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Old Dec 30, 2012, 3:25 PM   #1
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Default New lens or new flash?

Hey, just curious where my money will be better spent. I currently have a Nikon D40x with the stock 18-50mm lens and flash, which I use to photograph tattoo work for my portfolio. This includes close up, but not quite macro shots as well as portraits including the person in the frame showing off their tattoo. Secondarily this camera is used for low light party-type photography, taking shots of people having fun in their "natural environment."

I'd like to upgrade my setup a bit, and have been scoping either a new lens,

Nikkor 1.8G 50mm

or

an external flash

Nikon SB-600

Both are about in the same price range of $200 but I'm curious if people think my money would be better spent on the lens or the flash (or something else all together?).

Thanks!
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 4:09 PM   #2
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The 50mm f/1.8G doesn't focus as closely as the 18-55 you've got now, so it may not work as well for your portfolio. The 18-55 can focus on something less that a foot away, but the 50 needs a foot and a half.

The flash would probably be good for your friends partying, but for your tatoo work, you might consider a ring light.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 4:17 PM   #3
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Hi,

From what you've described, I would get a lens. Perhaps, not that particular lens, but a Sigma 50mm f1.4 HSM.

Based on the little information you provided, this is my reasoning;
A lens would be more practical over the flash because:

A- for your portfolio photographs, all you need to do is add some lamps or lighting in certain areas around the subject to eliminate shadows but provide sufficient light that a flash would not be necessary.
B- Not sure about your friends, but most people I know frown upon someone running around their parties taking photographs with a flash. Besides, the photos usually don't come out quite the way you want them to.

A fast 50mm prime lens would put you in a situation where you would have the ability to do a better job with your portfolio shots as it is significantly sharper than your current lens. The reason, I recommend the Sigma 50mm f1.4 HSM
is that it would be a better choice for low light party situations than the slower 50mm f1.8G.

Only one hurdle stands in your way, a used Sigma 50m f1.4 lens usually sells for around $350. Depending upon the amount of light available at your parties, the Nikon 50mm f1.8 might be okay. But I don't think so.

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Old Dec 30, 2012, 4:30 PM   #4
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Thanks, I really appreciate the responses. Portfolio photography really will be the primary use for this, probably about 90% of the time I'm taking photos, that's what it will be used for. Realistically I'm not sure how often I'll need to be closer than a foot and a half for portfolio pictures, but I did not know that the 50mm prime had that limitation on it, so I'm definitely factoring that in. I just occasionally like to include little close up detail images so people can see the special little things that would be otherwise tough to spot.

I think the Sigma is outside of my price range for my photo budget atm
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 7:07 PM   #5
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That foot and a half minimum focus distance is also a limitation of the Sigma 50/1.4, btw.

In case you're interested, both the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM are available for rent at reasonable prices from LensRentals.com.
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