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Need help w/ Camera Lens for D40

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Well-Known Member

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    anyone who tells you that you need a flash is wrong. if you like the look, fine, but flash is optional.

    the best thing you can do is to take the camera off auto. there are only 3 settings you need to learn on your camera: aperture, shutter speed, and i.s.o.

    set your i.s.o. to 800.

    set your aperture to its largest setting (lowest number).

    then set your shutter speed accordingly, or let the camera do it for you in 'aperture priority' mode.

    for portraits with a d40 it is a crime not to own and use the 50mm f/1.4 lens. if you don't shell out for fast glass (especially since you bought your camera for portraits), it was a waste to buy a dslr.
     
  2. DNW

    DNW Well-Known Member

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    anyone who tells you that you need a flash is wrong. if you like the look, fine, but flash is optional. the best thing you can do is to take the camera off auto. there are only 3 settings you need to learn on your camera: aperture, shutter speed, and i.s.o. set your i.s.o. to 800. set your aperture to its largest setting (lowest number). then set your shutter speed accordingly, or let the camera do it for you in 'aperture priority' mode. for portraits with a d40 it is a crime not to own and use the 50mm f/1.4 lens. if you don't shell out for fast glass (especially since you bought your camera for portraits), it was a waste to buy a dslr.
    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
     
  3. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Well-Known Member

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    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
    800 is not very grainy. i have some 8x10 prints shot at i.s.o. 800 with a d80 that are grainless (noiseless) to the naked eye. but yes, i'll take a little noise over using a flash any day.
     
  4. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

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    Newer digital cameras are actually getting pretty good at high ISO.

    That being said, unless you need it, you should not be pumping the ISO numbers since there is a quality degradation
     
  5. Douglas

    Douglas Well-Known Member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much.

    I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40?

    Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook.

    FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.
     
  6. DNW

    DNW Well-Known Member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much. I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40? Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook. FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.
    Here is Nikon's line up: http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni...ses/index.page A 50mm lens translates to 75mm on Nikon DSLRs. But, keep in mind that anything else without the AF-S designation will not autofocus with your D40. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not fast enough to focus manually while trying to capture an action shot. So, unless you upgrade, you're probably limited to one of the AF-S zooms. A cheap, and pretty decent lens, in this group is the 18-55mm. If it's not fast enough for you, be prepared to spend some serious dough to get a constant lens like the 17-55mm f/2.8. Bottom line, if you want to shoot indoor without flash, you're gonna spend a lot of dough. Or, you can spend a little bit of money (relatively speaking) on a nice flash and shoot with any lens.
     
  7. milosh

    milosh Well-Known Member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much.

    I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40?

    Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook.

    FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.


    Check out the Sigma 30 1.4 HSM. It will work with your D40.
     
  8. A Y

    A Y Well-Known Member

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    Nikon recently introduced an AF-S 50 1.4. I'd get a midrange zoom instead of starting with a 50, especially with the D40's 1.5x crop.

    --Andre
     
  9. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    OP, I see you mentioned a yellowish tinge -- frankly I'd be surprised if the lens was so bad it was yellow shifting your images. And while flashes tend to distort color, typically it goes blue-white. This makes me think you have a white balance problem (perhaps in addition to the other items you mentioned. Is your white balance on Auto, or is a manual override set? Though some cons have been mentioned about the fast lenses of <f/2.8, I still recomend them. No lens is at its best wide open (that is, at the lowest f/number), so if you get a faster lens and shoot it at, say, f/2.8, you;; have higher quality, but will also have the flexibility to go faster if you need it. And 2.8 is excellent for portraiture. I'd suggest that 18-55 zoom like everyone else, and in addition, a 28mm f2.8 AF ~ H
    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
    Anymore, so sadly. [​IMG] They should still make ^^ the best lens I've ever had the priviledge to shoot. ~ H
     
  10. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    I thought the 50/1.2 AIS was still in production?

    My (in today's terms) ancient D70 @1600 had less 'grain' than Tri-X in D76 1:1.
     
