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H2Ockey
Nov 25, 2008, 05:02 PM
Ok, so I had a D300 with the kit 18-200 lens and was fairly happy with it. Some displeasure at the speed of the lense when trying to capture wildlife, and kids as well as in lower light situations.
well my camera and laptop were stolen a bit ago and now i'm in the market again. For various reasons i'm getting another D300 but need lens advice.

rather than a kit lens this is what i had in mind based on some research here and other places.
Nikkor 80-200 AF-D f2.8
Nikkor 50 AF-S 1.4
eventually (hopefully not too long) with the money
Nikkor 12-24 AF-D f2.8
farther down the road something really big and fast for wildlife
500mm f4

So further research turned up lots of bad reviews on a crop sensor and a 50mm. Now i'm wondering about just skipping the idea of a prime and getting an 18-55 something, but that blows my budget all to H#!! and if I get a cheaper 18-55 or 24-80 f3.5-5.6 kit lenses or something why not just get the 18-200 VR as far as kit lenses are concerned it is about as good if not more usable than the others, and if I do that i'll need to put off the 80-200 will I ever put that on my camera?

The help I need is a suggestion of a walk around lense to compliment the 80-200 f2.8. I'd like the same bang for my buck in quality vs. value. I don't know what's out there is there anything? If I got the 12-24 f2.8 and the 80-200 together I have a pretty large gap in focal distance but I do have legs to "manual zoom", and that is a bit more than I can realistically put out there for the lenses right away.

advice appreciated. thanks.



carlosbutler
Nov 25, 2008, 05:29 PM
it depends what your budget is. but a lens which i find very useful on my D80 is this one:

http://carlosbutler.com/media/forums/macrumours/camera/Nikkor-18-200mm-F-3.5-5.6g.JPG

a nikkor 28-300mm blabla. its pretty fast and accurate focusing, although if you do manual focus (and this is with all nikkor lens') it doesnt feel as good since you are turning the outside ring which moves something inside, i prefer having it outside like you get on most (if not all) tamron/sigma lens. if you are really serious about it then you can get some really good shots with either of these two

http://carlosbutler.com/media/forums/macrumours/camera/photo_200-500_large.jpg
sigma 200-500 f/2.8

and this

http://carlosbutler.com/media/forums/macrumours/camera/photo_300_800_56.jpg
sigma 300-800 f/5.6

the 200-500mm is a beast, although it is pretty expensive. about 15000 and the 300-800 is about 4000. look in jessops or ebay and it should give a price. there is also a 4.5mm one that sigma do, and a nice 10-24 f4.5-5.6 from tamron

also i would go for the battery pack:

http://carlosbutler.com/media/forums/macrumours/camera/_DSC0017.JPG

since you can fit two battery in it, but more importantly you can do easier portrait, with the added touch of having the aperture and speed at your finger tips whether you have it in landscape or portrait. (click on the image and on the bottom left of the camera)

also try get a decent flash, the one on the previous image was a fairly decent flash considering i dont do much photography, mainly since im at Uni at the moment. but the nikon speedlights (or whatever they are called) are very good, my dad has one on his and its got a lot of settings. if you get the sb-800 and use it as a master and then get a sb-600 you can link them together, and i think you can also use the one on the camera some how (might be wrong on that)

JSF
Nov 25, 2008, 05:46 PM
Hey H20ckey, why does skipping the prime and and getting an 18-55 blow your budget? The 50mm AF-S f/1.4 is not out yet and it will be more expensive than any 18-55 in Nikons line up. Maybe you meant the 17-55 f/2.8 which is around $1300 or around $900 used. It is a great walk around lens if you can swing it. It's heavier, but, that is the price you pay for pro glass. The 50mm prime is a great lens, but, it is a little long as it is 75mm on the D300. Nikon has a 35mm f/2 prime that would be good in low light and would be 52.5mm on the D300. Are you set on the D300? Why not the D90? The D90 won't have the FPS or the 51 point AFS of the D300, but, it performs better at higher ISO and has a better dynamic range and cost about $600 less. More money to spend on glass.

ChrisA
Nov 25, 2008, 05:51 PM
..
So further research turned up lots of bad reviews on a crop sensor and a 50mm.

The 50mm f/1.4 works well. The only trouble is that 50mm is not a "normal" lens on a crop sensor. If you want normal get the 30mm prime. Even if you do get an f/2.8 zoom to cover this focal length you might also want a f/1.4 lens too. it is a full two sotps faster and f/1.4 is the only way to get the narrow DOF look.

