Advice needed on whether to buy new lens
I just bought the D3000 a few days ago, I ve got the 18-55mm kit lens and an AF 85mm f/1.8 i used to own for my film camera (F 601, i ve only got basic photographing skills) a long time ago. The main reason for buying the D3000 is to take photos of my 3 months old baby and my dog.
I used the kit lens for taking pictures of my baby and dog, however, i found the depth of field is not shallow enough at around 35mm and 55mm. While i use the 85mm lens, i can take pictures with shallow depth of field, but it is hard to focus manually and the focal length becomes too long (85mm x 1.5).As such, the photos are always blurred.
I then have quite a few questions:
In order to take good portrait photos (with bokeh), should i invest on buying the Nikon AFS 35mm f/1.8 lens? Or any other good lens at around $300?
Or am i using the kit lens incorrectly ( i m using the A mode)?
Is there any way to improve my manual focus skill? Cos i think the 85mm lens is of better quality than the kit lens.
What is the best focal length for taking pictures of babies and dogs?
Thanks in advance, i am very confused.
#1. "RE: Advice needed on whether to buy new lens" | In response to Reply # 0
Covey22 Charter MemberFri 20-Aug-10 05:44 PM | edited Fri 20-Aug-10 05:45 PM by Covey22
The 35mm f1.8 DX works out to an effective 50mm focal length on the D3000, so it's just barely a portrait lens at that point.
Unfortunately, it's slim pickings at the 60-80mm prime range for lenses that autofocus with the D3000. Most of them are either 50mms (which gets you back to an effective 85mm) or a 60-70mm Macro. But they are all fast-aperture, which gets you the shallow depth of field effect you are looking for.
You might have to move up another couple of hundred dollars and consider one of the 17/18-50mm f2.8s. For autofocus compatibility, it would be mostly the Sigmas equipped with HyperSonic Motors (HSM - the equivalent to Nikon Silent Wave), or the middle version Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 with the Built-In-Motor (BIM). These retail around $400 street as a starting point, but get you a) the right focal length and b) they cover a very useful range (28-70/80mm) which is good for general photography.
The 85mm is absolutely fine . Your focusing difficulties are understandable. There are methods around this, such as pre-focusing at a certain distance to the subject - i.e., dog is sitting next to a desk. Pre-fcous on the desk by hand then wait for dog to do something adorable. But that can be difficult when you see a candid moment and can't pre-focus. So your have to consider upgrading to a fast aperture lens that does autofocus on the camera. You might want to consider trading in the lens to defer cost on a new zoom. I do a lot of business with KEH Camera Brokers - a very reputable second-hand camera equipment broker. Depending upon how well the condition of the 85mm is, you could possibly walk away with an 18-50 and no out of pocket costs. They have an automated grading system on their website, so you can get a general idea, prior to actual appraisal, what your lens is currently worth, and make a decision from there.
"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!
The Covey Blog!
Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.
See My Nikonians Gallery
#2. "RE: Advice needed on whether to buy new lens" | In response to Reply # 0
The wider lenses are really not great for narrowing the depth of field, it's physics.
The 85 would be the perfect lens for your application assuming you can learn to manually focus. It is not easy on a DSLR because all emphasis AF so do not have micro prism or slit screen focusing screen like the film camera had. You can put a new focusing screen in but its over $100.
Another option would be to sell the D3000 and get a used D90 with the money you were going to put into a lens. That way the 85mm could be used to its fullest capability. A used d80 would be even lower cost, $300-400 with a lens.
Another good but wider portrait lens is the 50 1.8 for larger or closer subjects. When stopped down it is about as sharp as it gets and is only $120. The is also without a built-in focusing motor so the D80/D90 trade up would be needed.
If you have the room to back up a little, the 85 focal length is really good for portraits. For shallow depth of field a lens will have to have a wide aperture, like the 85 1.8 does for good isolation and bokeh. I shoot a lot of candids and portraits and from my gallery you can see that the head shots are shot primarily in the 70-120 range and a few with 50mm. I have an 85 also, but it is the 1.4 version that is also excellent but when I am out I have limited extra room in my bag to take everything so take some small mid primes, a 70-200 2.8 VR, and an ultra-wide. Look at other galleries for portraits and note the focal length used for photos you like the field of view of. You might find that 85 is just what you like best and you have a very good lens for it if you can get it focused.
St Petersburg Russia
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#3. "RE: Advice needed on whether to buy new lens" | In response to Reply # 2
Sun 22-Aug-10 02:24 AM | edited Sun 22-Aug-10 02:29 AM by choli
Thanks a lot for your advices. I would like to know about installing focusing screen. Do i need to find some professional to install it, or i just have to purchase the screen and install it myself?
Btw, your gallery is inspiring. I will see the galleries for more ideas on suitable portrait lens.