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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:50 pm 
Hey,

First off, I know absolutely nothing about photography, unfortunately. My girlfriend is actively pursuing it as a career but just doesn't have the money to spend on upgrading her camera and lenses.

She currently has a Nikon D60 with the stock lens that comes with it, but she's looking to upgrade to a Nikon D5000 by just buying the body. However, I think for a career she really needs to change her lens, or get multiple new lenses?

I'm looking to get her some early Christmas presents, so I'm wondering whether:

  • It's worth upgrading to a Nikon D5000 (just buying the body)
  • What lens(es) would be good and affordable for the following situations:
    • Nightclub photography (she works for Tillate)
    • Model shoots (this usually involves her taking pictures of somebody in their own environment - for example a musician in his studio, or a musician photographed in a town centre somewhere)
    • Product photography (taking photos of physical products for companies using a lightbox - she's only done this once so it's not a major priority in terms of a suitable lens)


Her current work with her D60 is, in my opinion, extremely good. However, she does have to do a fair bit of photo editing to improve the quality of her pictures. As such, she is looking to upgrade.

For her nightclub photography, she complains that her pictures aren't sharp enough and the colours aren't vivid enough compared to other peoples' work. And for her model shoots she complains about the pictures coming out grainy a lot of the time when the lighting is low.

Neither me or her are up on our photography lingo so I would appreciate some replies that are dumbed down for photography virgins like myself :lol:

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:41 pm 
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I know the low light performance of the D5000 is way better than that of the D60. Also a good low light capable lens will help keep the ISO low and so the pictures wont end up all grainy (noise). Many love the 50/1.8 lens, its cheap and works very well, just one problem with this lens on both bodies, manual focus or about twice that price, the 35/1.8 lens.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:27 pm 
Thanks for the reply.

Just wanted to clarify what you said in your post...are you saying the only problem with that lens is the manual focus? If so, what's bad about it?

Also, could you link me to the lenses that you're referring to? Apologies for being incapable, just want to make sure I find the right one :P thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:51 pm 
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The 50 mm 1.8 AF-D will not autofocus with a D60 or D5000, but the 50 mm 1.8 AF-S will.

A more expensive option is the 50 mm F/1.4, which allows more light in, meaning even better for night clubs, and it allows the background to be blurred more for portraits. Same story about AF-S and AF-D ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:53 pm 
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FunkyStuff wrote:
Just wanted to clarify what you said in your post...are you saying the only problem with that lens is the manual focus? If so, what's bad about it?


I am not saying it is bad, just that some people don't like manual focus that much, in dark situations it could be very difficult to get a shot in focus by eyes (50/1.8 here). So if you rather have a lens that has autofocus, on both a D60 or D5000, then a better way to go is the 35/1.8 lens, which also has the advantage of a wider view.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:55 pm 
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Citruspers wrote:
The 50 mm 1.8 AF-D will not autofocus with a D60 or D5000, but the 50 mm 1.8 AF-S will.


What a pity there is not yet a 50mm 1.8 AF-s citrus ;-)

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Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Hello FunkyStuff, and welcome to the friendly Camera Labs forum!
To enjoy your stay here please have a look at the house-rules! There's also a regulation about avatar size that you're currently violating. Please reduce the size accordingly.
----
Manual focus is extremely critical esp. with large aperture lenses like the Nikon AF 50/1.8D! And there is indeed no AF-S version of this lens unless you upgrade to the more expensive Nikon AF-S 50/1.4G or the Sigma 50/1.4. That in turn is a real low light wonder but is in some cases no long enough. Better is the AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 but again this lens does not AF on a D60/D3000/D5000.
This is due to the fact that Nikon has not upgraded many good and cheap old prime lenses because Pros buy/have a body that can AF with those lenses (the AF motor is in the body). This starts with the D90 which unfortunately costs clearly more than the D5000.
Assuming that your GF stays with a D5000 body it is recommended to get a good stabilized DX zoom, e.g. a Nikon 18-55 VR or the best in terms of quality the Nikon 16-85 VR.
Btw.: Is the kit-lens of your GF already stabilized (look out for the VR moniker)?

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Last edited by Thomas on Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:32 pm 
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Pardon me quoting the nikon 1.8 AF-S, I indeed mixed it up.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:25 pm 
Thomas wrote:
Assuming that your GF stays with a D5000 body it is recommended to get a good stabilized DX zoom, e.g. a Nikon 18-55 VR or the best in terms of quality the Nikon 16-85 VR.
Btw.: Is the kit-lens of your GF already stabilized (look out for the VR moniker)?

The lens that comes with the D60 and D5000 as standard in the kit is the 18-55 VR. But, as I say, she has problems with the pictures not coming out sharp enough and encounters noise/graininess at low lighting.

