First Nikon purchase- lens upgrade deal or scam?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jess_h|2, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Hi all!
    I've just made my first "big" Nikon purchase. I've been saving up a long time for this! I am a novice, so although I did some research, I decided that basic lenses and a D-90 body would be a good start for me to learn.
    So I bought the D90 body along with these 3 lenses:
    - Nikon 18-55mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor f/3.5-5.6
    - Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF Zoom- Nikkor
    - Nikon 50mm AF Nikkor 1:8 D
    I know these are relatively inexpensive and simple lenses, but hopefully a good start.
    After the purchase, I was notified that I could "upgrade" which would eliminate the 50mm lens but upgrade in the following ways:
    1. The standard Nikon 18-55mm lens will be upgraded to the Nikon G type DX.
    2. The standard Nikon 70-300 lens will be upgraded to the Nikon G type IF (Iternal Focusing) ED (Extra Low Dispersion).
    Now, I am buying this with USA warranty, all new, purchase protection, etc. So I am not too worried about receiving knock-offs or grey market, but I am wary of agreeing to this switch. I figured a lot of people out there would be able to look at this and immediately know if this is a deal or a scam. Feel free to give me your honest opinions!
    I also wonder about the necessity of VR lenses for a novice like me. In the future I'd like to try them out, but do you think they are worth the investment from day one?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Have you checked the seller at ?
  3. You should be wary. That 18-55 is already a G-type DX. You are being scammed. If it's not too late, cancel the order and get it instead from a legit dealer.
  4. 1. The standard Nikon 18-55mm lens will be upgraded to the Nikon G type DX.​
    Uh? are you sure you have this right? ALL Nikkor 18-55 are G (means no aperture ring) and DX (means they only work on small sensor cameras. Perhaps the upgrade is from the non-VR to the VR version? This one is the current non-vr version, this one is the VR version.
    2. The standard Nikon 70-300 lens will be upgraded to the Nikon G type IF (Iternal Focusing) ED (Extra Low Dispersion).​
    This makes more sense. The only, I believe currently produced version of the 70-300 is the IF-ED VR, here it is. It is a very fine lens, while this one was the old version, no longer produced, which is the one you were likely offered in the first place.
    If these are the upgrades you are offered, both make sense (by the way, this would make both your lenses VR), since in the 18-55 you gain a somewhat better (not much) optics and VR, in the 70-300 you gain a significantly better optics, very good AF, and VR. If they offer you this for no extra charge and you only have to let the 50 go, I would say go for it. The 50 1.8 is very cheap anyway, you can buy it anytime if you feel you want it (with a DX camera, I would very seriously consider the 35 1.8 dx instead / also). Especially the 70-300 is not a basic lens at all, it is indeed one of the finest consumer-grade lenses in my opinion, and it is likely to serve you well for a long time.
    Unless you have misread/miscopied what they told you about the 18-55, however, you should likely be careful because something is a bit fishy...
  5. Ditto. The 18-55 is already a G lens, and obviously DX. You shouldn't have bought the 70-300, though. You might regret it. The 55-200 VR is really a better lens for the same price, unless you make the leap to the 70-300 VR, which is a substantially better lens than either, but at three times the price. They are all G lenses (not that that matters), but only the 55-200 VR and the 70-300 VR have AF-S (as Nikon's internal focusing is properly denoted).

    Are you sure the soliciting email came from the seller and not some third party? There are unscrupulous companies that gather up recent purchase information and target the new customers with these scams, but those offers don't come directly from the seller. One last word of advice, from someone with over 15 years of experience buying things online: If it smells like a scam, it's always a scam. Honest vendors are very transparent and precise in the language they use to offer you deals. An honest vendor wouldn't have made these mistakes. Only a scam phishing website with unscrupulous phishing bots would have sent you that email.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF Zoom- Nikkor​
    That is immediately a red flag. The current popular 70-300 is a f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR. The f4-5.6 (instead of 4.5-5.6) is one of the two older versions. Most likely they are throwing the very cheap non-ED vesion to you:
    That lens only worths about $150.
    The shop you are dealing with has all sorts of bad signs. I would buy the camera else where.
  7. Scam.
  8. Just buy those from BH Photo or Adorama. Be careful when dealing with weird sellers such as this one offering you bogus upgrades. I once tried to order flash from one of them "cheap" places and after they tried to upgrade me to some super duper batteries for 50 dollars more and I said no way, they canceled my order and said the unit was out of stock. I shop at BH since.
