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 Post subject: Help which new Nikon
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:29 pm 
What a great web site, only found it the other day by accident when I looked up Nikon D80 on youtube and found Gordon’s video review, brilliant !

Anyway I’m after a bit of advice I have an old Nikon 401s, 3 lenses and an Osram flash. I always enjoyed using this for taking motor racing photos and the normal day to day family stuff. But lugging it around became a bit of a pain and when the super zoom cameras came out, I brought a Fuji 2800 which did exactly what my SLR set up did in one, this was then replaced by a Konica Minolta Z3 which I still own.

My main reason for a new camera now is my 2 year old son and the family, I want good clean images of him playing and running around indoors and out and I’m not getting them with the Z3 in fact I’ve really gone off the thing, so I' like to buy myself a new camera and am after an Nikon DSLR, I think !

My ideal lens set would be the 18-70 and then the 70-300 VR. But which body do I put with it.

The D40, I like the price and I know it would be a huge step up in quality from the Z3, but the D40x is out now. As much as I don’t want to get caught in the megapixel race, most photos will never be bigger than 7x5 and at max A4, I can’t help wanting this rather than the D40 it’s a bloke thing I suppose, it’s newer and better than the D40 so I can’t really settle with the D40, although I know it will be fine.

Then there’s the D80 more money but will use my existing lenses, but they do not cover the zoom range I’m after. I’ve got 35-210mm in 35mm terms and without VR, so I would need a new wide angle lens at least to start with.

I’ve done so much research on this and I’ve just confused myself and am also starting to think investment in another super zoom might be the best way to go.

Please help, which body is best for my needs and best for the lens choice, or do I buy another super zoom.

Thanks

AJH001


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:19 pm 
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Hi there AJH, welcome to the forums. I've got a D80 with 18-70mm and 70-300mm VR as well as a 50mm f/1.8. When I bought the D80 before Christmas I got myself confused as well. With help from here I ended up plumping for the D80 and am very pleased with it.

From what you've said I don't think a super zoom is the way to go. With a dSLR you get a proper viewfinder and I think that's worth its weight in gold especially if you end up using it for motorsport photos. I have managed for the last 5 years with a compact digital camera at the Festival of Speed and although I'm not going this year, I can't wait to take my D80 along to get some better photos of the cars going up the hill.

Looking at Warehouse Express I found the following prices:

D40 + 18-55mm £369
D40x + 18-55mm £498 (£419 body only)
D80 + 18-70mm £682 (£529 body only)

That's quite a difference in price. From what you've said I'd go with the D80. The reason being you want photos of your son. You're not going to get a second chance at taking them so an extra £180 is worth paying IMO. I used a similar justification when chosing between the Canon 400D and the D80. I wanted the camera for a trip to New Zealand so wanted the best I could afford.

Something else you should consider is what the camera actually feels like. I'd go into a camera shop and hold both cameras to see which one feels better. As I understand it there is quite a difference in size between the two.

_________________
Nikon D80, Nikkor lenses: 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX, 50mm f/1.8 AF D, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR, SB800 flash
My photos on SmugMug


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:01 pm 
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Hi AJH, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

If you're after clean images in low light and quick response times, you should definitely get yourself a DSLR. But which one?

Sounds like Nikon's got you hooked on the classic up-selling ploy!

You identify you're unhappy with a point and shoot, so consider an entry-level DSLR like the D40 - it offers much better response and low light capabilities. But it's 'only' 6 Megapixels and they go and bring out a 10 Megapixel version to reassure you. BUT it still only has basic AF and incompatibility with older lenses, so before you know what's happened you're looking at the D80!

Seriously, all three will be a big step-up from a point and shoot / super zoom, in terms of image quality and handling. So the first question you have to ask yourself is whether 6 Mpixels is enough. Remember there's enough detail there to make a great-looking 10x7in print, but if you want bigger enlargements, or the chance to crop-in and still make a big print, then you'll need 10 Mpixels.

As Phil says though, the D40x is quite a bit more expensive than the D40, just for the higher resolution, and I think some of the more basic features like the 3-point AF begin to look weak at that higher price point.

So ultimately if 6 Mpixels is really enough and you're on a tight budget, then get the D40. But if you feel you need 10 Mpixels, and can afford it, I'd skip the D40x and go straight to the much more powerful D80. It's a camera which will offer you a lot more over time, and as Phil says, you only get one chance with your kids growing up.

(plus, if you get the D80, you can supplement the 18-70 kit with your existing Nikkor lenses before investing in, say, the 70-300mm VR)

Gordon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:35 pm 
Thanks for your help guys. I went down to my local independent camera shop yesterday and had a play with the three of them and the 18-55, 18-70 and 18-135. Out of the lenses I prefer the 18-70mm which is good as it was part of my initial choice, just seems to be the right weight and seems well made.

Body well the D40’s seemed to be a bit too small for my hand. I was having to hold it strangely to be able to put my thumb in it’s the correct position at the rear of the camera, the D80 with the 18-70mm felt right.
Then I was thrown, I was handed a D50 again felt nice to hold with the 18-70 and will do what I’m after.

Kind of tempted by this my old lenses will fit and auto focus, the body has more functions than a D40, please correct me if I’m wrong, not done a lot of research on the D50 yet and it’s cheaper than a D80. I’m kind of thinking if my hearts not quite into the DSLR thing at the moment this might make a better starting option than the D40’s or D80. Have found a Nikon refurbished D50 with a new 18-70mm for £475.00.

