Here is what I want to do: I take lots of pictures of knives, guns, small items...not macro but close up, with the items ranging from 1 inch all the way up to 12 inches. These are taken in a makeshift lightbox with 3 5500K flourescent lamps.
I also would like to start exploring nature photography, but so far my results have been soft even with higher shutter speeds. (I think a tripod would help...should be here on Monday.)
So what would be my best bet to get clear pics for both? The 18-55 is doing OK with the closeup work, but I know there is better glass out there for that. Would the D70's kit lense work well for both applications? Or would I be better off getting a couple of sub-$200usd primes? I don't want to spend more than about 4-5 hundred USD, and actually it will be a while before I even make another photo purchase. I just was thinking....wondering.
#1. "RE: All-around lens for the D50?" In response to Reply # 0
I bought a Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG macro, which I was told had lots better optics than the kit lense. It is much heavier, but after 1,000 shots, it seems pretty sharp. I admit I have nothing to compare it with other than my old Minolta lense, which were outstanding.
#2. "RE: All-around lens for the D50?" In response to Reply # 1
If I were doing what you are doing I would get a macro lens.
Tamron, Sigma, Tokina and Nikon have quality lens. Cosina makes one sold under the names of Cosina, Vivitar, Voghtlander, it is a 100 mm 3.5 lens that is very sharp and less then $150. All reports I have read lead me to believe that all of these lens are about the same in sharpness.
The Nikon lens are all flat field lens designed for marco subjects which are flat field like documents. These lens are distortion free for straight lines.
I can not speak for the other brands as to whether they are flat field and free from linear distortion.
The 28-105 will focus into the 1-2 range as will the Tamron 70-300.
My choice for working distance would be the 105 or 200 Nikkor, Tamrons 90, or Sigmas 150. The Tamron is a new design especially for digital.
The 50ish lens do not allow enough working distance for lighting in my opinion for objects as small as you are working with.
Also I would buy a x y macro focusing stage and a geared tripod for ease of adjustment.
If you are using a copy stand I would buy a right angle finder.
The only 2 prices I know are the Tamron or Cosina that are under or around $400.
I would either use the self timer or the remote to trigger the camera.
#3. "RE: All-around lens for the D50?" In response to Reply # 2
Thank you for so much info I'm liking the Sigma 105 and the Tamron SP 90 especially... I think I'm going to go for the Tamron first since the wider AOV will be a bit more versatile for the things I'm doing.
What do you think of the Sigma 105 f/2.8 compared to the Nikkor 105 f/2.8? It's almost $200usd less, same minimum focal distance, EX finish quality...would the clarity be there though?
And one more question: how about an everday lens...something I can carry with the camera 24/7...I would prefer not to lose a $400-600 lens along with my D50 if say someone were to steal my truck while I was at work, the macro will stay at home since that is where I do all the closeup stuff. I would like a little more zoom than the kit lens, and I have rarely used it at less than 24mm.
#4. "RE: All-around lens for the D50?" In response to Reply # 3
Everyone recommends their own lenses for stuff....I use the 28-105 Macro Nikkor lens, it works well, it doubles as a normal walkaround lens, and has a useable macro function that I love....If you're doing alot of that kind of photography it may be best to go straight with a macro 105mm Nikkor, or similar 3rd party (check out pbase.com for samples of lenses)
D80 | MB-D80 Grip | Nikkor 50mm f1.8D | Nikkor 85mm f1.8D | Nikkor 18-70mm f 3.5/4.6G ED | Nikkor 70-300mm f 4/5.6G ED | Tamron 90mm f 2.8 Macro | Nikon SB-600