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Subject: "Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)" Previous topic | Next topic
Niksonian Registered since 04th Nov 2012Sun 04-Nov-12 05:13 PM
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"Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"


FR
          

My total budget is $1500.

I've never used a dslr. I'm willing to learn.

I MUST buy everything in one instance because I'm going to USA on holiday, and camera equipment there is extremely cheap due to the exchange rate.

I intend to shoot:
Products - I want to do close up shots of things that I buy, for my blog.

Environments - I often go on holiday, I want to take photos of buildings, city scales, and boats, etc.

Artistic - I'm interested in macro photography arrangements. Close ups of small objects, flowers, etc.

Here are my preliminary ideas for camera and lenses:

D5100 - $500
Micro: Nikon 85mm F/3.5 VR - $500
Tele: 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 VR - $600

The micro allows me to do the artistic stuff that I'm very interested in. I believe this lens is also good for portraits.

The tele will allow me to shoot general things that are far away on holiday...

Is this the best set up for my needs? I don't want "cheap" lenses (poor quality).

Please advise me in what to buy for $1500

Thank you

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
JosephK Silver Member
04th Nov 2012
1
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
blw Moderator
04th Nov 2012
2
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
Niksonian
04th Nov 2012
3
     Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
blw Moderator
04th Nov 2012
4
          Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
Niksonian
04th Nov 2012
5
               Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
blw Moderator
04th Nov 2012
6
                    Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
Niksonian
04th Nov 2012
7
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
blw Moderator
05th Nov 2012
8
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
coolmom42 Silver Member
10th Nov 2012
9
Reply message RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)
jesse101
10th Jan 2013
10

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Sun 04-Nov-12 05:33 PM
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#1. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 0


Seattle, WA, US
          

Sounds like you have a reasonable plan. However, your proposed kit is missing something in the 18-70mm range to get the "friends at the table" and other wide shots normally associated with vacations. It will certainly break your budget, but the 16-85mm would be a good option.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 04-Nov-12 05:43 PM
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#2. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Your proposal is fine, but you certainly do not have anything for what you described as "environments." You'll need to add something like a 18-55/f3.5-f5.6 AFS VR, which fortunately is not expensive. It's the kit lens for the D5100, and generally adds about $150 to the price of the kit. That will clearly put you over the $1500 budget, so I'd suggest pulling back on the 70-300 and substituting a 55-200/f4.5-5.6 AFS VR at considerably less money. In fact, the D5100 is often available with both the 18-55 and 55-200 as a kit at substantial savings. There will be folks that advise you to avoid the kit lenses, as they are not up to the quality of the professional ones. That's true, but the pro lenses cost a LOT more. Additionally one should observe that the Nikon kit lenses FAR outperform their price points, even if they do not match their pro counterparts. Your budget doesn't really permit considering models further up the range, anyway. (Most of those superior lenses start costing $1500 - each.)

You will likely want to aim well under your $1500 budget as there are other things you will need, for example a camera bag, a rocket blower (only $15 but these things add up), very possibly an extra battery (I'd pass on the non-Nikon ones). And we haven't discussed a flash unit and/or a tripod, which you may well want for macro work.

Oh- and there are very possibly other things too, for example SD cards, and this could potentially also lead to image processing software.

The big New York dealers (mostly B&H and Adorama although there are others) also offer their own bundled kits that sometimes include even more stuff, like bags, SD cards and things like that. Do check them out. That can save a considerable amount of money.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Niksonian Registered since 04th Nov 2012Sun 04-Nov-12 06:53 PM
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#3. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 2


FR
          

Thanks for the tips, guys.

I'm now thinking this for my setup:

D5100 kit (includes sd card, tripod, 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR) - $800 (shockingly cheap?)
Nikon Micro 85mm f/3.5 VR - $525
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G - $200

Total: $1525

Is the 18-55mm needed? If so what for? I've heard the quality isn't good.

Many have said the 35mm f/1.8 is a must. Is this true? What would I use this for?

