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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    11

    Red face Which lenses for a newbie???

    I'm in the market for a DSLR (my first)....and I'm leaning toward a D80, although the price and simplicity of the D40 is hard to resist. I'd like the option of experimenting with a variety of lenses, so the lack of the internal focus motor is a significant drawback for me (or is manually focusing certain lenses, i.e. primes, not a big deal? I've always used autofocus cameras, will I get fed up with manual focus and just never use the lens?)

    I have some film SLR experience, and a general understanding of photography, but no experience with lens selection....and I'm wondering which lenses I should pick up at first.

    I plan to use the camera for general use, although I'd really love to be able to get clear low light shots indoors and outdoors, as well as low distortion building photos (I'm an architect), again indoor and outdoor.

    My initial thought is just to get the Nikon 18-55 and Nikon 50 1.8, both of which I've heard are very good for the price, and experiment with them (this is really a learning process for me).

    But a super wide angle would be really useful for indoor building photos and streetscapes right? Are the Sigma/Tamron/Tokina good? The Nikon 12-24 is out of my price range.

    And what about the sigma 18-50 2.8? Or the Tamron 17-50 2.8? Are these worth the extra cost over the Nikon 18-55 kit lens? Will the lower apertures allow night and indoor shots that I'd otherwise miss?

    And what about shorter primes? If 50mm is "standard" on film SLR's....should I invest in a 30 or 35mm for digital?

    The Nikon 18-200 VR sounds great, more for the image stabilization than the range (which I know is outstanding), but availability and cost are issues. Are there other wide angle stabilized lenses out there for Nikon's?

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm getting a little overwhelmed....and this is supposed to be all about fun!

    THANKS!!!
    Last edited by ajk; 05-30-2007 at 12:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,923
    I have the D40, and when it comes to certain lenses, like the 50mm Nikkor, I think it's worth getting even to manually focus. Think of it mainly as a great portrait lens (equivalent is 75mm because of the crop rate, close to the popular 85mm portrait prime), and for a standard prime get a 30mm or 35mm (the best choice for a D40 owner is the good but somewhat pricey Sigma 30mm f/1.4, which will auto-focus).

    Focusing manually is a little bit harder than with the older film cameras, which had split focus screens to enhance the perception of focus, but it's not terribly hard either, especially since the D40 has a small green focus dot that appears when the subject is in focus, even when focusing manually. It's quite accurate, except perhaps in very low light, where it has a hard time picking out the sharpness of the subject in determining if it is in focus. But it's a skill to learn, it will slow you down some at first (easier perhaps on a prime lens, since zoom won't be an issue, all you have to do before getting the shot is focus), but when you know the camera well, it gets much easier.

    Both are good cameras; the D80 has pretty much any feature the D40 has, but the D40 does have a great price tag for its quality. If wide-angle is going to be something you do quite a bit, you'll probably find the D80 better for its wide range of auto-focusing lens options. Otherwise you'll either have to focus manually, or look for Nikon's AF-S or Sigma's HSM lenses, which can be costly. Although Sigma's HSM type lenses are usually part of their EX line, which are quite high quality.
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,929
    Quote Originally Posted by ajk View Post
    I'm in the market for a DSLR (my first)....and I'm leaning toward a D80, although the price and simplicity of the D40 is hard to resist. I'd like the option of experimenting with a variety of lenses, so the lack of the internal focus motor is a significant drawback for me (or is manually focusing certain lenses, i.e. primes, not a big deal? I've always used autofocus cameras, will I get fed up with manual focus and just never use the lens?)

    Id opt for the D80, especially since you may want to experiment with lenses. Not being use to manual focus, that may be an issue with you, especially trying to manually focus in low light, its not that easy.

    I have some film SLR experience, and a general understanding of photography, but no experience with lens selection....and I'm wondering which lenses I should pick up at first.

    I plan to use the camera for general use, although I'd really love to be able to get clear low light shots indoors and outdoors, as well as low distortion building photos (I'm an architect), again indoor and outdoor.

    My initial thought is just to get the Nikon 18-55 and Nikon 50 1.8, both of which I've heard are very good for the price, and experiment with them (this is really a learning process for me).

    But a super wide angle would be really useful for indoor building photos and streetscapes right? Are the Sigma/Tamron/Tokina good? The Nikon 12-24 is out of my price range.

    There are others here than can help you with this, since you will be taking architecture pictures, you cannot have any distortion, so the lens choice is very crutial. The D80 would offer you a better selection in this area.

    And what about the sigma 18-50 2.8? Or the Tamron 17-50 2.8? Are these worth the extra cost over the Nikon 18-55 kit lens? Will the lower apertures allow night and indoor shots that I'd otherwise miss?

    The Sigma 18-50 F2.8 is well worth the money and better than the Nikon kit lens, it also has a constant aperture of 2.8, good for low light shooting.

    And what about shorter primes? If 50mm is "standard" on film SLR's....should I invest in a 30 or 35mm for digital?

    The 50mm 1.8D is only around $100(us) so it should be in everyones collection.

    The Nikon 18-200 VR sounds great, more for the image stabilization than the range (which I know is outstanding), but availability and cost are issues. Are there other wide angle stabilized lenses out there for Nikon's?

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm getting a little overwhelmed....and this is supposed to be all about fun!



    THANKS!!!

