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Old Apr 2, 2008, 1:57 PM   #1
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Hi everyone!

I'm looking to upgrade to DSLR from a Panasonic FZ5 (not ready to sell it just yet though). I've decided on the Nikon D40. I expect to aquire the body, rather than the kit. I've found myself to be pretty much an all round photographer. I intend to add an extra EN-EL9 battery (just in case), a 2 GB Extreme III SD card (these days even those aren't that expensive. I've seen 'em online for under €25), an LCD protector and an SB-400 external flash (though that might not be right away). I don't know yet about a battery grip.

As I'll be a beginning DSLR user I'm looking at lenses that will do the job, but won't require me saving for a year or more For now 2 lenses: standard zoom and telezoom.

I'm thinking of getting the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR Nikkor. However, I'm wondering about these lenses as well:
Standard
-Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro HSM
-Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM

Telephoto
-Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO for Nikon
-Sigma APO 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO for Nikon
(according to the description of these 2 lensen at http://www.sigmaphoto.com, they have built-in motors, though they do not have the HSM desgination. Will they AF with the D40?)

Are those lenses comparable in price (and preformance) to the 2 Nikkors I mentioned?

I might get 1 of the following 3 for even more telephoto, however, these won't be initial investments:
Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
The Bigma (50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM)

I hope to aquire most, if not all, the gear secondhand, to keep the costs within budget (currently around €700. In a month it will be more and after another month even more, but I'd like to get at least the D40 + 2 lenses now I have an unused 512 MB SD card somewhere).

I expect to be able to use my Samsonite Trunk&CO backpack for carrying the gear. It's designed for carrying 17" (max) laptops such as my current pc, in addition to a good number of other things.

As far as tripods are concerned, my dad has a Velbon VEB-13 that's even older than I am:blah: I've used it on occasion and I've found to be durable and lightweight (for a metal tripod). I'd like it to be taller, but it's usable.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice.

Regards from the Netherlands,

Paul
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Old Apr 2, 2008, 3:45 PM   #2
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PvB wrote:
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Telephoto
-Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO for Nikon
-Sigma APO 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO for Nikon
(according to the description of these 2 lensen at http://www.sigmaphoto.com, they have built-in motors, though they do not have the HSM desigination. Will they AF with the D40?
I don't know how to tell. Sigma made the announcement that they'd include Focus Motors in this lens (70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro) for D40 compability on January 31, 2008.

But, they also made versions of this lens without a focus motor before then.

So, I don't know how to tell if a given lens like this is going to AF on a D40 or not. They probably have a small difference in the product code for it somewhere to distinquish the newer one with a focus motor built in. You'd best ask a dealer if it would work or not, in case they only have older versions of it on their shelf.

Quote:
Are those lenses comparable in price (and preformance) to the 2 Nikkors I mentioned?
That's very unlikely. These Sigmas have a reputation for being a tad soft on their long end (towards 300mm). The APO is the better version. But, it's likely softer than the longer Nikkor, and I'd expect Autofocus speed to be slower, too.

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Old Apr 2, 2008, 4:32 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply, JimC. Looks like I no longer need to consider the Sigma 70-300 zooms.

Still not sure about the Nikkor standard zoom vs the Sigma alternatives I mentioned, though. Ditto for the battery grip vs an extra EN-EL9.

Regards,

Paul
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Old Apr 2, 2008, 7:51 PM   #4
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Second battery is MANDATORY otherwise you'll have an expensive doorstopper out in the field one day!
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Old Apr 3, 2008, 1:28 AM   #5
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PvB wrote:
Quote:
I might get 1 of the following 3 for even more telephoto, however, these won't be initial investments:
Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
The Bigma (50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM)
What subjects are you after?
From your avatar, It looks like you're into wildlife and I can save you the trouble of getting anything shorter than 300mm!!!

Here's why:
1. A 300mm or less is too short for smaller subject like birds
2. The shorter tele does not get you the correct perspective or compression
3. You'll also need subject isolation i.e. a narrow DOF from a 500mm caliber so a subject can 'pop' out from their background...

I got my Bigma before the other two lenses with OS were announced:
http://www.pbase.com/nhl/sigma_50_500
-> I paired this lens with a 16-50 f/2.8 and I pretty much got everything covered
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Old Apr 3, 2008, 8:47 AM   #6
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Thank you for your replys.

Bob, I know I will be wanting the extra battery power, but I don't know if I should get a battery grip (such as the HN-D40) instead of just an extra EN-EL9.

NHL, I take pictures of all kinds of things Landscapes and macros, people, outdoors and indoors. I'm considering the ultra telezooms because I may want the extra reach and versatality they provide. The 432mm of my Panasonic FZ5 has on rare occasions been less than sufficient. As for the ducks in my avatar, they were photographed from a kayak (in nature reservation De Biesbosch). They were right next to me:blah:

Regards,

Paul
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 11:30 AM   #7
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Battery grip is useful when shooting in vertical mode (also called portrait mode) but I've had several cameras that didn't have a grip and I survived! I think the big honking camera look is the major benefit of a grip!

I would get the extra battery with the camera irregardless if I got the grip or not.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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Looks like I won't be needing the battery grip then. I will be getting an extra battery

I haven't had a response yet regarding the standard zoom length (if I should go for the Nikkor 18-70 or if I should choose 1 of the 2 Sigma macros that I currently see as an alternative). That's pretty much the only query I have left, unless I've overlooked something (I don't think so, but that's just me).

Regards,

Paul
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 1:55 PM   #9
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Well... there's no perfect lens choice.

If it were me, I'd probably go with the Nikkor 18-70mm if I were shooting Nikon. It's got a good reputation for image quality, with low CA compared to most similar lenses (less in the way of problems like purple fringing).

But, it's not going to focus as close as the Sigmas you're looking at (so, you couldn't fill the frame with a subject quite as small without cropping), and it's not quite as bright.

I'd probably value the better working range of 18-70mm or 17-70mm over the extra brightness of the 18-50mm in most conditions (I'd tend to go with a brighter prime anyway in low light). But, there are pros and cons to any of them, and you'll need to figure out what lens would best suit the subjects and conditions you'd shoot more often.

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Old Apr 6, 2008, 3:07 PM   #10
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Thank you for your reply, JimC. I've had a bit of a look around on the web, but I didn't find a review of the HSM versions of the Sigma 18-50 F2.8 or the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-F4.5. I have no idea if the quality of those lenses is similar to their non-HSM counterparts, of which I did find reviews. I think I'll get the Nikkor 18-70, based on the reviews at slrgear.com. The Nikkor has received 62 user reviews and is recommended 100%.


Looks like I''ve found the answers to my questions (that is to say, the questions which I had at this point in time).

Thanks for the help:-) Now to aquire the D40, lenses etc.

Regards,

Paul
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