I'm starting to wonder if I really need the 'Micro' lens...
Ken Rockwell, and others, have suggests an ultra wide angle instead of the Micro... Not sure!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 04-Nov-12 07:40 PM
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#4. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

> Is the 18-55mm needed?

I think so. Without it, you won't have anything other than telephotos. With this camera, 35mm is a "normal" perspective, so without the 18-55 you have nothing wider than that - I'm pretty sure you will find that insufficient.

> 18-55 ... I've heard the quality isn't good.

It isn't. When you compare it to the $1800 professional lenses. And you can find an expert to say anything - really. Have them show you the evidence. The following are all from the 18-55:


Look at the corners - they're nice and sharp. Not the kind of thing that one associates with "quality is not good."

This is a shot you can't get with a telephoto. It's the atrium at one of the university buildings.


This one is a slightly larger than average spoon. Yes, it's from the 18-55. I have to admit that I was kind of surprised that it would work this well at such close distances. It's not the equivalent of a dedicated macro lens, but then it doesn't cost like one either.


You will also be told that the 18-55 is incompatible with low light. This shot is of a black steam locomotive - at night. Yes, it's from the 18-55.


They say that you get what you pay for, and obviously the 18-55 doesn't cost much. So what's wrong with it? Well, it doesn't have the more flexible focusing capability of some others. You can't just grab the focusing ring and touch it up. It makes a little noise when focusing. Not ridiculous, but it's audible. Despite the shot above, it doesn't handle low light as well as "fast" lenses such as the 35/f1.8. And, like all of the lenses you're considering, it's not built to last like the pyramids. None of them will hold up to rough and tumble every day professional use. But most people take pretty good care of their cameras and lenses, and under those conditions, they work very well.

> Many have said the 35mm f/1.8 is a must. Is this true? What would I use this for?

It's not a must. It's a nice to have. As lenses go, it's inexpensive, and its optical quality is quite high. As noted, it does give you extra options for low light. But some folks use it a lot, others do not. You're on a limited budget, so I'd advise holding off on it for now. (Yes I realize it's less expensive to buy it in the US than in Europe.) You have very limited experience, so you don't know what you will use and what you won't use. I'd get the two kit lenses and maybe the macro lens, and then go shooting. A lot. After a while if you are missing things, you'll know what you're missing - for your usage, and not mine or Ken Rockwell's. You are not likely to have the same needs as other people, so it's better to get that experience yourself. If you need the 35/f1.8 you'll know it: you'll keep thinking "gee, it's so dark, I can't get the shot..." Pros can't risk that scenario, since that probably means the difference between getting paid and not. Amateurs can risk it and should. There are over 130 lenses currently available for Nikon F mount, and it's easy to spend lots and lots of money on stuff that would be really cool - but which you may or may not need.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)
Attachment #4, (jpg file)

  

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Niksonian Registered since 04th Nov 2012Sun 04-Nov-12 09:57 PM
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#5. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 4


FR
          

Very interesting!
Is that university photo of Nottingham university? Im studying at this university but I haven't seen that beautiful building!

Damn, now you are making me want to get an ultra wide angle. But the great one that people are recommending is too expensive for me.

You are right. In this case I will not buy the 35mm f1.8 right away. I checked amazon UK and it is only £20 cheaper in USA.

What would happen if I tried to take a photo of the grand canyon with my micro lens?
I'm having trouble understanding why certain lenses are good at some things and bad at others.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 04-Nov-12 11:01 PM
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#6. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 5


Richmond, US
          

> Is that university photo of Nottingham university?

It's from the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

> Damn, now you are making me want to get an ultra wide angle.

That one was taken at 18mm, which is NOT an ultra-wide angle on this camera. Remember, I took that with the 18-55 - the $150 cheapie. It's not even the entire frame (although it's close).

> the great one that people are recommending is too expensive for me.

