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Thread: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

  1. #1

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    Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Hopefully this post is in the right place. I'm new here and have been reading through older posts and found a lot of excellent advice regarding equipment, but I was hoping you all would lend me your thoughts about gear tailored to my specific use or even unecessary gear that would be a waste.

    Its a long story.... But I bought myself a D800 albeit being an enthusiast-amateur at best.
    There are tons of things I still must learn to better myself in photography and I have been trying my best to put in my time and dues to do so..

    Here we go.

    I currently own the afs 50mm 1.8g, afs 85mm 1.8g and an older 28mm 2.8 manual focus nikkor (forgive me, I'm not at home at the moment and it was literally given to me by a friend yesterday, so I can't remember the exact model, could be a 24mm...)

    With the recent addition of my first child, needless to say my catalogs are filled with shots of her.
    But apart from that, I find myself very interested in street/people photography, roaming around looking for things others miss. But naturally, I would love to gain skills in all types of photography whether it be sports, landscapes, macro, etc, but for the time being (and for the sake of the length of this post) I'd like your recommendations to be for street/people/walk around lenses especially for the "aspiring".

    A huge factor for me of course is price. I've saved up about $1000 worth of coins for a lens (so the Mrs. doesnt murder me with future lens) so I would like to keep it in that range if possible, but am willing to save up a bit more if it's recommended to do so, but I do have a trip coming up next month... Soooooo.....hmmm....

    Should I stick with primes and add a zoom? Another prime? Wide? Tele?
    Ditch the primes and get a "great" zoom?
    I understand the convenience of zooms and not missing that moment, but I also love the low light abilities of a 1.8.
    In particular I'm thinking about the 16-35 4, or just selling the 50 and saving for the 24-70, although I do like the lightness of the newer primes.

    As you can see, my mind is all over the place.

    Help me please!
    -Mars

  2. #2
    Scottm's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Nice set-up Mars. I would keep the primes and learn to use them with the new monster of a camera you have just got. Remember that, given the resolution of the D800, you will be able to crop quite extensively should you find the need to do so. You have all the lenses you need for street/people/walk around, and these will force you to use your feet for framing potential photographic opportunities. (nice learning process to go through)

    Should you wish to increase your lens collection, I would suggest you have a look at an ultra-wide zoom, like a 14-24 (12-24?) zoom, but wait till you can afford to get the fastest lens possible. It is pointless in having the best camera in the world and rush into getting a slow/lower quality lens for it.

    Finally, enjoy the D800 while the rest of us mortals merely dream about it

  3. #3

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Marstar
    "As you can see, my mind is all over the place." This statement really helps to answer your question. With the lenses that you have listed it seems that the addition for a zoom lens would be to help in framing the picture. Why don't you take just one lens at a time for your walk for a day. Practice many shots then do the same on different days to find the lens that you are the most comfortable with. Maybe you will find that a larger zoom might be better and offer more enjoyment. I know how it is on the home-front..I'll probably wait a couple of years before I mention a new camera to the Mrs. Have fun with your adventure but try to resolve your needs first.
    Tim

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family...

    I would consider two things:

    First, I would get a good full-size hotshoe flash. I prefer to use the same brand flash as my camera but, there are some very popular third party flashes out there. I would presonally prefer a flash that has high speed sync capability since I use outdoor fill flash quite regularly and often need to shoot at speeds faster than the 1/200 or 1/250 decond sync speed (My 7D is 1/250 second and I don't know what your camera syncs at) in order to achieve a large aperture for selective focus. Additionally, I believe that Nikon's designation for the ability to sync at higher than the standard speed is something other than HSS. However, that is a critical parameter in my flash.

