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Old May 25, 2008, 10:43 AM   #1
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I'm looking for some advice inusing my SB-28 flash with a new Nikon DSLR. I'm leaning towards purchasing a D200 body but only if I have high confidence that I don't need to purchase additional lens or flash with the camera to achievequality pics. I've read about the drawback on the flash in having to set to Auto or Manual mode but other than that will I see any degradation in my photos due it'suse.If purchasing say an SB-600 would produce better pics than my current SB-28 in auto mode then I may have to set my sights on a D80 instead.MyN90S systemincluded a AF Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED, AF Zoom- NIKKOR 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D along with the SB-28. Due to many comments on this forum concerningthe convesion factor with the AF lens making my 28mm effectively a 37mm I realize at sometime I will be forced to purchase a new/used wide angle in the future. Anyone have similar problems when deciding to go with their first DSLR?
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Old May 25, 2008, 11:39 AM   #2
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The new flashes are really light years ahead of the old ones. The Sb600/Sb800 work nearly flawlessly with the digital bodies, and with the D80 and above can be controlled off camera. The older flashes require more experimenting or a light meter to get truly good results, and with the cost of a Sb600 under $200, there is really no reason not to get it. Both the lenses you mention are average consumer grade lenses, that will have some issues, especially with purple fringing on the newer digital bodies. You also give up alot on the wide end. They are certainly usable, but I think you're better off buying one of the kit lenses and selling the others off to fund your purchase.
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Old May 25, 2008, 3:32 PM   #3
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I agree, I just recently upgraded my D100 to a D300 and the SB-28/SB80DX did not work as well than the SB600 I borrowed from a friend. Also the remote capability is really nice. Also the metering with the D200 I believe will only be TTL or Manual, nothing extra to help you

You may want to purchase a 20-35 2.8, I saw one today used for a decent price, or the Sigma 17-35 for around 400. You need to decide what do you need more, wide or low light/flash performance.

HTH

John
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Old May 26, 2008, 6:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. You both have sold me on the need for at least an SB-600. Does the SB-800 warrant the extra cash up front or will the 600 be sufficient for most indoor settings?

RJ you mentioned picking up a new lens due to fringing on the newer digital bodies. When would I typically see the fringing & under what conditions?At one point I had someone suggestthat I forget the DX lenses because he suspects that at some point I wouldwant a full frame camera some years ahead. He stated that if I stick with full frame lenses andI will have no worries about that later on. Would you agree?

Dragonrider you mentioned that you upgraded to a D300, I am stuck in trying to decide whether to go with a D200 and use the extra cash I save on new equipment (approx. $550) or jump to the D300 and use the lenses that I have for now and upgrade later.Any suggestions?
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Old May 26, 2008, 7:32 AM   #5
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larrythill wrote:
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Thanks for the responses. You both have sold me on the need for at least an SB-600. Does the SB-800 warrant the extra cash up front or will the 600 be sufficient for most indoor settings?
Yes and no. The Sb800 does offer a nice upgrade. You get extra power, longer zoom range, faster recycle time (with the 5th battery), filter gels, more tilt positions etc, with the SB800. If you are truly serious, or just want the best, the SB800 is a good investment. However, the SB600 does 80% of what the SB800 does, with just slightly less power for a little over 1/2 the price. Since the camera's you're looking at can control the SB600/Sb800 off camera in commander mode, I'd get two Sb600's.

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RJ you mentioned picking up a new lens due to fringing on the newer digital bodies. When would I typically see the fringing & under what conditions? At one point I had someone suggest that I forget the DX lenses because he suspects that at some point I would want a full frame camera some years ahead. He stated that if I stick with full frame lenses and I will have no worries about that later on. Would you agree?
I do believe that at some point full frame will become available in a high end and affordable body. I don't think it's happening anytime soon, and I don't think the DX format will disappear. Those using larger format will likely be wedding, portrait and landscape photogrphers, with DX being the choice of sports shooters and everyone else. I don't agree with the thought of buying my gear for today based on what I need for the future. You never no what the future holds, and your limiting your success and compromising your current results based on what you think may happen, and what you may think you want. The two lenses you have now are consumer zooms, that frankly were just ok on film bodies. Stick these on a high resolution, larger sensor and your results are going to be worse. On Digital bodies, these lenses are prone to fringing in high contrast situation because the coatings are not optimized for digital sensors. Not to mention you lose the wide end. If you were going to keep one, I'd keep the 70-300. A full frame sensor is going to require excellent pro-level glass to get the best results. Canon 5d users have discovered this. So if you're going to stick with non DX glass, stick with the pro stuff. Also, Nikon's current larger format sensor camera the D3 will work with DX glass, (although at lower resolution), and I would expect some sort of compatibility in the future. Again, though, you're not likely going to want to use your older, consumer grade DX lenses on a top of the line body. Buy what you need today...you can always sell it later if your needs change.

