Rate my recent purchase...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by andrea_mervick, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. After doing three months of research, I finally placed my order. I am a beginner, coming from the point-and-shoot world. My subjects include my daughter, some bicycle races (where I am standing now more than 10 ft. away from the bicycles), and when I hike I would like to shoot some of the scenery.
    I was contemplating the D90 and D80 but really don't think I would need all the features they had to offer. I tend to get intimidated by too many "options" and features.
    I ended up going with the D40, with the 18-55 kit lens. In addition, I also picked up a Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 fixed lens and a Tarmon 17-50mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
    Do you think these are okay lenses to supplement with? I figured that even if I upgrade camera bodies I can still use the lenses (and I have read mixed reviews on kit lenses that's why I went with the Tamron).
    Is there anything you would suggest I would get? A tripod? A flash? Or should I just shoot and see?
    My biggest concern is that nothing is VR so I am scared this will have an impact on my picture quality.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    ps. I will only be printing either 4x6 or 5x7 prints, nothing huge.
  2. The only thing I'd say is that waiting for the Nikon 35mm AFS might have been better than getting the Sigma. Also, getting the Nikon 18-55 and the 30mm AND the Tamron 17-50 at the same time must cause some kind of overdose.
  3. Since you got the Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens, I don't see why you also got the 18-55 kit lens. Waste of 100 bucks in my opinion.
  4. hi andrea, i use the sigma 30 and tamron 17-50 on a d300. i think you made the right choice in getting lenses far better than the kit glass (nish is right--you have no use for the 18-55 now other than as a backup). lack of VR doesnt bother me at all since i get a nice fast aperture and excellent IQ from this set up and can shoot in low light with no flash. VR helps when shooting static subjects handheld in dim conditions but isnt any good for shooting moving subjects, which require faster shutter speeds.
    one thing about the 1.4: the DoF is extremely narrow so the focus area can be quite small. a lot of reported "problems" with this lens are user error due to this. if you're doing a close portrait witht he 1.4, dial it down to 2.8 or thereabouts to get more of the face in focus.
    i'd at least get an sb-400 and probably an sb-600 for fill and bounce flash. a tripod is what you want for long exposures and landscape stuff. you can probably go with a basic $100 pod for now.
    here's a pic from last weekend with the 17-50
  5. "The only thing I'd say is that waiting for the Nikon 35mm AFS might have been better than getting the Sigma."
    any logical reason why you'd say this other than speculation, andrew? the nikon 35/1.4 isnt even out yet. it's cheaper, but almost certainly of a lower build quality, than the sigma 30.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Tamron 17-50 and Nikon 18-55 seem to be redundant.
  7. My biggest concern is that nothing is VR so I am scared this will have an impact on my picture quality.​
    VR is not a magic bullet. Somehow or another photographers managed to get by without it and take amazing high quality photographs for decades.
  8. Andrea,
    On the surface, used correctly, you will be able to shoot all of your stated subject matter very well with the purchases you have made.
    However, you have doubled up on a general purpose lens by purchasing both the Tamron and the Nikon 17-55/5mm lenses. If you can return one I'd return the Nikon 18-55mm lens or sell it if you can.
    A good solid tri-pod is also going to be your best freind irrespective of which gear you use and what subject matter you photograph. Don't skimp on a tri-pod, by well, buy once.
  9. >> "Since you got the Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens, I don't see why you also got the 18-55 kit lens."
    If the purchase was made in the US, then it probably "has to happen that way"; as the D40 is only sold with the kit lens.
  10. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the D40 without the kit lens and I have read mixed reviews on the kit lens. That, basically, is why I went with the Tamron. I know it was almost a total waste but I figure I can see which one I thought was better. Like I said I have heard mixed reviews and I have heard better reviews on the Tamron than the kit lens. I hope I made the right decision and if I can sell the kit lens then I will. If not, I'll just keep it as a backup.
  11. I think you'll find yourself using that Sigma 30/1.4 a lot more often than you might have guessed. It's fast, quiet, sharp, and produces very attractive out-of-focus blur when you shoot shallow. I use one on my DX bodies, and frequently.
  12. "The only thing I'd say is that waiting for the Nikon 35mm AFS might have been better than getting the Sigma."
    any logical reason why you'd say this other than speculation, andrew? the nikon 35/1.4 isnt even out yet. it's cheaper, but almost certainly of a lower build quality, than the sigma 30.​
    Because with a lens that does pretty much the same thing set to come out at half the price (And how can you really say it's going to be a lower build quality? Nikkor doesn't make crap lenses.) it doesn't seem the right time to invest in the Sigma 30. Especially considering that the 17-50 can substitute for a lot of the functionality of the 30. At this particular moment in time it would seem best to wait and see.