    Along with the hotshoe flash, I would get a camera flip flash bracket like the Stroboflash which will keep my flash directly over my lens in both vertical and horizontal shooting positions. IMO, a camera flip bracket is better than a flash flip bracket when you are bouncing flash because the flash retains the same direction with a camera flip bracket when switching from horizontal to vertical camera position and the flash needs to be reoriented with a flash flip bracket. These two images are both of a camera flip bracket being used but, image #1 shows the camera/flash orientaton when the camera is flipped. Image #2 shows the camera/flash orientation in the vertical (portrait) position when the flash is flipped.

    1.
    Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!
    2.
    Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    I would add a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro (www.dembflashproducts.com) and an off camera sync cord. Bouncing an off camera flash modified with a Flash Diffuser pro gives excellent lighting. It will also not hurt your new baby's eyes. This technique will provide imagery which looks like natural lighting and doesn't scream "FLASH WAS USED!"

    Next, I would get a fast, mid range zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture. I don't know which lenses will be compatible with your camera but, I would want a lens with a comparative (full frame equivalent) focal length of somewhere in the vicinity of: 24-28mm to 70-80mm or so. This lens is a workhorse. Bouncing flash will allow you to make use of the f/2.8 aperture and achieve very nice lighting.

    I would not be hestant to purchase a top-line third party lens if the Nikon glass is out of your price range...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 5th April 2012 at 04:42 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Mars: You have a vern good camera, 3 lens I would suggest and you have one of them already, the 50mm f1.8 gives you a fast lens and with the sensor in that camera you can crop the hex out of it and still get a nice image. The two lens I would suggest are the 16-35mm VR very sharp lens for the money and the 28-300 VR a good value for the money, will cover a large range of situtaions. The first one would be the 28-300mm and in time when you increase your skills then you may want to get into the high end stuff or the f2.8 world. Remember the best camear and best lens will not give you the best image it is the person looking through the view finder and pushing the button that will get the best image. Once you know your camera inside and out, know what you want to get then if you need the 2.8's then spend the money because if you do not do this than the camera salesperson is the only one to is getting something. I have seen too many people sold top of the line equipment (above $15M) to take better pictures and can not even read the histogram.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    I am shooting a D90 right now, but bought (over the past 18 months) a range of high end zooms (f/2.8 14-24mm, f/2.8 24-70mm and f/2.8 70-200mm) knowing my next camera was going to be a full-frame (the store tells me that my D800 should be in mid-month).

    First of all, the lenses are totally wasted on my current camera, but I knew that going in as I bought for the future. They are very sharp, but extremely large and heavy. I also have a few primes; f/2.8 35mm DX, f/1.8 50mm and f/2 105mm. There are times that I will go out and just shoot with the primes, just to keep my composition sharp. I tend to get lazy when I am working with a zoom lens and instead of moving around and recomposing, I just change the zoom and shoot. I try to spend at least a couple of days every month or so shooting with the primes, just to tune up my shooting skills.

    I had a good, hard look at the f/4 16-35mm before going with the f/2.8 14-24mm. Ultimately I went there for the extra 2mm of super-wide angle shooting; I guess I'm a bit of a sucker for rectilinear super-wides.. While it may not sound like much, it really does make a difference when you are shooting that wide.

    I also considered going to primes instead of the zooms because they should be sharper, but in the end decided not to and may do so in the future. The main thought here is that a few years ago, high end video and film productions shot zooms, but with the advent of HD, most of these films are shot with Zeiss, Cooke, Red or Leica primes (at $60,000 - $250,000 a set); zooms were simply not capable of delivering the quality images. I wonder if still photography is going to go the same way, with those fantastic, large sensors that have started to appear in high-end cameras.

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Excellent advice from all, thank you.
    As a starter, I'm going to try and go out with just one lens at a time. Hopefully as others mentioned, this will allow me to recognize what I need or what might fit my shooting style. Plus, hopefully increase my skill in the process by forcing me to make it work with what I've got.


    On another note, just saw Tokina announced a VC 20-70. Wonder how it will hold up against nikons/canons.

