Finding myself wanting....

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by flosseR, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #1
    ok, first: i am an amateur photographer, and can't afford 4000 euro lenses etc. So I usually go with the bang for the buck and use 3rd party equivalents.
    I currently shoot Nikon and have a multitude of lenses (well a few)
    These include, 50mm prime, 105mm Macro (Sigma), 70-200mm (Sigma), 17-70 (Sigma).
    Now, I have gotten some spare cash and I would like to upgrade my lenses to a bit higher standard.
    Here is my dilemma: I am between upgrading the 105mm to the Nikon version with VR or the 17-70 to a Nikon equivalent (though the 17-55 is EXPENSIVE!!).
    I shoot on a D90 body which is good enough for me but which lens should I upgrade? or whatever else? The other option is to save a little longer and upgrade to the D700 in a few months...

    ARGHHH decisions...
     
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #2
    You need to ask yourself which types of shots you are missing on account of your equipment (or lack thereof). Do you really need to handhold that 100mm macro (in which case VR will be very helpful) or would you perhaps get more bang for your buck by investing in a really nice tripod and ballhead? Or maybe adding some flash capabilities would move your photography forward. It really depends on what it is you want to do that your current equipment will not allow. So what is it?
     
  3. flosseR thread starter macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #3
    hmm you have a very good point there. I like my tripod and don't see the need to upgrade it. I have a Pan head on it and am still thinking what benefits a ball head would bring.

    I have 2 Nissin Di622 flashes that can be remotely triggered with the flash on my D90. So far, worked excellently. The only think I was thinking so far was maybe actual studio flash equipment but I always think I am too small a fish in order to invest into something like that...

    The handheld macro was a VERY good point. I don't need it and my lens does have great macro quality. the VR is useless at 1:1 anyway. so cancel that out.

    What about the 17-55 f2.8 nikon?
     
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    If you upgraded to the D700 (fabulous camera, brings a smile to my face everytime I handle it), your 17-70 will only work in crop mode. Well you can shoot it without using it in crop mode but you'll get a huge vignette.

    That being said, the only issue with the 17-55 f/2.8 Nikon is that it's a DX lens. Again that's not necessarily a problem as it performs wonderfully. But if it were me, I'd want an FX lens if I was spending that kind of money so that I could take it along if I ever upgraded to FX cameras.

    Just wanted to point out that if you spend a bunch of money on upgrading your lenses, you might want to think about future proofing your kit by purchasing lenses that will cover the full frame. FX lenses perform wonderfully on DX cameras, but DX cameras leave a lot to be desired on FX cameras.

    SLC
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #5
    Again, you really need to identify what shots you are missing on account of a shortcoming in your kit. Are you unhappy with any of your shots? If so, what's wrong with them? Is it something that a new lens or new camera would help? You haven't told us what the problem is, so we can't do much to offer any possible solutions.
     
  6. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #6
    A round of applause, please, for the manufacturers, advertisers and marketing folk, whose ambition is to keep us all in a constant state of dissatisfaction and spendthrift neurosis... :rolleyes:
     
  7. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #7
    Since you don't really offer any insight as to where your deficiencies are, I'll give you my $0.02: unless you really see yourself going FX and want the other benefits from a D700, I'd rather take that chunk of change and buy the best possible lens to address whatever your current lens (or lack of lens) can't do. I can flip open the B&H catalog and pretty quickly spend that $2500 on some pretty nice glass...
     
  8. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #8
    Yeah. These two lenses are made for completely different purposes. Getting one or the other will make you different kinds of shots. You should go back to your photo archive and look at the kinds of pictures you take most often. The answer of what lens to get should be clear from that. If you can't tell after that, perhaps you should just keep saving that money up...

    Ruahrc
     
  9. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    Just speaking for myself, I've found that I shoot either very close up or from a moderate distance, with my preference being for portraits in either case.

    My lens lineup is taking shape: 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 105/2.5 and 180/2.8. I have to buy my own copies of the latter two (did buy the 180, but had to return it), and I need to get a real wide angle lens, which may be my only zoom.

    Very long telephotos would be wasted on me, as would most zooms. I shoot at large apertures most of the time, and doing much of my shooting on the street, I prefer sharp and light over the flexibility of many zooms.
     
