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is this a good setup for people?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by coolshotimagery, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. I am currently a canon user who is switching to nikon soon. Right now i'm in the research phase. First off I shoot with a canon xt, sigma 18-50ex 2.8 and 430ex speedlite. I interested in nikon's fx format, better metering and flash systems(CLS). If I was concerned with long primes or f4 zooms I would have stayed. I primarily shoot people indoors in low light situations. Right now its mainly just friends and family at parties. Occasionally I do get asked to shoot at nightclubs.

    Although I hear about the d80 and its metering problems I'm looking at this for about a $1800 budget.

    Nikon d80
    Nikkor 16-85VR
    Nikkor SB 900
    various accessories I already have.

    Here is what i'm thinking. The D80 is slightly bigger. This helps out hand holding tremendously. I already held one at bestbuy. I can't afford Fx bodies so this will be nice stop gap until then. The 16-85 is slow, not like 2.8 like i'm used to but I rarely use 2.8 anymore. I find that the DOF is too shallow for all those group shots. With an average aperture of around 5.6-8 I need VR. I'm hoping an ISO bump and VR will help me get the shots I need. I frequently shoot with my camera in one hand and a beer in another :) 

    I am going to wait until the holidays to see if I really jump into something. Any suggestions would be great.
  2. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    For what you're shooting, I'd get a Fuji S5 Pro, as it has better colour rendition (especially for skin tones), better high ISO, better D200 body, will work with Nikon CLS, and is cheaper than a D50 (at least in the UK). The D80 has a fairly poor meter (by Nikons standards) and tends to overexpose quite harshly, the Fuji S5 Pro has the solid D200 meter, and any overexposure can still be retreived from the RAF.

    The 16-85 is a good lens, although if you're in low light situations you may want to get something faster, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a good budget choice as is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for ultra low light.
  3. Sounds to me like a switch for the sake of it. I really don't see what you're going to gain that couldn't be done more easily by just getting a Canon 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM. If you're really looking to go Nikon FX on down the road, why spend $500 on a DX zoom that you won't be able to use on an FX body anyway? If you're really looking to go FX, why not something like the 24-120mm VR that can be had for MUCH less (i've seen them go as low as $250 here)? Also, if you're really looking for a stopgap and you want to shoot mid-aperture in poor light, why not go with an inexpensive body that does very well at higher ISO (i.e. the D50)? You could pick up a D50, 24-120mm VR, and SB-600 for around $650. This is about 1/3 the price and gives you a lens you can use later on an FX body. The only thing you really lose with this combo is the ability to use the onboard flash as a CLS Wireless Commander... but adding an SB-800 would let you do so and still keep you under $1k, likely around $850 (and give you 2 flashes to use with that FX body you have planned down the road). Another budget-oriented option would be a pair of Sigma EF-500 DG Super flashes which can be had for $120 each and can do nealy everything the SB-800 can, including CLS Wireless Commander and Slave.

    A D50, 24-120mm VR, and 2x EF-500 DG Super would run you around $750, do everything you said you wanted to, fit into an upgrade plan for FX, and leave around $1150 of your original budget in your pocket.
  4. right now based on my current canon setup, I mainly shoot between 18-30mm with some at the 50mm mark. I frequently break the FL/SS rule to gain more ambient lighting in shots. Dragging the shutter and using the flash to freeze the subject. I think VR may help me in some of my shots especially later in the night when i'm on like my 3rd drink or so.

    I'm doing ok with what I have right now. If the d90 is all that and a bag of chips I can save a little more and get that. As far as the FX comment goes, we are talking YEARS before FX becomes a reality for me. I think a good DX lens like a 16-85 or even a 17-55 will garner me 1000s of good shots before I can step up.
  5. For what you're shooting I think you're definitely right that VR will help... Canon IS would help just as much. Still seems a Canon 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM would be the easier path... $430 refurbished from B&H, even less on the used market.

    If you're looking for a great high ISO performer, the D80 really isn't it (as an owner I know). It's not horrible with high ISO, but if that's something you're seriously looking for then I would either step back to the D50 or wait and see how the high ISO performance of the D90 pans out.

    As for lenses, I was under the impression that you were looking to upgrade to a D700 in the more immediate future, like with 12-18 months. If it's more like 3 years + then maybe the DX vs. FX lens debate shakes out a little differently. Since you specifically say you're not shooting at large apertures deliberately to control DOF, I don't think there's much advantage in spending big money on a 17-55/2.8.

    Nikon makes some of the absolute best kit lenses and, in my opinion, you might want to look very deeply at the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens that will be offered with the D90 (especially if you end up chosing the D90 anyway). It is getting some VERY impressive early reviews at around 1/2 the price (when part of a D90 kit) of the 16-85mm VR. The main feature it's lacking is active VR mode which is mainly used when panning or in a moving vehicle (applying VR only to the vertical oscillations) which doesn't seem to be a feature you would use extensively.

