Next gear.. Flash or lenses..

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 88888888, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. 88888888 macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    Currently own a d60 w/ 18-55, 55-200 and 35mm f/1.8

    im considering a sb-600

    or a macro lenses 60mm f/2.8 or 105mm f/2.8

    or possibly the tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 vc

    any recommendations?
    what will be the most fun upgrade and help my pictures the most
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    What pictures do you find yourself wanting to take most often, but can't now? If you find yourself indoors taking pictures that are too dark or blurry, you need the flash, if you find yourself really interested in macro, get the macro lens. You need to decide what pictures are important to you that you can't capture now.
  3. jvalente macrumors member

    May 22, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    if I was in your position i'd go for the flash for sure.

    i have a d40 with the 18-55, and once I get those lenses that you have and a sb-600, i'll be completely happy with my gear until i make a massive upgrade to a full frame DSLR.

    But yea, depends on the photos you want to take.

    if you want to do really awesome macro with crazy ratios of 4:1 and things like that, my advice is don't buy a macro lens. buy a $10 adapter of ebay that allows you to flip your 18-55mm and mount it on your camera backwards. you lose all auto controls, i.e. no autofocus, no metering, and you can only change aperture by manually moving the little metal lever on the lens, but it sure as hell beats spening $1000 on a macro lens.

    i took this photo with my 18-55 mounted backwards:
  4. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    You have enough good glass. I say flash. Maybe more than one, with remote capabilities. A ring flash or some lights would be good too if you wanna play more with light.
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I agree, you're asking the wrong question. Go look at your pictures and see where you find the equipment limiting your ability to take pictures, or the subjects you wanted to shoot but could not due to gear (i.e. macro shots). If you can't find the answer after looking through your pictures then you should not be buying new gear!

    If you have more money than you know what to do with and are looking to blow it on some new stuff, then it really is your judgement call. For example, if you're interested in learning about flash photography the answer is pretty obvious. But again this goes back to what I wrote above- if you can't answer for yourself why you need to expand the photographic capability then you are better off just holding onto your money.
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Flash, especially dragging the shutter indoors and fill for outdoors. Flash will improve every shot that isn't taken with the sun behind you- if you learn to use it correctly.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You could do both. That SB600 is expensive. You could use a much less expensive non-system flash and save most of the cost. It depends on the subjects and if you understand flash exposure. I'm still using an old SB24 with my dSLR. Those older Nikon flashes sell for about $100.

    Same for the Macro lens. I use a Nikon 55mm f/3.5. This is a very sharp lens that was made in the 1960's and I think I paid about $80 for it.

    If I shoot macros indoors I mostly like to use a Norman studio flash. it is more primitive than the SB24 but yu don't do macro on auto so it does not matter.

    If you are after the "most fun" upgrade the get a good tripod, a light stand or cheap tripod, an inexpensive flash and a low cost but high quality macro lens. With this kind of setup you can shoot all kinds of table top macros after diner or other times when you don't want to go out.
  8. DNA930 macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2009
    I say go with the lens.

    I have a SB600 but have never actually used it. I know when I am going to be indoors so I either have my 70-200 2.8 or more likely my 50 1.4 and bump up the ISO.

    I'm actually not familiar with the D60 - have far can you push the ISO?
  9. dubels macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Like ChrisA said you might want to look into the older Nikon flashes. The only reason I went with a SB600 is that my D80 can fire it wirelessly. But I don't think the D60s can, so you can get away with an older model. If you do you can find them cheaper and still get a lens.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Bumping up the ISO isn't a substitute for good lighting. Good lighting defines your subject, sets the mood and places light and shadow where you actually want it, not wherever it happens to fall. You'd probably be surprised at how much an SB600 will improve your pictures once you get used to dialing its power levels down to a reasonable amount - especially outdoors where you can do cross-lit portraits, back-lit portraits, and fill in deep eye sockets.

    I prefer a 600 or 800 to an SB24 (not even sure where my SB24 is, but I know where my 800 and 600s are,) because of the ability to tilt/swivel the head- again it's about putting the light were you want it and how you want it- bounce flash is a great thing indoors with reasonably low ceilings.

    I stopped at the Grand Canyon on my way over the US last week- there was a couple with a Rebel of some sort who asked me to take a picture of them and their baby in front of the canyon about 15 minutes after the sun came over the East rim. Shot it and chimped because it was bothering me a bit- yep- light in back of the family had the canyon lit well- but their faces weren't in the light- the scene was backlit. Popped up the onboard flash, and even without adjusting power the next shot was so much better even on the LCD it wasn't funny.

    I tend to take off a stop and a third or so of power with my SB800 if I'm using it as fill- catchlights are so important to people/animal photography- spend some time with that SB600 on the camera, you're likely to end up with much better shots.
  11. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    A couple of thoughts.

    As far as the macro lens is concerned, if you are shooting bugs you'll find that a 100mm (+/-) lens will give you more working room at 1:1 so you are less likely to scare the little critters off. But I've found that a 100mm lens can also be awkward distance for a crop sensor camera for other-than-macro shots. A 60mm macro lens will be a lot more versatile on a crop sensor, but you'll have to get a lot closer to your subject (probably the difference between 3" from lens to subject with a 60mm vs. 6" for a 100mm).

    As for flash, before you buy anything it might be worth your while to invest some time at The experts at using off-camera flash hang out there, and you can learn quite a bit about what you actually need vs. what you might be inclined to buy. There is nothing wrong with eTTL/i-TTL, but there is nothing inherently right with it either. Just like you can learn to shoot in manual with a little effort, there is a lot you can do with pretty cheap, basic flash units. Then you can make an informed decision if a TTL flash unit is useful for the types of pictures you take.
  12. mahood macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2009
    I second this. Off-camera flash, used right, makes more of a difference to the quality of almost any photos than lenses will. A poorly lit shot will look just as bad on the nicest lens you own as the kit lens made of plastic and tissue paper... Lighting is often overlooked, but critical to the end result.

    That said, if you're doing macro work, you might well find you need the macro lens, if you're shooting on safari, you'll need a telephoto - but a flash will be usable in almost any 'regular' situation.

    Personally I went for an E-TTL flash for my Canon, but if you're doing things the 'strobist' way it's not necessary at all. A $50 flash from eBay works every bit as well!

    To echo what everyone else says - look at what you're shooting, see what you enjoy most, and ask yourself honestly what you need to make those photos better. I spend half my non-photography time talking myself out of the next 'essential' bit of kit, as I simply don't need it.

  13. joro macrumors 68020


    Jun 11, 2009
    At the risk of sounding like a trite sound bite, I think it depends on your situation. The 60mm is a great macro lens and will expand your photography if you enjoy taking macro pictures (e.g. insects, flowers, etc). On the other hand, a flash is important if you plan on doing any kind of portrait work or if you want a little more flexibility in when you’re able to shoot. In either case, I don’t think you can go “wrong” but eventually you’ll probably own both anyway.

    Good luck!
  14. 88888888 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    k thanks guys
    will the 60 micro on a d60 have sufficient room for light?
    maybe ill go for 60mm and sb-600

Share This Page