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phototrix
Jan 2, 2009, 11:57 PM
hi, so i've been researching for a while now and have read the differences between the 2 but still wasn't quite sure whether to get a Nikon D40 with 2 lenses or a Nikon D80 with one lens for the same price.

I had a D40 about a year ago to take to NY to shoot up the city and I really liked it, small, easy to use, etc. I'm a pretty serious photographer and have taken a couple years of classes in school and such.

So am looking for one of the 2 and can't really decide because I could always just upgrade the body in a couple of years and still have my lenses or just go for the better body now and get lenses in the future.

INPUT PLEASE!!
:)
thanks a bunch


the lenses for the D40 would be a 18-55 and 55-200 vs just a 18-55 with the D80



Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 12:00 AM
I own a D40 with the kit lens and a 55-200, and trust me, you will be SO much happier with the D80.

There are so many quality issues with the D40.
Not picture quality, but like the AF sucks, and if your in low light and you can't/don't want to use flash, your screwed.

Here are some of my pictures taken with it.

Gallery. (http://www.simplybrilliant.deviantart.com/gallery)

jaseone
Jan 3, 2009, 12:12 AM
Right off the cuff I would say go for the D80, however with your mention of the 55-200 I have to wonder what kind of photography are you planning? Is the lack of the telephoto going to hinder you?

The D80 is significantly better than the D40 in some respects like it has a focusing motor on the body so it is possible to use autofocus on a wider range of lenses and I believe the D80 is much better in low light, however like I said if you need the zoom on the 55-200 then that should be a deciding factor.

peapody
Jan 3, 2009, 12:17 AM
Had the D40, and upgraded to the D80. Best move I ever made. I feel like I learned way much more about photography with the D80, even though there aren't a lot of earthshattering differences. Just the accessibility of all the options, the AF system, the built in motor for lenses make it a worthwhile investment.

You have time to save for lenses, but having a body that limits you to Af-S lenses kind of sucks - trust me I know.


Just grab the D80, and think about what kind of shots you hope to get before deciding on the lens. You can get the D80 and one walk around lens, and grab the 50mm prime for just $90...one of the best you can get.

Edit: on the other hand, you like the small, so the D40 might be good enough. It just depends on what you want to do. Do you want to just have a camera to take casual shots on trips etc, or do you want a camera that let's you flex and strengthen your skills. Both cameras can do this, but the D80 makes it a bit simpler now. If you really plan on upgrading it might just be worth grabbing the D40 and waiting for the D90 or something to go down in price.

mrgreen4242
Jan 3, 2009, 09:10 AM
There are so many quality issues with the D40.
Not picture quality, but like the AF sucks, and if your in low light and you can't/don't want to use flash, your screwed.

In defense of the D40, the low light performance has nothing to do with the body, it's the lens - albeit the D40 has poor low light lens selection, there's a few available for it. The D40, due to its lower pixel density, is as clean at ISO200 as most 12MP cameras are at ISO100, which helps low light.

I don't know what you mean by the AF sucking. As all the lenses are AF-S the AF is typically fast and accurate. It only has three AF points, though which can be tough sometimes. I've heard this is especially true with the Nikon 50mm f1.8 which is one of the lenses with no equivalent on the AF-S side.

Flash - correct me if I'm wrong but the D80 has the same pop up direct flash as the D40 and the same hot shoe for the same external flashes. When it comes to flash the D80 and 40 are nearly identical.

All that said, if I was buying a camera/kit right now and had the money, I'd buy a D80 or 90 and a 18-135mm and/or 50mm f1.8. Although, a link some posted in another thread about the shutter life of the D80 would steer me away from used D80s at the east. On the other hand, I'm not rushing out to replace my D40 (I could, but I'm investing in glass instead right now).

Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 11:15 AM
I'm not saying that the D40 isn't a decent camera, but the problems that I've stated are indeed problems. I don't know if you've used many higher quality cameras, but there's a HUGE difference.

ISO 800 is about as high as you can go and still keep decent quality when shooting in very low light situations, and it really doesn't help.
It sucks when I'm shooting at concerts and stuff and all the other people shooting with there DSLR's are just holding down the shutter and getting really great shots when it's taking me forever each shot because I have to wait a year for it to Autofocus and then keep the camera very steady so it's not blury.

