D50 body or D80? and glass advice...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macbrooke, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. macbrooke macrumors regular

    macbrooke

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #1
    I trust this forum for accurate info.

    I currently own the D50 and I have been using it without fail for the past 2.5 years. I have the chance to buy a D80 at a very cheap price.

    Recently I have been blessed to make some money off of my photography.. I like my camera body however at times I feel like it's getting old and how professional can that look? its just an entry level DSLR right? :rolleyes:

    So I would like some opinions on one vs the other, my good friend told me (who owns a D80) that the sensor is bad in that camera? this does not match other things I have been told but I am willing to listen to all input.

    Next up is midrange zoom what is affordable and what do you recommend? my local shop is telling to me to buy a AF S 18-70 DX but I have seen reviews posted online that indicate better lens at this price point.

    In case it matters I am doing portraiture and newborns as well as maternity photos.


    Thanks!
     
  2. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #2
    Well to start with the D50 would be fine, I have it also and just bought the D90 to takes it's place. How the photo's turn out is key more than how the camera looks. There are some photos here in this forum that some have taken using a point and shoot that look great and one would never be able to tell the difference. I'm going to guess that money is a factor here if you wanted to consider the D80? If you could spring for the D90, I would but it's just a choice for the body question.
    The lens question, well I would go with the 16-85 or the 18-135 over the 18-70 for the mid zoom. Again not sure what the budget is like but after reading a ton of info over the last few weeks myself I plan on going with the 16-85 and getting a better quality zoom in the long run.
    What type of photos are you taking that you feel the camera isn't professional enough?
     
  3. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Oregon coast
    #3
    If you're doing it to make money, then you should treat any purchase as a business investment. By investing in the right equipment it will pay for itself by making your results better, and by giving you greater flexibility--hopefully leading to more referral/repeat business.

    You will probably benefit a great deal by getting at least one quality portrait-type lens like the Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8, some lighting for remote off-camera use, like a couple of flash units at least, maybe a couple of reflectors/softboxes/ to start, and a more advanced camera body that will have a better sensor and offer remote flash commander capability.

    This may sound like a lot, but if you think you can grow this business it's really not a large investment for a business starting out. It's all stuff you can write off on your taxes if it's used professionally. The gear should pay for itself fairly quickly if you are able to charge fair rates for your work (a fee for the session, and perhaps a few various priced 'packages' of prints your clients can choose from.)

    On the other hand, if you're just doing it on a part-time basis for people you know, I wouldn't necessarily move from a D50 to a D80 - the gain is too negligible, even in the higher pixel count. You'd be better off with better glass and keep the D50. If money's real tight, even a 50mm f/1.8 makes a good portrait lens on a D50, and that's only $120. Plus it lets you work with available light a lot easier than any kit lens or consumer zoom. If you can afford a D90 you'd get double the sensor MP, CMOS sensor, remote flash ability. You could offer your clients bigger prints with less issues. But the D80 won't really make much difference in what you can already do, with the exception of remote flash capability.

    I guess it all depends, in the end, on what the potential for this portraiture business is. If the potential is there, don't be afraid to invest in your tools. They'll last a long time, and serve you well. :) The best of luck and success!
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #4
    You'll do better getting some strobes, modifiers, backgrounds and props at this point if you're going to get serious. Few people go for larger than 11x14 prints, and the D50 will do those just fine. Personally, I'd get 3 AB400s or AB800s (400's if money's an issue, 800's otherwise,) light stands, three combo shoot-through/reflective umbrellas (Adorama seems to have good deals through Amazon,) the fit-on AB grid, background stands and a couple of muslins (blue and pink-themed probably for babies.) That gives you a key light, fill light, and background/hair light- shoot-through for the key, reflect for the fill and bg and grid if you're using it as a hair light.

    Paul
     
  5. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #5
    Hi,

    I have a Nikon D50 too. I have never printed photos with it. But I understand one can go to 11 x 14 without much of a problem.

