PDA

View Full Version : Starting out



brewbush
10-20-2008, 08:54 AM
Hi everyone,
I am purchasing an xmas gift for my wife and have it between the D90 and D300. I am 90% sure I will be going the D90 route.

My main question is about the lenses.

Which ones should I purchase. This will be more or less a general all purpose camera. Something to take on vacations with us. I want both macro/zoom.
I would like lens that can autofocus, is very fast, image stabilization, motorized. I have seen the 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor lens and to me it seems like a good general all-purpose lens.

There are so many with different manufactures that it gets confusing for me with little experience. My wife is the photographer for the family. I am not concerned with price at this point. Also I would buy 2 "better" lens rather then a crappy "all purpse" (if that exists).

Sorry if this sounds like a "which car I should buy" from a list of hundreds, but it seems there are so many choices I need some guidance on how to narrow them down.

EDIT: Would a general purpose lens like I mentioned above do well for general vacation pictures and faster moving shots? And would a 100mm f:2.8 macro lens be a good partner? I notice the 2.8 200mm lens may be a bit much since she is not a dedicated sports photographer.

Thanks

swpars
10-20-2008, 11:09 AM
You're best off getting a dedicated macro lens if you want to do macro photography. I haven't used one, but the Tamron 90mm macro in Nikon mount looks interesting.

For an all-around lens, the 18-200mm VR is a pretty good one. Not the "fastest" lens in terms of aperture, but with the high ISO performance of the D90, it should be sufficient.

If you're going with two lenses, you might try a combination of the Nikon 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 or the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 and the Nikon 70-300mm VR.

brewbush
10-20-2008, 11:53 AM
How about a combo of
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX
and
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX


Using the first one as a general all-purpose lens/close up/macro/lowlight

and the 2nd as a more telephoto version

Both I think can be used for landscapes.
Are these too close in specs to justify separates?

I have also noticed the:
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR

Would I miss out on much with a f3.5 to a f 4.5? Still have instant photo taking?

swpars
10-20-2008, 02:28 PM
If you're willing to invest in the Nikon 17-55mm/2.8 as a "standard zoom" I wouldn't bother with the 18-200mm VR (my opinion only) unless you need a one-lens walkaround or travel solution.

I'd get a 70-300mm VR as a medium telephoto zoom or get a 55-200mm VR if you need to save some money (I love my copy of the 55-200mm VR - sharp at 200mm and f5.6, but it shows some vignetting).

erichlund
10-20-2008, 02:32 PM
Good Grief!!! That's nearly $2000 in lenses to cover the same focal range twice. I can honestly recommend the 17-55 f2.8. It's a great lens, but it's not a lightweight, walkaround all day type lens. I can and do just that, but some find that sort of thing a bit laborious and off putting. You said this was for your wife. I'm 6' 1", and sturdy, and my 17-55 on the D200 does get a bit heavy by the end of a long day. Also, the 17-55 doesn't do macro/close-up.

Also, the 18-200 covers the same range, but not nearly as well. It's a super zoom, and the larger the zoom range, the more compromises you make in image quality. The Nikkor 18-200 is a very nice superzoom, but its compromises are typical of the genre. It is, however, actually closer focusing than the more expensive 17-55.

Typically, the D90 can be bought without lenses, or as a kit. The kit lens for the D90 is the 18-105VR. I've heard good things about this lens, but it may be too early to really say much about it. Still, that's a very good start, and it would pair well with the Nikkor 70-300VR. On the D90 1.5x crop, that gives a 35mm range of 27-450mm, for a lot less money than what you were looking at. If you choose the 17-55 over the kit lens, you would get excellent image quality, at about a $700 premium.

The only way I would recommend the 18-200 is if you will only buy one lens and you want something that will cover the entire range. You will get better image quality out of the 70-300, plus an extra 100mm on the long end. You really won't miss the 55-70 range.

For macro, you have lot's of choices, but you should really spend some time thinking about what sort of macro subjects you want to shoot. The longer the Macro, the more expensive, but also the more working distance for the same magnification. A flower won't run away if you get too close, nor will a still life. If you are a bug chaser, you want the longest macro lens you can afford, because you are less likely to distract your subject. In Nikkors, you have 60, 105 (two versions) and 200mm micro (Nikon's word for macro). Tamron has their well received 90, and somebody has a 150 that's fairly well liked (Sigma or Tamron). Third party lenses like Tamron and Sigma are cheaper.

fionndruinne
10-20-2008, 02:47 PM
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 macro HSM.

swpars
10-20-2008, 03:26 PM
Shoot, the Sigma 17-70 has a pretty awesome macro setting. 1:2.3 is pretty awesome for a zoom lens. Add a Canon 500D closeup filter and you're close to 1:1.

fionndruinne
10-20-2008, 04:58 PM
Look at some of Aldor88's shots. Aside from the photographic genius involved in those shots, that lens has also got some awesome sharpness and color rendition.

brewbush
10-21-2008, 08:00 PM
1.) Is there a good alternative to the Nikon 17-55/2.8 ? I am hoping for something similar FL with fantastic IQ and (2.8) great low light performance.

2.) Has anyone paired the Tamron 90mm macro with the 500D? Will it increase the FL without decreasing IQ too much?


thanks for the assistance and patience

Actaeon
10-21-2008, 08:35 PM
Alot of misconception here...

1.) There are plenty of 2.8 alternatives. Are you comfortable with using a 3rd party brand, or do you want to stick with Nikon? If you stick with Nikon, the only thing close in that range is the 17-55 you already mentioned, and the 24-70. The 24-70 is a bit of a weird Focal Length on a DX sensor though. If you go the used route, the 28-70 2.8 is supposed to be an excellent lens as well, but even weirder than the 24-70. If you're comfortable with other brands, take a look at some of Tamron's and Sigma's offerings.

