New to DSLR's. Want opinions on gear

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by JohnS., Jul 9, 2008.

  1. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys,

    I'm going to be buying a Nikon D40 18-55 kit soon and entering the world of DSLR photography. I already have a Canon A530 P&S so I'm somewhat familiar with photography. So, I would like some opinion on a few things before I get it. I'd like to have everything by the time I get the camera so I don't have to wait around. If it makes any difference, I'm more into taking pictures of landscape / cars.

    With that being said, I'm wondering what sort of tripod I should get. I read around on here before signing up and heard Benbo and Bogen are what's recommended while Sunpack and Velbon offer decent ones. I searched on bhphotovideo and adorama and it seems like those (Benbo / Bogen) cost a pretty penny :(. I'm not looking to get into photography seriously. I just want a tripod to hold the camera for longer shutter speeds for night shots ;). I really don't need anything fancy, as long as it's not cheap enough where it'll break and my camera will fall off or anything. I also need the tripod to be able to extend to about 5/6 feet.

    Also, are fish eye better or wide angle? I hear good and bad about both. I don't really like the fish eye look all that much but occasionally, I think it would be fun to include a few pictures during photoshoots.

    Again, I'll be getting the Nikon D40 18-55 kit soon. I just want to get my foot in the door. I don't want to make a career or serious hobby out of it. I do love photography though and I'll definitely be going nuts when I finally get it.

    Oh and if you guys recommend getting anything else as a noobie, feel free to tell me!

    Thanks in advance guys! :thumbup:
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Get a good tripod or don't waste your money. Many used tripods are to be had for a reasonable price on e-bay (I bought a Bogen 3021 pod and a head with quick-release for ~$250). I know you can get something good for considerably less if you forgo bells and whistles.

    You hit the nail on the head -- you don't want your expensive camera/lens to hit the dirt.

    Oh yes -- I think you will be disappointed with a fisheye. They are very specialized lenses which you probably won't use that often. If I were you, I would sit tight with your kit lens until you get the feel for it before you buy something else.
     
  3. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the fast response :thumbup:.

    Is there anything I should look out for when it comes to used tripods? What about Sunpack / Velbon? Can I get anything decent from them for new?

    And yeah fisheye isn't really something I would get serious with. I've seen pictures taken with them and it's nothing I'm fascinated by. I just like pictures where it has that wide view. Like with cars, when you sit in the back seat and take a picture of the entire front part of the interior of the car. I think having a wide angle for such shots would be nice. (Maybe fish eye wasn't the lens I'm after then ;)).
     
  4. Rogan

    Rogan TPF Noob!

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    fish eyes are used alot in certain photography areas and not very much in everything else
    you'll be better off with a wide angle for general use !
     
  5. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Yeah so it would seem. Thanks!

    Now I remember searching for wide angle lenses and such before and it seems there are different "size thread" ones? I believe they ranged somewhere between 48 and 55mm. How can you tell which one would fit which camera?
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Fisheyes can be fun, but they are very expensive and you are better off renting one if you want to try it out.

    I don't know much about the different tripods you listed. I will leave it to others to weigh in.
     
  7. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    My lens are Canon, and am guessing Nikons are pretty similar in weight.

    You do not want to place your equipment at risk on top of flimsy tripod. But then from what you are saying, I am not sure your equipment will be too heavy.

    Manfrotto (Bogen) is expensive, but you are paying for quality. I only use Manfrotto because I have a 70-200 f/2.8L IS which is HEAVY. I had that on a $30 Walmart tripod which was scary. For landscape/cars, I would use 17-40L which worked well on the $30 Walmart model (not recommending you get it).

    I've seen a Velbon model ($130) which seemed very sturdy - I locked the 3D head and tried to yank it (was not gentle about it) every which way to see if I can get any slip ... no movement. I would not want to mount the 70-200 on it, but would not hesitate to put 17-40.

