I have some money....now what?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bkristopher, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    I'm holding....
    Currently $250, but could be $400 mid July

    I have....
    Nikon D90
    18-105mm kit lens
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens
    Quantaray Titan II Tripod from 2000(ish) -crappy IMO

    I want to photograph....
    My first child (expected Sept 6)
    Scenic Landscape

    I know I should upgrade my tripod, but I feel the need to get a new zoom lens as well. I am trying to maximize my budget to position myself in a good starting position for what I want to accomplish. I have done some initial research on tripods, but I am not sure what is the best for me and I am having a hard time thinking that I may have to use a good portion of my budget on that item alone.

    So if anyone has some helpful advice for me it would be much appreciated. I just need to get out of my own head an listen to some rational thoughts for a minute.
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    First of all, think used. Used gear will save you a LOT of cash. As far as tripods go, I would recommend something along the lines of a set of Manfrotto 055 or 190 legs with a 488 ballhead. New? $3-400, used ~$200ish.

    As far as your next purchase goes, I would STRONGLY recommend the purchase of a good (think B+W, Hoya or Tiffen mult-coated) circular polarizing filter. This is invaluable for any sort of outdoor photography.
     
  3. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    Thanks tirediron-

    I read somewhere about legs getting bent and F'ing the tripod, so I guess I have been afraid to go used. Actually I am universally afraid to buy any used equipment for fear that it will be faulty.

    I will need to do some research on filters as I don't know much about their function apart from my likely misinformed opinion that their effect can be attained in photoshop options.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't be! I've bought at least half of my gear (including my 70-200 2.8) used. Never had a problem - just check it over carefully before you hand over any cash. As for filters, yes, you can replicate some effects in post-processing, but IMO, it never looks truly 'right'. The polarizing filter which gives you those dark blue skies and increases contrast and saturation as well as removing the reflection from water and other shiny surfaces is one that really can't be reproduced.
     
  5. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    STROBES!

    Your first child? I thought that your avatar was your child :lmao:

    You'll be taking thousands of pics of your child, and a lot at home. You have good lenses for that but you need some lighting equipment. I recommend you wait till you have the money and pick up a 2 light kit but you could always go with the 1 light now. MPEX Strobist Kits it's a good portable kit. I just picked up the strobe, didn't have the money for the kit and I LOVE IT. Off camera flash is the way to go, especially for pics of people.
     
  6. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    haha...inner child. I was praying flashes/strobes wouldn't come into the mix (even though I knew they would). Definitely something I am am interested in, but I feel that is far beyond my knowledge at this point and afraid to make the investment. A "buget kit" I saw in popular photography peaked my interest but I haven't looked into it much for the mere fact that i am trying to absorb so much already. I think it was a flashpoint kit from Adorama. Two stands, bulbs, umbrellas, case....for $150. So I need to find the priority, which I think is tripod. And get more money for gear. haha
     
  7. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    But once you get strobes you won't regret it. It'll be so glad you did. Photography is all about controlling light. The strobe kid I sent you is pretty economical, although not the cheapest. I love the flash though at $160 it's not a bad deal since it's the same power as the SB900@$500. Plus you get the umbrella's which are so helpful. I know it's a lot to learn and absorb. But you won't get as much mileage out of the tripod. You have pretty much the same equipment I have but instead of the 50mm I have the 35mm 1.8. As a fellow dad I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that strobes are the way to go. I'm done I won't belabor the point.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm not all that sold on the benefits of a tripod for photographing a newborn baby or a toddler--I think adding auxiliary lighting in the form of a good flash,or two, would bring more photographic benefits to the table than a tripod.

    I am familiar with the 18-105 lens. I bought one for my wife, and have used it a reasonable amount. She really appreciates its range of focal lengths and overall convenience,and its optics are pretty good too. I really think that an SB 600 or SB 800 would be the best use of around $400, in terms of what it will bring to the table. But honestly, I don't think it is 100 percent needed to have a fully-dedicated, TTL-metering speedlight like an SB 600 or 800 or 900, and if you are using the flash off camera, mounted on a light stand with an umbrella, then I think the $400-$500 flash units are kind of a waste of money, and I would rather have a Vivitar 285HV flash and a wireless triggering system and save hundreds of dollars. For the strobist-type kits like tirediron suggests, the 285HV is almost the perfect flash unit, and they are only like $89.99 brand new from B&H Photo.

    A small amount of flash illumination indoors can really improve your kid photos. A tripod will only allow you to shoot at slower speeds to capture light that is already present,and get sharp shots free from camera shake--but the tripod will not improve or change the lighting in any way,shape,or form. SO, I would definitely go with the flash.
     
  9. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for the input Supraman and Derrel. My experience with flash is turning it off, as I prefer natural light. Since the time I have started researching photography techniques and reading through a ton of the posts on this forum, I am starting to learn that it is necessary. I have just been intimidated and ignorant about it. I will take your advice and turn my focus to flash and how to use it.

    Thanks again
     
  10. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    The kit I referenced earlier is 159 on andorama and includes the following:

    3-7' stands,

    2 umbrellas 33" shoot-thru and 33" white umbrella with black back

    1- 5.5" relflector

    2 socket kits,

    2 85watt and 1 45 watt fluorescent bulb

    large carrying case.


    Would this be beneficial? Sorry if I am completely missing the boat on what you sugessted.
     
  11. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    That was me!:p

    And unfortunately with a baby that is only still when sleeping slowing the shutter will not be an option therefor negating the whole point of it anyway.

    Could you send the link to the adorama kit? I think I've seen kits like that before they don't seem as easy to move around or set up as the strobist kits. Mind you I have no experience with either I just like the idea of the strobist ones, all battery, small strobes. So you could be in the middle of a park and set this up. Neither kit will have TTL (through the lens) metering so you will have to set the strength and your exposure manually. But it's not as hard as it sounds, don't be scared, it's digital you can take 20 pictures to get the exposure right.

    I think Derrel was suggesting a SB-600 or SB-900 because it will set the power automatically using the info it gets from the internal camera light meter. Little bit easier to use.

    I think in the long run you'll be happier with one of the kits than the sb-600 or 900. Well the sb-900 is sweet but it's also $500.
     
  12. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    where abouts in philly?
     

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