More FX lenses?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by josheudowe, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. I've been a D80, then D200, now D300 owner and really want to make the switch to the D3S (the low light ability really plays into what I find myself shooting more often than not). However, I am so frustrated with the choices of non-dx lenses! The 24-70 2.8 is nice, but come on. How about some more variety? Clearly I'll be getting rid of my very versatile 18-200, which is okay. I have the 70-200 2.8 and love it. However, I'd like a 24-120 - something a little more of an all purpose lens.
    Is there any reason why Nikon does this? Do you think now that FX is becoming more recognized for its enhanced capabilities that Nikon will begin to release some additional lenses?
    I'm troubled to spend $5k on a new body, plus the $600 in the lost 18-200 and the added cost of 1k+ for a 24-70 (or something like it). Ugh.
    Anyone has some opinions that may help me make this frustrating decision? I shoot a great deal of landscape, portraits and candids of people and am always finding myself shooting in low light where I can't use a flash or tripod. Truthfully, the D300 sucks in low light - no way around it. Even when I shoot with my 50mm 1.8, I'm hard pressed to get a great candid inside shot with ambient lighting above 250.
    When you're shooting candid shots, you absolutely need the versatility of a zoom in the 24-200 range, but where do you go with FX? Carry around two lenses - a 24-70 and a 70-200 and swap them quickly? Hard to do without missing shots.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Sure the D700/D3-ish bodies are nice in low light. But the D300 doesn't exactly "suck" by comparison. If you're using the 18-200, I can see why you might feel that way, since the slow aperture is robbing you of huge amounts of potential light.

    I think you'd be better off with the D700 (at a fraction of the cost of the D3s), and yes ... a couple or three lenses. In practical terms, you should be able to know which of two zooms or a prime you're likely to need as you walk into a people-shooting situation. If you're you're really shooting furiously at a break-neck pace, you're certainly not going for inconspicuous... so why not just get a second D700 (you're still ahead of the game, financially, compared to a D3 and then you'd have a backup body) - and just keep two lenses mounted? That's what the pros do.

    As for anything FX-fiendly that even approaches the 18-200's focal length range ... it would be large, heavy, and expensive. Or if it's lightweight, like the often-bundled 24-120 VR, you're not going to grow past any of the many optical compromises you already have in the 18-200.

    Or why not try some faster glass on the D300? Try Sigma's stellar 50/1.4 HSM on your D300. The D300 can - with a touch of software in post - shoot very nice low-light images at ISO 1200 or so, and with a fast prime, you're into a lot more light gathering than your 70-200, and way more than with your 18-200. Or add the 17-55/2.8 to your current recipe (for use on the D300), and push the 70-200/2.8 over to a new D700. Those bodies share the same battery grip and ergonomics, which is nice.

    A fast prime, like the one I mentioned, will serve you now, and also make the trip to FX. And you're thousands of dollars ahead of the game.
     
  3. A large percentage of my photos are night photos, and shot with D300. Saying that the D300 "sucks" at low light would be major news to the magazines that have published my shots in the past couple of years, and the calendar companies that have used my photos. You are correct that Nikon does not currently have the modern lenses to support their FX cameras. The most glaring omission is the total lack of pro quality f4 VR zooms. Canon has a whole system of them. Not sure why you would buy an expensive camera like a D3s and then stick lenses on it like an 18-200mm or the mediocre at best 24-120. As for me, I will not be rushing out to buy a D3s, but will instead will eventually buy a refurb or used D700. My strategy is let someone else take the big hit on depreciation, and put the money I saved on first class lenses. Sometime in the next two years there will be a less expensive "D800" type body with the D3s sensor, for thousands of dollars less. Enough to even buy a 24-70mm f2.8 perhaps. With digital cameras, patience is well rewarded.
    Kent in SD
     
  4. Josh
    If you are troubled can I ask who is pushing you to spend $5000 on a body? there are a lot of very capable photographers who seem content with a D300 , the only person driving this nonsense is you. I suggest sit down think about it you before you invest such a sum, an expensive camera is not a magic bullit ,and I'm not sure that I agree with what you say about zooms .
    Steve
     
  5. I hear about many people using FX cameras like D3 and D700 and all they use are 2 or 3 lenses. That is all they need. 12-24, 24-7- and 70-200.
    These are top of the line lenses and basically that is most than the regular amateur needs. The 24-70 alone would do most of the job.
    I also don't see the point on spending 5 G's on a camera and 1 G or less on lens.
    BTW, I hadn't noticed my D300 sucks!
     