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Dragonrider you mentioned that you upgraded to a D300, I am stuck in trying to decide whether to go with a D200 and use the extra cash I save on new equipment (approx. $550) or jump to the D300 and use the lenses that I have for now and upgrade later. Any suggestions?
I know this question isn't for me, but I'll give you my 2 cents. I've only casually used the D200. I own the D80 and D300. The D300 is the best camera I've ever owned, and is so well put together and designed...it just allows me to get the shot in the easiest most efficient way. That being said, the D200 is an excellent camera, and the D300's design is largely based on the D200. Good lenses is where the rubber meets the road, and the choice is getting better glass over a better body, for me, glass wins every time. Lenses are always the better investment. You'll be able to sell great glass with little loss in the future. You won't get much for a D300 in 5 years.

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Old May 26, 2008, 8:14 AM   #6
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Thanks RJ for your comments but from what you've written I do have another question. You mentioned that "So if you're going to stick with non DX glass, stick with the pro stuff". On Nikon lens description what designations determines the "pro stuff"?
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Old May 26, 2008, 9:02 AM   #7
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Nikon's naming system is kind of hard to follow, and has lots of initials and abbreviations. Here is a link that describes most of the nomeclature: http://www.bythom.com/lensacronyms.htm. There are also lots of reviews...Mr. Hogan is a great source for anything Nikon. Really, the simple way to check is price....really expensive lenses are the pro glass ($800 and up), although one could argue the prime lenses are of pro quality optically.
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Old May 27, 2008, 10:16 PM   #8
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If you can swing it, the D300 is Great. 50% of my shots have been in a, lowlight stage environment(school teacher) Shooting in RAW at 3200 ISO, no flash has been very nice.

BUT, I agree with RJ on the lenses being more important than the camera. For stage shots I am only using 1.8's or 2.8s, and only stepping down to f4 or f5.6 for the whole cast shots, those shots end up being around 1/60th of a second. I've built up my glass over 10 years. Get glass, shoot in RAW and you can boost an underexposed picture if you have to. For imporant and most general use shots I am using the 80-200 2.8 AFS, 17-35 2.8 AFS, 85 1.8 AF-D, 50 1.8 AF(yes the old one) My most recent lense on the camera is the 18-200 3.5-5.6 AFS only due to the price using the rebate so my daughter can use it on my D100. Last lense before that was the 17-35 when I got the D100 back in 2002. My everyday kit to school is D300, 17-35, 18-200, 50 1.8, 85 1.8, 24 2.8, spare battery pack. I only haul the 80-200 when I know I'm going to need it, othewise, the 85 1.8 or the 18-200 gets my long distance needs taken care of. I also own the 75-300 AF-D and the 28-105. I started as you have and am where I am now by spreading most of my purchases over 5 years. 1998-2003

If you are starting from ground zero for fast glass, get an 85 1.8 and 50 1.8 for the 500 you would be savings(D200 purchase) or really look for a 2.8 zoom for around the same price. Remember, you are already carrying a zoom with you, your feet. At important events, get there early for the prime seats that work for you, etc etc. At this stage you will need to compromise on what your purchase order is.

I'm using right now the SB-600 and am waiting until funds allow a 2nd SB-600 OR a 30mm 1.4 from Sigma:?. I currently don't see a need for me to get an SB-800 for the type of shots I take.

Dont forget borrowing or renting is an option for an important event. I've rented 80-200's before I got one and borrowed 300 and 400 2.8's when I needed them(provided I got pics of the owners kids for him :-)).