  9. Check your store with immediately.
    Then, if they don't check out, cancel your order immediately.
  10. it's a pity how people save for a long time, like the OP, to make their big purchase, only to get seduced by one of the scam operators, and then screwed with the old bait-and-switch routine... when will we ever learn, if it's too good to be true...
    i hope it isn't too late for this person, who at least has the presence of mind to realize something doesn't seem quite right...
  11. Thanks, guys!
    I did my homework on the seller- and everything checks out. This is not once of those super cheap package deals- I am paying a decent amount of $. I emailed the seller to ask for more specifics about the lenses, including photos.
    I also visited the Nikon site and read about the lenses I should receive, and looked at the values. The 3 lenses total $427 according to Nikon set prices, so I realize these are not advanced/pro level!
    I also purchased using a purchase guarantee, so I can cancel at any time and get a full refund. I may do this when the seller replies with the specifics.
    Thanks again!
  12. Are you in the US, is the equipment imported by Nikon or is it gray market? Have you compared prices to BHPhoto or Adorama?
  13. I continue to not understand why people purchase online from sources other than B&H or Adorama. If the prices are a lot better then it is a scam. If a dealer's prices are nominally better than Adorama or B&H it isn't worth giving up the value of dealing with the largest, most reputable dealers in the U.S to save a very little amount.
    Refund guarantees and all the rest are of no value to me since with B&H or Adorama you get all that. I can understand if you want to go into a local store and support it and enjoy the tactile experience of holding items you are buying and working with a salesperson. But if it is an online purchase, posts such as this one are sadly all too frequently the result of dealing with others. This type of strangeness just doesn't occur at the big guys.
  14. Jessica, please tell us the name of the store you are buying from.
  15. i hope you were able to cancel your order. don't wait for their reply on your email.
    just get the D90 with the kit lens --- 18-105mm. the prices of the lenses being offered to you totals
    to about $350 only. how nuch are they offering you the body?
  16. The less reputable stores and sites often package older or lesser quality lenses to get rid of them to people who don't know better. Who is the dealer? Did you check them with the BBB and/or This could be a ligitimate deal in that you are not being robbed, but you are getting lower quality lenses than you could get for a comparable or slightly higher price from a reputable dealer. Also if the camera and lenses are grey market, Nikon USA will not honor the warranty.
    Even if the prices are reasonable, I would cancel the deal and get better lenses from a reliable dealer. Others have mentioned B&H and Adorama who are very reliable. I use them and I also use Abes of Maine.
    What is all his costing you?
  17. Okay everyone! I asked for your opinions and advice, and I took them! I may be a novice, but I don't want to get screwed! I canceled my order. I had paid $1,370 for the 3 lenses I mentioned and D90 body. I called them and they were very apologetic about the lens mix-up; indeed posting the 18-55mm as an "upgrade" when that lens was already guaranteed with my kit. I was certain to get the lower quality 70-300mm lens. I am embarrassed to admit that I went for a package deal, which had lots of cheap accessories (I knew this going in but was only concerned with getting a good body/lenses).
    BUT the order was canceled and my paypal account was credited with the refund.
    In place, I found what I suspect to be an awesome deal on B&H- thanks for the heads up guys! Here is the link to the deal I got:
    For those that don't want to check out the link, I got the 18-105 & 70-300 mm VR lenses along with the body. After the instant rebate, it was only $1,400!
    I also purchased a 4gb memory card and awesome looking backpack from them.
    Any other suggestions of "must haves" to get me started? I can't wait to start taking photos! I will definitely watch tutorials, but I'm really interested in knowing if I need extra lens filters, wide angle lens modifier things, etc....
    Thanks again- you guys really helped me out! I know that all of this is super elementary to most of you, but hey, we all start somewhere, right?
  18. Hey! It sounds like you're now getting a much better pair of lenses from a great dealer for almost exactly the same price! Those other stupid accesories are really just trash filler to make you think you're getting a better deal than you are. They'll throw in a cheap tripod, cheap wide angle adapter, cheap lens cloth, cheap memory card, and cheap camera bag, and pretend the whole mess is an additional $99 value, when you're better off without such cheap garbage. Now you're liberated of all that junk, and you have two terrific lenses instead. Congratulations. Pity that the 50mm doesn't fit in your budget anymore, though. That's always a great go-to lens for dark places and close-up portraits.
