Buying Advice: D300, D200, or 70-200 VR?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ACbc, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. ACbc macrumors member

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    May 14, 2007
    #1
    Hey Guys,

    Havent' posted here in a while. I need some input and don't have any friends that are willing to spend loads of money on photography equipment so i figured i'd fetch some opinions from here.

    Got a bonus and a nice raise at work a few months ago and have saved up some money. I've been doing more 'official' (in quotes because lots of times its not paid...yet) so i've been thinking about a major upgrade to my equipment.

    I currently have a Nikon D50 (with about 9500 clicks), a SB-600, Nikon 18-200 VR, and a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8.

    I wondering if i should upgrade the body now and lense later? or vice versa? I have a feeling ppl are going to lean towards getting a better lense, but i run into situations where i feel like the D50 is limiting me at times, particularly when it comes to autofocusing moving subjects, metering is off a bit sometimes, and shooting indoor events...it'd be nice to have a higher MP count, and a greater ISO range. And the prices on the D200 are pretty attractive....and the D300 just seems awesome. But is it worth having a D200 and D300 with the lenses i have???

    Getting the 70-200 VR will be an obvious improvement. Of course, i'd only use it for hired work or exotic travel locations. Don't think it'd make a good walk around travel lense. :) But will the autofocusing be a bit sharper with this lense on the D50? Because i feel the focus is a bit off every once in a while.

    Opinions please. :) Thanks.
     
  2. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816

    Mr.Noisy

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    #2
    Ever considered the 80-400mm VR ?
    a 70-200 f2.8 is nice to have in your bag, I use the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM, Images are as sharp as the Nikkor 70-200,
    getting a third party 70-200 f2.8 would give you some change to start saving for a D300 when the price drops because it will, and all reports point towards it being a really awesome camera, i'm getting it, maybe in the new year my order will go in.

    You could always get into close up and get a Nikkor 200mm f4 ?
     
  3. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #3
    If the D50 is actually limiting you, upgrade your camera. People like Thom Hogan have said that the Nikkor 18-200 can "keep up" with the D200. But I'd suggest biting the bullet and getting the D300 - I mean, basically it's the equivalent of what was Nikon's $5000 camera just a couple months ago.

    I've decided that, within the next 6-8 months, I will be upgrading to a D300 as well... assuming I can find one in stock. :D And I think I'm going to bite the bullet and add one of those brand new Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lenses to it. I'm finding that I shoot in that range a lot, and it'd be nice to have faster glass. And yes, I'll be keeping my 18-200 as well. ;)
     
  4. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #4
    If the D50 is slowing you down, get the D200. Waiting for the D300 doesn't make any sense if you're really being severely limited by the D50- you might not have an opportunity to purchase a D300 until after the new year.
     
  5. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    You should only consider the 70-200 f/2.8 if you shoot nighttime or indoor sports... or have come across a different instance where you think to yourself "I've got the right range with this 200mm, but I need more light!".

    Go for the D200. Prices won't drop on it all the way until the D300 is readily accessible, but you'll see a good $400 off early November.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    The faster f/2.8 lens should focus better. As you know focus is always done with the lens wide open. The AF modual will be seeing a smaller DOF and more light. It will work better.

    No one looking at a final image but you will know if you upgrade the body. The body has such small effect of the image that you simply can't see it. One f-stop is the same as doubling the ISO but with out the noise.
     
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Isn't that the big reason people avoid upping their ISOs?
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    The lens will give you the most change, but is it the right focal length for what you want to shoot? If it is, get it and shoot now, worry about bodies later if you're only missing focus occasionally it's not a big deal. Also, look at getting an additional strobe or two and some light stands and maybe small umbrellas if you want to light what you're shooting better...
     
  9. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Assuming you're in a studio-type situation...
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #10
    Nope, SB-foo lighting is portable enough to go anywhere, with a couple of small stands you've got portable lighting anywhere. For instance, check out strobist.blogspot.com for portable shooting tips, tricks and equipment. Also, a few folks have done interesting double flash brackets for multiple light situations.
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    Are your options between the 70-200 mm VR plus a D200, and a D300 without a new lens?


    If it's between the D200, D300, and 70-200 mm, and you can only have one of those, then I'd get the D80 + 70-200 mm. :p Sorry, I hate it when people don't suggest from the list of options, buuuut......the D80 arguably has better image quality than the D200, it's cheaper, and maybe you can squeeze and get the 70-200 mm. Do you need the VR? If you don't, just get a D80 + Nikon 80-200 mm f/2.8. Much cheaper option.
     