    I wouldn't buy a "stronger" camera with more MP, if "your market" is not demanding larger prints. Or if any of the camera functions won't be super useful for you, e.g. TTL flash, etc. As ironic as it may sound, when I got interested in an "improved" or "better" Nikon body to replace my D50, I was advised to be careful with any of the modells like the D70, D80, or D90. The argument always was that "this" or "that" body is phantastic, but with a flaw. If it is helpful for you, google a guy whose name is Ken Rockwell. He shoots with Nikon and has written several reviews for different camera bodies.

    Among the three lenses mentioned by Artful Dodger in this thread, the one that attracts my interest the most is the 16-85 mm. from Nikon. I think it is a great and versatile lens to cover group photos, "photojournalistic" and spontaneous moments, and portrait photos. I have heard phantastic opinions about Tokina as a brand for lenses. They also have some very luminous objectives that won't make a hole into your pocket.

    Most important, before buying it, try it. If you want to buy from your local shop fine, but before you may want to go to a show room where you could check the stuff out. So you can have a have nicer a feel for it.

    Very kind regards,

    igmolinav.
     
  6. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #6
    Please state your budget and current equipment beyond your D50+kit lens, if any.

    If you don't already have strobes+lighting accessories, you should take a longer look at compuwar's suggestion. You can't do serious portraiture with available light/onboard flash.

    Also, if you're doing portraits, why are people telling you to buy slow consumer zoom lenses? (17-55 f/2.8 would be okay, but probably not within your budget.) An AF-D 50mm f/1.8 has a decent focal length/max. aperture for portraits, and it would be well within your budget.

    As for your camera, you can print larger photos with it than most people would ever ask for. I wouldn't want to meet the mother who wants 24x36" prints of herself and her baby. :eek:

    For your purposes, lighting > lens >> camera
     
  7. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #7
    Hi,

    My D50 came with an 18-55 mm. lens. Probably yours too. The glass is for this lens is quite good. I can say that based on my pics. and on the reviews I have read, it is a good lens.

    If you don't want to spend on strobes. Some of the most beautiful pictures for maternity and newborns are with available light. Try to have your clients next to a window, or outside in a garden. I am a bit reluctant to take pictures with strobes of very young children. If even sometimes for me, behind the camera, when I have shot people with strobes, it can be uncomfortable for the eyes, imagine it for a newborn. Also when I have had my picture taken, I am sensitive to strobe lighting.

    Kind regards,

    Ignacio.
     
  8. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #8
    Hi there

    Sorry for the delay! I was away and not able to reply until now! thank you everyone for the input.

    I have now:

    D50 Body
    Nikon 50mm 1.4
    Nikon 85mm 1.8
    Nikon 35mm 1.8
    Nissin Speedlight Di622
    Gary Phong lightsphere

    I am wanting to buy an umbrella and a stand, but it's my understanding the D50 is not capable of firing the flash as a slave? is this correct?
    I understand I need some backgrounds and I am working on this already.. right now I am zeroing in on body and light issues, because I think my glass is acceptable no?
     
  9. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

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    #9
    Hi there

    My D50 did not come with any lens.. I bought it gently used.
    I promptly bought a 50mm 1.8 but have since moved on to the (better IMO) 50mm 1.4

    I don't have experience with zooms per say.. Just the 3 lenses I have now.. 2 are primes and one telephoto?
     
  10. Phil Lee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #10
    I have a D80 along with the 18-70mm, 50mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.8 and a couple of others too. I would always use one of the primes in preference to the 18-70mm lens. It's a nice kit lens, definitely better than the 18-55mm, but it is slow. With your subject matter you need a fast lens.

    One thing you might want to consider, particularly if you want to look "more professional" is a D80 with the MB-D80 battery grip. It is a fantastic bit of kit and really transforms the handling of the camera. It is so much easier to take portrait photos with it fitted.
     
  11. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    Arizona
    #11
    The D80 is one of Nikon's poorest DSLRs, right up there with the D100. Thom Hogan doesn't have much nice to say about it on his site ("old before its time," among other things).

    I'd skip it if I were you. I wouldn't expect any kind of improvement in IQ with it. Jumping to a D90 or same-generation sensor would be much better for that.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #12
    The D80 has one key advantage over the D50 and that's the much, much better viewfinder. For me, that was reason enough to switch from an otherwise perfect D70.

