n00b lens choosing help

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by yetanotherdave, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Bristol, England
    #1
    I am quite new to this, I have a Nikon D40 with the kit 18-55 lens.
    I hate using the flash, and although I can mostly compensate for it with ISO and apeture settings, I think having VR on the lens would really help me get clearer shots as the exposure is often slightly too long for handheld.
    I also sometimes want a longer zoom, if the 18-55 lens I have had VR I would just get the 55-200 lens and be done, but I'm missing VR on the 18-55 range.

    So, I'm looking at the kit lens for the D90, 18-105 AF-S VR, it gives me a longer zoom (but not as long as the 55-200), VR accross the whole range and means I don't have to worry about changing/carrying lenses.
    I plan to sell my current lens on ebay to cover some of the cost of the 18-105 (but would have to keep it with the 55-200) and the eventual plan is to get a D90 body once I've proved to myself that I'm really into this and it's not a passing hobby.

    Thoughts/opinions? (there's a link to my photo project in my sig if you're interested in seeing my photos, not all of them are recent photos though)
     
  2. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    #2
    The 18-105 VR is all I have at the moment and can safely say it will do exactly what you're looking for. I have yet to pick up a tripod (hoping Santa brings one) so all of my shots have been hand held. I've taken a bunch at night, never with the flash, and about 99% appear with no blur whatsoever. From what you are wanting, the D90 kit lens will do the trick perfectly.
     
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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  4. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    Oct 25, 2006
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    #4
    From what he describes, he's looking for a zoom lens, not a prime. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.
     
  5. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #5
    You're right, I want a zoom lens that will cover most ranges/situations.
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #6
    Isn't that what everyone wants? 18-500/2? Sounds terrific. Too bad it can't ever exist.
     
  7. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

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    May 11, 2008
    #7
    If its to long for hand held, VR won't make a difference. Have you tried a tripod? Is your ISO at its highest setting?
     
  8. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #8
    The lens isn't too long, the exposure is, with my aversion to flash and taking candid or indoor or photos of my kids, I don't want the flash on.

    Sounds like from a poster above the 18-105 would be good

    ideally I'd buy the 18-200, but it's way out of budget.

    (I do play with the iso, but I doesn't always work. Like I said, I am new to this.
     
  9. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    #9
    I meant the exposure. Have you got any examples? What settings are you using? If you want a good fast shutter speed you want a fast prime like 1.8, or a constant Aperture zoom in the 2.8 region.
     
  10. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #10
    Only problem with shooting kids indoors without flash is that VR won't give you a faster shutter speed, which is the biggest problem with kids that don't stand still for more than a second or two. Don't expect miracles there. You really should get a 35f/1.8 or a nifty-fifty (when you get the D90) for the available light indoor shots. The 35mm lens will be more convenient on the DX body just because it is basically a "normal" lens on DX. The 50mm might be a bit tight indoors. Sure, it's not a zoom, but it will definitely give you more available light opportunities for those shots. Outdoors in daylight, the 18 to 100 range won't be helped all that much by VR, but it will help when it gets a bit darker for still scenes.
     
  11. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #11
    I know I need to get a faster shutter speed for the kids, which means the VR wont help much. My other major downfall is night time/low light shooting, and I often get shots that look ok on the review screen, but when I get them onto the computer look blury. That's where VR will really help me, learning how to use the camera indoors will help me with the kids. - I have a couple of tripod's, but often I think I'm just a VR assist away from a handheld focussed shot. (I tend to delete the fuzzy ones, so no examples I"m afraid, but what I do have is here http://www.flickr.com/photos/yetanotherdave/.)
     
  12. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I think your missing the point, VR won't save your shot if the shuter speed isn't fast enough to freeze the image. VR will allow you to had hold longer but not freeze the action if they are moving to fast.
     
  13. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2008
    #13
    Your reason for wanting VR is a little unclear to me. You seem to do a lot of nighttime shooting and landscapes, both of which would be better addressed by a good tripod/shooting technique than VR. VR is nice to have for snapshot excursions where a tripod is inconvenient, but for more serious work, it isn't a replacement for a tripod. If cost is really an issue to you, and you can't think of a compelling reason to have VR in the 18-54mm range, it'd be smart to go with the 55-200 VR. It's much cheaper than the 18-105 and gives you much more telephoto reach. You might even be able to use the money you save to get a better tripod or external flash.

