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Old Aug 17, 2013, 05:14 PM   #1
Alvi
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I need some lens and maybe even some body advice

I got a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 kit lens in Spring 2011' and it has been my first decent camera and obviously my first DSLR. I still love it's picture quality however I feel like I need to invest some money in a few things.

First of all, I need a new lens. It broke time ago and I had to send it to Nikon, the reparation for it was almost as expensive as buying a new one and it still doesn't work as well as it did when it was new.
I need a new lens that is pretty felxible since I'm still a begninner and I try to take pictures of whatever comes through my mind.
I am also interested in macro ones and better control of the dephth of field.
And I always prefer focal width to excessive zoom.

On the DSLR advice side... I was thinking of getting a new camera, I even considered mirrorless options like NEX-7 and stuff, but I just don't trust them for some reason. My dream would be a full frame camera, a Leica M9 more exactly, but I'm currently thrown off even by the cheapest full frame cams like the D600

I am really interesting in doing video too with the camera so a D5200 would be sweet, however I'm not sure if it's a worthy upgrade.
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 05:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvi View Post
I got a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 kit lens in Spring 2011' and it has been my first decent camera and obviously my first DSLR. I still love it's picture quality however I feel like I need to invest some money in a few things.

First of all, I need a new lens. It broke time ago and I had to send it to Nikon, the reparation for it was almost as expensive as buying a new one and it still doesn't work as well as it did when it was new.
I need a new lens that is pretty felxible since I'm still a begninner and I try to take pictures of whatever comes through my mind.
I am also interested in macro ones and better control of the dephth of field.
And I always prefer focal width to excessive zoom.

On the DSLR advice side... I was thinking of getting a new camera, I even considered mirrorless options like NEX-7 and stuff, but I just don't trust them for some reason. My dream would be a full frame camera, a Leica M9 more exactly, but I'm currently thrown off even by the cheapest full frame cams like the D600

I am really interesting in doing video too with the camera so a D5200 would be sweet, however I'm not sure if it's a worthy upgrade.
Apart from the video I'm not sure you will find that bigger difference between your camera and the D5200. How much are you looking to spend?

On the Lens side, apart from macro what else do you shoot?
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 05:43 PM   #3
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Apart from the video I'm not sure you will find that bigger difference between your camera and the D5200. How much are you looking to spend?

On the Lens side, apart from macro what else do you shoot?
portraits, street photography, landscapes
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 10:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Alvi View Post
On the DSLR advice side... I was thinking of getting a new camera, I even considered mirrorless options like NEX-7 and stuff, but I just don't trust them for some reason. My dream would be a full frame camera, a Leica M9 more exactly, but I'm currently thrown off even by the cheapest full frame cams like the D600.
Why don't you trust mirror less? Trust isn't a word I would normally associate with cameras. I have a Nex-7 and love it. With a fixed length lens it's very compact and discrete, perfect for street photography. The downside to the Sony over a Canon or Nikon is the number of lenses available.
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 11:05 PM   #5
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You probably won't notice a big difference between the Nikon D3000 series versus the D5000 series. You would however notice a difference if you stepped up to the 7000 series.

I suggest spending money on lenses first. That will get you the most bang for your buck. But you need to decide what platform you want to use long-term, as switching (DLSR to mirrorless, or even DSLR Nikon to DSLR Canon) can be expensive.

If you want to stick with Nikon F-Mount bodies, invest in a nice prime lens (35mm 1.8 is what I prefer), a wide zoom (17-55 2.8 is my choice) and a telephoto (80-200 or 70-200 2.8). Those three lenses will do pretty much anything you'll ever want to do. The 17-55 can even do ghetto macro, but if you want a real macro lens, the Nikon 105 2.8 is what I use.

----------

Also worth noting, the 35mm 1.8 and 17-55 2.8 are DX lenses. If you really want to move up to Full Frame, you'll need the Full Frame or 35mm film equivalent.

However, unless you plan on printing giant pictures for media, for most uses there's no great advantages of FX over DX to justify the cost (in my opinion, at least. But I'm just some random guy on the internet).
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 12:18 AM   #6
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Hey Alvi,

There are two main lenses that you can invest in for what you're interested in:
1) A fixed 35mm or 50mm, probably an f/1.8, for your street photography and portraits, plus
2) a wide-angle for your landscapes.

My recommendation is to go for the 35mm or 50mm first. I got myself an £80 fixed 50mm and couldn't be happier. It stays on my camera and is my 'go to' lens; it's incredibly versatile. You can also flip it round and, with a converter, use it as that macro lens you mentioned. It won't get you your landscape shots, but your 18-55mm pulled way back to 18mm could do a decent job of that.

