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Old Apr 27, 2013, 7:42 AM   #11
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Hello,

Long time no post. Just been concentrating on a volunteer project.

What are some nice f1.8 lenses (fixed focal lengths included) for my Nikon D5100 that don't cost an arm and a leg?

I'm still shooting my daughter at gymnastics, but also my wife and I were invited to take pictures of all the girls for the club's year book & video as well. So we've been able to get out on the floor while the girls practice and at some meets. We've been making do with a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. And its been working out really well for the cost of the equipment. Can't complain.

But the things that I think that we're up against is . . .

1) 75mm is still too short, even when sitting at the edge of the floor and trying to shoot to the other side.
2) f2.8 is fast, but for a cropped sensor its just pushing that sensor (in the lighting that we are shooting in) to the max. Nice images, but just a bit of high iso noise in there. (Yeah. I'm a pixel peeper.)

I did pick up an old Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 lens for a song. Really slow to focus, but I figured out how to get some shots with it. But on a cropped body, in the lighting that we are in, it's pretty high iso noise. I have that on an old Nikon D90, which I am finding the Nikon D5100 really does perform much better in low light. And I've really started to looking more closely at the DXOMark iso chart more. <grin>

Settings I find work well are . . . iso3200, f2.8, 1/250sec.

I could see trying out something like a Nikon 35mm f1.8 to see if I can get that sensor down closer to iso1600 and nudging the shutter speed up a bit. My wife was sitting beside the judges shooting and getting some nice shots. I'm thinking that lens might be able to work there.

And I remember someone saying there is a longer f1.8?

I see that new Sigma f1.8 zoom that was released. That is an interesting lens. I'm just holding my breath for the price.

And then I guess, ultimately to squeeze out that bit more IQ, the question becomes . . . Full Frame?

Any suggestions, or other things to think about?

Any help greatly appreciated.
Glen
Hi Glen,

Sorry for getting into the conversation late, but rather than investing in add'l lenses, you may want to consider trying out the D7100 instead. I just finished reading the in-depth review of the D7100 at DpReview and it's low light performance is quite impressive. Both, in terms, of noise & AF performance.

No doubt Steve's review of this camera will be here soon as well.

FWIW, regarding upgrading to full frame; I just upgraded from the D7000 to the D600. While the D7000 is still a great camera, I find the D600's performance and output in low light to be nothing short of amazing(IMHO).

One step in the process that I went thru to in deciding which camera I wanted was to go to Best Buy(the only place in my area that had both cameras on the shelf). I took along a couple of my lenses + a memory card and tried both out(D600+D7100) using my lenses. I then took and downloaded the images at home. Based on what I saw, I chose the D600.

When shooting in low light, using the D7000, I really tried to stay under ISO 1600. With the d600, I'm satisfied with results @ ISO5000. AND, the lens I've been using indoors @ ISO5000 is an old Nikkor 28-85mm AF F3.5-4.5.

One other reason, I chose the D600 over D7100 was the buffer in the D7100 is quickly filled when shooting in RAW using ContinuousHigh mode.

Hope this is of help.

Zig.
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 8:55 AM   #12
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Thanks for the reply!

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... you may want to consider trying out the D7100 instead. I just finished reading the in-depth review of the D7100 at DpReview and it's low light performance is quite impressive. Both, in terms, of noise & AF performance.
Yeah. I've been taking a long hard look at that camera.

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FWIW, regarding upgrading to full frame; I just upgraded from the D7000 to the D600. While the D7000 is still a great camera, I find the D600's performance and output in low light to be nothing short of amazing(IMHO).
Yeah. I'm really looking hard at that D600 too. On paper (or should I say LCD), it looks like I get at least a stop more to play with, which in the specific situation I'm shooting can make a big difference.

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One step in the process that I went thru to in deciding which camera I wanted was to go to Best Buy(the only place in my area that had both cameras on the shelf). I took along a couple of my lenses + a memory card and tried both out(D600+D7100) using my lenses. I then took and downloaded the images at home. Based on what I saw, I chose the D600.
Yeah. I have to do that. I did that with the D7000 vs. D5100. I did like the extra features and ergonomics of the D7000, but decided to get the cheaper camera so I could pick up a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 at the same time. And I can't really complain with the D5100. Stellar camera IMHO.

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One other reason, I chose the D600 over D7100 was the buffer in the D7100 is quickly filled when shooting in RAW using ContinuousHigh mode.
How do you find the D600 buffer?

I think this is the last thing I'm really looking hard at.

My D90 I have to stop shooting after 10 pictures. (So I am having to take it easy with the D90 and find there are times I'm waiting for it to let me take shots.) My D5100 I can shoot 36 pictures before I have to stop. (I think within the last 2 years, there has only been maybe 2-3 times I've been waiting for it.)

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Hope this is of help.

Zig.
Absolutely. Greatly appreciated.

Glen
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 1:36 PM   #13
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Hi Glen,

The D600 buffer does not appear to be an issue. I can set up the shutter release to continuous high and fire off 12 frames before the buffer fills.
I shoot RAW in 14bit lossless only.

I have to admit, I'm very impressed with this cameras' low light performance. When I magnify images shot at ISO5000 to 100% you can see noise, however, it is so fine that it can be easily cleaned up in either photoshop or Nik's Dfine.

