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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:27 pm 
So after weeks of waiting for my new passport so that I can go to Hong Kong to get a new visa and while I'm there buy a new camera, I've had plenty of time to think about what camera to get. I thought I had finally made up my mind with the D40, then it was the Canon EOS 30D and while I'm sure I would be very happy with both of them, I think I would always have in the back of mind..."what would my pics be like if I'd got the Nikon D80 with the 18-200mm VR!!"

Now I have my new passport, I'm just waiting for a temporary visa before I can leave the country, which will be in about 10 days. I've decided to go for the D80 with the 18-200mm lens and I don't think now, after all the research I've done, I'll change my mind.

My question is about accessories. What to buy with the camera? I live in a small city in China which hasn't quite caught up with the 21st century yet so I really want to buy everything I'm going to need in HK. My list so far is:
Memory cards (2x2gb high speed)
Spare battery
Lowepro bag (100AW) - (Gregory, if you read this, your review was great!)
External flash (SB400 don't think I'll need anything bigger or more powerful)
Tripod (no idea what kind yet, nothing too big or bulky though)
UV Filter

Have I missed anything?

Also one final thing. I've downloaded a user manual for the D80 to make a note of some shortcuts and key things for when I get the camera. I'm only going to be in HK for about 5 days and want to see as much as possible. I know it takes a while to get to know your way around a new camera and I don't want to mess up too many shots in such a great place. We're planning on going to Ocean Park, Disneyland, Victoria Peak and other places so there are going to be some excellent photo opportunities.

For straight out of the box, general day to day shots, I'm planning on using it in P mode and leaving most of the other settings on Auto....would that be good? Time permitting, I'll be experimenting as much as possible. Do other D80 users have any preferential, recommended settings for general use?

Thanks for reading,
Mark


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:14 pm 
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I've just been thinking through what I have in my camera bag. These are things you might find useful:

    Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens - much better in low light than the 18-200mm
    Nikon ML-L3 remote shutter release - useful with a tripod
    Giottos Rocket Blower - required for cleaning the sensor
    Op/Tech Pro camera strap - much better than the supplied strap which is pretty short
    Op/Tech Rainsleeves - helps when it rains
    Spudz 18% gray lens cloth - useful to clean the lens and for setting WB

As for settings, I use A mode most of the time. I haven't got my camera with me at the moment but off the top of my head these are my playback settings:

    Rotate Tall: Off

These are my shooting menu settings:

    Iso Sensitivity: Auto
    Long Exposure NR: Off

These are my custom settings:

    1: Beep: Off
    4: AF Assist: Off
    6: Image Review: Off
    7: ISO Auto ISO: On, max Sensitivity: 800 (personal preference), Min. shutter speed: 1/30 (again personal preference)
    8: Grid Display: Of
    16: FUNC button: Centre weighted:
    27: Monitor off: 1min
    30: Remote On Duration: 15 mins

and this is how I have my camera setup in the setup menu:

    CSM/Setup Menu: Full
    Attach Comment: Yes
    Image comment: (c) Phil Lee 2007
    File no. sequence: On

_________________
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


Last edited by Phil Lee on Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:24 pm 
Mark, you might find the Lowepro 100AW a bit on the small size, 'er indoors has one and I would not be able to get my camera with 17-85 attached and the two other lenses in it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:35 pm 
Thanks Phil, looks like I'm going to end up with one big shopping list when I go :) I'm definitely going to go for a new lens strap, that's really important. Cheers for the settings too.

Roy, thanks for the tip. I'll try it out in the shop and if no good then I'll go for the larger size or a different brand.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:18 pm 
Hi Mark
- what an excellent choice going for the D80! I bought mine yesterday and it's just one fine piece of technology! I can even use my 20-30 yr old lenses in manual mode ..!

BUT there's one thing that your shopping list shouldn't be missing:
a circular polarizing filter !! Read more about at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizing_filter
You have to make sure that the filter is not causing vignetting in the corners though. Get a slim version. Brands: Hoya, B+W, Nikon!, Heliopan ..

