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Beginner D70 vs. D80 setup?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by epicfish, May 14, 2007.

  1. epicfish


    May 13, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey everyone,

    I've recently become fascinated with photography and am considering a Nikon DSLR setup to start with.

    I've chatted with a friend about some cameras, and here's what I've come up with as a possible first start.

    Experience: P&S up until now...still very newbie-ish regarding more "professional" photography.
    Camera: Used Nikon D70.
    Nikon 18-55mm
    Nikon 18-70mm
    Tamron 28-80mm

    Tamron 90mm f/2.8 with Kenko extension tubes
    Flash: SB-600.

    I'm not sure whether I want the 18-55mm, 18-70mm, or Tamron 28-80mm lens. I'm on a budget, so I'd rather go with the cheaper lens, but is the price difference between the 18-55mm and the 18-70mm worth it? My friend tells me that lenses are better investments than the cameras, so I want a lens that will last a while and give me good quality shots.

    Also, I plan to try my hand at aquatic photography so that's why I'm leaning towards the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens. Is there another one out that that isn't so expensive?

    I'll need the flash...will the SB-600 be a good choice, or will either the SB-400 or SB-800 be better?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2007
  2. I don't recommend 28-80, it's not very wide. The 18-70 is definitely the better built lens and while 55-70mm isn't a huge thing (one or two steps forward most times), the build quality may be something worth paying the extra bit for. Also, it is true AF-S (full time manual) and IF (no front rotating element).

    I might recommend you go with 18-55 and 55-200VR though, for more coverage overall. Depends on if you need extra length?

    Very nice macro lens. You could also consider the Tokina 100mm in that price range. Cheaper options could be just getting the lens without the extension tubes, or using your other lenses with the Kenko's and see how they work out for you.

    Flash is dependent on what you need. D70 has wireless control so you don't need this function from the SB800 unless you want to control multiple flashes on different channels? SB400 doesn't bounce off ceiling in portrait mode. SB600 is like an SB800 without the -7 degree rotate, little less power, doesn't come with the attaching diffuser + coloured gel filters, and doesn't control other flashes wirelessly (it can be wirelessly controlled though). Both SB600 and SB800 have the awesome AF assist beam. SB400 is just like your onboard flash, but has bounce capability, more powerful.

    For macro work, I like to get the flash off the camera. SB400 can't do this. 600/800 can.
  3. Here's my take . . . I'd go with a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 or Nikon 18-70mm DX. The Tamron is sharp, a constant f2.8 which is really nice for available light photography, and comparable in price (if new). The Nikon is also sharp, has AF-S, but needs light especially at the longer focal lengths. For a flash, the SB-600 is fine. Slightly less power, doens't include as many accessories, but will save about $100 over the SB-800.
  4. I would go for the 18-70 lens. It's a great starter lens (I started with it). You might also consider a used 50mm 1.8 for low-light shots...you can probably get one for around $80 if you look hard enough.

    For the flash, second the recommendation for the SB600...much more flexibility later for CLS stuff (nikon's wireless flash system) than the SB400, and nearly all of the power for a fraction of the price of the SB800. JMHO...
  5. I_media


    May 16, 2007
    As you've already been looking at Tamron, I will highly recommend the 17-50mm f/2,8. Very good lens.
  6. IMHO, The D70 or D70s is an excellent first DSLR. Between the 18-55mm and the 18mm-70mm lenses, well.... no contest. Go for the 18-70mm. It is a wonderful kit lens. It also will have more resale value if you decide further down the road that you want to sell it. The Tamron 90mm macro has had excellent reviews from users, so I'd also go with that if you are keen on shooting macro. The Tamron 28-80? I'd hold off on that. You might find that when you are ready that you'd prefer putting the money into the excellent Nikon 28-70mm.

    Think of it this way: you're buying a Nikon camera, right? Why not use Nikon lenses with it rather than third-party lenses?

    Either the SB600 or the SB800 will offer you much more flexibility and range than the SB400.
  7. epicfish


    May 13, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks everyone! Just when I was set on the D70 + 18-70mm as an initial setup, I did a little more reading on the D80. I haven't even bought a camera yet and the madness has set in already!

    From reading previous threads, it seems that UPGRADING from a D70/s to a D80 is a toss-up...some say yes, some say it's not worth it.

    But buying from scratch, are the increases in mega-pixels, the larger LCD, etc...worth the extra ~$440??

    $720 shipped from Cameta for a D70 Nikon factory demo + 18-70mm lens.


    $1,160 shipped from Cameta for a D80 Nikon factory demo + 18-70mm lens.

    The $440 could buy me a Tamron 90mm macro lens with a little extra to put towards my SB-600 flash.

    What I'm wondering is whether I should spend the extra money for the D80 or save some money and go with the D70 and put the money towards a macro lens I want or towards another nice lens.

    I'm planning to use the macro lens for aquatic photography, mostly corals, fish, etc...in my aquariums so I don't know if the extra MPs in the D80 will make a large difference because of possibly cropping issues.

    I just don't want to buy the D70, use it for a few months, and then wish I had xxxx features that the D80 has and regret my purchase. I doubt I'll upgrade frmo the D70 to the D80 for those features though. I'll probably just learn to live without them until I get good enough to justify an upgrade to the D200/D2H.

    What does everyone think? Worth it?

    This is turning into the " The more i read the bigger nightmares i get.." thread!
  8. I don’t think you can go wrong with either camera. As for the things you mentioned, 6 vs 10mp and the LCDs, in my opinion the 4mp increase isn’t that big of a deal. I don’t have a D80, but I do have a D70, D2H, and D200 and the D200 LCD is the best hands down and I believe it is the same are the D80. The autofocus will be a bit better on the D80 but depending on what you shoot the D70 may be more than fine. So many of us here got into the DSLR world with the D70 and I will not sell mine because it is worth more to me than the money it would bring if I sold it.

    My old boss just bought a D80 last week, and I am looking forward to playing with it.
  9. epicfish


    May 13, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've been doing a lot more research in the meantime. I'll go for the 18-70mm.

    Any use the 18-135mm kit lens though? How does it perform?
  10. plim

    plim Guest

  11. Hi Fish,

    My first DSLR was the D70, with the 18-70mm. I loved them both. I was newly retired, and my wife and I spent a year and a half touring in our RV. I shot the whole time with that kit, and learned lots. I finally upgraded camera and lenses, (new kit in sig) and I gave the D70 with the 18-70 to my daughter who lives in Prague. I have to tell you, in spite of some great new glass, I miss that lens. Will probably look for another if a good used one comes along. Great FL range, and surprisingly good IQ. The D70 is a real nice camera, but I think the D80 is a pretty substantial upgrade. (Santa brought one to my bride last year). I'd say go for the 80 if your finances allow. But you can get a lot of mileage out of that 18-70 with either body.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2007
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