Which lens to push me in a different direction?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jphotog, May 11, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I shot with a D700 and I pretty much use three lenses to cover my basic needs:
    • AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8, which I use it mostly for landscapes and funky close-ups
    • AF-S 50mm f/1.4, used for pretty much anything. Walk around lens, portrait, landscape, you name it
    • AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8, which has become my favorite for portrait and moving objects. Great sharpness (except corners) and beautiful creamy bokeh. This lens never stopps to amaze me
    • I also own the AF 50mm f/1.4D and the AF 20mm f/2.8D, which I tend to pull less and less often out of the camera bag for obvious reasons
    Now, I am thinking about which will be my next lens. I would like something that will push me and my photography in a new direction. I have a few ideas:
    • AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8
    • 24mm PC-E
    • 50mm f/1.2
    • AF DC 135mm f/2
    • Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 SL Macro APO-Lanthar
    • 200mm f/4 micro
    Anyone who would care to share your experience with a lens that changed your way of thinking photography? The WOW lens! No reason to limit yourself to the above mentioned lenses.
    Regards,
    Jonas
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My suggestion is very simple: none of the above. Wait until you realize that something is missing so that you know which lens you must get to improve your photography and then get that. As the way it is, it sounds very much like you are buying another lens for the sake of buying. A lot of people do that, but that wouldn't be my approach.
     
  3. You could get a D300 and change the apparent focal lengths of all your lenses. If you really want another perspective try a point & shoot - the world looks completely different at arms length and you look a lot less intimating.
     
  4. Out of those you mentioned, only the PC-E and maybe the macros seem to have qualities significantly different from what you already have. The rest are special-purpose improvements of areas you already have covered.
    I don't know what you shoot, but how about an exotic telephoto? 200-400mm f/4? Or a 105mm VR, a bit down the "commitment" scale?
     
  5. I agree with Shun, don't buy a new lens just yet. If you have to buy one, I would go with a macro of some sort, probably the Voigtländer.
     
  6. I would get a macro or fisheye - only if i really wanted to exploit their benefits. And as said above, not for the sake of it.
    Since you mentioned the 200mm micro, springtime is a good time to get one with flowers, bugs, webs etc... There are many solid macro choices out there, besides the 200mm.
     
    1. I do believe I have the ability to make a decision about what I can buy or not. If not, I would rather ask my mom :)
    2. One fun part of being into a material sport like photography is the process leading up to the buy, including the research, discussions, not to mention how much you can learn. I have noticed on this forum and other that I am far from the only one who appreciate this.
     
  7. you've kinda got the basics covered, with the exception perhaps of a dedicated portrait lens. if you must succumb to NAS, i'd consider the 85/1.4 and the 135/2 DC.
    sanford has a good suggestion about getting a d300 as a second body too. you could, for instance, mount the 17-35 on the d700 and the 70-200 on the d300 and be able to encompass a range from true 17mm to 300mm equivalent at 2.8 -- not bad at all. bring the 50 along, and you have either a 50mm or 75mm prime to cover the gap.
    if you don't have an interest in macro already, i'm not sure you "need" to get a macro lens, though that voigtlander makes bjorn rorslett get all mushy. similarly, i'm not sure i would get a fisheye unless i had an idea of what i wanted to shoot with it.
    but what about external lighting, umbrellas, screens, lightboxes, multiple speedlights, etc.? it's not all about lenses.
     
  8. Take the money and use it for a climbing or sailing course or similar - that will generate some new projects or ideas that will "transform your photography".
     
  9. Eric,
    You're absolutely right about the lightening. Right now I am experimenting with an SB-800 triggered by the build-in flash. The Nikon CLS seems fun. Maybe a couple SB-900:s, shoot thru umbrellas and reading www.strobist.blogspot.com would do it.
    Good thinking!
     
  10. Talk about the guy who needs nothing...
    Shun is right, only buy what is missing, not just another lens to fill a hole in your bag.
    That said, the 14-24 would push you in a new direction (even though I for one think 17 is plenty wide), and I couldn't live without a micro in the bag at all times.
    A really nice trip somewhere beautiful would be a great way to spend money...
     
