Need advice on Zoom/Wide Angle lens

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May 10, 2008
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South Louisiana
I want to purchase a zoom/wide angle lens but don't know where to start. My main goal is to shoot wide then crop to edit and still have my subject in focus...also with the option to zoom in close. My budget is around $650. I have a D40 now, but want to upgrade to a D80. Any suggestions?
 
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Ann Arbor, MI
Hi Jeannie,

Not totally sure what you mean and maybe it'd help if you were more specific about what subjects you are trying to capture. Candids? Landscapes? Flowers and insects? Wildlife?

If you mean capturing every scene at wide angle and then selectively cropping for your subject of interest, you will be throwing away a lot of pixels, especially for a D40 with "only" 6 MP. If you crop out 3/4 of the area that leaves you only with 1.5 MP. This will not look good at any reasonable (say 5x7 or more) enlargement. The other problem is that it will be difficult to "isolate" your subject from the background (i.e. the subject is sharp and the background is blurred so as to make the subject stand out) if you are standing far away and shooting with a wide angle lens.

Also ,when you mean "zoom in close", do you mean things that are far away (telephoto) or small and close (macro)?

Andrew
 
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pgreen7436

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I want to purchase a zoom/wide angle lens but don't know where to start. My main goal is to shoot wide then crop to edit and still have my subject in focus...also with the option to zoom in close. My budget is around $650. I have a D40 now, but want to upgrade to a D80. Any suggestions?

I'm very happy with my 18-200VR. All around lens and great optics!
 
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Andrew,
I guess I'm trying to take portraits at a distance...not right on top of the person and would like to take landscape too. Also, would like to zoom in as a telephoto, not micro. I wouldn't crop in too much. My problem has been with cutting off hands and feet and other small details as I'm trying to focus into my subject. I'll post an example.
 
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This is from a "trash the dress" session in which I used the 18-55mm that came with the D40. It was dark outside so the SB-800 speedlight came in handy, but as you can see, she is out of focus since I off centered her on purpose and the grass in the middle is more in focus.




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pgreen7436

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This is from a "trash the dress" session in which I used the 18-55mm that came with the D40. It was dark outside so the SB-800 speedlight came in handy, but as you can see, she is out of focus since I off centered her on purpose and the grass in the middle is more in focus.




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One of the tips I picked up on the video that came with mine to avoid this is to focus on her face, then without releasing the shutter move the camera so she is off center and snap. You have to make sure you're not in continuous focus though.

You can browse to http://f01-f03.mypicturetown.com:80/P2PwebCmdController/cache/O*k6pddUzt7vkDfnWb*z8QCxhujOD0QWJ6th%25iGjuiSnnIKaiGJCDdx4GhT5BIK/item.jpg?rot=1 all of these pictures in the Tetons were taken with that lens.
 
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pgreen is right; it's not the lens, it's how you are using the autofocus system.
The D40 has several AF modes. One of them (AF-S for Single) allows you to focus on your model's face and then while holding the shutter button down halfway, you can recompose and shoot without focus changing. I believe the AF-A mode is also supposed to do this if the subject is not moving.

A single lens for landscape and portraiture is a bit of a tall order but the 18-200 isn't a bad compromise. Alternatively, if you still have the 18-55 kit lens, I'd stick with that for landscape and look into a portrait lens like an 85 1.8 (though I'm not sure if it will AF on a D40) or the Sigma 50-150 f2.8 HSM, which will AF on the D40 and is right at the top of your budget.

This was taken with the 50-150 f2.8 wide open.

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South Louisiana
Thanks for the advice. I was looking for a zoom lens anyway so I'm leaning toward the 18-200. My D40 18-55lens isn't impressing me the way it did in the beginning. Guess that's why we upgrade. Thanks again.
 
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Tamron 17-50mm would be my choice, great price and quality throughout the range, matching or beating the Nikon 17-55DX.

The 16-85 is okay, but it's very slow and far too expensive still for what you get.

Avoid the 18-200 unless you really need that range in one lens, it's too much of a compromise compared to two lenses in that range (say Tamron 17-50mm and the Nikon 55-200VR).
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2008
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New Jersey
Phil, the link you posted was only to one shot. I'm interested in seeing your results with the D60 & 18-200mm VR combo, as I plan on purchasing this lens quite soon. If you have a flickr, let me know also! :biggrin:
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
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Gainesville, FL
For zooms - Since you have the 18-55 already, you can get the 55-200 VR AF-S. or the 70-300 VR AF-S. If you have a really big budget, you can get the 70-200 VR AF-S.

Tamron and Sigma have their own version of the lenses I described above that will work on the D40. Just make sure that the Sigma has the "HSM" and the Tamron has the "Built in Motor".
 
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Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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Los Angeles, USA
Hi Jonathan.
I looked at some images taken with the 16-85 VR after you suggested it....your right about sharpness....I'll look into that one also. Thanks.

It's probably the sharpest consumer lens on the market. Seriously, I own the 17-55 and it's tack sharp, but the 16-85 is sharper!
 

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