    Not that there's anything wrong with the Sigma. I tried it out and it works quite well.
  13. i'll give it a rating of 8+. the d40 is an excellent camera. i hope you picked up the motorized version of the tamron 17-50mm...........a wait for the nikon 35mm af-s might have been a better move. the money you saved could have gone to an sb-600 or add a few dollars more for a 55-200 af-s VR (VR will help in this focal range) that will complement well your 17-50mm and 35mm even on a hike.........................enjoy your subjects and take lots of pictures.
  14. I have the Sigma 30 f/1.4, and I'm very happy with it. It's a bit overpriced, but I don't regret buying it all.
    I also second your decision to go with the 17-50 f/2.8 over the 18-55 kit lens. I had a D40 with the kit lens, and the kit lens is just no fun. :)
    I wouldn't worry about the lack of VR at these focal lengths, but you may find that you need a bit more reach. Your next purchase may be something a bit longer. I have the Tamron 24-78 f/2.8, which is also really nice, although it'd be the fourh lens in your kit covering 18-50mm, so maybe not a winner. The Nikon 18-200 is very versatile and useful for outdoor shots. Otherwise, the Nikon 55-200 VR is both cheap and versatile, and possibly a better buy.
  15. You made an excellent camera choice. Consider the SB-400 which is a perfect flash for the D40 if you plan on shooting flash. It gives much better results than the on-board flash.
    For the type of shooting you are doing, you actually may not need the Tarmon 17-50mm lens. I owned two copies of the Nikon kit lens and found both copies gave me exceptional excellent picture quality although not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as me. I have never used the 17-50mm Tamron lens so can't comment on it. Unless you are shooting a lot of hand held low light natural light photography (which is what I assume you bought the 30mm Sigma for anyway) and/or need shallower depth-of-field than the Nikon kit lens, I would suggest you possibly return the 17-50mm and get a 55-200mm lens (non VR or VR) or the 70-300mm VR if you can afford it. You can pick up the 55-200mm non VR lens for about $100. If you find you really like the Tamron lens, you can easily sell the 18-55mm Kit lens and pay for your flash with the proceeds.
    A tripod can help you do everything and more than VR can do, and do a better job of it. If you don't mind using a tripod, you won't miss VR.
  16. you can't buy the d40 without an 18-55 so everyone drop that comment please...
    she got a good little camera with two nice lenses. I also would have waited on the 35 1.8 nikon based on price/wieght and probable quality though the sigma is great when you get one that focuses spot on...
    overall - nice set up
    Now shoot...shoot...shoot...
  17. I think its a bit late to ask if you have done well. What you purchased should be very good though. Check the lenses to make sure they are sharp. I have read some need to go back and be adjusted. I suggest you use what you have until you find a need for something else. NAS can come on quickly. Most of these bodies can be very easy to use. I prefer to have a body that has a focus motor in it and I also like manual focus lenses so I chose a body that can meter with them. There are many great Nikkors available in the used market. I have only one lens purchased new of the nine or so I have. The kit lens is useful as a daylight travel kit when you want to go light. At middle f-stops like f8 the quality of the most lenses is very good. You should look into processing software after you become familiar with the camera. When you shot RAW there are many things you will be able to change in your images.
  18. Andrea, once you start using it, I think your Sigma 30/1.4 will become your favorite(as long as you have a good copy with no focusing issues). Good choice and have a great time!
  19. "After doing three months of research, I finally placed my order" - and you will have 3 lenses covering more or less the same range.
    For D40 camera perhaps you do not need an expensive "pro" grade lens, so you do not have any.
    I would "rate" your purchase poorly. You should have purchased the camera and the kit that had to be purchased (unfortunately), then tried that for at least as as you did your research time. Then discover what you need, then purchase additional lenses based on your experience and NOT on advice derived from browsing the Internet.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Hi Andrea, one problem on asking for feedback on something that you have already done is that you may get various opinions, some of which you might not like.
    One issue with the D40 is that one is frequently foreced into getting some kit lens(es) with it. That is why you now end up with redundant 18-55 and 17-50 lenses. Of course, you can always fix any problems later on.