  6. Whoa Josh, the whole advantage of shooting with a Nikon is your have fifty (that's 5 zero) years of lenses to choose from. Go to http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/lenses.html and pick what you need then go to KEH or eBay and buy it. How about a 50mm f/1.2 or an 85mm f/1.4? Enjoy.
    Ken
     
  7. I can not believe you are worried about the price of a 24-70mm if you are concidering a D3s. I would think its a perfect match though very big and heavy. Even then if you are having problems with a D300 and 50mm f1.8 I don't think there is a solution for you in the near future. Maybe you should consider a D700 and 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4 and work harder at getting the shot.
     
  8. It always amazes me that someone will call themselves a pro photographer, and they don't know how to use the cameras they already have. Then make a big speal complaining about it. There is no excuse for the lack of knowledge, there is a lot of books and ebooks that go in great detail on how to use light to your advantage, even if it is low light. So if you are having trouble, rather than make a fool of yourself by complaining. Show some humility and learn. There is no one person who knows it all. Even if they think they do.
     
  9. Les, are you sure you're replying to someone's comments in this thread? Josh, the original poster in this thread, hasn't called himself a pro. He specifically states on his bio page he's just an amateur trying to learn. And your comments about making "a fool of yourself" and "humility"... it sounds like you're replying to comments that weren't made in this thread.
    Les Ens , Dec 05, 2009; 01:26 a.m. (edit | delete )
    It always amazes me that someone will call themselves a pro photographer, and they don't know how to use the cameras they already have. Then make a big speal complaining about it. There is no excuse for the lack of knowledge, there is a lot of books and ebooks that go in great detail on how to use light to your advantage, even if it is low light. So if you are having trouble, rather than make a fool of yourself by complaining. Show some humility and learn. There is no one person who knows it all. Even if they think they do.​
     
  10. Josh - tripod or fast primes don't work for you? A fair bit of your work is nature photography. I don't shoot in real low light, but with winter in the UK, weak light with long lenses on my D300. It never fails to deliver unless the bio-mass behind the camera messes up.
    Personally I wish Nikon would release a 300/2.8VR2 DX .
    That said, I've recently been shooting at HI-1 on my D200, for color shots at 5x7 prints after noise reduction it's fine. If anything, there isn't enough "pseudo grain" for B&W images - probably need to dump in more noise at post. The D300 is great at high-iso but something about the noise pattern doesn't agree with me.
    Alvin
     
  11. I appreciate everyone's response, with the exception of Les, who I believe was a little antagonistic (thanks Lex). First off, I'm not a professional photographer (please feel free to see what I like to shoot - www.jmephotography.com). I'm an amateur with a great passion for it and have been doing it for years.
    Some of you perhaps misread my original post. My plan was not to use my 18-200 and/or a 24-120. I was merely saying that to take good candid shots without being in someone's face, you need the versatility of a longer lens, the 17-55 or 24-70 is nice, but not really long enough for me. That said, the suggestions of a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8, etc are all great ones, but again, a prime lens makes taking real candid shots very difficult (hard to get a true candid when you need to be in someone's face to get the shot you want...)
    Clearly, there are a lot of D300 owners who were somewhat insulted by my comment(s). Relax. No one is personally attacking your ability, your talents or your children. I'm merely saying that MY experience with the D300 in low light situations hasn't been good (and no, I'm not new enough to the game to use my 18-200 or even my 70-200 and expect stellar results - read my post again, and slower, and you'll see that I said even when I use my 50 1.8 I have a hard time getting great shots in low light). The people that I've spoken to praise the D3S for being "significantly" better than the D700 in low light settings, which in itself is far better than the D300. Therefore, what I'm interested in is getting the shots I want. Believe me, as much as I appreciate everyone's desire to help me save money, what I'm really interested in is help in determining if the D3S will yield the results that I'm looking for. Do you feel that the D700 would be a noticeable improvement over the D300 and the D3S is complete overkill? Set aside the financial issue for a moment and talk results. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a multimillionaire willing to needlessly waste money, but I love photography and I want to have equipment that yields the results that I want/need.
    As for being an amateur/pro... as for those of you fortunate enough to be a full time photographer, I'm envious. But telling me that I'm basically insulting the magazines and calendars that have published your work is a bit extreme, no? Again, I'm not insulting your family, merely talking about my experience with my D300 and what I'm looking for with a more light sensitive model.
    Thanks again for your advice. It's all fantastic. That's what I love about photo.net - the passion and the willingness of so many to help others!
    Josh
     