    If it's reason enough for you, that's something for you to decide. I don't quite share the loathing of the others regarding the D80, I'm very happy with that camera ever since I bought it nearly 3 years ago.
     
  13. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

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    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #13
    Hi

    I should mention I decided to skip the d80 based on the opinions of several people who own it. I was content to keep the D50 for now but my main question is have I hit a road block in terms of lighting? Is there a way to use the speedlite off body? Fired by the camera? I'm thinking no? Or is there a work around?

    Lastly I do want a grip .. Is there one available for the D50?
    I'm already planning on getting the D90 in the future, and will keep the D50 as my backup body, but I cannot swing it just yet.

    I'd appreciate further input.
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #14
    If I were buying a new body at this point moving from a D50 I would not get a D80. Not that it's a bad camera, but that there have been pretty marked improvements since its release. I'd rather put that money into a D90 or better.

    I say that as a D80 owner who has owned one for 3 years. I have no real problem with the camera other than lack of resolution (I shoot landscapes and like to print very, very large).

    To people who solely use P&S cameras, any DSLR looks like it cost ten grand. Twenty if you're using the lens hood :). To people who know DSLRs, they know that its more about the operator and not the camera, so it doesn't matter. To the remainder who think they know DSLRs and judge you by how good your camera is, well forget about them.

    Ruahrc
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #15
    Radio triggers.

    I like the Cybersyncs.

    Paul
     
  16. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

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    Toronto, Ontario!
    #16

    Hi Paul!

    Can you kindly elaborate for me? What does this do and how does it work?
     
  17. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Location:
    Kentucky
    #17
    I figure Ill jump in here and help Paul out. Im surprised that no one mentioned this prior to now. IMO, there are very few serious photogs who don't use blind triggers for one purpose or another. Joe McNally and Bob Krist are about the only ones I can think of that use Nikon's CLS religiously. Although, its easy to do that when you pimp for Nikon and get paid partly in 450.00 a pop SB-900s.

    Pocket wizards, Radiopoppers, Cybersyncs are flash triggers. Transmitter on the camera hot shoe, receivers connected to the flash. Rxs connect via PC cord, mini-audio jack (on small battery powered flash), or full sized jack on large strobe units. You snap a picture the transmitter fires how ever many flashes/strobes you happen to have receivers on. Works on any camera w/ a hot shoe. Hit up strobist.com for the skinny, and google the above brands for websites that list pricing.

    Personally, I use Cybersyncs and find them to be very good for the price. Some swear by Radiopoppers new line, but I haven't had any hands on experience with them.
     
  18. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

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    Jun 21, 2006
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    Toronto, Ontario!
    #18
    Wow thanks Abraxis!

    It's like a whole new world of info.. lol

    Someone else suggested to me today that maybe I can find an affordable D200 and use that for my needs until I can afford the D300 or D90 (I'd prefer the 300)

    Thoughts? is the D200 a step up in the right direction from the D50?
     
  19. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #19
    No, the D50 and D200 are from the same generation of cameras, though the D200 will give you 10 megapixels to the D50's six. Definitely more sturdy and a better autofocus camera in general.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #20
    I'll add a bit to what's already been said-

    If you're using Nikon cameras and Nikon flashes, then you can use Nikon's IR-based control system- some cameras will do it with their built-in flash, sometimes you need an IR transmitter.

    For everyone who needs more range, non-line of site or better reliability, the choice is to use radio triggers. There are two kinds of triggers- older/basic units that just fire a flash and newer TTL-capbable ones that will allow your automatic flash features to work. Radiopopers will do TTL. For the other kind, you set the flash power up on manual and fire the flash via a transmitter or transceiver connected to your camera's PC Sync port or hotshoe (depending on the trigger and/or the camera) and fire the strobes with a connected receiver or transceiver (and perhaps related adapter.)

    When you go the radio route, there are three basic choices- the "cheap eBay triggers" which work, but are not 100% reliable, PocketWizards which are the most reliable/long-range/best system out there and one of the middle of the road options like the Alien Bee Cybersyncs. While PW offers some newer TTL units, the older ones are a transciever- you can use any unit as a transmitter or receiver, you can also get remote trigger modules, and light meters with built-in transmitters. You pay a premium for the top brand, but with it you get great support and good functionality. In the middle are things like teh Cybersyncs, which are reliable, but cheaper and have reciever or transmitter units, so for redundancy, you need one of each extra.