  21. Redundancy is not that bad. 18-55 is essentially free and it's very good lens for carefree shooting at festivals etc. where you may not want to use anything too expensive. We're on the positive side with this one.
    Nikon 35/1.8 will be cheaper but perhaps not equally built and it's almost a stop slower and 5mm longer. Yes, it matters sometimes. Perhaps the Nikkor will be bit sharper at extreme edges when stopped down to f2.8-4 but who cares about that when you want f1.4-2. When you need only f2.8+ Tamron is good even wide open and covers nice range. I sense slight Sigma bashing here.
    ps. I will only be printing either 4x6 or 5x7 prints, nothing huge.​
    You'll find that sharp 6Mp image gives you far bigger prints than you think should you want one. Don't sweat about the nonsense 300dpi mantra, just print and see. Even 16x20 is very much doable and that's about the biggest size most people ever print.
    My biggest concern is that nothing is VR so I am scared this will have an impact on my picture quality.​
    VR is sometimes handy but not any kind of requirement. You can hone your handholding technique (recommended in any case) and VR helps nothing with moving objects.
    When (if) you shop around for a tele lens then take a closer look at VR. It makes quite a difference there, especially with slower (cheaper) zooms.
  22. and yes, the 18-55mm will be great for your hikes and save the 17-50mm for your more serious shoots. have fun.
  23. If you are just an avid shooter especially shooting your daughter and cycle racing, I think, D90 would have been a better choice - especially for its HD movie mode ... I think HD movie feature of the D90 has bridged gap of video camera and Digital still camera - letting one shoot many events kids/sports would present unexpectedly or in bettre words when you are not even thinking of it .. Many a times, I have thought I should have had a movie camera with me ..
    But again, it is a thought - if you are one of those folks who neve - I mean never like to do video, you are good with what you bought. This is basically so because when you have a video camera with you, you kind of tend to watch everything through your viewfinder and can't really enjoy the things happening in front of you ..
  24. The Sigma 30mm is a peach of a lens, my favorite.
  25. In retrospect you could have picked up a Like new or EX+ D40 (or d70, d100 etc) body only at KEH and not had to fool with kit lens duplication. KEH has a liberal return policy, I've used them many times. Afraid of "no VR"? Good grief I've been shooting since 1980, I've always used a pod when couldn't hand hold. dont use VR/IS as a crutch, just get out and take pictures and experiment.
  26. The D40 has very rudimentary autofocus, so the bicycle race pictures may be difficult at that close range. I have the D40x, and cannot recommend the D40-D60 line from Nikon for that reason, you will simply loose a lot of shots to lack of focus, especially with the fast glass limiting your depth of field. I also would have suggested the step-by-step approach, starting the kit and maybe one fast lens, and then growing from there.
    Having said that you will get some terrific photos with that setup, and you will certainly be able to use those lenses long term when you upgrade the body.
  27. Andrea, I think you've chosen wisely. Your lens choices are sufficient to your subject matter. The Sigma is a good lens today; don't worry about what Nikon might do tomorrow. Nikon's new lens may be not so good; I doubt that, but its possible. Getting the Tamron to supplement the kit lens was a good choice. The long end of the kit lens opens up only to f/5.6. There are times at that focal length (like for portraits) where you will want to be able to open up to f/2.8. There are times when you won't need that and the more compact kit lens will come in handy, too. For the meager extra pittance the kit lens costs, its worth having, imo. As far as missing VR, its a relatively new feature. Before VR - or in my case IS, as I'm a Canon customer - the rule of thumb was to make sure your shutter speed was a higher number than your focal length. That's a bit trickier now due to the various sensor sizes. But if you stay above 1/60 sec for pedestrian pictures and at or above 1/250 to 1/500 for the cyclists, you'll do fine. Also, don't discount the artistic value of some intentionally included motion blur. You will easily get good prints up to 13 X 19 with the equipment you've chosen.
    Let the nay-sayers say nay. Go enjoy your time with your daughter and your new camera.
    Michael J Hoffman
  28. For $100 bucks, pick up the SB-400 for fill and bounce. It will do wonders for your indoor shots. In a word, it's weightless. The great thing you did by buying the D40 over the D40x or D60 is that you got yourself flash sync up to 1/500th. For your bicycling shots, fill flash at 1/500th will be awesome, and that's even more than the $8k D3x can do . . .
    Have fun.
  29. The auto-focus might not be fast enough - you should rather use 'zone-focusing' type of thing..

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