    Also remember, on crop sensors, 18mm on Nikon is already going to be wider than 18mm on Canon... an 18mm Nikon lens will be a touch wider than a 17mm Canon lens on a crop sensor.
  6. I just don't think the 16-85 matches your shooting needs at all

    Even if you don't shoot at f2.8, having f2.8 AND f3.2 AND f4 available at ALL times is invaluable for your shooting situations noted above

    I think a 17-50/55 f2.8 from Tamron or Nikon would be a better match
  7. His comment about the large majority of his shots being from f/5.6-f/8 for the explicit reason of controlling DOF makes me think he's right that VR/IS would probably serve him better than a constant f/2.8 lens. He currently has a Sigma 18-50/2.8 EX in Canon mount, so he has the ability to shoot at larger apertures but chooses not to for an explicit reason.

    The OP seems to be the opposite of most people looking at consumer VR lenses... most think that VR will cure their needs when they really need a large aperture to stop action... he specifically won't use a large aperture and needs VR to compensate in non-action situations.

    I'm still saying it'd be an easier switch to pick up a Canon 17-85mm IS USM)... but IF you decide to make the switch, the 16-85mm VR would likely be a great lens for what you're doing, and the 18-105mm VR Kit Lens would likely do just as well at 60% of the price.
  8. ^ good point - I stand corrected
  9. I don't see why you'd switch to nikon,. there's no compelling reason,. VR/IS is ok but for group shots you can use a tripod,. if you have thoughts to go to 'full frame' then you should get lenses that will work on a full frame

    personally I would advise something like a 5d and 24-105 f4 IS lens,. throw in a prime like the 85 1.8 or 50 1.4 and you have most situations covered
  10. My reasons to switch are forseeing the future. I am glad I found out early on what I like to shoot. FF is in my distant future. The things that interest me about nikon are better ergonomics and feature sets. I like the artificial horizon, auto iso , high rez screens. I also like nikkor pro glass over canon L glass(im a zoom guy). Even if we talk about dx glass. I think for a people shooter like me the 17-55 is a great choice. The canon version suffers from dust problems and malfunctioning IS. Its stuff like that puts me off on canon. Also the flash system. If I can take off my flash and use CLS without spending tons on pocket wizards than by all means i'm for that.

    Unfortunately I don't have 6k for my dream setup. I need something in the middle. I could stick with my current system that does ok. I can improve greatly with new tools that help me get different kinds of shots. But, I don't want to spend more money on a system I will ditch very soon only to loose money on. Lets say I sell the sigma 18-50ex and 430ex so I can get a 17-55IS and a 580ex II. I think initially I will take better shots, but I will still suffer from bad high ISO, small body/poor ergonomics and bad AF in low light.

    I really like the d700 or even the d300. Good High iso performance, excellent AF and 51 points. I like to frame things using the law of 3rds and its hard to do on a 9 point AF system unless you crop alot which I don't. I perfer to frame using my zoom/feet. I think the new 5D or whatever is going to put stuff in camera that I don't want like 18megs on a sensor when I have never printed anything bigger than 8x10. Most of my shots are web based anways.

    I thought about that but the 5d doesn't have the feature set I want plus I really like the whole nikon system as a from advanced flash, new pro glass that performs well that you don't have to send back to canon 3 times for calibration and lastly current bodies that give impressive feature sets for decent prices. Oh and tripods in a nightclub or drunken house party is spelling disaster!
  11. JCole

    JCole Guest

    If you're talking future D3 or D700 then yes you get the artificial horizon but the D80 does not have that feature, however I'm pretty sure it does have on-demand grid lines like my D200. If the ergonomics of the Canon's bother you then you may really be better of with one of the Nikon bodies. But I would really take into consideration the other posters who mentioned getting the better Canon glass that meets your needs. Switching is a costly move and you might look into renting the body and lens you are considering before making the leap. Good luck with whatever you chose to do :smile:
  12. i think everyone needs in example of what im talking about.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I think this is a bad shot and its great to illustrate what I am looking to improve. Ok so i get done take a few shots of couples. Its at f3.5 1/15 and its fine. Here comes a group and I forget to take my settings because I had 3 shots of Hennessy in 30 minutes. I focus on the blond because i'm single :)  but that screws my shot up. Notice how its sharp but goes soft from left to right. I think a nice f 5.6 would help solve that. I am on the dance floor trying not to get pushed around dragging the shutter around 1/2-1/30 the whole night trying to get ambient. I think VR and less booze would improve my shots greatly but this is one of the few jobs where you can drink on the job :) 

    here is a better example why I don't like 2.8 for groups. This is at my day job. I am sober and thinking. But Im really new and I think oh I want to blow out the background and do 2.8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    As you can see the first thing I notice is that the two women on the sides get soft. (well at least on my huge raw file that is)
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