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Good general purpose lens for Nikon D50 (?)

 
 
furtherside@yahoo.com
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      08-26-2005
Well, I'm continuing to read and research as part of my decision to
move up from a P&S digital to dSLR. I'm now looking at the Nikon D50.
Would this lens:

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

be a good "general purpose" lens for this camera? The goal is to have
usable macro as well as portrait. Telephoto is not as important to me.

Here's a link to Amazon, where I found it: http://tinyurl.com/beejg

If not this lens, is there another I should be looking at? Macro and
portrait are key for me, as well as decent low light performance.

Thanks!

-Chris

 
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frederick
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      08-26-2005
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> Well, I'm continuing to read and research as part of my decision to
> move up from a P&S digital to dSLR. I'm now looking at the Nikon D50.
> Would this lens:
>
> Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
>
> be a good "general purpose" lens for this camera? The goal is to have
> usable macro as well as portrait. Telephoto is not as important to me.
>
> Here's a link to Amazon, where I found it: http://tinyurl.com/beejg
>
> If not this lens, is there another I should be looking at? Macro and
> portrait are key for me, as well as decent low light performance.
>
> Thanks!
>
> -Chris
>

The only thing about the 18-70 that may disappoint is that the close
focus distance is only about 38cm / 15 inches.
I do macro, and have a 105mm macro lens, but also I have experimented
with the 18-70 with one extension tube, 13mm length.
That takes the focusing distance at 70mm from about 38cm through to just
under 1:1 ratio. The results are not bad at all.
A problem may be that it is difficult to buy just one tube, as they
usually come in sets of three with about 13mm the smallest. The longer
tubes are not of much practical use with the 18-70, and neither is the
13mm with the 18-70 zoomed out less than about 50mm. Tubes are
available with the electronic contacts, which are needed if metering is
going to work. Despite using this combination several times with a D70,
I assumed that the AF would not work. Today I forgot to switch AF off,
and it works even though the extension tubes say very clearly on the box
"Manual Focus Only" (it doesn't work very well unless the light is
good). When they made the extension tubes perhaps they didn't think
about "fly by wire" AF-S lenses. I think that one extension tube of
13mm may be more use/better than diopter adapters with this lens. It
has a large front element and filter ring, and good quality adapters
will be about as expensive as extension tubes. Perhaps more relevent is
that lighting for macro is often tricky - most dedicated macro lenses
have front elements that are recessed in to the front of the lens,
almost like a built-in lenshood. When I was playing with the 18-70 and
extension tube today outdoors, it was difficult to eliminate flare from
the sun reflected in windows etc. Adding up to three layers of extra
glass by way of close-up adapters will make this problem worse.
So, that is in my opinion a good cheap solution. The 18-70 is a
terrific lens for almost all I do. I have a macro lens which is for
sure better (sharper, less distortion, easier to use, longer focal
length), but it was quite expensive (A Nikkor 105mm AF macro lens will
cost nearly as much as the D50), and the 18-70 with a tube does nearly
as good a job in many cases. For portraits, the 18-70 is good, but a
wider aperture fixed focal length 50mm f1.4, or the inexpensive f1.8 may
offer some advantage, but perhaps you would need to be quite serious
about things to consider it worthwhile. There is one advantage that the
D70s may have over the D50 for macro work - a DOF preview button. DOF
is very shallow, and shooting macro is when I most use this feature, as
it can be very hard to guess the effect of aperture on how background
objects will be rendered.
 
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GTO
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      08-26-2005
The 18-70 AF-S zoom is a good lens. Not very good, but good. It's autofocus
is not too precise, so with wide open aperture at 50 to 70mm focal length,
the AF-S of this lens tends to back focus. I think it has a bit of a lag
when it locks in focus that tends to overshoot the target. It's very cheaply
made. The lens hood is junk. I have already lost it once and had to get a
replacement for $10. But for a D50, it will be good enough.

The 50mm f1.8D AF is one of Nikon's best optical performer. It's also build
like a piece of junk made out of plastic. But it sells dirt cheap ($99). Its
optical performance is excellent and its AF works well.

The 70-300 f4-5.6D AF ED zoom is a good lens. Again its build like Nikon
wants it to self-destruct in no time to ensure that we always have to buy
new lenses. The AF is sluggish. But on a D70, between 70 to 200mm I get good
results.

The 105mm micro Nikkor f2.8D AF is a very good lens. It's actually a very
useful lens, which is also build well. It focus from infinity to 1:1 and is
well worth the $600 (US dollars!).