  12. gen

    gen

    I shoot a great deal of landscape, portraits and candids of people and am always finding myself shooting in low light where I can't use a flash or tripod.

    Landscape: 14-24/2.8 is the lens to own for landscape. If you'd rather not, you could try the Zeiss ZF 18mm, which now comes with a CPU chip, (just out recently.)

    Portrait: 105DC & 135DC Nikkors, 180/2.8 Nikkor, 70-200/2.8 VRII; Zeiss ZF 100/2. Any of these would be excellent portrait lenses.


    Candids: Not sure what "candids" mean to you but any of the fast 50mm lenses (Nikkor, Zeiss ZF, Sigma) (even the cheap 1.8 is excellent) are great candid lenses.

    Has Nikon focused more on DX lens variety? Sure- because that's the bulk of the market right now. Rumors say that there will be more fixed-focal-length Nikkors coming out. Who knows for sure. But between what Nikon has out now, the new ZF.2 Zeiss lenses, and a few of the Sigmas, you can easily cover all of what you need.
     
  13. these questions are so open that one can say almost anything and still be relevant. i am curious to have some opinions on this: I own a D2X and used it very happily for portraits (85/1.4) and use a small zoom 14-24mm: very good at 24 but so-so at 14. I don't like zooms because they give me too much choice and...they weigh a ton. I went around with an F6 and a 17-35 and it's like trekking with luggage. In fact i am happiest with primes lenses a wide angle (28mm or 35mm) and a portrait lens in my pocket. I shoot travel, looking for colourful situations and people; also colourful types. So my silly question: is it worth trading the D2X for a D700 to use my primes or just let things be as they are?
     
  14. gen

    gen

    is it worth trading the D2X for a D700 to use my primes or just let things be as they are?

    I think the major upgrade of the D700 (vs. a D2X) is the light sensitivity. The D700 is not a light body, so that doesn't get you much either. If you want light weight, then a DX body with DX zooms are actually the lightest option (Thom Hogan recommends the 16-85 and the 70-300 as a lightweight set.)

    If you want to keep using your prime lenses then the D700 is great for that, but it's not a light or small DSLR.

    You sort of have to decide which to prioritize.
     
  15. Gen, thanks for your suggestions. I do use a prime 50 1.8, but in terms of "candid" photos, I'm one to circulate around a room and around situations and love to shoot people from distances so they have no idea they're being photographed. That's been hard with a 50mm lens because of proximity.
    Where I basically started this question was discerning between the D700 and D3S in terms of being the best in low light situations and what FX lenses are the best for me. For example, if I were to shoot the exact same picture with my D300, a D700 and a D3S with my 70-200 f/2.8 would there be a significant different in low light performance? I've been told the D3S would be a big improvement over the D700 and the D700 would be a big improvement over the D300. Is that true?
    Again, I don't want to argue semantics, but just looking for opinions and experiences on these bodies with the same lenses being used (just comparing bodies - not the, "D3S with a low-end lens isn't as good as a D300 with the best lens" argument.)
    Thanks again everyone!
    Josh
     
  16. gen

    gen

    I've been told the D3S would be a big improvement over the D700 and the D700 would be a big improvement over the D300. Is that true?