  11. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    My (in today's terms) ancient D70 @1600 had less 'grain' than Tri-X in D76 1:1.

    ha - another antique amateur. My prehistoric D70 seems OK at high-ISO too but to be honest I don't print 20" photos so I don't think I would see anything
     
  12. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    I still keep that one around for places I don't want to take my D700. The D70 was (and is) a fine camera. 6mp will get you better than an 8x10 with no visible degradation.
     
  13. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    I thought the 50/1.2 AIS was still in production? My (in today's terms) ancient D70 @1600 had less 'grain' than Tri-X in D76 1:1.
    Wow, you're right, the 50/1.2 AIS is still available. http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni...f%252F1.2.html I had one for a short while -- I thought I could use it as a knockaround lens that I wouldn't worry about as much as the Noct. But I found it wasn't too sharp wide open compared to the Noct so I flipped it. Did likewise with the 55/1.2 -- which has some really weird bokeh going on. I'd love to have the full trifeca of ultra-fast Nikkors -- the Noct, the 28/1.4 and the 35/1.4 (though the 35/2 is probably better anyway). The 85/1.8 would be nice also. Ah well, we can dream. ~ H
     
  14. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    I'd knife a hobo for the 28/1.4.

    My only regret moving back to Nikon from the 5D is that there's no real equivalent to the 24/1.4 and 35/1.4.
     
  15. GQgeek

    GQgeek Well-Known Member

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    ha - another antique amateur. My prehistoric D70 seems OK at high-ISO too but to be honest I don't print 20" photos so I don't think I would see anything

    Noise is totally overblown as an issue for most DSLRs. One of the weak points of Olympus compared to Nikon and Canon is the greater noise associated with the smaller sensor. You really do have to be pixel peeping (or printing really big) to notice though. The output of my E-3 at 1600 is great, even though high iso is really not the e-system's strong point.
     
  16. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    For indoor, no flash, portrait lens, few are better in terms of value than the prime Nikon 50mm f/1.4d lens. It's around $250 on fleabay new. Its cheaper, and slower brother is the 50mm f/1.8d, which is around $100. The only downside is that both of these lenses are fixed, so you'll have to move back and forth to get the frame right.

    I realized I didn't weigh in at all. I'm completely illiterate when it comes to photography but when I seeked similar advice as the OP and was frustrated by my 18-55's performance for interior no-flash shots (the exterior shots are really awesome though), I was told to get the latter (50mm f/1.8d) because $100 was about my budget for a 3rd lens.

    The difference is noticeable IME - the low-light portraits (I use it now 90% of the time to take pics of the babies) are so much better.

    Here are shots of the same little guy - both with interior morning light, no flash, no additional lights. First one is with the Nikkor 19-55 VR AF-S, second is the following day with the 50mm f/1.8d.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. chorse123

    chorse123 Well-Known Member

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    So cute!

    I like a shallow depth of field, and in my mind that is another major shortcoming of high minimum f. lenses.
     
  18. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

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    It looks like your nifty-50 is a little low on the color saturation?

    That could jsut be due to it being a different day with different light though
     
  19. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    So cute!
    Isn't he? [​IMG] They crack me up
    I like a shallow depth of field, and in my mind that is another major shortcoming of high minimum f. lenses.
    I don't know what this means - I'm totally illiterate when it comes to photography [​IMG]
    It looks like your nifty-50 is a little low on the color saturation?

    That could jsut be due to it being a different day with different light though

    Again, I have no idea what it means or how to change that. Do you mean that the colors are not very bright? I think there was a little bit more direct light in the second shot because the first one is on the floor (play mat)
     
  20. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    The darker one isn't a contrast/saturation issue, it's just underexposed by a half-stop or maybe a full stop.

    If you don't want to get into RAW and post-processing (which would brighten that up easily), try bracketing your baby shots - one stop under, even, one stop over. Then you can pick out the best of the three and delete the others if you wish.
     

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