What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sandeep_kumar|10, May 7, 2010.

  1. Hi - I am adding to my kit and cannot make up my mind on what lens to get next. My kit includes the following:
    • Nikon D300s
    • Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8
    • Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR1
    • SB600
    • Extra battery
    • Two 8gb Extreme III Sandisk SDHC cards
    I can only add one more lens at this time, under USD 1,500. My key subject these days is my 2 year old girl, but would also enjoy shooting Macro. I am torn between the following:
    • Nikkor 300mm f/4 (as I find 200mm short at times when taking photos of my girl from a distance, although, having this and 70-200 would make it really heavy to carry)
    • TC1.7 to couple with Nikkor 70-200mm (will it make my 70-200 a mediocre f/4.8 lens? - attractive due to low weight and high portability)
    • Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR (has only Macro value for me, not really a value-add for potrait)
    • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (f/2.8 struggles in really low light and I do not really like using the flash)
    I usually find lens choice questions vague, but here I am, asking one myself. If you are in my position, what would you go for?
    Thanks for taking time out to answer.
  2. Easy.
    I'd keep my money and wait till I KNEW what I needed, rather than just fill up my bag.
  3. 85 1.8 or 1.4. Your choice. The 1.4 is worth the money if you gravitate to the lens as "hard" as many of us do, but if you just want to "dabble", the 1.8 is a sweet one too.
  4. Buy a place on a good photo course....or do you just want to accumulate kit rather than actually improving your photography? .......
  5. That TC17 can be serviceable on the 70-200, but you need to stop down some to keep it pleasantly sharp. So resign yourself to using it at f/5.6 or tighter. But yes, it's a small addition to the bag, compared to the 300/4 ... but it's not going to look like the 300/4.

    I have very similar gear, Sandeep. But I'd feel remiss if I didn't have a faster prime (somewhere in the 30-to-50mm range, ideally f/1.4). That shouldn't set you back more than a third of your budget. The second third might want to go into a nice tripod and head, depending on what else you shoot. And the third third? But it into opportunities to shoot. Or, spend that third first, so that you have a better sense of what gear is really calling to your, when there are shots that just don't work otherwise.
  6. i'd get a fast prime if you like shooting in available-light. that kind of stands out like a sore thumb in terms of what you are missing. the 50/1.4 would be an excellent choice, as would the 35/1.8. if you wanted a killer portrait lens on a DX body, the CV 58/1.4 would be nice, although probably not the best for a 2 year old since it's manual focus. the 85/1.8 or 85/1.4 would also work here, although a wider focal length would be more optimal for walkaround use.
    also, if you're not planning to use a macro lens as a double-duty portrait lens and/or take handheld macros, i would get the tamron 90 or tokina 100 before the 105 VR. you're essentially paying the extra money for VR and AF-S, not IQ.
    and while you can use a 300/4 for portraits, that's generally not thought of as a portrait lens due to the extreme working distance it requires. the most common applications of that are for wildlife. for casual use, a 70-300 VR might complement your 70-200 better.
  7. I wish I made camera gear.....
  8. Thanks for the responses so far.
    Steven - Quick clarifications - I am no pro, but I have been shooting with DLSR's for a few years now, starting with a D80. Technically, my own assessment is that I am not that bad, but I take your advice on getting more equipped technically. This is my prime hobby for the last 4 years and that's the reason I have upgraded over time to reasonably good gear. I have a hectic work schedule, and photography for me is a great way to relax and be creative.
    Matt & Eric - Thanks for your advice. I have been thinking about 50mm f/1.4 too. I do not have a tripod, but have a Monfretto monopod and Bogen head.
    John - If you had a frequent customer program, I would turn platinum soon!!
    Folks - I will respond to rest of the comments tomorrow, its past 2:30 AM for me in Delhi. Thanks again for taking the time out.
  9. Sandeep, great comeback! Good to see a good sense of humor about these things!
  10. An 18-200mm zoom would give the same coverage of two of your very heavy zooms in a small lightweight package.
  11. Get in closer when photographing your 2 year daughter. 200mm is not short on a d300 you are too far away. I don't need anything longer than my Tamron 28-75 2.8 when I photograph my children unless I am photographing a school play. Most of the shots I took of my daughters when they were that age were made with a 50mm 1.8 on film bodies with no flash. I think the 50mm 1.4 would be great for photographing you daughter and you could do just as well with the 50mm1.8. With the lenses you have now you are missing fast primes. The Nikkor 35mm1.8 and the 85mm 1.8 could also be good lenses for you with your D300. There is also the sigma 30mm 1.4 and the sigma 50mm 1.4 both are said to be good lenses with nice bokeh as well. The last thing I feel you need is a longer lens to photograph your daughter. The Nikkor 60mm 2.8 macro is also a good lens. Look for used lenses as you can often sell them for what you paid for them if you don't like them. With new lenses you will often lose money if you have to sell them.
  12. Sounds to me like you really don't need anything else for the kiddie pictures, the 2 lenses you have are excellent in quality and range of coverage. An f1.4 can be nice but you'll have very limited depth of field and the image quality of the 50 and 85 at 1.4 is not great (though of course all things are relative).
    If it was me and the budget would stretch to it I'd get a D700 (or D3s if you really have some spare cash!) This would help with your low light situation as you'd get at least 1 1/2 stops extra useable ISO. Just realised though that the 17-55 is fx isn't it so wouldn't cover, damn! Oh well, sell that and buy a 24-70 2.8. How much money have you got left? lol
  13. Sandeep - I have the same setup as you. I'm leaning strongly towards the Sigma 30/1.4 as my next lens. Matt has the Sigma and has given it a good review. My main go-to lens is the 17-55 but sometimes 2.8 just isn't fast enough.
    Good luck - Mark
  14. Why are you buying more stuff? None of what you said is a reason to get a longer lens or a TC. A macro lens might be nice but if there's any glaring hole in your lineup it's a small, light prime so you don't wear out your arms chasing the kid around. I'd advise you that there's an 80% probability that you should buy nothing, a 10% probability that what you really need is either a 35/1.8 or a 50/1.8, 10% that you'd benefit from a macro lens (or close up filter or extension tubes) and no reason at all to buy any of those other things people mentioned.
    BTW if you don't like flash, how are you using it? Aiming it at the subject or the ceiling? On the camera or off to the side? There's a lot you can do with the SB600.
  15. Must say I don't much liking using flash either. It's one of the great things about modern DSLRs to my mind, the ability to shoot 3200ISO or even more. I shot some kids with the Sigma 50 1.4 on a D3 a while back and the results were lovely - soft edges and seeing into the background, really nice.
  16. I don't have as many lenses as you and don't see the need to have any more, buy more when there is something you often want to shoot can can't with your current lineup whether there are 'gaps' or not.