    I suppose it really depends on your definition of "big improvement." I am coming from a D70s, and the D700 is, for me, a HUGE improvement. There are times when the D700 just astonishes me with the low light sensitivity, but I was coming from a 6MP DX body from a few years ago. I think you'd see a 'big' improvement if you went to the D3s, but it's hard to take candids with that pro body.

    Is there a retailer near you where you can test out the D700 or D3S?
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Josh, I am afraid that saying the D300 "sucks" at low light is a huge exaggeration. I wrote photo.net's review for the D300, D700 and D3. For the D3 I used two samples from Nikon USA, but I own the D300 and D700 myself. The D3/D700 can give you 1 to 1.5 stops over the D300/D300S, and it looks like the new D3S will be another another stop to 1.5 stops better.
    Sure, technology continues to improve quickly, but the D300/D300S is still very good under low light and for a lot less money. You are much better off spending more on some good and fast lenses. Super zooms such as the 18-200 are so slow that they are the limitation under dim light, and you sure don't want to pay $5200 on a D3S and then put some slow lens in front of it.
     
  18. Again, speaking as a night photographer, I own D300 and have tried D700 several times. The D700 gives me about 1, maybe 2 stops higher ISO. For me, it's not quite enough difference for the money I'll have to spend for camera plus new f2.8 lenses. My judgement is the difference is just not significant enough for the current price of the camera. (It is going down though.) I am very resistant to spending big money on cameras because they lose value SO fast. Lenses tend to keep their value very well, as do flash. For what you seem to be doing, I'll agree a f2.8 zoom is the way to go. I use them for the same reasons. A used or refurb D700 plus either 24-70mm f2.8 or 28-80mm f2.8 will do what you want. I owuld also carry the Sigma 50mm f1.4. (And, how come you aren't talking about flash?) If this package doesn't do what you want, my thinking is you won't be able to blame the gear. It's now December. The prices of used gear almost always drops to a yearly low point on e Bay about the first of February. I'm thinking D700 will be going for maybe $1,600 then. There will be no deals on first class lenses though. People keep those, and demand is very high. Cameras are disposable; lenses you keep.
    Kent in SD
     
  19. Shun said:
    You are much better off spending more on some good and fast lenses.​
    Furthermore, note that higher end lenses do not get updated as often as bodies unless there was a major flaw. For that reason alone, you are getting a better bang for your buck, so to speak.
     
  20. The Nikkor 24-120mm has not exactly gotten rave reviews. The Online Photographer called it names I will not reproduce directly, but the experience that Mike had is illuminating. Scroll down the page to the lens review.
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2008/11/nikon-24-120mm.html
    Bjorn Rorslett was not too impressed with the new 24-120mm either
    http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
    On DX, the 70-200mm 2.8 VR, version I, has gotten superb reviews when used with DX cameras. I got it for that reason and in anticipation of FX coming in a few years. Too bad several reviewers find the corners of the first version of this lens do not sharpen up at all on FX.
    I got the D700 for the same reason you cite, low light high ISO ability. Getting lenses that are appropriate, and do not result in another house mortgage, is a challenge.
     
  21. When you're shooting candid shots, you absolutely need the versatility of a zoom in the 24-200 range....​
    Now that's just silly. It's impressive that Matt Laur managed such a very helpful opening response.
     
  22. I'll just echo what others have said in that you should probably look more towards a D700 and some faster glass.
    I own the D300 and the D700, and while I can see a substantial improvement in terms of hi-ISO performance, I have to say that the difference is only a stop or two. A pretty small jump compared with what you would see shooting at f/2.8 versus the max aperture of that 18-200mm.
    I just got back from shooting at a pool and even with a D700 the 300mm f/4 struggles to suck in as much light as I would like, and I often still turn to my faster glass.
    If you can afford the D3s plus great fast glass then don't hesitate. If not then go with the D700 and great glass.
    Don't skimp on lenses!
     