And I know how to use the camera, so it's not user related.

What I mean by the Auto Focus sucking, is that it sucks. Haha. It's slow and inacurate.

I never said anything bad about the flash.
Flash in general is awful though for the type of photography that I do.

Over all, I guess it just comes down to what your standards are. When I bought my D40, when it first came out, it was $750 and the lens was $200. So with that money, I just expected a better product.

I really enjoy the size though, so I'll probably keep it for stuff like parks, vacations, etc.

mrgreen4242
Jan 3, 2009, 12:02 PM
I'm not saying that the D40 isn't a decent camera, but the problems that I've stated are indeed problems. I don't know if you've used many higher quality cameras, but there's a HUGE difference.

ISO 800 is about as high as you can go and still keep decent quality when shooting in very low light situations, and it really doesn't help.
It sucks when I'm shooting at concerts and stuff and all the other people shooting with there DSLR's are just holding down the shutter and getting really great shots when it's taking me forever each shot because I have to wait a year for it to Autofocus and then keep the camera very steady so it's not blury.

And I know how to use the camera, so it's not user related.

What I mean by the Auto Focus sucking, is that it sucks. Haha. It's slow and inacurate.

I never said anything bad about the flash.
Flash in general is awful though for the type of photography that I do.

Over all, I guess it just comes down to what your standards are. When I bought my D40, when it first came out, it was $750 and the lens was $200. So with that money, I just expected a better product.

I really enjoy the size though, so I'll probably keep it for stuff like parks, vacations, etc.

What lens are you using shooting concerts? What are the others using? The lens has everything to do with low light photography, the body has relatively little (aside from ISO adjustments and AF). The AF is going to work better with a faster lens - it's "looking" through the lens at its widest open setting to make focus decisions so the more light it can get the better. I can't find anything to indicate any focus problems with the D40 or advantages of the D80 autofocus system, other than the obvious AF-S requirements and 3 vs 11 autofocus areas.

Regarding flash, I was replying to this: "if your in low light and you can't/don't want to use flash, your screwed". I assumed you were lamenting the D40's flash.

Side by side, the D80 and D40 at ISO 800 and 1600 look about equal to me, the D40 may even be a bit better. Comparing similar sized sensors with 6 MP and 10 MP, the 6 will usually come out looking cleaner. It's just the nature of digital photography. The D80 lets you adjust the ISO setting in 1/3 stop increments, which is nice. The D40 WILL do that, but only in auto ISO mode, which works quite well in my experience as long as you aren't trying to match exposure exactly from shot to shot.

Here's some comparison examples: http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/d80-review/ and http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/d40-review/ - scroll almost all the way down to the indoor controlled ISO tests, the outdoor night time shots are too subjective because the amount of light available varies too much.

The D80 is a nice camera to be sure, I'm just saying that the D40 isn't fraught with the problems you seem to think it is. Again, I say this as a satisfied D40 owner who is going to buy himself a D90 once the prices come down a bit (and I get a promotion at work :) ).

It sounds like for what you are doing you should maybe look at faster glass, like the Nikkor or Sigma 50mm f1.4 AF-S/HSM lens. (Ya, they're $430, but if you look at the older AF-D 1.4, it's like $300 anyways, and the D80 is more than $130 more than the D40).

PkennethV
Jan 3, 2009, 12:13 PM
What lens are you using shooting concerts?

I agree with everything mrgreen has said. I can guarantee you my 70-200 f/2.8 on my D40 will focus just as fast as any other lens on a D80.

OR stick the (AF-S) lens you're using on your D40 on a D80 and you'll find it won't focus any faster.

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 12:31 PM
I'm not saying that the D40 isn't a decent camera, but the problems that I've stated are indeed problems. I don't know if you've used many higher quality cameras, but there's a HUGE difference.


I routinely shoot with a D2x (my primary camera) and friends' D40s and D70s'. I don't happen to agree with your assessment- I find the differences minor for people/places shots. There are niches where the D2x's performance makes a huge difference, but IMO (and the reason I tend to end up holding the D40's or D70s') is that the photographer makes a much, much bigger difference.