You are right that you want to stay with the f/2.8 or faster lenses. You will need them for wildlife. You will need to freeze subject motion ans you are typicaly working in dimmer sunset/sunrise lighting

H2Ockey
Nov 25, 2008, 07:08 PM
On the D300 vs D90 thought, part of it is insurance $$ for the "replacement cost" of the D300 that was stolen. If I spend $600 less on a D90 I don't have that money to spend on glass, i just don't have that money at all. As well I do spend a good amount of time near the coast, ocean spray/sand, I like the weather proofing. I also like the more durable feel of the D300 and a few of the switches for the focusing options. And the little dial for switching modes that on the d300 I wouldn't use much that has a couple other funcitons on the d90 seems a bit fragile to me. But i've only played with the D90 in the store. Also for sports what not I like the faster speed i'll be getting a battery-grip eventually, probably the same time I get the big telephoto but that is over a year away.

50mm AF-S f1.4 was a typo, stupid fingers typing out my wishes rather than reality. I was just meaning a 50mm f1.4 AF prime the type floating around B&H for <$300 new and ~$250 in EX condition used.

I guess what i'm looking for is as cheap as possible a walk around lens that would compliment the 80-200mm f2.8. The 50mm I was looking at plus the 80-200 AF-D (NOT AF-S) I should be able to get both for ~$1200. That is pretty much high side of my budget for glass right now.

So my question now is will a 35mm f2 prime and a 80-200 f2.8 do me for a while (better part of a year) till I can add in a ~28-80 or something similar that alone will be $1200?

How versitile a lens can a 35mm prime be?

JSF
Nov 25, 2008, 09:33 PM
A 35mm prime can very versatile. You just have to zoom with your feet. Tamron also makes a 17-50mm f/2.8 for $400. I don't know how you feel about third party lens. Thats pushing it a little on your budget. It's $100 more than the 50mm prime but more versatile.

GoCubsGo
Nov 25, 2008, 09:35 PM
A 35mm prime can very versatile. You just have get to zoom with your feet.

I fixed that for you. ;) zooming with your feet is actually way more fun, if it can be done given wherever you are.

luminosity
Nov 25, 2008, 09:50 PM
I have a D300, and currently have two lenses. One is a 50mm 1.8, and the other is an 80-200mm 2.8 Mark II (meaning push-pull zoom, not the later AF version). I have my eyes on the 17-55 DX, which has five full stars at Amazon and has received numerous glowing reviews. Wistfully, I'd also love to have the 24-70mm, but that's a pipe dream right now. The 14-24mm wouldn't come amiss either.

Also, I'm a big fan of the size and weight of the D300. It has a very solid feel to it, but it isn't clunky or oversized. I held the D90, and while it was better than I expected, it isn't the D300 in terms of handling.

JSF
Nov 25, 2008, 09:50 PM
I fixed that for you. ;) zooming with your feet is actually way more fun, if it can be done given wherever you are.

True, it also improves composition because your forced to think about more.

jake-g
Nov 25, 2008, 11:49 PM
the 80-200 is a poor choice for a every day lens. Go with a 17-55 if you can afford it. Go with an 18-55 if you cannot. The 18-200 performs very poorly IMO. But maybe I just got a poor sample. if you like primes a 24mm 2.8 is definitely the way to go.

compuwar
Nov 26, 2008, 09:30 PM
I guess what i'm looking for is as cheap as possible a walk around lens that would compliment the 80-200mm f2.8.

The 35-70mm AF-D is a very good lens that can be had for a reasonable price with good samples being relatively common on the used market.

if you like primes a 24mm 2.8 is definitely the way to go.

I think the 24mm f/2.8 is the worst Nikkor prime I've owned. It seems my 20-35mm zoom outperforms it in most cases. I don't think mine's been on the front of a camera in three or so years.

compuwar
Nov 26, 2008, 09:43 PM
farther down the road something really big and fast for wildlife
500mm f4


While the 500/4 is big, it's not really fast- if you're really serious about wildlife, I'd suggest the 400/2.8- as you can shoot in half the light of the 500/4 at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active. The new 400VR has an MTF chart that outperforms any lens MTF I've seen, including those of Zeiss's actual "Made in Germany" line. Plus, with the TC-14E-II you get 560mm at f/4 with about the same quality as the 500/600mm primes and you can go to the T-17EII if you need a bit more reach.