  23. When you're shooting candid shots, you absolutely need the versatility of a zoom in the 24-200 range, but where do you go with FX? Carry around two lenses - a 24-70 and a 70-200 and swap them quickly? Hard to do without missing shots.
    This is completely wrong. Classic lenses for people candids include 35mm and 50mm prime lenses. I happen to like 85mm for this (on FX), it allows me to play with subject isolation. A zoom that goes to tele and is f/5.6 wide open is totally the wrong tool for people candids IMHO. You get cluttered backgrounds which aren't quite sharp but neither are they soft enough not to be a distraction. And using a wide-range zoom would totally defy the purpose of buying an expensive FX camera in the first place. Get a bunch of primes or f/2.8 zooms for your FX camera.
    The missing shot syndrome, huh. It doesn't matter which shots you miss. Only those shots that you do get matter, and you should seek to improve their quality, and their communicative and emotional impact. You cannot catch everything of interest anyway; you'd have to be everywhere at the same time, all the time, to do that. Focus on something and get it done. You don't need to have immediate access to all imaginable focal lengths to do specific shots. IMO subject to background isolation is a key compositional and image construction tool and that's only available with fast lenses.
     
  24. Thank you everyone for some great help and a very colorful discussion.
    Can I just ask one simple question... bottom line, can anyone tell me how much of an improvement over the D300 the D700 is in low light situations? Furthermore, how much better is the D3S over the D700? Obviously assume you're shooting with the exact same lens. Some people say 1-2 stops better with a D700 over a D300 and then go on to say that the D3S will go 1-2 stops over the D700. That's a 2-4 stop improvement over the D300 with a D3S - is that correct to say?
    My trouble is, and many people seem to miss what I've said a few times above, that I use a D300 with a 50mm 1.8, a 70-200 f/2.8 and the 18-200mm. Clearly, the 18-200 isn't a good low light lens. I know that. But I find FOR MY SITUATIONS that the 50 1.8 is good, but still shoots dark. I'm wondering if I put that lens on a D700 and then a D3S, would I be able to take shots that are of great improvement over my D300? Some shots (if shooting on program) can't even be handheld because I'm well below the 1/60 range. Does that mean with a D700 those shots that are at 1/60 will be in the 1/125 - 1/250 range?
    Thanks again.
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    But I find FOR MY SITUATIONS that the 50 1.8 is good, but still shoots dark.​
    If a 50mm/f1.8 on the D300, which should give you very good ISO 1600 and acceptable 3200, is too dark, the quality of light has to be very poor. There is no camera that can compensate for such poor light.
    I haven't tested the D3S yet, but at most it is 2 to 3 stops better than the D300. Getting a 50mm/f1.4 is a far cheaper way to gain you 2/3 stop. But I would look for better subjects and lighting elsewhere.
     
  26. Taking a quick look through the 4 galleries on your website, I can't find lot's of pictures that indicate problems with lack of light. So my guess is that you don't show those?
    I'm asking this because -based on the way you ask your questions, and the way you react to other people's suggestions- I have a feeling you will not be satisfied by a new camera, even when it's 4 stops better (I don't know if the D3s is that much better than the D300).
    The reason I get this feeling is because there's lot's of factors that make or break low light photographs, and in the pictures I saw on your site, and the way you post in this thread here, I can't find evidence of you having mastered them (I can't find any evidence of you *not* having mastered them either, btw).
    Most of my work up until now has been (street)theatre photography (very low light, often made more difficult by hige contrasts). When I started this kind of photography, a friend of mine had been doing it for some 20+ years already. In 1 year I was his technical equal (I still have a way to go in matching his 'eye for the moment'), and after two years I was giving him tips on technique (which he really doesn't want to listen to, because he thinks technique is not creative). I'm now on the point where I'm able to get technically better results using his D50, then he's getting on my D300 (which is also a 2~3 stop difference)...
    Things that very often go wrong in his work, and that *might* right now be frustrating you into looking for a better camera, are:
    * not being familiar with his camera's metering behaviour (he doesn't even know spot-metering exists)
    * not being familiar with the limits in stops his sensor can handle
    * not being familiar with the focussing system of his camera (single vs. continuous, release vs. focuspriority)
    * not understanding the limits of a very large aperture/very small DOF
    * not understanding the way shooting modes work, and thus getting surprised now and then by < 1/30 shutter time in P-mode
    * not paying attention to proper hand-holding and breathing technique
    * There's probably some other points I have forgotten right now, which other people may be able to point out.
    The reason I mention all this is that upgrading your sensor will ultimately probably not help you, because people (probably you as well) tend to try and match what other users of that sensor are able to achive. And you just won't get there unless you have 'the rest' under control.
     
