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Nikon N65 Lenses Newbie

aaronnorlund

New Member
Hi there,

I just purchased a Nikon N65 (for $50!), and after replacing the back door ($15), I'm ready to go. My father is really into photography, but is stuck on his Quantaray lenses. I've read that these do not give as sharp of a picture as possible, but do not know what else I should get. I have a Nikkor 28-80mm AF lens (1:3.3-5.6G)and I would definitely like to purchase a lense zoomable to around, if not more then, 300mm. My father is trying to convince me to buy a Quantaray, but I'm asking people who know first!

Seeing as I am knew too this game, what lens should I go with? Is it necessary for me to replace my current 28-80mm lens? (I don't know the quality of the Nikkor lenses...though I'd think they are great) Basically, I need some brands and models to research. It'd be real hard to just do a search for "nikon N65 lenses" and find any actual experience-based vouching for a lens.

Any help people here could provide in my search for a autofocus lens (it's often faster for me to use AF) that will accept filters, would be highly appriciated!

Thanks,
Aaron
 

f8lee

Active Member
Aaron, no doubt you will see this message repeated often from the group - before anyone can give you any recommendations you need to describe what kind of potography you plan on doing.

First of all, the lens you have should suffice for basic work - moderate winde angle to moderate tele. Unless or until you perfect your shooting technique and hone your skills in the areas of composition, exposure, etc., the lens will probably outperform your abilities anyway.

That said, however, there are valid reasons for getting a longer focal length lens - but again much depends on what you want to do. Shooting birds? Photographs your kids on the sports field? Macro (close up) shots?

Nikkor generally makes lenses that are highly regarded, though there have been occassional stinkers as well. The 70-300mm zoom with ED glass (street price about $300 in the US) is generally considered to be excellent, but the Nikkor 70-300 cheaper version (usually about $100 in the US) has not garnered rave reviews. I used to own the former, and can attest to its high quality.

Quantaray is the house brand for Ritz camera; they contract their lenses out, most likely to some of the factories that make Tamron, Sigma and even some Nikkors and Canons. I've never seen any reviews on Quantaray, though in my gut I never thought of them as anything more that mediocre. I've got a few Sigma and Tamron lenses, and both of those companies (as well as Tokina) make various zooms including W/A to teles like the 28-200 or 28-300. I think in general the larger the zoom multiple (i.e. 28-300 is about a 10X zoom) the lower the image quality will be. If you're really into shooting that requires longer reach, they also make zooms that are up to 500mm. Or 400mm with vibration reduction (Nikon does too, but at much higher cost).

On the other hand, if you're interested in macro photography, you might want to consider a close-up lens like the Sigma 90mm Macro or 180mm Macro.

The point is, a lot depends on what you think you'll want to do.
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Many third party lenses may be very sharp. Generally the companies economize by making them for every camera, and by using cheaper construction techniques. I used a very fast 200mm Vivitar for concert photography for many years and carried a jeweler's screwdriver as a vital accessory. Every few weeks, I went over the mount retightening the screws.

Most camera companies make lenses to several levels of buyers. You pretty much get what you pay for. A zoom aimed at entry level will not have the performance of an ED-IF lens aimed at the most critical photography. To a great extent, you get what you pay for.

Since you are new to photography, and since you actually have the most versatile range of focal lengths in your present lens, use it until you are absolutely familiar with it and are getting consistently great results.

Many of history's great photojournalists worked with exactly that range of focal lengths and never felt the need for anything more. At the point that your current lens has become natural to use, assess what more you need. As you pass beyond 200mm, lenses become more and more specialized and difficult to use. If you want it as a big chunk of jewelery to flaunt about your neck in hopes that some dude will be impressed with it, then there is no point in trying to reason.

When you reach the point of knowing all there is to know about the 28mm->80mm lens, ask yourself if you really need a 300mm focal length. If you are constantly shooting field sports, wildlife and the like, the answer is probably yes. If it is for stealth photographs of bikinis, a big smile and short lens is a far better approach. Some of the most beautiful women are also among the nicest people you would ever meet, and a camera is a good means of introduction.

If you do go for a lens of that focal length, you might be very wise to simply buy a 300mm lens rather than a zoom. A prime lens will likely be lighter, cheaper, sharper and potentially faster to focus - though that may not be true in all cases.

By the time you reach 300mm, focusing becomes extremely critical. The Nikon 300mm that most sports shooters use, has a switch on the lens allowing instant manual focusing which is often quicker and more accurate for action shooting. It is also an f-2.8 which helps greatly for both auto-focus and manual focus. It also costs like a down-payment on a pretty fine car.

As a pro sports shooter, I must confess that I rarely used a 300mm, while a fast 105mm and a 200mm was always in the kit. Long lenses may look sexy to a beginner, but in fact they are overly expensive, limited in application and considerably difficult to use.

Perhaps the money would be best spent trading up to a faster zoom in a similar focal length range or to a more sophisticated camera body.

larry!
ICQ 76620504
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aaronnorlund

New Member
Alrighty, I can probably give a bit more detailed information now that I know what you need to know to help, though you pretty much already have.

I'm a musician, trumpet player actually (not necessarily one and the same...hehe), and do a lot of my photography inside an auditorium. I've always been a fan of getting great pictures of conductors at their finest and orchestras in their entirety, as well as specific players. Unfortunately, being a musician, I don't always have enough cash laying around to get close seats, which leaves me at a rather large distance sometimes to be using a 28-80 lens to get a close-up shot of someone. I'd like to also get into basic landscape photos and I do realize a zoom lens isn't necessarily what I need at the moment.

