New Camera Advice

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by scanneraddict21, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. scanneraddict21

    scanneraddict21 TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone. I am new to the thread and already had another question answered really quickly so I want to thank you all for the great welcome.

    I have been into photography for over a year now shooting mainly landscapes, cityscapes, lakes, and ponds. I currently use a Canon Powershot S2 that has provided me with some great photographs that I am very proud of. With the S2 I have learned many of the manual settings and the different results they give. A really good learning camera.

    So what am I getting at? I am looking into upgrading my equipment. I want to get an SLR camera that gives me even more manual settings, more options and more opportunities to expand my photography skills and knowledge. I have been looking at the Nikon line of SLR cameras basically from the D40 up to the D80. Out of the cameras given, I have mainly looked at the D80 as the next step.

    I am basically looking for any advice and if this is a good way to go. I am also interested as to what kind of lenses I should consider with my current photography interests? I want to possibly get into flash photography and the different flashes available for the Nikon cameras. Any and all input is appreciated.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It seems that you have been bitten by the DSLR bug...and after only three posts here :lol:

    The Nikon DSLR cameras are great, as are the Canon cameras. Sony has a good one and Pentax has a few. The list goes on. Canon and Nikon are leaders in the market and probably have the best selection of lenses and accessories.

    You can't really go wrong with the Nikon D50 or D80. The D40 has one major drawback that it isn't completely compatible with many of Nikon's lenses because it doesn't have an AF motor like the other cameras do. Similarly, you can't really go wrong with any of the Canon DSLR cameras. They are all very good photographic tools.

    My suggestion is to go into a camera store, or a well stocked electronics store and feel all the cameras. Pick them up and play with them. Scroll though the settings and see how it fits your hands. This is probably more important than comparing all the specs down to the last pixel.

    Most of these cameras will usually come packaged with a cheap 'kit lens'...usually an 18-55mmm lens. These are OK lenses...but most people will eventually want to upgrade, so you may want to look at getting a better lens off the bat. There are several to choose from. I suggest something in the same range as the kit lenses. 17 or 18mm on the wide end and 50 to 85mm on the long end. This is about the 'normal' range of focal length and a good place to get started. After a while, you will have a better idea of what you want to get next. One thing to consider, is that you may want to spend a bit more to get a lens with a wide maximum aperture. I recently purchases a Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 lens. It's great because the maximum aperture is F2.8 which allows me to get a faster shutter speed than the kit lens which has a maximum aperture of F3.5-5.6.

    Both Nikon and Canon have great flash units that work with the camera to determine the exposure. Nikon has the SB600 and the SB800 as their top two units. Canon has the 430EX and the 580EX (a new 580EX II is on the way). You can also get off-brand flash units for either brand of camera, Sigma makes a flash called the 500 Super, or something like that...which is pretty powerful. There are pros and cons to getting off-brand flash units...so research that.
     
  3. TomHuck-wa

    TomHuck-wa TPF Noob!

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    Yea That what Mike said. Hes spot on.
     
  4. scanneraddict21

    scanneraddict21 TPF Noob!

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    I found the Tamron SP AF17-50MM F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical Lens for Nikon Digital on Ritz Camera's web site. I assume this is the lens that you stated. Thank God for 3rd party lenses because the same lens but Nikon brand is almost 3x as expensive! I think is may be one of the lenses I will seriously consider.

    I also shoot photographs of structure fires in the area and of course many of them are at night. My camera goes down to f/2.8 and I have pulled off some pretty good shots considering I didn't use a tripod. I looked at Nikon's 50mm f/1.8 lens and between being inexpensive and having a wide aperture, that may be a good idea for when I shoot those pictures since a tripod is too much trouble.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, that's the lens I have...so far so good. Sigma also makes an 18-50 F2.8 that is supposed to be pretty good.

    The 50mm F1.8 is also a very good lens...certainly a great performer at a great price.
     
  6. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, seeing the types of photography you are into, I too would recommend passing on the kit zoom and going with the Tamron f/2.8 previously mentioned.

    You will have new-found wide angle capability, and still have some versatility in the short telephoto range. You will probably use this lens for 90% of your photography, so it pays to invest a bit in it. But the Nikon kit lens is pretty good, and it is all but free when bought with the body. Also, please note that the kit lens that comes with the D80 is better than the one that comes with the D40 and D50.

