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Old Dec 13, 2007, 5:39 PM   #1
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I have a D70 that I've been playing around with for a couple of years and have decided to get a bit more serious about my picture taking. I'd like to round out the camera with some additional lenses. I take pictures of anything that looks interesting to me, in all sorts of light conditions, indoors and outdoors (although mostly outdoors). I like to experiment. I'm not looking to produce professional level pictures for sports or magazines, but I do want decent quality in my pictures.

Right now I only have the standard lens that came with the camera bundle: AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED. It works quite well and hasn't really dissappointed me. I want to get a telephoto zoom and a wide angle to round things out. My current thoughts are to get the following:

AF-S VR Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED for a telephoto zoom
AF-S Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED for a wide angle

At current street prices both of these lenses just about bust my budget (around $1400 max). I've found a deep discounter that offers about a 40% discount, though, so I might have room to buy more. I've done some research, and am pretty much sold on sticking with Nikon lenses. But if someone can make a really compelling argument for a Sigma, Tamron, or other brand lense I'll keep an open mind.

At this point I'm not too worried about the really fine points of lense performance at the hairy edges, such as the CA issues with the 70-300mm lense. I'd like faster lenses, of course, but of the three aspects of good, fast, cheap, I'm going for good - cheap - fast, in that order. My goal is to get proficient enough with this equipment where I can confidently say "If I had that D3 with the f/2.8 400mm lense this picture would make National Geographic or Sports Illustrated." I don't intend to even think about spending that kind of money until I'm SURE I know what I'm doing.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 7:37 PM   #2
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Delan wrote:
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I've found a deep discounter that offers about a 40% discount, though, so I might have room to buy more.
As the old saying goes... "if a price looks too good to be true...

You're probably seeing price quotes on one of the scam artist's web sites. There are quite a few of them (and most of them are very well known). Most are located in Brooklyn, where they seem to be able to get away with it (as they have for years).

Basically, you can't really buy the gear at the advertised prices without a catch.

Suggested reading:

How to buy a digital camera without being robbed

Always check a vendor using http://www.resellerratings.com (they're better than most review sites about keeping phoney reviews out).

If they are not listed, avoid them (these guys tend to start up new web sites often under a variety of names). If they have a small number of customer reviews there, avoid them (they tend to try and get away with padding their own ratings with glowing reviews). Some even seem to have their own ratings sites now (with all of the stores listed being same old scammers, with the reviews unbelievably good).

Again, make *sure* to check any vendor you consider using http://www.resellerratings.com

Ask about a specific vendor here if you're not sure about them.

They are not going to sell at a loss and it's a very competitive market right now.

It's a racket (and they're good at it). You don't "beat the house" with these guys. Not only will you pay a lot more for the gear than advertised by the time the extras are added in, you'll probably end up with gray market gear (not intended for sale in the country you live in). Nikon USA will refuse to service gray market gear, even if you are willing to pay for the service. Other Nikon regional distributors have the same policy.

You'll just end up spending more than you would if you bought a U.S. warrantied model from a reputable dealer by the time it's said and done with anyway, with a lot more hassle if anything goes wrong or you get shipped defective merchandise. Of course, they have high priced restocking fees, too (typically 25% if you try to return anything, and these are usually in the policies section on their web site).

That way, even if you dispute the charges on the card, they can argue that the [outrageously] priced shipping and insurance charges and restocking fees should not be refunded.

Check http://www.bhphotovideo.com as well as http://www.buydig.com

If prices are much lower than buydig on Nikon gear, you're probably dealing with one of the well known scammers.

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 9:36 PM   #3
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Yes, the price looked too good to be true, and I was going to do some further checking before placing an order. Thanks for the reseller ratings web site. I checked with that site and basically learned that Express Cameras, which had those low prices, is a scam company. Oh well....

Now I need to find a different wide angle lense, because the appropriate list price is probably going to be too steep. After all, I need a decent tripod and some other things, too.
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Old Dec 17, 2007, 7:09 AM   #4
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Have a look at the Tokina 12/24 instead of the Nikon. It has rave reviews everywhere and is a much cheaper alternative - under $450 most places. This will make a farsmaller hole in your budget.
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Old Dec 18, 2007, 11:38 AM   #5
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I second the recommendation to check out the Tokina 12/24. This is what I am looking to get next. Some references:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digi...comparison.htm
http://shutterbug.com/equipmentreviews/lenses/0206indy/
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 11:19 PM   #6
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U know that people are using the 18-200 Nikon because they don't ever have to take it off. the sensor stays clean. the 24-120 vr Nikon allows the same performance with a clean sensor. multiply the above by 1.5 to get the crop factor. u only need one lens. one of the aboves. great shots and never send in the sensor for cleaning.



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Old Jan 18, 2008, 6:18 AM   #7
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If you're really interested in ultra wide, the Sigma 10-20 is highly rated as well, and comes in at around $500. It's the widest of the wide and has better build quality than the Tokina and Tamron ultra wides.

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U know that people are using the 18-200 Nikon because they don't ever have to take it off. the sensor stays clean. the 24-120 vr Nikon allows the same performance with a clean sensor. multiply the above by 1.5 to get the crop factor. u only need one lens. one of the aboves. great shots and never send in the sensor for cleaning.
The one lens solutions are nice, but do not yield the highest quality as such a wide zoom range always leads to problems with distortion and sharpness, especially at the extremes and wide open. The 24-120 was only a decent performer on film bodies, and doesn't nearly go wide enough on an aps sized sensor camera and doesn't go very long either. The 18-200 is one of the better 1 lens solutions, but does not get you ultra wide or ultra long, and is pricey. One lens solutions also do not prevent (although they do reduce) the need for sensor cleaning, especially on a non pro, non weather sealed body.


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Old Jan 18, 2008, 9:33 AM   #8
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I am not so sure about the build quality or the optical quality for the Sigma being better than the Tokina. I personally would go for the Tokina



http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digi...comparison.htm
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Old Jan 18, 2008, 10:21 AM   #9
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PhotoFusion2 wrote:
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I am not so sure about the build quality or the optical quality for the Sigma being better than the Tokina. I personally would go for the Tokina



http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digi...comparison.htm

To each his own. The two have very similiar build quality, and let's face it, all ultra wides have some optical shortcomings. Whichever you get will have tradeoffs...you just have to figure out which ones you can live with. The extra 2mm is a big advantage in my eyes, and if you like shooting wide, the Sigma is the widest of the bunch. Fora (arguably) more accurate and certainly less "sensational" reviews than Ken Rockwell check these comparisons out:

http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/nikko...4mm/index.html

http://www.bythom.com/sigma10to20.htm

Personally , Ken Rockwell drives me a bit crazy. He reviews items he's never used and often contradicts himself within articles (including the one you mention). He can provide good info, but pay careful attention to what he is saying.

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