Good Glass Needed?

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by JCE, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    Hello, this is my first post but I have read a lot in the forum. I appreciate the contributions of the forum members, and I look forward to contributing myself in the future.

    I recently started getting into digital photography, but one question I have is about the need for expensive lenses now that post processing has become so advanced. I have the kit 18-55 lens and the 55-200 that came with my camera, and was wondering if it would be worth the $ to upgrade. Yes, I know I need to learn more about how to use my camera before I spend the money, but I have previous experience and am studying/experimenting a lot, and I pretty much have the basics down in terms of exposure, shutter speed, ISO, etc. I'm going to Honfleur, the Loire Valley, and Paris this summer and I want my pictures to be as good as possible.

    Thoughts?


     
  2. LakeFX

    LakeFX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first question is what do you not like about your current lenses?
     
  3. snowbear

    snowbear . Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome aboard.

    If you can afford the better glass, then go for it. Post processing can't fix everything.
     
  4. robbins.photo

    robbins.photo Yup, It's The Zoo Guy Supporting Member

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    If your just getting started, my thoughts are to keep the lenses you have currently and use them as much as you possibly can - shoot in a variety of situations and learn the basics first, learn for yourself what the limitations of your current lenses are before you even think about buying anything else. Once you feel comfortable with the system you have and you think your ready (believe me, you'll know when this is), then you can start thinking about what shooting situations your finding yourself in most often and then you'll know what sort of lenses will do you the most good for the kind of shooting your doing.

    Until then I suggest you stick with the kit lenses and strive to get the most out of them that you can until you hit the limitation of those lenses and you can't get any more out of them even once you technique improves. That would be my recommendation at least.
     
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  5. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. Since this is early in the thread I will try to respond to each.

    I'm not sure. I have not done any comparisons of the kit lens vs "better" lenses so I can't really answer. I am hoping that maybe I can be enlightened about how some lenses are better than others, when post processing is available to mask flaws of cheaper lenses.

    What can't it fix? Sharpening is what I think is the main issue here, and I know there are limitations. Are there any others?

    Yes, I am technically just getting started in the sense I am going full bore now. I had a previous DSLR that I didn't use much, and ended up selling to a friend a couple of years ago. I also was photographer many years ago in school for my yearbook, on film. So, I am not that inexperienced, plus I have been using my camera a lot experimenting with lighting, DOF, exposure settings, etc. I am an engineer (not that all engineers are smart, but it usually gives one a leg up over the average person in understanding technical issues), and I feel that I completely understand and have taken enough pictures to know more than the typical beginner. I just recently returned from the Grand Canyon and Zion, and I took about 1500 pix with my D3200 under various settings so I could see the different results, and what does and doesn't work. Outdoor scenic photography is mainly what I am interested in. Yes, taking good pix of the Grand Canyon with all of the shadows and distances is pretty difficult.

    One thing I do know is that I would like a faster lens than what I have, so maybe that is the answer to the first question. But, that is for somewhat rare situations.

    But, to summarize I guess I am asking whether good lenses are worth it prior to go and spending the $.

    What advantages have each of you seen with better glass in terms of picture quality, even with post processing?

    If I can maybe get some examples or experience then that may help me understand. Thanks.
     
  6. robbins.photo

    robbins.photo Yup, It's The Zoo Guy Supporting Member

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    Ok.. so here's what you need. A Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300 mm F/2.8 VR II lens. They run about 6 grand. Totally useless for portrait work but then hey, who cares, it's only money right? I mean who cares if the lens actually fulfills a need, it's a great lens and you've got nothing but money to burn, right?

    Hopefully that illustrates my point. Buying lenses before you really know what you actually need is pretty silly. So if you heed my advice first you'll determine what you need for lenses before you start going out and spending a ton of money on them. Otherwise I would have no way of recommending any sort of lens for you, because I have absolutely no idea what your using the lenses for, what sort of shooting situations your in, etc.. etc..
     
  7. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For good architecture and landscape photography, the kit lens and the cheap zoom is perfectly sufficient. Just step them down to f/8, as one always does for this kind of photography, and they should be as or almost as sharp (and free of other lens errors) as any other lens anyway.

    Otherwise, all you need then is a good sturdy but not too heavy travel tripod (so you can still photograph in low light, as a flash wont help much for landscape/architecture in low light), a [circular] polarizer filter, and a gradient neutral density filter, and you need to know how to use your camera and this other gear.

    For people photography, indoors or in dimmer light, you might think about getting a bright normal prime lens, and a flash. For example, for Nikon one could recomment the AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX for about 200 ($ or €) and the SB700 flash (or a used SB600) for also about 200 ($ or €).




    Sharping only gives the illusion of sharpness, not actually more details and image quality. Oversharping quickly leads to very ugly artifacts. Frankly calling sharpening a crutch would insult crutches.
     
  8. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    Let me rewrite what I have already written, that you have apparently not absorbed.

    I am interested in outdoor scenic photography. I do wish I had a faster lens but that is not the basis of this thread.

    I am asking what benefits a good lens will have over a cheaper lens after post processing. For sake of discussion let's assume the pix will be of what I am interested in, outdoor scenic photography.

    I am also asking for some experience each of you have had that can illustrate the difference between lenses. Thanks.
     
  9. JCE

    JCE TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. This is helpful. I have no interest in a prime lens for indoor photography, but I do have an interest in a faster zoom for photographs of animals in low light. This to me is the only advantage of a more expensive lens, that I can see, for my use. Also, I wish I had a wider lens but this is not an issue in terms of picture quality.

    Your comment about the filters in digital intrigues me because of how easy it is to fix these issues in post processing, unless something is completely washed out.
     
  10. robbins.photo

    robbins.photo Yup, It's The Zoo Guy Supporting Member

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    Yup.. were done here. Good luck. You are really, really, really going to need it.
     
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  11. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Why don't you rent a couple of nice lenses like a 24-70 f2.8 and a 70-200 f2.8 and compare them to what you are using now. I always say rent before you buy.
     

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