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Upgrading my gear; help required.

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  • Upgrading my gear; help required.

    Hi guys,
    I am looking to update the equipment I use for my photography because the equipment I use now is quite basic and I would like to see my results with some better gear.
    Currently I use a Nikon D50 and telephoto Sigma 400mm which is a manual everything 'classic' my dad brought in 1993 second hand, so we think it was made around the mid 1980's!
    My question is what should I upgrade, I don't mind the manual focus, but i dont like the manual exposure of the lens, or is the camera more important then the lens? My price range is anything around 500-600 although i could stretch to more.
    I havent thought much about a new camera body but my lens thought's include the Sigma 170-500mm F5.6-6.3 DG APO (86mm) (retailling at around 500) although i have heard this is a fairly mediocre lens, the Bigma? 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG (86mm) (stretching the budget a bit at 700) and the Tamron AF 200-500 (86mm) at about 600.
    Does anyone have any experience with these lenses and can reccomend either or any experience with a camera body that is likely to help produce better images then the D50?

    Some images with my current gear can be seen at my blog, http://on-firecrestsbirdingblockbuster.blogspot.com/
    Any help gratefully recieved...
    please visit my blog
    cheers
    steve

  • #2
    Does that make sense? I am aware that when i write things can come across rather confusing.
    cheers
    please visit my blog
    cheers
    steve

    Comment


    • #3
      Stephen,

      Do you need to stay with Nikon, or would you consider jumping to Canon? (I can feel John R just about to jump on me any minute!). If you were thinking of going "Canon" I could give you more specific advice.

      Colin

      P.S. Whatever you decide, lens is MUCH more important then body.

      Comment


      • #4
        Stephen
        I can only talk about Nikon ( nothing else - is there Colin ! ) It 's what you get used to.
        My advice to you in a nutshell is-
        Keep the D50 for now( I and my son both had one and we did some great stuff .!)
        Don't go for the 170- 500 Sigma - get the other one -the 50-500 and a good tripod.. The Tamrons ok though.
        Thats all I can say. ( I have the Sigma 100-300 )for close hide work though.
        Nothing wrong with Canon. They are all pretty much the same in my opinion
        Cheers
        JohnR

        Comment


        • #5
          well i can lend a hand with the sigma 170-500 f/5-6.3 getting some good results but you do need some light and a sturdy tripod, it works very well until you use the auto-fucus it hunts way to much, it does look a little wierd at full extention but thats a compramise if you are on a budget that doesnt really matter, some images do take a lot of sharpening but i think thats probably more down to the user than the lens!
          http://birdthings.blogspot.com

          Joseph

          Comment


          • #6
            sigma lenses

            Hi John just wondered about the sigma 50-500 lens is it a much better lens then the 170-500? And if so what are its advantages? Just asking as i am thinking of switching to this lens. Thanks in advance

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,
              Keep the camera (assuming all is well with it), and put your money towards a "better" lens.
              Without appearing rude, if you put this lens on a Nikon D3, I doubt you would get any better results than you are getting now.
              The lens John R has suggested ie 50-500 Sigma is a very fine lens and popular with birders, have a look at some of the other bird sites and you will see many fine images taken by people of differing ability with this lens.
              Another option, s/h, preowned could be the nikkor 80-400/5.6 VR. This lens has a very good image quality, auto metering/focus and has Vib. Reduction. It will also take a kenko 1.4 TC (giving 560/f6.3) and still function in "good" light.
              The downside to this lens is that it is slow to focus, because of the "old fashioned" screw drive focusing mechanism, but if you can cope with a 400 sigma which is all manual, then this should not be a problem for you.
              Hope this is of some small use to you, remember, prorata lenses keep their value better than cameras.
              regards
              Firstlight

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank goodness this is a discussion about Nikon otherwise we might have someone with the initials "KR" going on ad-infinitum about the advantages of the Canon 100-400 zoom over the 400 5.6 prime.

                Most of you might not see the humour here, but I am sure that John R does!

                Colin

                (And, after throwing his rattle out of the BF pram and trouncing off in a huff, "he" is still at it on FM forum )

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Colin Key View Post
                  Stephen,

                  Do you need to stay with Nikon, or would you consider jumping to Canon? (I can feel John R just about to jump on me any minute!). If you were thinking of going "Canon" I could give you more specific advice.

                  Colin

                  P.S. Whatever you decide, lens is MUCH more important then body.
                  Sorry, all my gear is nikon specific and i dont have enough money to jump ship just yet!

                  Originally posted by john robinson View Post
                  Keep the D50 for now( I and my son both had one and we did some great stuff .!)
                  Don't go for the 170- 500 Sigma - get the other one -the 50-500 and a good tripod.. The Tamrons ok though .
                  ok thanks, have you used the 50-500mm with the D50 and if so are the pictures on the internet? i would love to see the results if they are.

