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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #1
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Suggestions on lens with bigger aperture

I have a D40 and looking for decent lens for less than $500. I'm pretty new to this so I need your expertise. I was checking sigma lens and wondering if the link below is a good one or even compatible with my camera. But if you have a better suggestions on the lens that I wanted to get please feel free to share it.

http://www.sigma-photo.com/lenses/le...82&navigator=4
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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #2
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You won't be able to auto focus with that one because the D40 lacks a screw drive AF motor.

If you are buying a Sigma lens, look for the acronym HSM.

If you are buying a Nikon lens, look for the acronym AF-S.

Tokina/Tamron I don't know the acronym.

Anyways...primes are great fun to shoot with, but nearly all of them lack built-in AF motors so you are stuck with manual focus. What is it that you really want to shoot?
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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mostly for low light environment, indoor parties etc. I'm trying to avoid using the flash but I'm getting a blurry pics on the slower shutter speed and 1600 ISO. Unless there's other tricks that I do not know about without using a prime lens. Any suggestions?

Last edited by surreal612; December 20th, 2007 at 01:31 PM..
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #4
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Well if you're taking group pictures and such, you don't what to shoot wide open ap's like 1.8, because one person might be in focus, while the person a foot behind them won't be.

When shooting group shots, I'll usually stick around F/4 or higher so that everyone is in focus, but anything far behind them is still out of focus.

Low light stuff like parties or weddings would point me in the direction of the 17-55 f/2.8 but that will definitely break your budget.

If you shoot at F/4, the kit lens will stop down to 3.5, so maybe it's not the lens you need to replace.

I would first try cranking the ISO up to around 400-800 which will let you increase your shutter speed. You could also try going with a VR rated lens. Nikon is coming out with an 18-55mm VR lens very soon, which will definitely help you out by a few stops in shutter speed (so long as your subjects stand still )

A flash also isn't necessarily the end of the world, you could pick up an SB-400 ($110) and practice different flash techniques like bouncing it off the ceiling which will help eliminate the shadow behind the subject effect
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #5
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You could look into the Nikon 35mm f/2 prime ($320) as a good, fast walk around prime...but once again, it will be manual focus time.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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So if I'm taking a lot of group picture am I better of with the SB-400? Also would the D80 autofocus these prime lenses?
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #7
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I wouldn't shoot f/1.8-2.8 for group shots...you probably won't get everyone. Push your ISO up, or try the SB 400, and it will probably come out better.

Yes, the D80 will drive all the lenses
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #8
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Hmmn I will give that a shot on our Christmas party tonight. The place setting will be similar to this.





So crank up the ISO to 800 or 1600? I think flash is necessary or I could turn it off if I have it on 1600 ISO? F/4 and 1/40 maybe?


I still have 2 months to decide if I am returning the D40 to replace it with D80. Is flash compensation really that important? It seems that that is the only thing I'm going to lose and portability of the unit with the d40.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #9
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I think you would see the single largest improvement with the SB-400. I have one and I love the results that I get. It doesn't give you that nasty overexposed look that the onboard flash gives. Rotate the head to about 60 degrees and it'll fill up the room with a nice rich, smooth, warm color. It's compact and pretty versatile for the relatively cheap price.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 10:51 PM   #10
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If you're serious about spending money on this hobby, you might as well save yourself the grief later and return the D40 and pick up a D80 for not much more. With the D300 released, many folks w/ D80's are selling them used to upgrade thereby causing a drop in NEW D80 prices due to lack of demand. You'll have a much wider range of lenses to use as well.

Group shots I tend to shoot f/5.6 to make sure I get everyone. I've done a few political fundraisers and I always use flash, either bounced or diffused and ISO 400-800. With flash, you really shouldn't even need to hit 800. I used to use a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 which was great for a general lens, but I found it tough to fit everyone into the low end (28mm /crop sensor). I just picked up the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, another lens known for its sharpness and color, so hopefully this will work out better. I already tested the lens at a recent pre-school b-day party and the results came out pretty good.

That Sigma 28 f/1.8 isn't well suited for groups of ppl if you don't have a lot of room to back-up. It'll be great for low-light if you don't use flash, but beyond that, there isn't much use in a party setting.

It's simply too short to get a nice tight shot w/ good bokeh.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 10:27 AM   #11
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I guess I will return the D40 on January and pick up the D80.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VTEC-v6! View Post
Nikon is coming out with an 18-55mm VR lens very soon, which will definitely help you out by a few stops in shutter speed (so long as your subjects stand still )
Ritz Camera have them in stock now. I'm not sure if this is legit
http://www.ritzcamera.com/lenses-for...s%3Bcislr-lens
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Old December 21st, 2007, 10:55 AM   #12
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Like what everyone said, the low aperture lenses aren't good for group shots. They are good for portraits. They are great lenses though and you think about investing some in the future. I have a few myself and some telephoto lenses.

