Beginner Photographer - What do I buy next?


TPF Noob!
Jun 10, 2003
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Holland, MI

I just started using my SLR about 2 years ago and am slowly acquiring more equipment. Based on what I have so far, what do you think I should buy next?

I really like taking outdoor pictures and using natural light. I like taking pictures of landscapes, up close plants (I have the magnifying lenses), and animals. I've been disappointed with my indoor pictures thus far because the light never seems to be right. I would like to try to do some portrait photography but the thought of taking pictures of people indoors scares me due to the lighting issues.

Here's what I have right now:
Nikon N65
Nikon AF Nikkor 35-70 mm lens
Nikon AF Nikkor 28-200 mm lens
Polarizers & Haze filters for each lens

I'm happy with the ability that my 28-200 mm gives me so I'm not sure if I'm ready for another lens. After writing this, it sounds like I'm more concerned with lighting. But, what do you experts think I should get next? Please give me brands/specs if you can but any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your help!
If you are interested in indoor portraiture then why not invest in some large sheets of silver or gold card from an art supplies shop. The card is used as a reflector and each sheet gives you two surfaces because the back will be white. You can take very effective available light portraits by positioning your subject near a window, preferrably with diffused light coming through and use either the white or the silver side of the card to provide some fill-in on the side away from the window. Depending on the amount of light available and film speed etc you may get away with hand holding the camera but you get much better results using a tripod and this, plus a cable release, should eliminate camera shake and can allow you to use much slower shutter speeds than are possible hand holding.

The usual advice on buying a tripod is to go for one that is really solid, avoid flimsy lightweight models with lots of telescopic leg sections. I used to use one of the Benbo range which was really rigid, almost infinitely adjustable and practically indestructable but was a bit heavy and bulky to lug aropund everywhere. Since this was stolen I've acquired a Manfrotto 055 which seems to me to be a reasonable compromise between rigidity, versatility and weight but there are many other models that are no doubt just as good - get into a well stocked shop and try a few out with your camera.

The tripod can also be used for your landscape photography and can really sharpen up the results and allow you to use slow film, long exposures and small apertures to give great depth of field.
I would get a nice fast 50mm lense. That is the first thing I buy when ever I buy a camera (if it does not already have one.) I just got a 50mm f1.7. It will be great for indoor shots, without lighting stuff. Chis has it right for portraiture, tripod is a must and a reflector will make a world of difference. Also, if you plan on shooting b&w for anything, I would get a red,yellow, and green filter set. They will help bring out contrast in some things like sky and plants.

after that.... dark room stuff :) but that may be much later...

good luck
For your outdoor stuff 2 rolls of Velvia and a tripod. ISO 50 for quality

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