ISO 800 is about as high as you can go and still keep decent quality when shooting in very low light situations, and it really doesn't help.


I rarely agree with Ken Rockwell, but I'm forced to find his ISO conclusions on-par with my experiences:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/iso-comparisons/2007-11/index.htm

If you add in Noise Ninja or one of the similar products, high-ISO from the D40 is noticeably better than from my D2x which really does top out at about ISO 800.


It sucks when I'm shooting at concerts and stuff and all the other people shooting with there DSLR's are just holding down the shutter and getting really great shots when it's taking me forever each shot because I have to wait a year for it to Autofocus and then keep the camera very steady so it's not blury.


If your idea of being a photographer is actually "holding down the button and getting really great shots," then I can see where the D40 may be limiting you.


And I know how to use the camera, so it's not user related.


Again, I'd disagree with your assessment given your statements so far.


What I mean by the Auto Focus sucking, is that it sucks. Haha. It's slow and inacurate.


I don't find it that slow, but if I did I'd probably just set the lens at its hyperfocal distance or use a DoF calculator. Perhaps your problem is that you're using lenses which aren't suited for your subject and environmental conditions? If that's so, that's a photographer issue, not a camera issue.


I never said anything bad about the flash.
Flash in general is awful though for the type of photography that I do.


Flash is awful for those who are ill-equipped or who don't know how to control the light. Otherwise, it's simply available or unavailable depending on the location and subject.


Over all, I guess it just comes down to what your standards are.

Indeed, however in my case, I'd argue that photographer standards were still much more important that camera standards.

Ask yourself how all those sports photographers in the '60s and '70s got great shots without fast AF and with ISO 200 film. Ask yourself how all those great '30s and '40s Hollywood starlet pictures got taken. How '70s and '80s concert photographers got great band pictures given the state of color film at the time...

Now compare the D40 to all of those camera and film choices in terms of performance and capability, and ask yourself "am I a good photographer?"

If I were forced to shoot with a D40 for a year, the only thing I'd probably want to do would be to put a split prism focusing screen on it so manual focus would be easier. But then I've rarely thought photography was about just "holding down the button and getting really great shots."

brewno
Jan 3, 2009, 01:10 PM
Nikon D80 with 1 lens.
D40 sucks.

Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 01:36 PM
By the way, I haven't said anything about taking shots in good light.
Only bad light.
The D40 works GREAT with decent light! Couldn't be happier there.

If you could take good pictures with the D40 at a concert with out flash and with bad light, I would literally bow down to you guys.
Unfortunatley, I've never seen it done.
Everything that I've said with AF and everything is with bad light.

I shoot at concerts with a 50-200 and a 18-55.

If your idea of being a photographer is actually "holding down the button and getting really great shots," then I can see where the D40 may be limiting you.
I was clearly talking about their AF and shutter being a lot faster than mine.
Please don't twist my words into making it seem like holding the shutter down is going to give you a great shot.

Again, I'd disagree with your assessment given your statements so far.
You act like I'm the only that thinks the D40 isn't the greatest camera out there. I take decent shots, and I DO know how to work the camera. I'm not the only one that has my exact issues with the D40. Ask any real photographer out there, and you will hear them say that it's a decent camera, but it has it's limitations, which is exactly what I pointed out.



I don't find it that slow, but if I did I'd probably just set the lens at its hyperfocal distance or use a DoF calculator. Perhaps your problem is that you're using lenses which aren't suited for your subject and environmental conditions? If that's so, that's a photographer issue, not a camera issue.
You don't understand, there aren't lens worth buying for the D40 that would help with my conditions. The lens selection is awful. And the ones that are borderline decent cost a fortune.



Flash is awful for those who are ill-equipped or who don't know how to control the light. Otherwise, it's simply available or unavailable depending on the location and subject.
I was talking about the stock flash that comes with the camera which is indeed awful. Of course, I'm talking about art, not pictures of your girlfriend or pet or whatever. In which cases, flash works fine.



