Nikon lens advice for night photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by SOLLERBOY, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. SOLLERBOY macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi, I am relatively new to DSLR photography (6 months or so). I own a D40 with 18-55mm kit lens and am starting to fell hindered.(settings are a pain to change and lens isn't everything I need)

    I am currently taking Photography A level and am in the middle of a night project. I will be traveling to New York City in about 4 weeks and need something nippy to take with me. It needs to be fast and good at taking handheld night shots as both the empire state and rockerfeller centre won't allow tri-pods.

    I know I am restricted by the lack of Af motor in the D40 so would a camera upgrade to say the D90 be more plausible than getting a lens?

    any advice/suggestions/tips will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #2
    I recently went through the same thought process and decided I'm going to sell my D40 shortly and get a D90. Either you spend ~$440 on the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S that will work with the D40 (or ~$350 for the 30mm Sigma), or you can spend a little more now (after selling your D40) and get a D90 which will work with pretty much any lens you want to buy, ever. Lots of the AF-D lenses are less expensive than their AF-S counterparts. Plus, the D90 is a heck of a lot more camera with a newer generation sensor than the D40. If you're able to spend the money, I'd do it because it will really open up your options for glass and work out better in the long run.
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #3
    50mm f/1.4 or f1.8 if you have a smaller budget.

    There is a 35mm f/2D

    Perhaps a monopod?
     
  4. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    the 50mm's dont autofocus with the d40 do they? just the £300 one.
     
  5. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #5
    No, they don't. Only the $440 one I mentioned autofocuses on the D40 -- the 50mm AF-S f/1.4.

    I'm personally getting the D90 and the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, which is an extremely sharp lens and can be had for $100.
     
  6. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    would that be suitable for hand held night photo's?
     
  7. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    THis is what I will probably end up doing but I have only one problem. I have enough for a camera but then not a lens. Atm I'm thinking of going for the 50mm af s and sell that when I have used it in new york, then get the d90. I really need the NY shots to come out good so does anyone know if this lens will be suitable and if it will be suitable for midnight handheld photography?????
     
  8. svndmvn Guest

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    #8
    I flickered D90 hand held 50 night shots and it looks like it would do. I don't know about the D40, I don't think the pictures would be too bad.
    I looked up the 30mm 1.4, it also looks like a great lens.
     
  9. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    thanks. I'll take a look myself. I think 30mm may be better for what I need it for.
     
  10. svndmvn Guest

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    #10
    my pleasure, it's a bit pricier but looks like it's a lot better and since you're not selling the D40/buying the D90 right now..could be a possibility. I'll go look for some D40+30mm on flicker myself.
     
  11. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    after looking at some NY stuff taken with d40's and comparing them with d90's on flickr, the difference seems to be enormous. Maybe I will get a d90 after all.
     
  12. Milessio macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Ultrapod

    You can probably use a small tripod e.g. Ultrapod resting on the floor, handrail, balustrade or braced against a wall, lamp post etc. Just remember to use the 2s timer though.

    As you will be spending time to compose & perfect your shots, do you really need a/f?

    I've got the 50mm 1.8 & it's great (though I have a D300). If you move up to a more expensive camera, you'll then get the convenience of the a/f.

    (My brother's also doing the same course & has finished the night project. He used a 35mm film camera without a/f (better quality).)
     
  13. Qianlong macrumors regular

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    #13
    I think adorama in NYC also does rentals, so maybe you could rent a lens instead of buying one.
     
  14. numbersyx macrumors 65816

    numbersyx

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    #14
    Much better camera even for the increased price and you get the AF in the camera. Take a wide angle lens if you can get one (Sigma is great value) as NYC seems to be a perfect spot for the wide angles...
     
  15. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #15
    D90 has much better high ISO capabilities than the D40 so is better than night, in fact it's performance on paper is better than the pro level D300 in regards to high ISO.

    I would suggest picking up a D90 along with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 (about $85 on Amazon), if you can afford the kit with the 18-105 lens is a good deal, you would just be lacking a telephoto lens with that combination.
     
  16. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    #16
    the nikon fifties (1.8D, 1.4D & 1.4G) are good fast lenses for night photography. there is also the sigma 30mm 1.4 lens which i am putting in my short list since the focal length is closer to 50mm in dx-format cameras like the d90 and d40.
     
  17. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #17
    Gotta be careful with the D40 though as it doesn't have an auto focus model on the body so at least the 50 1.8 would need to be manually focused, I think the same goes for the 1.4D so you would need the 1.4G for auto focusing on the D40, which means extra $$$.
     
  18. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    #18
    I have used the 50mm 1.8 on both a D90 and now my D300 and it works awesome for night photography especially when you consider the price for it. If this is something you think you will be doing a lot of I would recommend you get the 50mm 1.8 ($100) and the D90 (great camera).

    Scratch that. Nikon has raised their prices almost everywhere (U.S. beginning Feb. 1st), Europe has mostly already been hit, Australia, etc.. Some prices have gone up by 10-15%. The D90 I think has been hit. I just looked at it from B&H's website and Adorama's. B&H is saying out of stock and it will be $899 when they have it again. Same price at Adorama. The price a week ago was about $850. I read on one of the Nikon boards that the D90 went up about $125USD's in Britain. That is something to think about. Good news for people wanting to buy the D300 is that prices are probably going to drop some. Like another poster said, you can rent the equipment from Adorama or B&H when you are in NYC.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  19. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    #19
    that's true. you have fewer choices (and more expensive ones) with the d40 and the two other entry level nikons (d40x and d60) when it comes to prime lenses that can autofocus. in fact, you have 3 choices, to be exact: the sigma 30mm and 50mm 1.4 lenses and nikon's new 50mm 1.4G AF-S lens 9 (to my knowledge at least).

    i have the nikon 50mm 1.4d and it's a great fast and light lens. my only qualm with it is that it's a bit long in dx-format cameras so it's really 70mm, which is a little unnatural, for me. 50mm is supposedly a more natural focal length and best represents the field of vision that humans see with our own set of "lenses." so, you will have to keep that in mind. especially, shooting in NYC where you don't really have that much room either on the streets and especially indoors to maneuver around. what i end up doing a lot with my 50mm lens on the d90 is stepping back and stepping back and stepping back from my subjects. or think in advance a lot more than i need to since i have less room to work with in framing whatever the subject may be. so, i am keeping an eye out for the sigma 30mm 1.4 lens as a future purchase. the sigma 30mm, to me, addresses the crop factor in dx-format cameras and is supposedly a good fairly inexpensive lens (around $380) from what i hear.
     
  20. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #20
    I think I am leaning more towards the "dirty thirty" myself as my first prime lens, the 50 1.4G sure looks like a nice lens but I think the Sigma 30 would be better for me on my D90 (DX).
     
  21. numbersyx macrumors 65816

    numbersyx

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    #21
    Strange that Nikon would do this in a time when most people are going to be reluctant to open their wallet. Let's see what happens with these prices...
     
  22. hector macrumors regular

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    #22
    Doesn't have to be a problem... not saying you shouldn't upgrade but I took this off the Top of the Rock with a D40 and kit lens balanced precariously on my mobile phone and my wallet.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe think about a Gorillapod? I have been thinking about getting one and wish I had taken one with me to NYC in the summer
     
  23. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    This is just what I needed, some first hand experience. Thanks!!
     
  24. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Get a gorillapod ;) It's perfect for those night shots where you don't have time to use, or can't carry, a tripod.
     
  25. SOLLERBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

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