If money isn't an issue then get a wide-angle too. I did, and although I love it to bits I don't use it as much as my fixed 50mm. I have a telephoto as well, but I don't use it as much as the other 2. So, in order of preference, go for the fixed 35mm or 50mm first, then a wide angle, then a telephoto.

Happy snapping!
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 01:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by glenthompson View Post
Why don't you trust mirror less? Trust isn't a word I would normally associate with cameras. I have a Nex-7 and love it. With a fixed length lens it's very compact and discrete, perfect for street photography. The downside to the Sony over a Canon or Nikon is the number of lenses available.
I've had bad experiences with Sony cameras, both video and photo ones and it's easier to try to believe in Nikon or Canon because of their professional nature, this is way I don't trust making a 1000$ experiment with a Sony NEX and the other mirrorless cams aren't as attractive tham sony's anyway. I am also afraid of paying a lot of money on one and see how it fades away into obsoleteness since it's a new market that keeps inovationg a lot these days.
Those are my main reasons, the NEX-7 is a nice camera, the whole lineup is, but I'd rather try to fix my Nikon DSLR relationship buying it lenses than getting one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adversus View Post
But you need to decide what platform you want to use long-term, as switching (DLSR to mirrorless, or even DSLR Nikon to DSLR Canon) can be expensive.
I guess I should stay with DX, my digital photography knowledge does not justify more than my current D3100 DSLR. I should invest in lenses and learn how to use my camera to it's 100% before thinking about Full Frame upgrades or stuff that is much more expensive.
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 01:50 AM   #8
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What do you guys think about the Fuji X100s, that's the single cam that really gets my attention somehow and I read some amazing reviews about it. I am only scared of the fixed prime lens, does my prime less anxiety make any sense?
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 04:39 AM   #9
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What do you guys think about the Fuji X100s, that's the single cam that really gets my attention somehow and I read some amazing reviews about it. I am only scared of the fixed prime lens, does my prime less anxiety make any sense?
Alvi, the problem with cameras and lenses is no matter how good they are or are not, it comes down to the person behind the camera and lens. I say this because each of us have a different idea of what works for us.

I used to do photography professionally until I had blunt trauma to my "camera eye." Before that I shot mostly 35mm but also 120/220 cameras and 4x5/5x7.

My first camera, I went around for months with one lens, a 90mm macro lens and learned how to shoot, understand different films and more. Sometimes starting with less is a whole lot more.

As for the Fuji X100s, it is a brilliant street and at times landscape camera. However, it is not much of a portrait lens unless you want to include "crop" as part of your portrait workflow. What you might want to check out are the Fuji X-E1, Pro and even the new M (no finder just LCD on the back).

In the past, most of my work was with Nikons right into the digital world. If you don't have major demands of your video projects, the D3xxx and D5xxx cameras are pretty decent. As others have said, you may want to first consider investing in lenses that serve your various needs. I owned the 17-55 which is an outstanding lens but alas, it is also somewhat heavy and can block any built in camera flash leaving a shadow in the image. As for macro, of course the Nikon macros are good but then again, take a look at the Tamron and Tokina macro offerings. Some suggest they are as good and perhaps at certain f stops, a bit better in resolving.

Might be worthwhile to simply go to a camera store and play with each of the cameras you are interested in. After all, you can get all the specs that match your needs on paper but push comes to shove, some cameras are a PITA to get through their menus and don't feel comfortable in your hands. You might also check out some lenses while you are at the camera store.

As for me, since I just started back up with a bit of photography for fun, I opted for the Fuji X-E1. It meets my needs, takes amazingly images in jpeg and the only two items that are a bit of a tackle is having to use another RAW converter than Lightroom/Photoshop to get the most out of the RAW files (Capture 1 seems to work well with the RAF files).

I think for most people trying to get the best of all worlds, the Nikons you mention along with the Canon counterparts are great places to start and last thought - whatever you get, consider the fact you might end up with a few lenses and thus, married to that system. If you do stay with Nikon, consider getting lenses that work on both cropped and full frame Nikons.

good luck and that is my peanuts to toss from the gallery.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 04:53 AM   #10
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Hi Alvi,

Firstly, you certainly do not need to upgrade to a full-frame body at this stage. Buying full frame just means you have to spend much more money on lenses that can cover the bigger sensor - itís definitely a luxury rather than a necessity and you will honestly not be able to tell the difference in the final shots. Far more important is to get some really nice lenses for your D3100. With a nice bit of glass on the front I guarantee youíll be able to get shots out of that camera that look very professional.

