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Old May 18, 2006, 3:38 PM   #1
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I've had my D50 for about 5 months now and love it. I came from 5yrs of super-zoom p&s cameras. I fell in love with the zoom capabilities but could never get the image quality i was looking for (poor "high" iso performance always angered me). When I purchased my D50 I ended up buying a used Tamron 28-300m 3.5 IF LD XR Di for $160 from KEH ("Bargain" grade and was absolutely perfect). I love this lens and it gives me all the range of my old super-zoom p&s w/out any sacrifice in image quality at my skill level. At ISO800 I can shoot hand-held at full zoom in average light w/ no shake. I love the long end of the zoom...

Now I've planned ever since I made my first purchase to also buy a 50mm prime for low light, indoor, and portrait use. I even purchased on ebay what was supposed to be a 50mm f/1.8 AF but when it arrived it was MF. Now I have some extra bills floating around in my wallet and actually want to pick up a lens or two. Should I go with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 D for $180 ("bargain" grade at KEH but i've had excellent luck w/ KEH "bargain" in the past) or should I go with the 50mm f/1.8 D ("Like New" grade) for $85 & a Sigma 400mm f/5.6 APO ("bargain" grade) for $89? Like I said, I love the long end of any lens and the 400mm would really just be to play with. Regardless of which way I go I'm sure I'll keep my trusty Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 on the camera 90% of the time. I just love the idea of having the 400mm to experiment with...

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old May 18, 2006, 5:26 PM   #2
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I have the 50mm 1.4 and it is great for portraits and will just about take pictures in the dark. Mine had a ding in the filter mount that I easily removed. But I only use it for portraits and not much else. It is a much higher quality lens than the 1.8 so if it's in good condition it's worth the cash. And like you said their bargain condition is way better than mine.

I don't know what I would use a 400mm for. I have a 70-300 and find I use it mostly in the 200-300 range and the zoom frames more than the 300 alone could. So if birds or the like are your target it may be a good fit for you.

So I guess you have to decide what kinds of pictures you want next. My 2 cents is the 50, I love the shallow DOF for portraits. Birds, 300 is close enough, I'll just sneak in a bit closer.
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Old May 18, 2006, 5:42 PM   #3
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One more lens for thought. I bought a used Sigma 50 macro and find I use that a much as any of the others. I love the small things and the detail they provide. This lens was less than a $100 and by all reviews is below average in almost every area but I get great results compared to other marco solutions. I took this pic in my back yard, he was living in some abondoned fence a few feet of the ground. he was about a foot long and his head was about the size of a dime. Just to make deciding what to buy next even harder.
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Old May 18, 2006, 6:10 PM   #4
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I don't know the 50 f1.4 is worth the extra money. The only advantage over the f1.8 is the slightly larger aperature. At f 1.4 its tough to get critical focus because DOF is so narrow. Optically the lens isn't great wide open (most lenses aren't) so that slightly negates the speed advantage.

I've been longing for some extra reach myself and just bought a tamron 200-400 f 5.6 from Keh. I was suprised at how large and heavy thelens is (I wasn't expecting tiny, but this lens is a beast). Be prepared to be using a tripod for your new 400mm lens if you get it.
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Old May 19, 2006, 8:09 AM   #5
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Well after talking to KEH about the 400mm it turns out it's their "Ugly" category instead of "Bargain". They've also started charging a handling fee on pick-up orders so on top of tax that makes the $180 50mm f/1.4 become almost $205. The $85 50mm f/1.8 also becomes almost $102. I've decided to just get the 50mm f/1.8 D new from Wolf and use a $10 off $100 or more coupon I got when I purchased my D50 body. I'm still going to keep my eye out for a bargain in the 400 - 600 prime or zoom range but it'll have to be a real bargain since due to size/weight it would be relocated to experimentation and the occasional car trip.

ReneB3, I'll take a look at the 50mm Sigma Macro since at present I have no lens that does any type of macro. My first lens was a cheapo Quantaray 28-90mm w/ 1:1.4 macro and did a suprisingly great job. I returned the lens due to lack of zoom range and went w/ the used 28-300mm but I've always missed the macro. Macro, however, is alot like what the extremely long zoom would end up being, experimentation and play.
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Old May 19, 2006, 9:20 PM   #6
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After deciding to go with just the 50mm f/1.8 D and buy it new I became VERY frustrated. After visiting 8 Wolf camera locations in the Atlanta area (including 2 "ULTRA" Wolf locations) I came up empty handed. Non a single location had the lens in stock. The 14th Street location (the largest in the area) actually had 4 in stock according to their computer but they had been set asside for some sort of large order someone had placed but not payed for. I was very upset considering I had cash-in-hand and would really have liked to use it at a wedding tomorrow. They also wouldn't budge on the price of the 50mm f/1.4 D in-spite of refusing to sell me an item they had in stock that noone else had purchased/paid for.


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Old May 22, 2006, 9:40 AM   #7
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Ok, not a single retail location (mostly Wolf and Ritz) from Atlanta, GA all the way to Lexington, KY had a 50mm f/1.8. They all had plenty of f/1.4s though. I ended up ordering a new one for $100 from KEH and since they're located in Atlanta I can pick it up this afternoon (although tax & "handling" are as much or more than shipping elsewhere).
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Old May 23, 2006, 5:20 PM   #8
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I think you will like it. It must be nice to have camera dealers nearby. We don't have anything here, just the mall Ritz shops that don't carry much more than the camera and a few of the more common items. I mail order almost everything. Good luck with it, show me a pic or two when you take one.


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