Indeed, however in my case, I'd argue that photographer standards were still much more important that camera standards.

Ask yourself how all those sports photographers in the '60s and '70s got great shots without fast AF and with ISO 200 film. Ask yourself how all those great '30s and '40s Hollywood starlet pictures got taken. How '70s and '80s concert photographers got great band pictures given the state of color film at the time...
That has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
Of course the D40 is more advanced than what was used in those times. That's obvious. But using a film camera is a totally different game. The people that took those photos were the best of the best. Not random people on a Mac forum.

If I were forced to shoot with a D40 for a year, the only thing I'd probably want to do would be to put a split prism focusing screen on it so manual focus would be easier.
Forced? Why would you be forced to shoot with the D40 when you can take pictures just like, if not better than, the people that took all those great shots at 70's and 80's concerts? What about all those 60's and 70's sports shots? It seems obvious if the D40 is capable of that, than you should not be forced to shoot with it. You should be thrilled! And if the AF was as good as you make it out to be, than why would you shoot in manual focus?
But then I've rarely thought photography was about just "holding down the button and getting really great shots."
Once again, please do not twist my words.
Nikon D80 with 1 lens.
D40 sucks.
Watch out what you say dude, these people really like the D40.

mrgreen4242
Jan 3, 2009, 01:38 PM
Nikon D80 with 1 lens.
D40 sucks.

With an in depth analysis like that who could argue?

peapody
Jan 3, 2009, 02:27 PM
Ah they are both great, just for different reasons. If I could keep both I would get D40 body in an instant. It is just so small and easy to use to get great shots. Just really depends on what you will be doing more of.

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 02:42 PM
I shoot at concerts with a 50-200 and a 18-55.



Ok, let me get this straight, you're complaining about low-light and autofocus performance with f/4-5.6 and 3.5-5.6 lenses? Assuming you're normally zoomed out, that puts you at f/5.6. Let me also get this straight, you think that AF on any other body at f/5.6 in dark conditions is going to be phenomenally better? I think you should consider spending some time doing some research on autofocus.

You're using the wrong lenses. Spending more money on a different body isn't going to help more than marginally- even the D3's 3500-FX autofocus module tops out at f/5.6. Spending more money on different lenses will help, spending even an extra $3500 on a body won't.



I was clearly talking about their AF and shutter being a lot faster than mine.
Please don't twist my words into making it seem like holding the shutter down is going to give you a great shot.



First of all, I wasn't "twisting" your words, I quoted you verbatim. Secondly, once again AF performance is directly related to the size of the aperture (speed) of the lenses. I would suggest that next time you have camera envy in that situation, you look at the lenses being used- I'm pretty-sure that you'll find that even more cross-type AF sensors aren't going to affect AF performance at f/5.6, and that the people shooting rings around you are instead doing so by using better lenses, not better camera bodies. You're seeing an artifact because people who spend real money on camera bodies tend to spend more money on lenses.


You act like I'm the only that thinks the D40 isn't the greatest camera out there. I take decent shots, and I DO know how to work the camera. I'm not


No, I'm aware that there are lots of people who think the D40 isn't a good camera. I'm also aware that most of them are destined to take crappy shots with more expensive cameras.


the only one that has my exact issues with the D40. Ask any real photographer out there, and you will hear them say that it's a decent camera, but it has it's limitations, which is exactly what I pointed out.


Once again, I submit that knowing how Nikon AF modules work, and having put really expensive glass on the front of a D40 body, you may know the symptoms, but you are severely misinformed as to the diagnosis or cure.


You don't understand, there aren't lens worth buying for the D40 that would help with my conditions. The lens selection is awful. And the ones that are borderline decent cost a fortune.


No, you don't understand. You're trying to shoot something that requires the correct equipment. There are lots and lots of Nikkor lenses that fit the D40, in fact more than fit my D2x! Selection is hardly awful, it's great.

A good lens is a good lens, if it fits the body, what makes it not "worth" buying if it works for your intended camera use?

Here's a list of Nikkors and 3rd party lenses which are fully functional on a D40:

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=152&topic_id=13319&mesg_id=13319&page

There is *one* lens on that list that doesn't exist as far as I've researched in the past. How is that an "awful" selection?

