OT-Nikon D90 Camera/Lens Questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    ride it like you stole it
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    OT-Nikon D90 Camera/Lens Questions

    First off, if this would be better posted in another thread let me know where and I will move it...
    I'm getting my wife a Nikon D90 for Christmas. She wants to delve into photography further than she can with her current point and shoot and is actually quite artistic with a camera and her photo editing abilities. Anyway, I'm wondering what lens recommendations any of you riders/photographers may have. She really enjoys taking biking photos and it just so happens that I am stoked to ride my bike. I would prefer to have a lens that is extremely capable (to help keep the cost down). Is something like the Nikkor AF-s DX 18-200mm going to be well suited for shooting activities like riding, sports and family occasions? Thanks for the help all you shredding photography aficionados!

  2. #2
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    I am not sure how much $$$ you want to spend. But the TAMRON 17-50 F2.8 is a good deal for a fast lens. It is supposed to be VERY SHARP. Having a lens that covers a long range is easy, but you do sacrifice speed and sharpness.
    http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/1750_diII_a016.asp

    Maybe also look at a Sigma 70-200 if you wanted longer reach for cheap in a F2.8 version!

  3. #3
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    the 18-200 is the most versatile nikon lens you can get, i highly recommend it.

  4. #4
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    Like IanJenn said, I would go with the Tamron.I own the Nikon version ( 17-55 f2.8) and it quickly became my main lens.I also have a 70-200mm 2.8 , its a great lens, forces me to get creative angles but I cant use it very often.Plus the 70-200 has a constant fast aperture and the 18-200 doesnt.

    The Nikon 18-200 mm @ 3.5 is a bit slow to start with and the more she will use the zoom, the slower it'll get.

    @ 200mm shooting in low light ( such as forests ) the lens max aperture is 5.6, which isnt great for shooting fast moving subjects ( smaller aperture = less light which in returns require slower shutter speed )

    Unless if she uses remote flashes ( $$$ ) or dont mind "panning" all the time she wont be able to use fast shutter speed to get sharp images.She will most likely stay @ 18mm all the time to benefit from a wider aperture but like I said, even @ 18mm its not even that fast to start with.

    Beside the Nikon 18-200 isnt one of Nikon 'pro lens" and I dont think the glass quality is on par with the Tamron.

    Perhaps you could look into a prime lens as well.Nikon 50mm 1.8 is STUPID fast, great optic quality and its dirt cheap (150 $ brand new ) Only problem is its not really wide and might become a problem if she uses it in dense forests.

  5. #5
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    Check this guide, it pretty much goes over everything you need to know about lenses.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/dx-dream-team.htm

  6. #6
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    i have the 18-200 on my d300. its a great carry around lens because of its versatility but its not the best action lens out there. if you are only going to have one lens its not a bad bet since it gets wide enough for landscapes at 18mm and does get some zoom at 200mm. I also have the sigma 70-200 f2.8, its a great lens but at 70mm is lacking at wide angles. if she is going to shoot sports i would say its one of the best bang for the buck lenses out there. dont be afraid to go sigma, their quality is great and they are about half the price of the nikon glass, they normally dont have VR though witch is ok by me.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuumbaq

    The Nikon 18-200 mm @ 3.5 is a bit slow to start with and the more she will use the zoom, the slower it'll get.

    @ 200mm shooting in low light ( such as forests ) the lens max aperture is 5.6, which isnt great for shooting fast moving subjects ( smaller aperture = less light which in returns require slower shutter speed )

    Unless if she uses remote flashes ( $$$ ) or dont mind "panning" all the time she wont be able to use fast shutter speed to get sharp images.She will most likely stay @ 18mm all the time to benefit from a wider aperture but like I said, even @ 18mm its not even that fast to start with.
    Gen 3 Nikon DSLRs shoot @ higher ISOs well enough that shooting at f/5.6 in a forest isn't an issue. It's not an issue with my Gen 2 D200. If it is dark enough to become an issue you want to be shooting with a strobe anyways.

    If you can only buy one lens to cover everything you listed, you'll want something that covers from ~28mm (18mm in DX) to ~200mm (135mm in DX). The longer end is necessary for shooting sports, as you can't always place yourself wherever you want in these situations (ie your doing your race run and the only good angle on the cool drop you want her to shoot is 50 feet away). For general walk-around photography a max of ~105mm (70mm in DX) would do.

    The 18-200 will be fine. An 18-105mm could work too. Getting a solid do-it-all lens first is a good choice, it will allow her to realize what she wants to do as a photographer without having to mess with lugging around/changing heavy lenses all the time. Then as she figures out who she is as a photog she can decide which low light/macro/tilt shift/fisheye/super telephoto lenses she wants to invest in (if any).

    As far as quality, I've sold fine art prints taken with an 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5. You can't tell the difference between that and the shots taken with my 17-55 f/2.8, 80-200 f/2.8 or 12-24 f/4 when evaluating prints. There are some things you can't manage with an (almost) do-it-all lens, but lens's image quality shouldn't hold you back.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pillete
    Check this guide, it pretty much goes over everything you need to know about lenses.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/dx-dream-team.htm
    For more informative qualitative reviews -

    http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html


    For more quantitative reading -

    http://www.photozone.de/
    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/index.php

  9. #9
    ride it like you stole it
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    Thanks to everyone for all the advice and help! My wife is going to have a sweet Christmas!!!

