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Old Feb 25, 2006, 4:39 PM   #1
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I revently bought a D50 and want to adda lensto give me more reach. In comparing lenses how does the reach compar in real terms to quoted zoom figures on other camers?

For example, my wife has a Fuji S5000 with 10X Optical and 2.2 Digital zoom. We never use the digital so for sake of argument call it a 10X zoom. What would be an equivalent lens for a similar magnification on a D50? If a 70-300mm is a 4.2x magnification is that truly less than half that of the Fuji or am I missing something here in how the two should be compared?

From what I've read here I'm thinking a 70-200 or 70-300 Nikon or Tamron (haven't looked at Sigma really yet) in the $100-$120 range used is where I'd be starting out.

Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions and education!

Chris.
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 9:17 PM   #2
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Chris, to measure reach, you should be looking at the 35mm equivalent range. I believe the S5000 goes from 37-370mm in 35mm equivalent terms. To arrive at the 35mm equivalent reach for the D50, you take the value on the lens and multiply by 1.5, so your reach with a 70-300mm is 105-450mm, while it would be 105-300mm with a 70-200mm. Iow, a 70-200 doesn't get you quite as close as the S5000, but a 70-300mm will get you a little closer.

If you're considering used lenses, a Sigma 70-300mm APO lens might be in your within your budget (make sure it has the APO designation), widely considered the best budget tele lens--I don't own it, so I can't vouch for it personally, but many others seem to love it.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 9:53 AM   #3
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Forget "x" designations. They really don't mean anything. As was mentioned, you want to look for true focal length. For example an 18-55 and a 70-210 are both approx 3x lenses, but are quite different in usage. The x designation simply divides the longest focal length by the shortest focal length. There are several lenses that will give you 10x zoom....tamron, sigma, and Nikon all make an 18-200...IMO the Nikon is the only one worth owning, and it is a bit pricey (over $700) and currently hard to find. For most beginners, the two lens kit (the 18-55, and 55-200) is the best most cost effective option, unless you need extra reach, then I would replace the 55-200 with the nikon 70-300. Be aware, the 70-300 is soft over 200mm, slow focusing, and quite bulky making it very hard to hand hold and get sharp images at the longer focal lenghts. Also the difference between 200mm and 300mm is not as big as one would think. I don't think the tradeoff in size and image quality is worth the extra reach.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 10:03 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you, it quickly became apparent that I wasn't going to find an equivalent X designation but before I could clear the concept out of my mind I needed to get some idea of comparison as that is my only realistic baseline, albeit not a great one.

It's looking like a 70-200 or 70-300 is probably the way to go, as such I suppose it will come down to price somewhat. It seems that people indicate the 70-300 has some minor issues at longer reaches but, would I be correct in saying that while using it in the 70-200 range it is more comparable to the actual 70-200 lens in performance? If so it sort of seems I'm getting some bonus length (with pitfalls) but not really losing anything over the 70-200 except maybe some bulk. Is this correct or am I off track here?

The other issue would be cost of course, if the 70-200 is significantly cheaper that would play in to the decision making.

As an aside - do the lenses generally come with cases an so on or are they usually purchased seperately? Clearly I'll need something to keep the lense I'm not using safe.

Thanks again, Chris.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 2:07 PM   #5
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Most consumer grade lenses come with a pouch. Hard, lens cases are available, as are larger padded camera bags which can accomodate all (or at least most) of your gear.

For me, becasue the difference between 200mm and 300mm is so insignificant, I prefer the smaller size and better all around performance of a smaller lens that only reaches 200mm (I own the nikon 80-200). I used to own a 70-300, but found I needed a tripod to prevent camera shake at any length over 250mm. A 300mm lens (equivalent 35 length of 450mm), you need a shutter speed of about 1/500 to handhold and keep sharp.
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 1:39 PM   #6
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One last question then.. as you're all soooo helpful!

As I search for a lens are there specific designations I need to look out for to make sure I get exactly the right one for the D50? Should I rely on it saying it is for the D50 or does that not guarantee it fully supports all of the camera features?

If it's a Sigma you said to make sure it has the APO designation, should I look for similar designations on other lenses?

Thanks again,

Chris.
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 6:39 PM   #7
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As long as the lens is an AF (autofocus) lens, it should work with the D50. Even sigma's non apo AF lenses will work....its just the APO is their highest quality lens. AI and manual lenses will mount, but will not meter or autofocus.
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