  8. #8

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    it all depends on how comfortable you are getting close to the action.
    im jealous of your prime collection right now but one thing i would add to your collection is one with a faster aperture. i know 1.8 is plenty fast but going up to 1.4 is still a huge change.
    so with that, id find a focal range youre comfortable with and getting the f1.4 of that focal range.

  9. #9

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Quote Originally Posted by Noice View Post
    but one thing i would add to your collection is one with a faster aperture. i know 1.8 is plenty fast but going up to 1.4 is still a huge change.
    so with that, id find a focal range youre comfortable with and getting the f1.4 of that focal range.
    this is something I've always meant to ask. I know probably trying it myself would be the easiest way to tell, but other than that, is it possible to explain the differences in words?

  10. #10
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Keep the two cheap primes as they are interesting to shoot with and the wider apertures give nice soft backgrounds but you need something like a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f2.8 for your everyday shooting. Look towards upgrading the f1.8 primes to f1.4 primes in the near future too.

    Many will argue that third party lenses are just as good - on most cameras, in normal use they are - but not on a D800. You have bought a very high resolution, professional camera and there is simply no point in buying anything other than top of the range, professional glass to go on the front.
    You may not like this next bit but If you think you will struggle to purchase f2.8 and f1.4 Nikon lenses then flog the D800 (you will get all your money back as they are in short supply) and buy a used D700. Spend the rest of the cash on good lenses as these more than the camera will give you the results are expecting.

  11. #11

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    @Black pearl I can fully understand what you mean. The reason I bought the D800 was to push myself to reach "the next level" if you will.

    Like I mentioned in my original post, I`m willing to save up for something that will really make a difference. I was trying to say that I have saved up a little bit of money and I thought I would be able to get a good lens in that range.

    I guess the real problem at hand is that, I dont fully understand all of the differences in lenses. Especially 1.8 vs 1.4 primes (like the 50 and 85). Many reviewers say the 1.8 isnt far off from the 1.4 at a fraction of the price. Is the price justified for a hobbyist?

  12. #12
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    The f/1.4 lenses will be 2/3 of a stop faster than the f/1.8. That will give you better low-light performance and shallower depth of field. If you need either of these two features, then the lens will have the value, but if you don't push those limits, perhaps you don't want to spend the money.

    In the past, optical performance wide open was better on an f/1.8 lens than on a f/1.4. I haven't checked if this is still the case, but in theory at least, this is still true. Once you get down to f/4 you shouldn't see much difference. The fastest lenses that I own are a f/1.8 35mm and a f/1.8 50mm followed by an f/2 105mm.
    Last edited by Manfred M; 6th April 2012 at 12:02 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    The f1.8 lenses aren't that far off the performance of the more expensive f1.4 pro versions - but - there's no point in having a 36mp camera unless you are going to put the very best possible lens on it. It's not just about the extra light you get, in most cases you won't use it at f1.4, but the overal optical performance is better in the more expensive lens range. Stick it on a lesser body and I'd strongly argue the case from the opposite point of view in that you don't really need the more expensive glass.

    Don't think of the lens choice simply as 'brighter is better' think of it as you will never, ever get the benefit of all those pixels unless you put the very, very best bits of glass in front of it.
    I spoke to a customer yesterday regarding his new D800. He was disappointed that only the shots where the camera was on a tripod and care was taken were really sharp. Most if not all of the handheld shots had some level of blur due to camera movement when viewed at 100%. Again this is down to all those pixels. It wasn't worse than his D700, it was simply that he was enlarging the errors significantly more. In the real world where the image is printed then it would be less noticeable - perversely it is in the real world where images are printed where all those pixel will matter less.

    I don't want to discourage you I simply want to impress the need for everything being perfect otherwise having all that resolution will be wasted.

  14. #14
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    The f1.8 lenses aren't that far off the performance of the more expensive f1.4 pro versions - but - there's no point in having a 36mp camera unless you are going to put the very best possible lens on it. It's not just about the extra light you get, in most cases you won't use it at f1.4, but the overal optical performance is better in the more expensive lens range. Stick it on a lesser body and I'd strongly argue the case from the opposite point of view in that you don't really need the more expensive glass.