Anyway at the suggestion of the camera shop I’m going to take my 70-210mm zoom lens into them just to check it will work on the D50 or D80 it’s a Tokina and although the correct fit apparently not all 3rd party lenses work properly by all accounts. One slight spanner in the works, just had a quote to replace my back fence and I’m still in shock so plans might be delayed for a few months.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:25 pm 
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Hi AJH, there are some good prices on the D50, but for my money, it's an ageing camera (in DSLR terms) and 'only' 6 Megapixel. Unless your budget demanded it, I'd still try and splurge on the D80.

You've definitely done the right thing though and picked them up in person. It's amazing how quickly you can reject or confirm a model you had your heart set on.

We do actually have a review of the D50, although it was one of the first on cameralabs, and not as detailed as our current reviews! It's here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/NikonD50/

It does have a couple of advantages over the D40 including LCD screen on the top (albeit non backlit as I recall) and compatibility with older lenses, so may be worth considering if the D80 is a step too far.

Gordon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:17 pm 
Hello back again, the fence is sorted and I’m back onto the camera. Having had a few weeks worth of thinking time I’m pretty sure it’s the D80 I’m going to go for, but which lens?

I initially thought of having the 18-70 and the 70-300 VR when funds allowed. I'm now thinking that perhaps the 18-135 to start with as it would give me more zoom range to start with especially if the Tokina is not going to be compatible (haven’t checked yet).

I know this is a bit of a loose question but having not owned a DSLR before, how well will this lens perform for me as a general all rounder and how bad will camera shake really be. I suppose what I’m trying to say are all the things which are said to be wrong with this lens really going to be noticeable in normal daily use unless you really scrutinise the photo and have the same shot from another camera or lens next to them.

Other than a tripod any good tips for avoiding camera shake whilst trying to photograph a 2yo running around.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:46 pm 
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Hi 001AJH,

if something or someone is running around I find it incredible hard to use a tripod, because even if you have the best super-tilt&swivel-head, you want to change perspective, move around in the room, shoot from above or near the floor. That'll never work with a tripod!
So if you're saying that you'd like to photograph a moving 2yo you have to be able to move around with him/her and you're probably shooting indoors with available light.
There you have it: These are classical situations where image stabilization is invaluable! So consider the Nikon 18-200mm VR. It also solves the problem of changing lenses, loosing valuable time, getting dust into the cam-body, carrying another lens with you.
If the price is a bit steep there is the brand new AF-S VR DX 55-200mm 4.0-5.6G IF-ED which can be had for around 300EUR.
But think again: the necessity to switch lenses back and forth at 55mm or 70mm in photographing young children will come up frequently and you really risk loosing valuable moments :cry:

P.S.: In general the zoom range of 18-135mm covers quite a lot of opportunities and the quality should fit your needs - but the lens lacks VR...
P.S.2: In the meantime the D40x came up, giving the same 10.2 megapixels as the D80! That could be an alternative for you. Unfortunately, they seem to sell the D40x only as a kit with a basic lens. That is certainly not a good proposition if you a aiming at the 18-200mm VR...

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 2:41 pm 
001AJH wrote:
I know this is a bit of a loose question but having not owned a DSLR before, how well will this lens perform for me as a general all rounder and how bad will camera shake really be. I suppose what I’m trying to say are all the things which are said to be wrong with this lens really going to be noticeable in normal daily use unless you really scrutinise the photo and have the same shot from another camera or lens next to them.


Well, I bought my D80 with the Nikkor 18-135 lens, then three months later I ebayed it and bought the 18-200mm VR and to be honest, I haven’t looked back.

If you’re shooting indoors and you don’t want to use the flash then you will notice camera shake quite a bit. Personally, the other negative things about the lens (high vignetting at wide angle) I didn’t really notice but as you said, it depends on how much you scrutinise the photos. If you're buying it as part of a kit then it's a really solid starter lens.

Personally, my recommendation would be to save the extra and go for the 18-200mm VR. To have a lens where I can cover 18 to 200mm, have image stabilization, and only have to carry 1 lens around is invaluable. It’s a lot of money but it’s so unbelievably worth it. You will be impressed!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:20 pm 
If you are persuaded by these arguments, the D80 with 18-200 is available now with a 1GB Lexar card for £999 GBP from AJ Purdy - I just ordered one today - they were in stock at 11AM !!

Its a shed load of cash, although this is the best deal I have seen to date - I hope I won't regret it. I love the D80 viewfinder, but I did not get the chance to try the 18-200. But with children, the thought of switching lenses did it in the end. How long do your kids stand still while you frame a photo, never mind change a lens? Precisely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 8:30 pm 
Collected my camera and lens this morning. Went for the D80 and the 18-200mm VR in the end. It was the lens that just made the whole thing seem right and I don't think a lesser body would have done it justice.

I haven’t used it for real yet as I have been out all day, so I'm going to give the battery a good charge tonight and have a play tomorrow when I've had a read of the instruction manual, think it's just going to be full auto for a while whilst I get used to it.

Thanks to everybody for all your help and advice I'm pretty sure I've made the right decision, especially when my son turned around unexpectedly and gave me a smashing smile, the camera was more than able to capture the moment without delay (just a shame it was in demo mode without a card).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 8:45 pm 
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Hi AJH, congratulations on your choice - I think you'll be very happy!

Do let us know how you get on with it, and when you're ready, post some pics in flickr (or something similar)!

Gordon


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