    I know the Manfrotto 055XPROB will extend high to close to 6ft - and you can extend the center column for some more height. Official #s should be available on B&H (clicky url in upper right).

    Did not try to extend Velbon.
     
  8. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking on eBay now and I see 3021 Manfrotto's but with different heads. Does it matter which head I get for a Nikon D40 setup? What's the difference between heads?

    And I went to bogen's site and there's like 5 different 3021's. There's 3021BBN, 3021PRO, 3021N, etc. What's the difference between all these? How do I choose one?
     
  9. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    As long as the head can mate with the tripod, it doesn't matter what camera you have. Some tripods have 3/8" mount and some have 1/4". My Bogen gives you a choice.

    Not sure of the difference between the different 3021's (which I believe are now called 055). Maybe someone else can answer this. These are built like tanks.

    Heads come in all flavors ... some are balls ... some are pan tilts ... some are heavy duty ... some are light. Mine is humongous heavy ball (Gitzo). Hopefully someone else here can give you guidance.
     
  10. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    I love my Nikon fisheye! I've gotten tons of shots with it that a wideangle simply won't get. An wide angle lens and a fisheye are two totally different lenses.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    OK (have read complete thread now), you don't need to go crazy on tripods or anything. I bought a cheap crappy Quantaray QT-100 (Ritz camera store brand) travel tripod with aluminum telescoping legs and it's perfectly fine with an ultra-light D40 and the 18-55 or any other lightweight consumer level lens. It cost like $39, extends to about 6 feet, collapses down to almost nothing, and is very easy to take around with you almost anywhere. It's small enough that it'll fit in my Tamrac messenger bag and just poke out the top a little, so it's not annoying like other tripods are in that they're too huge and bulky to want to take around. Remember the paradox about tripods. The sturdier they are, the more bulky they become, and the less likely you'll be to carry them around with you when you go out shooting, and the less useful they become. :lol: Get the cheapest crappiest smallest lightest weight tripod you can get away with even when you're already exceeding the weight limit of the thing. I'm OK with putting my D40 (or D80) on the QT-100 with a consumer weight lens. I would NOT put anything professional on it, but that's ok. The 18-55 is a perfectly good lens anyways.

    For car interior photography, it depends on how you want to shoot, but a fisheye can be really nice.

    That's me in the front passenger seat...

    [​IMG]


    In the back right seat...

    [​IMG]


    Window shot.
    [​IMG]


    If you're right in the middle of some spectacular terrain going up in away in all directions, there's no better lens than a fisheye.
    [​IMG]


    Both a fisheye and an ultra-wide have a spot in my bag for sure. For your more typical landscape photos, a traditional ultra-wide lens is probably more appropriate than a fisheye is. With an ultra-wide I do stuff like this (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 on a tripod)

    [​IMG]

    No distortion! But you can get the same look out of a fisheye lens with the right conversion software. It just becomes a pain, it's more difficult to compose, etc. I find my fisheye very versatile for a great number of situations. Also works well for event/people type shots.


    BTW I wouldn't bother with a cheap screw-in fisheye or ultra-wide adapter. You're totally destroying the image quality with those. Just save your money for a real lens.
     
  12. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Wow thanks everyone for the input.

    Mav those pictures look amazing! I can only dream of taking pictures that good :(.

    Well I just bought my D40 18-55 kit tonight... A lot sooner than I thought :D. I took a few pictures and they're crap. It's 10PM though so there's no light anywhere. I don't like shooting on AUTO, makes me feel noobish. I'm trying to experiment on P/S/A. Not familiar with the other modes. Oh and I got a Sunpack 63.6" tripod. It's pretty sturdy. I've already used it for a few shots and it holds the camera fine. And besides, the 18-55 lens and camera body weighs like nothing. The sunpack tripod I got is supposed to hold 6.6lbs too so it should be more than enough. I'll be upgrading to a manfrotto for sure next week when I get paid though.

    Keep the advice coming guys! Thanks again!
     

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