As others have stated above, a perfect lens to start with would be the 35mm f/1.8. Itís a fantastic lens and will be really great for your street photography. Personally, I think this would be a better choice than the 50mm f/1.8 (because of the crop factor of the DX sensor I personally donít think the 50mm would be wide enough for street photography).

If you like the flexibility of your kit lens but are concerned that itís not up to the job then Iíd recommend the Tamron 17-55 f/2.8 zoom. You can pick one up fairly cheaply and the image quality is considerably better than most kit lenses. Youíd also be able to use this for portraiture at the 50mm end - the fact that it has a fixed aperture of f/2.8 means that and get the nice bokeh (out of focus background) that Iím sure youíve seen.

If you didnít feel like the Tamron 17-55 was wide enough for your landscape work then you could also consider the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. This super-wide zoom gets fantastic reviews and will definitely be wide enough for landscape work.

If you were to spend money on a D600 then youíd also have to go and buy a full-frame lens to go with it. If you spent your money on these 3 lenses for your D3100 instead then youíll have the tools capable of producing some really professional looking images (not to mention the fact that youíll have saved yourself thousands of dollars).

Hope that helps.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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@phrehdd well said!
Quote:
Alvi, the problem with cameras and lenses is no matter how good they are or are not, it comes down to the person behind the camera and lens. I say this because each of us have a different idea of what works for us.


I had to laugh (sorry) at the mention of the D600 being a cheap DSLR. I think it's nice that Nikon would add that type of camera to its midrange line. Back when I had my D50, it took a huge fall. After hitting the pavement several times and then finally breaking .. $1k was well spent. Anyway.

@OP I would look into investing in the other kit lenses that was boxed with midrange-semi pro cameras. 18-70mm from the D70 era is one of the kit lenses that has a metal ring vs the crappy plastic. D300 box with the 18-200mm which is a nice walkabout lens. D700 with the kick azz 24-70mm lens. If you are planning to go full frame, this lens is the best option.

17-55mm lens is a nice DX lens. Very wide and sharp. Macro you could go with a 60mm prime lens or 105mm.

D7000 is nice upgrade from your D3100. Even more of an upgrade would be D7100. If you are sold on moving full frame, you could get a D700 which is still a killer DSLR. D600 kit refurbish sell for $1600.

Before moving to the next camera learn the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. This will help you find that DOF (depth of field) and possibly achieve some great bokeh. Here is a cool site that shows you the differences. http://dryreading.com/camera/
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 03:51 AM   #12
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Honestly, you should keep your D3100 and buy a new lens(es).

As others have suggested, the 35mm 1.8 is a cheap but fantastic lens. The 50mm 1.8 is also the same price but you will find yourself struggling with it, when shooting indoors.

For a zoom, I, too, recommend the Tamron 17-55 2.8. You'll get a wide focal range with 2.8 aperture all across. But, I would also recommend the new Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.0... you get more focal range and it's also a macro lens.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:49 AM   #13
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Relax

I think you've described your best way forward without even realising it.
You mention 'not trusting' certain cameras, and 'anxiety' about certain lenses.
That's your problem - you need to get out there with your camera and see exactly what you can achieve with it. Get comfortable with your current set up and then you'll discover where you feel it's limiting your creativity. This should help you decide the way forward.
If your current lens is really giving you problems, then a 35mm prime or short zoom will be a good investment, but get out there and get comfortable with your camera - you'll never get the results you want if you're constantly obsessing about your hardware.
As for full-frame, don't worry about that right now - if you can't get the results you want with a DX sensor, then you'll be throwing cash away by buying a full-frame camera.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 01:17 PM   #14
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Okay, so I'll probably go buy the 35mm prime lense, (it's this one right?)
Also, I decided I really want to get a great macro lens, I find macro photography fascinating and I want to take pictures of stuff you can't really see in detail with your naked eyes. Which is the best sub 1k$ macro one? I saw at a store the AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED is that one good?
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 01:53 PM   #15
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I just want to put in a cautious word regarding macro. The lens you mentioned does macro 1:1, so life size. You mention wanting to take pictures of stuff you can't see in detail with the naked eye. Make sure that 1:1 will be sufficient for what you want. I suspect you have images in your mind which are more than this and require kit such as extension tubes, reverse mounts etc. Just check you understand what is involved with macro and what the numbers (including focal length) mean in this area.