    Now, I have to open your mind a bit here. Consider Pentax before making the decision. For someone without a pro budget, I really believe this is the best way to go. Their kit lenses are a a cut above the competition. (I compared it to the Nikon & Canon, and the construction is really much nicer)

    Also, the bodies (K100D and K10D) have sensor-based anti-shake. This really makes a difference, and will save you a LOT of money in the long run. In effect, a f/5.6 lens performs like an f/2.8 if the subject isn't moving too fast. (which your landscapes don't) Therefore, my 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 performs like an f/1.7-2.8. While it is true that Canon & Nikon both make excellent image-stabilized lenses that work a bit better than the sensor-based anti-shake of the Pentax, you do pay dearly for it. The difference is 3 stops for the lens-based IS and 2 stops for the body-based IS.

    Also, Pentax has the best backwards compatibility of any SLR manufacturer to date. I bought a 50mm f/2 A Pentax manual focus lens for $40 on ebay. Now, with the anti-shake, it is like a 75mm f/1 portrait lens. Tripod? Not likely. Pentax also has about the best noise reduction in the industry. The K10D has a dust & moisture-sealed body for half the price of Canon or Nikon. It also has an ultrasonic dust remover for the sensor, which I'm not sure if the D80 has.

    In short, Pentax offers real-world features, at real world prices, for the everyday guy. Optics are top shelf; Pentax jointly developed the world's best lens coatings with Zeiss, for example.

    To be fair, there aren't as many aftermarket lens & flash options for Pentax as there are for Canon or Nikon, but believe me, the options that they have will cover you just fine. It's like comparing Honda to Ferrari. Honda doesn't make any 600 hp, $500,000 street cars, but who cares? They have the features and performance I need at a price I can afford.

    Here's one of the first shots I did with my K100D and kit lens:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG].

    Those two were 1/90s @ f/11

    Perhaps more impressive is this shot, from a couple nights ago. Indoor, with Pentax 50mm f/2 @ f/2, ISO 3200, 1/30s. Yes, you can see some noise, but I think it's pretty impressive without flash.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. scanneraddict21

    scanneraddict21 TPF Noob!

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    Well I must say that the pictures included in your reply are gorgeous and I agree that even though there is some noise, the black and white photo came out great.

    Looking at the K100D and the K10D on Ritz camera's web site, your statements make some really good points. The backwards compatibility is a really cool function I must say. My dad was into photography quite heavily when he was younger and recently he pulled out his old Pentax Spotmatic 35mm camera with some lenses. It would be pretty cool to be able to use some of the equipment he used as a kid and even apply it to photography I shoot.

    I really like the fact that the Pentax DSLR cases are moisture-sealed and made out of steel. I know that even the D80 at it's high price has a body made of plastic. If I spend a good amount of money on a camera I plan on using it frequently and knowing that the case is built better and stronger would leave me feeling more comfortable.

    The fact there aren't as many after market lenses for Pentax as there are for Nikon and Canon isn't too big of a problem. As long as there is a good range of lenses for what I want to shoot for the Pentax, I am sure that would be more than sufficient. The fact is I am a college student and money isn't flourishing and my goals aren't to have the most expensive and best camera and lenses out there....yet ;). I just want something better than what I have to allow me to expand my photography knowledge and skills and I will definitely take the Pentax DSLR's into consideration. Thanks for the info.
     
  8. Devananda

    Devananda TPF Noob!

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    Hey,
    from one noob to another ....
    I just got the Nikon D80 decided to go with the 18-70 and the 80-200 F2.8
    I bought the body by itself..then the lenses yea I ended up paying something like 1700 + dollars but got some really good equipment...
    some advice I got when I posted was:
    why get a nice camera and put crapy lens on it? better get a cheaper camera and put a nice lens on it.
    if you know you are going to upgrade down the road then may be get it from the get go. it will save money in the long run.
    AND MOST IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY YOUR SETUP ONLINE CHECK THE STORE REVIEWS BEFORE YOU BUY THERE ARE A LOT OF SCAMS OUT THERE , I HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY.
    here is a link that bigmike gave me for online store reviews:
    http://www.resellerratings.com/
    have fun choosing your setup...good luck and see you around the threads
    cheers
    Devananda
     

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