  11. I've always had a hankering for that 24 PCE, perhaps when eventually I upgrade to full frame I'll get one. Having extreme depth of field shooting at f4 would free me up from using a tripod for a lot of landscape work, which might just "change my way of thinking"
     
  12. 45 or 85 PC-E - or go the off-camera-flash route. The 14-24 is great but if you're satisfied with the 17-35 stay with the latter. The 50/1.2 is one of my special-effects-lenses - I rarely use it stopped down but it's hard to nail the focus wide-open. But if I manage to do it properly the results are great - creamy and easily distinguishable from shots with other fast lenses. The other lenses are great too - but only the tilt-shift-nikkors will require a completely new mode of operation.
    georg
     
  13. bmm

    bmm

    I say something longish and fixed - so I like the 135/2 suggestion. Why? Simply because it will force you to think of images 'out of your comfort zone' more than the zoom that you currently have.
    For similar reasons I would spend a few outings with ONLY the 20mm prime with you. That is, capture the world with only that one focal length.
    My final suggestion is not gear related but is in line with some others. Give yourself a project. Get a book by a master and try to replicate some images. Or go on a trip and take images of common things in uncommon ways. Or join with gusto some of the photo projects on this site and others.
     
  14. I think Shun is absolutely right. Guys on a message board who know nothing about you really can't tell you what you "need." Really, I disagree with the whole concept of buying gear to "push you into a new direction." This is something that doesn't involve gear at all. It HAS to come from the heart. It has to come from inspiration, from a sense of artistic vision. Just buying gear will not do that. You are making the common mistake of focussing on gear instead of the ART. The art is mental/emotional. I don't think any lens will make a bit of difference for you at all. It will be money wasted, and you'll simply end up with a closet full of stuff you don't use. Just like me, LOL!
    What I suggest you do is go out without a camera and really look at the world, closely. Look at the light. Study the light. What purpose does photography serve in your life? Is it just to socialize on message boards, or is there something deeper? What do you want to say to the world with your photography? What do you want the world to see? What do you want the world to learn about you, through your photography? Will a mere change in lenses do that? Doubtful. Having strangers on a message board pick a lens for you, and then trying to take shots with it is just backwards in my own opinion. You don't need a lens, you need a vision. I would bet a week's pay that I could take your same set of lenses and take photo that are an entirely different direction than what you've been doing with them. It's not the lens, it's the vision. As an example, you list the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR as one of your current lenses. I have it too. Here's one of the first shots I made with it on my D300. A big part of my own "new vision" was taking photos more at night. After I got my vision, I then knew what I needed.
    Kent in SD
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jonas, I agree wholeheartly with Eric. Lighting. I took a look at your photos and it doesnt look like you have been using all the light that's "available." McNally refers to that thing under that flap in your bag that says "break open and use only in emergency-" Your flash. It is available. Strobist is a fabulous place to start if you want to be light and portable. It gives a great frame work. I believe learning lighting will transform you images more significantly than a piece of glass. This is Photo(light) graphy, not lens graphy. Looks like you dont mind dropping some cash, so you might consider an alien bee 800, less than 300, to get a the modeling light that is wysiwhyg-what you see is what you get for the key or main light. I'll bet that once you learn to tweak the ambient lighting, your photos will make a major step forward. It can nurture a sensitivity to light that will improve your photos even when not using you lighting gear. Since you are a nikon shooter looking at their dedicated flashes( I use sb28's manually a la stobist, no control from camera but no line of sight limitation) you will love to take some of McNally's courses on Kelby on line training. the first 3 classes of his 6 or so courses is free to inspect. For those sb's, I have a flash foot in my skyport case that weighs nothing, and comes in really handy if not toting a light stand. Also, reading the forum on lighting here is a great help. Hope I didnt go too far astray of your request re glass, but, take a look at McNally's books. Plenty of "wow factor" with the gear you already have, he just adds some fabulous light with some lighting tools that will cost less than one lens. I like not being a slave to the clock or the weather or where someone decided to place a light fixture. Want diffusion like a cloudy day, pull out a 5 way reflector diffuser over subject. Want great window light, tape that white sheet over the window and pop through it or diffuser. At home, soft box, umbrella, bounce. Want a beam of light, a grid, snoot or barndoors. If you work, this opens up more time with great light. Just finished a Harold Davis Night Photography seminar. That, too, gives more shooting time. Like the half when its dark. Take a look at his post on this site and his website. All you need is a headlamp and a timer cord. I promise you, that is a new, disorienting direction. Think you know your camera controls, try it in the dark. Using your tripod and camera in darkness, an amazing experience. Even more so is the similarity with the wet dark room. The camera picks up things the eye cant see and when bumping exposure in photoshop, its like the wonder of the image appearing in the developer all over again. Harold warns about not deleting images that appear black on the lcd. Amazing what he pulled from black lcd shots. I hope this gives you a couple new directions.
    Whoa, while I was typing, Kent posted. Great shot, great lighting.
     