  19. Congrats and WELCOME! You did make a great choice going with this package.
    Post later with your first impressions and some images
  20. CRAIG! Now I want the 50mm lens too! It's not an expensive one, do you really think I should get it? Would those 3 lenses then be a good basis to start exploring with? I should mention, I am obsessed with gardening and plan on taking lots of close up pics of my plants (and the various creatures that choose my garden as habitat!). Is the 50mm a good lens for that type of shooting? I wouldn't mind shelling out a bit more for 1 more solid lens to round out my set-up.....(or should I just learn to use the other 2 lenses first, haha?)
  21. jessica, you did the right thing.i would also suggest looking at the the 35/1.8, which is a better focal length for DX for every day shooting. for close ups of plants, and also as a short portrait lens, though, the 50 would be better. you can add a close-up adapter to turn it into a semi-macro lens. but for stuff like low-light/no-flash indoor pics, the 35 gives you more wiggle room in tight spaces.
  22. Jessica,
    I second Eric...the 35mm f/1.8 is a much better focal length for DX...BUT...
    I'm going to give advise I'd normally not give, but you've made your purchase...
    Use the zooms for now...when you feel you've outgrown the lenses (not likely for a while), or need a low light lens, you can re-evaluate...besides, the 50 f/1.8 is only about $125... hardly noticeable when you start looking at $2000/lens for "pro" lenses
  23. great move.
    i will second richard {and 3rd eric? :)} on the 35mm and the 50mm lens. you're on a roll anyway, get both. i'm sure you'll have plenty of room in that backpack. or when you walk around with the 18-105mm anyone of those primes will fit in one of your pockets.
    there will be times that you will just mount the 35mm and the 50mm in your pocket or vice versa. i have done that in my D90. have fun with your new toys. but please budget at least for the sb-600 flash along the way.
  24. Ramon- you're killing me!!! On one hand I'm drooling over the idea of several new lenses to play with, on the other I'm looking at my meager grad student stipend! ;-)
    Okay, so what is this flash that I need?
    Would anyone recommend buying some of these lenses used? Or is that just asking for trouble?
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jessica, the D90 plus the 18-105 and 70-300 AF-S VR is a very good starter kit. I would use that for a few weeks and see what else is missing for your photography before buying more lenses. Only you will know what you need.
  26. Haha, I only said in passing that it's a pity you had to drop the 50mm out of the running. It's not a necessity. No lens is a necessity, after you have your first one. One camera + one lens + creative vision = magic. After that, most of the talk we have around here is just nit-picking the details. You've already got a lens that will do the 35mm and 50mm, so the only thing you would gain by darting out to buy one of the primes are the apertures from f/1.8 to about f/3.5. If you can't afford to spend more, then don't put yourself into debt for the sake of one more lens. You've already got plenty to keep yourself occupied for years. Incidentally, it's also a pity that you didn't get the 14-24mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II, but that doesn't mean you should buy those, either. Some people have hundreds of lenses, and some people have the most expensive and collectible lenses ever made, but that's not what makes them great photographers.
  27. Jessica -- congratulations on your new acquisitions. I would just add my voice to those advising you to use the lenses you have (which cover all the focal lengths from 18 mm to 300 mm!) for a while (even a year or more) until you get a solid sense for what you are missing. You never mentioned what you like to take pictures of, so it's hard to advise you on what your next purchase should be... Is it natural light portraits? A fast prime would be a natural. Tiny bugs and flowers? A macro lens. Birds on faraway perches? Maybe a longer fast telephoto. Party pictures at events? Maybe that flash would make the most sense. You get the idea. In the meantime, just go take pictures -- lots and lots of them. The answers will become clearer in time.
  28. Jessica,
    Good choice. The D90 is excellent, the 18-105 is a pleasant surprise of a good lens and the 70-300 VR is much better than the inexpensive 70-300. Use that equipment for a while before deciding on a prime lens - the 50/1.8 and 35/1.8 are both great lenses but with different uses so use your 18-105 at 35 and at 50 for a while to decide whether either of those lenses is for you. I get a lot of mileage out of the 35/1.8 and D90 combination but different people prefer different focal lengths.
  29. Thanks again for all the validation of my purchase! I feel MUCH better now- everything should arrive on Monday and I imagine the camera won't leave my hand for weeks!
