Infrequent DSLR user: How silly is my idea?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Abstract, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #1
    So I've been thinking about my DSLR, and feel a bit guilty about having it. I simply do not use it unless I'm on vacation.

    I'm working in a new city and don't enjoy taking random city shots. However, I believe I'm a competent photographer, and this 'competency' is why I don't want to sell it. I don't know if I can go back to having a p&s only. :eek:

    Currently, here is what I own:

    - Nikon D300
    - Nikon 105 mm VR macro
    - Sigma 30 mm f1.4
    - Sigma 24-70 mm (non-HSM version, which is arguably better in terms of IQ if reviews are to be believed)
    - Tokina 12-24 mm f4.

    Despite the camera's lack of usage, I'm actually very tempted to get a Sigma 50mm f1.4 right now. :rolleyes: I'm going on vacation next week.

    My favourite lens was my 24-70mm until I got the Sigma 30 mm. Now I'm hooked on the relatively small size of my D300 with 30 mm attached. Plus, the lens is so fast!! Next is my 105 mm macro. It's a fantastic focal length for outdoor portrait shots. It's not small, but I think I now have a soft spot for primes. I don't really miss the zooming. :confused:

    As a financially savvy individual, which of the following sounds the most sane:

    1. Don't sell anything. Don't buy anything new for the camera.

    2. Buy the Sigma 50mm f1.4 because it'll definitely become my 1st or 2nd favorite, and sell the Sigma 24-70mm and Tokina 12-24mm because they're infrequently used.

    3. Buy the Sigma 50 mm f1.4, sell the Tokina. Do not sell the 24-70. Even if you don't use it often, it's invaluable when you need flexibility.

    4. Buy the Sigma 50 mm, sell the Sigma 24-70mm. Keep the Tokina because it was never meant to be your primary lens anyway, and there are many instances where you'll want to shoot wider than 30 mm.

    5. Sell everything and take the money. You don't use any of it often, and you may be better served by using the money to purchase an EVIL camera when you find a company that offer lenses you want.

    5. Forget the 50mm and wait for the Sigma 85 mm f1.4 that's coming in a few months. :p
     
  2. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502

    ComputersaysNo

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    #2
    There's a program of which i forgot the name at the moment, that looks at the exif info of your photo's and shows what focallength you use the most. Based on that you can see if you really need new stuff or maybe sell something.

    *edit:

    Some examples of software

    http://thatpixelgeek.com/2008/10/using-exiftool-to-find-your-most-used-focal-length/

    http://freeweb.siol.net/hrastni3/foto/exif/exiftoolgui.htm
    http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/
    http://photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00Kha4
     
  3. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #3
    Give to a charity that deals with Photography, take the tax write off, and sleep well at night knowing others are making good use of your gear :rolleyes:

    Seriously, maybe join some of the challenges here and your gear will see more use?
     
  4. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    I've considered trying a bit harder at photography. ;)


    I'm still not sure. I'm just going to hold onto everything and see. If I ever got back into concert/band photography, I'd really regret selling any of my lenses. For now, I'll continue to take photos and see.


    @ComputersaysNo: Thanks for the idea. I know about those programs, but it's not something I thought about using for whatever reason. I have a feeling that 90% of all my photos taken over the past 12 months, and every good photo, was taken with the 30 mm or 105 mm. :eek:
     
  5. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #5
    aperture 3 lets your organize your photos taken at various focal lengths. I made smart folders in various FLs before I started buying new glass. It helped a lot.
     
  6. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #6
    I personally love the sigma...awesome lens!

    What a great package you have there. I'd give it a better go! ;)
     
  7. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    #7
    The Sigma 50mm f1.4 is a fantastic lens. You said you love the 30mm, and you have to ask yourself if the times you've said "I wish I had a little bit more reach" when using the 30mm are enough to justify buying it. Also, I concur with previous posters about finding out what focal length you use the most. If your most used focal length when you have the 24-70 on the camera is close to 50mm, I'd get it, and maybe sell the zoom lens.

    I wouldn't sell the wide zoom because the difference between 12mm and 30mm (which would be your widest lens if you sell your walkaround zoom) is huge, and when the time comes to using it (particularly if you like architecture, landscapes or perspective distortion) there's simply nothing that can replace it.
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #8
    If you shoot wide open a lot of the time with your primes, then sell the zooms and pick up a couple more primes. Perhaps add the Sigma 50f/1.4 and get a longer prime like an 85f/1.8 or go really long and get a 200f/4 AI-S (manual focus, but great image quality, and cheap, usually can find for under $160.) Then, there's one of my favorite long primes, the 300f/4. The older, AF-ID version can be had for $500 or less, often quite a bit less. The newer AF-S version can focus closer and will cost double that, but both have really great IQ.

