Have enthusiasm and cash, need camera... oh and some advice

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by George, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. George

    George Guest

    It will be my first 35mm SLR (and it's not my money) so I need to choose
    wisely. I am thinking of the Nikon N80 though thoughts of the Minolta Dynax
    5 and especially the Canon Elan 7 are not entirely banished from my
    indecisive mind.

    Subjects would essentially be landscapes, and nature (some macro). Night /
    low light photography interests me but who knows where this will go.

    Assuming the Nikon route, would the N80 be a good beginners camera? I have
    read (web) reviews that suggest that the recently updated N75 is actually
    superior in metering, focus and flash (no manual ISO setting being the down
    side). Should I save my pennies with the N75?

    There seems to be an issue with lens compatibility - the N80/N75 can't meter
    though some of the lenses. Is this really a significant problem?

    I was thinking of getting either the AF 28-200 f/3.5-5.6G or AF 28-105
    f/3.5-4.5 and maybe later the AF 50 f/1.4. Would this be a good
    choice/balance for a beginner?

    Now for the really stupid question: the AF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 lens, is that
    it's *total* aperture range? Seems sooooo small for such an expensive lens.
    [Ducks in expectation of flying stones.]

    Sorry about the number of words/questions. Would really appreciate guidance.
    George, Nov 3, 2003
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  2. George

    Tom Thackrey Guest

    If you're serious about photography get a camera that can do manual focus,
    f/stop, shutter speed, and ISO. The N80 is an excellent camera.
    Not unless you own or plan to buy older non-cpu lenses.
    The 50mm f/1.8 is about 1/3 the price of the 1.4 and you won't notice the
    smaller aperture.

    Most beginners like zoom lenses, either would be an OK choice.
    The f number in the lens spec is the biggest aperture. When a range is
    specified the maximum opening changes as you zoom the lens. An f/3.5-4.5
    28-105mm lens has a max opening (min aperture number) of f/3.5 at 28mm and
    f/4.5 at 105mm. The smallest aperture can be found in the spec sheet or on
    the len's aperture ring (if any).
    Tom Thackrey, Nov 3, 2003
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  3. I have recently bought an N80 after 10 or 15 years of using the all manual
    FM2n. I have never used Minolta or Canon products. My suggestion is that
    you consider that you are buying a system, not a camera. Having had Nikons
    for years (even before the FM2n), I am more or less locked in to the Nikon
    system. As a beginner, you may have no idea what your needs will be and
    whether any particular manufacturer's system will meet those needs.

    I suggest that you buy a camera body that you find comfortable and easy to
    use, then buy a lens, maybe two. Use it for a long time, and find out what
    needs you have that you hadn't realized when you bought the camera. If
    another manufacturer's system better meets your needs, toss the learner
    camera and start investing in the other system.
    Just about any system will work here.
    My suggestion is to buy the better camera. Moving from a completely manual
    camera, I wanted one that I could comfortably use in completely manual
    mode, and the N80 meets that need quite handily. But that was my need, not
    yours. I still would go with the better camera. Even if you find next year
    that another system better serves your needs, you will probably get a
    better trade in or selling price for it used.
    It would have been for me, but for the fact that I had purchased autofocus
    lenses for the FM2n with the idea in mind of eventually going with an auto
    everything camera. The issue, as I understand it, is that the N80 body does
    not have the connector to detect and set the aperture, and you cannot set
    it manually on the lens because the N80 cannot detect the setting. This
    gets back to the system issue. It means that none of my older, manual
    focus/manual aperture lenses will work on the N80. I may buy a used F4 to
    replace the FM2n; or maybe not (depends on what needs remain unsatisfied by
    the N80). But the auto everything lenses that I bought work fine on the new
    That's a tough question to get advice on. Your assumed subjects are
    landscapes and nature -- not really specific enough to get good advice from
    me, I'm afraid. Are you going for the panoramic views? Distant peaks over
    mountain lakes? Hawks on trees a mile away (well, okay, maybe not a
    mile). Deer in the forest glen? For some you want a wide angle, for some a
    telephoto. Again, I'd suggest buying the best lens you can, then seeing if
    it meets your needs. I think you do not know yet what your needs are, so
    you can't buy a lens to meet them.

    When last I read up on these things, 28-200 was too great a stretch for
    really precise images over the entire range. You might be better served by
    28-105 at this time; I'm sure others will make comments on this issue. If
    you need a longer telephoto, either buy a prime tele or buy an extender for
    the 18-105 (again, though, you may have some quality problems with the
    extender/lens combo).
    Ducks and stones are nature -- get the photo. :) Good luck and have fun.
    Phil Stripling, Nov 3, 2003
  4. George

    Gregg Guest

    Either the N80 or the Elan are good choices. Think about the entire system,
    and future upgrades, not just the camera. You'll thank yourself going with
    either Nikon or Canon systems when you want to upgrade (to a higher end
    film, or more likely, to a digital SLR) in the future.

    You'll definitely do best by spending minimal amount for the camera, and as
    much as you can afford on top grade lenses. The AF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 referrs
    to a variable MAXIMUM aperture, that is, at 28 mm it opens up to f/3.5 ....
    as you zoom out it gets slower, and at 105 mm f/4.5 is as wide as it goes.
    A lens like that is ok for general photo shooting, but too slow for low
    light situations.
    Gregg, Nov 4, 2003
  5. George

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Forget the N75 - it's a crippled camera designed to get you to "upgrade"
    later. The N80 is the real bottom line Nikon. I think the Elan 7 is a
    superior camera but there is nothing wrong with the N80. Try both, but
    whichever you choose will do the job jes'fine!
    Tony Spadaro, Nov 4, 2003
  6. George

    George Guest

    Thanks Tom, Phil, Gregg and Tony. You have helped tremendously.
    chapelhillnoir.com was especially helpful when I started searching some
    weeks ago.
    George, Nov 4, 2003
  7. George

    Bob Hickey Guest

    The stated aperture is only the widest. @28, the range would be f3.5-f16.
    At105, f4.5-f16. As far as cameras go, It's pretty chancy recommending one.
    Half of them I can't even see thru, let alone want to buy. I would say, just
    look at all you can: you're bound to find one that works for you.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Nov 6, 2003
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