Upgrading Nikon equipment..help

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MommyOf4Boys, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. MommyOf4Boys

    MommyOf4Boys TPF Noob!

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    Now that I have gotten use to my D50 and have gotten better at my photography, I am thinking of upgrading to more professional equipment. Don't get me wrong, the D50 is wonderful, but I want to take my "talent" one step forward. I have submitted a portfolio and application to the Photography department of the Arts School at LSU to be accepted in the Spring!! <keep your fingers crossed for me!!>
    My question would be to those who are more advanced in their photography skills and more knowlegable with the DSLR's by Nikon. Which would be the best to upgrade to from the D50? Also, My husband has also given me an allowance for new lenses. I have been looking at the 18-200mm VR..although Ken Rockwell gives it great reviews, I have read more that it is just not as sharp as it should be for the price. I am more interested in opinions on the Tokina 12-24mm, Nikkor 70-200mm, and the 35mm f/2D. I also still want to include the no longer made Nikkor 75-300mm in there, which gets high reviews (mostly by Joe/ClarinetJWD, who has convinced me to get this lens). Also, any comments on other lenses that you would recommend for a more professional use.
    Lastly, lighting..which is the best setup to have for studio lighting? I belive that less is more, so maybe just something with a 3 light setup like one with an umbrella reflector, one with a soft box, and one with barn doors.
     
  2. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    If it were me, I would hold off on the body upgrade and put that money towards lenses. Lenses will do more for your images than a new body. The D50 is a very capable camera and really shouldn't hold back advancing your skills. That said, if you are set on a new body, take a look at the just announced D80 or the D200.
    As for lenses, I would pass on the 18-200mm, it's a good consumer lens and excellent for a walk-around lens, but it suffers from the compromises that a lens of that range and size requires. I have a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and I love it. It is sharp, fast, with excellent color and contrast. Another I can recommend is the 28-70mm f/2.8, a great all around lens, works well for portraits, landscapes, candids, pretty much everything. It's only off my camera when I need the reach of the 70-200. The last lens I would recommend is the 17-35mm f/2.8. Nikon announced a 70-300 VRII along with the D80, so that may be something to look into. I would guess it will be much better than the current 70-300 G and D. It should also be better than the old 75-300.
    Just my opinions....
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    If you are going to be taking classes in photography, I think you might want to look at a film SLR. I don't know how many colleges are still teaching with film in mind, but it'd be worth your while to learn. You should check and see what requirements you'll need for class.

    If you want to take your "talent" one step forward, don't rely on your equipment. It comes from you.
     
  4. MommyOf4Boys

    MommyOf4Boys TPF Noob!

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    I do have an older Nikon FE2 body that I can use along with my D50 when/if I get into the Photography program. I am also looking at getting another Nikon film body, because I inherrited the FE2 and would rather keep that away from a class setting, so I have my eye on an F3.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I agree...getting a 'better' camera body won't really help you to improve your photography skills. If you need a better body because of it's features or ruggedness (as a professional tool) then that's different.

    If you really want to invest in good glass, look for zooms with a maximum aperture of F2.8 at least. VR is also a nice feature to have.

    Check out Alien Bee lights, a few people around here have them and they get good reviews. They are kind of entry level studio lights but they come at a good price.
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    For the price of a new body, you can get the 80-200mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor. I have it and it's a DREAM to use! It provides pretty much the same image quality as the 70-200 VR (without VR), it is shorter, lighter, and no VR. It is amazingly sharp and professionals have been using them for years and continue to use them. It's about $860 after shipping off of bhphotovideo.com.

    I've heard that the 28-70mm f/2.8 is really good, I've never used it but I have the 35-70 f/2.8D and it is solid as a rock. It's push-pull so it takes no time at all to change the focal length, and has a pretty quick AF.

    As for studio lighting, I just saw an article today in a magazine that you can get SB-600's or SB-800's, put them on rods and put umbrellas in front of them. It's basicly a $300-$400 lighting system for just under $200. Since you're on a D50, you'll need an SU-800 for a commander.

    To tell you the truth, in my opinion if you really want to improve your skills, take out that ol' FE-2 and use that for a while instead of your D50. Film makes me analize my composition more (when I can) so therefore, i'll want to get the best shots per roll of film becuase I only have 12, 24, or 36 exposures.
     
  7. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    I'd certainly hold of lighting until you get to college, they ill probably be ble to advise you more about what sort of thing you need for the course, I suspect they'll have some there. They also might be able to source you cheaper stuff.

    As for lenses, Sigma and Tamron do a DX lens that's 18-50 2.8 which is quite reasonable and gets good write ups, and then sigma's heavy but cheaper than the competition 70-200 f2.8 also gets good write ups.
     
  8. MommyOf4Boys

    MommyOf4Boys TPF Noob!

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    I talked to the dude in charge at LSU's photography dept. and he said that any SLR will work for the class, be it digital or film..weehaaaa!
     
  9. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

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    I would spend money on better glass also but have you seen the D-80 that's coming out?
     
  10. Charlsie

    Charlsie TPF Noob!

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    If you do go for another film body, the F3 is a good choice. I got one about a month ago and am absolutely in love with the thing. It has quickly become my favorite, even next to my F80.
     
  11. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    If you want an awesome deal on awesome Nikon glass here are my pics:

    70-210 F4 AF. Commonly available for under $200.00 in near new to mint condition.

    50 F1.8 AF. Ditto above but if you pay $75.00 you probably paid too much.

    Both are tack sharp, reliable, and inexpensive non-variable aperture lenses.

    LWW
     
  12. MommyOf4Boys

    MommyOf4Boys TPF Noob!

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    I have both of those LOL
     

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