    I would buy a flash despite what you say about flash. I'm assuming here but in my experience most people that hate flash and are 'natural light only' have not worked with it enough or learned to use it properly. Have you used flash off camera and with modifiers? It opens up a whole world of opportunities far beyond fill in bright sun and direct flash when light is low. High iso performance does not suddenly absolve need for flash - it is a creative tool which most people don't use as such. Buy and SB800 and read strobist, if you hate it you can just resell it for what you bought it for knowing you have learned a lot in the process.
  17. I think some people, myself included, just need new stuff every once in a while to keep their interest alive, and there is just too much desirable equipment coming out almost daily. I have been able to curve my habit somewhat the last few years but the desire is starting to build again. I can't think of any lenses I need and I already have three Nikon digitals, so I'm looking at the Panasonic GF1 which incidentally has just dropped in price. So, Sandeep, how about a whole new system?!
  18. Indeed, Mark. I'm headed out to shoot some tomorrow. In the bag: D300, 17-15/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 10-20 ultrawide, and that lovely 30/1.4 from Sigma. Oh, and an SB-800, which I often use for some quick off-camera fill, held up at arm's length, or stuck in the crook of a tree - whatever's handy. But the more I think about the OP's collection the more I think that a normal or very short tele fast prime would not only be very useful, but would also open up some new creative options.