    That said, I have the 18-200 and it's great to be able to just carry a single lens around when space/weight constraints are an issue, moreso than several kilos worth of glass to get the equivalent focal range, albeit at a larger aperture and with superior image quality. And yes, having VR is nice, but mostly at the telephoto end.
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    It's not "much," it's "at all." VR is only useful for shots of static subjects- and frankly unless you shoot often in places they aren't allowed a good tripod is *significantly* better because you can still choose your depth of field, and with ND filters, you can nuke people and moving lights out of the shots. I suggest you use an online lens rental place first and see what a lens of the same focal length and VR version will or won't do for your shots.

    Learning to handhold the camera tends to work well for some people too- the guy I bought my 400/2.8 off of could hand-hold it down past 1/60th of a second, but he was a competitive pistol shooter at one point and his hand-holding musculature and technique was flawless.

    Of course, learning to use flash well will get you more and better images, since low light tends to be bad light more often than not when you're dealing with people. Adjusting on-camera flash power or moving off-camera, bouncing and adjusting power will all result in better indoor people shots.

    Paul
     
  15. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #15
    Thanks for all your input, sorry I didnt' make myself clear, as I said I am new to this and there's a lot to take in. It's been a steep learning curve and I've been trying to address several issues at once.

    The kids: my main issue was trying to get rid of the flash, as I don't have an external flash and the built in one going off in their face is bad. Turning it off meant I got long exposures which resulted in blurry photos. This is nothing to do with the VR I know, I was getting confused because I was getting blurry photos. Since starting this thread I've been trying the shutter prioriry mode (I was mostly using apeture before) and after finding a shutter speed that is fast enough, played with the other settings to get what look like decent results.

    I do have a couple of tripods (one big one, one table top type one), it's great for really low light shots and deliberatly long exposures, but I often shoot while out and about, around town, where the practicality of handheld is a must for me.

    I'm still very much learning, and I can't help but think that what I've learnt in the last week would fix the problems I'd been having before in most situations, but I'm sure there are low light handheld situations where I'd have the camera at its limits what it can do, but still need a slightly longer exposure time to get enough light in.
    Maybe I need to go away and think about this more before buying a lens!
     
  16. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

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    May 11, 2008
    #16
    To be honest, an external flash would not be a bad idea if you don't want a fast prime, its just knowing how to use them! I just got two for christmas so I need to learn and play!

    Try and get into manual mode and get away from priority modes. I would highly recommend Understanding Exposure the book. It explains so much and you'll wonder why you never shot manual before!

    Merry Christmas!
     
  17. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #17
    I've been working up to manual, using priority modes to try and understand each setting before moving on.

    I'll get a flash at some point, but that's only really going to help my indoor photography, I want an "all in one" solution for now, hence thinking about the lens.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #18
    The "all in one" solution for moving action in low light is a D3- that's a lot more than a lens in the price range you're looking at. It does get great results at ISO9600 though.
     
  19. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #19
    Yeah. I think the D90 goes to 6400, my D40 does 1600.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    The D3 goes to 12,500- but IMO even with noise reduction you won't get very useful images. The D3 is pretty publishable at 9600 if you expose properly.
     
  21. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #21
    Since purchasing my Sigma 30mm/1.4 for my D90 it rarely leaves my camera, it is such a great all around lens! However for the indoor shots especially in lower light you still need an external flash, the SB-400 should be adequate but personally I went with the SB-600. Typically I will bounce the flash by pointing it up right and strapping some napkins around the back & sides.

    Like compuwar said there is no all in one solution unless you go for a D3 or the newer D3S that does even better in low light.
     
  22. yetanotherdave thread starter macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
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    #22
    Well, after taking everything into consideration, probable future purchases/current ability and type of photography, and taking into account this is hobby, not serious, I went to buy the Nikon 18-105 and ended up with the Sigma DC 18-200 f3.5 OS, and so far I'm very happy with it. The OS really has helped, all the shots that would have previously been discarded are now pin sharp, I have as much zoom as I'll ever need and I no longer feel limited by the lens.
    I'm going to give it a year, do a photgraphy course, continue my photo a day project and then think about a new body.
    Thanks all!
     

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