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A couple of Nikon Questions

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  #1  
Old 03-07-2011, 05:48 AM
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A couple of Nikon Questions

I'm thinking of getting a refurbished Nikon DSLR. Probably a 3000. I'm under no illusions that I will ever become professional, but would like to take good landscapes and macros, mostly to putter with in photo art.
I have a Tokina SD 35-200 mm lens and a Vivitar MC Teleconverter both of which have Nikon mounts. I understand that they would work with a DSLR but wouldn't autofocus which is fine with me.
Any thoughts about refurbished equipment?
Any problems with using those lenses with DSLR?
Which lens would you recommend? Which Nikon body? I want a decent but not too complicated or expensive DSLR.
Shari
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:45 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

Hi, I just upgraded my camera from a Nikon D40 to a D90, and one of the reasons was because the D40 wouldn't auto focus some of the lenses. I thought it wouldn't matter, but it became a problem when I never could get a sharp image with the 50mm lens. The new D90 works great focusing.
Personally I wouldn't get a refurbished electronic device, they always seem to have trouble, JMHO.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:15 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

Shari, try to determine the history / previous usage of the camera in question. Shutter mechanisms only have a certain useable lifespan. So do some of the contacts, like the shutter release switch. The electronics will usually last forever but the mechanical items wear out.
Regards, Murray
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:47 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

The more I learn about photography, the more I realize it's mostly about two things for digital - sensor size and lenses. You will make more beautiful photos from an older, full frame camera with an older high-end large aperture set up than from any newer 3/4 frame camera with a current cheaper lens. The only caveat to that are lenses that include some kind of image stabilization.

A full frame camera will typically allow you to capture a larger dynamic range, far above what's possible with a 3/4 frame camera like the D90 (which is what I have). If you're buying a used camera, I would see about buying an earlier model full-frame as long as they've not been used so much that mechanical parts are wearing out. Most digitals have an internal record of number of images taken.

Also, better lenses simply cost more. They produce sharper, more color-accurate images and you typically get what you pay for. Many people disagree with his hype over certain lenses, but Ken Rockwell has a significant database of lens reviews on this site. http://www.kenrockwell.com/

That being said, I highly recommend refurbished items. These are typical new products, but for some reason or another needed a return trip to the factory which means they've been checked TWICE for issues. They typically carry the same warranty as a new product, work the same as a new product, and are 10-20% cheaper than a new product. I almost always buy refurbished and have never been disappointed. You can also find a lot of good deals on older lenses that are superior to new cheaper lenses on ebay. I've had good luck there too.

Happy shopping and picture taking. Hope this helps!
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:16 PM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

You will I am sure be happy with any new generation of DSLR regardless of sensor size. While it is true that the larger sensors generally offer better quality and lower noise at high ISO etc the downside is that they tend to cost substantially more (even SH) and require lenses that are more costly to produce. In addition many have potentially had heavy pro. usage.

I would rec. that you look at Thom Hogans site for what I believe to be a more rounded and professional view of Nikon range and also Bjorn Rorslett. Thom Hogan link D3000 Here Thom suggests a better camera D5000 Here

As to your current Nikon fit lens Tokina sd 35-200, I am not familiar with it however assume that it is designed for full frame 35mm. That being the case bear in mind that due to the crop factor (1.5) that lens effectively becomes a 52.5 -300. With a TC this will again be multiplied by the TC factor - also bear in mind that the TC will lose you from 1-3 stops depending on factor - i.e. you will have to either increase speed or open the aperture to compensate. Do not underestimate the value of autofocus or the benefits of VR lenses.

As Murray said you need to look at the history and usage of SH cameras. Shutters on Nikon range tend to be good for around 100,000 actuations.

Lens choice depends on your needs, best quality from primes like the 35mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.8 both cheap and good primes lightweight and ideal for candid low light shots.

Landscape suggest wide angle, Nikon 12-24 good but expensive. Tokina 12-24 pretty good and equivalents from the Sigma range

Macro how far do you want to be from your subject (do you get scared photographing bugs - I do ). 90mm - 105 ok I use a Tamron 2.8di. If you want to get further away from the subject then you will need to consider a longer (more expensive solution) maybe 150mm macro

If you get serious about your photography and want sharp images then ideally you will also need to provide a stable support for both landscape and Macro. For macro in particular a focus rail of some kind would be of help - try holding a 90mm macro lens in position and keeping the focus point good
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:52 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

Thanks for all the advice. I find I'm now more confused than ever. Mostly, I just wanted to know if my old lenses would work with a DSLR. I would also purchase a camera with an all purpose lens designed for DSLR. Tony, thanks for the links. Very informative, but I was just about sold on the d3000 for my needs and now I'm not so sure.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:59 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

I seem to have been guilty of contributing to the information overload - my apologies .