  27. A stop is a stop.
    The D700 is pretty amazing, especially for those of us who used to shoot ASA 25 slide film. But, it is only a stop or two over the D300, with maybe a wee bit more dynamic range.
    I would echo those who urge you to get faster glass first. There will be a successor to the D700, probably in the next year. Consider getting the D700 then when prices fall, and using glass you acquire now.
    If you want more feedback than that, then why not rent a D700 or D3 or D3s for a week and come up with your own conclusion after some empirical shots? E.g., just two off the net, D3 at Calumet http://www.calumetphoto.com/rental/digitalcameras, or maybe Adorama.
    http://www.adoramarentals.com/Templates/ARC_fall09Pricing.pdf
     
  28. The quality of light and the quantity of light are not the same thing. There can be high quality, but very low light, and very strong, but poor quality light (for purposes of photography). I frequently photograph in situations where the light level is very low, but not always poor quality. Last week I shot photos at a chamber music concert with low light (f/2.8 1/250s, ISO 6400) and you could argue that the quality of light was not great (fluorescent lights), nevertheless I got decent results in these conditions with a D3 and a 180/2.8. Sometimes you need to shoot in the conditions that are presented and can not have the option of choosing another subject in another light. Typically the subject and occasion are more important than the technical quality of the photography when shooting for someone doing something important to them.
    Another situation last week was an occasion where I was able to shoot models with stage lighting that was controlled by a theatrical lighting designer. Here I was at f/2 1/125s, ISO 1600, or thereabouts. The quality of the light was definitely not poor, though it wasn't bright.
    Yes, if you use the 50/1.8 in low light, a D700 or D3s would yield superior image quality (compared to a DX camera). Three reasons for this: first, 12 MP in FX corresponds to lower spatial frequencies than 12 MP in DX. The detail contrast is higher with the FX because of this (the lens produces lower contrast detail as the frequency is increased). The second is because the larger sensor collects more light, leading to lower noise in the image. Third, the 12 MP FX sensors have an unusually high SNR for a sensor of this area, for implementation specific reasons that I don't know the details of. I suspect simply that because the spacing between photosites is greater, there is more space for higher quality electronics to amplify the signal etc.
    A less expensive way to improve image quality in low light would be to get the 50/1.4 AF-S which has better image quality at least in the aperture range f/1.4-f/2.5 compared to the 50/1.8D.
    Another thing is of technique - if you use program mode you probably have a lot to learn about technique before you're quite ready to invest so much money on a D3s. First, go to aperture priority mode and set the lens wide open. This should get the shutter speed higher. Does it help? If not, get the 50/1.4 and use f/1.4. If you go to the highest ISO of acceptable quality on your current camera and there is still movement blur (dark images would indicate incorrect exposure and not necessarily a limitation of the camera) then you may want to consider an FX camera. But it's still imperative to learn the inside out of the technical side of low-light photography. And I would do that first, before you invest 5k on a top-of-the-line camera.
     
