Which lens is my best bet

Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
I need to rely on those here that have these lens to help me make my decision. I'm finding that while at the ski hills I'm often in low light from either being there at early morning or at night when just the ski hill lights are on.

Long term I will be upgrading to the D300s replacement if/when that comes out.

Short term I'm looking at two lens.

1) NIKON 17-55mm f/2.8G IF ED AF-S DX Zoom

or

2) Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G

From what I read the 50mm appears to be a good lens but the focus is listed as slow. Since I have no experience with this lens I'm not sure how slow slow really is.

Which lens would be my best bet? If the 17-55 is the better lens and will get me the low light photos I'm after great. I was told to go with the 50mm prime though since it's a sharp lens and the 1.4 will let in even more light.

Your thoughts?
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
967
Location
Netherlands
Do you need zoom or only a 50mm lens? that's the first question...? If you want the DoF of the 1.4 lens you shouldn't get the 17-55 2.8. If you want versatility get the 17-55, more range but at the cost of light... 2.8 is enough for most of my needs and since you are getting the D300s follow up you'll be able to use some higher ISO (like 3200-6400) which will make up for the light loss.


Another option would be a 50 1.4 or 1.8 and a 35 1.8 (you're staying on DX format so 35 is possible)... with maybe a wide-angle prime with 2.8 (10.5 secondhand?)
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
4,380
Location
Toronto
Depends on the type of shots you're looking for.

For me, I would want something really wide - 10.5 fisheye would be amazing on the ski hill. You could easily turn it on yourself while on the chair lift. All your shots will have an ample dose of sky and environment.

If you're looking to get tight shots of family as they come down the hill then you need something longer.

If you want to do a bit of both the 17-55 could work but it is awfully big and heavy to be toting on the ski hill.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
regardless I will be getting the 17-55 at some point. It's either going to be the first or last lensin my plan.

The plan.
This month either the 50mm or the 1755
This winter the 70-200 f 2.8
Next spring the d300s replacement (if out)
Then fall 2012 the 17-55 if I didn't get it now.

A fisheye is on the list but falls below the others

What I need is low light that will work on the D80. I want to photograph the ski hill at night as well as the snow cats in the early morning. The cats normally groom starting at 4:30 am in the dark. It's not until the sun is coming up at 7:30 that I can get some great shots.

I tried taking some night shots of the cat with all it's lights on and they didn't turn out the best due to the long shutter speed needed with my current set up. If I cranked up the ISO I got too much noise. I would like to stay around ISO 800 if possible.

The reason the 50 mm was recommended was due to it will let in double the light of the 17-55.

What I do like with the 50 and the 70-200 is they are both FX / DX so should I change my mind and go to FX I have the lens.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
301
Location
Calgary AB
I say this over and over, but the 17-55mm is an amazing lens on DX. And it's built like a tank and weather sealed, which would be perfect for your use. You can pick up a cheap 50mm 1.8 as a stop gap on the fast prime side, or look at the 35mm 1.8, another great DX lens.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
Here are some photos of what I'm trying to accomplish. Yes I know the photos are blurry that's what I am trying solve. I should add these are all with the 18-70 lens.

1) This image is at a hill. The snow machine in this photo doesn't move. The others at the hill rotate back and forth. They don't move fast but they do move.
snowmaking1.gif
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


2) A shot from in the cab
View attachment 868612

3) I was trying to stop the cat here. Didn't work.
View attachment 868613

View attachment 868614
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
f9, 1/3, 320? Good luck. GH

Don't go by the settings these pictures were taken at. I did a lot of playing around. These pictures are to show the lighting conditions and were grabbed at random from the 1500 or so I took over the winter.

If you notice the one in the cab through the windshield is at iso1000 f3.5 and the one making snow is at iso 640.

I do want to keep the ISO at 1000 or less.
 
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
17
Location
Toronto, Canada
Here's something else to consider. You could upgrade the camera to a D7000. This gets you at least 3 F-stops in it's improved high ISO performance over the D80. You can pair that with the 50mm 1.8 or the phenomenal 35mm 1.8 and you will be able to do much better on the type of shots you have here. You will still be in the price neighborhood of the 17-55.

Something to think about. Good luck.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
8,400
Location
LA (Lower Arkansas)
Here's something else to consider. You could upgrade the camera to a D7000. This gets you at least 3 F-stops in it's improved high ISO performance over the D80. You can pair that with the 50mm 1.8 or the phenomenal 35mm 1.8 and you will be able to do much better on the type of shots you have here. You will still be in the price neighborhood of the 17-55.

This is a better idea. The D80 is a great camera, but it struggles in lower light and produces lots of noise. The D7000 should handle this as well as any crop body on the market.

Of course, the best idea would be the D7000 and 17-55...:biggrin:
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
The camera I'm pretty set on the D300s replacement. I've considered the D7000 which as the debates go all over the place is on tops right now in certain areas over the D300s but once the D300s replacement is out that should be back on top. Then again all we are doing is guessing and with what has happened in Japan who knows when that camera will be out.

If the feedback from those of you is the D80 and either of the lens above won't cut it then I will keep my current set up and keep banking the money until this time next year and then move forward with a new camera and lens at that time.

My thought was get the lens cost out of the way and that the 17-55 lens would be even better on the next camera over the D80 so if it will work on the D80 for what I want then I'm set with the replacement.

Problem is this lens isn't cheap and I don't want the disappointment if I do the purchase to find out I wasted money. That is where I need your help. The current owners of those lens and more experience then I have.

That is also the reason why some of the pictures above are set to a lower ISO since I was playing around trying to avoid the noise in the D80.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
4,380
Location
Toronto
With the pictures you posted I don't think an extra stop or maybe two is going to make a difference. You need several stops or a giant flash!
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
302
Location
hawaii
Never shot on the slopes pre-dawn but had the comment Darren made in mind as I was reading this thread. Even with my D7000 & 17-55 in hand I wouldn't expect to catch much of a shot unless you grab the cat by the tail and get it to hold still.
 
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
17
Location
Toronto, Canada
Actually a D7000 with 17-55 can do the job. Better yet, a D7000 with a 50/1.8 (or 35/1.8) is even better.

Let's do some math here.

Let's start with one exposure setting that was mentioned .. the f9, 1/3, 320. Yes let's assume this is the exposure needed.

Assume now that we have a D7000 with a 17-55. This will give us the ability to set ISO at 3200 and aperture at 2.8. ISO 320 to 3200 is 3.3 stops. The f9 to f2.8 is another 3.3 stops. The combination is 6.7 stops.

Now add 6.7 stops to 1/3 shutter and you are 1/320. How fast is that cat?

Better yet, if you have the D7000 with a f1.8 lens, you get yet another 1.3 stops over the 17-55 which takes your shutter from 1/320 to 1/800. You're in business.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
4,380
Location
Toronto
My point was that he wouldn't be able to get there with a new lens alone. If you add a D7000 or a D700 to the mix...then yes...he can start making hay while the sun isn't shining.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
371
Location
Atlanta, GA
Another vote for the D7000. It'll get you the pictures you want now. Your plan is to wait for a body that hasn't been announced on a time-frame you cannot possibly anticipate.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
302
Location
hawaii
Perhaps so. I was pleasantly surprised that the D7000 & 70-300 could produce on a parade shoot with very little light at dusk.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
774
Location
Austin, TX
Just get the 50 f1.8 or 35 f1.8. At $100 or $200, they are not much of an investment and very, very few people are disappointed. If these don't solve your problem, then you can make a better decision based on what about these don't work. Plus, you will have these for other photo opportunities.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom