BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Donna J. Taff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2003
 

What kind of lense do I need?


I've got a Nikon D70 that came with a 18x 70 lense which I really like but I was wondering if there is a lense that zooms out farther and does macro also or do I need two lenses? Also what do you all recomend? And does anyone know the price? Thankyou Guys.


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7/20/2005 7:45:18 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Donna, it depends on your needs. If you are a hobbyist that just needs a good walkabout lens you could go with an "all purpose" like the Tamron 28-300 which is around $300. It does some macro. In my gallery there are several shots taken with that lens.

In my gallery the photos "Blue Skies" "Summertime" "Barn Detail" "Bloom Zoom" "Spring" "Elegance" and several others were taken with that lens. I use it quite a lot. It does some okay macro shots. I've taken some pictures of pretty small things. But it isn't a "true macro".

I take my macro shots with a Sigma 2.8 100mm macro lens and it does so much better than
the Tamron. It gets closer and it's a better lens all around (in regards to color, sharpness, and tone). But it's not very versatile. It's basically a lens I only use for macros and some portraits. It was $300

I also have a nicer zoom lens. It's a Sigma Ex 70-200 zoom lens. It's also great, but it's big and somewhat cumbersome and was expensive. It costs $800 new and I got mine for $640 on ebay. A canon lens that's equivalent costs much more than that! And Nikon costs much more too I presume. For what I use it for it's awesome and the Tamron can't match it. For fast moving photos, panning, low light, etc...But I don't "walk around" with it on my camera. I prefer to "blend in" more and I don't like a lens that big swining from my neck on long hikes.

But for standard portraits in good light, and many, many shots the Tamron works great. With an extension tube the macro ability would be much better (just not as high quality as a ture macro lens).

If you are a hobbyist with no plans to go pro I'd suggest a lens like the Tamron. If you are wanting to get serious and sell your photos I suggest you start building a serious lens collection based on your photo interests. I went third party because the Canon brand lenses were too expensive and I consider myself a serious hobbyist who "might" someday sell my work.

Hope this helps.

Karma


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7/20/2005 8:30:35 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  donna,
i'm kinda lost here donna,you've been a member for quite a while.anyway,if your serious about macro work,a good macro lens could run you a few hundred dollars to a thousand.scary huh?i bought some close up filters for under 50 bucks,they work but for the clarity of a good macro lense,i don't stand a chance.as far as zoom lenses,you gotta get out more,the selection goes on and on.aftermarket lenses are cheaper,but quality?the combination of zoom and macro,don't bother,just make up your mind.
i was kinda short with you and I can't explain why,but I think it was to the point.
sorry, I didn't even look at your gallery,sam


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7/20/2005 8:38:15 PM

 
Donna J. Taff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2003
  Thank you very much for answering my question. I am new to SLR cameras and was hoping there might be a lense that could do both good macro and take piture of some wildlife. Sorry if my stupidy got on your nerves, samuel. I've always thought the best way to learn is by asking questions. Thankyou soo much Karma for being kind and answering my question with patience. By the way, Karma you have a wonderful Gallery.


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7/20/2005 8:48:18 PM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  I have a sigma lens that is 70-300. It has a macro feature on it that works pretty well. If I want to do a really close macro I use extension tubes. The lens cost around $300 and I am just a hobbyist so that works for me! :)


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7/20/2005 9:09:49 PM

 
Susan L. Vasquez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2005
  Donna, I am so glad you asked this question! I just recently purchased the same exact camera and lens and was wondering what other lenses to look at. This is my first SLR too. I mainly take portraits and some nature shots. Would like to broaden my horizons and try landscape and maybe some architectural. Of course it would be nice to take shots of wildlife without having to try and sneak up on it!
Thanks for the great info Karma, I think this will be very useful when it's time to add more lenses.


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7/20/2005 9:14:15 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  It always bugs me (sorry Samuel) when somebody chimes in saying that after market lenses are cheaper but not as good in quality. You really can't determine the quality of a lens by the name it comes with. You have to judge it lens by lens. Canon makes some pretty awful lenses. I know, I've used them. Sigma makes some pretty fantastic lenses. I know, I've used them. Sigma makes some really horrible lenses too. I know, I've used them! :-)

Always remember that buying a lens is a personal decision. You have to decide what your needs are and start from there. Then you narrow you choices down. Google makes comparing lenses very easy. When purchasing my better Sigma lenses I read a lot of articles and reviews that compared them with equivalent Canon glass and other third party glass. When buying my macro lens in regards to image quality there was almost zero difference between Sigma and the Canon eqivalent and the Canon cost almost $200 more. When buying my zoom lens I had the choice between the Canon L 4 70-200 or the Sigma 2.8 70-200. Canon also makes a 2.8 L with IS in the same zoom range, but heavens to betsy was it expensive. I ended up going with the Sigma because of it's 2.8 constant aperture, the fairly fast HSM motor, and the excellent reviews I'd read about it's matched 1.4 TC. The fact that it was being offered on ebay from a reputable buyer sealed the deal, and I saved hundreds on the final product. It works wonderfully. The canon had a few advantages (the USM motor it has is suppposed to be a bit better than Sigma's HSM--but I preferred the 2.8 aperture over that).

