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Old Apr 29, 2006, 9:09 AM   #11
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Personally I find myself using my Sigma 30mm F 1.4 and my Tamron 18-200 XR Di II as my two primary lenses.

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Old Apr 29, 2006, 12:20 PM   #12
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I was using My 24/120 "VR" Nikon lens for everything all of the time.

I now use My 18/200 Nikon "VR" lens for everything.

I do own a Nikon 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 that I can not remember the last time I needed to use either of them.

"VR" function is great but a tripod is better. I just remember to turn the "VR" off if using my tripod.

I have never had a noise problem with My D100 or now My D200 yet. As long as a couple of candles are burning I can get A photograph.
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Old Apr 29, 2006, 10:45 PM   #13
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Great suggestions. I really appreciated you guys taking time to answer some of my questions. I feel dumb admittting it, but like I have mentioned that all I know is P&S, some of the shutter and aperture talk kind of sounds like a foreign language to me. Maybe I should read up on it!

Ronnie, do you even use the 18-200VR while taking indoor pics under decent lighting?

Even though I have never owned an SLR, I have made up my mind that the 18-200VR will be one of the lenses Iwill buy. Its the prime that concerns me.

Can someone break it down for me when you use the word "long" for a prime lense? Does that mean that the person I am taking a pic of will look further than they really are? Also how does the 1.8/1.4 refer to light conditions?

School ends for me in about 3 weeks so it will be around that time when I purchase my camera. I wish I could get it now, but this takes priority. Hopefully by then I will have this figured out.

Thanks again


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Old May 1, 2006, 9:55 PM   #14
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Yes I do use it for indoor pictures. It works very well on My D100 or D200 with My SB-800 Nikon flash if needed. I also can do portraits using a window for some great lighting shots. If I can't use a flash or tripod I just turn on the "VR" and handhold at 1/30th at 5.6 and if doing a stage play or concert I use aperture perfered or manual settings if needed. I have not been let down yet. The lens is really a great all around lens and does just about anything you need it to do very well. I try to always set 5.6 if using aperture perfered and on My D200 I set Auto ISO and just let the camera do the calculations of what shutter speed and ISO it wants to use. These new computer cameras are nice and easy on my old brain. In the old Hasselblad days it was ten times more work and worry and you never knew if you had a good photograph for a week after shooting the function. Now you know exactly what you have as soon as you take a picture. If you need to make a change it only takes a minuite to change settings and keep on shooting.
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Old May 2, 2006, 1:43 AM   #15
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Edrod13 wrote:
Can someone break it down for me when you use the word "long" for a prime lense? Does that mean that the person I am taking a pic of will look further than they really are?
When I said a 50mm can be a bit "long" in closer quarters, I mean that it will have more apparent magnification than you need (a narrower angle of view) in some conditions.

You can only back up so far in closer quarters to try and get what you want to shoot to fit into the frame. For example, you're trying to take a family group shot in a room,a 50mm lens may not allow then to fit into the image, since you can't back up far enough in some rooms.

So, sometimes a little shorter lens can help (I use a 28mm f/2 more often than not indoors).

Also how does the 1.8/1.4 refer to light conditions?
Lenses are rated by their largest available apertures (smallest f/stop numbers). You'll see two numbers for most zoom lens, for example, f/3.5-5.6.

The first number represents to largest available aperture at the shortest focal length (widest angle of view), and the second number represents the largest available aperture at the longest focal length (narrowest angle of view, or most apparent magnfication).

Some zoom lenses can maintain a constant aperture throughout their focal range. That's why f/2.8 zooms are popular for indoor shooting with no flash (they can stay that bright from wide to long). The tradeoff is size, weight and cost. Sometimes, f/2.8 won't "cut it" either (but, that's the brightest zoom you can find).

The aperture scale in one stop increments goes f/1.0 (theoritically larger apertures are availalbe, too), f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, etc.

With each one stop move to a smaller aperture (represented by higher f/stop numbers), you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure, given the same lighting and ISO speed.

That also means that with each one stop move to a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number), you lose half the light getting through the lens to the Autofocus sensors and viewfinder. So, a brighter lens can also mean a big difference in low light Autofocus ability, too.

The brightest zooms are going to be f/2.8 throughout their focal range. But, in some lighting f/2.8 isn't bright enough without a flash or tripod.