  29. The whole bunch of beautiful lenses available, used, KEH or eBay, like the 50/1.2 excellent in night photography at 2.8, no point (sagittal coma) of light distortion, like the extremely expensive 58/1.2 ( U$4000.00 plus.) in full open, then, the AF 85/1.4, or the even better 85/1.4 AI-S, 105/1.8 AI-S, 135/2, 180/2.8 and you can mach any of this lens to the D300 or D700, witch I have and also the above mentioned lenses. They are super lenses and fraction of the price of todays plastic, AF big fast lenses. I had the 14-24/2.8 sold more then I paid for it, Instead I have the AF 14/2.8 prime, have the AF 16-35/2.8 and AF 24-70/2.8 behemoth. The 180/2.8 AI-S is wonderful on the D300 body, and it is 270mm/2.8
     
  30. You said: " Even when I shoot with my 50mm 1.8, I'm hard pressed to get a great candid inside shot with ambient lighting above 250" Do you mean iso 250? Many of us who shoot a lot in low light tend to use higher iso's. Even with my first DSLR, a D70, I found that iso 1600 was very acceptable if used correctly (raw, careful exposure and conversion from raw). At that iso an 8x10 print will look very good, and not greatly different from a print made from a shot a lower iso. Some will argue this, but I have many such prints. Pixel peeping at 100% does not tell you anything about a finished print; it depends so much on size of the print and other factors. I would recommend taking your D300 and cranking up the iso to 1600, shooting in raw, carefully using ACR or NX and learning how to control chroma noise and luminance noise. Make some prints in the 9x13 range and see how they look.
    Back in the day before digital, I shot ambient light such as living rooms at night, no flash, using plus x or tri x (iso's 125 and 400 respectively) typically using manual mode, 50mm f 1.4 wide open at 1/30 sec. This was a winning formula and I have hundreds of great prints made with that combination. Here's an example: shot on Plux-X. My subject was simply sitting on the couch and no special lighting was used. http://www.photo.net/photo/1152740 here's another from the same roll: http://www.photo.net/photo/1152786
    Here's tri-x, 1969 new year's eve party: http://www.photo.net/photo/4650442
    Here's D80 at 1600, 18-70 f3.5 1/60 sec: http://www.photo.net/photo/10178733&size=lg
    Another with D80 at 1600 iso 24mm f2.8 lens wide open 1/100 sec http://www.photo.net/photo/10178710
    my 2 cents!
     
  31. Almost all of my indoor candids are shot with a prime lens... I may crop a bit, but 85 1.4 and 105 f/2 are my bread and butter on FX... If I have to shoot at f/2.8 indoors, even with a D3, I am usually using flash too. If you think about using screwdriver focused lenses, the D3 is better than the D700, but if you are thinking a 2.8 zoom and a D3 or a D700 and an 85 1.4 or 105 f/2, I would vote for the latter, specifically when shooting candids indoors.
     
  32. You want to use a D3s, a $5k camera, for low light but you want to throw a slow (f3.5-f5.6) zoom on it? Tamron makes one for 28-300 for $579 and another for $339, sigma makes one for $299. You do realize that once you do the math, ISO 1600 at f2.8 or ISO 6400 at f5.6, you haven't gone anywhere? What's wrong with spending half the money of a D3s on a D700, using whatever accessories you have from your D300 and spending the rest on awesome glass?
     
  33. I find "candid shots" and D3s a bit mutually exclusive... Anyway, Ilkka's first post sums it up very nicely. I'd consider one of the 85mm lenses for the D300 - they give nice reach for candid work (and nice size for it too) and allow more than twice the light of your 70-200VR.
    One thing to remember too: you would loose your cropfactor, so would the 70-200 still be the lens covering the right focal lenght? If you're using 200mm now, you will have to crop routinely when using a FX body.
     
  34. There is always the route of using older manual focus/aperture AIS Nikkors. They can be found relatively cheaply, are built to a much more durable standard than the newer ones and thoroughly compatable with the D300/D700. They are all I use. Just remember that a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor on the D700 would be a 75mm f/1.4 on the D300. The other nice thing about the D700 is you can choose between DX and FX format so your DX lenses will still be useful. Of course you go from 12.1 MP to about 5 MP when you do it, but that is plenty for most applications.
     
  35. I'm also interested in the D3s (or the D700 replacement), but want a lens comparable to my 16-85 DX. BTW, the low light performance on my D90 has been exemplary, particularly couple to the 16-85 with VR..
    I'd also like a wide-zoom that takes filters. While I love the image quality of the 14-24, not having a polarizer for landscapes rules it out for my use. I shoot at the coast quite a bit and don't want salt spray on the front element to clean off either. I love the current 10-24 DX and it takes the standard 77mm filter.
     