There is a lot of L-glass being offered by Canon that does not necessarily live up to it's price tag. I would love to have a complete array of fancy L-glass. Heck, I'd love to have a 1DS, 500 gigs of memory, a new computer to edit with and PS CS. But do I need it? Can I afford it? Not at this time. I already over spend for the return of photography. It's an ungodly expensive hobby. I should have taken up drying flowers or collecting rocks! :-)

Karma


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7/21/2005 9:32:46 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  Here We Go With The Sigma Thing Again:-)


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7/21/2005 10:06:35 AM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Actually it's not just a Sigma thing. It's a pet peeve of mine that if you are buying a lens judge your decision by the lens and not the name on the lens. Let's face it, canon has made some lemons just as bad as Sigma/Tamron/Tokina lemons. They just usually cost more. :-)

I love third party lenses because they open up a world of quality lenses to people who don't have an endless pocket books. Of course you have to be careful that whatever lens you are buying has a good reputation.

And yes, I will continue battling the third party myths that abound! :-)

Karma


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7/21/2005 10:21:47 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  Seems Were Not Talking Canon, Donna Has A Nikon,Like I Said In A Previous Post The Quality Is Just Not There,I Didnt Hear Nikon Mentioned As Making A Bad Lens I Wonder Why? You Get What You Pay For Where Is The Savings If You Make That Bad Choice,And Have To Replace It With A Good One,Save Your Money Up For A Good Nikon Lens You Will Be Glad You Did Donna!!


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7/21/2005 10:34:15 AM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Terry,

I have one word for you that can be easily expanded to two:

Bull...

Whether buying Nikon, Canon or what have you there are 3rd party lenses with the quality and it's just plain silly to say there isn't. Nikon has a good reputation for lenses, sure. But there are 3rd party lenses that can match them.

Nikon's equivalent to my Canon is rated 9.6 based on 21 reviews on Fred Miranda--and it costs double. My Sigma is rated 9 based on 72 reviews!

The Nikon macro equivalent to my lens gets a 9.4 based on nine reviews and mine gets 9.2 based on 29 reviews. The nikon costs a couple hundred more.

No thanks. :-)

I've also professional read bench mark reviews. My lenses stand up there with the big boys. They were recommended to me by professional photographers who knew my needs and I've never been unhappy with them.

I didn't mention Nikon as making a bad lens because I don't USE nikon Terry. Canon suits my needs and wants as a photographer better than Nikon. I personally like having the option to crop my images down farther and I like being able to take high ISO pictures with virtually no noise.

But I can read the reviews and talk to the pros to get a clear understanding of which third party lenses stand shoulder to shoulder with L-glass or Nikkor. If you and others want to blindly disregard the quality of SOME 3rd party lenses, fine. There are a lot of crappy 3rd party lenses--but not all are crappy (especially some of the Sigma EX line) and it's unfair to make such assertions. I don't think the Nikon equivalent of my lenses would be worth the massive hemorrage of cash. If you do--go for it and spend the money. I'll take that money and put it to the super wide angle I'm hankering for--offered by Tamron. :-)

Karma



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7/21/2005 11:15:09 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Interesting responses LOL. I have the Nikon D70. When I was building my Canon film system eons ago I went with 3rd party lenses and didn't like them as well. When I got my Nikon I fully intended to stick with Nikon PERIOD! Well, I couldn't make up my mind on a $1,500 telephoto zoom (and still can't) so I got a Sigma 70-300 APO lens until I decide. I like the Sigma pretty well. It does 1:2 in macro and I just plain like it. You're not going to get a closeup of a fly with it but it does nice flowers. It cost me $219 at B&H. All the bird and wildlife shots in my gallery were taken with that lens. Domestic animals were taken with the kit lens.

I also have the Nikon 105mm macro lens which I love but it cost $659.95 with a $70 rebate.

It all depends on your budget and what you plan to do with your images. A less expensive lens is just fine for what I do which is basically enter images at BP. If I was a professional and had clients to please I wouldn't settle for anything less than the best lenses Nikon has to offer.


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7/21/2005 1:33:52 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Sharon,

"If I was a professional and had clients to please I wouldn't settle for anything less than the best lenses Nikon has to offer."

This is where we will part paths. I have read the reviews and the optical image comparison of the equivalent Nikkor 70-200, the Canon 70-200 and the Sigma 70-200 are on par with one another. The client could not tell the difference so why on earth would I spend the enormous price difference? I wouldn't!

If I had a client to please I would never use the Tamron lens I mentioned, but I wouldn't hesitate to use either of my Sigma EXs. Note I say "EX". That is Sigma's better line, and some of those lenses (not all) are on par with Nikkor or L-glass. I'm not going to line Canon's pocket just so I can have a silver lens. :-) Now, in some instances that silver lens is indeed worth the extra cash and third party lenses don't have a comparable lens to offer. But that is not the case with the lenses I mentioned.

