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Old Dec 10, 2010, 1:35 PM   #11
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John, I have every confidence that you are a better photographer than I will ever be. To the extent that that is deteminative, you win. But I can say with absolute confidence that bright glass transformed my photography in a way that flash never did. I am not opposed to flash, and I will readily grant that bounce flash is preferable to on-camera fill flash.

But what struck me in the OP was that the woman was mesmerized by the 35mm f/1.8 on the D40. That resonated with me -- I got my D5000 with the same lens as my standard lens, and it rocked my world. My immediate impression when I had that lens on that camera was that there were no photos that were beyond the capability of that equipment. Of course, that's not literally true, but the feeling that if I could see it I could shoot it is a very important one. Feeling the limitations of your equipment puts you in a mental box that leaves a lot of photos untaken.

Bright glass is really and truly transformative. I can imagine the woman feeling let down to get a camera with a typical 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens. Flash has a valid place, but it doesn't win hearts in the way that bright glass does. The kind of kit I was suggesting was intended to keep that delight alive. Maybe there are better choices than the lens I suggested that would still hit the price point desired. But changing the spec into a dull-normal camera with a flash just leaves the magic out of the kit. Or so ISTM.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 1:42 PM   #12
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tclune- you'll get no argument that fast glass really adds a 'wow'. From a pure photographer standpoint I agree. But as a parent, it's important to capture MEMORIES - not always just make great portrait shots. Now, I think a person could say "Im willing to live with the poor built-in flash photos for the memory shots and spend that money on a specialty "wow" lens." I could see that. I just think assuming you can get by without flash of any kind isn't reality as parent. But yes, I LOVE being able to create shallow dof shots too:


Although I guess that shot is cheating since I also used a flash
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 3:08 PM   #13
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I have read the thread and passed it on to her for thoughtful consideration. From the reading, I have a new question based on the proposal to consider the T1i. What does she lose between the T1i and T2i? I too have told her she will need an external flash but with only 5 minutes to hand-over my camera last Friday, I couldn't even begin to go down that road so she picked one lens and went with it and the camera.

Since the support for Canon appears to be overwhelming or at least most vocal, did she pick the right Nikon for comparative purposes (the same class of camera?)

Is the nifty fifty the great $100 option in either brand? There is rumor that her mom might have some old film lenses for a Nikon but she is not sure if that is fact or not at this time.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 3:56 PM   #14
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TCAV - honest question. The answer is: based upon my experience (remember I shoot both so I'm not guessing I have actual hands on experience), a HS gym has a lot more light than a lot of houses. Most living rooms don't have overhead lights covering the entire area. So, the light levels are VERY different. Now, if you happen to live in a HS gym, then yes you'll have enough light. All I can say is that in my house, my 3 sisters houses, my parents house there isn't enough light in every room to capture shots. There are SPOTS where it's possible but you can't count on kids being in those spots. And honestly, I'll happily take the IQ of my flash shot using a lens at a sweet spot of say f6.3 vs. an ISO 3200 shot (with odd WB) taken wide open at 2.8.
So if ...

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... a 70-200 2.8 gives you a lot of flexibility but it also means you have to shoot at ISO 3200-6400 to get the 1/400 minimum shutter speeds ...
... why wouldn't a 17-50 2.8 give you a lot of flexibility if you shoot at ISO 3200-6400 to get the 1/100 minimum shutter speeds in 1/4 the light?

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You've posted your available light f2.8 shots before - if you'd again like to insist f2.8 is better than flash, post them again. That way people can judge for themseleves. "BETTER" is subjective - I admit. The OP could look at your nighttime/indoor shots and prefer their look to my flash shots. And that's great - it wont hurt my feelings at all.
I've sold my Tamron 17-50/2.8 when I switched from the KM5D to the D90, and I don't see my grandchildren as often as I'd like, so I don't have anything current. Sorry.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 4:21 PM   #15
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I have read the thread and passed it on to her for thoughtful consideration. From the reading, I have a new question based on the proposal to consider the T1i. What does she lose between the T1i and T2i? I too have told her she will need an external flash but with only 5 minutes to hand-over my camera last Friday, I couldn't even begin to go down that road so she picked one lens and went with it and the camera.

Since the support for Canon appears to be overwhelming or at least most vocal, did she pick the right Nikon for comparative purposes (the same class of camera?)

Is the nifty fifty the great $100 option in either brand? There is rumor that her mom might have some old film lenses for a Nikon but she is not sure if that is fact or not at this time.
She'll lose some video capability - that's the biggest difference between the two. ANd the 50mm 1.8 is a great option - but in Nikon it won't auto-focus on their entry level cameras. It does not have a focus motor so it relies on one in-camera. The 5000, 3100 and 3000 don'[t have a focus motor so it wont work. She needs an AF-S lens (or sigma HSM) for it to work.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 4:45 PM   #16
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I'm not really familiar with the Nikon range, though I believe they only start to get interesting at around the D90/D7000 stage, which will be too expensive. So I'd go along with the T1i kit suggested above. I'd go for the T2i if it could be afforded, mind. I'm not so sure about the need for an external flash. I agree with the EX430II if you do get one, but for shots inside normal houses wouldn't the on-board flash be more than sufficient?
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 6:47 AM   #17
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but for shots inside normal houses wouldn't the on-board flash be more than sufficient?
There are several problems with using built-in flash:

1) red-eye
2) stark look of direct flash vs. diffused look of bounced flash
3) long recycle times since flash uses camera's battery

Again it all depends what an individual person wants since everything is a trade-off. I do enough family photos inside that I want better flash photos than the built-in could deliver (OK that, and my camera now doesn't even have a built-in - but if it did I wouldn't use it ). But another shooter could be willing to accept the above issues and spend their money in another area.
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