Old 05-25-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
lock4244
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Default Advice/Opinion on AF Lens

I have a Nikon D200 I bought in December to replace my F3 SLR's. I like the camera... I especially like the ease of digital photography (or should I say the instant results). I have been using the same lenses with the D200 that I'd used with my F3's. Infact, the $$$ investment in my lenses for the old cameras pushed me to the D200 since they were compatible. All of these lenses are full manual.

So anyways, I'm having some real problems with focusing lately. In short, my eyesight sucks and I wear contact lenses during the day. I have a real problem with my eye's blurring and making it impossible to do anything but guess. Net result, blurry shots

Can anyone recommend an AF lens for this camera. Currently, all of my lenses are fixed, so a zoom lens might be nice for a change.

My most used lenses are in order (I don't know what they convert to in "digital"):

85MM, F1.8
50MM, F2.0
135MM, F2.0
105MM, F1.8
180MM, F2.8

Any advice would be most appreciated.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:56 PM   #2
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Lock you need to multiply each lens by 1.5 in order to get its "digital" focal length. Your 85mm lens would be 128mm. I also replaced my F3 & F2 with digital..mine being a D70 two years ago. I bought the camera with the 18-70ED zoom, which works out to @28-105 in 35mm. I also bought the 70-300. I wish that I would have waited and bought an 80-200 f2.8 since I'm a former newspaper photographer, and addicted to "fast" lenses. Depending on what types of photography you want to do, the 18-70, 70-300 or 80-200 may cover most of your needs.
Good luck..Mark
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:08 PM   #3
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If it were me, I'd sell all those non-AF lenes and get a telephoto zoom (80-200 or 70-300 or something that covers wider all the way to telemash). That way you make some room in your camera bag, cover some of the costs of a quality telephoto zoom, and not have blurry shots anymore!
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:14 PM   #4
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I'm a Canon person so I don't know Nikon lenses but I find that price is not too bad a predictor of performance. It helps, though, to have some info. For example, the Canon 85 /1.8 is one of their best non-"L" lenses, and you only need the 4x more expensive 85 /1.2 L if you need the larger aperture. (I'm sure there are some purists that would argue there is also a modest increase in image quality, but geesh!)

For general info on the quality of lenses, you may wish to consult the user boards at dpreview.com and the lens ratings at fredmiranda.com.
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:12 AM   #5
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I find it nice to have 1 lens to "cover it all". The Nikon 18-200MM Lens is excellent, offers a 35mm range of 28-320MM, Goes from F3.5-5.6, and it has Vibration Reduction, which helps offset the F5.6 aperture at 320mm.
Its a robust and well built lens, speedy AF and as sharp as you could ask for. however it is a bit pricey ($800ish, if you can find it in stock) but I find the cost well worth it!
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:26 AM   #6
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It really comes down to how much money you are willing to put up. Right now Nikon is really pushing its "DX" series of lens. These are ones purpose built for digital camera bodies.

I've tried out a couple lens for this series and the one thing I have noticed is that half of the "DXs" are amazing and the other half of the "DXs" are trash. There seems to be no middle ground (including price wise) in the series. The high end stuff is wonderful, but all start around $800. The low end stuff (example; the D70s kit lens) leaves a bad taste (however, I got to congrats Nikon on better kit lens construction, at least these DXs have some metal in them, unlike the old 35mm kit lens).

With this in mind, when it came to my zoom len, I went with a middle of the road Nikon "D" series lens (75-300 f/4.5-5.6 which ran me about $350 at B&H). Its a great lens; all metal construction, easy to handle and sharp as a tack in the f/8 sweet spot. I've used it on D1x, D70s and a N80 and I've been pleased with the result everytime.

All and all, this is just something to think about when looking at Nikon lens. The lens that entered production more than 3 or 4 years ago are still good options even in this digital age at a fraction of the price.

However, on a side note, the 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 was replaced by a cheap all plastic "G" series lens about 2-3 years ago. Don't get the two confused, the new lens makes a good doorstop but not much more.
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:31 AM   #7
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If your primary use is for rail photography, then you might want to consider an 28-80mm (keep in mind that with the digital conversion factor that's closer to 105mm). It works very well track side, since it allows you to swtich from short telephoto to wideangle with out changing lenes. If you want a true telephoto zoom, there are a couple good inexpensive 70-200mm ones out there. If money is an issue, Sigma makes good lenes in this rage with an f-number of 4, but if you have the money to spend on it, then it's worth getting a faster lens.

As far as brands goes, Nikon makes great lenses in each of the ranges discussed above, but you tend to pay more for the brand name. Good third party makes include Tamron (who make the glass Nikon ueses, so you're basicly buying a Nikkor lens without paying extra for the brand name), and Sigma, who have broken out recently as a leader in third party lenses. If you go the route of a f.4 telephoto, Sigma is the one to go with.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:55 AM   #8
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I'm hoping more to "suppliment" rather than replace my current lenses. When I think about the $$$ I've spent on them over the years verses the street valve as trade-ins, I think I'll keep them. What I guess I'm really looking for is a replacement for the 50MM, being that it's the hardest to focus since the image looks so small. I wonder if a magnifying eyepiece would help? Anyone ever go that route? A zoom lens in the approximate 28-200MM area would do nicely... I always wanted a 28MM or so lens for my old camera but never got around to buying one.