    My current suggestion would be the D80 along with the Sigma 18-50mm F.2.8, then once you figure out what else you would want in regards to lenses, you can go from there. I cant really help on the wide angles as I dont shoot with them. There are a few here who can help you out with that. One other thing to look into is a Nikon speedlight(flash) the SB-600 and SB-800 are worth every penney
    Jason

    "A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once."-2Pac


    A bunch of Nikon stuff!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6,590
    I basically agree with jcon on all things he says.
    Get a D80, it is as simple as a D40, it operates in the same way, just has more features. Just more settings options do not make it any harder to operate.... and you will grow into the features, and with a D40 you will run into missing features in future.

    The Sogma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro is a good affordable choice.

    Of the wide angle zooms, the Tokina is the best choice in respect to distortion and vignetting (no vignetting problems, easily correctable barrel distortion at 12mm, no distortion at the rest of the range).
    It has some CA problems, but those do not have to be a problem (and can be eliminated when shooting in RAW with Nikon Capture NX or Photoshop CS2/3).
    The Sigma goes wider obviously, and vignets more. It has a bit more distortion over the range too. But this should be correctable to a hardly noticable degree in photoshop and Capture NX too.

    The Nikon 35mm f2 is a nice lens, and will be a nice lens for indoors shooting. Not as long as a 50mm lens, nice perspective for casual shooting in house.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for all the info! Its very helpful.

    I'd only get the D40 over the D80 due to the price difference....the D40 seems to be a bargain. But I'm definitely interested in the D80's additional features, and while focusing manually might be fine in most cases, I'd like the option of autofocus with any lens.

    The Sigma 18-50 seems like a great all purpose lens, and is probably the one that I'll buy with the camera. Will f2.8 allow me to take handheld shots on well lit city streets at night? Inside a typically lit room at night?

    A friend has a Sony A100 SLR (which I'm not a fan of), and the image stabilization does a great job. I know that Canon makes wide angle zooms with IS, but I haven't seen any for Nikons (other than the 18-200).

    Which makes me consider a camera with it built in, like the Pentax K10D. But thats a whole different discussion.

    And is the SB-400 flash adequate? Or is the SB-600 worth the premium? I really don't intend to do a lot of flash photography, but would like to have a bounce flash.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by ajk; 05-30-2007 at 03:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    4,425
    Quote Originally Posted by fionndruinne View Post
    .......
    the D40 has a small green focus dot that appears when the subject is in focus, even when focusing manually. ......
    Please let me borrow this thread for a moment.
    Does D80 have this green dot feature for manual focusing?
    Nikon D90, D80
    Nikkor 16-85mm AF-S DX F/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) macro, Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D, Nikkor 50mm F/1.8D, Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6G IF-ED, Sigma 105mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro ||| 2x SB800 | SB600 ||| Manfrotto 190XB

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    69
    Yes, it does.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    Quote Originally Posted by tim11 View Post
    Please let me borrow this thread for a moment.
    Does D80 have this green dot feature for manual focusing?
    yes.
    i would think most dslr's have this feature, but i may be wrong.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    10,424
    Quote Originally Posted by ajk View Post
    I'd only get the D40 over the D80 due to the price difference....the D40 seems to be a bargain. But I'm definitely interested in the D80's additional features, and while focusing manually might be fine in most cases, I'd like the option of autofocus with any lens.

    The Sigma 18-50 seems like a great all purpose lens, and is probably the one that I'll buy with the camera. Will f2.8 allow me to take handheld shots on well lit city streets at night? Inside a typically lit room at night?

    A friend has a Sony A100 SLR (which I'm not a fan of), and the image stabilization does a great job. I know that Canon makes wide angle zooms with IS, but I haven't seen any for Nikons (other than the 18-200).

    Which makes me consider a camera with it built in, like the Pentax K10D. But thats a whole different discussion.

    And is the SB-400 flash adequate? Or is the SB-600 worth the premium? I really don't intend to do a lot of flash photography, but would like to have a bounce flash.

    Thanks again.
    the sb400 is adequate in most situations. i recently borrowed one, (i have the sb600), and it was fine. much lighter too. but there are other limitations with the sb400 which is another story.

    f2.8 should be fine to handhold for well lit streets but this is a tough question. a bit like saying how long is a piece of string. how much light is there exactly ? its true that in body IS would be a big advantage in these situations. pesronally for indoors i almost always use the sb600 cos i like to shoot at f4, f2,8 is nice but for supersharp photos you need to stop the lens down a little.

    canon make 2 "wide angle" lens' with IS that i know of.

    1. canon 17-85 IS is basically the equivalent of nikons 18-200VR. not as much range, similar IQ. i have used both and i'll take the 18-200VR anyday over the canon version.

    2. canon 17-55 f2.8 IS which is the equivalent to nikons 17-55 f2.8 with one significant difference. the canon version has IS and the nikkor does NOT have VR. while i love the 17-55mm for its optics, i think its downlright scandalous that there is no VR on the lens at that price. i think this is a big hole in nikon's lineup personally. keep in mind though both of these 2.8's are very expensive options and at your price range i don;t think they are relevant for you at all.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6,590
    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    1. canon 17-85 IS is basically the equivalent of nikons 18-200VR. not as much range, similar IQ. i have used both and i'll take the 18-200VR anyday over the canon version.
    It is more the Canon equivalent of the Nikon 18-70 lens, but with IS.
    The Canon 17-85mm IS USM to me is nbot a very impressive lens, lacking a bit in contrast, on the whole a bit dull. And with a lot of barrel distortion at 17mm... all in all not a lens I recommend.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

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