I don't know much about my current lens, and wasn't sure if I should get a lens where I can adjust the f-stop and such. I'm really just in the dark about all of this. I've been using my fathers N60 with Quantaray lenses for the past four years and have wound up with some very nice pictures both inside and out.

Larry suggested I consider trading to a 'faster zoom'. I don't know what to look for, or even how to find the focus speed of my current lens to compare, so help with that would be great. He also suggested I upgrade to a more sophisticated body. Which bodies would I want to look into? I'm all for starting out with the best equipment, as I've never been a fan of the "easy, advanced, professional" track people get into where they buy something easy to learn on, then move up a bit, then go to the 'big daddy.' It costs quite a bit more, and the resale on an old, "easy" and plastic Nikon won't put a dent in the cost of the model one would be stepping up too. I've always been one to just jump on and start pushing buttons (after reading the manual...usually) until I get the hang of it, professional equipment or not (and this doesn't just go for photography...ask my parents and our first computer...)

Anyway, suggestions on what to look for would be great. And I don't have a problem sticking with what I have at all, though I'm not entirely a 'beginner' with photography, just new to this camera and setup. Granted, I don't have the experience and perfect-result-every-time track record, but I'm past the "where's the button to take the picture" faze. So, if I would have more freedom to explore possiblities in a different lens in a similar focal range, wouldn't that be better? I just don't know. That's why I ask!

Thanks for everyones help!
Aaron
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Ah, this helps a lot!

Conductors are a real challenge, unless you are a collector of the back-sides of tail-coats. Also shooting from the audience at a classical performance can cause problems with those around you. An SLR is a rather noisy beast and a KERCHUNK during the Leibestod from Tristan can provoke wild Wagnerites to cause physical damage to your person.

Best to use your musical associations to get backstage. The angles are much better, though you really need to meter the light with care. Photographing a black clad conductor against the dark auditorium takes a good bit of skill and practice. Using auto-exposure will generally blow out the old boy's face entirely to a chalky, featureless white. Of course, you also have to pick your angles so that the audience is not aware of you - and that the conductor is not also distracted. Shoot on the downbeats during loud passages. A Nikon "KERCHUNK!!!" blends nicely with a cymbal crash.

Shooting position is critical, and it is practically impossible to get good shots from the audience. It may be possible to talk your way into a rehearsal, where even better candid shots can be obtained, and you have a lot more freedom of movement.

I did a lot of photography of the London Symphony Orchestra a few decades back, and got my best stuff in rehearsals. For concerts, working from back-stage, I used a 200mm on the conductors. Were I still doing music photography, the choice would be a prosumer digital. They are silent and discrete, available with a very long-range zoom (the CP8700 for ex&le) and give instant confirmation that your white balance and exposure were correct.

I posted some performer shots fairly recently at
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Landscapes rarely lend themselves to longer focal lengths - telephotos. You have a 28mm, and that is superb for landscapes.

"I don't know much about my current lens..."

Without understanding the basics of photography, it is very difficult to choose equipment wisely. If there is a used-book store where you are, I would strongly suggest checking frequently to see if they have the Time-Life series book, "The Camera" Though it was published in the early 1970s, no book I have seen before or since illustrates and explains the basics as well - and the basics never change - not even with digital. There were a bazillion sets sold, so they do show up used quite often. I have also heard of people buying them used from Amazon.com.

In any case you have the most useful range of zoom, an excellent place to start.

"Larry suggested I consider trading to a 'faster zoom'."

I assumed too much, forgive me. To a beginner there is nothing quite as confusing as film speed, shutter speed and lens speed.

In this case I was referring to lens speed - also known as the aperture. At maximum telephoto your lens is an f-5.6 which is a very slow lens. A fast zoom would be an f-2.8 while a fast prime normal lens might be an f-1.2. The lower the number, the more light it will let in. So an f-1.0 would be an extremely fast lens.

The faster the lens, the easier it is to work in low light conditions.

A student trumpet is quite reasonably priced and quite adequate to learn on. Only an experienced player can gain an advantage by having a top-end horn. In the hands of a student player, it offers no real help - the music a student produces with a $250 horn would be little different from that of a $2,500 horn.

It takes a few years of playing just to reach the point that one could knowledgeably go shopping for a top-end Schilke or Martin-LeBlanc, or order Selmer to build a trumpet to your specifications.

Learning photography is no more difficult than learning trumpet. It is also no easier. You have a fine starting point - an entry-level camera and lens that will handle a good 90% of any photography. With this rig you can learn a great deal. Use this one to develop your chops, and when you find that it is getting in your way, move up.

Have fun with the current camera and lens. When you reach the point of needing to move up, you will understand the considerations, and the next purchase will be obvious.

larry!
ICQ 76620504
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J

jcd

why don't u get yourself a normal (50mm) prime lense first of all. nikon 50mm f1.8 is a great performer in all lighting conditions including low light (inside a hall or backstage shooting). it is fast and sharp. i think before going for a zoom, a beginner should try our hands (and legs, for zooming!) on composition and exposures, so that required expertise is attained before he or she starts framing great photos. all the best!
 
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