Old 08-16-2006, 03:53 AM   #1
Kevin Jones
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I am planning to upgrade from my dad's film SLR (Minolta Maxxum 5000, with a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lens and a Minolta 70-210mm f/4 lens) to a Nikon D50 digital SLR. Since I want a similar range and stay around $1000, I am looking at the Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 ( http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...3556/index.htm ) and a Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ( http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len..._456/index.htm ) as the lenses. However, since the $1000 was a aim point and not a hard upper limit I am wondering if there are any additional lenses or different lenses (instead of the two mentioned above) that would be recommended. Also, are filters of any use and if so which types?
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:02 AM   #2
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I'd suggest the 70-300mm Nikkor G (not the ED version) lens over the 55-200mm, farther zoom range, equal (or greater) glass quality, same price ($120) or cheaper as the 55-200mm, the small gap between 55-70 you won't miss a bit. Also, if you want a bright lens, get the 50mm f1.8 lens, very sharp, great for low light photography, and one of the lightest i've ever used! Also about $100

I've used the 18-70mm (also its big brother, the Pro $1,500 17-55mm f2.8) lenses and I can tell you, I simply prefer the 18-55mm lens to them both for a couple of reasons
1. the 18-55mm is only about $30 more if you get the D50, $100ish on its own
2. Its much lighter than the 18-70mm (and MUCH MUCH lighter than the 17-55mm), so its easier to haul around
3. The optical quality is great for the price, and on digital for 80-90% of the time you won't notice the quality diffrence
4. It accepts my big stack of 52mm filters, but this may not pertain to you

Heck if you can afford it, get the 18-70mm or 17-55, but for those of us on a budget (who isn't) go with the 18-55

Filters:
I use a Circular Polarizer on my 18-55 and 70-300, they are usefull for reducing glare (like on water or if shooting through glass) and increasing contrast (such as making the sky more blue), however I usually keep a UV Protection lens on all of mine for the sake of protection (cheaper to replace a $10 filter than a $150 lens), I try to not stack two lenses for the greater chance of ghosting (weird light reflections, especally with headlights)

Also, if you can stand to wait in line and are willing to spend more than $1,000, You may be interested in Nikon's latest model, the D80, its $999 for the body only. It combines the features of a D50/D70 and D200 with a 10.2MP sensor (not that megapixels really matter, but its there), google it or go to nikonusa.com

Last edited by Cyclonetrain; 08-16-2006 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:54 AM   #3
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Glenn, I definitely agree with you on the 70-300mm G lens. I've sworn by it for the last year. Great design for the price, good lens hood, and a great range for rail photography (if you're standing as far away from the tracks as BNSF reccomends, you can leave it on and still shoot the train as it goes past you! LOL )
But I do disagree on the 18-55mm. I've used both, the 18-70mm with my personal D70, and the 18-55mm on one of the D50s in my journalism department. For a zoom, I always feel like I'm left hanging when i use the 18-55mm. It doesn't have the zoom capability to really work well enough without having to constantly switch between it and the 70-300mm. The 18-70 just gives me that extra push, and the extra construction weight comforts me a bit, knowing that a little bit of knocking it around won't severely damage it (And I've done plenty to my camera out shooting!). The fine focus zoom is also a LOT easier to access on the 18-70mm, so you can fine tune the focus on the fly with the 'AF/Manual Override' option on that lens - keeps the AF on but still lets you work with it manually. If it was my choice between the 18-55mm and the 50mm 1.8 though for light lenses, I would pick the 50mm any day of the week - not a whole lot of benefit to barrel distortion from being zoomed out to 18mm (27mm digital conversion?) in rail photos, plus the 1.8 aperture gives you a lot more abilities to work in low light. If I have to walk a few paces farther back, so be it!
If you want some real Battle Royales about lenses, check out Nikonians, great place to research all that Nikon and others have to offer!
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:55 PM   #4
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Kevin,

Since you are on a budget and you have been shooting with a 50 mm lens and a 70-210, you might consider the Nikon 24-120 VR lens. Remember, with the digital factor, it will work out to a 35-180 equivalent. It's under $500 and is a good performer. The image stabilization has allowed me to shoot hand held at 1/20 of a second and get sharp shots in engine houses, etc. There is not much difference between 180 and the 210 you are used to, plus with digital you can crop a bit and your photo will look like it was taken with a 210 if you want.

