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-   -   New D50 owner... 50mm 1/1.8 + 28-300mm 1/4... or 28-90mm 1/3 (

Stephen Hopkins Jan 20, 2006 10:36 PM

I just got a new D50 today ($550 for the body at Wolf Camera, couldn't do any better than that online, even ebay). When I purchased the body I also purchased a Quantaray (Sigma) 28-90mm 1/3.5 lens for $99. I purchased the lens knowing I might not keep it depending on what 2 lens combo I decide to go with. My two options are the 28-90mm I purchased + a 70-300mm 1/4 (brand and source undetermined). This would give me the full zoom range from 28 to 300mm as well as very good picture quality from both lenses but wouldn't give me a lens to use in very low light situations. My other option (the one i'm leaning towards) is to exchange the 28-90mm for a 50mm 1/1.8 and purchase online one of the value priced 28-300mm 1/4 lenses (Tamaron, Vivitar). This would give me the full 28 to 300 mm zoom range in one lens as well as a good lens for indoor and low light shots. Only problem I can see here is that results from the 28-300m lenses are reported to be a mixed bag. Being an amature just upgrading from a 12x zoom point-and-shoot I don't think the shortcomings of the 28-300m would be aparent to me and would probably be the lens I'd shoot with the most.

Anyone have any tips/suggestions in deciding which combo to go with? Thanks!

rjseeney Jan 20, 2006 10:56 PM

You'll have to take the crop factor into account. Because of the smaller sensor, you're 28-90 functions as a 42-135 and you're 70-300 is a 105-450. All Nikon cameras havecrop factor of 1.5. In all honesty, the kit lenses give you alot of bang for the buck....I would definately look at the 18-55 (giving you the true focal length of 27-83). This lens will provide a wider angle....remember its often easier to get closer than it is to get farther away. The 70-300 should be fine and the 50mm 1.8 such a good performer and too inexpensive not to own. I would avoid any lower priced, ultra zoom...they are poor perfomers at the extreme ends showing noticeable distortion.

thebac Jan 20, 2006 11:18 PM

I'd take back the 28-90 if possible. Not as useful a range on a DSLR, as rjseeney explained, and not of decent quality, either.

Instead the D50 kit lens would be decent (though the kit lens for the D70(s) would be much nicer, albeit pricier). Alternatively, if you want to go cheap, Sigma also make a cheap 18-50 just for DSLR. Not good quality, either, but more useful range.

The 50 is a great value with superb image quality even slightly stopped down, even though there will be focal length overlap.

I agree that coming from a P&S you probably won't be too disappointed with a 28-300, but a) the lens isn't that wide and b) compared to your 50, it will stink.

An alternative cheap lens that I don't see mentioned much is the Vivitar/Phoenix 100mm F/3.5 macro. It's a fun sharp lens, with really bad build quality. Can be had for around $100. Optically, it's great, especially at that price (even if it looks more like a Fisher-Price telescope).

Among the 70-300, the Sigma APO DG version seems to be most highly regarded. I have the 70-300 G Nikon--not all that good, but decent, especially on sunny days where you can stop down a lot. Even though it's not very good, I still consider the D50 with it a step (or two) up from a P&S UZ (I had the Oly C-700, C-740, and Pany FZ3).

Anyway you decide to go, please do ditch the 28-90.

Stephen Hopkins Jan 23, 2006 11:35 AM

Right now all I have is the 28-90mm Quantaray. The build quality and optical quality of it seem fine to me. I definitely shoot more on the telephoto side and the wide angle field of view at 28mm (even w/ crop) is plenty for me. I'm right now considering a 28-200mm instead of the 28-300mm and still adding the 50mm 1/1.8 in the very near future. Any comments on the 28-200mm offerings from Sigma and Tamron? I'll be buying used most likely and even at that can't afford the Nikon 28-200mm.

rjseeney Jan 23, 2006 12:23 PM

In order to answer your question better, what knd of shooting will you typically be doing??

