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Thread: New Equipment Purchase

  1. #1

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    New Equipment Purchase

    Hi new user here, Andrew. I joined to learn more and make correct decisions when purchasing photo gear for my daughter.
    I'm purchasing a Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens for Nikon
    D-90.
    I want to purchase maybe two, screw on cap, quality, filters to go with this lens. We live in GA, USA and she will be taking landscape shots, shots for a high school photo journalism class..., general travel/trip shots, and maybe some volleyball sports shots. Any suggestions.
    Thanks from Santa.

    My thoughts are: lens protection, and outdoor best color capture of landscape shots rolled into two filters which will screw onto this lens. I question if purchasing a separate pure clear protection filter would be a duplication if I plan to purchase the other two lens...

    Not sure about the graduated lens and polarized typed screw on filters for this wide angle lens.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Andrew

    I know we have exchanged Private Messages, but here on the open forum may I welcome you to CiC. Thank you for joining.

    I think your questions will prompt a variety of replies. The thing is that there is no one answer. It will be a case of considering options and making the decision that best suits your daughter.

    First of all - a lens protection filter. This is the question likely to lead to opposite opinions. I purchase a UV filter with and for every new lens that I buy. I put it on the lens as soon as I open the box and that filter never comes off. Any other filters I use are added on top of that. Now, many people will disagree with this position and state that the UV filter does not provide adequate protection and is not needed (but I would rather scratch a filter than the front element of a lens). Others will suggest that image quality is affected by a UV filter being fixed on the lens.

    I do have the same lens as you are going to buy and I do have a UV filter on that all of the time.

    There is an issue with adding another filter to this lens - At 11mm or 12mm you will experience vignetting. The solution to that is easy - you compose the image in the viewfinder so that you can crop the vignetted areas out in post processing.

    In relation to other filters, I suppose the obvious suggestion would be for a circular polariser, given that your daughter will be taking landscapes. Although I use mine very infrequently these days, it is a 'standard item' in the landscape photographer's bag.

    You seem very clear that you want to purchase screw-on type filters rather than think of going for the modular system filters; i.e. square/rectangular filters that fit into a filter holder (such as made by Lee and Cokin). If you had been considering that, then the obvious filter(s) to go for would be Graduated Neutral Density filters.

    And finally, by way of concluding my welcome - So that you don't continue to get people asking you what your proper name is, because most us use that on here, you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also enter your location so that it does the same, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Hi Andrew welcome to CiC - I own both the lens and the D90, so I would like to make a few comments. First of all, it is an ultra-wide angle lens and I would classify it as a specialty lens that I would not recommend for general landscape photography. Ultra-wide angle lenses are tricky to use and if you are not careful, it is all too easy to end up with an image that is pretty well all foreground and sky. Another small detail; Donald shoots a Canon and the 1.6 crop factor means that his shots are not quite as wide-angle as on the D90 with its 1.5 crop factor.

    The second bit of caution is that one has to be particularly careful when using a polarizer. The polarization effect that we see in skies varies between nothing when the sun is either just in front or just behind the lens and the maximum impact is when the sun is when the camera pointed at right angles to the lens. When using a polarizer with a wide angle or ultra-wide angle lens there will be rather unattractive "banding" in the shot as the level of polarized light varies across the sky. It is still a very effective filter to use to eliminate reflections off of non-metallic surfaces.

    Like Donald, I do use a UV filter to protect the rather large front element. You can screw the polarizer to it, but unless I use my thin filter, I do get vignetting. I usually remove the UV and put on the polarizer to avoid this. A similar warning about the lens hood. Unless it is properly aligned when you put it on, you will see a bit of vignetting in the corners of the image.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Thanks Manfred, I looking at B+W 77mm UV Haze Slim MRC 010M Filter. Would you opt for something different? Again I'm looking to purchase two filters to get her started with this ultra-wide angle lens.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Hi Andrew/Santa,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from another of the elves

    Does your daughter already have the D90 and kit lens?
    Is the 'need' for the Tokina 11-16mm bourne of experience in use and desire for something wider than 18mm (equivalent to 27mm on a D90)?

