Lenses for D70 (amateur)

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Reality Culture, May 22, 2005.

  1. I'm enjoying my D70 so much, I'd like to purchase a new lens. The
    "outfit" came with this one:

    AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
    ED 18-70mm
    f/3.5-4.5G IF

    I bought this based on its rave reviews, but as you may have guessed,
    I'm a bit of an amateur so have mercy.

    The Booklet tells me to get a G or D series Nikkor lens for best
    results. I found a telephoto lens that's 70-300mm G series, so at first
    glance this seems like a perfect compliment to my 18-70mm. It zooms
    further, and had a good macro for taking close-ups. (I'm taking this
    baby to the Bronx Zoo).

    Here are the DX lenses I got from Nikon's website:

    12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
    10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor
    18-70mm f3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor **OWNED**
    18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor - NEW!
    17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
    55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor - NEW!

    I was thrown by the additional info that I should also be using a DX
    lens. It seems the 70-300mm is not available as a DX lens.

    Here is the info I have compiled on DX lenses:

    AF-S: Single Servo Auto Focus: Gives options for auto focusing on
    subjects at variable lengths

    ED: Glass elements that compensate for magnification and virtually
    eliminate chromatic aberration

    IF: Internal Focusing for smoother focusing and a better balanced
    handling employing a Silent Wave Motor

    f/3.5-4.5: maximum aperture setting: not sure what this means besides
    the textbook definition of the amount of light allowed into the lens

    Any kind-hearted soul out there help me through a bit of this jargon,
    and suggest a good telephoto/macro DX lens that will maximize the
    features of the D70? I'm learning as I go...

    Reality Culture, May 22, 2005
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  2. Reality Culture

    Sheldon Guest

    I'll give it a shot:
    Auto focus with one motor in the lens. The motor is a "servo" type motor
    which means it can be electronically controlled to go either direction and
    stop at a predetermined point.
    A high-quality optical glass found primarily in apochromatic telescopes.
    Many ED (extra-low dispersion) lenses have a high content of fluorite, which
    reduces aberration. (Dictionary definition.)
    Instead of the lens focusing by moving in and out from the camera body, the
    lens focuses internally, allowing the lens to stay balanced in your hands.
    Silent wave motor just means it's very fast and quiet.
    The maximum aperture on a zoom lens will change as the focul length changes,
    which is the reason for the two figures.

    Keep in mind that you can use just about any Nikkor lens from model AI and
    up with your D70. However, older lenses will not have autofocus and will
    not work with the built-in meter. Newer lenses will work with more
    functions in the camera -- look at the chart in your manual.

    The decision you have to make is do you want faster lenses? Do you want
    lenses with wider apertures so you can work in low light with faster shutter
    speeds? Do you want lenses with wider apertures for decreased depth of

    If I'm not mistaken the DX lenses are specially made for digital cameras,
    since they don't have to cover the full-frame of a 35mm camera. So, you
    "can't" use these with a Nikon 35mm camera, but you can use lenses made for
    a 35mm camera on your D70. The image just gets cropped by a factor of 1.5.

    Nikon makes some excellent lenses that can get very expensive. The zoom
    lenses you are looking at would compliment your "kit" lens quite well, the
    tradeoff being better lenses cost a lot more but would let you work in less

    When I got my D70 I had a bunch of older Nikkor 35mm lenses that work just
    fine with my camera, so I'm all set. Being that you are just starting out,
    and want a longer lens, the 70~300 zoom lens would probably be just fine and
    the price is good. As far as cheap lenses from Nikon goes, the 18~70 kit
    lens, which you already have, gets great reviews and is one hell of a

    I don't know where this thread will lead, but I would stick with lenses from
    Nikon if other brands come up.

