Author Topic: Appropriate First Nikon?  (Read 577 times)

cmcollar

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Appropriate First Nikon?
« on: January 05, 2019, 17:49:35 »
Hello,

I've been thoroughly enjoying reading hundreds of threads related to what I'm about to ask.  I remain amazed at the professionalism you demonstrate on this site!  Congratulations for developing such a wonderful asset for all of us to enjoy!

I am finally looking to get "serious" in photography, having dabbled in it for most of my life.  While I am not looking to make a new career out of it, I do want to have capable tools with which to work.  Many people I know recently purchased the D850, so naturally I initially set my sights on that.  While I've done a lot of research which confirms the prowess of that camera, I'm wondering if that really is an appropriate first Nikon for me.  I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the pros and cons of DX versus FX, etc., and further understand a lot of the decision rests with what kind of subjects I will be photographing.  While I think that answer is action shots (airshows, boat races, etc), I also have enjoyed a lot of nature photography (which can also be action shots) and general landscape photography.  I have recently become fascinated by macro photography and enjoy it.  I am particularly interested in learning more about reverse-lens extreme macro photography (Jack Koerner). 

Right now I am struggling with the premium price tag of the D850.  That is what initially caused me to do more research.  Many of you have had very good things to say about the D500 and I am beginning to lean more and more in that direction.  Regardless of the body chosen (DX versus FX), I plan to purchase FX lenses because I know I eventually am going to end up in the full frame realm.  I'm specifically looking at the AF-S Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 E ED VR for a good general purpose lens and eventually the AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 E FL ED VR.  I'm also looking at the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8G IF-ED for macro use. I'm still researching lenses to use for reverse-lens macro, if I choose to go down that path.

The D500 is being discounted and also includes the MB-D17 power pack, for a substantial "savings" compared to the D850.  So, I'm wondering if the D500 would be a "bad" move, or if there is some other preferred body you would suggest based on what I've articulated above.

I'm having a lot of fun researching this, but it is beginning to get a little overwhelming.  I'm looking for some of your collective decades of experience in this space to keep me from making a bad decision.

Thank you for contemplating my dilemma.   
Christopher

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 18:31:50 »
Tell us your price point for the whole set and the answer is easier.

A lot of your intended work seems to be tripod based so a good tripod (legs/head/possible L-Bracket) should be calculated. And eventually some light?

You cannot go wrong with either the D850 or the D500. For birding the D500 seems the better choice, because if your lens is not long enough you crop out the outer pixels anyway, no gain in FX there. The money saved on extra cost for the body you could invest into a longer lens. The D500 has the better focussing screen in the view finder for Manual Focus builtin. For the D850 a better focussing screen for manual focus should be calculated. Esp. in the macro domain where autofocus is generally not used, manual focus lenses are a great way to save money....

that is for starters

PS: I cannot guide you to a zoom, I generally do not use zooms at all. For sports / action though the 70-200 is a very good option. If I did sports I would sure buy this lens
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

cmcollar

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 18:43:55 »
Thank you, Frank. 

I don't really have a budget figure I'm trying to manage.  I'm simply trying to make sure the money I do spend is spent wisely.
Christopher

Seapy

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 19:56:30 »
Thank you, Frank. 

I don't really have a budget figure I'm trying to manage.  I'm simply trying to make sure the money I do spend is spent wisely.

I concur with buying FX lenses, the only DX lenses I specifically chose were a Sigma 10-20 which is a very useful lens for DX, I would imagine good for aircraft on the ground and a Nikkor 18-105, which I use for IR on my D200-IR and workshop snapshots on my D3300.

As for aircraft in flight, my understanding is, like birds in flight, you can never get a long enough lens, cropping is usually mandatory.  The advantage with the D850 is that the wider area of view allows you to be off centre and still get a decent image even with a heavy crop, also easier to 'find' your subject in the sky, especially if its traveling fast or erratically.

I would go with FX because it will do what DX does and give you more options in one camera. With DX you don't have the FX option, with FX you do have the DX option in one camera, with the added advantage of a wider view.  Very little difference between the D8500 and the D500 to handle and carry, different as chalk and cheese to use.  I have D300S and D800/D3 which is as much as I can afford, but works well for me, motor racing, plants/flowers, landscapes, night sky, etc.
Robert C. P.
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ColinM

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2019, 20:57:27 »
Hi CMCollar
I can't guide you between the two options, but there is one other factor you could consider - either for the body or the lenses you buy.

I chose Nikon because of its reputation, quality and reliability. Apart from a couple of new lenses, the others have all been second-hand. With a camera body there are a few other considerations for wear and tear to watch out for, but going this route might either make a D850 more affordable, or allow you to build your lens collection up more quickly if you opt for a used D500. Since the model has been out a while and the Z6 & 7 have recently arrived, there may be a few more on the market.

And eventually if you move on to another body, you will lose less in the sale than starting with a brand new body. I wouldn't attempt this with entry-level models or another manufacturer, but provided you have access to service facilities this option might be worth you considering. Better still, if you find a fellow Nikongear member wishing to sell their D500

(Would any potential D500 sellers please also PM me if you're looking for a buyer)

cmcollar

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2019, 21:11:12 »
Thank you, Colin. 

I am seriously considering a pre-owned body (and likely lenses, too).  That is a great suggestion!  I first need to identify what my target hardware is....Thanks again!
Christopher

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 21:14:14 »
currently the new and the used price of the D500 are very near to each other, so I would go for a new one with guarantee .... Used lenses are also an option. Nearly every 70-200 and 80-200 ever made by Nikon are great performers optically. Same goes for any 85mm lens.