    To make photography fun and interesting and challenging, maybe just go straight primes, and start collecting some interesting vintage MF Nikkor prime lenses. It would get you more involved with the picture making process, no doubt.

    On the ultra-wide angle lens (12-24): I originally thought it would be a landscape lens, but for me it shines in closer quarters or in more urban-style landscapes with building or structures, and for those creative perspective type shots, but for straight landscapes I find I often use a longer focal length than 24mm. The super wide is good for including some obvious feature in the near forground, otherwise there's a tendency to get a lot of sky and things look further away than they really are, so sometimes the landscape actually seems diminished, unless you print the image really large. So, you could probably get away with losing the 12-24 to do what you want to do.
     
  9. a.jfred macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I tend to do a lot of macro work, and was almost always at the end of whatever lens I was using (my original options were a 14-45mm and a 40-150mm zooms). I bit the bullet and bought the Sigma f/2.8 105mm macro lens.

    I love my prime lens; going back to zooms (even my new 70-300mm lens) just feels clunky & awkward; and after the first few snaps with the prime, I captured photos that made me realize just how much it was worth the money.

    I promise, if you go Prime, you may never go back :)
     
  10. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #10
    ^

    This is true. I never had owned primes before, and now I own 4 of them, and they are super fun. I have a Pentax 50 1,4 an OM 28 3,5 a Mamiya 80 2,8 and a Mamiya 150 4,0. Super sharp are all of them. I am thinking about picking up a Distagon T* 35 2,8...
     
  11. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    @dllavaneras: I do wish my 30 mm had a bit more reach. Even at a dinner table with friends, I can't take a photo of the person across from me without leaning forward to get a closer shot. I used to pull out the 24-70 mm and be happy, but the quality doesn't match my primes, and to be honest, I don't think f/2.8 is good enough once you've had bigger. ;)

    @pdxflint: At this point, I'm leaning towards selling the 24-70 and 12-24 mm. I'm selling the 12-24 mm for the reason you said. Some of my favourite photos were taken with that lens, but the number of these photos is very small, and I think the barrel distortion is distracting at 12 mm, so I tend to shoot between 15-24 anyway.


    @HBOC: That's a great idea. I use Lightroom 2, but I can make a Smart Collection that only selects photos taken with the 24-70 mm f/2.8.

    My fave focal lengths: 24 mm (more than 50% of them), 40 mm, 46 mm, and 70 mm. I shot very very few photos between 50 and 70 mm


    @Peabody: Says the girl who just joined the m4/3 camp. ;) I must admit -- I'm quite jealous. It's probably an awesome camera.
     
  12. duncanapple macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I know exactly what you are talking about Abstract. I don't use my DSLR nearly as much as I wish I did. I know what the camera CAN do compared to a p&s but that is irrelevant since I never take it out. I like to think of myself as an otherwise financially savvy person despite my love of gadgets, and watching over $4K in gear depreciate without getting significant use pains me. To do it all over I prob would not have bought the stuff and opted instead for a nice Lumix or G11. But since I did, anything else would be a step backwards not to mention I would loose a good chunk on $ on the gear (other than the lens I guess).

    I toyed with the idea of selling it all and buying a Leica X1 (while expensive, still half the value of my entire setup on the used market) that would be a little easier to take with me, but in the end the slower autofocus killed that idea for me. I like the near instant focus/shutter of a DSLR.

    So I find myself in your boat, between selling it all and looking for my next lens, likely a 135mm f/2L. Sick I know lol...
     
  13. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #13
    haha Abstract, I admit that I love it when people get what they want. Hence, I am a horrible shopping partner.

    Speaking of m4/3...have you thought of going that route? In the last 4 days since receiving my camera, I have snapped maybe 200 shots, and this turned out wayyyy more than I ever snapped my D200 or D90. I am seriously in love with the format. It really ignited my love for photography again. Maybe you should cross over too :p. It would probably hurt wallet wise as well - but the size and unobtrusiveness of the GF1 is the reason I bring it out all the time now! :D The lens selection has some holes in it, but for an infrequent DSLR user - perhaps this will be good to prevent you from buying more lenses!!

    Also, a good prime is just the bees knees I found. Is the 30mm not really enough reach? I'd sell that one and pick up the 50mm if you think you'd have more utility from it.
     
  14. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    #14
    I definitely agree with you. Even my 100mm f2.8 seems slow now that I've gotten used to f1.4. I also agree with the image quality, although the only two zooms I have are the kit lens and a 10-20mm, which is not exactly the sharpest lens around. Still, though, the 50mm f1.4 is the sharpest lens I own, even besting the 100mm macro, which is crazy sharp (by a small margin, but noticeable nevertheless).
     