The 80-200mm f2.8D AF is a very good lens. It's heavy and an overkill for a
D50. But it's sharp and has a good AF. Even for a D70, it's a little bit too
heavy. But hey, we're all waiting for the D200

How about Sigma and Tamron lenses? Well, find out for yourself.

Gregor

<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> Well, I'm continuing to read and research as part of my decision to
> move up from a P&S digital to dSLR. I'm now looking at the Nikon D50.
> Would this lens:
>
> Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
>
> be a good "general purpose" lens for this camera? The goal is to have
> usable macro as well as portrait. Telephoto is not as important to me.
>
> Here's a link to Amazon, where I found it: http://tinyurl.com/beejg
>
> If not this lens, is there another I should be looking at? Macro and
> portrait are key for me, as well as decent low light performance.
>
> Thanks!
>
> -Chris
>



 
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furtherside@yahoo.com
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-26-2005
> I do macro, and have a 105mm macro lens, but also I have experimented
>with the 18-70 with one extension tube, 13mm length.
>That takes the focusing distance at 70mm from about 38cm through to just
>under 1:1 ratio. The results are not bad at all.


Ah...very nice...thanks for this suggestion. I was thinking more about
it, and wondering: if I have the 18-70 lens, and I wanted to (let's
say) hit a 1:1 image size, then wouldn't I put an 18mm or longer
extension on? I thought that if I have the lens turned to the 18mm end
of its range, then an 18mm extension would "hit" 1:1 exactly?

-Chris

 
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Bob B.
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      08-26-2005
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> Well, I'm continuing to read and research as part of my decision to
> move up from a P&S digital to dSLR. I'm now looking at the Nikon D50.
> Would this lens:
>
> Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
>
> be a good "general purpose" lens for this camera? The goal is to have
> usable macro as well as portrait. Telephoto is not as important to me.
>
> Here's a link to Amazon, where I found it: http://tinyurl.com/beejg
>
> If not this lens, is there another I should be looking at? Macro and
> portrait are key for me, as well as decent low light performance.
>
> Thanks!
>
> -Chris


A good place to get information about lenses is the forums at
dpreview.com. There is lots of detailed talk about lenses, and lots of
example pictures taken with various lenses.

A candidate for a "general purpose lens" that was recently discussed
there is the Nikon 28-200. Not the best possible lens, but good bang for
the buck.

Bob B.
 
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Deedee Tee
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-26-2005
On 26 Aug 2005 07:51:05 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:

>> I do macro, and have a 105mm macro lens, but also I have experimented
>>with the 18-70 with one extension tube, 13mm length.
>>That takes the focusing distance at 70mm from about 38cm through to just
>>under 1:1 ratio. The results are not bad at all.

>
>Ah...very nice...thanks for this suggestion. I was thinking more about
>it, and wondering: if I have the 18-70 lens, and I wanted to (let's
>say) hit a 1:1 image size, then wouldn't I put an 18mm or longer
>extension on? I thought that if I have the lens turned to the 18mm end
>of its range, then an 18mm extension would "hit" 1:1 exactly?
>
>-Chris


That might not work at all in practice. It would make the effective FL
of the combined lenses about 9mm, so to put the subject in focus you
might need to place it _inside_ the lens. A 70mm with another 70mm on
top is more reasonable. However, I would start first with an extension
ring between camera body and lens, unless you already have an extra
lens to mount reversed on the 10-70. An extension ring is cheaper, and
introduces a smaller amount of aberration than an add-on lens. If you
need to do a lot of macro, nothing beats a macro lens, of course.
 
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lacunae
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-26-2005
On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:26:08 -0700, furtherside wrote:

> Well, I'm continuing to read and research as part of my decision to
> move up from a P&S digital to dSLR. I'm now looking at the Nikon D50.
> Would this lens:
>
> Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
>
> be a good "general purpose" lens for this camera? The goal is to have
> usable macro as well as portrait. Telephoto is not as important to me.


I've found this to be a good general purpose lens for my D70, and it is
the lens that I usually leave attached to the camera. Its not as long as
the old 28-200 (tamron) I used to leave attached to my 6006, but its
lighter, faster, and focuses quicklier. (Also, the 28mm on the D70 is not
at all wide angle, which is a killer indoors)

Anyways, if you're looking at purchasing the D50 body and adding this
lens, I'd suggest getting the D70 kit which comes with this lens. With
the $100 rebate on the D70 kit (not the D70s), you could get the D70kit
for about the same price (or less) than the D50 body + this lens.


