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Subject: "Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?" Previous topic | Next topic
familyman1955 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2006Sun 13-Mar-11 12:58 PM
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"Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"


Orem, US
          

I am starting this post here, no knowing the best place to put it. Sorry if it's not the right forum!

I need some help configuring a camera system for my sister-in-law. I own a D700 with a small cadre of lenses (most at the “professional” level), and so I haven’t been spending a lot of time outside areas of Nikonians that apply directly to me. Because I shoot Nikon my brother feels like I “know everything Nikon” – oops, he’s wrong! So your help is greatly appreciated.

My brother has a $1,500 budget to buy his wife an “introductory-level” Nikon camera outfit for her next birthday, which he will buy during his next trip home to the USA this month. My sister-in-law (and her family) lives just 20 miles south of Paris. Living near Paris she often has the chance to shoot the wonderful architectural and landscape sites in Paris and around Europe as they travel. She has three children, 3, 10, and 13, of whom she spends a lot of time taking pictures. The 13-year old is a young man heavily involved in club soccer. The little town they live in is a quaint village-style location and offers picture-taking opportunities as well. So, she represents a typical, significant challenge in that she doesn’t focus on one type of photography at this point in her life.

She takes thousands of photos each month – she is seriously “into” taking landscape, architectural, family, and sports (her son’s soccer games) photos. She uses a “point-and-shoot” right now, but desperately wants to get into an SLR. If it turns out that she really likes the SLR world, then my brother will upgrade her equipment to the “next level” in a year or two.

I am completely at a loss as to how to direct my brother’s purchase. My own approach has always been to buy the best glass first and then get the best body I can afford. But, obviously, I operate on a much deeper budget than the $1,500 my brother has. So, I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “best glass” strategy at this investment level, or not. The camera stores in my area are very week in terms of equipment, and especially expert advice. Is there a reasonable strategy in the $1,500 range?

Thanks for your help and suggestions, and I hope that this request isn’t impossibly “hopeless”!!

FamilyMan

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?
RRRoger Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
1
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wahfreak
13th Mar 2011
2
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RRRoger Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
3
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visionguru
13th Mar 2011
4
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kentak Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
5
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browntdb Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
6
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dscar
13th Mar 2011
7
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kentak Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
8
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dscar
13th Mar 2011
9
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luckyphoto Silver Member
13th Mar 2011
10
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km6xz Moderator
13th Mar 2011
11
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kentak Silver Member
14th Mar 2011
12
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kentak Silver Member
14th Mar 2011
13
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shootersdesireIN Silver Member
14th Mar 2011
14
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km6xz Moderator
14th Mar 2011
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familyman1955 Silver Member
14th Mar 2011
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kentak Silver Member
14th Mar 2011
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RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter MemberSun 13-Mar-11 01:57 PM
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#1. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 13-Mar-11 01:59 PM by RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
          

Just buy a D7000 kit.

A second option is to buy the beginner camera kit: D3100 + second AF-S lens Preferably one with Nikon instant rebate.
You might even have them pick up a lens for you.

But I think the D7000 is twice the camera.
Just take him down to your local Nikon dealer to get some "hands on".

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wahfreak Registered since 17th Jan 2011Sun 13-Mar-11 02:26 PM
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#2. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 0


Milwaukee, US
          

$1500 disappears pretty fast in this hobby! If she doesn't mind used, you could pick a used D-90 which is a fine camera for a newer DSLR owner. Because she takes pictures of many different subjects you might have to look at at "one lens" solution. A AF-S DX NIKKOR
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II might be a good choice.

Just a suggestion....

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RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter MemberSun 13-Mar-11 02:39 PM
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#3. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 2
Sun 13-Mar-11 07:26 PM by RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
          

The used D90 is a very good idea, but with a used 18-200.

I had one of the first "made in Japan" 18-200 versions and think it was superior to my "new" VRII one.
The other lens I would get is a 35mm f/1.8 DX.
Very good for low light, portraits, and video.

The camera has an internal motor, thus can be used with many lens.
It is also very capable up to 3200 ISO.
I occasionally used mine as backup at Motocross and Equestrian EVENTS.

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visionguru Registered since 03rd Nov 2008Sun 13-Mar-11 05:06 PM
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#4. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 13-Mar-11 05:13 PM by visionguru

Chicago, US
          

I'd recommend D3100 + 18-55 + 55-300, which costs $850 from Adorama.
Then add a 35mm f/1.8G or 50mm f/1.4G for indoor shooting and a flash.

D3100: very good ISO performance and video.
18-55: very good walk around.
55-300: seems good option for outdoor sports like soccer.
35 f/1.8G: low cost fast DX glass
or 50 f/1.4G: cheapest f/1.4

That can be a package set for 2 years.