  12. eddx macrumors regular

    eddx

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    #12
    The 18-200mm lens you have is fantastic, the 70-200 f2.8 is obviously better but you are losing focal length on the wide angle.

    If I was in your shoes I would get a D300, or upgrade to a D80 and buy a 80-400mm VR lens.

    Or, I would consider waiting a 12-18 months till your photography is paying you enough to afford something like the Nikon D3.

    If I had your kit and the choice between 70-200 and D300 I would definitely get the new body, your current D50 seems to me to be the Achilles heal of your kit in my opinion, but it does depend a lot on the type of images you are capturing.
     
  13. ACbc thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2007
    #13
    Hey everyone. Thanks for all the input. I am surprised that more people suggested getting a D300 than the 70~200 VR, which really in my book, along with the 17-55 2.8 are THEE lenses to use.

    I have had thoughts about saving a few bucks and upgrading to the D80. However, getting a D80 AND a 70-200 VR will probably be a bit out of my price range to get all at once. Obviously, if i get a D80 now, i could also purchase a 70-200 much sooner. I fear though, if i get a D80, i will only regret not getting a D200 or D300 after owning it a few months.

    I guess my biggest gripe about the D50 is Autofocusing on moving subjects. When i read about the autofocusing on the D300, i practically salvate at the mouth. However...i think some softness in pictures can be attributed to the Tamron 28-75 that i'm using. I can't be a 100 percent sure of it....but i'm pretty sure this lense just doesn't focus as well as the 70-200 would.... heck i'm almost positive that it doesn't focus as well as the 18-200.

    But reading everyone's thoughts, i'm leaning towards pre ordering a D300. Better focusing, better ISO range (not having 100 has annoyed me a few times...so has not having anything over 1600), and to a lesser extent, the much higher mega pixel count might have more pro's than having a sharper lense. BTW, if i did have the 70-200, i would probably use the 70-120 range more than the 120-200 range.

    mmm...we'll see. still a little torn. too much stuff to buy. :)
     
  14. ACbc thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I do mostly event photography, so of course, the hype is around ambient lighting. When using the SB600, i usually use it in manual, at the 1/64 setting and adjust exposure on the camera accordingly.

    I guess i can't make a wrong decision...since i pretty much have it made up in my mind that I WILL (at some point in life heh) have a D300, 70 200 VR and 17-55. The 80-200 i've ruled at, since a lot of what i do is indoors, i shoot at slower shutter speeds (below 1/100) and shooting hand held 1/60 at 80mm without VR is something i'd rather avoid. Having used it on the 18-200mm, i know VR IS a big deal. Sure you can't stop motion with VR, but you can still shoot 1/30 (which for all practical purposes is fast enough for shooting people) at 200mm and not worry about hand shake blur.

    As far as getting the 70-200 before the 17-55, i figure it's more important to have the faster 2.8 lense on the longer focal lense as i can still use the 18-200 at the wider lengths since the aperture doesn't really close up till around 55mm anyways.
     
  15. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #15
    It really depends on what you're shooting. If you don't shoot in the 70-200 range very often, why spend $1700 to cover the range - no matter how great the lens is? :p Not everyone is following the same book as you ...
     
  16. ACbc thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2007
    #16
    hahaha....very true. i can't remember...are you the one that shoots weddings with only a few primes???

    i've been thinking about buying a prime or 2....i am quite lazy and don't like to move however. :p for practice i was thinking about throwing the tamron at either 50 or 75 and forcing myself to not move it for a few 'walk around' days.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #17
    Twasn't me. :D I have exactly one prime lens - the 35mm f/2 - which great as it is doesn't see much use outside of shooting portraits. I'm hoping to pick up the new 24-70 (eventually), which is unfortunately every bit as expensive as that 70-200...
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    Here's another suggestion: D300 + Sigma 30 mm f/1.4

    If you want to use ambient light and minimize camera shake, nothing is better than using shutter speeds 4x better than when shooting at f/2.8. ;)


    Or how about a Nikon 105 mm f/2? Should be good when you need some reach. You said you would probably use the 70-200 mm f/2.8 from 70-120 mm, and the 105 mm f/2 would give you that. You don't need to cover every focal length with the lenses that you have. Just use your feet a little bit. I bet a D300, with its usable ISO 3200, and a 105 mm f/2 lens would give you so much light and great shutter speeds. :) A Nikon 105 mm f/2 DC lens would cost you around....maybe half the cost of the 70-200 mm f/2.8. ;)
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    While the hype may be around ambient, most folks who can drag the shutter well end up with significantly better pictures that don't look artificially lit. But it depends a lot on what sort of events, and what you're willing/able to do in terms of pre-positioning lighting.