  15. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    You have no idea how much I want to. ;) However, it's a big decision because it means I'll probably have to sell my lens collection and camera, all of which is good for what I do. Plus I'm still waiting to see what Nikon will offer. I think I'd switch if I could get 3 primes equivalent to a 40 mm and 80 mm prime in film camera terms (or 20 and 40 mm lenses in m4/3 terms ;)). I'd need a macro as well.

    The 30mm is great, but I'd like a 50 mm as well. I wouldn't sell the 30 mm because it's a better walk-around lens. ;)

    Also, you should know whether the Sigma 30mm is long enough. The reach is identical to your 20 mm f1.7 prime on your new toy. It's great, but not for photographing people, even at close range (e.g. a dinner table).

    Was that observed with shots taken handheld, or on a tripod? For the same amount of shaking, longer focal lengths are affected more by vibrations than shorter lengths.

    But I'm sure you already thought of that. ;)
     
  16. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #16
    Just my opinion, but this fretting about gear - sell? swap? buy? ugrade? wait? - is exactly the wrong mindset for taking pictures. I'm not surprised you haven't used your camera much...
     
  17. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    #17
    The 50mm is going to be my next purchase, I tried a Sony 50mm 1.7 last night, and it's so nice and quick, I made a Smart album in Aperture for Focal lengths and I take a lot of shots in the 45-55 range and most of them had the flash fire, and with 1.7 aperture, it probably wouldn't have needed to fire. It's £140 here, but I'll be going to New York at the end of the month and Adorama does it for $150. Not sure whether that is after Sales Tax, but will probably end up as a £30 saving in the worst case.
     
  18. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    This fretting about gear is more about holding onto assets worth thousands of dollars when I may not be taking enough photos to justify having it. Many people end up in the same boat, so I don't see how this is impacting on my photography. I wasn't taking photos when my gear wasn't a problem. I just thought perhaps buying a lens that's more fitting for me today, and dumping what I don't use anymore would prompt me to take a few more photos.

    Hell, even getting a smaller camera that fits my "man bag" may do it, hence my interest in the smaller EVIL camera.



    In fact, I've pretty much made a decision, and the rest of the thread has been banter. ;)
     
  19. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #19
    I actually owned the 30mm Sigma when I had my nikon system - and it has always been fine for me taking pics at a good distance. You are right though, 30mm is a better walk around lens.

    As for the m4/3, yeah it will be a while for nikon I believe. Last I read there were rumors of some offerings next may. Hope they come out with something nice (unlike their coolpix lines - blleeeccchh). I wouldn't let that hold me back in getting something now if you really wanted to go to m4/3. This format is really amazing - I am in love with it. I mean my gf1 is no full sized DSLR, but I have found that it fits my life style perfectly - the casual photographer. Don't need to lug around a huge bag of lenses, and it really helps me think about what I need in terms of lenses.

    Haha it must be my honeymoon with my gf1. Sorry about the gushing haha.
     
  20. G.T. macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    I like my GF1 with 20mm prime, its easy to carry round most places so maybe you should think of m4/3. Also better quality than P&S.
     
  21. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #21
    If you're not making photos with what you have now, a new toy isn't going to change that. Fretting about gear just turns you into a lover of mechanical things, but not about ideas, which is what a photo is.

    My advice is to toss all of your lens but one, put it on your camera, and go make images. Doesn't matter which lens... when you look through the viewfinder, this will be the standard canvas you create with.
     
  22. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    #22
    Looking at the original post, I think do option 3, and then force yourself to try new things in terms of giving yourself photography assignments each week or so.
     
  23. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    True.


    I don't get why two of you have said this. :confused: I'm not suggesting that I need a new lens, nor do I sit around fretting about inadequate gear. I'm trying to weigh my options, which are the potential of wasting money by keeping stuff I'm not using, versus potential regret.

    I can still pick up a lens and take an above-average photo. Also, I'd still enjoy it. I just think perhaps my interest in photography has narrowed from Everything-Under-The-Sun (e.g. band/concert photography, event photography, macros, landscapes), to photos of my girlfriend, friends, and family during special occasions (birthdays, bbqs, dinner, party, wedding). These occasions are infrequent, but when there's an occasion, I love being the photographer. ;)


    "Fretting" would usually involve feeling inadequate with one's gear. Nobody frets because their gear is too good for what they're doing. ;) If I'm fretting about anything, it's downgrading and giving myself less.


    Doesn't matter. I have already decided.
     
  24. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    #24
    What was your decision, just out of interest? :)
     
  25. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

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    #25
    6. Get the 50mm and the Sigma 85 mm f1.4 that's coming in a few months.

    New gadgets are fun, if you can afford it just go for it.
     

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