Now, if you want autofocus (and I think I've given enough evidence that AF is a convenience rather than a necessity) and low light performance on a D40, then your choices are that list, not the wider field of used Nikkors that aren't on it- but no matter which camera body you're shooting exposure is exposure- and to get past the decent ISO 1600 performance of a D40 (and let's face it, with an f/2.8 lens you could shoot at the equivalent of ISO 6400 with your current lenses just fine) you need faster glass. Sigma and Tamron both make a good selection of f/2.8 lenses that work well on the D40, and Nikon and Sigma both make even faster lenses. Those lenses cost the same no matter which body you put them on, so their value remains constant no matter if you put them on a D3x or a D40 or an S3Pro.


I was talking about the stock flash that comes with the camera which is indeed awful. Of course, I'm talking about art, not pictures of your girlfriend or pet or whatever. In which cases, flash works fine.


It's no more awful than the built-in flash on a D700. It works well as a fill flash as long as you use the built-in flash compensation, which is about all on-axis low-mounted flashes are actually good for anyway. Hooked to my studio strobe, my friend's D40 did just fine ($8 hotshoe to pc-sync adapter necessary- oh the horror and expense!) Do you think the built-in flash of the D700 is better? The D80? Built-in flash has its limitations, no matter what the body, so the complaint is moot in terms of the D40, because it always has the same limitations.


That has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
Of course the D40 is more advanced than what was used in those times. That's obvious. But using a film camera is a totally different game. The people that took those photos were the best of the best. Not random people on a Mac forum.


No, it's not a "totally different game." Exposure is exposure. I've owned the following film cameras:

Yashica FX-D Quartz, Nikon 8008s, Mamiya C330, Mamiya 645, Pentax 67, Cambo 4x5, Canham 5x7. Exposure was exposure on all those cameras- ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

You can't really shoot sports with a view camera, nature with a 645 is a challenge (but not impossible,) but the D40 makes a better all-around camera than an 8008s and blows the Yashica out of the water- what you give up in resolution, you make up for in handling and high-ISO.

Finally, the people who took those pictures were simply good photographers. There's no magic, no special "good photographer" gene, just someone who took the time to learn the craft rather than expecting their gear to do it all for them.


Forced? Why would you be forced to shoot with the D40 when you can take pictures just like, if not better than, the people that took all those great shots at 70's and 80's concerts? What about all those 60's and 70's sports shots? It seems obvious if the D40 is capable of that, than you should not be forced to shoot with it. You should be thrilled! And if the AF was as good as you make it out to be, than why would you shoot in manual focus?


What I am saying, and I'll use literal words now since you obviously lack some ability to link words with logic is that the major failing of the D40 is in its manual focusing feedback. I'd shoot in manual focus because I'd be using glass that's AF-D at least some of the time- I do that now, and even though my D2x is capable of autocusing with AF-D lenses I manually focus them most of the time. I find the "triangles and dot" focusing on the D2x to be easier to use than the "dot no triangles" focus indicator on the D40/D80, and split prism focusing easier than either.

Forced because I don't like the battery life of the D40 in the field, nor the lack of crop options on a 6MP sensor for what I usually shoot, and I find the small camera uncomfortable in my hands.


Once again, please do not twist my words.


Once again, I quoted your words verbatim. Designated marksmen with bolt-action rifles beat average machine-gunners on full-auto pretty-much every single time. Relying on equipment instead of building skills is a trade-off that isn't the equipment's fault.

mrgreen4242
Jan 3, 2009, 02:50 PM
[trimmed by me for neatness sake]

By the way, I haven't said anything about taking shots in good light.
Only bad light.
The D40 works GREAT with decent light! Couldn't be happier there.

If you could take good pictures with the D40 at a concert with out flash and with bad light, I would literally bow down to you guys.
Unfortunatley, I've never seen it done.
Everything that I've said with AF and everything is with bad light.

I shoot at concerts with a 50-200 and a 18-55.