I just googled and there's some pretty good info in this discussion:

http://photo.stackexchange.com/quest...r-a-macro-lens

I'm just mentioning this as I'd hate for you to go out and spend the cash only to find you had bought the wrong thing.

Last edited by Attonine; Aug 23, 2013 at 02:00 PM.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 02:06 PM   #16
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I just want to put in a cautious word regarding macro. The lens you mentioned does macro 1:1, so life size. You mention wanting to take pictures of stuff you can't see in detail with the naked eye. Make sure that 1:1 will be sufficient for what you want. I suspect you have images in your mind which are more than this and require kit such as extension tubes, reverse mounts etc. Just check you understand what is involved with macro and what the numbers (including focal length) mean in this area.

I just googled and there's some pretty good info in this discussion:

http://photo.stackexchange.com/quest...r-a-macro-lens

I'm just mentioning this as I'd hate for you to go out and spend the cash only to find you had bought the wrong thing.
I saw pics like these on amazon

And that's kind of what I want.

I also find that the 35mm + this 85mm macro could be good combination. This might sound like a stupid question, but what are the differences between a 85mm telephoto and a macro 85mm lens?
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 02:31 PM   #17
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I really don't know a great deal about macro photography, but I'm sure someone will come along who will be able to answer all your questions.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 04:18 PM   #18
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I saw pics like these on amazon
Image
And that's kind of what I want.

I also find that the 35mm + this 85mm macro could be good combination. This might sound like a stupid question, but what are the differences between a 85mm telephoto and a macro 85mm lens?
I'm pretty sure that photo has been edited to give it a greater depth of field.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 05:36 PM   #19
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what are the differences between a 85mm telephoto and a macro 85mm lens?
In simple terms, a macro lens will focus a lot closer and is capable of a much smaller depth of field than its non-macro equivalent. Technically it usually has more elements and therefore commands a higher price.

A good macro lens is more versatile than you might think though. I've attached a couple of photos: a fly, showing the depth of field to be less than the length of a fly when you really open up the aperture, but also giving you some idea of the level of detail possible, and a landscape, showing the opposite end of the aperture range. A good macro lens is also good for portraits, as you can throw not only the background out of focus very easily, but also a good portion of the subject. Both of these photos were taken with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens.

If you've been admiring those ultra close-ups of spiders where you can almost see their tonsils, then as Attonine mentioned, you'll be needing extension tubes and reverse mounts etc, and probably a fine zoom-mount for your tripod as those photos are quite often made up of several shots where individual parts of the subject are in focus. These can be combined in photoshop, but there's also specialist software to simplify this task. Try and borrow or hire a macro lens to get some idea of the capabilities, but don't expect the sort of microscopic detail you may have seen in nature magazines.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 11:36 PM   #20
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I just bought the 35mm 1.8 lens, I will be able to play with it a lot since I will be out of the city this weekend. I'm already in love with the versatility of the DOF compared to my 18-55 kit lens
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Old Aug 24, 2013, 04:40 AM   #21
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I just bought the 35mm 1.8 lens, I will be able to play with it a lot since I will be out of the city this weekend. I'm already in love with the versatility of the DOF compared to my 18-55 kit lens
Glad you are enjoying your 35mm lens. As for the macro lens ...just to consider -

Most lenses labeled as "macro" only go up to 1:2 or 'half real size' as an image. This more often than not is sufficient to get that ladybug image you posted. For a "crop sensor" lens, the 60-80mm range is good and for full frame most use 90-105 (for Nikon) unless they get into the Micro Nikor 200mm lens which is very expensive. One thing in common with most good macro lens is they have what is called a flat field. This distinguishes them more than just being able to focus closer and thus being without curvature of focus, produce sharper edge to edge in the 1:2 and 1:1 focus range.

The other item with macro work is often people prefer to manually focus. Macro lenses used for non-macro work at times may be far slower in auto focusing but they do work well. I strongly suggest you consider learning more about close up photography as it is a craft unto itself and at least for me, was a lot of fun but required some patience. Also a decent way to support your camera for close ups is advised and for some instances, using a timer or (if your camera supports it) a cable release to reduce vibrations. A typical set up would include a tripod, some type of reflector and whatever light source you can rig up (flash or otherwise). Advanced set ups include micro rails for a tripod (this allows minute adjustments of the entire camera with respect to the subject), light rings (flash that is circular that goes around the lens and provides even lighting) and again an extra ounce of patience.

Hope you get to really enjoy your new lens and when you do get a macro, if you get a 60 or better, it too can serve as a portrait lens.
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