No argument with the big lens recommendations, but remember, a 300 is the equivalent of a 450 on a 35mm camera. Unless you live out west, you may find you won't use that range very much.

Good luck.

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Old 08-16-2006, 05:33 PM   #5
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I swear by my 18-70 and am glad I got it. I used the "loaner" 18-55 mm for about a week and when I made the switch, I liked it instantly better. Granted, it is a bit heavier, but I manage to survive.
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Old 08-17-2006, 02:45 AM   #6
Kevin Jones
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Thank you for all of the input.
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:49 PM   #7
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I just recently updated to a great new f/4.5-5.6 70-300 Nikkor Lens. I made sure not to the new plastic lightweight one (which is trash) but instead the out of production, all metal construction one.

Its GREAT with my D70s. Yeah, its a little heavy, but it has a tripod collar, push-pull zoom with no creep at all at 300mm and at f/ 8 its as sharp as any 2.8 lens I've seen. The best part is it was only $300.00!

I just can't get over how sharp it is! My old 75-240 is like a point and shot compared to it.

With 70-300;
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=155267

With 75-240;
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=150181
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:18 AM   #8
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jdirelan87 were you talking about the 75-300 or the 70-300? the lens you described sounds like the 75-300 and not the 70-300. I have a 75-300 and for a cheep teliphoto its not bad. its much better than the new 70-300.

Anyways, I'm not a real fan of the 18-55. Nikons one at least is mch better than canons 18-55. Canons 18-55 is a peice of crap. I've used one of my friends 300Ds a lot and almost anything is better than that lens. It has its uses, but not often. Nikons one is better but I'm still not a fan. The 18-70 is a much better lens. Nikon just came out with some new lenses too, but those will be much more $$$ since they are new models.

I like 50mm lenses so i would suggust the 50 f/1.8. there is no reason to spend and extra 150 buck on the f/1.4 version. the 1.8 version is a better lens and cheeper.

The lenses you buy should depend on how you like to shoot. For trains i use a 80-200 on my F2 and love it. the only other lense i will occationaly use is my 50. So if i was only going to shoot trains I would only really need some kinda telaphoto, but thats not the case for me at least.

I would suggust the 18-70 and then go from there. that lense will cover you from ~28mm to ~105mm converted to 35mm standards which is a good range. You can then expand from there. I ono, just my thoughts.

~matt
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_mathyou
jdirelan87 were you talking about the 75-300 or the 70-300? the lens you described sounds like the 75-300 and not the 70-300. I have a 75-300 and for a cheep teliphoto its not bad. its much better than the new 70-300.

Anyways, I'm not a real fan of the 18-55. Nikons one at least is mch better than canons 18-55. Canons 18-55 is a peice of crap. I've used one of my friends 300Ds a lot and almost anything is better than that lens. It has its uses, but not often. Nikons one is better but I'm still not a fan. The 18-70 is a much better lens. Nikon just came out with some new lenses too, but those will be much more $$$ since they are new models.

I like 50mm lenses so i would suggust the 50 f/1.8. there is no reason to spend and extra 150 buck on the f/1.4 version. the 1.8 version is a better lens and cheeper.

The lenses you buy should depend on how you like to shoot. For trains i use a 80-200 on my F2 and love it. the only other lense i will occationaly use is my 50. So if i was only going to shoot trains I would only really need some kinda telaphoto, but thats not the case for me at least.

I would suggust the 18-70 and then go from there. that lense will cover you from ~28mm to ~105mm converted to 35mm standards which is a good range. You can then expand from there. I ono, just my thoughts.

~matt
Sorry about that, as soon as I posted the last message I saw I listed the wrong lens. Your right Matt, I was talking about the 75-300mm.
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