So, bearing this in mind, would these problems mainly be due to the settings she's using? Or would a new lens (even if MF was the only option) still be a far better route (obviously whilst using the best settings as well)?

I've been trying to read a little bit about camera settings. Am I right in thinking the ISO should be as low as is possible to preserve as much detail, where possible? And if so, should this be compensated for by increasing the aperture? Sorry for asking some basic photography 101 here, I'm just trying to work it all out in my head so I get the right thing for her.

I do think she'd get even more frustrated, for now, trying to do everything with manual focus so ideally I would like an AF lens for the D5000, if getting a lens in the first place is the right option.

Thanks for all the responses so far, I'd heard these forums were friendly and I haven't been proven wrong!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:50 pm 
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FunkyStuff wrote:
The lens that comes with the D60 and D5000 as standard in the kit is the 18-55 VR. But, as I say, she has problems with the pictures not coming out sharp enough and encounters noise/graininess at low lighting.

So, bearing this in mind, would these problems mainly be due to the settings she's using? Or would a new lens (even if MF was the only option) still be a far better route (obviously whilst using the best settings as well)?

I've been trying to read a little bit about camera settings. Am I right in thinking the ISO should be as low as is possible to preserve as much detail, where possible? And if so, should this be compensated for by increasing the aperture? Sorry for asking some basic photography 101 here, I'm just trying to work it all out in my head so I get the right thing for her.


To get sharper pictures in dark situations you have to keep the shutter speed at a certain length that it is still able to 'freeze' the movement of the subject being photographed. Which results in higher ISO or wider apertures to get more light on the sensor, wide being f1.4 for instance and less wide f2.8. The lower the aperture "F" number, the more light enters through the lens. If you want sharpness by lens performance, then most of the times this means closing the aperture a bit which as well affects other settings like longer shutter speed or higher ISO. So then the problem again stays the ISO being higher than preferred maybe, but at least the sharpness is there in that case ;-)
More problems with sharpness could be the result of higher ISO's used. But that is not biggest problem, lens and camera settings like shutter speed and aperture have more effect on sharpness.

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Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:56 pm 
Ah I think I follow what you're saying, yeah.

In low lights her photos are usually sharp but noisy, so I guess she needs to lower the ISO a little bit further and prolong the shutter speed?

The most problem she has with photos not coming out sharp enough is in nightclubs. She has an SB900 flash gun which works a treat in nightclubs, but as I say the photos don't come out sharp enough. What would this be due to?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:49 pm 
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is it in continuous or single AF, in the case of continuous the AF assist light of the SB900 wont light up, which can lead to a missfocus. And otherwise it is because the subject moved while taking the picture and so stepped out of focus.

Or arent the pictures out of focus, but just lack the sharpness? If they lack sharpness all I can think of is that the lens is the limiting factor.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:07 am 
I got the D5000 a little over amonth ago, and it is a fantastic camera for the price. Reviews don't do it justice. BUT... I have come to realize that I should have held out for a more pro oriented camera, the D300. Some of the features that I would prefer are

    -buttons and controls for camera settings instead of screen menus
    -higher resolution LCD
    -I don't use the swivel screen like I thought I would, just one more thing to break
    -video on these cameras is pretty useless since focus goes into manual mode when taking video
    -build quality is not as high as the D90 an nowhere near the D300
    -4 fps and the buffer is kind of lacking for any real action, and even with the fastest SDHC card money can buy, CF is still faster
    -I have tried most of the programmed scene modes and don't use them. I still feel I'm able to achieve better effects for what I want with P, S, A, and M modes. That's why I want all my buttons...


Please understand that these are things I personally see as limitations, maybe you won't. The pictures the D5000 takes are awesome, but if you are changing settings between shots then it is slow to navigate. With the right lenses and technique, you will get fantastic results.
-AB

PS: Buy good glass. For low light, especially indoors go with f/2.8's on your zooms.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:27 am 
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Ok, skip that comment :-P It is about a tight budget now.

His girlfriend is already on a same sort of camera (D60) so she knows how to navigate for settings I suppose.
The camera will be used for photography, not the video function, it just will come as an extra
For shooting portraits, 4 fps is enough, so don't worry about that
And as for the scene modes, same as for the video, if you don't use it, don't use it, simple as that

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Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:58 pm 
WoutK89 wrote:
Ok, skip that comment :-P It is about a tight budget now.


One important minus I forgot to mention about the D5000 is that is has no in-body AF motor. So, if you do want some better glass, you will have to pay more for it. I've done the math, and for some lenses (long zooms especially), you will more than save what you payed extra for the more expensive camera. Heck, the D90 isn't that much more and it has an in-body AF motor. Could actually end up saving you money in the long run.


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