    I'd actually argue against the venerable 50/1.8 in this case, as workable as it is for costing so little. Sandeep is used to some pretty nice glass, and would be quickly annoyed by the 50/1.8's so-so behavior when it's wide open, and its nervous bokeh.
  19. NAS strikes. Look at the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 or a macro lens and a great tripod setup.
  20. Nikon 35mm 1.8 for low light and Nikon 60mm 2.8 for portraits and macro.
  21. Don't waste your money on a new lens, you already have two of the best available. Invest in a photographic educational opportunity like a photo workshop or photo class.
  22. I don't know how much my say matters, considering I just started exploring the wonderful world of DSLRs late last year, but I honestly think that you should do one of two things - either save your money further so that you can get a lens that matches your needs (say a 105 Micro Nikkor, as you mentioned, or a wide-angle lens), or invest in the Nikon Creative Lighting system (though I don't own any of the items from said system, I suggest getting one or two SB-600s; if you want to get creative with using your flashes, you can afford about two or three of those flashguns and an SU-800 Commander to control them remotely. Investing in a couple of reflectors would probably be wise too, whether you decide to invest in flash guns or not; those things are invaluable in many lighting situations.)
  23. WTH.He already has an SB600 and a camera that works as a commander and either doesn't like it or doesn't have the technique yet. He already has two of Nikon's best lenses covering any focal length he could ever use for what he says he shoots. Y'all are just naming your favorite Nikon parts. I can't imagine anybody needing more equipment less than this OP.
    Sandeep: Go take a class, read a book and practice, a lot. Don't worry about equipment, you already have more than you need.
  24. I used a 28mm f2 AI on a D200 to take pictures of my daughter from a few month after her birth and now she is about three-year old. A large part of those pictures were taken at night. I want to get close enough to her while shooting so I can take care of her at the same time. I did sometimes also use my 105mm f2.5 AIS.
  25. I'm reminded of a scene from "Quiggly Down Under" where he shoots the bad guy and two of his enchmen dead with a Colt, and then remarks about a comment made earlier in the movie - that "I said he never had use for one (the Colt, that is), I never said I didn't know how to use it." My point? Learn how to use the flash. You are ham-stringing yourself by not utilizing the D300's CLS system.
    So, Sandeep, if your goal is not just to fill up your bag with more gear to lug around, then spend some of that seed money on a class or workshop or books about artificial lighting. I can only imagine how many shots you've already taken of your little girl that may have greatly benefited from knowing how to fill with flash.
  26. Easy.
    I'd keep my money and wait till I KNEW what I needed, rather than just fill up my bag.​
    Ditto, Peter Hamm.
  27. Sandeep,
    Have you ever considered an ultrawide angle zoom? The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 or the Nikkor 10-24mm 1/3.5-4.5G. I realize it might not be your most useful lens for your little girl, but ultrawide has been very rewarding and fun for my photography. The Tokina makes fantastic sun stars!
    Otherwise, you may consider the 35mm f/1.8, which is good value.
    I have heard many good things about the 70-200mm + TC14 combo.
    For macro, my dream lens is the micro 200mm f/4. A nice wide angle lens with close focus distance is the AIS 28mm f/2.8.
    Good luck and have fun!
  28. I'd buy as much as possible different storage media and save money to upgrade hard-and software in the future in order to store/archive your photo's. This to guarantee your daughter will have photos of her childhood when she has grown up. Another way is to add a camera to shoot film. Just to minimize the effords of archiving. (Not intended as a pun to digitial or to start an endless digital-film discussion).
  29. A fast prime, which can be important for portrait.
  30. If you want to save a few $$$s, look at the AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX Nikkor lens. On your DX body, it will (sort of) act like a 50mm lens with the crop factor. That would leave you with some $$$s left for either a used AF 60mm Micro-Nikkor, or the newer (but more costly) AF-S 85mm VR Micro-Nikkor lens.
    Good luck!
  31. Thanks for all these responses. I have a medical emergency in the family and will respond to your thoughful comments as soon as we have dealt with that. Thanks again. Sandeep
  32. The two lenses you have cover a lot of bases at the highest zoom quality Nikon can offer in those zoom ranges. So either a dedicated 1.4 prime or a dedicated macro are the only things that would "add options" over your current set-up - but Tim Holte's suggestion is the best "non-lens" option.
  33. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What are you missing? Perhaps a portfolio here on photo.net to show off your images.
    Sandeep, you already have a nice camera and two high-end lenses. It is time to go out (or stay home) to take more pictures. In particular, your lenses are way an overkill if your main subject is your 2 year old. Most parents use point-and-shoot cameras for that purpose.
    I too would suggest not to buy any more lenses until you realize a specific need. I don't particularly like those f1.4 lenses because depth of field is very shallow at f1.4 or even f2, and those lenses are a little soft wide open. The end result is usually some mediocre images. In the old days, film became very poor beyond ISO 400 so that fast lenses were necessary, today, even though I use an f1.4, I try to stop down to f4, f5.6 to get better image quality and better depth of field.
    So think about what you really need; spend more time taking pictures and if you want to improve, get the images critiqued, or take some photo classes as suggested. Those extra Rupees are not exactly burning a hole in your pocket, right?
  34. fast prime. a nikon 35mm or a sigma 30mm.
  35. You have a great set up already but if you insist...I'd consider the Sigma 30mm f1.4 and/or the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 to add to your collection.
  36. For distance portrait of your girl in not so good light look for a 135/2 DC, its amazing and you can controll the amount of out of focus blur.
  37. Hi everyone - thanks for all your comments. Having seen what several people had to say, I have decided to leave my money in my wallet for now. I will try to spend more time taking photos with what I have, and then add to my gear. I guess, my next lens would be a 50mm f/1.4, don't want to open a whole new debate around Sigma vs Nikkor.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful input, appreciate that!!
    I will set up a portfolio on photo.net soon.

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