    Just have fun.
    Sheldon, May 22, 2005
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  3. Reality Culture

    McLeod Guest

    I was told by the tech rep for Nikon in this local area that the DX
    lenses are only important for focal lengths shorter than 46mm. I
    regularly use an 80-400 VR lens when length and usable shutter speed
    are important and swap that with an 80-200 f2.8.
    The wider the lens (non DX) the more acute the angle the light is
    striking the sensor and the more likely you are to have chromatic
    aberration...I believe. The DX lenses are supposed to be somewhat
    corrected for this.
    McLeod, May 22, 2005
  4. A ha!!! Now I get it. You explain this so much better than the Nikon
    booklet. :)
    That's for sure. It's a delight to use.

    In all honesty, I just want the automatics like light, and focus to work
    until I get better at the full range of features. If cropping occurs, I
    guess I can compensate so long as I know it's happening. I'd hate to
    come home with hundreds of poorly-cropped photos.

    So, would the non-DX 70-300 lens be cropped by 1.5 then? It is a G
    series lens, and Nikon states that it would "work" without getting into
    further details.

    Reality Culture, May 22, 2005
  5. Reality Culture

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    That should not be a consideration. The viewfinder will show
    you *exactly* what you will get on the CF card (film equivalent). That
    is what SLRs are about -- showing you in the viewfinder exactly what you
    will get in your photo -- film or digital. The cropping mentioned is in
    comparison to a 35mm full-frame film camera, which uses a 24x36mm chunk
    of film using the same lens. Because the sensor in the D70 (and in most
    digital SLRs, with the exception of ones *way* beyond affordability for
    most of us) is smaller than that film size, the image is cropped (from
    what it could be on film) by the camera. In the D70, it is by a factor
    of 1.5. That is, the 24x36 mm frame is cropped down to 16x24 mm. So --
    what you would expect to get with that focal length on a film camera you
    will only get a central part on the digital sensor.

    The effect -- at least in terms of how much of the image you
    will get on the sensor compared to film -- is that your coverage is the
    same as a lens with the crop factor multiplied by the focal length. If
    you don't already have a habit of working with 35mm film SLRs, this need
    not really matter to you -- the lens will give you what the viewfinder
    shows. But -- if you are accustomed to working with the film SLRs, and
    your experience tells you that you want a 135mm focal length lens, with
    the D70 you will want a 90 mm focal length lens. (There are other
    factors which are effected by the focal length which may change
    differently -- things like depth of field or how much you need to boost
    the shutter speed to get acceptable results hand-holding the camera and
    lens.) Since your first consideration is for zoom lenses, you probably
    won't be thinking of focal length at all -- you'll just rotate the zoom
    collar until you get the size of image which you want -- as shown by the

    Note that while a crop factor of 1.5 is standard for the Nikon
    DSLRs, other vendors may have other crop factors. The Cannon Rebel
    series has a crop factor of 1.6. There is one top-end Cannon which has
    a crop factor of 1.0 -- that is, it will give you exactly what the film
    camera would with the same lens.

    There are various reasons for the use of a smaller sensor, but
    the major one is that the cost of a sensor goes up as a significant
    factor of its size. A full 24x36 mm sensor is not simply 1.5 times the
    cost of the 16x24 mm one which you have, but more likely a factor of
    four or five times as much.
    It will give you a coverage equivalent to a lens with a focal
    length range of 105-450 mm on a film camera (the actual focal length
    multiplied by the crop factor). If you like to zoom in tight the crop
    factor is helping you. If you like to shoot wide angle, it is fighting
    you. For *my* shooting habits, the crop factor helps, as I like to zoom
    in tight, and would normally want a longer lens than my 28-105mm
    f3.5-4.5 D (I already had that lens, so I did not get the kit lens, I
    got the D70 body only). I do have other lenses, including a 50mm f1.4
    with autofocus and the CPU so metering will work, and a 180mm f2.8 which
    has been retrofitted with a CPU so it will meter, but which is still
    manual focus.

