How to make a recommendation?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by nickzou, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. nickzou

    nickzou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So for perhaps the first time ever, someone came to me asking about camera purchasing advice and there's actually options. Most of the time with a budget of 300-500 dollars, you only have a few choices and you don't need a photographer to help you recommend a better camera, you just compare specs.

    This time, a friend of a friend asked me to help her pick out her first kit. And lo and behold she has just shy of 2 grand to spend. Okay, now we have options. See now my opinions actually matter, it's not like oh get the T3i kit with the two zoom lenses and the 2 8 gig memory cards anymore. Now, you can actually make significant choices.

    Now, knowing what I know now and if it were building a first kit for my younger self, no question I would get a:

    Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S
    Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AF
    Nikon 24mm f/2.8
    and a D90

    But I don't know if this is the right kit for someone new to photography. Both the zooms are pretty heavy. I personally went for the "trinity" approach, but I could've just as easily suggested D7000 plus a few modern 1.8 G primes.

    And of course, I asked the usual "what you would like to shoot" but this question is useless to them as their inevitable answer would be; "I dunno, people, landscapes, animals, anything I like". Obviously they don't know what they are going to shoot in the long run, the first few months of photography is shooting any and absolutely everything and not until then do they really know "what" they are going to shoot.

    Which is why I think the "trinitarian" approach is good because it covers almost anything. But I think it might not be beginner friendly.

    What would you suggest a girl who is definitely passionate about photography (I've been on a few walking architectural tours and she goes to town with her little PnS, loves shooting macro, but that's where PnS's thrive) and has 2 grand to get started?


     
  2. robbins.photo

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

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    Ok, well from the sounds of things the 2.8 on all lenses might be a bit of overkill, and as you mentioned they would be pretty heavy and not really beginner friendly. Remember that as beginners they probably won't be adjusting the aperture value, which will lead to small DOF on most all their shots, which of course will lead to a lot of blurry pictures when they miss just the right focus point which will lead to frustration and ultimately the camera will get put in the closet.

    They've got a pretty big budget here to work with, but given the fact that they are beginners what I would recommend is this - A D3200 which will give them a very nice high mp sensor plus an easy to use camera with a guide mode. For telephoto, the 70-300 mm Nikkor VR1 f/4.5-5.6- she's lightweight, focuses fast, and takes outstanding pictures. I'd have them start with that and the standard kit lens, and maybe a good external flash unit. Have them put the rest aside for now for future upgrades.

    That will cover them well enough for the vast majority of the shooting situations that they find themselves in, and as they use the camera and get used to it they'll have the rest of that budget they can use to upgrade whatever they feel needs to be upgraded. If they want faster glass, or a better body, etc - well they'll have the money on hand already to upgrade. I guess I would equate this to being about the same as someone who's never ridden a bike before wanting to buy a high end racing bike when what they really need is something with training wheels first.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    My experience in retail camera sales is that most women prefer smaller cameras and lighter gear...they don't want to lug heavy lenses like the 80-200mm f/2.8 Nikkor around. Last time I actually SAW a woman with an 80-200 2.8 Nikkor was last April at my kid's soccer game, and she complained about the lens on her D90 as being "too heavy for me". She had borrowed it from her husband, and she basically did NOT feel it was suited to her.

    I dunno, I feel the same way about the 44-ounce "trinity" type Nikkor zooms...too damned big and heavy for anybody except for really,really "serious" work, and even then, much slower than primes in f/stop. I would ignore the 35-70 2.8 AF-D as well; unless she's buying an FX camera....a 35-70 on 1.5x is a PITA.

    I would definitely think D7000, NOT D90. And 70-300 VR-G instead of 80-200 AF-D. Maybe 16-85, 70-300 VR, and a good SB 700 flash, the maybe the 50/1.8 G.
     
  4. nickzou

    nickzou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I get that the 35-70 isn't a convenient range on DX, but is there anything wrong with it optically?
     
  5. psran

    psran TPF Noob!

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    I would recommend Nikon D7000 +Sigma 17-70+ Nikon 55-300+ SB700 Flash

    Should cover most of the usable range, light weight, Decent IQ and Sigma 17-70 would cover macro photography as well

    What more would a Beginner need
     
  6. hirejn

    hirejn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A D90, kit zoom and $1,500 in workshops. Or, read this article. Equipment is fun, but not as fun as making killer images, at least for me. For some people equipment is the hobby.
     
  7. nickzou

    nickzou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    She's upgrading from a Zenit-E. I wouldn't say she knows nothing about shooting. And yes, equipment is the hobby for some people, I'm a little bit in that camp. She's letting me borrow her old Soviet lenses, can't wait to put them on my EM-5, teehee.
     
  8. MK3Brent

    MK3Brent No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Forget the budget... get an entry level DSLR with a 18-55, and see if it sticks.

    If it sticks, then talk about the next step.

    In my opinion, you can never go wrong with this.
     
  9. robbins.photo

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

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    Well, if she has some experience then I'd say maybe something in the 5x or 7x series might be a better option, it will still give her something that is easy to use but have more options that she'll be able to grow into as she progresses. I'd still recommend the 70-300 mm Nikkor VR 4.5-5.6 and a standard kit lens to start, then she can always add additional lenses as she feels the need, but I think it would a lot better for her to start with some basic, lightweight, easy to use lenses and then figure out what she wants to add to her kit later.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 35-70mm f/2.8 is decent optically, and can be bought for $300-$349 used a number of places. As far as the 18-55 f/3.5~5.6 kit zoom...it's a limiting tool. f/5.6 right where MANY times f/2.8 would be much better. It's pretty much a "bright-light kinda lens", or a tripod and f/5.6 lens. YES, it can make a lot of images. I take the exact opposite approach as many people. I learned years ago with a Zenit-B, and also an old Contaflex Super, and old twin lens reflexes from Argus and Ricoh. I learned photography with crap gear, even for the 1970's. I believe that beginners benefit more from better gear than do intermediate shooters.

    On this forum you will hear people extoll the advantage of "good glass," and "good glass lasts forever," and "pay more for the glass than the body," and so on, but I'm not entirely sold on the myths from the article above, the "Nikon D200" love fest. I'm familiar with the Nikons of the mid-2000's, and how shi++y their sensors were. I have zero nostalgia for old, outdated bodies. I have zero nostalgia for the 18-55 kit lenses either. In the D200 era, the majority of d-slr users did NOT have a kit lens, they had something ELSE, something taken directly from the Nikon FX line. THe 18-55 "kit zoom" was a fairly late development, designed to make a front body cap that cost $99 on top of a $1,000 or more d-slr.

    Anyway...I think focusing on getting one GOOD zoom that is versatile is essential. I myself started autofocus d-slr-dom with a D1 and a 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5, a fairly small 35-70mm consumer zoom, the one below the 35-70 f/2.8. Its main virtue was small size and low price, but it was no great shakes. I DID make some nice pics with it though. BUt again, I think the beginning shooter in digital needs BETTER gear than the bottom-rung, so to me, the 18-55 kit zoom is a throwaway. Get her a decent DIGITAL-era zoom, one that actually has some useful focal lengths. Skip the 4-pound 80-200 2.8.

    Beginners need better equipment than experts, and that's why the lady that wrote the article above is peddling b.s..
     

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