Photography forum: Asking for advice!

Views: 371, Replies: 14 » Jump to the end
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Feb 5, 2016 4:40 PM CST
I'm only recently trying myself into digital photography. I do own a film camera a Nikon Fe way back from 80's with some lenses. My favorite is a Nikkor 105 mm f/r lens that allowed me closeups of plants. I have borrowed a Sony Cybershot DSC -85 little camera. The quality of image that I was accustomed is no longer there. I only recently uploaded a multiplant pic . The Pic is OK but it lacks the quality of image that I had achieved before. I'm happy with my garden flowers and have found great pleasure in sharing my pics with ATP members. My interest in photography now is restricted to what I achieve in the garden and is a very useful tool to improve my gardening capacities. However I love to show what my eyes see when I focus on detail in so many ways photography allowed me before. Browsing thru Nikon catalogs I'm bewildered to what kind of digital body should I aim for. Also trying to still give use my manual lenses. I'm happy with manual photography rather than fully automated so that as I get used to the transition of digital photography (which includes photoshop later in the computer), I still get acceptable pics ( to me) from the start . Before going out to find what are my choices including second hand bodies I need advice to overcome my present stalls. Thank you for anyone that can help me. Arturo
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Feb 5, 2016 7:20 PM CST
Hi Arturo Smiling

For garden photography it sounds like an excellent plan to keep using your older lenses. In fact there are still a few manual lenses manufactured and sold today. If your lenses are from the 80's you should probably be okay using them on a modern DSLR body, but why not check compatibility and what functions will work on which body here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm
or here:
https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/14439/~...

Another question would be if you require mirror lock up or not, as many entry level Nikon cameras unfortunately lacks this. I believe that as a workaround one can use live view on some of the newer cameras, but I've read different stories here, so check carefully. My D300 while having mirror lock up, doesn't support it in live view, but this is an older camera.

Personally I don't care much if the camera has 10 or 20 megapixels as the difference is much smaller than the numbers would suggest, so provided you can find something second hand of good quality, I think it could be a good money saving option. With good glass you will get excellent results regardless of the number of pixels! If you want to shoot in the dark hand held then of course a newer full frame camera would be your best option, but for lower ISO images, (which I assume is what you are using today anyway) almost any older DSLR will work well. Probably you will still want to check a lot of reviews on cameras and DpReview probably is the best source for pixel peeping: http://www.dpreview.com/products/nikon/cameras?subcategoryId...

I think your biggest challenge would be to decide if you want a full frame DSLR or if you are okay with the smaller and cheaper APS-C sensor cameras. If you decide to go for an APS-C sensor camera it's important that you understand the differences as your lenses won't behave as they do on your camera today. In stead of explaining the difference myself I just link to what I though was an easy to understand guide which explains it much better than I would be able to anyway: http://www.mdavid.com.au/photography/apscversusfullframe.sht... . Another factor to consider would be the size of the viewfinder as this usually will be smaller on an APS-C sensor camera.

BTW Personally I have never used a film camera extensively, so as always do your own research and good luck with your choices.

Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Feb 5, 2016 7:48 PM CST
If you do buy secondhand, be sure that you get a shuttercount on the body. Think of it as an odometer on a used car. That matters.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Feb 6, 2016 3:08 AM CST
Thanks both of you William.I started thru your links. Next I'll start checking with what is now available within my budget range. Check back again with you and go ahead! When I identified something secondhand then I'll come back with you Asa. Although I'm still overwhelmed with options and different types with your suggestions I seem a few steps ahead thanks again
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape
Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover
Image
mcvansoest
Feb 6, 2016 1:02 PM CST
I am a complete amateur, but can give you a little bit of advice when it comes to the nikkor lenses. I have an APS-C nikon (D5200) camera and when I just got the camera, I had the opportunity to test out the current version of the nikkor 105 mm lens for a week or so. The lens is absolutely awesome, but I in my opinion you really need a full sensor body for that lens to be usable for anything other than real close closeups of flowers or plant parts, anything else and the working distance to get say a 6" diameter plant in the frame of the camera becomes quite large. I realize the lens is not meant as a general use lens, but having it function as a true 105 mm lens on full sensor body gives you some options if you do not constantly want to switch lenses, which using that lens on an APS-C body does not.

I now have a micro-nikkor 60mm lens with my APS-C sensor body, which still gets me the real close closeup shots at a quality that I would say is very close to the 105mm micro nikkor (I am certainly not a good enough photographer to see the difference in shots that I have taken with both lenses), but I can also get away using the lens to get less closeup images without having to step back too far from the subject, or constantly feel that I should switch to a different lens.