    Note that the only serious limitation on the DX lenses is that
    you can't use them on a film body and get good behavior over the full
    film area. The corners will be at least blurred, and probably vignetted
    (fade out to nothing at the corners). And -- if Nikon ever decides to
    make a DSLR with a full 24x36 mm sensor, you can't use it with that

    However -- the DX series lenses should be lighter and smaller
    than the equivalent lenses for the full 24x36 mm film cameras -- and you
    won't need as long an actual focal length to get the coverage.

    I hope that this helps,
    DoN. Nichols, May 22, 2005
  6. Reality Culture

    Sheldon Guest

    To put it simply, a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens regardless. It's just when you
    put it on a 35mm camera it appears to be a "normal" 50mm lens as you know

    When put that 50mm lens on a digital camera with a 1.5x factor (most DSLR's)
    it now appears to be a 75mm lens when compared to the 35mm standard. You'll
    note that when your kit lens is set to 18mm it no way resembles an 18mm lens
    on a 35mm camera, which would be an extreme wide angle lens. So, we
    multiply it by 1.5 and we get the equivalent of a 27mm lens as seen through
    a 35mm camera. Still a wide angle lens, but not nearly as wide as an 18mm
    would be on a real 35mm with a frame the size of 35mm film.

    Much of the confusion revolves around the fact that most manufacturers use
    the term "equivalent" to a 35mm camera, since most of us know what a 27mm
    lens looks like on a 35mm. Few of us could afford an 18mm lens for our 35mm
    cameras, almost a fisheye.

    This becomes easier to understand when you start to play with medium format
    cameras (2 1/4) and large format cameras (4x5 and 8x10). A 50mm lens is a
    normal lens on 35mm, but a wide angle on a 2 1/4 and even wider on an 8x10.
    On a Minox it would be a telephoto. Now, the problem is that the lens must
    be manufactured to cover the entire image area on larger format cameras.
    So, lenses made specifically for digital SLR's only have to cover the area
    of the image sensor on that camera, which often makes them cheaper to
    engineer and manufacture.

    The only thing I don't like about the lenses you are looking at is the
    focusing ring, which is almost nonexistent. I tend to use manual focus a
    lot, and this is a negative for me since it's so small. But, if you want
    autofocus, you would have to spend about a grand to get a better lens. Many
    of my friends have the lens you are looking at and love it. For now, I'll
    stick with my old 80~200 AI Nikkor zoom. I don't need to go much longer
    than 300 (as compared to a 35mm camera using x1.5). I also have a 500
    mirror lens which is now a 750 on my D70. Still, it's merely a 500mm lens
    that becomes cropped by the smaller image sensor so it appears to be a 750.

    Now that I've totally confused you buy that lens and go have some fun.
    Sheldon, May 22, 2005
  7. DoN. Nichols napisa³(a):
    are you sure my dear? what about magnification :p
    it surely won't show you the full scene but something arround 80%-95%
    only few slrs have a 100% in viewfinder
    Marek M. \rogus\, May 22, 2005
  8. Reality Culture

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    As for *magnification* -- that can be matched by how large you
    opt to show the image on your computer screen once it is downloaded. :)
    O.K. Point conceded. My old Nikon F cameras showed 100% (which
    was more than you would get in a mounted slide, unless you did glass
    mounting.) Most others did some cropping in the viewfinder, so it was a
    closer match to what the slide mount left exposed.

    But -- if you were printing from negatives, the fact that you
    saw it all was an aid to careful composition.

    But with the 80%-95% range, you will at least get everything
    into the image that you see in the viewfinder. I think that the
    original poster was worrying about not getting things into the image
    that he saw in the viewfinder.

    The only example that I have of an SLR camera which shows *more*
    in the finder than you will get in the image is my NC2000e/c -- a Nikon
    N90s converted by Kodak to become a digital for the AP. The viewfinder
    shows the entire frame, with a black border printed on the finder screen
    to delimit what the sensor will actually capture.

