a new lens or a new flash ??

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by James Bass, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. James Bass

    James Bass Guest


    I've got enough spare scratch to purchase either a new flash (SB-50DX) or a
    new lens (50mm 1.8). I currently have a Nikon 35-80 4-5.6 AF (really too
    slow), I want some nice family photographs of the holidays, so I'm wondering
    which would I be better off with the flash, the lens or ultimately both?

    James Bass, Nov 18, 2003
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  2. James Bass

    Roger Guest

    A flash will greatly improve your ability to use your existing lens,
    especially indoors. However, it will not improve the quality of the
    lens itself. The 50mm f1.8 Nikkor lens is legendary in sharpness and
    is sufficient to take pictures indoors, in well lighted rooms with
    ISO400 film or even some of the great ISO800s that are now available.
    You will see a dramatic improvement in quality, although at the wide
    apertures you need for the available light, you will have a shallow
    depth of field and you may be "tricked" into thinking the zoom at f4
    and 35mm is sharper (don't be).

    So the economy route is the 50, learn to control the depth of field.
    Add the flash and upgrade the zoom. Over time, it might not hurt too
    much :).

    The best, IMO, is both the 50mm and flash.

    Another possibility is to look at a Nikon compatible flash in the
    Sunpak line. They make a lot of very serviceable units that couple to
    nearly all the Nikon camera body features. They generally run about
    30% less than their Nikon counterparts. I personally have a SB-24 and
    a SB-80dx and with a Nikon auto body give superb results.

    Don't laugh at this till you try it :). Another possibility is add an
    inexpensive $20.00 flash (possibly less used). You can get a lot of
    mileage out of an "automatic" one as opposed to a TTL one. Vivitar and
    Promaster are a couple of labels that make rather inexpensive but
    useable flash units. BTW: I carry a $24.00 promaster flash for
    "emergencies" when I just can't push my Leica kit any darker. I
    purposely bought a low power one since the situation in which I would
    need it is one where I'd have ISO400/800 film in the camera. These
    flash units offer very even illumination over the 50mm lens coverage,
    a bit of fall off at 35mm and I use a hanky diffuser for very close
    shots with wider lenses.

    Roger, Nov 18, 2003
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  3. You'll need the flash for indoor shots of trees, presents, people etc....But
    flash shots are generally pretty poor......Flat uncompromising
    lighting...... Get the flash, and start experimenting early....Try bouncing
    it off the ceiling, and try buying an extention cord for it to get it as far
    away from your camera as possible....You will need the next month or so to
    learn the best way to use it, so start right away......
    William Graham, Nov 18, 2003
  4. James Bass

    Slingblade Guest

    Do you have a flash now? If not, get the flash first.
    Slingblade, Nov 19, 2003
  5. James Bass

    James Bass Guest

    Thanks to all for the info & advice.
    Nikon has a $50 rebate running for the SB-50DX for a total of approx $115,
    so I think I'll go that route. There is also an $80 rebate on the 85mm/1.8
    so I might try to swing that as well, if not then it will be the 50mm.

    James Bass, Nov 19, 2003
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