I find with the 400mm f/2.8 AF-S II the 1.7x produces saleable images the few times I go to it and get it all right, I can't imagine that it wouldn't be even better on the 400VR. While the 500/4 is relatively light, I can't see a scenario where it makes a bunch of sense over either the 400/2.8 or the 600/4 or if you like smaller/lighter and don't mind missing the stop of light, the 200-400/4VR. There are times I'd like to have the 600/4 with a 1.4x, but I find that the 400/2.8 with 1.4x is more flexible than the 500mm or 600mm primes on their own.


http://carlosbutler.com/media/forums/macrumours/camera/photo_300_800_56.jpg
sigma 300-800 f/5.6

While 800mm at f/5.6 is useful for small birds, f/5.6 at 300mm-400mm is way too slow for good wildlife unless you've got a high-ISO body like the D3 and even then you're going to deal with less subject isolation than a faster lens will bring. The only reason to get the 300-800 is if you're routinely shooting warblers (the one time I've seen someone with the lens, they were shooting for Audbon and it made perfect sense.) Otherwise, why not just get the 600/4 and a 1.4x TC so you're not stuck at f/5.6 all the time?

H2Ockey
Nov 26, 2008, 11:45 PM
Wow, Comp that was a very good post. I had to read a couple times through to digest. I take all your suggestions to heart. To let you know however those are all waaaay down the road.

I left off a couple things with the 500mm f4 AI P

The manual focus version that is around, a couple a month come through ebay for $1750 - $2400 and B&H and Adorama usually have one in very good condition for ~$2450. Basically i'm saving for a very long time and need to do more than casual photos before I purchase a >$5000 single lens. And I want to get those photos NOW. :) With the 500 P I can basically keep saving and trade that in at the same time. At that point yes I would look more to your advice. When it comes time to decide I was actually thinking 200-400 f4 VR with a 1.4x but that has been a very long term plan and like I said the 500 f4 P will have to pay for part of that one. You really have me thinking of the 400 f2.8 VR now though.

compuwar
Nov 27, 2008, 07:41 AM
Wow, Comp that was a very good post. I had to read a couple times through to digest. I take all your suggestions to heart. To let you know however those are all waaaay down the road.

I left off a couple things with the 500mm f4 AI P


Ah, that's a reasonable "cheap" solution, but you're going to be spending big bucks on a Wimberly head (you can do the Manfrotto "cheapie" gimball head, or one of the knock-offs, but nothing's cheap and good- as well as a very sturdy tripod to support that- if your end goal is long and fast, then it's a good investment, otherwise the 200-400VR looks even better- it really depends on your commitment and what else you shoot (a 300/2.8 VR isn't quite long enough lots of times, but it's fantastic for sports and paying the bills for instance.) You can shoot from a monopod, but it's not going to be fun for wildlife- especially if you're waiting for something to come back your way for an hour.


The manual focus version that is around, a couple a month come through ebay for $1750 - $2400 and B&H and Adorama usually have one in very good condition for ~$2450. Basically i'm saving for a very long time and need to do more than casual photos before I purchase a >$5000 single lens. And I want to get those photos NOW. :) With the 500 P I can basically keep saving and trade that in at the same time. At that point yes I would look more to your advice. When it comes time to decide I was actually thinking 200-400 f4 VR with a 1.4x but that has been a very long term plan and like I said the 500 f4 P will have to pay for part of that one. You really have me thinking of the 400 f2.8 VR now though.

I see no real flaws from my 400/2.8 AF-S II, and I'd expect with the VR version out and starting to get into stock everywhere that the used 400/2.8 market may start to show more lenses. The older used AI versions go for 4000-4500, the AF-S and AF-S II versions are more, but seriously in the summer you're talking a good 45min of more shooting time at each end of the day at 2.8 vs 4.0. If you're going to ROI the lens, it's my opinion that the 400 will ROI in a shorter timeframe than the 500 simply because of the extended number of opportunities you're going to get. While I certainly understand the want/afford/need equation, I'd really, really suggest that you spreadsheet out your chances and see what the 400 does for you- in terms of things like youth sports, wildlife and motorsports I just think being able to shoot in half the light or at half the shutter speed opens a lot more opportunity.

The only viable bag for ANY of the above lenses is a Lowepro Lenstrekker 600AW, the 400 fits on camera with the first lens hood removed (I don't think my first lens hood has been on the lens more than twice ever.) I can get set up in the field in under a minute when I have to that way. Budget for the bag no matter what you choose.

If you want to play with long and see how it goes, if you have reasonable subjects in bright mid-day light, the Sigma 50-500 is a reasonable and cheap alternative that'll give you a taste for what it takes to get good long pictures. On the used market, you can pretty-much get one, play with it and throw it back in a reasonable amount of time due to the price, but you're stuck at f/6.3.