Bet if I get a zoom I'll find I barely use my old stuff!

Have to put off buying a little bit longer... picked up two 2GB CF's today on sale
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Have to put off buying a little bit longer... picked up two 2GB CF's today on sale
So you can store more blurry, out-of-focus shots with your non-AF lenses? Just kidding!

Good luck with whatever you end up getting...
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:13 AM   #10
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Actually, it's only been a few that were ruined. With most lenses there is a sweet spot that is generally safe. Not on my 50MM though, and I don't have anything smaller than an 85MM so any attempts at locomotive and freightcar rosters are at a bit of a distance.

And as an aside, three of my digital shots have snuck past the screeners so far
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclonetrain
I find it nice to have 1 lens to "cover it all". The Nikon 18-200MM Lens is excellent, offers a 35mm range of 28-320MM, Goes from F3.5-5.6, and it has Vibration Reduction, which helps offset the F5.6 aperture at 320mm.
Its a robust and well built lens, speedy AF and as sharp as you could ask for. however it is a bit pricey ($800ish, if you can find it in stock) but I find the cost well worth it!


Here's another vote for the 18-200VR. Great lens.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:34 PM   #12
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i recently bought a new nikon dx 18-135mm af-s lens. with a 1.5x digital conversion makes it nearly same as 28-200mm lens in 35mm format. i paid $270 on ebay auction, but local stores sell it from $375-400 in my area. the lens was released from nikon last winter (i think), it has internal focusing, a focusing ring, and silent wave motor for fast focusing. i do not know how it compares to the nikon 18-200mm (i hear it's great, but out of my price range), and 18-135mm lens does not have vibration reduction like 18-200mm.

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Old 05-30-2007, 08:27 PM   #13
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VR is only good when shooting hand held, correct?
On a tripod it can create blurriness, correct?
If all of this is correct, getting a VR would be a waste of money, for me at least. I try to take every shot on a tripod and I doubt the VR without the tripod will yield better results than a tripod alone.
That's what I was told in the little research I've done on VR.
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:37 PM   #14
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VR is designed to help remove the need for a tripod, so yes, It would interfere and could be detrimental to photo quality if used on a tripod. However, when handheld it reduces blurriness and allows you to shoot with much slower shutter speed than you normally could.
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
VR is only good when shooting hand held, correct?
Yeah, but it's really useful when:
-You don't have time to set up the tripod. (Like during train chases.)
-The place you want to shoot from is inaccessible by road/far away.
-You forget to bring the tripod.

Quote:
On a tripod it can create blurriness, correct?
You can switch it off.

Quote:
If all of this is correct, getting a VR would be a waste of money, for me at least. I try to take every shot on a tripod and I doubt the VR without the tripod will yield better results than a tripod alone.
The difference seems pretty negligible.
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:49 AM   #16
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I never take pictures with a tripod unless its at night (and even then only about half the time!), and I never have problems. Tripods are too big and bulky, and make it hard to change your angle at the last second.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:35 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclonetrain
I never take pictures with a tripod unless its at night (and even then only about half the time!), and I never have problems. Tripods are too big and bulky, and make it hard to change your angle at the last second.
The few times I've used a tripod in the day time has been when I knew a train was imminent and I wanted to blur it in sun light.

As far as one lens covering everything, first, the logic seems a bit off since most folks buy SLRs because you can change lens as often as you'd like. The other reason is the same as buying one 1GB card instead of two 512s. If something fatal happens to that lens, you're screwed.

The lens currently in my bag are

10 to 22 mm Canon Super Wide
18 to 55 mm Canon 300D "kit" lens
50 mm f1.8 Canon
70 to 200 mm f4 Canon "L" glass

The weakest link is obviously the kit lens and I'd love to fix that. (Next tax season hopefully, unless something bad happens to the camera itself and then I'd probably just knock over a convenience store.) But every time I hada chance to replace it, it made more sense to me to put a better piece of glass next to it.

One day I'll have to figure out how many shots RP has taken of my weakest link.


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Old 05-31-2007, 06:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
One day I'll have to figure out how many shots RP has taken of my weakest link.
After I got my L lens, I avoided the Kit lens like the Plague, but it's been getting some action recently this year. It's gotta be ~f/8.0 in most cases, but it's producing better results than it was then the camera was new...most likely because I've learned how to best use the camera and the lens. Here are some of the better results, IMO:

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 188206
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

I call this one my Andrew (2) shot:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 187260
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 186093
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 185691
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 185662
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 178750
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 175353
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Plus, my best stuff on JP is with the Kit lens:
http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5929773
http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5933372
http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5983595
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