Photography on a budget..Possible or not?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by fotografica, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    I find myself getting more interested in photography.I've had my D-50 kit for almost one year now and have been shooting and shooting. When I look around at upgrading lenses and equipment,the cost is like sticker shock on a car. Is it possible to get more serious about photography without breaking the bank? Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you..
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    The answer is "It depends." Mostly it depends on what you want to shoot and what results you expect. You can get nice used lenses for the D50, like the 80-200/2.8 and the 50/1.8 and 300/4 which will produce great results without totally breaking the bank. You can get cheap strobes from Vivitar and do multiple-flash set-ups without too much hassle- otherwise, it's expensive to get top-of-the-line equipment, but it's generally a one-time expense amortized over tens of years- or you can try to go budget and do more evaluation and take more risk of unacceptable results.
     
  3. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #3
    Yes, very possible

    What lens manufacturers are you looking at?

    I've used very nice lenses from Sigma and Tokina that cost much less than their Nikon comparables.

    Also, consider buying used equipment.
     
  4. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #4
    Well, in the world of dSLR, no. Most of the decent lenses will most likely cost more than your camera itself (I also have a D50).

    However, it really kind of depends. Depends on what you want to shoot; sports photography will most likely be way out of your limit (fast lenses are quite expensive). However, if you only want to shoot portraits and candids, you can get decent fixed lenses for fairly cheap (i.e. 50mm/1.8 = $80). Although, better prime lenses are upwards of $300 easy.

    Fast telephotos are even more expensive. A great all-around lens that will suit most of your needs is the 18-200mm VR, which runs around $800, but it's a great lens, and makes up for much of the need to get a variety of lenses. But again, it depends what you want to shoot, and what range you are looking at.

    The reality of the dSLR market is that good lenses are almost always more expensive than the physical body itself, that's why most will say base your decision on a body on the lenses you intend to strap on it, because the lenses and their quality will last longer than the life of the body itself.
     
  5. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #5
    C'mon... off the top of my head all of these lenses are cheaper than the D50
    • 50mm f/1.4
    • 35-70mm f/2.8
    • 60mm f/2.8 Macro
    • 20mm f/2.8
    • 70-210 f/4.5-5.6 (or whatever it is)
    • 25-85mm f/3.5-5.6 (or whatever it is) Macro
    • etc

    All are very decent lenses
     
  6. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #6
    Well, we may disagree on the definition of decent, but I'd agree some of those are "decent." The 50mm/1.4 is a great lens, but is also around $280. You can get a decent D50 body for like $325 right now. All the other lenses are decent lenses I'd agree, but I guess I was thinking of higher telephoto lenses as opposed to fixed primes.
     
  7. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #7
    If he has a D50, I assumed he wasn't looking for 500mm VR lenses... just something new to add to the lens stable.

    I agree, I didn't list anything extravagant.

    Maybe the OP can specify what he's looking for and we can all be a little more helpful?
     
  8. fotografica thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    Thanks for the replies so far. I mainly like to photograph landscapes, seascapes, lighthouses as well as some city shots (statues,churches,life around town etc.) I'll occasionally try and get nice and tight on a flower or insect,but haven't had much luck there..Thanks
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    Which lens did you get with your kit? For flowers and insects you probably want a macro lens, for landscapes and seascapes something wide- but what you have might already do that. The 35-70 f/2.8 AF-D lens is an excellent lens and it does pretty well for macro shots, they're getting harder to find in good condition though- but it might be worth seeing what KEH has in stock...
     
  10. fotografica thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    Sorry,should have posted that originally.It came with a 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Zoom Nikkor Lens..
     
  11. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #11
    It also sounds like a decent tripod would be of more use to you than new lenses if everything you're taking pictures of is essentially outdoors and still. I bought one new, but if you're lucky and patient, a decent used tripod can probably be found for cheap. I'd look for that, a wide prime, and a macro lens, all used and manual.
     
  12. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #12
    Nikon 55mm Micro f2.8 AIS is cheap and very good. You can reach 1:1 with extension tubes.

    You have to manual focus and can't meter with the camera, so you'll need to get a spotmeter or become good at evaluating lighting conditions.

    In a couple of years you could get a used D200 if you get into this kind of gear.
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    While you can try to do it all in one lens, I'd suggest deciding what's more important to you and what focal lengths or macro capability you want. If landsacapes are more important and you want wide, the Sigma 10-20 is astoundingly wide, but not very cheap. If you prefer to shoot "normal" stuff and macro, the 35-70mm AF-D lens rocks for a general purpose lens, but 35mm on a crop factor body isn't going to be wide, it's going to be normal. It's also not as good as a dedicated macro lens, but it's cheaper and more useful as a general lens IMO. Finally, there's the all-in-one lenses like the 18-200, you'd be best served to see what Thom Hogan has on www.bythom.com on the quality and usefulness of the newer consumer lenses.
     
  14. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    #14
    Good photography doesn't require that you spend much money at all.

    If you want to get serious, purchase a Sigma 30mm and shoot like hell with it. Zoom with your feet. Keep your small body and relatively small lens with you all the time.

    Better photographers than anyone on an Internet forum (or everyone on Internet forums combined, for that matter) spent most of their career with a single prime lens in the 35mm-50mm range.