Jay
- Chicago Nikonian

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Sun 13-Mar-11 05:20 PM
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#5. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 13-Mar-11 05:43 PM by kentak

US
          

I don't see anyway to go with a "best glass" strategy given the total cost limit and the kind of shooting your sister-in-law likes to do. She's going to require wide for architectural/landscape all the way through tele for the soccer/sports shots. The following should be under budget.

D3100 Kit/w 18-55mm lens

55-200 DX VR lens

SB-600 Speedlight

Let me defend this suggestion by the fact that your brother did specify "entry level." Even though the D3100 is entry level, it's gotten very good reviews and should beat the pants off of whatever your sister-in-law is using now. The lenses above will cover a field of view equivalent to 27-82 and 82-300 full frame without being bulky and heavy.

And, I've included the Speedlight because even though the D3100 has the pop-up flash, a Speedlight will allow for the nice bounce flash lighting that will make indoor family shots so much more appealing.

Added note: Jay's list above is very good, mine leaves a little money left over for a case, tripod, editing software, etc, as needed/desired.

Kent

  

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browntdb Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009Sun 13-Mar-11 06:46 PM
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#6. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 5
Sun 13-Mar-11 06:49 PM by browntdb

Corvallis, US
          

I would recommend a D90. It is pretty forgiving, does great on P or Auto mode because that is probably what she will be using most if she is an inexperienced DSL user. (reminds me of my significant other). The 18-105VR has great range. Another option might be the 16-85VR.

With a used D90 he might be able to buy a Nikkor 17-55 2.8, however that might be too heavy for her. I have that lens and the 18-105vr with my D90 and there is a significant weight difference.

The nice thing about the D90 is that it is all the camera she will probably ever need as she grows in photography. When everything is said and done as Nikon continues to develop their DSLR's I think the D90 will hold a special place as a great camera capable of beautiful photographs. I have thought about upgrading to the D7000, but I just love my D90 so much. From what I have read, there are some significant learning issues to make the D7000 really perform and I am not sure it is the best camera for a "snapshot" photographer.

I don't know much about the D3100, one very nice feature of the D90 is that it has an internal focusing motor for any lenses she might buy in the future. Not sure if the D3100 has that.

If the D90 and 18-105VR is purchased, I would highly recommend the SB400 flash. It is small but powerful enough to take most pictures in a normal room with bounce flash. I have that flash and the SB-600 as my primary flash, but there are times I wish I had brought my SB400 because of its size and capability.

Terry

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dscar Registered since 20th Dec 2007Sun 13-Mar-11 08:40 PM
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#7. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 6


Round Rock, US
          

Ditto the used/refurb D90 recommendations, and I too was thinking that about the 16-85 VR. In fact, the refurb 70-300 VRs are going for around $350 right now, so you could possibly even squeeze one of those in as well. That pretty much covers your whole range with two lenses.

Then again, coming from a P&S world, the 18-200 could be just as enticing.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Sun 13-Mar-11 08:50 PM
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#8. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Folks, let's keep in mind that some may prefer not to gift or receive used items, no matter how nice they are.

Also, the OP seems to indicate the items will be purchased during a visit to the US and used overseas. That makes finding suitable used equipment more of chore--not to mention issues of defects that may not be readily apparent nor easy to get a satisfactory warranty remedy far from the point of purchase. For these reasons I would be leary of suggesting used items.

Kent

  

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dscar Registered since 20th Dec 2007Sun 13-Mar-11 10:55 PM
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#9. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 8


Round Rock, US
          

Completely understand and have no problem agreeing regarding gift items.

In the end, if you are limited to B&M purchases, your options may very well be limited to local stock. If you want strictly new items and can handle online purchases, the Nikon instant rebates going on now might help achieve a better combo (as long as they are still available at the time of purchase).

I have spent many hours contemplating and planning my own purchases and upgrades over the years on a low budget, so I don't see any harm in sharing ideas that have helped me achieve quality for little $$. 70% of what I own now was purchased used. Research and careful purchasing practice has always left me satisfied with used equipment. In fact, I'm gifting a body/lens to my father next weekend. I just always make sure that I'm not giving something that I wouldn't be satisfied with myself.

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Sun 13-Mar-11 11:32 PM
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#10. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 9
Sun 13-Mar-11 11:34 PM by luckyphoto

Port Charlotte, US
          

How about a

-Refurbished D90 from Nikon at $720
-Tamron 17-55mm f 2.8 at $434
-Refurbished Nikon 70-300 VR f 4.5-5.6 at $400.

The refurbished Nikons have a 1-year warranty I believe and the Tamron has a 6-year warranty.

Even though it's not all "fast glass" it will be a quantum leap over the point and shoot.

The D90 is a great body and the lenses have good reviews.

Just another possibility.

Good luck

Update - It looks like Dscar beat me to the recommendations!

