Need help with first DSLR

Started Jul 12, 2013 | Discussions
Nexu1
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Re: Need help with first DSLR
In reply to Satik, Jul 14, 2013

If Gilly wants to shoot wildlife then something like the 70-300 is pretty much a necessity (at least a 55-200).  105mm doesn't give enough zoom IMO.  70-300 is a little expensive (relatively speaking) but it's very darn good at what it does.

Gilly, I think there is almost always confusion with new DSLR owners and the term "portrait" (I know there was with me).  Satik is right in that the 35mm is not a true "portrait" lens (in photographer terms).  What that means is if you're going to get a shot where the head & shoulder pretty much fill the entire frame of your photo, no crop, then you want a longer focal length, probably 60mm or above.  Distortion, when it comes to portraits, is the result of camera to subject distance when doing a headshot.  With the 35mm you'd be looking at sticking your camera about 2 feet from your subject to get a photo where their head pretty much fills the frame (I just tried this in my kitchen).  With the camera this close up in someone's face, yes, you can get facial distortion (it'll be worse on adults than children).  With the 35mm my recommendation would be to take the photo from a little further back, say 4-5 feet, and crop.  Not "perfect" but usable.  The 35mm isn't meant to take photos where someone's head takes up the entire picture, but rather, you get at least half their body (at this tight of a shot you'll be just fine for distortion- no worries).  I find the 35mm a great first prime.  The price to performance ratio is almost unbeatable.  If you get into true portraits (head or head+shoulder) enough the 85mm f1.8g (at $500) becomes a great pair with the 35.  They compliment each other very, very well.

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Satik
Regular MemberPosts: 253
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Re: Need help with first DSLR
In reply to Nexu1, Jul 14, 2013

Nexu1 wrote:

If Gilly wants to shoot wildlife then something like the 70-300 is pretty much a necessity (at least a 55-200). 105mm doesn't give enough zoom IMO. 70-300 is a little expensive (relatively speaking) but it's very darn good at what it does.

Gilly, I think there is almost always confusion with new DSLR owners and the term "portrait" (I know there was with me). Satik is right in that the 35mm is not a true "portrait" lens (in photographer terms). What that means is if you're going to get a shot where the head & shoulder pretty much fill the entire frame of your photo, no crop, then you want a longer focal length, probably 60mm or above. Distortion, when it comes to portraits, is the result of camera to subject distance when doing a headshot. With the 35mm you'd be looking at sticking your camera about 2 feet from your subject to get a photo where their head pretty much fills the frame (I just tried this in my kitchen). With the camera this close up in someone's face, yes, you can get facial distortion (it'll be worse on adults than children). With the 35mm my recommendation would be to take the photo from a little further back, say 4-5 feet, and crop. Not "perfect" but usable. The 35mm isn't meant to take photos where someone's head takes up the entire picture, but rather, you get at least half their body (at this tight of a shot you'll be just fine for distortion- no worries). I find the 35mm a great first prime. The price to performance ratio is almost unbeatable. If you get into true portraits (head or head+shoulder) enough the 85mm f1.8g (at $500) becomes a great pair with the 35. They compliment each other very, very well.

I agree with you. However, I still think that start with one universal lens like 18-105 give you more feelings what you need. Depending what you mean by wildlife this lens can make great pictures. If the main area of interest will be birds than even 70-300 mm is not enough for small fellows. I also bought my 35 mm as first prime, but somehow cannot find much usage for it. I prefer my 90 mm any day - I use it as a portrait, macro and wildlife. Just saying my experience.

Best,

Martin

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David Lal
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,837
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Long glass no sine qua non for birding
In reply to Satik, Jul 14, 2013

Satik wrote:

I agree with you. However, I still think that start with one universal lens like 18-105 give you more feelings what you need. Depending what you mean by wildlife this lens can make great pictures. If the main area of interest will be birds than even 70-300 mm is not enough for small fellows. I also bought my 35 mm as first prime, but somehow cannot find much usage for it. I prefer my 90 mm any day - I use it as a portrait, macro and wildlife. Just saying my experience.

Martin, I agree with a lot of what you say and I too, if I were a beginner would start with a general purpose lens such as the 18-105 which I think is pretty decent. If I were the OP I might also look at a good condition secondhand camera higher up market than her present target. I'd get it from a store with some sort of warranty option, indeed I did that a year ago when I bought my D300.

I disagree greatly though with the notion that long glass is a sine qua non for birding. Yeah, fine, if one has no fieldcraft or rapport with the subjects then wobble about by all means from half a mile away with long lens and TC etc. etc.

I get pretty good results (wild birds, not pets) with short glass. As short as 18-35mm if required.