    Paul
     
  21. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Location:
    Kentucky
    #21
    Chances are good you'll get 20 different responses on this. However, yes, a D200 is a step up from the D50. The D200 was/is a Prosumer level of DSLR, and as such has WAY more things going for it than just a sturdy build and faster AF. In fact, I know one high end photographer who still uses the D200 on a daily basis, because its a good camera. The D90 would be a good jump, but it too, like the D200, D50, D300, D80, etc, has its own unique draw backs and quirks. Frankly, any DSLR over 6MP is going to produce great shots when coupled with Pro level glass and a person with a good eye.

    Having used the D80 for several years, I can vouch that it is a good camera, and as long as i is used within its element, produces just as good a shot as a D3. Maybe not as big, or at ISO 6400, but within the normal confines of what the average photog does from day to day, absolutely. So unless you're planning to print the size of a barn, or shoot inside a cave, on a regular basis just pick the body that feels good in your hands and falls within your price range.

    Oh, and whoever recommended going to read Ken Rockwell's site for camera advice ... BAD PHOTOG (slaps hand) WE DONT DO THAT TO PEOPLE WE LIKE. lol
     
  22. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

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    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #22
    Ok so let me see if I am getting this right.

    There is something that goes in the hot shoe of my D50, and in turn communicates with the Nissin Speedlite Di622 and allows it to be on a stand with umbrella and it fires when I shoot?

    Question.. I thought the built in flash was supposed to fire at the same time? or does this not matter depending on your setup? :confused:

    I apologize for the questions if they are very newb, but I'm just newb with lighting! :D

    I think my point regarding the D200 is that I am perfectly happy for the most with my D50 however now as I am growing it is limiting me a bit.
    I understood that while being the same generation of camera it was a considerable step up in terms of features and build? I'm sure the higher MP cannot hurt?

    I'm finding them locally around 500.00 used.
    The D90 local is 849.00 for body only.

    BTW does anyone know if a grip is avail for the D50 should I keep using it?
     
  23. macbrooke thread starter macrumors regular

    macbrooke

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #23


    The person who suggested the D200 to me is in fact a pro, he's a commercial photographer and shoots with it daily! LOL
    My best friend is a graphic designer and thats her boss! we were e-mailing a bit today about this. I'm a bit put off the prospect of the D90 because frankly I don't want a video cam in my DSLR! more buttons and menu options to wade through that will never apply to me. When I need video which is almost never.. lol my 3Gs is my friend :D

    Ahh Ken Rockwell.. ;)

    I can assure you, I don't need to print the size of a barn and honestly caves are creepy :eek: so I'm pretty basic with my needs.. simple indoor and outdoor weather permitting (Canada is so grey this time of year)

    There is a D80 at my local store for 495.00 not a big price hike between that and a used D200.
    :confused:
     
  24. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #24
    if you don't want to use video, then ignore it. it doesn't make anything more or less complicated.

    the D200 is a good camera..but it still has its limitations. it was from the same generation as the D50, and it performs perfectly fine at lower ISOs (which a product photographer would be using), but it completely falls apart at high ISOs...I don't know when it starts falling apart, but I do know it's near useless at ISO 1600 (having used one before).

    for triggering off-camera, you need either PC sync cords or wireless triggers. since I'm guessing the D50 doesn't have a PC input, that means wireless or a hotshoe-PC adapter. if you go wireless with the flash you have now, you will need radio triggers - one transmitter and one receiver. you will have to use manual flash, unless you're willing to pay for PocketWizard Flex or Minis.

    cheaper and reliable alternative triggers are:
    Alienbee Cybersync
    Elinchrom Skyport
    Yongnuo CTR-301P or RF-602 off of ebay
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #25
    You have it in essence, but you'll probably not be able to use the built-in flash while using the hotshoe- most of us use 2-4 external flashes at a time, each with its own receiver. Neither of my DSLRs have built-in flashes, so I can't verify that though.

    Paul
     

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