How much is the D80 in HK? I got it here in Copenhagen for Dkr. 7989 = £ 725 incl. the 18-70mm zoom.

BTW: Gitzo and Manfrotto manufactures excellent tripods. Mine isn't particularly lightweight though ...

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:30 pm 
Hi D'Eighty,
Well done on getting yours! You'll have to let us know how you get on with it. I just can't wait to get mine now! I keep reading reviews over and over and looking at pics on Flickr taken with the D80 and I'm getting really impatient.

I'm not sure about a polarizing filter. When I first started looking into getting a DSLR, a PF would have been straight on my "to buy" list, but then I started reading articles saying that with Photoshop and Lightroom and other software these days, a PF isn't necessary because you can do that in post processing. I really don't know enough about it though. I'll look into it some more.

There's a lot of dodgy places in HK to buy cameras where you'll probably find them cheaper but the place I'm going to has got a really good reputation, which is much more important. They charge GBP 425 for the D80 body and GBP 390 for the 18-200mm VR lens, which is still really good. On top of that I've got all the accessories to buy. I think the SB400 flash costs about 50 pounds, I'm not sure about the rest of their stuff, their website is still under construction. My Chinese friend will be coming with me so I'm sure with his bargaining skills he should be able to get a good deal on the whole package I'm after :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:00 am 
ChinaMark wrote:
Hi D'Eighty,
I'm not sure about a polarizing filter. When I first started looking into getting a DSLR, a PF would have been straight on my "to buy" list, but then I started reading articles saying that with Photoshop and Lightroom and other software these days, a PF isn't necessary because you can do that in post processing. I really don't know enough about it though. I'll look into it some more.

Actually, the circular polarizer is arguably the only filter that cannot be simulated in software...

Darrin


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:23 am 
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Darrin wrote:
ChinaMark wrote:
Hi D'Eighty,
I'm not sure about a polarizing filter. When I first started looking into getting a DSLR, a PF would have been straight on my "to buy" list, but then I started reading articles saying that with Photoshop and Lightroom and other software these days, a PF isn't necessary because you can do that in post processing. I really don't know enough about it though. I'll look into it some more.

Actually, the circular polarizer is arguably the only filter that cannot be simulated in software...

Darrin


Don't count on it. I'm working on it now, lol.

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Various lenses, SB800 & Manfrotto 190 with 460MG head


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:57 am 
Hi Mark

good luck with the HK trip. If you're buying all that gear from one place I'm sure you'll be able to negotiate a few 'throw ins'?! :D

As I was saying elsewhere, you really have to keep an eye on overexposure with the D80 in matrix mode. Get in the habit of checking the highlight and histogram screens when you playback - I tend to have mine left on the highlight screen as it allows you to check composition etc AND warn of excessive clipping.

My way round this at the moment (for what it's worth - I'm certainly no expert!) is to leave the camera on manual and shoot with the meter showing a third of a stop or two to the right, ie -0.3 / 0.7. This way I don't have to remember to reset yet another feature (ex comp) if conditions change.

I only have the bundled Nikon software, but have found the Dlighting feature moderately useful for some shots. I agree with Darrin, from my reading at least, the polarizer is one of the few effects not possible with post processing...although I admit, I'm intrigued with the latest 'Zorro-ware' :lol: hey Zorro, be sure to let us try out the beta version!

bon voyage!

Tony


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 Post subject: Shopping in Hong Kong
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:27 am 
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Hi Mark,

Hong Kong is one of my favourite places in the world to visit and I have been fortunate enough to spend several months there over the years.

If the exchange rate is right it can also be a great place to shop but be very definite about what you want to buy. Bear in mind that in even the smallest shops in Kowloon these guys are experts in selling. I like to think of myself as fairly level headed but many years ago I went out with a bunch of HK$ in my pocket expecting to come back with an Olympus mu and somehow ended up with an Olympus AF1 Mini.

Say hello to a plate of Szechuan sizzling prawns for me!