In some of the low light clubs in my area, I often need to shoot at f/2 to f/2.5, using ISO 3200, with shutter speeds running less than 1/10 second. I use primes (fixed focal length lenses) versus zooms in light that low (zooms are not bright enough for those conditons).

I'm thinking about replacing my 28mm f/2 with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4, because f/2 is simply not bright enough to stop motion blur, even with ISO 3200 and anti-shake (built into the body with my KM DSLR).

In typical home lighting, you can often get by with something that's not as bright. But, it depends on the lighting and how much your subjects are moving.

I was taking some photos at my brother-in-law's yesterday inside, where my shutter speeds were running around 1/8 second at ISO 1600 and f/2.8 using a Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 in his den (not much light there).

That's not fast enough to prevent motion blur, unless your subject is very still (or you want to use a flash).

f/5.6 (where some of the compact zooms with a lot of focal range drop down to if you zoom in much) would be useless in the same conditions without a flash (you'd need shutter speeds 4 times as long as f/2.8 once you zoom in much with many of the zooms with a lot of focal range.

So, some of these zooms are best used on their wide end in many low light condtions like this (otherwise, you'll get too much motion blur from subject movement, if they're bright enough to use at all).

Stabilization is great, and if lighting is very good, you can get away with f/5.6. But, lighting is not always very good indoors. A well lit stage shooting at ISO 1600 is one thing. A dimly club or home is another thing entirely, and even a tripod won't help help with blur from subject movement.

You need higher ISO speeds *and* and brighter lens *and* stabilization (or a tripod) to get shutter speeds up fast enough to reduce blur in many low light condtions if you don't want to use a flash (or can't use a flash, as I've been asked not to use one in some of the clubs in my areas with live music in the bar areas).

Also, with a brighter lens, you may not need to use ISO speeds as high (depending on your depth of field requirements), and you can alway stop down a brighter lens to smaller apertures if lighting allows.

The easiest solution is to use a flash in very low light. Then, you can stop down the aperture for a bit better depth of field if needed, too. But, that's not always a desirable way to approach it, given available alternatives.

The conditions you want to shoot in (and if you can use a flash or not) will make a difference as to what you need to get any usable images.

In some condtions, you may not be able to get many "keepers", no matter what lens you have. Any camera/lens combination is going to have limitations.

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Old May 2, 2006, 10:01 PM   #16
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Well said JimC.

Enjoyed your descriptions.
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Old May 2, 2006, 11:40 PM   #17
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To each his own. We use our D50 for different purposes so I do not think you will learn much from the answers.

For me I use only 2 lenses for my D50 since July last year and had more than 9,000 shots with these two lenses. Will never buy any other lens for my D50.

Nikkor 80-400VR for wild birds and Macro-Nikkor 60mm for insects and indoor works and portrait.

After I got my D200 last month the 60mm macro was 'glued' to the D50 and the 80-400VR was 'glued' to the D200. No lenses swapping, no dust on low-pass filters.

D50 fast focus-sing make birding with D200 a dream while low noises @ ISO 1600 make D50 with the 2.8 macro the ideal low light camera.

I do not think I shall need any other lens for my kind of photography.
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Old May 23, 2006, 11:55 AM   #18
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My D50 is general use. I have a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 XR LD Di that I used 90-95% of the time. It offer acceptable range in both zoom and aperature for almost all sittuations I find myself in. I do, however, keep a 50mm f/1.8 for indoor sittuations where the flash is not appropriate. I also use it for portraits since it is a little sharper than my 28-300mm. If I could afford one of or a couple of the VR lenses I would go that route, probably a 18-200mm VR for general purpose and add a 12-24mm or 10.5mm for wide angle. I take pride in the fact, however, that my entire setup (D50, 28-300mm f/3.5, 50mm f/1.8, bag, UV filters, 1gb SD) cost less than what the 18-200mm VR alone is going for right now.
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Old May 24, 2006, 5:58 PM   #19
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Well school ended for me today and its time to start shopping around for a camera. I have been keeping up with the whole NIKON, CANON, and SONY talk aobut new releases.