  10. flosseR thread starter macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #10
    Thanks guys for the input.
    After writing, I actually took the advice and went through my shots taken with the 2 lenses. I just cant complain about the Macro lens's performance. Since I shoot manual and on a tri or mono pod with it all the extra features would be pointless.
    The 17-70 is a nice lens, but what gives me (this is psychological only) a negative spin on it is that it has been in for repair 3 times in a year so far. The Aperture mechanism broke and twice the lens elements became "loose". Also looking at the shots take, I could have improved if the 2.8 would have been constant.. but alas.
    Now the question is:
    selling the 17-70 (which i will do anyway).
    and getting a FX (thanks for pointing this out btw..) lens in that zoom range but with a constant aperture. Or a Elinchrom D-Lite 2 Flash set.

    //F
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    Lighting and the appropriate modifiers will open whole new avenues of photography.

    If you don't already have it, also pick up a copy of Light: Science and Magic.
     
  12. flosseR thread starter macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #12
    Compuwar, so you recommend the lighting set? Since I don't do studio shots really, but mostly Macro if anything, wouldn't a Nikon R1C1 macro flash set also work for portrait work?
    I know we don't see eye to eye some times, but your opinion really counts for me in this because, while you are amazingly critical mostly, you actually can back your stuff up :D

    So, what do you think? I also have a couple of SB-800 flashes that could be remote controlled with the R1C1 kit.... Creative lighting :D
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    An R1C1 won't work as well as a set of strobes and modifiers, but if you do a lot of macro, it should make itself worth getting no-matter what. I'm not a big fan of ring flash for portraiture, and i think it's overused because of the price of the ABR800 (as well as the fact that it's much more difficult to light without a lot of bad shadow with multiple heads.)

    With portraits, a lot depends on the situation. For instance, a 5' strip box works well for body-length shots, but a 20x30 is fine for head and shoulders... Personally, these days I tend to use shoot-through umbrellas because I really like round sun-like catchlights and I can travel with them and setup is much, much easier. The fact that they're less expensive is a bonus if you haven't already gotten the softboxes.

    If you're shoooting outdoors a lot, but don't need to overpower the sun, perhaps another SB800 or two (or two SB600's) as well as some Justin Clamps and a couple of smaller softboxes would be a better idea- but if you really want to do actual portraits, indoors or out, the Elinchroms should be good- so long as you get bright enough units and a good battery pack.

    Here's the decision process I'd encourage you to use:

    If you want to enhance what you're already shooting, go with a couple more portable flashes and the ring flash, clamps, modifiers and perhaps a set of wireless triggers for the times when CLS won't work. You learn to use that equipment and you'll produce better versions of what your're shooting inside of a couple of weeks. You can still do very creative new stuff, especially with the Lee Filter sample packs and some drinking-straw grids as well as a softbox or two. You can knock yourself out with strobist-type location portraiture too- and your macro stuff will be much happier. The clamps, flashes, softboxes and triggers will fit in a small bag- so you'll have the chance to light everywhere- if you're the small/light/fast kind of photographer then that's a good thing.

    If you want to really stretch into creative studio photography- both people and things, as well as full-daylight outdoor portraiture, then get the studio strobes- but be prepared to work at a much slower pace. If you can make anything off of senior and child portraits, then the gear will eventually pay for itself, and if you study a lot, you'll learn so much more about lighting.

    There's no wrong answer- but most people don't really think very hard about the fact that photography is about light- and the more you control it the more you can do.

    I've got two sets of studio strobes plus an SB800 and two SB600s, Justin Clamps and the Cybersync radio triggers. I find it's generally more difficult to get the results I want with the smaller "strobist" set-up, so I have to force myself to try harder and work at it- I think that's a positive thing even though for people and products I can bang out a good setup really quickly its starting to get formulaic (good for product work, bad for creativity.)

    In both cases, I'd get a copy of Light: Science and Magic. Joe McNally's book isn't bad either- but it's not really diagramed up enough for my tastes- his work is incredible, but I really didn't get a good enough sense of why he chose a particular setup or what the alternatives would have been.
     

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