Anyone with Nikon lens experience?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Trikeman, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi All,
    I have a Nikon D40 camera with the standard 18-55 lens which is great for general 'snapping'. For Christmas I had some cash and I wish to get a new lens for some portrait photos - we have two wonderful Grandchildren (9 and 6 months) and I would like to record them growing up.

    Now, I am no David Bailey and am not an experienced photographer so if anyone has recommendations could we keep it in English (if poss).
    :Laughing:
    I am not 100% on f stops and apertures and find the on-line guidance confusing as most explanations go into an almost different language.

    I popped into the local camera shop where the guy just seemed to want to profess his prowess by asking questions on and quoting shutter speeds, f this and that, pixilation's etc etc etc - "how much do you want to spend" he asked, 'Well how much are they' "that depends on reflexes, aperture performance, glass grades and F requirements". I came out more confused than when I went in and suffice to say I bought nowt.:shout:

    Can anyone recommend a lens that would be suitable for me to take good portraits of the kids and any links would be appreciated?

    Kind Regards and Thanks,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  2. StitchUp

    StitchUp Read Only Funster

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  3. durhamahoy

    durhamahoy Funster

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    Hi
    I use Nikon, the lens I use most is an 18 -200 VR ( vibration reduction) as a good all purpose lens. My nifty fifty is a 50 mm lens at f1.8. Basically this is a big hole or aperture to let more light hit the sensor or what used to be film. It enables use in low light I.e. Living rooms without the general need for flash.At about £95 it is a bargain. On the use of flash I very rarely use the pop up flash as the light is too harsh, but it has it's place when you get a bit more experienced.
    Camera settings I generally use A or aperture because I can control the Bokeh (loads of stuff on Google about the F or hole or aperture, that controls the blurry background.)
    Deep breath, always try and focus on the eye/s in a portrait possibly change your focus point to spot or single and have that on the eyes.
    Good luck with lens, I would buy a 24-70 mm f2.8 if I had the cash by the way.
    Hope this helps. You can pm me if you need any other help or advice with photography or photoshop.

    Best wishes
    Steve
     
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  4. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    I have rather polarised views....Its never about the equipment.....its about creativity. Capturing the moment or mostly making the moment then shooting it.. Unless you are a pro and your work is going to be reproduced in print......I hardly see the need for SLRs these days.

    I do a lot of studio work so have my Nikon bodies and a bag of lenses but I could never be bothered to carry them around outside....far too heavy and far too nickable. I like to carry a camera in my pocket when I am outside.

    What lens came with your camera ? Whatever it was it will do the job. A general zoom lens would be fine for what you want ( and everything else)something like 24-105.
    Dont worry about the spec.....Dont spend too much money you really dont need to.And dont get hung up on equipment/pixels...the photo forums are full of "experts" who can quote every page of every nikon manual but rarely take any decent pictures.

    Then learn to use a cheaper version of photoshop like Elements...as these days phontography is as much about post processing as it is taking the originals.
    Picasa also has some easy to use tools and is free.

    My other advice is dont bother with RAW...........stick with JPEGs ....life is too short to prat around with raw..........Many pros only use JPEGs.

    I'll end where I started.......its never about the equipment
    ( unless you are a pro )

    good luck

    barry
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
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  5. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Can't say I'm familiar with the Nikon D40 itself, but a bit of online research reveals that the camera does not have an inbuilt auto focus motor, so any extra lens you buy will need an integrated one, unless you plan to manually focus all your shots - not easy with lively growing kids.

    A list of fully compatible lenses can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nikon_compatible_lenses_with_integrated_autofocus-motor

    I rarely take portraits but I somehow doubt if you'll need any sort of supermegatelephoto lens, so don't get talked into buying one by some geeky 12 year old shop assistant sporting a Nikon-branded polo shirt. Half the problem these days is there are so few independent camera shops that can give you impartial advice - they're all big company outlets with corporate sales targets to meet.

    As others have said, the lower the f number on the lens, the wider the aperture can go, so you have more options in lower light conditions without resorting to flash, which in my humble opinion is Satan's hand tool.

    I'd suggest 55-200mm at the most, or consider replacing your existing lens with something that covers its existing range plus a bit more oomph at the upper end like 18mm - 135/140mm. Then you could flog the old lens on eBay to subsidise the new one. Second hand Nikon lenses usually go well online.
     
  6. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    Have a look at this site for any info you need about Nikon.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/

    I too have a D40, with the standard lens which is an excellent bit of kit. I use this camera for holidays etc., because it is relatively small and light and the results are very good.

    I also have an 18-200 VR lens that I use on a D200 and a 24-85 VR that I use on a D600, (full frame so no good for the D40) but I find that the D40 with the standard lens does everything that I need it to do when away on holiday.
     
  7. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Absolutely excellent advice and guidance Gents - I learned more in a few replies than reading and listening to confusing information for ages.

    The 'big hole advice' explained a great deal and seems what I like as flash in a room is not really what I want, as said too harsh (though I have a separate Nikon dedicated flash which is more 'subtle'). The main reason I don't like using the flash with the youngsters is it causes issues, screaming, crawling for cover etc.
    :Doh:
    As with kids you only get one shot with a flash and then all hell breaks out - without the flash they just get on with it.

    I usually just use the camera on auto so the motor lens is a must, for the time being, until I learn to use the camera properly. I was thinking of joining the local photography club - I went along once and it was bloody frightening with bearded, scary types stating what was the blindingly obvious (to all, but me) about aperture settings, lux quadrants etc etc etc.
    :Eeek:

    Many thanks so far - brilliant forum, nowt to do with MoHo's but genuine advice at a beginners level,,,,,,, Thanks.