I was clearly talking about their AF and shutter being a lot faster than mine.
Please don't twist my words into making it seem like holding the shutter down is going to give you a great shot.

You don't understand, there aren't lens worth buying for the D40 that would help with my conditions. The lens selection is awful. And the ones that are borderline decent cost a fortune.

I was talking about the stock flash that comes with the camera which is indeed awful. Of course, I'm talking about art, not pictures of your girlfriend or pet or whatever. In which cases, flash works fine.

Watch out what you say dude, these people really like the D40.

If you are using the 18-55 and 55-200 for low light you're going to be disappointed. I'm guess that none or nearly none of the shots you are taking at under f4, since the 18-55mm gets to f4 at 24mm and the 55-200mm starts there.

Taking low, available light shots at f4 is going to suck. I've tried it too. You're blaming the D40 for what is a problem with your lenses. If you took those two lenses and put them on a D80 or any other DX camera body you're going to get the same result - both your photos and your AF speeds. It has nothing to do with the D40.

So, your complaint about the D40 boils down to lens selection, and lens selection only. Your claim, that "You don't understand, there aren't lens worth buying for the D40 that would help with my conditions. The lens selection is awful. And the ones that are borderline decent cost a fortune.
" is just plain out wrong. Yes, there is a much more limited selection of lenses for the D40/40x/60 than any other Nikon SLR, but there's several that will do what you want:

Nikon and Sigma 50mm f1.4 ($425)
Sigma 30mm f1.4 ($385)
Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 ($650)

With a D80 you could get a 50mm f1.4 for about $275. I don't think there's a 30mm but there's a 35mm f2 for about $320. I can't find any telephoto zoom lens that's under $600, AF-S or not, but please prove me wrong. The only big one you miss out on with the D40 is the 50mm f1.8. It's about $110.

Until recently the D80 body was pricey enough that the difference between D40+f1.4 and D80+f1.8 was minimal. We're in a window here where the D80 is cheap AND available so that's no longer true. It was six months ago, and in six more months the D80 will be much harder to find (new).

The flash on every dSLR is the same popup flash. It's nicer than a point and shoot, but that's about it. YOU brought up the flash in a comparison of the D40 and 80, not anyone else. I don't know why you brought it up. The point I/others made was that there's little difference between them and so it's not worth discussing when deciding between the D40 and 80.

I don't think anyone here is in love with D40 for being the best possible dSLR out there. It's just a really nice device for the price and size, and you saying that it "sucks" is uninformed and unhelpful. It works EXACTLY like it should given whatever lens one has attached to it.

In short: you're using the wrong lens, not the wrong camera (for the type of photography you are attempting).

EDIT:

No, I'm aware that there are lots of people who think the D40 isn't a good camera. I'm also aware that most of them are destined to take crappy shots with more expensive cameras.


That was an instant classic. I don't (nor ever have) claimed to be even a decent photographer. I am perfectly willing to accept that the problem with my shots is me, not my equipment (although there is some gear that I think would help me overcome some of my weaknesses :P).

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 03:14 PM
The only big one you miss out on with the D40 is the 50mm f1.8. It's about $110.


No,no, no! Our intrepid concert shooter is in much, much more dire straits than that. (oh come on, that was funny!)

His lens selection is twice as bad as you intimate, a full 100% worse...

The 85mm f/1.8 ($380) is also a good concert choice that won't AF with the D40. That completely horrid lens choice is down two whole lenses!

Edit:

That was an instant classic. I don't (nor ever have) claimed to be even a decent photographer. I am perfectly willing to accept that the problem with my shots is me, not my equipment (although there is some gear that I think would help me overcome some of my weaknesses :P).


Thanks, I'm eternally grateful I wasn't drinking at the computer when I encountered:

With an in depth analysis like that who could argue?

I'd have spewed Mountain Dew all over my Macbook Pro.

Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 03:29 PM
So if I were to get one lens, what would you suggest that I get?
I don't mind spending money if it really is going to help me as much as you say it is.

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 03:49 PM
So if I were to get one lens, what would you suggest that I get?
I don't mind spending money if it really is going to help me as much as you say it is.