BTW, I spent $300 on my macro lens and it is rated slightly higher than your lens in optical performance and just about equal with the l-glass equivalent. Do you think a client would know the difference? I seriously doubt it. It certainly wasn't worth the $300 price difference in my estimation. And almost every side by side comparison reviews I've read about this lens say the same thing. It's one of the best in its class.

And that is just my point--it is not a "name brand" thing. You judge a lens by that lens ONLY. Do your homework and don't cross third party lenses off your list when all the data indicates it's an excellent lens. If a particular lens outperforms the competition, then buy it, name brand or not.

Karma


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7/21/2005 2:00:29 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  LOL Karma, I'm fine with whatever lenses you want to purchase! I ALWAYS do my homework before purchasing. I just prefer a Nikon lens on my Nikon camera regardless of reviews or expense. I'm sure Nikon loves that type of attitude :D. The only exception I've made so far is the Sigma, and that's just a temporary lens until I decide which telephoto Nikon I really want or if I really even want one since I don't shoot wildlife much. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

Also, I don't put much stock in reviews unless they can back up their claims with a bench test, and on Nikon lenses I don't even bother with a review except to compare two different Nikon lenses.

Your Sigma macro looks like a fine lens. I'm glad your happy with it. It's just not what I wanted, and I'm quite happy with mine.


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7/21/2005 2:16:06 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Sharon, just so you know I'm going on a combination rating of five different photo magazine's bench tests. I don't put stock in reviews without bench tests either. That's why I'm so outspoken regarding this particular subject.

Best,

Karma


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7/21/2005 2:51:29 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Regardless of reviews or bench tests I still prefer to purchase Nikon gear. If I had a Canon it would be Canon gear. I guess I could liken it to driving a car. Not all cars cost the same and not all cars save you money at the pump. It just depends on what you want to drive. A simple matter of preference. I personally drive an economical car, but I don't have a problem with people who want to waste their money at the gas pump driving the large SUVs.

Sharon :)

Best,

Sharon :)


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7/21/2005 3:07:29 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Ha! I drive an Excursion Limited 2004. But I have 3 kids and I drive in the mountains of central Idaho all the time and pull a large Travel Trailer a lot. So it's a necessity to me. I have to get my camera to the wildflowers after all.

But believe me--if a canon lens were the only lens that would provide me with a particular need I'd buy it. But only if it was worth it in comparison to other lenses. If not--forget it. The worst lens I own in terms of performance and optics has the canon label on it. So I know the name alone isn't worth a hill of beans. I purchase according to budget lens by lens. Next on the list is a Tamron 17-35 which optically matches the 17-40 L-glass from what I've read and is a bit faster but substantially less money. I'd love to have the Canon L 16-35 which is according to all the very best--but it's $1300. I'd rather save up for the 1DS (in my wildest dreams....)

I am a die hard Canon fan though. I love, love, love my 20D and I love, love, love my $40 canon backpack! I love my Canon printer too. :-) I just don't love the price of their lenses. :-(

Karma


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7/21/2005 3:53:53 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  sorry samuel here,
yeah I chimed in,after reading the thread on repititave questions on here i've chimed in more often.trying to help out!i knew it would only create a forum where the ones who actually know something would correct me,i'm ok with that?
it's very hard to tell on here from a post,what a person is actually looking for?serious? dedicated?
did I give bad info,subjective?i told you I hated big words>
i love your gallery karma,and terry,yours is awesome,quite the photoshop guru.i just cut off one of my fingers because of my mistake!
yeah right?anyway,
donna,it's my stupidity that put you in a situation that made you feel like I was calling you stupid.i apoligize.
ignorance is done on purpose,you didn't
if I met you on the street,i would open a door for you,or buy you a drink?don't know?excuse my mess,i was trying to help?
sambo


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7/21/2005 7:12:22 PM

 
Donna J. Taff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2003
  I accept your appology, sambo. I do believe that you came on a little strong and it did hurt my feeling but your letter just now has helped me alot. I just want to learn and that is where the question came from. I don't mean to bother anyone. If it seems that I ask stupid questions, I'm sorry. I just want to learn as much as I can. If I had the money I would go to a photography school where I could understand more. Donna.


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7/21/2005 7:43:45 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  sam is fine,and ask any question ,i would ask more but I would feel so stupid?


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7/21/2005 8:35:32 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  You had some good input, Sam. Don't sell yourself short! You suggested a good macro lens if you're serious about macro shots. That's really the only way to go if macro is all your interested in. Good advice IMHO.


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7/21/2005 8:45:45 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  i have never seen any content on this website that I would not show my grandchildren,that said sharon,i was amazed at your input.pay to see?me thinks not,join a club? not in lifetime,no?
from your gallery,my info?
but yes I do appreciate.
many thanks,sam


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7/21/2005 9:25:39 PM

 
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