    I am also concerned that the Tokina 11-16mm may not enable the desired shooting due to the overly wide angle of view. Something like a Nikon 10-24mm would allow more versatility (this will probably be my next lens I buy for my D5000), or for less money (and debatably a bit less all around quality), the Sigma 10-20mm.
    That said, everyone owning the Tokina loves it to bits.

    To give a little more info. on why a rectangular filter system would be better than round; if you're considering a graduated ND filter, the photographer almost always needs to position the graduation somewhere other than dead centre; the other systems allow it to be slid up or down as needed.

    To expand upon Manfred's suggestions for using the polariser on such a wide angle lens; it'll be OK for killing the reflection from the surface of water, but will be less suitable for giving "deep blue skies", since the lens' angle of view is wider than 90 degrees, you will see both the maximum and minimum effect, all in shot at once.

    Cheers,

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    I use a normal Tiffen multi-coated UV on the lens, but have a B&W Käsemann MRC Circular Polarizer that I tend to use with that lens. I find that the 77mm diameter filters are sometimes hard to remove without resorting to filter wrenches. The deeper filters have their own filter threads, so in a pinch I can stack the this cPol on that lens. If I try to use one of my normal polarizers and stack them, I get a bit of vignetting.

    I find that the downside of the thin filters is that they are a bit harder to grip and are a bit less protected, so I end up with more finger prints and smudges on them. That does make a difference on an ultrawide. If you shoot at f/16 or f/22 at 11mm the smudges on the filter (or lens) can show up in your image.

    The nice thing about the 77mm diameter filter is that this is what Nikon uses on many of their pro lenses, so it is a good standard filter size to own.

    If you want to save yourself a fair bit of money, the older lens AT-X 116 without the internal focusing motor is optically identical to the newer lens, but sells for a lot less. With the D90's built in focusing motor, this lens works quite nicely and because it is so wide angle, it focuses quite quickly.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    We do have the D90. We use a AF-S Nikkor 35mm1:18G, a Tamron 70-200mm 1:2.8 for sporting shots, and the old Tamron 18-270 zoom. She just wants a wide angel lens for the photo experience it offers. She has a great eye in her 2 yrs. of experience so far. Now taking photo journalism and producing some shots for that. She has seen work using this type of lens and wants to do it.
    So I thought the benefit we experienced with an adjustable polarized filters on a zoom lens could be obtained some way by purchasing a similar adjustable polarized filter for the Tokina wide angel...? But protection of the lens would be our first objective, then using one more filter to accomplish another light trick as an additional option. If thin is key for this type use then maybe that also should be added to the goals. I started with thinking of a clear filter first, but then thought would more option in a lens offer more bang for the buck if I only want to purchase two quality lenses???

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    I teach (tutor) Students her age.

    With two years experience up and that kit – the UWA zoom seems a reasonable choice to extend her – but it is an extension into a very narrow niche.

    There are a lot of creative FL to use between 16mm and 35mm, for Landscape work on an APS-C format camera.

    Addressing ONLY ‘photojournalism’ – in its broadest terms: one would generally be drawn to a fast “Standard Zoom” as the lens of choice – i.e. around a 17mm to 50mm F/2.8: but in consideration of having already having a fast 35mm, perhaps the choice of an UWA zoom has more weight.

    THOUGH on the other hand – a fast 24 would be more in keeping with the ‘standard prime’ used for most and typical photojournalism on an APS-C camera.

    Where I am heading is – I am sure that the Student ‘loves working with’ the fast UWA zoom – but I would caution her to understand the narrow scope such a lens has, for the BROAD genre of photojournalism – and I caution that it seems too early for a second year student to be ‘creating one’s own style’ and predicate lens choice by way of that, as an excuse.

    So in both analyses, I truly believe she will be lacking and have an huge hole between 17mm and 34mm – and that sooner, rather than later that will render her stifled.