First of all, I'd like to apologize for underestimating you. This is the last response I'd have expected and I'm heartened by it tremendously.

What focal length works the best for you? That's the main guideline I'd use, followed by price.

As far as "if it is really going to help," you can do the math- each stop of lens performance is half the light, or the same as one bump in ISO.

More importantly, before spending lots of money, you can rent most of the lenses in question and see the difference for yourself. For instance lensrentals.com has the Sigma 50-150 for $52/week and the Sigma 50mm HSM f/1.4 is $41/week:

http://www.lensrentals.com

If you don't want to do multiple rentals, rent a 1.4 and shoot it at 1.4 and 2.8 to see what you'll get. I think you'll be surprised, but shoot it *at a concert* if that's your intended use, not just in simulated low light (shoot it there too,) but rely on actual performance at the distance and in the environment you want to actually use it in, even if the band sucks.

There are other lens rental places, I've not used any of them, so I'm not recommending them per-se, but that's how I'd proceed (well, actually I'd probably rent the 200 f/2 and laugh in the face of danger- but that's $175/week so I wouldn't laugh long!)

mrgreen4242
Jan 3, 2009, 03:50 PM
So if I were to get one lens, what would you suggest that I get?
I don't mind spending money if it really is going to help me as much as you say it is.
How far from the stage are you normally? What is the most common focal length you shoot at?

I'm guessing the Sigma 50mm f1.4 if you are close by most of the time or the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 if you NEED to zoom from a distance. There's a 2 and 4 stop difference, respectively, between those two and what I suspect you're shooting at most of the time now. That's like going from 1/8th second shutter to 1/30 (the 50-150mm) or 1/4s to 1/60s (the f/1.4).

EDIT: Also, are you shooting in AUTO ISO mode, or are you just pegging it at 800 or 1600?

Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 07:33 PM
First of all, I'd like to apologize for underestimating you. This is the last response I'd have expected and I'm heartened by it tremendously.

What focal length works the best for you? That's the main guideline I'd use, followed by price.

As far as "if it is really going to help," you can do the math- each stop of lens performance is half the light, or the same as one bump in ISO.

More importantly, before spending lots of money, you can rent most of the lenses in question and see the difference for yourself. For instance lensrentals.com has the Sigma 50-150 for $52/week and the Sigma 50mm HSM f/1.4 is $41/week:

http://www.lensrentals.com

If you don't want to do multiple rentals, rent a 1.4 and shoot it at 1.4 and 2.8 to see what you'll get. I think you'll be surprised, but shoot it *at a concert* if that's your intended use, not just in simulated low light (shoot it there too,) but rely on actual performance at the distance and in the environment you want to actually use it in, even if the band sucks.

There are other lens rental places, I've not used any of them, so I'm not recommending them per-se, but that's how I'd proceed (well, actually I'd probably rent the 200 f/2 and laugh in the face of danger- but that's $175/week so I wouldn't laugh long!)

How far from the stage are you normally? What is the most common focal length you shoot at?

I'm guessing the Sigma 50mm f1.4 if you are close by most of the time or the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 if you NEED to zoom from a distance. There's a 2 and 4 stop difference, respectively, between those two and what I suspect you're shooting at most of the time now. That's like going from 1/8th second shutter to 1/30 (the 50-150mm) or 1/4s to 1/60s (the f/1.4).

EDIT: Also, are you shooting in AUTO ISO mode, or are you just pegging it at 800 or 1600?

Thanks for the help.
I like the renting before buying idea.
They are usually just local shows, so if I asked I could even get on stage with them, so I usually don't need the zoom that much.
50mm would really be fine.

It depends on the ISO.
A lot of times I will stick it on Auto ISO just because the D40 has decent judgment on it, but there are some instances where I have to pick it myself.
What would you suggest?

These lenses would also be helpful for general photography too, right? If not, that would be fine, but I'm just curious.
I've always wanted a sigma lens.

wkw
Jan 3, 2009, 07:35 PM
have you considered a D60 kit? costco has it on sale with 18-55vr and the 55-200vr for $649.

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the help.
I like the renting before buying idea.
They are usually just local shows, so if I asked I could even get on stage with them, so I usually don't need the zoom that much.
50mm would really be fine.