(UK) Robin, D70; Sigma 105

Bluetit, D300; Nik 50mm

It can be done!

David

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Satik
Regular MemberPosts: 253
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Re: Long glass no sine qua non for birding
In reply to David Lal, Jul 14, 2013

David Lal wrote:

Satik wrote:

I agree with you. However, I still think that start with one universal lens like 18-105 give you more feelings what you need. Depending what you mean by wildlife this lens can make great pictures. If the main area of interest will be birds than even 70-300 mm is not enough for small fellows. I also bought my 35 mm as first prime, but somehow cannot find much usage for it. I prefer my 90 mm any day - I use it as a portrait, macro and wildlife. Just saying my experience.

Martin, I agree with a lot of what you say and I too, if I were a beginner would start with a general purpose lens such as the 18-105 which I think is pretty decent. If I were the OP I might also look at a good condition secondhand camera higher up market than her present target. I'd get it from a store with some sort of warranty option, indeed I did that a year ago when I bought my D300.

I disagree greatly though with the notion that long glass is a sine qua non for birding. Yeah, fine, if one has no fieldcraft or rapport with the subjects then wobble about by all means from half a mile away with long lens and TC etc. etc.

I get pretty good results (wild birds, not pets) with short glass. As short as 18-35mm if required.

(UK) Robin, D70; Sigma 105

Bluetit, D300; Nik 50mm

It can be done!

David

David,
sure it can be done. Your pictures are great. But how much time did you spend by observing those birds and preparing for those shots. It wouldn't be fair to say beginner, that he can do pictures like this immediately. What I wrote was more like general statement. There are no limits for imagination and in the end, the old truth that the guy behind cameras matters more than gear, is still valid.

Best,

Martin

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pixtorial
Regular MemberPosts: 114
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You almost can't go wrong...
In reply to GillyTheKid, Jul 14, 2013

... with any Nikon body and glass.

I agree with a lot of the posters here, you gain nothing practical between the 5100 to the 5200, and you can get great deals on a 5100 these days.

As for the glass, don't get talked into buying more than you need to get started. The kit 18-55 with VR is a perfectly usable lens, and even if you get a better wide zoom later you'll still want to keep it for those times when you don't want to risk the "better" lens.

In regards to the long zooms, if you end up with a kit that contains the 55-300 don't fret about it, there is nothing wrong with that lens. When you get to the point of wanting to make 20x30 prints of your incredible nature photos you'll have upgraded already anyway

If you -don't- end up with a two-lens kit, I want to throw one more zoom recommendation in the ring: the Tamron 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD. The street price on this lens is around $450 and it is a fantastic piece of glass for the money. I've had several different variants of Tamron's 70-300 and have had great results and no problems with any of them.

Now, here is a bit of advice not put on the table in the rest of the thread: take it as you like, as every person is different (thankfully!): as an emerging photographer with a new DSLR, there is no predicting what you'll actually enjoy photographing.

You'll likely find yourself shooting lots of things that you didn't expect. My goal was always urban landscapes/urbex, but as a Dad the reality is that 90% of my photography has become children. And I found that I actually really enjoy it. Kids, school events, dance recitals, each has its own challenges. But the rewards are great (parents love getting a nicely shot 5x7 of their kid at a friend's birthday party or school event).

So with that in mind, I'm going to suggest now that you will want a shoe-mount flash sooner rather than later. For kids, holidays, experimenting, creative options, etc. it can be an indispensable tool. Don't spend a lot, I use Nissin Di 622 units and they're great.

Enjoy your photography and -whatever- Nikon you get!

Peace,

Bill C.

Austin, TX

http://www.pbase.com/pixtorial

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GillyTheKid
New MemberPosts: 8
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I appreciate the wisdom...
In reply to GillyTheKid, Jul 14, 2013

Thank you to all who shave taken the time to respond. I've read everyone's suggestions and I feel a lot motte confident in my approach to this now. I'm sure you're tired of hearing the same 'I'm a beginner' questions so really, thanks for giving me your honest input.

i have a package from cameta in mind and I'm feeling good about the choice.

Thanks again!

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BlueJakester
Senior MemberPosts: 1,714Gear list
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Re: I appreciate the wisdom...
In reply to GillyTheKid, Jul 14, 2013

Cool!  Let us know how it works out and post some pics here.

Cheers and good luck!

 BlueJakester's gear list:BlueJakester's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM +2 more
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Cope
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Re: I appreciate the wisdom...
In reply to GillyTheKid, Jul 14, 2013

Cameta are good people.

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Never ask a man where he's from. If he is from Texas, he'll tell you. Otherwise, don't embarrass him.

 Cope's gear list:Cope's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 (IF) DX +3 more
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