    On a 1.5x crop body, that Sigma becomes a 45mm lens (basically even with 'normal' human vision) with a wide aperture. It's suitable for anything you want to throw at it from landscapes to portraiture.
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #15
    Reports have significant sample variation on the Sigma 30mm, the OP would likely be better off with one of the Nikkor 50s.
     
  16. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    #16
    A Nikkor 50 is a fine lens (after I sell my D70, I'm going to pick up one of the dirt-cheap F100s just to keep using the 50/1.8 I'll have left) - but it's not a good all-purpose lens on a crop body. 75mm feels rather long for any kind of indoor use or casual shooting.

    Besides, order your Sigma from Amazon and you can keep sending them back until one works right (though I've heard very little complaint from Nikon users, and Canon samples have gotten better).
     
  17. willie45 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #17
    The problem nowadays is that newcomers to photography get too hung up on gear. It is totally wrong to assume you need to spend much money to take good photographs. Certainly it is wrong to start with just buying a load of gear because you somehow feel you need it! I know this fellow gets a bit mad sometimes but what he says here is worth a read http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm

    The OP probably would do well to consider what type of shots he wants to take that he can't take with his current gear and then decidec what lens to go for. Perhaps a wideangle for landscape would be beneficial and the 10-20 sigma mentioned above is a fine lens ( I own one ).

    On the other hand if he wants to get a telephoto then I would recommend a 55-200mm zoom in addition to the lens he has. I suggest a Tamron (my partner has one ) which is an extremely good lens and very inexpensive ( around £78) here in the UK which equates to around $150 US. At any rate it is considerably cheaper than the body price of a D50 as are many many good lenses.


    Then people read this and that on the internet most of which I would say is of doubtful value and then judge lenses based on hearsay rather than experience. The world is full of armchair experts who the OP would do well to ignore. Some good advice would be to join a local camera club where you feel comfortable and learn with people you meet there.


    Willie
     
  18. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #18
    <<The problem nowadays is that newcomers to photography get too hung up on gear.>>

    I agree 100%. And it's not just newcomers either... Until I looked a minute ago, I wasn't sure about the lens I've got on my camera (it's the 'kit' 18-70 lens...), and the reason is that I'm just too busy taking photos!

    Yes, it's possible to enjoy a photographic hobby without spending big bucks... and it's possible to do it professionally too, 'cos that's what I do: landscape & location work. Which means that most of my time is spent looking at landscapes... rather than looking at cameras.

    I'll go further. When we get obsessed with cameras, we won't take good pictures. We'll have terrific cameras... but that's all. :)
     
  19. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa City, Iowa
    #19
    I agree with many of the above posters; you can surely squeeze more out of the D50 than you may already have. Once you have a DSLR, and have begun the process of getting used to it, the sky really is the limit. Although I am a Canon guy, the D50 is a wonderful tool.

    I have yet to upgrade to a DSLR because I believe the jump would be negligible in most cases, not enough to offset the huge costs. Currently, I use a Canon S2 IS as well as several Fujica SLR film cameras from the 70's. While I have 16 lenses for the Fujicas, I find that I seldom remove the 50mm f1.4 that came standard on them. Occasionally, I will use the 24mm wideangle.

    In the 300,000+ shots I've fired off with my digitals (my last one croaked after four years of hard service), I have yet to feel like I've "mastered" anything, although I feel I've gotten better. Give yourself a year with the D50, using it as much as humanly possible, and you'll find the desire for gear diminish as you become more involved in what you are doing.

    Or, ignore me entirely and invest in a good wideangle prime.

    Good luck!
     
  20. fotografica thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #20
    Thanks for all the replies everybody. There's a lot of great information above. Somehow I feel I'm not using the camera to its fullest capability. The one thing I would like tho,is more zoom capability. A decent telephoto lens will probably go on my Christmas list..
     
  21. willie45 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #21
    Really do try the Tamron. Its an awful lot of lens for the money. Also here is a link to a photography site in the UK which you might find helpful.

    Amateur Photographer is a very well established mag here in Britain and the forum is friendly and useful.
    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/forums/ubbthreads.php



    Willie
     
  22. pcuser2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    #22
    Will it is possible to upgrade your tools when you think it is necessary and the you have got the right replacement for the item. But I think sometimes you can just do good job with your present cameras also.
     
  23. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #23

    The 18-250 Tamron gives you a huge 13.8x zoom range---and it's a very compact zoom, without busting the budget @~$400USD.

    Read about it being tested here:

    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1009/cat/23

    If you don't need wide-angle, Tamron has a new 28-300 with image stabilization.

    http://www.tamron.com/news/35mm/28300vc.asp

    Not quite as good as the Nikon 28-200 VR, but it's smaller/lighter, costs less, and gets you more reach at the telephoto end. And it does this, which the Nikon can't:

     
  24. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #24
    You have a D50, so you can take advantage of some used bargains which don't fit D40 owners, like the Nikon 70-300 F4-5.6 AF-D ED, which is quite good and can be found in excellent condition at a very nice price.
     
  25. willie45 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #25
    I would still look hard at the Tamron 55-200 in favour of the larger range zooms. Quality is higher and the price is much lower. You already have a good deal of the shorter end covered and there is not point in duplicating that range with inferior image quality

    Willie
     

Share This Page