Just remember that when shooting a 1.4 at 2.8, it's still going to AF at 1.4, so it's not an exact apples-to-apples in terms of performance if you don't decide to rent both.


It depends on the ISO.
A lot of times I will stick it on Auto ISO just because the D40 has decent judgment on it, but there are some instances where I have to pick it myself.
What would you suggest?


I'd start at 400, then try 800 and 1600. Make sure you also try exposure compensation to get the metering as well as you can. With those three tests, you'll be able to gauge what's good and what isn't.


These lenses would also be helpful for general photography too, right? If not, that would be fine, but I'm just curious.
I've always wanted a sigma lens.

Yes- the 50mm will give the appearance of a mild telephoto and the 30 a "normal" vision perspective.

I prefer isolation, so for this usage[1,] I'd start by trying the 50-150 and then decide if you're good at f/2.8 or not. If you have to go to 1600 or 3200 to get every shot, dropping down to the Sigma f/1.4 50mm prime is a better answer if you can live with shooting at 50mm (which you'll know by just shooting a set at 50mm with the 50-150,) as you'll get 2 stops of light, putting you at ISO 800 if you were at 3200 before and 400 if you were at 1600- if you're at 800, you can laugh in the face of danger all day long.

If 50mm is too close, the Sigma 30mm becomes your answer and zooming with your feet becomes necessary. Unless you can get style points by falling way back and including venue/crowd shots.

Please let us know what you do and how it works out.

[1] If it's too much isolation, consider doing montages rather than simply choosing a wider lens, it'll win style points and all the band members will feel special, not just the vocalist.

Chandler Adaway
Jan 3, 2009, 08:32 PM
Just remember that when shooting a 1.4 at 2.8, it's still going to AF at 1.4, so it's not an exact apples-to-apples in terms of performance if you don't decide to rent both.



I'd start at 400, then try 800 and 1600. Make sure you also try exposure compensation to get the metering as well as you can. With those three tests, you'll be able to gauge what's good and what isn't.



Yes- the 50mm will give the appearance of a mild telephoto and the 30 a "normal" vision perspective.

I prefer isolation, so for this usage[1,] I'd start by trying the 50-150 and then decide if you're good at f/2.8 or not. If you have to go to 1600 or 3200 to get every shot, dropping down to the Sigma f/1.4 50mm prime is a better answer if you can live with shooting at 50mm (which you'll know by just shooting a set at 50mm with the 50-150,) as you'll get 2 stops of light, putting you at ISO 800 if you were at 3200 before and 400 if you were at 1600- if you're at 800, you can laugh in the face of danger all day long.

If 50mm is too close, the Sigma 30mm becomes your answer and zooming with your feet becomes necessary. Unless you can get style points by falling way back and including venue/crowd shots.

Please let us know what you do and how it works out.

[1] If it's too much isolation, consider doing montages rather than simply choosing a wider lens, it'll win style points and all the band members will feel special, not just the vocalist.

Awesome!
I'll go ahead and rent those before the next show I go to and let you all know how it works out.

I appreciate the help!
Sorry about before. A good nap set my mind right. :rolleyes:

compuwar
Jan 3, 2009, 08:51 PM
Sorry about before. A good nap set my mind right. :rolleyes:

No problem, it's very common for people to believe that a more expensive camera body is the answer to all their woes, or that a D40 is a "starter" camera and they need to "grow into" a more expensive one.

You don't know me, and you likely don't know my reputation in places where it counts to have a reputation. It's difficult to evaluate a person's statements absent experience- and I'm rather direct- which likely doesn't help, but I'm not likely to change at this point in my life!

Add to that the amount of completely uninformed and inexperienced speculation passed off as fact and valid opinion (rather than speculation and wild guesses) in the Digital Photography section here and it's difficult to figure out who and what to believe.

I hope it's not too long before we get to see some shots- I'm looking forward to it!

nuwomb
Jan 4, 2009, 02:42 PM
with myself having a d40x and getting annoyed with the autofocus and lens choice, i'd go with a d80 over the d40.