I also tested out an older 35mm manual nikon lens and I must say that I came away very satisfied with the experience. The autofocus lenses allow me to be so point and shoot that I do not always take the proper time to properly set up my shot, whereas the manual focus made me consider things a little more because I was bringing things into focus manually. I know I can turn my autofocus lenses to manual, but so far I have not done so... too lazy, I guess... Big Grin

Regarding the mega pixels: I think I would generally tend to agree with William as to the 10 - 20 megapixel difference, except when it comes to blowing up and cropping closeup macro shots even further... a RAW 20 mpix image definitely gives you more leeway to play with that, but those files do fill up your hard drive quickly...
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Feb 6, 2016 3:44 PM CST
Thank you Thijs, in summary what you suggest is to narrow my search for a full sensor body such as your D5200. My present goal in photography is just to record the many levels of beauty that are weaved into a garden and its flowers and be able to share that with my gardener peers. I'm not interested in photography as such or an end in itself, although I fully appreciate a high quality picture both technical and artistic wise. Simply I'm a gardener at heart and perhaps eventually a teacher sharing what I know or "see". Also technology is just too much for me and at times it simply goes beyond my rather poor comprehension. Thus with the manual lenses that I own, including a 300mm telephoto ( for the small birds that share our life here) and a common lensI have enough versatility for what I am accustomed to. I guess that with your added comments I should look into your D5200 or simmilar models. Thank You! Arturo
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape
Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover
Image
mcvansoest
Feb 6, 2016 4:00 PM CST
Hi Arturo,

Just to be clear - the D5200 is not a full sensor body (unfortunately). I was trying to point you away from APS-C bodies if you were mainly looking to work with your 105mm nikkor lens and look for full sensor bodies - which are unfortunately more expensive, but usually come with more bells and whistles. A full sensor camera simply was not in my budget, the new 105mm micro-nikkor was not really either, but having the opportunity to play around with made me really want it. It sounds like you have set of other lenses, so a full sensor body may not be what you ultimately need or is not in your budget.

When I looked into all this I came away with the understanding that an APS-C body essentially behaves as a lens of roughly 1.5 x the given focal length of the 35mm system lens. So a 105mm micro nikkor would behave more like a ~160 mm lens. The 60mm focal length micro nikkor lens I got instead is more like a 90mm 35 mm equivalent. On a full sensor body it would behave like a regular 60mm focal length lens.


Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Feb 6, 2016 4:45 PM CST
Hi Thijs, thank you again. Then if I were to narrow down onto a camera body, beyond the budget question which would be your simplest alternative? What makes me wonder is that I own a rather good set of lenses and am accustomed to switch from one to an other (if necessary) plus a tripod and a flash equipment and polarizing lenses. All of course manual. None autofocus or electronic. What I'm trying to figure out how I can benefit with those years of acquisition of the then excellent equipment. In the 80's I used to make nature photography as a tool of my job as head officer in the National Parks administration. My present focus just changed slightly and now I no longer back pack with the camera equip. I simply want to get out into my gardens and take pictures of what's growing or living here. Therefore weight is no longer a problem. ...fortunately flowers do not move away and birds can be lured towards me standing behind a blind.I understand that keeping my old lenses with which I'm at ease, means no automation, but taking pics is for me a slow and very pleasurable activity...the same as maintaining my flower beds clean of weeds and sometimes these come one just after the other... Smiling With all of this in mind, could you then suggest what I should aim at? Budget is another issue. The range of prices vary very much but I really cannot even try to figure out where I should place my quest ( including second hand) before pinpointing what is best suited for me. Once I really know which will be best suited then I can start figuring out the finnancial aspects. I'm not into expensive equipment because its fancy or "a la mode", but instead try to search for quality that will show up later in the pics themselves. Thanks again. Arturo
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Feb 6, 2016 6:31 PM CST
Personally I prefer longer macro lenses on my D300 (which is an APS-C sensor camera). While I have a 70mm macro I rarely use it. For individual flowers and plants I like the smooth creamy backgrounds that can be obtained using lenses in the range from 150mm and up (I often use a 300mm f/2.8 pared with the 1.7 TC for larger plants). For wider garden shots I'm more often than not at 10-50 mm.

However we are all different and I'm more than confident that with your experience you already know which focal lengths you prefer, Arturo, as you have been using a camera for a long time. It's possible that for some macro images you may actually end up liking your 105mm effectively function as a longer lens, but if not, it's no big deal. You can have a cheap entry level APS-C sensor camera AND a 60 mm macro lens (or depending on what you already have, perhaps a modern quality zoom lens would be better) for much less than what a full frame camera will cost you.