    I know that I probably shouldn't have, but I went ahead and ordered the 35mm/1.8 as well. I read a lot of reviews, and it seems a lot of the feedback on getting a prime lens was positive. I like the idea of having something small for "casual" shooting when I go out. And, like everyone said, the price is right- only $200!
    I also got the Kata rucksack- not sure if anyone uses this, but it looks awesome and has amazing reviews! One question I have is about locking this type of bag- does anyone have experience with this? I sometimes take public transportation (think the Paris metro or Chicago L) and although I'm a very with it girl, I know that it's easy to unzip a pack!
    I'm also super wary because my friend's D90 set-up was stolen a few month's ago from her trunk while I was with her...I don't plan on leaving my stuff, but now that I've finally made the leap and put down cash, I'm pretty worried about keeping it safe. Any advice on how you guys keep your stuff protected from scratches, thieves, etc is welcome too!
    I can't thank you all enough- there are some cool cats out there in cyberspace! You guys saved me from getting a real bad deal!
  30. The best way to protect it from scratches is not using it. Just kidding. Carry it in it's bag and dont throw it around. I wouldnt worry about scratches just use it and enjoy your new camera. As for how to protect it against thieves? Well I bough an insurance for $20 a year and it covers up to $7K in case my gear gets lost or stolen.
  31. Jessica, IMO you made the perfect choice. You got two very good lenses with VR, a great camera and the neat 35mm lens that will let you try out a prime. There is very little you can not shoot with what you have. The best advice I have is to just have fun with your camera. I think the next purchase you should consider, when it is affordable on your grad school budget is an SB-600 flash. Just trust me on that. If you master the use of flash it will take your photography to a whole new level. (You have a flash on camera that is OK but nothing like one you can bounce and such.
    Anyway. Welcome to the Nikon club. We are nice but very exclusive. We tolerate those Canon people but secretly we know that...........
  32. You made a very good choice and you learned an important lesson. I wouldn't get anything else now except a good beginners book. I like any of several by John Hedgecoe or the new Guide by Bryan Peterson. Do some reading and a lot of shooting and when you have questions ask us. As you shoot more you'll learn what else you need. In the mean time you're covered from wideangle (18mm) to long telephoto (300mm ) with very good lenses.
    One more piece of advice is to not expect too much at first. There's a lot to learn and it takes time in spite of what Nikon would have you believe. Getting good gear is just the beginning. Now you have to learn how to be a good photographer.
    Enjoy your new gear, and enjoy your new hobby!
  33. good call on the 35/1.8, jessica. i think you'll find your three lenses and new digital body very nice for beginning to intermediate photography. holler back in six months or so when you're ready to get another lens and we'll be happy to help advise you there. a flash with bounce like the sb-600 would be nice, but you should familiarize yourself with the basic functions of the camera and get comfortable with the lenses before stepping up to an external strobe. not sure if its already been mentioned, but Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure is an excellent photo learning tool which can get you shooting in full-manual mode in just a short while.
    re: the kata rucksack. jessica, i have the kata dr-467, which is a very good bag for urban adventures. first of all, it looks like a backpack, not a camera bag, and is very low-profile. it has zipper garages which hold the zips in place on the accessory pockets and the main camera compartment. and the zippers are fairly non-obtrusive. so its not an obvious target for theft. but if you're in sketchy areas, in large crowds,or on public transportation, here's what you do: buy a small combination lock which can loop through the pulls of the zips in the main camera compartment. if you get the lock in black it's even stealthier, and doesnt alert would-be thieves to potentially valuable equipment.
    in addition to a backpack, i also like to have a sling bag or messenger-style bag (like a small timbuk 2) which can be carried around the front for urban shooting and extra safety, and also for those times when you're carrying a smaller amount of gear. if you already have something like this, you can use the extra padding from the kata as cushioning. one nice thing about the kata is the photo compartment is removeable and the dividers are all reconfigurable. so you can use it in other bags as well.
  34. gdw


    Something I would suggest you seriously consider before buying another lens: Everyone seems to be ignoring your question about using the 50 or the 35 for closeup. You mention you are into gardening and want to take photos of the bugs, okay, you called them creatures. Now, I am making an assumption that you do mean the bugs and not rabbits or deer. I am taking closeup and creatures to equate to small creatures. Neither the 35 or the 50 is ideal for that type of photography. And yes, someone is going to disagree and say you can shoot bug pictures with them and they are right, you can jury rig anything. You can shoot bug pictures with a fisheye. I am just saying these two lenses are far from ideal for what you seem to want to do. If you are into low light stuff they are fine. But don't purchase either for macro photography. Save your money until you can afford a true macro lens that will do 1:1.