To answer your question 'will my old lenses work with a DSLR' the answer I believe is YES -
-with some caveats a. Manual focus only, b. apparent lens focal length will be multiplied by 1.5 so it would be equal to buying a DX designed lens of approx 52.5mm -300mm.

The Teleconvertor will also function but you will loose a couple of stops and also get a pretty dark image in the viewfinder depending on shooting conditions - it may not prove to be worthwhile. However as you have it you could try.

Did not mean to put you off the D3000 in any way or steer you to a different model. The fact is that nearly all DSLR from Nikon (and Canon) are pretty good to excellent. What makes all of them even better is good and usually expensive glass. How much you need this depends on your specific needs and aspirations. I have and still use the 18-105VR kit lens that came with my D90. Many people criticise this lens but from my point of view it is capable of very good performance.
I believe that the D3000 was supplied with the 18-55mm VR Lens - by all accounts a very capable lens.

To balance this with a more positive review try this page. Do not forget to look at the dropdown at the top as it runs to 7-8 pages of comment and comparison.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/NikonD3000/
The bottom line is that they state 'even without Live View, the D3000 still offers one of the best all-round feature sets of any entry-level DSLR, and is definitely worthy of consideration'

Hope this may have addressed more directly your concerns
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:43 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
I seem to have been guilty of contributing to the information overload - my apologies .

To answer your question 'will my old lenses work with a DSLR' the answer I believe is YES -
-with some caveats a. Manual focus only, b. apparent lens focal length will be multiplied by 1.5 so it would be equal to buying a DX designed lens of approx 52.5mm -300mm.

The Teleconvertor will also function but you will loose a couple of stops and also get a pretty dark image in the viewfinder depending on shooting conditions - it may not prove to be worthwhile. However as you have it you could try.

Did not mean to put you off the D3000 in any way or steer you to a different model. The fact is that nearly all DSLR from Nikon (and Canon) are pretty good to excellent. What makes all of them even better is good and usually expensive glass. How much you need this depends on your specific needs and aspirations. I have and still use the 18-105VR kit lens that came with my D90. Many people criticise this lens but from my point of view it is capable of very good performance.
I believe that the D3000 was supplied with the 18-55mm VR Lens - by all accounts a very capable lens.

To balance this with a more positive review try this page. Do not forget to look at the dropdown at the top as it runs to 7-8 pages of comment and comparison.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/NikonD3000/
The bottom line is that they state 'even without Live View, the D3000 still offers one of the best all-round feature sets of any entry-level DSLR, and is definitely worthy of consideration'

Hope this may have addressed more directly your concerns
+1
Shari, this is a very good summary by Tony. Nikon makes good cameras which is why I have stuck with them for many generations of product. The 3000 is no exception. However, I would have only one real concern regarding your intended usage, related to landscapes, as stated above:

The camera has no bracketing. If you are into landscapes, you know thathigh contrast scenes are present almost 100% of the time. Even the most expensive cameras can not deal with the contrast in a single shot. These days whenever I shoot landscapes I almost never do so without bracketing (3, 5, 7, or 9 shots) and then merging the to capture as much of the dynamic range as possible. I no longer find practical to fiddle with the controls for every exposure. If bracketing is important to you, or if you think it will be, then you may want to consider another model.

Regards, Murray
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:01 AM
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

At some point, I'd recommend picking up the Nikkor 50mm 1.8

It's a super sharp lens (probably the second sharpest in the whole Nikkor line) and only costs about $110. I use it all the time, especially when I'm shooting buildings or landscapes. (The sharpness does fall off a tiny bit under f2.) Again manual focus only on the D3000.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:43 AM
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sharynideas sharynideas is offline
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Re: A couple of Nikon Questions

Thanks to all. I'm still mulling over what to purchase. Thanks, Tony for your clear answers. They helped a lot. I'm hoping to get a camer within the next month but, as I was typing a response to this yesterday, my computer shut off and when I restarted it, I got it's favorite message when it is jealous-"No operating system found".
Soooo, I may wind up replacing the computer instead of getting a camera.
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