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 13-Mar-11 11:55 PM
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#11. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

D90 with kit 18-105vr lens= $959 B&H
Plus a SB700 = $329 B&H
Plus bag, cleaners, blower = approx $100 Anyplace
Thom Hogan's book = $39.95 plus $6.95 shipping
Total $1408.90
Equals the best bang for the buck for a new competent enthusiast camera kit.
The D3100 looks like a nice little camera but for someone interested in digging deeper into the craft, the D90 is one she won't outgrow anytime soon.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Mon 14-Mar-11 01:07 AM
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#12. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

A thoughtful list, Stan. But, what about the mom's desire to shoot her son's soccer games? The 105 is a little lacking even with the crop factor, no?

D3100 with kit 18-55 = $550
55-300 VR lens (for the sports) = $360
SB700 (I didn't know SB600 was discontinued) = $330

Enough left over for a book and some of the other extras you suggested.

The OP suggested the hubby would be willing to upgrade to better body in yr or two. The D3100 then becomes the backup body.

Kent

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Mon 14-Mar-11 01:19 AM
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#13. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

P.S.

I'm trying to put myself in the wife's position as a P&S shooter who loves to take pictures.

She will probably be *thrilled* at getting *any* DSLR, entry level or not.
She will probably be *thrilled* by getting *two* shiny new lenses.
She might *not* be thrilled at being given a refurbished anything for her BD.

  

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shootersdesireIN Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Jan 2011Mon 14-Mar-11 03:42 AM
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#14. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 13
Mon 14-Mar-11 03:44 AM by shootersdesireIN

Indianapolis, US
          

right now you can get a d3100 + a 70-300 vr and get 200.00 off the lens so for 1000.00 is a good start plus to SDHC cards 100.00 promaster 16 gig 10x + 18-55 kit lens that comes with the camera. That puts it so far at 1100.00.I then would look for a used Tamron 17-50 f2.8 II lens around 450.00. That would give her ideal poretrait lens and wide angle as well. Checkout Aderama.com. They have used equipment as well

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 14-Mar-11 10:56 AM
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#15. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 12


St Petersburg, RU
          

That would work but I did not suggest the 55-300 because I assumed that her enthusiasm as described put her into the category of beginning enthusiast. The current point and shoot is not that much worse than than an auto and scene oriented entry level camera. The 3100 has some good IQ and res but it is not for someone who is interested in more depth of the hobby. The D90 is such a camera that would allow her to not only get her feet wet but to swim with the dolphins so to speak. If she is active, a serious student of the craft she would still not outgrow it for years. The 3100, despite taking nice images would be limiting her flexibility in months.
People who just want to capture some pictures, the vast majority of camera owners, would be well served by that competent little camera. I recommend it often. But not in her case if the brief description of her interest is correct.
The problem with lenses is that the ones she will want can't be predicted because none of us know what subjects she will gravitate towards. It might be that she gets serious about the sports photography, than the 55-300 would be a waste of money, she needs higher performance lenses for that subject. She might be more interested in portraiture, again, the same money would better go to a 85 1.8 or 50mm. A 55-300 is not a walking around lens because it is not covering important ranges for that application, meaning it is not a substitute for everything if she wants a general purpose light weight solution some days. She will have to take a bag with at least another lens. A 18-105, 18-200 or 16-85 all would be useful general purpose lens that could be used alone for the light bag so will not be a waste of money, going unused once she starts investing in good lenses.
I suggested the kit 18-105 because it is the most cost effective way to dabble with it all and discover subjects of interest, it focuses close, its is wide, it is plenty sharp when stopped down, it is long enough to give a taste of telephoto. It is cheap. If she is like many of us, it will be kept due to its versatility long after she has invested in higher performance specialty lenses. I keep mine tucked in to the backpack next to the compartments for the 17-55 2.8, 85 1.4, which shares a long side with the compartment for the 70-200, but opposite the Sigma 50 1.4, and other specialty lenses. It gets used.
If I had a 18-200 I would probably use that also even though it or the 18-105 are not optimum for any one particular type of shot.
The willingness to upgrade bodies in a year or two not likely if she is really bitten by the bug, her priority list will include some great glass long before a new body if she starts with a versatile enthusiast camera.

At least we agree on the SB700;>)
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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familyman1955 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2006Mon 14-Mar-11 12:14 PM
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#16. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 15


Orem, US
          

Everyone, reading your responses and input has been extremely helpful. While many of the points were ones similar to my thoughts, a number have been things I hadn't adequately explored. I'm getting closer to a way forward, but will continue to think it through. Thanks again!

FamilyMan

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Mon 14-Mar-11 02:59 PM
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#17. "RE: Help to onfigure a $1500 basic outfit?"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          


>
>At least we agree on the SB700;>)
>Stan
>St Petersburg Russia

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.



I'll concede you another point for the D90 over the D3100--I don't believe the D3100 can command wireless flash from its pop-up flash. That's a somewhat advanced option, but it is certainly nice to have if one wishes to explore the world of off-camera flash.

Kent

  

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