    Of course that does not mean I am suggesting NOT getting the Tokina 10 to 16 – all it means is it is my professional opinion that she needs more, as well.

    In fact, it might be a very good exercise to get the Tokina 10 to 16 and plant the seed about the very big Focal Length gap she will have. Certainly Students with passion who ‘want’ something badly, will usually excel at using it - I expect your Daughter will be no exception. And it would be good for her to realize, in due course, that she also needs that FL hole filled and not for someone to tell her now that a different lens would be a better first choice.

    The B&W slim UV filter would be a good choice – I am in the camp of using High Quality UV filters for ‘protection’ – I also very quickly state she MUST know when to remove the UV filter to render a better chance of the best image.

    On the CPL – I would not buy one, yet – I’d save the pennies for another lens, which will be much more valuable to her.


    WW

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Thanks for the reply Bill. Your experience is beyond my ability to truly appreciate. I'm not sure I understand the Focal Length gap/hole... I'm new to the technical side of photography still, much of the nomenclature and some of the abbreviations I read are flying over my head. But I thank everyone for steering me along to be a good Santa. Sorry for the long delay in responding, I'm nursing my family back from a wicked flu in the house and having to take care of a few extra things today.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Hi Andrew,

    Just a little "from my perspective" to supplement the views of those who have posted before me ...

    Even on a crop-factor camera, 11-16mm is very wide -- and has been pointed out - is more of a specialty lens. When folks start talking landscape there seems to be a popular misconception that "the wider the better", but what usually happens is that folks point them at the horison - and end up with a boring shot that has a hellishly wide field of view (with all the associated problems of light fall-off) and very little discernible detail (because it's just two darn small to be resolved).

    I'm not saying "they're useless", but to get the most out of them you usually have to push in aggressively to get an unusual perspective on something in the foreground.

    I wrote a blog article for premier filter manufacturer Singh-Ray some time ago that you might like to have a read through:

    http://singhray.blogspot.co.nz/2009/...-for-your.html

    With regards to filters - personally - I have 2 high-quality CPL filters ... and never use either of them; as a general rule, if you're shooting a landscape that benefits from them then you're probably shooting it at the wrong time of day ... and you'll get an even better image at the RIGHT time of day but without the filter. You'll also quickly run into issues of not just vignetting but outright obstruction with UWA lenses. Donald makes the suggestion of allowing for a crop of the vignetted bits in your composition - that's one approach (which I don't disagree with) - having said that though, if you have vignetting on a zoom lens then you may just as well zoom in until it's at a level that you can fix in post-production because you'll end up with the same field of view anyway, but with the zoom approach, you'll have more pixels in that field of zoom.

    In terms of filters, a UV for front element protection for sure - personally I wouldn't waste my money on a CPL - but an EXCELLENT investment is either a Singh-Ray Vari-ND (expensive but worth every cent) (Donald has one - I have two of them) (assuming a sturdy tripod is available). A GND is going to be needed at some point too.

    You might like to take a look through my landscape gallery to give you some examples of how I've put all of the above advice into practice.

    http://www.pbase.com/cjsouthern/all_images

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Betterbirdie View Post
    Thanks for the reply Bill. Your experience is beyond my ability to truly appreciate.
    I am strapped for time at the moment - I will re write tomorrow, my time.

    WW

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Andrew - I rarely use an ultra-wide angle lens for landscape work. I've been shooting UWA lenses for over 30 years, but initially bought one for indoor photography, hence the high speed f/2.8 lens (especially in the film days) was a very important feature. That is still the main focus, but that being said I use it for outdoors work as well, should the subject matter be appropriate for that type of lens. I'm not sure what lenses your daughter has, but one of the super zooms like the Nikkor 18-200mm might be a better choice for her as it goes from a moderate wide angle to a reasonably long zoom that would cover the range of photography she is looking at. This is the lens I got my wife when I got her a D90 about 3 years ago and it suits her style of photography perfectly. Her 150-500mm zoom is really the only other lens she tends to use, and that one is reserved for wildlife photography.