  16. Here's a shot from the Pt Reyes night shoot in dense fog.
    00TKU7-133827584.jpg
     
  17. Kent, it was a bit heavy - but i love where you're coming from. Passion is our greatest potential tool that shouldn't be taken for granted.
     
  18. Yeah, I know. If the edit thing was still open for me I'd tone it down. Message is the same: it's all about the vision. If you don't start with that, you're like a boat with no rudder. It took me awhile to learn that myself, to be honest.
    Kent in SD
     
  19. Which lens to put me in a different direction?
    I`d try a different format, you can do almost everything with your current gear. Try a RF, LF or even a MF camera. Film or perhaps a classic vintage process.

    "I do believe I have the ability to make a decision about what I can buy or not... "
    I hope so... anyway, I`d ask mom before any decission! Mine knows me better than I do... thanks God!

    "... if you must succumb to NAS... "
    There is a categorical vaccine against NAS: gear use. The practice of photography makes NAS troubled people to be recovered surprisingly fast.
    (No pun intended, of course!!!) :)
     
  20. I'd say skip the lens discussion, go for black&white photography. B&W forces you to look at constrast, structure and compsition in a totally different way. I always have to think of Gertrud Vollmer, she's the mom of one of my dearest friends, as she used to take pictures with her old rollei dlr. If she shot colour, very nice snapshots came out of her film. If she shot B&W, art.....
     
  21. Choose your project first, then choose your gear.
     
  22. I got through the 70's, 80's and 90's using three lenses for my Nikon cameras: a 24mm f 2.8 lens, a 50mm 1.4 and the 105 f 2.5. I did use medium format and large format as well. But for 35mm uses I never felt I needed anything else for the kind of shooting I did with 35mm.
     
  23. I'm with Kent on this one. You've already got a good selection of gear. Until you find some direction that really interests you, buying any more gear will just be a crap shoot, and asking strangers to recommend lenses for you will do no better. If you've got money to burn on photography, I'd highly recommend enrolling in a photography workshop in a different town (or state), or simply taking a vacation to a unique location and experimenting on your own. First spend some time finding a niche that interests you, and THEN buy more gear that supports that niche.
    Myself, I enjoy close-ups, details, and macro photography, as well as tinkering with old, manual lenses on my new DSLR body. Almost every lens I have caters to those interests. Even my wide-angle walkaround lens will focus down to 1/2" from the glass. Knowing where my interests lie makes it a simple matter to identify the deficiencies in my equipment and compile a wish list.
     
  24. Hi,
    I shot with a D700 and I pretty much use three lenses to cover my basic needs:
    • AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8, which I use it mostly for landscapes and funky close-ups
    • AF-S 50mm f/1.4, used for pretty much anything. Walk around lens, portrait, landscape, you name it
    • AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8, which has become my favorite for portrait and moving objects. Great sharpness (except corners) and beautiful creamy bokeh. This lens never stopps to amaze me
    • I also own the AF 50mm f/1.4D and the AF 20mm f/2.8D, which I tend to pull less and less often out of the camera bag for obvious reasons
    Now, I am thinking about which will be my next lens. I would like something that will push me and my photography in a new direction. I have a few ideas:
    • AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8
    • 24mm PC-E
    • 50mm f/1.2
    • AF DC 135mm f/2
    • Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 SL Macro APO-Lanthar
    • 200mm f/4 micro
    Anyone who would care to share your experience with a lens that changed your way of thinking photography? The WOW lens! No reason to limit yourself to the above mentioned lenses.
    Regards,
    Jonas​
    I don't understand how the 14-24 can "push you in a new direction" over the 17-35, or how the 50 f/1.2 differs greatly from the 50 f/1.4. That's just a waste of money.
    I have two suggestions.
    The AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED will let you get REALLY close to small things. It's also reasonably inexpensive.
    The PC-E Nikkor 24mm will teach you how to use movements.
    Just be aware that you'll have to put in some work to get the most out of either of these lenses. There's not quick "WOW" here.
     
