Help me pick a lens for a Nikon D40x

bmwardo

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Hello everyone, I am just trying to learn and soak in the information before diving further into the DSLR world. Here is my situation:

-I would imagine I will be purchasing a Nikon D40x and I am looking for a lens that I can use to take pictures of my saltwater reef tank.
-Most of the objects will be between 2"-12" away from the glass.
-The aquariums are well lit and I would prefer to not use a flash in many cases as it has always seemed to drown out the colors in the past.
-Some photos will also be of moving fish or a quick behavior which I would like to capture without blur.

I suppose I am making a shopping list, I am truly only a beginner so I am not going to need the top of the line equipment (at least not for a while). But will the kit lenses work? What do you all think?

Here are some of my old shots with my Coolpix 3200:
DSCN2628.jpg

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Snorkeling in French Polynesia:
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Thanks!
 

Coldow91

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I would look for a fast lens like the 50mm 1.8D but it wont autofocus on the D40x, maybe the sigma 30mm HSM
 

sabbath999

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Great looking tank.

The obvious choice is the 105 VR f/2.8Macro... it is an AF-S & works great for fishes and also is a kicking sharp prime.

It does tend to hunt when autofocusing, so you might keep that in mind.
 
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bmwardo

bmwardo

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Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions. Do you guys think this would be a perfect scenario in which it would be a better option for me to go straight for a D80 and open up some of my lens choices @ cheaper prices, in order to save money in the long run? Edit: Would you also mind giving me a short response as to why the specific lens recommendation, that will help me learn and know what to look for. Thanks!

Glad there are some other aquarium keepers around! Here are some updated shots I just took and some new critters, you can see why I am a bit frustrated with my old compact camera:

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I would love to be able to focus specifically on the crown of this cucumber:
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Thanks for looking!
 

D40

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I say D80 if you can because of the D40 lens limit. Since I have the D40 I am going to just use the D40 and save for the D200 or 300 instead of jumping into the D80. The D80 will give you much greater lens choices and that is a big thing, trust me.
 

D40

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I would not concider the D40x and here is why: It cost almost as much as the D80 and is lacking the AF motor. The only thing you get is 10megapixels vs the D40 6.1. If you cant aford the D80 go for the D40 and save the money. If you can afford the D40x then just get the D80. Hope that makes sence
 

sabbath999

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I would not concider the D40x and here is why: It cost almost as much as the D80 and is lacking the AF motor. The only thing you get is 10megapixels vs the D40 6.1. If you cant aford the D80 go for the D40 and save the money. If you can afford the D40x then just get the D80. Hope that makes sence

Oh, sorry, I totally misread his post and thought he already owned the D40x.

I totally agree, spend a bit more money and get a D80 and then a whole range of lenses that autofocus are open to you. Here is my previous rant on the subject with further info if you care to read it: D40/D40x rant (clicky).

You will end up spending less money in the long run (IMHO) buying a D80 since all of the current AF lenses from Nikon, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina will autofocus.

In fact, it is actually cheaper to buy a D80 and a Sigma or Tamron Macro (have not seen a Tokina macro so I can't speak about them) than get a D40x and a Nikkor 105 VR... they are just as sharp and focus better (but don't have the VR, which is useless in Macro anyway).

BTW I own both a D40 and a 105 VR, so I am not just repeating some press release here. Do yourself a favor and move up to the D80 or (if budget just doesn't allow) pick up a used D50 or D70... then the lens choices are MUCH more open.
 

Heck

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I for one wished I went for the D80 for all the reasons above. If you can go for the D80. Its like with fish tanks, If you started with a 30 gal soon after you wished you did the 100 gal. so go as big as you can the first time.
 
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bmwardo

bmwardo

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Hey all, I really appreciate your opinions and experience in this matter.

D40- Thanks for sharing your info.

Sabbath- I have actually read up in that thread a bit but at times I get lost in the photo vocab and subject matter, but I am learning and on my way, slowly.

Heck- I completely understand the comparision, before jumping into the saltwater world I wish I had done an additional 6 months of studying and saving up money to really find what I wanted/needed. I would have saved a lot of time, $$, and headaches! I imagine camera & lens shopping is not much different?.?.

Okay, it is settled, I think I will go for a D80. Assuming that, what do you think about that Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D suggestion?
 

Antithesis

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I just got my d80 and my 50mm 1.8 gets here on wednesday. I was getting frustrated about the very few and expensive lenses that fit will autofocus on the d40x, it'll be nice to have a much wider variety. You'll be glad you did.
 
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bmwardo

bmwardo

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Oh Excellent, let me know how you like that 50mm 1.8. Sorry I had to back out of your D40x sale, hope you were able to get rid of it alright. Cheers.
 

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