Stephen Hopkins Jan 23, 2006 12:55 PM

Main focus will probably be candids/snap shots of family/friends/pets (this is where i think i'll use the 50mm 1.8 the most) as well as travel and some indoor and outdoor sports. I've grown to love the high-zoom abilities of my past point-and-shoot cameras, especially when traveling. I'll also be doing a fair amount of auction listings in which sometimes macro will be neccesary. So far i've been very happy with the 28-90mm Quantaray in everything except telephoto range. I'm strictly an amateur who's learning dSLR along with appropriate use of shutter, apperature, white balance, iso, and other manual settings (i don't want to have a great camera and limit myself to auto mode). Right now affordability is paramount since i'm still 6 months or so away from graduating college and begining a job. Later on down the road (6 months to 1 year) i'll be able to invest in more/better quality lenses and other accesories.

rjseeney Jan 23, 2006 3:06 PM

If you're happy with your Quantaray lens, then I would just keep it and purchase a used 70-300 from a reputable vendor. KEH has great prices and their items are generally better than described. If you're set on a 28-300, for an extra $75-$90, you could get the Nikon 28-300 (around $275 vs $200 for a Sigma or Tamron). If you go with one of the superzooms, be prepared for some obvious distortion at the extreme ends of the lens. Also, the superzooms tend to not do as well for macro, as their minimum focus distances are quite long.

Stephen Hopkins Jan 23, 2006 5:53 PM

I found KEH before you mentioned them and was able to get a Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5 XR Di LD IF in their "Bargain" grade for $144. Being that they are in Atlanta and I attend Georgia Tech here I was able to pick up at their office (no retail storefront). The KEH "Bargain" grade is definitely a bargain. The lens was in perfect cosmetic and mechanical working order with one visible spec of dust inside the front glass and no scratches/scuffs/cleaning marks on any of the glass. I feel like I pretty much got a $400 - $500 lens for 1/3 the price (SRP is $799!). Feeling the weight and build quality of the Tamron I now understand your references to the Quantaray as being of a lesser quality. Playing around with the Tamron 28-300mm I really like it. It focuses acceptably quick even at full telephoto and while the macro isn't as good it's still acceptable. I have a feeling this will be the lens on my camera 90% - 95% of the time. I've seen some very good example photos from the exact lens i purchased (on this forum, not professional) and I'm pretty sure I've found my perfect compromise between versatility, quality, and price.

I understand everyone's urging towards a 70-300mm but I really don't want to be changing lenses that often, especially out in the field. I also understand the suggestion for the more expensive Nikon 28-300mm but my budget limited me pretty much completely to the used market and I was pretty lucky to find what I did where I did and for the price I did. There are alot of times I'll probably have the camera and a single lens around my neck and my bag in the car or somewhere else not easily accesible and I think the 28-300mm will prevent me from missing shots I might not be able to get w/ another single lens solution. I'm pretty sure I have alot of learning and practice ahead of me before my abilities as a photographer will be to the point that the issues inherant to a superzoom lens will bother me.z My next purchase (a few months down the road) will be a Nikon 50mm 1/1.8 for indoor & low light use and then after that (6 months or more) I may add a 100mm 1:1 macro lens IF I feel I need closer focus for macro (which i don't do that much really).

Thanks again for the help and advice (please don't think less of me if I wasn't able to follow it)!

JPoarch Jan 28, 2006 10:12 AM

For what it's worth.....I grabbed a 28-200 G Nikkor off a private seller for $'s a great lens! I found it over at the Nikonians' "For Sale" forum...I highly recommend it! I'll take some shots with it today & post 'em.

Idan Feb 4, 2006 9:30 AM

Whice one should I choose for my next D50 instead of the kit lens:

1. Tamron AF 18-200 F/3.5-6.3 XR LD ASPHERICAL (IF) MACRO

2. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D AF

3. Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC

4. Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DG MACRO

I haven't decided yet and still confused, I would like to shoot portraits and also need a good zoom lens for more creativity photos. Optical quality is important and I want sharp images not soft ones. And of course want to have as few lenses as posibble.

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