One thing to keep in mind, f/2.8 lenses are generally heavy, with "limited" focal lengths compared to the walk-around lenses you were asking for earlier.

Your first post, you indicate you want an all around lens. A few posts later, you want a 17-55 f/2.8 lens. Neither decision is wrong, but what do you really want? Figure that out before you start buying.

What are you looking to shoot? Is there a particular need for an f/2.8 lens? Don't take this the wrong way, but are you even sure what having a large aperture does? Do you know why you want f/2.8? I read "instant picture taking" when talking about f/3.5 vs f/4.5, so I just want to be sure you completely understand what it means before dumping $1k+ on a lens you may not need.

Without knowing any of the details I ask above, my preliminary recommendation is...

Buy your wife the D90 with the 18-105 VR Kit or buy the D90 Body Only + 18-200 VR. Both are excellent walk around lenses. Let her play with it and see how she likes it. If she has complaints about what she is having difficulty taking pictures of, then look for glass that fits those needs. Is she upset she can't take a picture of a bug up close? Then focus (no pun intended) on a new macro lens. Is she upset that she can't take pictures of things really far away? Then focus on a long range lens. You never know, the 18-105 or the 18-200 may be all the focal length and glass she needs, and you saved a ton of cash.

I had used a D2Xs, D40, D80, and D300 with an 18-200 VR, and that lens performed great.

2.) Having a close up filter doesn't increase focal length, just allows you to get a bit closer before the camera is unable to focus.


Have you thought about getting an external flash? That is a cheap way to add a lot of light in situations where flash is allowed. While I prefer not using a flash if i didn't have to, I can certain value its benefit, especially with "slower" lenses.

Dread Pirate Roberts
10-21-2008, 08:47 PM
My 2cents

I'm not rapt with the IQ from my 18-200 but it is very convenient to use all day if you're just shooting around F8. I particularly don't like it at 200mm which I use a lot.

I wish I'd bought the short kit zoom lens (or 18-105) and then a 70-300 instead.

I'd get a dedicated macro lens not some sort of zoom combination and I'd get it doing 1:1 macro without messing around with dodgy strap on lenses that degrade optical quality. If you're taking a macro shot it's only worth taking if it's going to be as sharp as you can possibly make it. The Tamron 90 is a good price and good IQ. Rooz used to shoot the Sigma 150mm and his images with it were stunning. He now uses the Nikkor 105 micro and the images are still stunning.

brewbush
10-21-2008, 10:12 PM
You are correct, I am brand new at these lenses.

I am just the type to try to get the best price:quality item that I can right off the bat. These lens will really be for both of us, to learn with and hopefully not need to upgrade for a time.

My main situations are ones that happen on vacations: Low light churches, tree frogs in bermuda, bright sunny mountains, and the traditional "go stand over by the fountain".
She does enjoy getting close to flowers and her computer wallpaper is a wasp he was happy she caught close up with her P&S Canon (hence the macro questions).

I know my posts seem all over the place, sorry about that. I just don't want to waste (this is just an example) $600 on one lens, when I can get a sharper, better IQ look for $300 more. Thanks for the advice, I will be reading a lot more in the next month! I really appreciate your help and understand you do not want people losing $1000 on a lens that may be more then needed. I guess I assumed it was a good combination of really sharp images and ability to capture low light settings well.

My other problem is there is no camera stop nearby that I can test these out. Best buy was the only one out of 5 places that had the D90!!

Dread Pirate Roberts
10-21-2008, 10:36 PM
The F2.8 lens is basically professional quality glass. The cheaper lenses will do just fine in a dark church and still give you much better images than you're used to from other cameras. Even my 18-200VR does that very nicely and you've got to be very picky to find fault. Not changing lenses or carrying a big camera bag with lots of other lenses can be a big plus. Also you can learn what you like and don't like to make further decisions later. Don't try for the perfect spend up front whilst you still don't know what you shoot or what the impact is, you'd waste more money that way.

Please consider a flash like the SB600 too.

brewbush
10-21-2008, 10:51 PM
The F2.8 lens is basically professional quality glass. The cheaper lenses will do just fine in a dark church and still give you much better images than you're used to from other cameras. Even my 18-200VR does that very nicely and you've got to be very picky to find fault. Not changing lenses or carrying a big camera bag with lots of other lenses can be a big plus. Also you can learn what you like and don't like to make further decisions later. Don't try for the perfect spend up front whilst you still don't know what you shoot or what the impact is, you'd waste more money that way.

Please consider a flash like the SB600 too.


Points well taken
Yep, the flash is on the list

Actaeon
10-23-2008, 11:07 AM
Glad to hear you've got a flash on your list. Bounce flash can do amazing things in the correct environment. An SB600 or if you can pick up a used SB800 would be very nice.

I can understand why you wouldn't want to spend $600 on a lens, when an extra $300 would give you much better image quality. That is something the forum here is great with assisting with, but on the flip side, what if you never needed that $600 (or $900) lens to begin with?

I guess what I'm (and some others) are trying to say is, you may be happy with the image quality and functionality you get from the kit lens already, that you may feel that you don't need a $1500+ lens. Once you start getting a feel of the limitations of your lens then, you can make the best educated choice then, as to what you need.

aparmley
10-23-2008, 03:59 PM
I say just get the kit lens + a flash. You'll figure out, together, where your money is best spent after you get the camera and use it for a little bit. No one says you have to get it all once.