    I tell you this because I have a pretty good arsenal of pro Nikkors but I don't have a macro. I jury rig the 50mm and I get lousy results so I don't do as much macro type photography as I would enjoy doing. I have got to break down and swing for a macro. Just don't want you to have the same problems.
  35. Two things:
    (1) Resellerratings:
    This is a good site to bookmark. Check it out for anything you plan to buy online, not just photo stuff.
    (2) Flash:
    The SB600 is a good flash. It has some limitations if you get into flash work, but for a beginner they're not serious. Another option is the Nissin Di866. It can act as a master or slave for off-camera work, where the SB600 is only good for on-camera work. There's a review of this flash at
    I recently got one, but haven't had time to check it all out yet.
  36. Dwight: the SB-600 certainly can be used as a slave in Nikon's CLS world. The camera in question (the D90) can tell the SB-600 what to do, remotely. Very useful, that system. The SB-600 is less useful when you want to use it outside of the CLS, but that's jumping into an entirely different flavor of shooting.
  37. Ditto the suggestion from those that suggested resellers rating site..better to buy D90 and ONE lens to start then lose all your money to a unreputable dealer. I like Amazon as they will take any back within 30 days if you are not satisfied. BTW I own the D90 and you will not be returning it..its a wonderful camera and a nice size for easy walking around. I like the18-55 VR to start you off...then a 700-300vr or 55-200 VR as a second lens. THat should hold you for a good long time while you learn your equipment.
    GOod luck with your purchase
  38. Gary: good to know! You're absolutely right- I would like to be able to take close ups of flowers, bugs, plants, and even different soils (I truly am a garden nut!). Clearly, I have enough to keep me busy for a long time with the 3 lenses, but I will start saving my spare change for a macro. I'm guessing by your post that they are quite expensive....sigh, I knew when I finally made the jump of buying good equipment that I'd open a pandora's box of needing more and more...
    Eric: I'm stoked on the Kata (I got the smaller 465 which makes sense for my frame), and for a second bag I bought this:
    Now, for any other ladies out there, or those looking for a sweet gift for the lady photographers in their lives, I honestly think this bag would make any girl's heart skip a beat!
    Everyone else- I can't wait to be ready to use flash! I've been reading the beginner's forum a ton and am psyched to start practicing!
  39. macro on a budget:
    this costs about 1/3rd as much as a dedicated macro and will fit any lens with 77mm threads. you'd need a 67mm>77MM step-up adapter like this ( ) to use it on the nikon 70-300.
  40. Jess good luck with your new gear and we are looking forward to seeing some photos form you.
  41. Re: Security and your new Nikon equipment. I think that the most important way to secure your gear is to be aware of where it is at all times. If possible, when traveling by air, try to store your camera bag under the seat in front of you...not in the overhead. Also, when leaving the plane don't forget your camera bag. In 2001 I was returning from Hong Kong with a camera bag with two cameras which were stored in a pack in the overhead compartment. I was pretty tired when I arrived in Minneapolis where I was to clear customs for my final connection home to Florida. I left the plane with my carry-on, but I forgot the camera bag! I realized this when I arrived in customs. I was allowed to return to the arrival gate, but was not allowed to go back on the plane to look for my cameras since customs and the cleaning crew :)g) had not completed their check. I never saw that photographic gear again! Fortunately , I was still shooting film at that time and I had stored all of my used film in my other carry on bag and only lost a day's film from Hong Kong.
    When I buy a new Nikon camera the first thing that I do is replace that beautiful, showy Nikon camera strap with one with no logos. I have some real nice, reasonable straps on both of my current Nikon SLRs (D200 and D300). A business card is attached to each strap.
    Of course, if you are traveling by car you should carry your camera gear in a locked trunk...or covered at the least obvious place if in an SUV.
    I hope that this is helpful Jessica. And, welcome to the wonderful world of Nikon!
  42. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    With the 300mm extension of the 70-300mm VR lens, you should be able to get fairly close shots of the bigger bugs and flowers. Its shortest focus distance is 4.5 feet (the D version of this focuses down to about this, but is soft on the long end). I have the VR macro, which is sharper, but try working at the closer focal distances with your lens at 300mm for closer shots.

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