If you do not need a zoom, primes are often a very good price performance choice, also used ones. Esp the 1.8/85G is a lens every Nikon user should own. Also great on DX. I did the easy, just bought the D500 and the D850 and use them when I need them.

Using them is so similar, it happened to me I mistook one for the other. The D500 with 1.4/58G resembles the D850 with 1.8/85G

I also use the 1.8/20G, 1.8/35G, 1.8/50G, 1.4/58G, 2.8/60G Micro, 1.4/105E, 4/300E plus the 4/200 Ai-S Micro and the 1.4/35  Ai-S and the Fisheye 8-15E, which is not a zoom in the classical sense, more a switch between diagonal and circular...
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

cmcollar

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2019, 21:25:05 »
Not to muddy the waters, but the Nikon website has brand new D750's on sale for $1299.  Maybe that's my entry into the FX kingdom....
Christopher

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 21:27:24 »
Not to muddy the waters, but the Nikon website has brand new D750's on sale for $1299.  Maybe that's my entry into the FX kingdom....

for that price you can get a D500, which I certainly regard higher than the D750
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2019, 22:48:16 »
Instead of going the cumbersome way with reversed lenses for high-magnification work, consider getting an Olympus OM Macro (20/2 or even better, 38/2.8 ). They are good to excellent performers and made for being attached directly to  the camera through a short intermediary tube (14 mm) thus making for a very compact package in the field, in particular if combined with a ring flash. It's a breeze to replace the rear mount of this narrow extension with an F bayonet.

Alternatively, you can get something alike the new Laowa 25 mm f/2.8 "ultra-macro" lens which does 2.5-5X directly. My copy of it will arrive shortly.

Opinions on the AFS 105/2.8 VR Micro-Nikkor are divided. I don't like this lens and sold it off quickly. Others find it splendid. I suggest you try it out before pulling the trigger.

chambeshi

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2019, 08:48:40 »
I failed to gel with the 105 f2.8G, and I prefer the venerable 55's and a 60 G Micro-Nikkor. The 70-180 Micro-Nikkor is dated but unique and also pricey (cf www.KEH.com). My 55 f2.8AIS has worked hard for 3 decades. But these days one needs a AFS compatible macro for focus-stacking. ANd I have the 180 Sigma f2.8APO for more distant subjects, including snakes etc. The 180 is a heavy but excellent optic, so worth the outlay. Bear in mind, as Nikon bodies currently stand [this could change this year possibly even at Photokina], focus-stacking is only implemented on the D850 and Z7. With its focus-peaking et al, the Z7 turns the focusing MF lenses into a whole new experience  ;D But the current FTZ adapter of the Z7 has restricted compatibility with AI/AIS (no exif) and AFD (no AF).

Nearly all of us learned from getting out there and experimenting - with essential inputs gleaned off experts here on NG, and the more credible internet sources (Steve Perry, Brad Hill, Thom Hogan, Naturgraf, Optical Limits, Photography Life to name 5). The Greater Nikon Ecosystem is unique, with its plethora of excellent older lenses. While some of these classic optics are becoming scarcer (judging from Used inventories) the prices are a bargain. This applies notably to close up lenses,where one often uses MF (except auto focus-stacking). So I would invest in the optimum body - for macro a D850 or Z7 and then build up the lenses, where Used optics allow more latitude to test and learn..... Talking of Used glass, there are also excellent options to save on a walk-around zoom etc and other not so specialized lenses. The 28-105 AFD is one of my favourites; it also has a handy close-up feature. Shut down to f6.3 or tighter and results are impressive on a 45 mp sensor. As you are in N America, there are many options to hunt out a Used system (BandH and KEH).

On tripods and heads, again quality pays for itself. I settled Sirui and Gitzo with Acratech heads etc - very high quality, the lightest IME with unique features.

But as Frank says, all such plans hinge on that boring factor of money!
D850 Df, Z7 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G 85 f1.4D 105 f2.5AIS, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E P, 18-35 G, 24-120 f4G, 24-85 f/3.5-4.5G ED 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8

Peter Connan

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Re: Appropriate First Nikon?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 18:06:11 »
My primary interests are nature (particularly bird), but I also shoot air shows and quite a lot of radio control model aircraft. I also shoot some landscape and even star-landscape photos.

I currently use a D500, but before that owned a D750.

My feeling is that, for most of your stated interests, the lenses you are planning on buying are too short. This means that you will probably end up cropping quite a lot. And while the D850 is probably equal to a D500 even when cropped to Dx, it is not much superior either once cropped to that level or more, and thus spending the extra money a D850 costs (especially considering that you would really want to add the battery grip and D5 battery in order to get the frame rate up) and struggling with the larger files does feel like a waste. So I agree with the concept of buying the D500.

I would also recommend the 200-500 rather than the 70-200, or even better the new 500 f5.6 pf although considerably more expensive, the faster AF speed will be very useful for air shows. It will make swopping from plane to plane during team aerobatic displays far easier.

As for macro, reversed lenses are to my mind a stopgap, a cheaper alternative to a dedicated macro lens, but if you need to buy a lens anyway, rather buy a dedicated macro lens from the start.

Like Chambeshi, I also love the old 55mm f2.8 AI-S. This can be bought quite cheaply second-hand if you are prepared to search for it, and works brilliantly on the D500. The other macro lens I use is a 180mm f3.5 Sigma. The longer focal length is great for not disturbing the wildlife, and it is stunningly sharp (at least as sharp mid-frame as my Nikkor 500mm f4 VR) and, if you can find one, is also very cheap second-hand. I bought mine for R3500 (about $250)...