    And, of course, rangefinder cameras (off-topic here) often have
    bright frames projected on the image to show what coverage you will get
    with a given lens, while showing all the way out to what the widest lens
    will capture.

    DoN. Nichols, May 22, 2005
  9. Well, this is easy enough, but I found many discussions - which makes
    me feel dumb - about a change in F value for these full-size lenses if
    used at DSLRs.
    Is there one or not?
    If I have a fullframe 200/F4, will it become a 300/F5.6 at a D70?
    So I need twice as much light for the same effect on the sensor?
    My head is turning if I think about it too much (which I did in the
    last days...).
    wolfgang teschner
    Wolfgang Teschner, May 22, 2005
  10. Reality Culture

    Ed Ruf Guest

    No, it will still be a 200 f/4. What will happen is the image is cropped
    compared to the full frame image. Crop factor is ~1.5, so your frame is
    only 66% of what it would be on a full frame camera.
    Ed Ruf, May 22, 2005
  11. Reality Culture

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    Any lens which has multiple specified apertures (e.g. my
    28-105mm f3.5-4.5) will *change* the maximum aperture depending on where
    in its zoom range it happens to be. (In the example above, at 28mm it
    will go all the way to f3.5, but at 105mm it will only reach f4.5. I
    don't know the precise curve as you go through the range.


    1) The camera body knows what is coming through the lens.

    2) It behaves the same way on both film and DSLR bodies. It is
    simply a trick in the manufacture which allows the lens to be a
    bit wider at the shorter focal lengths. Other lenses have ways
    to compensate for this -- but cost a lot more -- and they may be
    accomplishing it by discarding possible maximum aperture values
    at some points in their zoom range.

    This -- like the crop factor using a lens from a film SLR on a
    DSLR -- is not really a problem so much as a fact of optics. Don't
    worry about it.

    Now -- if you put the lens on extension tubes or a bellows, the
    effective aperture decreases (numerically increases) as you move the
    lens away from the body to allow closer focusing. Again -- this happens
    on both film and digital bodies, and people with film bodies have
    lived with it -- perhaps with the aid of charts -- when they wanted to
    do extreme closeups.
    No! It will remain a 200 mm f4 -- but it will produce a full image
    (as printed) the size that a 300 mm would on a full 35mm film frame.

    Your f4 maximum aperture will remain the same.
    You are indeed thinking too much about it. Get the lens and
    start taking photos. The camera will work with it, and the viewfinder
    will tell you what coverage it will get. You change the zoom settings,
    or back away or move closer to fill the visible frame with what you
    want. The camera takes care of the aperture -- until you decide that
    *you* want to control it for your own purposes. And, you get instant
    feedback -- you can look at the display to see what you got, and if
    things are not as you desired, you can try other ways. It is not like
    the days when you had to wait for the film to be processed to see what
    you got. (Of course, that once-in-a-lifetime shot will not re-occur, so
    get lots of practice trying things (and discarding images if you so
    desire) until you get a feel for what the camera will do for you, and
    most things become totally automatic for *you* -- not just depending on
    the automatics in the camera.

    There are times when you want to turn off the auto-focus on the
    D70, because it wants to focus on something other than you want. An
    example was a small, nearly translucent bug on the outside of the
    bathroom window. The camera wanted to focus on the trees, instead of
    the closeup of the insect, so I switched to manual focus.

    For similar reasons, you may wish to manually select the shutter
    speed, or the aperture. The camera can help you with getting the
    correct exposure, or you can set both shutter speed and aperture
    manually, ignoring all of the camera's advice.

    Another automatic feature -- turned off by default -- is auto
    ISO selection. The camera defaults to 200 ISO, but if there is not
    enough light to allow a reasonable shutter speed, it can be set to
    automatically increase the ISO -- all the way up to 1600 ISO if
    necessary, to allow an exposure. I generally have this turned on,
    because I tend to shoot a lot in poor light. At the highest ISO
    settings, you get a bit of noise (think of it as grain) in the image,
    but it beats not getting that shot.