    Don't think of the lens choice simply as 'brighter is better' think of it as you will never, ever get the benefit of all those pixels unless you put the very, very best bits of glass in front of it.
    I spoke to a customer yesterday regarding his new D800. He was disappointed that only the shots where the camera was on a tripod and care was taken were really sharp. Most if not all of the handheld shots had some level of blur due to camera movement when viewed at 100%. Again this is down to all those pixels. It wasn't worse than his D700, it was simply that he was enlarging the errors significantly more. In the real world where the image is printed then it would be less noticeable - perversely it is in the real world where images are printed where all those pixel will matter less.

    I don't want to discourage you I simply want to impress the need for everything being perfect otherwise having all that resolution will be wasted.
    I would not agree with your assessment that expensive is necessarily better from a pure image quality standpoint, especially at this focal length. The f/1.8 or f/2 lenses, especially in the "normal" prime range have traditionally been the highest resolution lenses. People that buy the faster lenses will be trading off image quality a bit of distortion, softness, chromatic aberation and vignetting. As well, the lenses are more expensive and weigh more.

    So, if you are looking at shallow depth of field or low-light photography, yes, go for the f/1.4 50mm if are okay with the downsides that the lens designers made trade offs for to get the higher speed. If you are after the best image quality, then the f/1.8 50mm is a better choice.

  15. #15
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Ten years ago - I might (and only might as I can't be bothered to go digging out old tests) agree but this is absolutely not true in modern lenses.

    The Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4 has an all round better optical performance than the AF-S 50mm 1.8 - check it out.
    The Nikon AF-S 85mm f1.4 has an all round better optical performance than the AF-S 85mm 1.8 - check it out.
    The latest AF-S 24mm f1.4 will wipe the floor with every Nikon equivalent that came before it.

    I could go on.

    There may not be a huge difference but there is a quantifiable one and the lens tests out there will have been done with a camera that is less demanding than the D800. If you own pretty much any other Nikon then you will be hard pushed to spot the differences but a D800 is a different matter.
    My point is and always has always been that to get the benefits of that 36mp sensor you will have to spend money on top class lenses. What is the point in compromising on a camera that is specifically designed without a compromise.

  16. #16
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    Ten years ago - I might (and only might as I can't be bothered to go digging out old tests) agree but this is absolutely not true in modern lenses.

    The Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4 has an all round better optical performance than the AF-S 50mm 1.8 - check it out.
    The Nikon AF-S 85mm f1.4 has an all round better optical performance than the AF-S 85mm 1.8 - check it out.
    The latest AF-S 24mm f1.4 will wipe the floor with every Nikon equivalent that came before it.

    I could go on.

    There may not be a huge difference but there is a quantifiable one and the lens tests out there will have been done with a camera that is less demanding than the D800. If you own pretty much any other Nikon then you will be hard pushed to spot the differences but a D800 is a different matter.
    My point is and always has always been that to get the benefits of that 36mp sensor you will have to spend money on top class lenses. What is the point in compromising on a camera that is specifically designed without a compromise.
    I don't know about the 24mm or 85mm; I've never used or looked at either one seriously and you could very well be right about them. I've only written about the two 50mm lenses, and any review I've read backs up what I've said. That being said, as a generalization, I would say fixed focal length lenses tend to perform better than zooms when looking at image quality. That being said, some of the older ultra wide angle fixed designs did not perform all that well.