  25. Hi Jonas,
    the new ZF Macro Planar 2/100mm is for me a "WOW lens"!
    Cheers
     
  26. Wolf Rainer Schmalfuss: I like that suggestion!

    Dan South: There is a bigger difference between 17mm and 14mm than it appears. I enjoy wide angle and 14mm would challenge how I do composition. f/1.2 is also quite different from f/1.4 regarding DOF. This lens is also a lot sharper close to wide open than the f/1.4. As George S says, the results are easily distinguished from other fast lenses. I am afraid that the 60mm micro is to short, that it will shadow my subject. The PC-E 24mm is very interesting. I am mainly attracted to the tilt function to increase DOF at larger apertures.

    A few of you have suggested me to limit myself in different ways: Use a selection of primes, go B&W, get a project etc. I believe these are excellent ways to improve creativity.

    One of the best suggestions came from Georg S and Eric Arnold: to got the lightening route, to improve my skills to use any #%¤# availiable light. Many of the best photographs were made by creative lightening. Thanks for good advice.

    Kent Strabus and Bob Bill: Nice pix!

    Bernard Mills: The AF DC 135mm f/2 is an exciting alternative. Obviously I understand that getting out there and working is the base of developing one´s skills.

    I don´t understand Shun Cheungs suggestion to do nothing but wait?

    Thank you guys for taking your time to make this a worthwhile thread (at least for me).
    Jonas
     
  27. Hey Jonas,
    I tend to agree with Shun; however, if buying gear is part of the joy you get out of this hobby then by all means spend more money. there's sooo much gear to buy that if i bought gear with that logic, i wouldn't have money to eat :)
     
  28. Something a bit different. Pick up an old film body and some old darkroom gear and learn how to develop and print B&W film. That should keep you busy for a long time.
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jonas, in my opinion, you are doing all of this totally backward. Essnetially that was the message I was trying to provide in the first response in this thread, and I am still saying the very same thing here.
    Think about it, if you want to buy a car, do you ask some forum whether you should buy a hybrid, a sedan, an SUV (sports uitility vehicle), a mimvan, a pickup truck, or a bus? And then after you get, for example, a pickup truck, figure out what to do with it afterwards? At least to me, that does not make any sense.
    Instead, you should find out which areas in photography you are interested in and then get the tools to enhance that area. I took a look at your portfolio here on photo.net: http://www.photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=4781506 There isn't even one people portrait image there, so I wonder whether getting some lighting equipment such as soft boxes really make sense or not. But only you yourself can answer that question.
    You already have some nice lenses. I would suggest you take some photography class or workshop. That is likely a much better way to broaden your vision and knowledge than buying more lenses without a specific purpose. In my experience, the fact that one needs to ask whether he/she should buy a particuar lens (or camera) or not is a very good indication that it is not necessary.
     
  30. Sort of a never ending question. You got fine equipment so figure out in what direction you want to go. I am a "look what I saw today" kind of photographer and am happy with my Tamron 17-50 2.8 glued to my D90 or a Nikon 24 AF when I want a smaller package. A camera is just a camera and a lens is just a lens. Neither will help a whole bunch with creativity. That's up to you.
     
  31. Nikkor 2.8F24mm and Zeiss Macro-Planar 2.8F60mm
     
  32. I would say maybe a macro lens. I think a macro lens opens up an entirely new world of photography. You could spent literally days shooting in your backyard. Also try shooting at night, just to change things up a bit.
     
  33. I recommend the 105mm 2.8 VR micro. It definitely pushed me in a new photographic direction and I love the shots I get with it.
     
  34. The "something that will push me and my photography in a new direction" is already there - your brain.
    If you rely on something other than yourself, a new lens for instance, you will never be satisfied with the results.
    After you think your 'new direction' through then acquire what you think will help you achieve it, not what we suggest. We will always be partial to ourselves and never to your needs.
    It may be a new perspective and not a new lens.
    Jim C
     
  35. Asking for a new lens to be pushed into a new direction seems to me a very curious expectation.
    The lenses you've already got make me both sad and envious since it would take me the next five years to make the money to buy them!
    The second reaction I had was to quickly check your portfolio since the implied idea of exhausting all the possibilities of those beautiful lenses seemed surreal, to say the least.
    In spite of these kind photographers suggesting nice lenses they would like to play with I would say: do not buy anything, just take photos, again and again and again.
    Best, G. Blurian
     

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