I hope this helps,

John

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Old May 28, 2008, 7:17 AM   #9
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John, Thanks for the follow-up. I've broke down and ordered an SB-600 and a spare Nikon EN-EL3e spare battery yesterday since I found a decent price on both and I knew that they could both be used with either the D200 or the D300. On either model Iintend to purchase the battery pack at some point to go withcamera so the second battery will be useful.

In the past I had used the SB-28 quite a bit with a bounce card or ceiling bounce for fill-in to obtain many of my indoor shots. I'm still on the fence as to which model camera to spring for. I really like what you and RJ are saying about the D300 but just shooting as a hobbyist the D200 maybe all I need.:-?

Also what's your feelings on the new 18-200mm VR, was that the one you purchased for your daughterand if so how woulditbe formy firstDX lens and then work up with specialty lenses for the wide and normal range with the 1.8 or 2.8? It seems to cover the fullrange of where I would normally shoot although I've read that it has a little distortion on thewide end which can be overcome with software.

I noticed you mentioned that you shoot in RAW format. My question may well be for another thread but what are the basic advantages for shooting in RAW vs JPEG vs TIFF and what software do you use to process your pics?

Larry

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Old May 28, 2008, 9:27 PM   #10
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NOTE: I had field day today and a little tired.

The lens itself is very nice, but as you stated, it does have some shortcomings. IF I was in your shoes, I don't think I would purchase the lens. Yes you are gaining only 2 things, VR and only carrying 1 lens. Remember 18-200 sounds great, but on the camera it will still act at around a 26 to 28-300mm in 35mm settings(I believe I'm right on this, correct me RJ if I'm not. I still haven't figured out all the pros and cons of the DX lenses myself.) Your not getting anything wider than your 28-105 for your money really. Also your not getting any real speed with the lens to help you in the lower light situations. Also you have something that will go farther as well.

RAW vs JPEG, short version. Raw is exactly that, what the camera see's with little or no manipulation(depending on Custom Settings for sharpness, color, etc) and a Lossless format. Where as JPEG is a compromise of sorts on color and shapeness depending on settings.

Example 1 R=Red, B=Blue

RRR
RBB
RRB

Raw would see each pixel, JPEG will take the average of a group of pixels, that block would become Red, and you would lose some information.

Much better explanation here http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm

I shoot in RAW personally for a number of reasons. 1) HDR photography, I need information. 2) its what the camera sees with little changes unless told otherwise, such as the vivid, neutral Custom Settings. 3) I have the space with a home server and server space at work. 4) Workflow, I shoot RAW, Transfer 98% of the time using Adobe Lightroom the other 2% either Photomechanic or Nikon Capture. Lightroom allows me to quickly delete photos I dont want to save. If I come across a photo that needs alot of help, then I will reopen the RAW file in Nikon Capture, and use D-Lighting to do its job and save me time in Photoshop. Most school shots will then be exported as JPEG's for use by everyone else.

I was a JPEG shooter until I took the time to appreciate RAW and had the tools to make it easier to work with, that is normally I feel the bigger issue. I have tons of parents at my school who don't take the time to learn how to use , but more importantly understand their equipment(meaning limitations) and wonder how I get shots they don't.

Today we had field day. I ended up taking 2961 frames today, using both my D100 and D300 bodies, and 17-35 2.8 AFS and 80-200 2.8 AFS. Could I have used my 18-200 for most of it yes, but focus speed, bokeh, handling would not have cut it IMO. I rarely used 2.8, but when I did I really needed it inside some of the events.

I shot way more than I usually do, trying to get specific events recorded, like on water balloon toss, 5 shots per toss, and it took 8 tosses before it broke, alot of those were hopeful shots and the balloon didn't break on the student.

I am planning on about 2 hours to go through and choose my picks and export the keepers to my boss to be displayed on our website and screens in the building.

A 'pro' lens is a very different animal than the consumer lenses and you will quickly appreciate the differences

Also, the 2nd battery, while it will work in the MD-10 Battery Pack for the D300, will NOT get you the 8 FPS, only using the AA tray or the EL4A. I dont know what it will do for the D200.

Hope this helps.

John
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