with a kit lens. I have recently saved enough money to buy a lens and was hoping to start of with a Prime (Then move onto Telephoto and Zoom). In terms of Prime lenses what should I buy. I am focussed on video so that's something to consider. Thanks!

13 Comments

What are you shooting? If you have a decently low budget, sometimes getting a zoom style lens is just better than trying to purchase a bunch of primes.

If you want some great primes that are inexpensive, check out Rokinon/Samyang/Bower (All the same). Their 85mm for example is incredibly sharp for 280$~

September 7, 2014 at 12:46PM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1403

I shot on a Nikon D600 a lot and we're almost always using old Nikon 50mm and 28mm primes. I was honestly surprised as to how sharp they ended up being considering their age. Canon FD glass does not age well at all and leads to all sorts of blooming, sharpness, and aberration issues. Again, depending on what you're shooting, you should choose between those lenses but I definitely recommend those.

September 7, 2014 at 1:20PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1606

I have a D5300 as well, and I love my 50mm 1.8! I got it for ~$200 from Amazon and since it came, I've used my 18-140 kit like twice. I highly highly recommend it.

September 7, 2014 at 6:43PM, Edited September 7, 6:43PM

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If you want a prime, don't go any longer than 50, or maybe even 35, for your first and (for now) only prime. On a cropped sensor, that becomes a very long lens, and as your only prime, you really don't want a telephoto to be your only option. Even a 50 ends up feeling like an 85, and that's pretty unwieldy to shoot with in a tight space.

A good "normal" lens will give you plenty of variety by just moving the camera closer or further away. Anything from 24-35 will give you a great feeling length. A 50 is workable, though.

If you're open to it, the Sigma 18-35 is a really amazing lens. I know it's more expensive, but it's a good zoom range, very fast, and great images. No clue what your budget is, but give it a consideration.

September 8, 2014 at 6:45AM

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David S.
3151

I shoot on my Nikon D3200 using the kit lens as well as an AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. It works well for me!

September 8, 2014 at 9:01AM

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Brendan Bequette
Director, Director of Photography, and Editor
74

Have a look at used Nikon E Series lenses, they are mostly underrated. I bought a 50mm/1.8, a 28mm/2.8 and a wonderful 75–150mm/3.5. Paid around 150€ for the bunch... and you get manual aperture rings!

September 8, 2014 at 9:42AM

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Jan Rödger
DoP / filmmaker
87

I own a D600 and use it mostly for film work. My advise to you would be to not buy the current lenses. The older Nikon AI and AI-S glass are some of the best lenses made by Nikon and they can be found for amazing prices used - since of course every photographer wants autofocus, and we don't really care about that for film.

I bought the 28mm Nikon 2.8 AI-S and it is incredible. The other thing that is very important is the ability to have manual aperture control without having to go out of live view. On a Nikon to adjust the aperture when filming you have to click back out of live view so having a lens with manual aperture (not worrying about declicked at this point) is so nice and helps save time.

Not a plug, but I bought my lens on keh.com - they are one of the used gear broker sites, but they rate their products really well, so you know what you are buying. SOOO many times on eBay you can find great deals, but you don't know exactly what you are getting in terms of glass quality and how the lens has been kept - but with some of these reputable dealers they have rated the lenses so you know what you're buying. I think I paid about $250 for the lens and it has been a workhorse for me.

I also have the 50mm 1.4D lens - so its one of the newer ones with autofocus, but it still has the manual aperture. I also bought the Rokinon 85mm lens which I think is phenomenal. It really matches well with my Nikon glass and obviously it gives you full Cine control which is fun to have!

I literally use my Nikon daily for film work - so if you have other questions don't hesitate to PM me - always happy to help a fellow "backwards focuser" :)

September 8, 2014 at 10:12AM

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Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer
1123

This guy is spot-on.

Nikon AI-S lenses are pretty great and affordable. KEH is killer for used glass. The ratings are always spot on and they are a real, legitimate company. If I can help it, I don't buy used glass from eBay, ever.

David S.

September 8, 2014 at 10:46AM

I've used a D600 daily for video work for the last two years, and have found myself grabbing the el-cheapo 50mm 1.8 af-s for the bulk of shots where I need to grab something nice looking, quickly. I've got a full set of zeiss primes, but yeah, I'd definitely recommend the 50mm 1.8 af-s on your D5300 if you're strapped for cash and want a nice image.

September 9, 2014 at 3:40AM

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Mark Deere
Writer/Director
104

My main 'goto' standard prime for my D7100 is a 28mm Nikon 2.8 AI-S. With the 1.5 crop of the D7100 it gives an equivilent to film FOV of 42mm, has a manual aperture ring and is bightingly sharp. Best of all, if you are strapped for cash, you can find them for sale at €200 to €300 !

September 9, 2014 at 9:41AM

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Fred Dorsett
Filmmaker
105

G series looks beautiful - maybe you don't need f/1.4 but the 50mm AFS-G is cheap compared to the rest of the range and much better than a zoom.

September 9, 2014 at 12:50PM

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I own both G, Ai and Ai-s lenses from Nikon but for video I prefer all my non G lens.
If you don't need AF, most of the nikkor Ai and Ai-s lenses are really good and built better imo. And all the nikkor G lenses are focus by wire(you will be doing lot of turning), which sucks on mf. Cheapest and greatest you could own is as someone else mentioned is 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S and 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S. If you need narrower shot Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D is super sharp as well(can't do handheld FYI).

July 13, 2015 at 1:27PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1562

Old thread, I work with the same camera and would most definitely recommend the Nikon 50mm 1.8 currently on sale at best buy for $179. I got mine a few months back and use it more than my more pricey zoom lens.

July 20, 2016 at 8:08AM

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Daniel
Filmmaker
199

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