I assume that's the 14-24/f2.8 AFS. Yes, it's a great lens. It's a world class lens. It is also - by itself - $300 more than your entire photography budget. There are lots of solutions that are "less" than the ultimate that are, nonetheless quite good. The car analogy is to say that the great car is the Ferrari Enzo. Sure, it's $670,000, but nothing less is worthwhile. Similarly, other lenses do not hold a candle to the 14-24, but may still be worthy of use, at least by amateurs. For example, I doubt anyone other than perhaps its design team would claim that the Sigma 12-24/f4-5.6 is in the same league as the Nikkor 14-24. But these two come from the Sigma:





> What would happen if I tried to take a photo of the grand canyon with my micro lens?

The 85 is a mild telephoto lens, so it would be a little like looking through a small telescope. In addition to making it seem like you're a bit closer, it'll also show you only a small portion of the horizon. If you point it at something very nearby (at your feet or closer), it will be like a magnifying glass: you'll see very small details. A wide angle (like the 18mm end of the 18-55, or from an even wider lens like the Sigma I demonstrated here.

A micro lens gets you very close, for example:



> I'm having trouble understanding why certain lenses are good at some things and bad at others.

For the most part, they're designed to do different things. The main differences are in focal length, which you can see here. A zoom lens is a variable-focal length lens: it allows you to choose any focal length from, say, 18mm to 55mm. There are other differences: how much light they let in, for example. Specialty lenses do other things, such as have deliberately uncorrected distortion - such as fisheyes - or focus particularly closely (macro/micro lenses), or deal with perspective problems (shift or tilt/shift lenses).

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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Niksonian Registered since 04th Nov 2012Sun 04-Nov-12 11:13 PM
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#7. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 6


FR
          

Oh, because I saw the name "Nottingham" on the top of the wall. That is my university in UK

It seems the 18-55 should be wide enough for my uses...

Thanks for the info once again! You've shown me how good the kit lens can be

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 05-Nov-12 10:18 AM
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#8. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

By the way, it may not be obvious to those who don't live here, but when you see something with a retail price of $100, it's very unlikely that you'll end up paying $100 for it. Either it's an Internet sale and there's shipping and handling, or it's a local sale, in which case there is additional local sales tax. In the bigger cities, that tax can be substantial - it's on the order of 9% in many major metropolitan cities and states. This is different than typical European (at least) practice, where VAT is already factored into the quoted price.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011Sat 10-Nov-12 06:25 PM
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#9. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 0


McEwen, US
          

My suggestion is that you go to a big-box store such as Costco, either with a friend who has a membership or pay $50 for your own membership.

Costco has a D5100 + 18-55 mm lens + 55-300 mm lens + bag, SD card & some other accessories for $830 plus sales tax (this is online pricing but there are very similar prices in stores.) All you need to add to this is a micro lens and you are set.

Some people will put these down as "kit" lenses but they are VERY good lenses, as the shots with the 18-55 above will show you.

This combo is a great deal and will leave you some cash for a micro lens & possibly a good used tripod. You can also get a decent but not-pro grade tripod there for around $150.

Costco will also have great prices on extra SD cards.

working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
18-55 mm Nikkor VR
55-200 mm Nikkor VR
55-300 mm Nikkor VR
150-500 mm Sigma OS
Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jesse101 Registered since 28th Dec 2011Thu 10-Jan-13 07:33 PM
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#10. "RE: Recommend me a camera and lenses ($1500!)"
In response to Reply # 9


Great Falls, US
          

everybody has great points! i under estimated my 18-55mm kit lens, i am regretting it till this day that i didnt bring it along with me over seas, to where i missed out on a substantial amount of photog situations. It takes nice exposures...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/73141335@N06/6664292637/

Now that i currently own the Tamron 28-75mm, i rarely use my kit lens unless i want to shoot some landscape or buildings..and at times my Tamron can cover that range, but not always.

My Gallery:

http://jessemartinez.zenfolio.com

  

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