  17. #17

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Very interesting talk between GrumpyDiver and black pearl, yes the 1.4 is better than the 1.8, however the 1.2 is even better but totally worthless to you as a lens, same as the 1.4 if you are a pro using that len for a large amount of your work than yes at $400-$600 depending on the series. If as you state in post#11 to being a hobbyist then if you really want a 50 then go with the 1.8 at between $160-$250, I however would go with a good zoom that is why I like the 28-300 I am looking at that myself as I shoot 90% from a tripod I do not need the speed and I can carry less when in the field. Mars at the end of the day if you took an image with the 1.4 then the 1.8 process them the same, print image is over 6 feet long, hang on wall, stand back to view, no one will be able to tell which was shot with the 1.4 or the 1.8, what they will be able to tell is, if they like the image or think "what were they thinking that is a piece of garbage" and that is the only different. Not the len, or the camera but it is the shooter that makes the picture.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  18. #18
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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR (FX)

    Its important to read the full review but I'll pick out the conclusion as a sample of why this is not the lens for a D800 and frankly not the lens for anyone who is serious about shooting.....in other words anyone who has invested the extra cash on a FX body over a DX one.

    Anyone considering a super zoom should be aware of the fact that any such lens is full of compromises to achieve the huge focal range. This is, unfortunately, especially true for the Nikon AF-S 28-300 VR.
    Distortion is very pronounced at almost any focal length, vignetting is somewhat on the high side, too, which is also true for CAs. Sharpness in the image center is good, but not great, especially towards the long end, and border and corners can be very soft at many focal length and aperture settings. So, optically, the lens does not really convince.

    See the thing is I am the first person to step in on posts where the quality of an image is being discussed and the talk gets round to resolution/edge performance/primes/zooms/etc as I honestly don't think it matters. As Allen says above once printed out you will be hard pushed to tell the difference between any decent bit of glass if the file has been handled well. The quality of a picture is not about the technical aspects more the aesthetics and whether the person viewing it is drawn into it in some way.

    But.

    I want to get across to Mars the importance of pro glass over amateur glass specifically because of his choice of camera body. If you had bought a D700 for instance I wouldn't have put my first post up because at 12mp something like a Sigma or a Tamron probably is good enough. I wouldn't be arguing as strongly in defence of the f1.4 glass over the f1.8 options. They are still better and a pro body deserves pro Nikon glass (the argument of the price is irrelevant really as they are a tool for professionals and if the tool is needed the cost doesn't matter) but I still stand by my statement that all of this is cancelled out because of the D800 itself.
    Why by the highest resolution DSLR currently available (ignoring larger format systems) if you are not going to put the very best possible glass on the front. 36 Million pixels is a huge number. You get a 70+meg NEF file and somewhere in the region of a 200meg final image. Those sorts of numbers put a massive demand on the glass and an even greater demand on the photographer. Any compromise, no matter how insignificant, will be detrimental to the absolute sharpness of the resulting image and in the case of the D800 that is all that matters.

  19. #19

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    Quote Originally Posted by marstar View Post
    this is something I've always meant to ask. I know probably trying it myself would be the easiest way to tell, but other than that, is it possible to explain the differences in words?
    sorry im no completely following you on your request

    are you asking about the difference between 1.4 and 1.8 in performance? or your comfortability with a certain focal length?
    for the former, im not so technical so i couldnt put it to words any better. i just know that in low light, it is crucial to have as large an aperture as can get. i have a 50/1.4 and what a difference compared to my PnS with a 28/2.0! the only way the PnS wins is because it is also equipped with IS.
    as for the latter, that is completely personal preference. if you like to shoot people from across the street or you want to just isolate the person for a portrait, 50/85/100 would do imo. if you like to include the scene or framing up close, 20/24/28/30/35/50
    though only a few of those will have 1.4 and you already have the few with 1.8
    the rest are 2.0-2.8

  20. #20

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    Re: Yet another lens recommendation request.. Sorry!

    i just read the rest of the posts i must suggest, since we are talking about street photography, primes, 3rd party brands and image quality...why not older primes?

    that 50mm f1.4 i mentioned is an m42 mount Pentax SMC Takumar and that thing takes organic looking photos! i dont think ill be taking it off the camera anytime soon.

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