  36. First of all, thank you to everyone for providing some outstanding comments and suggestions. Joris, your thoughts above about me understanding every complexity regarding light is probably right on. I'm certainly not a professional photographer, just an amateur that loves the art and am so inspired by those who have the understanding and capability to create astonishing images. But you, and many others, are probably correct. I need to invest more time learning about light and the options I have with the D300 before I try and compensate my lack of understanding. David, Ilkka, Shun, Bela, Steve, Robert and everyone else - thanks a lot for your thoughts.
    That said, I think everyone has convinced me to work more with my D300 and pick up a few new lenses. I ordered the 50mm f/1.4 and the 24-70 f/2.8, as well as a few books recommended by others. These lenses, combined with my 70-200 f/2.8 and my 105 f/2.8 should be good - although I do love the 85 f/2.8 suggestion above as that tends to be right around where I shoot a lot.
    Anyone have an excellent book they can suggest?
    Again, thank you for a truly educational discussion. I really am impressed by everyone's knowledge and capability - I hope to be there myself some day!
     
  37. I got the 24-70mm before I got the D700. It is very sharp, and brighter than the kit lens it duplicates. On the D300, it is almost a portrait lens since it covers mild wide angle to very moderate telephoto equivalent. On a semi-pro body, though, it weighs a ton. Not what I would call a walk around lens.

    Then, I got the D700 earlier this year. A much better match. I love the combination, and it just about lives on the front of the D700. The combination is a little bit heavier than with the D300. I use it when I go out with a shooting project in mind, usually with tripod along for the exercise. The quality of the images is top notch, limited only by the abilities of the biological unit located just behind the view screen. The only limit on use the combination is that I would not want this combination as a full time travel combination, excellent as the image quality is. It is just too much to carry in one's hand all day long. Perhaps in a back pack Still, I have to say it has become my favorite and most used lens camera combination.
     
  38. although I do love the 85 f/2.8 suggestion above as that tends to be right around where I shoot a lot.​
    Hope you meant 85/1.8. It is a very sharp and small lens so you don't draw attention to yourself. It is also much cheaper than the 85/1.4, which I don't have. When mounted on a D90, while my Nikon 17-55 can AF without hunting at low light, the 85/1.8 hunts occasionally. I assume the AF on the D300 is much better than the one in D90 so the 85 should work very well.
     
  39. Shoot a D700. I use a 24-70 and a 70-200 f2.8 for 99% of what I need and shoot. Will occasionally use another lens under special situations. Would never buy an f4 lens in this range. Simply too slow for my needs..and I am considering the D3s for the 1.5 stop improvement, although I keep hoping for a D700s (just because of cost). I also use old fashion zooming which is quite effective.
     
  40. "When you're shooting candid shots, you absolutely need the versatility of a zoom in the 24-200 range, but where do you go with FX? Carry around two lenses - a 24-70 and a 70-200 and swap them quickly? Hard to do without missing shots."

    Photographers have been shooting Candids for Decades, without a single Zoom lens.
    We did it long before the first one was ever made. Shot most of them with a Prime 50mm or an 85mm and sometimes with a 135mm.... For a decade after I bought my F1 & F2 only had a 50mm and shot Wedding candid's all the time. Usually so many Brides had a very difficult time deciding what to choose. Most of the time so unobtrusively the guests would be asking the Bride if she had a Photographer at the Wedding.
    You can do anything you want, with whatever you have if you just learn how, then practice.
     
  41. gen

    gen

    Photographers have been shooting Candids for Decades, without a single Zoom lens.
    We did it long before the first one was ever made. Shot most of them with a Prime 50mm or an 85mm and sometimes with a 135mm.


    Absolutely agreed. Zooms are "convenient" but certainly not a must, and they are by nature almost always a stop or two slower than the equivalent fastest fixed focal length lens.

    If you want a great candid photography camera, people might point you to a rangefinder, which is much less obtrusive than any SLR.
     

Share This Page