The one caveat is that I'm currently selling all my DX lenses, an 18-70mm Nikon, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 as well as a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

But the results I get with the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8VR lens + D600 have been an eye opener. Your Sigma 70-200mm f.8 should do well.

I just ordered a Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 FX Pro and am looking forward to trying that lens out.

And, if I'm still alive after my wife finds out about it, I'm hoping to pick up a medium zoom.

If you do decide to go the way of the D600, I think, your need to go with a very fast lens will be mitigated.
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 2:47 PM   #14
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I have to admit, I'm very impressed with this cameras' low light performance. When I magnify images shot at ISO5000 to 100% you can see noise, however, it is so fine that it can be easily cleaned up in either photoshop or Nik's Dfine.
Yeah. It would be nice to get into that range of acceptable ISO. I am looking really hard at the D600.

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If you do decide to go the way of the D600, I think, your need to go with a very fast lens will be mitigated.
Yes. But instead of trying to get to f1.8 on APS-C, I can target f2.8 on FF. And I already have one of the lenses I'd want to end up with on FF.

I haven't got that many lenses right now. Nikon 18-135mm, which is just for family / vacation point-and-shoot picts. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, which I'm really happy with. And an old Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 (old push pull version), which I was planning to sell to get money to get the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens.

If I stick with APS-C, then I was thinking for a Tamron or Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 or something to grab group shots in low light. But if I go FF, then my existing Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 can serve that purpose . . . so <grin> the way I pitch it to my wife is the money I'd spend on a wide f2.8, I can put towards the FF. <grin> That's what I was thinking anyway.

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I just ordered a Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 FX Pro and am looking forward to trying that lens out.
That's nice and wide for FF. That will be an interesting lens!

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And, if I'm still alive after my wife finds out about it, I'm hoping to pick up a medium zoom.
HaHaHa. I definitely can relate. Although, my wife has taken to shooting at the gym and she's having loads of fun. I was pixel peeping at the D5100 images and being really happy with them. And she actually sat down and asked what a really good camera would look like. So I showed her comparisons at iso3200 for the D4 and D600. After seeing the pictures, she didn't have any more questions about why I'm looking at the D600. And just to show her why I was so happy with the D5100, I showed her the iso3200 samples shots from a D3000 and then told her the D70s I was shooting with before the D5100 was 4 years older than the D3000. [Actually. Maybe I shouldn't have shown her that. Then she'll probably say I should be happy I got the D5100. <grin>]

As for looking at f1.8 lenses . . .

Nikon has the 28mm f1.8 lens, which I think might work beside the beam and bars. Maybe even for the goofy vault pictures I take. The new Sigma f1.8 zoom would be a nice walk around lens. For the floor, until there is a longer f1.8 zoom, I'd be looking at the Sigma 50-135mm f2.8. But when I add that up in my head, I think maybe the easier way out is FF. I'll already have one of the 2-3 lenses I'd want to end up with. And if the IQ is better, I can crop in the pictures a bit more than with my APS-C.

Still working through this in my head, but that's kinda where I am right now.

?
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 4:47 PM   #15
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Hi Glen,

Don't blame you for taking your time to make a decision. As it is a significant one.
The one point I keep coming back to in your post is that you spend the bulk of your time photographing indoor gymnastics. If so, then your images certainly would benefit from the use of a FF camera.

And, you'll find the Sigma's 70-200mm f2.8 focal range very useful for the bulk of your shooting.


best of luck with your decision

Zig
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 6:13 PM   #16
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The one point I keep coming back to in your post is that you spend the bulk of your time photographing indoor gymnastics. If so, then your images certainly would benefit from the use of a FF camera.
This is kinda what I'm thinking. Thanks! Take care!
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Old Apr 27, 2013, 6:57 PM   #17
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The actual difference in noise between your D5100 and a D600 is about a stop and a half, and less for the D5200 and D7100.

You should also be aware that, while the Tamron 28-75/2.8 is a very nice lens on an APS-C body, it needs to be stopped down on a 'Full Frame' body to be as good. If you'll be keeping that lens when you go 'Full Frame', it's a wash. You'll need to use a higher ISO to make up for stopping down to prevent soft corners and vignetting. That's a net gain of nothing.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 11:36 AM   #18
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You should also be aware that, while the Tamron 28-75/2.8 is a very nice lens on an APS-C body, it needs to be stopped down on a 'Full Frame' body to be as good. If you'll be keeping that lens when you go 'Full Frame', it's a wash. You'll need to use a higher ISO to make up for stopping down to prevent soft corners and vignetting. That's a net gain of nothing.
The same is also true of the Sigma 70-200/2.8.
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 10:57 AM   #19
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You should also be aware that, while the Tamron 28-75/2.8 is a very nice lens on an APS-C body, it needs to be stopped down on a 'Full Frame' body to be as good. If you'll be keeping that lens when you go 'Full Frame', it's a wash. You'll need to use a higher ISO to make up for stopping down to prevent soft corners and vignetting. That's a net gain of nothing.
That's something to think about.

I guess I can grab my lenses and try them out on the D600 to see if I can live with it.

What types of things might I be up against there?

Thank you!
Glen
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 12:20 PM   #20
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Mainly, it's vignetting and soft corners that don't show up on APS-C sensors because they're cropped out.

It's the same lens with the same capabilities. You just never saw the flaws because you were using a smaller sensor.
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