    You say you are not up on the technology, so you might want a quick look at today's DPReview's posting on lenses

    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/916...s-buying-guide

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    today's DPReview's posting on lenses
    Thanks for the link Manfred - I had never really got to grips with all the different letters different manufacturers use for their lenses - good to see them all in one place.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Colin, very good advice. Boy am I doing the research on all the great comments. I'm still feeling OK with the Tokina lens. Thinking about staying with the newer model because it would be transferable to another body without the auto focus in the future. I like the steer you give me toward the ND filter and maybe a GND. I reviewed your suggested article and also reviewed Nikon's youtube on ND and CPL.
    I'm thinking I will purchase a quality slim thread UV filter,that will allow stacking, hooding, or capping, if that's possible, attach it like Donald said and keep it there.
    I like to purchase quality tools.
    I'm now thinking two ND filters and maybe even one GND filter. (Maybe a ND 0.3 and a ND 0.9) Can you suggest a couple of quality filters of each? The body is a D-90. Thanks again, this is fun to do. I hope my daughter will appreciate it.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    PS. Any ideas about a particular GND filter also.

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Betterbirdie View Post
    Colin, very good advice. Boy am I doing the research on all the great comments. I'm still feeling OK with the Tokina lens. Thinking about staying with the newer model because it would be transferable to another body without the auto focus in the future. I like the steer you give me toward the ND filter and maybe a GND. I reviewed your suggested article and also reviewed Nikon's youtube on ND and CPL.
    I'm thinking I will purchase a quality slim thread UV filter,that will allow stacking, hooding, or capping, if that's possible, attach it like Donald said and keep it there.
    I like to purchase quality tools.
    I'm now thinking two ND filters and maybe even one GND filter. (Maybe a ND 0.3 and a ND 0.9) Can you suggest a couple of quality filters of each? The body is a D-90. Thanks again, this is fun to do. I hope my daughter will appreciate it.
    Hi Andrew,

    Just some random thoughts ...

    - Personally, I wouldn't touch Tokina / Tamron / Sigma lenses with a barge pole. In general they're all known for lower price but also for poorer build quality and poorer performance (more what I would call "economical tools" rather than "quality tools").

    - I'm a big advocate of using UV filters for front element protection, but unfortunately, I find that I can't just "leave it there" -- without a doubt they contribute to ghosting when photographing extreme contrast scenes (eg night photography with strong light sources) and to vignetting (or outright obstruction) at UWA angles ... so "off they come" (temporarily!).

    - In terms of ND / GND, a 0.3 is only 1 stop -- total and complete waste of money - can't think of a single occasion you'll be able to use it (with the possible exception of snow reflections). For GND, 0.9 (3 stop) is pretty much all you'll need (the difference between incident light and reflected light in a given scene is "often" around 3 stops, so a 3-Stop GND helps to balance it nicely. In terms of ND filters though, discrete steps (2, 4, 8 etc) are a royal PITA compared to a Variable ND; with a Vari-ND you can choose your aperture (for DoF control) - choose your shutterspeed (for motion effect control) - and then vary the attenuation to balance the exposure. Makes changing light conditions a snap. With discrete filters you have to muck around to figure out which ones you need - and then still possibly wrestle with vignetting. So if you're after quality - performance - and versatility then you can't go past a Singh-Ray Vari-ND (I've got 2 of them and they're amongst the highest quality pieces of gear I own).

    - Whilst on the subject of GND filters, again, I use Singh-Ray products exclusively -- many of the cheaper brands have poor infra-red control that produces a colour-cast that's damn hard to null out properly in post-processing (the saying "you get what you pay for" was written with filters in mind).

    Some of the images the Vari-ND played a pivotal part in allowing me to capture (with the last one I had to vary the attenuation DURING the exposure -- try THAT with fixed filters!)...