    I'm not sure if the AF-assist on the SB-600 thows as much IR as the SB-800 does, that may be worth investigating, along with what you can do with a crapload of IR LEDs, a reflector and a 9v battery.

    You might also want to seriously train for hand-held shots. With some weight training or just a buttload of practice you can probably improve your technique- the guy I bought my 400mm off of could hand-hold the monster because he'd trained for years as a competitive pistol shooter.

    The D300 won't be out until the end of next month, and if it's like the D200 it won't be available easily until Feb. The lens you can use now. Given the number of holiday events coming up, you should run the numbers and see how many events it'd take to ROI the lens- it might be a lot less than you think.
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I'd advise you to get a D200 and a third-party 2.8/70-200 zoom. Alternatively you can also think about Nikon's 80-200 zoom which is a lot, lot cheaper than the 70-200 VR.
     
  21. KenAllen07 macrumors member

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #21
    The D50 I believe, is Nikons best performing camera. I have a D200 and it's nowhere near as good as the D50, besides some obvious improvements like the HI ISO's and 5fps. The focusing system is better on the D50 than all the higher end cams, and so is the noise control (up until the D300).

    I recently got a 70-200 VR. VR isn't that great and it'll only help with maybe +=1/15 shots. I love the lens though, nice and sharp, nice bokeh, no CA or any other artifacts. Fast as hell too. If you can, find a nice 80-200 F2.8 AF-S...it's discontinued but you can often find them used on ebay or places that buy newspaper's lenses and sell them used.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    I agree with everything except your focus point. I've shot the D40, D50, D70s, D200 and D2x and once you get it set up correctly the D200 is second only to the D2x in terms of focusing speed and accuracy. With AF-S lenses it's relatively close compared to with AF-D lenses where the D2x's higher voltage makes it much better.

    If you're having D200 focus issues, I'd recommend reading the Nikonians article http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/d200_multi-cam_af/

    In my experience, both the D2x and D200 cameras require some focus setting tweaking to get them to shine- they're not bad without it but there's a reason Nikonians has all those focus articles.
     
  23. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a

    jayb2000

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    #23
    You said you mostly shoot "events".
    What type of events? Football games or parties?
    Indoor or outside?
    Day or Night?
    Etc, etc.


    If it is indoor, night time stuff, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mmf/2.8G ED sounds like a better match than the 70-200.

    Can you elaborate on what you are shooting or want to expand into shooting?

    Typically, I would say a lens is a better investment, but it depends on what you need.
     
  24. ACbc thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2007
    #24

    Well...the 24 to 70 Nikkor is a great option....but for that range, i can at least 'get by' with the 28 75 2.8 tamron that i have. the lense is great when it focuses well...the problem is it doesn't always focus well. don't know if it's the lense, or the d50. My guess is it's a little bit of both.

    i do a lot of parties, indoor type stuff, a few weddings, and lots of outdoor portraits. mostly weddings and portraits...which is what i'd use the 70-200 for. in tighter areas....i feel ok with the 28-75 tamron, or bouncing flash with the 18-200 vr. obviously...down the road, a fast wide angle, like the 14-24 or 17-55 will be ideal....but that can come later. wider angles you can cheat with a bit in my opinion, since it's easier to keep things in focus.

    i'm pretty sure i'll be going with the D300 and pray that the tamron lense can 'keep up' with it. just gotta find a place where i can pre order and hopefully have somewhat of a guarantee that i'll get it. wish me luck :p
     
  25. Jibber1 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #25
    why not the 80-200

    I bought a Nikon 80-200 2.8 for less then $700.00 MINT on ebay, more then half of the VR I could not be happier, made a HUGE improvement in quality of my pictures, i shoot with a nikon d70, I can tell you i used my brother in laws d200 with the 18-200vr and was not impressed with it, it hunted and searched all over the place! The 80-200 is very very fast!! The only draw back is you have to be back at least 6ft to focus, I do not miss the vr never had it, so I don't know what im missing, but for the price difference of a back up body, nope don't need it! I don't know how the D50 would be limiting you, your skill may, but the body, probably not, photographers had way less then we have now years ago, and look! If you have the money, buy the 80-200 with a nice d80 keep your d50 keep a lens on each, and you will be happy. Not too much difference in the D200 and D80 metal or plastic read Hogan's reviews! He actually LOVES the D40!
     

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