If you can, you should try out lenses if your friends are willing to let you borrow or hit up a camera store. They'll usually let you try them out.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 11:16 AM   #13
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I'd go ahead and return it for a D80.

But just to play devil's advocate though...your D40 WILL have better high ISO noise performance than the D80, and it's flash sync is more than twice as fast
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Old December 21st, 2007, 11:57 AM   #14
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Like everybody else said, f/2 and faster lenses aren't going to help you with group photos because you'll have so little depth of field that one person will be in focus, but a lot of others out of focus. To get the extra light gathering ability from a larger aperture lens, you trade off depth of field. Yeah, you need f/4 or f/5.6 or better for group shots, depending on the focal length. You need to make sure you have enough depth of field to keep everyone in focus. At closer ranges and three rows of people you might even need f/8 or f/11. So you have to get yourself out of your comfort zone and learn how to use a flash well. The only thing that would help you avoid that is dropping ten times more on a D3 where you can get clean and sharp ISO 6400 performance, lol.

Try this. For group shots where everybody is posing and knows to hold still, set your base ISO at 400 or 800, 1/30s or 1/60s shutter speed, and aperture priority at f/4 for a single row, and f/5.6 or f/8 for multiple rows. Then flip-up your SB-400 in bounce mode. If it's candid type shots where people don't know you're taking photos and might be moving a bit, set your shutter speed to 1/125s, and since it's likely a single person, set the lens aperture to wide-open. Try to avoid direct flash at all times. It's ugly as crap, heh heh. A big advantage of having an SB-600 here is that you can rotate the camera and compose your photo any way you wish, and you have full freedom to rotate the SB-600's flash head in any direction to get the light coming from the direction you want it. Can't do that on the SB-400. That flash is more intended for daytime fill-flash in harsh mid-day light when you're trying to get rid of shadows. For group shots it's still okay though. Just ceiling bounce. The D40 handles like poo with a big ol SB-600 on top of it though. In fact so does the D80, but at least with the D80 you can get an MB-D80 battery grip and then the handling issues all go away. The other trick is to leave your Auto ISO turned on. That way if you get a bad bounce or if your flash doesn't completely recycle, auto ISO will crank itself up to try and save the shot. This is great! With more conservative shutter speeds like 1/60s and especially 1/30s it'll commonly be able to save the shot for you.

99% of my shooting these days is family/baby type stuff that I can't post here so I'm sorta limited, but here's some quick examples. These are all straight off my D40 with the AF-S 18-135mm lens, and a bounced SB-600:

18mm, f/3.5, 1/30s, iso 400 or 560





105mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, iso400



135mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, iso720 and 900






The first two were at 18mm, so f/3.5 is okay since the short focal length ensures that you have a pretty large depth of field. If I was paying attention though, I would have stopped the lens down to f/5.6 or f/8 and gotten a better photo. The third one at 105mm is a portrait of someone else's baby. Here running the lens wide open is fine since that's what you want for portrait shots. Only their face in focus, and everything else blurred out. You can see from his hat that the white fur is already out of focus by the time you get back to his ears. And this is a slow f/5.6 lens too. It only gets more dramatic with larger apertures. My 85mm f/1.8D would have made that photo POP. Same with the last two at 135mm, except my 85 wouldn't have had the reach and I didn't want to trip over people and stuff. I love the reach of the 18-135. For lighting, the first two wide shots was with the SB-600 pointed straight up at the ceiling. And then for the portrait type photos, I try to angle the flash head off to the side and bounce it off of a wall so that you can get a nice 3D type effect. Had to be careful here too though, because it was pretty much standing room only with all the parents and kids around in this tiny classroom. At best I just angled the flash head up at about 45 degrees and off to the side so that I could avoid a straight up ceiling bounce which can make things look pretty dull and flat, but still get some side lighting effect. I couldn't bounce directly off of a wall to the side because then I'd just nail somebody directly in the face with a high powered flash.

If I was really serious about shooting that little Christmas party, I would have brought my D80 with the grip, put the SB-600 on that, and then used the same 18-135mm lens. No handling issues, and I could quickly adjust either shutter speed or aperture with the rear command and front sub-command dials. It's awkward on the D40 since you have to hit the little +/- exposure compensation button as a function button to control the aperture when in manual mode. It was very clumsy so I got lazy and just concentrated on shooting, but since everybody else there had point and shoots, i didn't want to scare people.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
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If you're serious about spending money on this hobby, you might as well save yourself the grief later and return the D40 and pick up a D80 for not much more. With the D300 released, many folks w/ D80's are selling them used to upgrade thereby causing a drop in NEW D80 prices due to lack of demand.
Mostly that's with D200's which can be had used for a steal right now, but yeah some D80 users are ditching and upgrading too. A lot are waiting for either the "D90" or a D80/D200 type body with the full-frame "FX" sensor. (a Nikon equivalent to the Canon 5D). I want one of those.