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  8. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  9. motorhomewave

    motorhomewave Funster

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    Spot on Barry,
    You don't need expensive equipment, set the camera to program and let it sort it's self out. You do need an editing program and Elements is fine for the basics. Buy a second hand lens (35-105 zoom perhaps) try it in the shop to see if it's
    sharp. This is from a professional photographer of 40 years experience and part of the reason I need to use top quality equipment is that if I turn up to a job with a £250 Nikon Coolpix people would think I can't be any good. 90% is where you point the thing and being at the right place at the right time, 10% is knowing what to do with the equipment.
     
  10. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    Make sure your chosen lens has a built in motor, as some Nikon lenses have and some don't and I think the D40 body hasn't got a motor that can drive the motorless lenses.

    I'd recommend the Sigma DC 18-125 HSM. It has optical stabilisation, and a very usable focal range length without being too extreme. It is internally focused and comes with a decent hood.

    If you fancy it, there are a couple of versions of this lens, so make sure it is a Nikon version and has the optical stabilisation.
     
  11. camocam1

    camocam1 Read Only Funster

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    Local camera club is a good place to learn from others as I'm sure they will all be willing to help you get to grips with your camera.
    Also do not be put off entering competitions as provided you take on board the judges comments then your photography will improve
     
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  12. Ken Bag

    Ken Bag Read Only Funster

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    Hi there, for portraits I would recommend an 85mm lens.
     
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  13. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    You have enough to get you started already, the images below were taken with a zoom, the close up at 60mm and the full length at 52mm. This was on a full format DSLR (Nikon D3) so on your camera they would equate to focal lengths of say 35mm to 40mm. You can certainly go longer but I would advise against going smaller as you can get distortion in close-ups.

    Note in the close-up how the beekeeping veil is more or less invisible over the model's eyes. This is what a narrow depth of field means and can be very effective - set you camera to aperture priority, say f4 to start with, a fast film speed, say 400 asa (the examples were done at 1000 asa) as children tend not to stay still very long so you need a reasonably fast shutter speed.

    These images were taken by a professional photographer for an on-line retail company I used to run. For viewing on the web these images are probably a lot bigger than they need to be but this did gives us the opportunity to manipulate the images, for example the full length shot has been extracted from the background and false shadows added. We also blew this shot up to several feet high for use on an exhibition stand, probably not something you would plan to do but it is nice to know the image can take it.

    The close-up is done with natural lighting (north facing windows) so anyone could do that but the other shot is a proper studio one done with at least two flash guns firing into reflectors. Not amateur kit but the first shot shows you don't need expensive lighting.

    If you want to try a fixed focus lens, then something around 35mm to 50mm would be worth a try. The advantage of a fixed focus lens is you won't be tempted to start faffing around with different focal lengths - just move backwards and forwards - it's free. You might also want to consider a Macro lens. You can use these for general shots such as portraiture and ideal for flowers and insects if you want to try something else later and the kids will enjoy pictures of bugs etc when they get older!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    Lots of good info on here, Talkphotography website is your best bet for more info, very friendly bunch, mostly, apart from a few 'know-it-alls"!

    If your taking lots of portraits, then you may want to get a fixed lens, 50mm or 85mm as has already been suggested, are a good start. A good portrait can be as simple as a sharp image of the person, with a nicely blurred background, it makes the subject stand out.
    To get a blurred background, its best to get as big an aperture as possible, which relates to a smaller ƒ stop number. ƒ2 is a big aperture, ƒ11 is a small aperture.
    Trouble is, large aperture lenses are expensive, apart from the 50mm ƒ1,8, which is a reasonable price, but, I would go for an 85mm. They all need built in motors for your camera.

    Of, buy a good compact with a designated portrait setting.

    Allan
     
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  15. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    There are some advantages to SLRs, though. Compact cameras are useless for action shots, as the shutter takes over a second to respond. They are also usually far too fiddly (or not able) to set up for manual/aperture priority shots where you are trying to control depth of field.

    I agree about megapixels, though. An old 6MP SLR will utterly thrash a 20MP compact for image quality.

    OTOH, you'll take far more pictures with a compact camera that you can be bothered to take with you than an heavy SLR that stays on the shelf.
     
  16. Zains Pops

    Zains Pops Funster

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    I have a D 40 Nikon with a Nikon VR zoom it all stays at home and has not been used in 12 months. As I bought a Nikon s8200 compact which fits in my pocket and takes great pictures of the grand children quickly and easily. On my last two holidays I did not even take the D40 kit.::Smile:
     
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  17. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    I got into the spiral of buying bigger and better kit for my DSLR, following peoples advice, but after a weekend away carrying just the camera and a large aperture lens, I got fed up with the weight and inconvenience.
    I sold the lot and bought smaller and smaller cameras till I ended up with what I have now, Fuji X series cameras.
    Easy to carry, simple ( ish) to use and they take great photos without the weight and bulk.
    Allan
     
  18. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    Totally agree....I have 3 small fuji cameras all good...but I just love my little X10
    fits in the pocket.......and is capable of great pics...but the solid feel and old fashioned look really do it for me

    barry
     
  19. FULL TIMER

    FULL TIMER Read Only Funster

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    For portraits I always used to use a fixed focal length of around 100mm lens, apparently pretty close to what the human eyes see, so anything near that should be OK, at the time I was using medium format camera's or rangefinders so not to many affordable lenses back then so you made do with the equipment you had, another option you might have would be to use a 50mm lens and get a 2x converter to go with it. I've lost track of what's about these days and Like so many have chosen a compact type camera to use the Olympus Pen EP1 bought it at a very good price and it soon made all my other equipment redundant and sold it all.
     
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