I am now wondering if I should wait and see what the Sony's Alpha is all about. I have had my mind seton the D50 for the longest time, but it appears that there will be a couple new DLSR out on the market by this summer. I would hate to buy the D50this week and then seethe price drop significantly because of the new models.
I am over reacting or is this a credible concern. I mean let say I spend$600 on the D50 body now when for $200 or so moreIcould get maybe 10MP, antishake, etc..which is what most people are expecting for the new releases.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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Old May 24, 2006, 7:14 PM   #20
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Unless you need larger prints, megapixels are not everything. Sometimes, more megapixels can result in lower image quality, depending on the conditions you're shooting in and the noise characteristics of the camera. To get more photosites into a sensor of the same size, they have to be smaller.

As a result of their smaller surface area, it takes more light to generate an equivalent signal (requiring more amplfication for equivalent sensitivity to light).

Fortunately, advancements are being made in sensor design and image processing. But, you still need to take each camera on a case by case basis, even when they are using the identical sensor.

You've got differences between anti-aliasing filters, analog to digital converters and other components in the iimage processing pipleline, as well as differences in the algorithms used to process the data from the sensors.

You've also got differences in things like AF Speed/Accuracy, metering accuracy, white balance accuracy, flash systems, lens systems, ergonomics, and more to consider.

Of course, the photographer's skill is the most important part of getting a good photo. My wife takes far better photos than I do (she's the real photographer in the family). Yet, she doesn't know a thing about the technical part of gear. She's just got a good eye.

Personally, I'd take 3 Megapixels if they could figure out a way to make a significant improvement in Dynamic Range and Noise at higher ISO speeds. I rarely print at anything over 8x10" anyway, and I've found 3 Megapixels to be fine for that size print. Of course, image quality is subjective, but I'd prefer better Dynamic Range versus more fine detail that you need to look at a print with a loupe to see. lol

Heck, I've got 8x10" prints hanging on the wall from 2 Megapixel cameras that look good (although that's cutting it a bit close for an 8x10, depending on subject type).

Some people really need the extra pixels. I'm just not one of them. I wouldn't care if they never made a model higher than the 6MP models they have now, and simply improved the image quality without increasing the pixel count. Others may need the detail a higher resolution model is capable of capturing, and want/need to print at larger sizes.

As for the new Sony Alpha, no specs have been released yet. Anything you read on the forums is speculation.

Personally, I value the anti-shake, and from interviews I've read with Sony management, it looks like they'll retain that feature. As for the sensor, I don't know if they'll go to a higher resolution sensor or not. A lot of people seem to think that they may go with a 10MP sensor (speculation and rumour has it that it may be the same one in the D200, or it may be a similar sensor to the one used in the DSC-R1).

But, I wouldn't trust anything you read in forums until Sony releases official specs. I don't buy some of the stories I've heard (my dealer told me this, etc.).

I would not be surprised if it was mostly a rebranded Konica Minolta 5D with the same 6 Megapixel sensor combined with minor differences to distinquish the model as a Sony. Heck, Pentax just announced two new 6 Megapixel models that will be available in August.

If the 10MP sensor used in the D200 was cost effective to use in an entry level model, I think that we'd be seeing more models using it already. I don't think Sony wants to alienate companies it's selling sensors to by using it in it's own lower priced models for a competitive advantage. I suspect they get too much revenue from sensor sales to take that approach.

But, only time will tell. Give it a few weeks and we should see some announcements if you want to wait and see. I woudn't be surprised either way, since the D200 has been out for a while now, and Pentax and Samsung have announced models using a Sony 10MP sensor (but, they probably won't be available until much later this year).

In the interim, most of the DSLR models are going to produce good results in similar conditions. Chances are, your ability is going to be the limiting factor, versus any technical differences between camera models, unless you're shooting in conditions that gives a specific feature an advantage. I like to shoot in very low light, so I value the anti-shake you get with every lens with a KM DSLR, combined with ISO speeds up to ISO 3200.

But, if I were shooting more in other condtions, I might value some of the features available in entry level Nikon models more (for example, faster flash sync speeds and what I'd consider to be a better flash system). The custom tone curves is also a neat feature in Nikon models if you shoot a lot of JPEG, and Nikon's image processing is pretty good (as is it's metering).

In most conditions, any of these cameras can do a great job, provided you do your part. I miss more shots because of mistakes I make versus any technical limitation of a camera. It's only a tool.

No matter what model you go with, sooner or later, a newer model with more features is going to come out. But, other than for "bragging rights", you may not benefit from those features, and if you wait around for the "latest and greatest" model to be introduced, you'll never get around to enjoying a camera, because there will always be something new forthcoming.

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