Bob.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:22 pm 
Hi Tony,
Here's hoping for 'a lot' of throw ins :D My list is getting longer (someone mentioned in another thread that I should get a better camera strap, the Op Tech Pro which seems like a good idea) and my budget's going right out the window! I know I'm making a good choice though and I can't imagine having any regrets. I'm going to be in HK for a week as well, so if anything goes wrong I can go straight back to the shop. I booked the flights today by the way. Leaving next Saturday 23rd so just one more week to wait until I get my amazing, incredible, fantastic new D80 :D

Your instructions for adjusting the exposure sound a bit complicated. I'm sure once I've got the camera in my hand and have worked out where everything is, it'll make more sense to me.

I think I'm going to have to cross the tripod off my list for now. I didn't realise they were so expensive and that you had to buy the legs and the head seperatley, or at least that's what the pros do. Even in HK, I think that'll just blow my budget altogether, unless they'd generously throw one in :D


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:39 pm 
Hi Bob,
Good to hear from you. Yeah HK is great! I've been a few times, but only on visa runs so I'm in and out in one day. This time though, I've got a week and a whole itinerary worked out that'll give me the best sightseeing and photo opportunities. Even going to go on a dolphin watching cruise to try and get some great shots of the pink dolphins.

I did loads of research on where to buy in HK and I came across a great thread on another site, can't remember where off the top of my head, but this one thread has been running for about 8 years! Through the whole 8 years there were two names that kept coming up as really reliable sellers: Tin Cheung Cameras http://www.tincheungcamera.com.hk/ and Mr Wong's Wing Shing Photo (no website yet) and out of the two Mr Wong's is a bit cheaper so I'm going there. If they haven't got everything I need I may end up shopping at both. By the time I get there I'll know exactly what I want and my Chinese friend will be negotiating so I'm pretty sure I'll get a good deal.

So funny you mentioning the sizzling prawns! I was looking at some hotels today and on one of them, their restaurant menu popped up and they were on it! To be honest I miss western food soooooo much and there are no western restaurants where I live so I'm going to be diving into the first western restaurant I come across :D

It's Sunday here now.....six days to go and counting.......


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:44 pm 
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Hi Mark,

don't get overburdened. If you get the D80+18-200mm combo, I'd recommend only the following:
- 1 additional battery
- 1 8GB SD-HC card. It doesn't cost more than 4x2GB today (don't start fiddling around with 2GB cards - sooner or later you'll lose one :cry: )
- 1 UV-filter (only to keep your froont-lens clean)
As to the pol-filter: Only buy it when you're absolutely sure you need it. I found out, I used it in 5 out of 5000 photos
As to the flash: I'm not sure either about the necessity for the SB-400. For me it's too weak, you can to pretty things with the onboard flash. If you really need more power go at least for the SB-600 or better even the SB-800. But then: the D80 is very good at available light (I just tried it at the Wasa-Museum in Stockholm, which is pitch black!)
As to the bag: I didn't have a bag as long as I only had the 18-200mm. I like to have the camera ready and when it rains, I put it under my raincoat...

As to the settings: If you've read some of my remarks, you know that I leave everything at factory default and shoot at fully auto or aperture-priority. I never experienced overexposure, and never lost any highlights in my pics. Put your D80 at fully-auto exposure: That way you can fully concentrate on your subject, not the cam.

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:12 pm 
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I agree about the polarizer - I got one as soon as I got the camera but nowadays I hardly ever use it.

I disagree about the memory cards though. I'd much rather lose one 2GB card than an 8GB card with all my photos too. Admittedly, if you're using four cards then there's scope for losing one when changing them over but I still wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket. What if the 8GB card develops a fault? That would be a disaster!

I only have the 18-135mm kit lens but I have the battery grip permanently mounted and so I use a Tamrac Pro Digital Zoom 7. It's great. The materials feel bullet-proof and it's just big enough for my needs. If I buy another lens then I'll need another bag.

Zorro.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:36 pm 
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Hi Zorro!

A good quality card will almost never go wrong, esp. if you leave it inside the camera and don't mess around with it. So I guess a mathematician could calculate the meantime between failure/loss for the 4x2GB and the 1x8GB cards and if failure is near zero but loss definitely a possibility you're better off with one card.

I never had a single memory error in my entier computer and e-cam life!

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