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Camera or Lens?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by rgordin, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I just got back into photography in May in anticipation of a trip to Africa in June. I bought a D40 w/18-55 and a 70-300VR (and have since added a 50mm f1.8). I love the D40 but found myself wanting some of the features of the D300, which I purchased a few weeks ago.

    Originally I thought I would keep the D40 as a second body to avoid changing lenses and because it was light and easy to grab. I don't find the D300 "heavy" though and am not sure I want to carry two bodies to avoid changing lenses.

    A friend wants to buy the D40/18-55 kit. That would leave me free (ie, give me funds) to buy a replacement lens. I have been seriously looking at the 16-85 for the extra reach (at both ends, though more at the 85 side) and quality.

    I would appreciate your comments on this conundrum. For non-professional use, how do you find the need for a second body? Any thoughts on the lens choice or the decision whether to keep the D40/18-55 lens instead of getting the 16-85 lens would be much appreciated.
  2. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    I prefer having a second body with a second lens. Part of that is because I'm usually in dusty or sea spray conditions that make changing lenses awkward (to say the least, dirty sensor to say the most). I also tend to shoot subject matter that won't wait for me to change lenses and at times even the time it takes to switch cameras is too long.
    You have to evaluate what you think your needs are and balance that with the extra weight and bulk of a second camera. My usual rigs are a D2x w/70-200VR and D300 w/300f4. By the end of a few hours, my neck and back ache pretty good.
    Another consideration is can you afford to be without a camera for a few weeks should one need service? I never thought I'd need a back-up, but when one of them has to go in (they are digital, there is much more inside to have problems) I really miss it. Since the D300 it isn't so bad, I can get along with either the D2x or D300. Point is, it's nice to have the back-up. As for service, IMHO, it's not if a camera will have to go in for service, it's when.
  3. iLLMaCK

    iLLMaCK Guest

    If you're going to Africa, what are you shooting?
    Sounds like you would need something a little "better" so to say
  4. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    The opposite. I went in June. That is what made me decide to get a digital slr (instead of using my old film camera and buying a long tele). Based on factors such as cost and weight, I purchased a D40 and a 70-300 VR.

    The trip was more than I expected. There was also a side effect. I found myself loving photography again - after a 15-year absence during which my wife and I only thought about grabbing the P&S.

    I loved the D40 but found myself wanting features (and better exposure/WB). That led me to buy the D300 a few weeks ago.
  5. JDann24


    Dec 15, 2007
    Garland, Texas
    I like having a second body with me. When I had my 70-300 VR, I kept that mounted to the second body and the 17-55 mounted to the main body. It beats changing lenses in nasty conditions. By the way, I had a D40 for awhile as a second body and loved it. I say keep the D40 and sell the 18-55.
  6. Having a second body is nice, but I'll never take one on vacation. Dump the D40 and either pick up the 16-85 or an 18-200 (which will eliminate the need for lens changes). When you get back from your trip, sell the 18-200 and pick up the 16-85. That's what I'd do...

    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong...
  7. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    It depends on your vacation. Mark, do you go on vacation to take pictures? In such a case having a single body is enough.
    My vacations are largely spent down the shore with my family. It's nice to have a small and light camera around your neck (i.e. D40 with a 28mm AF lens) while strolling on the boardwalk or at the beach. But it's also nice to have the D200 with me when I go out on my own to shoot some pictures early in the morning.
    So in my case, having two cameras makes perfect sense.

    Having said that, if your funds are strapped and you have no nice lenses right now I would definitely go for glass instead since it makes such a big difference. Do not dismiss Tamron, Tokina and Sigma; the offset for lower price (usually build quality - Nikkors are built for eternity) might or might not affect you (as usual, research!)
  8. I can not comment on the two body question, but do have experience with 16-85 lens. Considered that as a carry around but went for a "faster" lens. In my case the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 works nice as it allows me to use a CP and still have a reasonably bright viewfinder image. I used the Nikon 18-135 on vacation earlier this year in Hawaii, again with a CP, and it really turned me off on that dark of a "travel" lens. When I tried out the 16-85 which has the same aperture(s) it was the deciding factor in not choosing it (nice otherwise). It is basically a decision between zoom ratio and speed.

    Anyway, JMO and there are other nice 2.8 choices like Tamron and Tokina, not to mention Nikons 17-50.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2008
  9. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Thanks for the analysis. Ed mentions a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 for the speed. That lens is appealing but I think I want a bit more reach. a few weekends ago, I missed several shots where the 18-55 Nikon fell a bit short.
  10. rmfnla


    Aug 19, 2008
    La-La Land
    A large part of that "second body" issue originated with film cameras, the idea being that you could shoot two different types of celluloid by just grabbing your back-up instead of having to stop and reload.

    This is yet another aspect of photography that has been rendered obsolete by digital technology.

    I personally would rather carry ONE body and ONE lens; not because it's so hard to swap a lens (it's not) but because I hate to carry (and have to worry about) extra equipment, especially on vacation.

  11. rmfnla


    Aug 19, 2008
    La-La Land
    Very true; my point was not that carrying a second body is obsolete, but that doing so for a second type of film is.

    I haven't been paid to shoot anything in years but I certainly can appreciate having backup equipment for something where people are counting on you.
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