Massive dilemma!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hector, May 27, 2008.

  1. hector macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am going traveling for 5/6 weeks around Europe in september, and of course plan on taking plenty of pictures. I bought a Nikon D40 a couple of months ago having always been into photography but stifled somewhat by p&s cameras, planning to learn the ways of the DSLR in preparation for the big trip (you may remember my 'Nikon Questions' thread that got quite long).

    Since then however I have been firmly bitten by the photography bug, and am quickly realising that i would like to do things that the d40 with kit lens is unable to do. I discovered that a 50mm prime lens is really what I want, so bought an old e-series for cheap off ebay which I love despite having to manually focus, grr.

    I have just got back from a trip to Helsinki with my MSc course (incidentally the photos can be got to through my signature :D), where one of my coursemates had a Canon 400d with a sigma 18-200mm. While there are obviously drawbacks of owning a zoom lens, ie slow esp in comparison to a prime, there are considerable advantages of having one 'all rounder' lens for traveling.

    Here is the problem - should I:

    a) save up for the 18-200mm VR (approx £400)
    b) buy the 18-200mm OS Sigma (approx £250)

    or the most radical:

    c) flog the nearly new D40 kit for around £180 on ebay, buy a 400d body (£300ish), and sigma 18-200 (£130)

    Swapping over to Canon works out just as cheap as buying a Nikon fit Sigma zoom, maybe even cheaper seeing as the D40 I have appears to have developed an annoying fault with the shutter button and so may be able to get Amazon to replace it for me, giving me a new D40 kit to sell on ebay!

    The other advantage of this is that with Canon, I would be able to get a cheap 50mm prime lens that will autofocus, instead of hanging around holding my hat waiting for Nikon to get their act together and update their AF-S line with some fast primes.

    Or... should I just:

    d) sack off the idea of a cheap entry level zoom lens and get a 17-50 2.8 Tamron :D

    Decisions! Can anyone help me by sharing their experiences or giving advice?

    Many thanks!
    Hector
     
  2. eddx macrumors regular

    eddx

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #2
  3. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #3
    I would opt for option a). Tho if you feel that you don't loose much you could always go for option c). I wouldn't recommend options b) and d).

    Do you have any other Nikon lenses apart from the kit and the 50mm?

    I prefer Nikon, but the 400D is also quite an excellent camera. And since you are new to photography, maybe changing brands isn't that bad for you.

    If you keep the D40, then save for the Nikkor 18-200, it is a good lens and perfect for traveling. About the Tamron 17-50, I read a lot about it, and read some very good reviews, but I ended up deciding to save more and one day get the 17-55 from Nikon.
     
  4. hector thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #4
    Thanks for your responses!

    Have you guys heard bad things about the Sigma zooms? The price difference between the Sigma and the Nikon is quite a lot for me to justify.
    I may well try to save up for the 18-200 Nikon VR if it is worth it, however I am quite tempted to jump across to Canon at this early stage in the game for the lens choices (despite preferring most other things about Nikon). The reason I bought the D40 was that I am a student, and it was the cheapest DSLR I could get my hands on at that point in time, and I'm glad I did even if I have landed myself in a bit of a pickle.

    For reference I don't have any other lenses for the D40 except the 50mm, which wasn't a huge investment at £18.50!
     
  5. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #5
    The sigma is lousy compared to the Nikon. Nikon's 18-200 VR is considered one of the most usable superzooms available.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    You have it right. The "corect" order here is to (1) Decide what lenses you like then (2) buy the body that fits those lenses.

    Do you want a cheap "all in one lens" or the best one on the market? Do you want an autofocus 50mm prime. After the trip what will you want to shoot. What will be your third and fourth llens. Figure this out FIRST.
     
  7. hector thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #7
    Sounds good. Can you explain why the Sigma is lousy?
    Is it lousy on the Canon too, in which case ruling out switching brands? My coursemate is pretty pleased with his I think and he has had it for about 18 months...
    Thanks again
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #8
    Sigma's lenses aren't all lousy (most are very good these days, if the reviews are any indication). All super zooms are a compromise in quality; that's no particular weakness of Sigma. And for what it's worth, the Sigma lens you're interested in got very good reviews, like this one.

    [Edit: Another good review of it can be found here.]
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    It's all relative. A cell phone is better than a camera you left at home and most P&S are beter then that. Even the high end Nikon/Canon dSLRs are compromises for size and cost and are "crap" compared to the stuff Haselblad and Mamiya sell. So take these coments and opinions in context.

    For example. A person who just bought a new Sigma "ultra zoom" might think it s great because it's better than anything he has ever seen or used. A more experianced photographer might try the sigma and compare the results to what he gets with his 180mm prime and be astounded at the lack of contrast and geometric distortion. Hence you will read two very differnt on-line opinions.
     
  10. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    PHL
    #10
    Sigma lenses are not lousy. Yes, they had problems with a few of their lenses for them being "soft" of having AF problems, but that doesn't mean they are "lousy." Sigma would be the first third-party lens I would consider if I could not afford a Canon/Nikon lens.

    The Sigma 18-200 OS has gotten pretty good reviews - particularly from Outdoor Photographer magazine. It really is a matter of how much you want to spend. I'm not a fan of "all-in-one" lenses, but that is just me. You are looking at a difference of (and give or take here) $180 between the Nikon lens and Sigma lens. So it depends on what you're budget allows. I would go for the Nikon IMO, but that is just me.
     
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #11
    Which is why it's best to discount online "opinions" and look for proper reviews that use objective criteria and pit comparable lenses against each other (unlike an apples-and-oranges comparison between a superzoom and a prime lens). It's also very helpful to look at sample photos and decide for yourself if the lens is capable of making you happy. Pixel-Peeper is a good site for finding sample photos.
     

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