  10. #10
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    That's what I am doing

    Quote Originally Posted by tuumbaq
    Like IanJenn said, I would go with the Tamron.I own the Nikon version ( 17-55 f2.8) and it quickly became my main lens.I also have a 70-200mm 2.8 , its a great lens, forces me to get creative angles but I cant use it very often.Plus the 70-200 has a constant fast aperture and the 18-200 doesnt.

    The Nikon 18-200 mm @ 3.5 is a bit slow to start with and the more she will use the zoom, the slower it'll get.

    @ 200mm shooting in low light ( such as forests ) the lens max aperture is 5.6, which isnt great for shooting fast moving subjects ( smaller aperture = less light which in returns require slower shutter speed )

    Unless if she uses remote flashes ( $$$ ) or dont mind "panning" all the time she wont be able to use fast shutter speed to get sharp images.She will most likely stay @ 18mm all the time to benefit from a wider aperture but like I said, even @ 18mm its not even that fast to start with.

    Beside the Nikon 18-200 isnt one of Nikon 'pro lens" and I dont think the glass quality is on par with the Tamron.

    Perhaps you could look into a prime lens as well.Nikon 50mm 1.8 is STUPID fast, great optic quality and its dirt cheap (150 $ brand new ) Only problem is its not really wide and might become a problem if she uses it in dense forests.
    I have a D80 with the kit zoom lens and it is too slow for indoors too, unless you have a very bright room. You can get a 50mm1.8 for around $130, and it's nice and compact for travel.

  11. #11
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    Hello--as a 20+ year Nikon shooter I am very familiar with Nikon stuff. The 18-200mm is a very versatile lens. But it has some limits, the biggest is the slow focusing. While an all in one lens might be tempting. You might be better served in looking at 2 lenses. I have found when shooting MTB'in I use more of the 18-70mm range and not much in the 70-200mm range. There are some great lenses in the 18-70mm range, the Nikon 18-70mm or 16-85mm, the above mentioned Tamon 17-50mm has received good reviews from some. If you want a longer lens there is the inexpensive 55-200mm which has pretty good image quality(better than the 18-200mm) or you could look at the 70-300mm which would get you some reach. When I want to carry a camera on a ride I use my old D50 with a 18-70mm on it, light, compact and portable, I rarely need more than the 70mm when shooting.

    If you want to take a look at some of my stuff.....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjm67/
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  12. #12
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    Things to consider:

    Are you shooting dirt jumps that are out in the open with lots of sun? Are you shooting in the deep dark shadows of the forest? Are you shooting family indoors? Is your wife going to be trying to get into professional portraiture or wedding photography? Or is this just for fun?

    If you're going to use the camera mainly for shooting family and such, with a little bit of mountain biking, then the 18-200 is an awesome lens, but it's very, very heavy. Does your wife want to carry around a lens that weighs basically more than the camera body? 620g D90 body and a 560g 18-200 lens is a lot of weight.

    I'd recommend a few different options. Everyone... EVERYONE... should own the Nikon 35mm f/1.8. I've taken some great mountain bike photos and portraits with that lens. I honestly loved it on my D40, and I still love it on my D300. The problem: it's a prime. An aperture of 1.8 gives great DOF (depth of focus), great bokeh, and fantastic low-light shots without the addition of a flash. But in the end, it's still a prime without the ability to zoom. You could pick up a used copy of the nifty-fifty (50mm f/1.8) for about $100, and that should serve you equally as well.

    Now, as for an all around lens, any fast lens will do. I see most people here are recommending lenses that cost more, if not almost double, what a D90 body costs. The 17-55 f/2.8 is great, but at what cost? Retail is over $1,300. And the 70-200 is fantastic, too, but the new VR II version of the lens is over $2,000. Even a used copy of the older version of the lens is going for $1,500. OUCH. Maybe fast lenses (other than a 50mm f/1.8) are things that should be avoided until your wife figures out how much she really loves photography.

    I'd pick up a used 18-105, or 18-70 wide-angle. Either of these lenses should produce fantastic images and are much, much cheaper than the pricey 18-200. You should be able to get an 18-70 used for around $160. Then you can pick up a 55-200 for distance shooting for about $120 used, and you'll have saved yourself over $300-400 from buying the big, bulky and heavy 18-200. Then take the extra money and pick up an SB-600 flash. Your D90 has the commander function and can wirelessly control one bank of flashes. You'll find that you can do a lot of neat stuff with an SB-600 both on camera and off camera. I have a lot of fun shooting stuff with off camera flash.

    On a side note, the D90 has fantastic noise reduction in higher ISO settings (1600, 3200, etc.). The HD video is mostly useless if you ask me, but that's just my $0.02. But the ability to run the less expensive non-AF-S lenses and use the built in commander TTL function is fantastic.

    Here's some examples. I hope that this helps in your decision making processes:

    D300 with 35mm f/1.8



    D300 with 18-70 and SB-600 wirelessly triggered:

    Last edited by Prettym1k3; 12-14-2009 at 11:29 AM.
    Meh.

  13. #13
    maker of trail
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    Not sure if you bought the stuff already, but take a look at her photos, what focal length are they usually at?

    I know for me 90% was less than 50mm, and the 18mm wide was not wide enough.

    I got the 16-50 tokina and it literally doesn't leave my (now ageing) D70.

    The 2.8 is nice, and I very rarely find my self limited by the 50mm (80mm equiv) and I love the 16mm wide end.

    I also have a 100-300f4 and 150f2.8 macro, that don't get nearly the use they should

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