                  Originally posted by Firstlight View Post
                  Keep the camera (assuming all is well with it), and put your money towards a "better" lens.
                  Without appearing rude, if you put this lens on a Nikon D3, I doubt you would get any better results than you are getting now.
                  The lens John R has suggested ie 50-500 Sigma is a very fine lens and popular with birders, have a look at some of the other bird sites and you will see many fine images taken by people of differing ability with this lens.
                  Another option, s/h, preowned could be the nikkor 80-400/5.6 VR. This lens has a very good image quality, auto metering/focus and has Vib. Reduction. It will also take a kenko 1.4 TC (giving 560/f6.3) and still function in "good" light.
                  The downside to this lens is that it is slow to focus, because of the "old fashioned" screw drive focusing mechanism, but if you can cope with a 400 sigma which is all manual, then this should not be a problem for you.
                  Hope this is of some small use to you, remember, prorata lenses keep their value better than cameras.
                  regards
                  Firstlight .
                  Another recommendation for the 50-500mm, so looks like this would be the best option then, unless the nikkor 80-400mm is cheaper 2nd hand and better quality? Is there a reputable second hand dealer for camera lenses on the internet?
                  Thanks all, this is a lot of help your giving me and i apreciate it all!
                  please visit my blog
                  cheers
                  steve

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stephen,
                    I should have added that it would be wise to try before you buy!
                    I am sure there must be bird snappers where you are, and you will have to try the "hey Mister " approach and ask to look at /hold /put on my camera.
                    Make sure it's not me, on the day an Ultra rare arrives, just as I'm about to take the image I get the "hey Mister" call, or you'll get a clip around the ear.
                    regards Firstlight.
                    Last edited by Firstlight; January 24th, 2008, 07:11 PM. Reason: wrong name.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Stephen,

                      I would not wish this forum to become overwhelmed with DSLR "gear talk", but I do like to help people where I can (and I know that John does too), especially with purely "bird photography" topics.

                      I have gleaned a huge amount of information from other more photography-orientated forums such as DPReview, Fed Miranda, etc. DPReview is probably the best, and the forum where you will get the most, and quickest, replies to your queries. BUT beware, it is like a pool of piranhas or throwing Christians to the lions, so you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth.

                      I would recommend that you sign up - there is a wealth of information there which is very useful (once you learn to navigate through all the "poo").

                      Colin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Stephen
                        No- I didn't get the 500mm till I had the D200.( an awesome Combination in my opinion !
                        If you search on the general european common gallery and type in " Wyre Forest " you will find quite a few done with the 50-500 Sigma.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Asa Joe says the auto focus is a bit Iffy and I just didn't like the balance and the "feel" of it. I didn't use it for a great length of time I have to say.
                          Cheers
                          JohnR

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ok i understand that you dont want the forum to fill with Dslr gear talk,
                            -I'll take a look at dpreview and john's photo's tommorow (past my bedtime
                            -I think i'll save up for the sigma 50-500mm
                            thanks for all the advice.

                            but just two more questions...honest, (unless i think of more)
                            1- Is there a better website then the warehouse express for just browsing the equipment, because i really dont like the design of their website.
                            2- When colin mentioned the card reader, on the nikon users thread, was this what you were talking about?
                            http://www.sandisk.com/Products/Item...derWriter.aspx
                            because i cant find anything on the jessops website resembling that.
                            cheers and thanks once again.
                            please visit my blog
                            cheers
                            steve

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Stephen,

                              Please don't take my earlier comment the wrong way - nothing at all wrong with discussing or asking questions about gear here. It was just a suggestion that you will get a much broader spectrum of replies (and a lot of them are from birders) from some of the more photographically orientated forums (and using their "search" facility can reveal a mine of information).

                              Yes, that is the Sandisk card reader which I use and I find it very reliable. As long as you take great care in removing and re-inserting the card from the camera (i.e. align it properly and do not use any force which might damage the pin connections) then downloading a lot of image files (especially if they are RAW format) to your computer is much faster with a card reader then with a direct camera connection.

                              I use this firm http://www.picstop.co.uk/ based in Guernsey and Isle of Man for all my "peripherals". They are reliable, fast, cheap and they do not sell fake cards (about 80% of memory cards sold on ebay are fake and are so cheap that they are being bought wholesale and re-sold by "dodgy" retailers).

                              The Warehouse Express website isn't too bad once you get familiar with it. The other option is to go to the original manufacturers websites. I would not recommend (although others might) Jessops - too expensive, mostly unknowledgeable staff, and slowly going down the tubes.


                              Colin

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