    New Equipment Purchase

    New Equipment Purchase

    New Equipment Purchase

  17. #17
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't touch Tokina / Tamron / Sigma lenses with a barge pole.
    Colin - Based on my experience, I would agree with you when it comes to Tamron and Sigma, but the mechanical and optical quality of Tokina seems to match, if not exceeds the quality of products being put out by Canon and Nikon, certainly for the APS-C format.

  18. #18

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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    On the lens: Tokina's f 2.8 speed seem competitive with Nikon, Sigma,and Tamron's f3.5. Still looking. Which lens would you look at that compares the new Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens for Nikon Mount?

  19. #19
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    Rewrite of my previous, as promised:

    If your daughter has two years experience in her Photojournalism course and is using a D90 and a 35mm Lens and also a 70mm to 200mm zoom, then buying an Ultra Wide Angle (UWA) Zoom Lens such as the Tokina 11m to 16mm is a reasonable choice to extend her. But understand that this lens is a more specialty lens and although it will allow her to extend her Photography it will be into a more narrow niche, than if you bought her a more ‘generalist’ Lens.

    The reason the 11 to 16 is a specialty lens, is because it is VERY wide angle – even at 16mm the view is very wide and the there will be a Gap between 16mm and the next lens she has to use – the 35mm lens.

    When we speak of a Focal Length Gap in the lenses in our camera bag, we are talking about a RANGE of Field of View we do NOT have to use.

    For the camera (the D90) which your daughter is using – the MOST COMMONLY USED Focal Lengths would be between about 17mm and 50mm – and this is why there are so many zooms in that Zoom Compass, available.

    Especially for the genre ‘photojournalism’, generally the Focal Lengths between 17mm and 50mm would be used a lot on a D90 camera.

    For genre ‘Landscape’ it is common misconception that the Photographer always requires a Wide Angle Lens; more common is the misconception is that the wider the Lens, the better the Landscape Photography – this point has been covered by Colin.

    Moreover, there are a lot of creative FL to use between 16mm and 35mm and 35mm to 70mm, for Landscape work using an APS-C format camera.


    So if I were buying a gift for this Student I would buy a FAST (meaning large aperture – like F/2.8) NON VARYING MAXIMUM APERTURE (meaning the F/2.8 is available throughout the whole zoom range) Zoom Lens, in the Focal Length range of about 17mm to 50mm or about 17mm to 70mm

    I would buy a quality Nikon Zoom Lens, if the intent is to build on a Nikon System.

    I am not familiar in detail with what lenses Nikon offers at the moment, so these are general guidelines, not specific lenses.

    Also note that Nikon has some lenses which work automatically with some camera bodies and some which do not: therefore one must be careful in choosing lenses.

    ***

    However, as you mention that the Student already ‘loves working with’ this fast Ultra Wide Angle zoom – I believe this is an important point.

    The reason this is an important point is - Students with passion and who ‘want’ something badly, will usually excel at using it - I expect your Daughter will be no exception.

    So therefore it would be good for her to realize, in due course and in her own time, that she also needs a lens or two, to cover the 17mm to 50mm (or 70mm) Focal Length Range and it might not be such a good idea for someone else, to tell her now, that a different lens (to the UWA Tokina) would be a better first choice for her.

    But, in any case, I would suggest you have a chat to her to ensure she understands the narrow scope a lens like the 11 to 16 Tokina has, for the BROAD genre of 'Photojournalism' and for the specific genre 'Landscape' also .

    WW

  20. #20
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    Re: New Equipment Purchase

    The reason I went with the Tokina was that there was no other lens that was competitive with it. At the time I bought it, I was on a waiting list for about 4 months before one finally became available. The supply issue has eased since then.

    Nikon does offer a 10-24mm and a 12-24mm lens, both of which are a bit slower than the Tokina, and I have not used either, soo I can't comment. I do have the f/2.8 14-24mm Nikkor and it is a much more expensive lens, but it is full-frame, so I use it on my D800. The only downside is that it cannot take any filters, but it very sharp and very fast.

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