I have never encountered anyone interested in photographing small birds complaining about having a too long lens, so for this I think you will love an APS-C sensor camera. Worst case scenario, you could always move your hide back a bit Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

All of the current Nikon cameras will give you superb image quality, so you don't have to worry about that if buying a new one. Many of the older ones, no longer in production will also be great. It's more about finding out how the camera handles as the entry level cameras lack some direct buttons and dials of the more expensive ones, forcing you to use menus more and also of course the more expensive ones will have more functionality with your older lenses. The potential lack of mirror lock up on some models may or may not be an issue for you, but there are some partial workarounds for that. However you may be able to live with that for the cost savings Smiling Only you can decide.

Have you looked into if your lenses are the AI versions or not yet? I assume they are, but best be sure.
It's a long time since I upgraded from the "ancient" D40x to a D300 and the reason for this was simply that I wanted mirror lock up for my low light tripod shots, often at high magnifications, sometimes using close up lenses and tubes. Such a silly thing to need to buy a new camera for! However looking at the compatibility charts from the links I posted above it looks like even this old entry level camera would work on manual with old AI Lenses. I'd get no metering as in more expensive cameras and the sensor is a bit noisy for longer exposures and at high ISO, but it would work.

Best would probably be if you could visit a store and ask if you could try a camera with one of your old lenses. Just so you could see how it handles. As money is a concern I'd try the cheapest one they have first, which should be the Nikon D3300. If you like it you could still buy it online or wherever the price is best Green Grin!






[Last edited by William - Feb 6, 2016 6:32 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1052992 (9)
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Feb 6, 2016 6:43 PM CST
Well, I just wandered down to the computer to say prettymuch mostly what William just said.

The one thing about some of the legacy, third-party Nikon-mount autofocus (lotta qualifiers there) lenses is that some need their firmware upgraded to make the autofocus work. Doesn't sound like that would be a problem for you, tho.

Other little sidenote/disagreement is that I think that the megapixels are pretty important. We have 6.1, 12.4 and 23.9MP Pentax cameras...and I'll take the higher resolution any time (all things equal). You just leave yourself with more options if you have more data (and the MP = 1s and 0s here).

But I completely concur otherwise.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
[Last edited by evermorelawnless - Feb 6, 2016 6:53 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1053003 (10)
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Feb 6, 2016 7:04 PM CST
William said: Worst case scenario, you could always move your hide back a bit Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!


Hilarious! and that's just about what I was going to say Smiling
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Feb 6, 2016 7:36 PM CST
Well, I never said there wasn't any difference between the pixel count at all, just basically that the difference between 10 and 20 MP basically wasn't enough to worry me, so no need for anyone to disagree with me as I don't disagree with any of you Smiling Smiling Smiling Of course there is no downside to having more pixels Green Grin! I just don't think that slightly fewer pixels should limit anyone looking for a bargain on a slightly older camera.

6 MP is a different story as I'd personally worry a little bit about that Whistling That said I've seen some superb macro images shot at that resolution and in fact some of the most impressive macros I've ever seen came from a Polish lady named Martha, that used a simple compact camera.

I'm probably more worried about diffraction or motion related blur when photographing and I feel that for my type of photography it has more of an impact than pixel count. I stop down a lot, I shoot in low light so this is important to me. For birds and wildlife I could see more of a benefit as diffraction isn't an issue and one would also be more likely to crop a bit.

I confess that if I used a full frame camera I'd ideally like a lot more than 10MP. I just think there is a lot more to gain there with the bigger sensor size.

Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Feb 6, 2016 9:14 PM CST
Yeah, William - disagreement was not the best choice of words. Was more an "all things equal" kind of thing.

And I'm with you there about it being about the person behind the lens. You could give me $50,000 worth of gear and Ansel Adams a pinhole camera...and I'm pretty sure we can all agree on what the probable outcomes would be nodding
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Feb 6, 2016 9:52 PM CST
Asa, I think Ansel has a very good carrier behind him...
... but the future is most definitely yours nodding nodding nodding
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Feb 7, 2016 6:22 AM CST
I'm delighted with the way this thread leads you to Green Grin! thanks to you all, I have to re-read the various comments before I fully understand what they actually mean. So this dull-head may be back for clarification... Sighing! but I've got to do my homework first. Thank You! again. Arturo

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Photography forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"