    I hope that this helps,
    DoN. Nichols, May 22, 2005
  12. Reality Culture

    Alan Browne Guest

    No. The focal length remains the same. Nothing magical or evil happens
    to the lens.

    (You appear to be confusing this with an extension tube).

    With a digital cropped sensor, the area of the sensor is (D70) ~ 24mm x
    16mm) instead of the 36mm x 24mm of the film camera. This is where the
    1.5x crop factor comes from.
    The __cropping___ resutls in a clumislly called "equivalent focal
    lenght". This means the angle of view of the image is tighter _like_ a
    longer FL lens.
    Yes and No. The lens remains a 200 f/4, but the sensor is smaller
    giving you an "equivalent focal lenght" that is longer. But the focal
    length has not changed and nor has the aperture/FL ratio.

    So the 200 f/4 becomes like a 300 f/4. Just as fast, but narrower field
    of view at the sensor.
    No. The image is merely a crop of the larger film area. (eg: if the
    film had a mask over it, reducing its surface area, the film sesnitivity
    would not change.

    Hope that helps.

    Alan Browne, May 22, 2005
  13. Reality Culture

    Tom Scales Guest

    No. A 200/f4 will still be an f/4.

    Tom Scales, May 23, 2005
  14. Reality Culture

    Paul Furman Guest

    Heh, so many replies!

    I'll just add that theoretically it would be possible to design a lens
    that took advantage of that extra space around the edges to give wider
    aperture on crop frame DSLRs but it's probably impractical. If you
    designed a crop frame lens at the same sixe it should be able to do that
    so it's a logical thought.
    Paul Furman, May 23, 2005
  15. Reality Culture

    r Guest

    i agree
    r, May 23, 2005
  16. No, I appreciate all the replies. I'm learning a lot here. Thanks,
    all, for the help!

    Reality Culture, May 23, 2005
  17. Reality Culture

    Sizer Guest

    For what it's worth, I can't recommend the 70-300mm G lens. The pictures
    I got from it were pretty awful. Lots of very noticable fringing. But! I
    went up to a 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED. It's $100 more, but at $300 list price
    still very affordable. And I've been extremely pleased with the results.
    Very sharp even at 300mm, and you can zoom the whole distance with a
    quarter turn of the barrel.

    I know some people say the D and the G are exactly the same optics, but
    in my experience the D has /something/ extra going for it. Probably the
    ED (dispersion cancelling, which would explain the fringing on the G). Or
    maybe the G was defective.

    So I'd say 70-300mm ED. You'll get an awful lot of lens for $300 (minus
    rebates), and you definitely want a telephoto lens to go with your normal
    range kit lens. And then maybe a wide angle after that...

    See here for example of the 300mm at full zoom -
    Sizer, May 24, 2005
  18. I can second the 70-300mm ED. I took this picture (a snapshot really)
    *handheld* with Kodak Professional 100UC film. The image is a scan from
    the finisher.


    Comments welcome. I took this and analyzed it afterword. I am very
    much in need of improvement with my technique.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, May 24, 2005
  19. Reality Culture

    Tony Polson Guest

    The G lens is very cheap, and produces good results for the price.
    But the G and ED versions have totally different optics.

    The ED version is vastly superior, offering almost pro levels of
    optical performance between 70 and 200mm. Above that it gets soft, a
    characteristic that is common to all 70-300mm consumer-grade lenses,
    regardless of brand.
    Tony Polson, May 24, 2005
  20. Actually the G and ED lenses use the same optical formula. So, you
    would be quite wrong with the above statement. The only difference is
    glass quality in the optics (ED is better than no ED) and the build
    quality of the lens body itself is much better on the ED model.
    This is actually true with both lenses. Still, I have taken quite sharp
    results above 200mm and actually just shy of 300mm. A tripod always
    helps up in this range anyway.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, May 24, 2005
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