 
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frederick
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      08-26-2005
GTO wrote:
> The 18-70 AF-S zoom is a good lens. Not very good, but good. It's autofocus
> is not too precise, so with wide open aperture at 50 to 70mm focal length,
> the AF-S of this lens tends to back focus. I think it has a bit of a lag
> when it locks in focus that tends to overshoot the target. It's very cheaply
> made. The lens hood is junk. I have already lost it once and had to get a
> replacement for $10. But for a D50, it will be good enough.
>

If that's what you experience, then I suggest that you get your
camera/lens checked/calibrated as it is faulty. An example shot from
mine fully wide at 70mm is at:
http://www.geocities.com/angels2000photos/pixels.jpg
My 18-70 is absolutely pin sharp with pixel level acutance at full wide
aperture. The lens has some faults, noticeable vignetting fully wide,
and a non-linear zoom action. It is also by today's standards for
consumer lenses extremely well made and fast focusing.
I have no idea how you could lose a lens hood. Mine requires a
significant twisting action to either lock it in position or unlock it.
It would be almost as hard to accidentally fall off as the flipping
lens. However, I don't like that type of hood on a "normal" focal
length zoom, as it restricts access to a circular polariser.


> The 50mm f1.8D AF is one of Nikon's best optical performer. It's also build
> like a piece of junk made out of plastic. But it sells dirt cheap ($99). Its
> optical performance is excellent and its AF works well.
>
> The 70-300 f4-5.6D AF ED zoom is a good lens. Again its build like Nikon
> wants it to self-destruct in no time to ensure that we always have to buy
> new lenses. The AF is sluggish. But on a D70, between 70 to 200mm I get good
> results.
>
>
>
> The 105mm micro Nikkor f2.8D AF is a very good lens. It's actually a very
> useful lens, which is also build well. It focus from infinity to 1:1 and is
> well worth the $600 (US dollars!).
>

A Tamron 90mm or Sigma 105mm will provide at least as good optical
performance (better according to photodo.com MTF test data) as the
Nikkor at about half the price. Build quality arguments and focus
action quibbles about aftermarket lenses should be mainly ignored.
Unlike Canon's offerings, the Nikkor does not offer AF-S, which is about
the only thing that would entice me to pay the extra $$$, as the Tamron
and Sigma are well made. I'm not saying that the Nikkor is a bad lens,
just that two aftermarket manufacturers have produced very worthy
alteratives at great prices.
>
> The 80-200mm f2.8D AF is a very good lens. It's heavy and an overkill for a
> D50. But it's sharp and has a good AF. Even for a D70, it's a little bit too
> heavy. But hey, we're all waiting for the D200
>
> How about Sigma and Tamron lenses? Well, find out for yourself.
>
> Gregor
>

 
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GTO
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      08-27-2005
> If that's what you experience, then I suggest that you get your
> camera/lens checked/calibrated as it is faulty.


It's the lens. I already checked it. It's not the camera as proposed by so
many. I mounted the D70 on top of an optical bench with a fixed focal length
to ensure that its AF works. The D70 is reasonable well behaved. But I am
not sure if we are talking about the same lens since with the 18-70mm lenses
I have seen, the lens hood always seems to fall off rather easily. BTW, did
you use f4 for your test image? If you used a high f-stop, no wonder your
kit lens can produce sharp images.

Gregor


 
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frederick
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      08-27-2005
GTO wrote:
>>If that's what you experience, then I suggest that you get your
>>camera/lens checked/calibrated as it is faulty.

>
>
> It's the lens. I already checked it. It's not the camera as proposed by so
> many. I mounted the D70 on top of an optical bench with a fixed focal length
> to ensure that its AF works. The D70 is reasonable well behaved. But I am
> not sure if we are talking about the same lens since with the 18-70mm lenses
> I have seen, the lens hood always seems to fall off rather easily. BTW, did
> you use f4 for your test image? If you used a high f-stop, no wonder your
> kit lens can produce sharp images.
>
> Gregor
>
>

I used full wide at 70 - so f4.5. The sharpness I see seems fairly
consistently with reports from others. A few weeks ago another poster
and I discussed this lens, and he posted some samples taken with the
18-70 on a D2x that were terrible. Perhaps there are some with
problems. Apart from the vignetting, the one I have is as close to
perfect that you could hope for from any zoom, let alone a relatively
inexpensive one. The vignetting is not just at the 18mm end as reported
in some reviews. It is also at the 70mm end when shooting wide, and is
not because of depth of filter rings.
The "petal" shaped lens hood rotates and "snap" locks in position. It
needs a bit of force, and an equal force to remove it, so it's not
likely to fall off in my opinion. Mine came with a D70 purchased about
3 months ago. Perhaps they changed the hood since early ones?
 
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