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I'd go ahead and return it for a D80.

But just to play devil's advocate though...your D40 WILL have better high ISO noise performance than the D80, and it's flash sync is more than twice as fast
Sad to say, but in outdoor daylight shooting where I'm trying to get rid of harsh shadows from a directly overhead sun, the 1/500s flash sync on the D40 works way way way better than the wimpy 1/200s flash sync on the D80. My results were so bad on my D80 that I had to toss every single photo vs the D40. No other camera in Nikon's DSLR lineup including the D3 does 1/500s flash sync. Just the cheap little D40 (and discontinued D50, D70, D70s, etc). And yeah, high ISO performance is about a half stop better on the D40's 6MP sensor than on the D80's 10MP sensor. iso1600 can look pretty friggin bad on the D80, but it's noticeably cleaner with the D40. You can clean all of that up with a lot of the software out there, though. There's also a hack mode for the flash sync issue to run whatever flash sync speed you want with an SB-600 or higher flash, but it's extremely ineffecient (wasteful) with flash power whereas the D40 works much better with a true 1/500s flash sync. That alone is one of the few reasons I'm keeping the D40 around.

I wish the D80 had the 6MP sensor instead of the noisier 10MP sensor. Even at 20x30" print size, 6MP upsampled slightly still looked great, and I rarely if ever print that big. I bet I'd love a D70s.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 04:00 PM   #16
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I just got a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens and I love it. It's an AF lens so your D40 would be able to AF with it. Nice sharp pictures...I'll upload one I took in a bit. It was $95 used with a HOYA UV(0) filter on it. The box has a price sticker that says $114.99 though.

50mm f/1.8 ISO Auto picked ISO100

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Old January 2nd, 2008, 04:20 PM   #17
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Actually, it won't work on the D40.

Only AF-S lenses work on the D40 since it lacks the focus drive screw. D40 + Primes = Manual Focus
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:15 PM   #18
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stevtec. are u southindian?.. nice pics by the way.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:47 PM   #19
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 03:21 AM   #20
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Actually, it won't work on the D40.

Only AF-S lenses work on the D40 since it lacks the focus drive screw. D40 + Primes = Manual Focus
I stand corrected .
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:09 AM   #21
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Hi Neel
sup kev!!!
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:21 AM   #22
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thanks for all the replies. I just bought the sb-400 last night. I will try it out this weekend and let you guys know.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:34 AM   #23
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Here is a sample pic I took last weekend. So you think that bounced flash would do the trick to get it sharper than this?

55mm f/4 1/10 sec, no flash (I think I used 1600 ISO on this one)
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 10:52 AM   #24
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with the flash...the picture should be less noisy since you'll be at a lower ISO, so it'll look a bit clearer/sharper. it also depends on where you are in relation to walls/the ceiling and also the color of the walls. my grandma's house has some yellow walls...so christmas pictures were weird. my apt has white walls and is obviously smaller than a house...so bouncing a flash in here is easy no matter where you are.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 11:06 AM   #25
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The flash would make that way better. It will be sharper because you'll be shooting a much "faster" shutter speed, so shaking the camera and subject movement won't be an issue.

ISO will be lower (200), which will give you less noise and more detail in the picture.

Flash FTW Just make sure that if you are running your own white balance settings, that you set it on the Flash preset
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Old January 14th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #26
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Don't be afraid of high ISO noise =)

For group shots in lower light, I suggest the 17-55mm F/2.8 =) Wide open it does a great job.

Shooting at F/4, don't be afraid of upping the ISO. Objects exposed correctly will have no noise, so you'll probably only get noise in the shadowy parts of your picture, which again isn't a problem.

Get some post processing tools for reducing noise, and you'll be a happy camper =)
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #27
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I have actually shot F2.2 manual focus with a 50mm F1.8 on the D40 and got 5 people in "good" focus...I don't suggest the SB-400... it has a real short effective range for slow lenses like the kit 3.5-5.6 lens. Especially if your talking about parties, i.e. at night or dark areas. your best bet is the SB600 or Sb-800 and set it on wireless and have someone else hold it or place it somewhere nearby. Although you could just mount the SB-600/800 on your hot shoe, but it would weigh really heavy and might feel akward to you.

I bought the D40 just for the same reason parties and what not, and it works 90% of the time. But they're some occasions where another body with full manual exposure is needed. so either my d70, d200.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 03:05 AM   #28
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If your dead set on a good camera... and already returned your D40... grab a d300... its a little more... but pays dividends.. High ISO performance, might not even need a speed light for your needs. broader range of lens choices in the future if you ever decide to expand further. OR... keep the D40 for it's small size and buy another D300.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 04:04 AM   #29
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D40 allows manual exposure...
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Old January 28th, 2008, 03:06 AM   #30
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no..not completely..one or the other aperture or shutter...
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