Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let's Talk Cameras and Lenses

I'm curious . . . 
what type of camera(s) and lens(es) do you have? What do you find to be their advantages and disadvantages? 
I started my most recent foray into photography in 2005, with a Nikon D50 and its basic "kit" lens (18-55mm).  These served me really well for a really long time.  
My next lens purchase was a zoom lens that would extend to 300mm. I got it to shoot sports and street photography, but unfortunately, I broke it when I tripped and fell at a baseball game. A similar fate befell my next zoon lens (a Nikon 55-200). I'm currently on my third zoom lens, a Nikon 55-300, and I'm trying really hard to take good care of it.
I have two other lenses, both of which I love. They are both "fixed" or "prime" lenses - a 50 mm and an 80 mm.  They both allow me to shoot at a very low f-stop, which has been very useful for shooting indoors and (especially) inside basketball gyms. And they take gorgeous, crisp photos.
The biggest limitation of the D50, though, was that it only has 6.1 megapixels. As I became a better and better photographer, I felt the need to upgrade. Last Christmas, I upgraded to a Nikon D5100, which I love.  It's got 16.2 megapixels and all kinds of bells and whistles which I am still exploring. Both my kit lens and my zoom lens work really well with it.  
Unfortunately, neither my 50 mm nor my 80 mm lens will autofocus on the D5100. They both will on the D50.  So, if I want to use the lenses with my better camera, I need to focus manually, which can be tricky but not impossible. I took Aria's portrait using the D5100 and my 80 mm lens. Sometimes when I want to use either of the lenses (especially the 50 mm), I will often pull out my old, trusty D50 and use it. It feels a bit clunky, but I love the ability to autofocus. This is especially true for street photography.  I put a lot of money into the 80 mm lens and don't want to have to replace it, so I think I'll just have to work on my manual focusing abilities!  The 50 mm lens was very inexpensive - it's actually a film lens. But the glass on it is really beautiful. 
Still, my next lens purchase might be a 50 mm that will autofocus on my D5100. Alternately, I'm considering purchasing a 35 mm lens that will autofocus on my D5100.
I have a very old iphone with a very bad camera. Maybe once I upgrade my iphone, I will add that camera to my inventory. But not yet.
To summarize, I have two cameras: a Nikon D50 and a Nikon D5100. I'm unwilling/unable to give up the D50 because two of my favorite lenses will not autofocus with the D5100.  I have four lenses: a 18-55, a 55-300, a 50 mm and an 80 mm.  I am considering purchasing a new 50 mm lens that will autofocus or a 35 mm lens.
So, now it's your turn.  Let's talk. . .  tell me about your camera and lens inventory. And what  is your likely next purchase. I can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Let's Talk is a semi-regular series to solicit honest discussion and feedback on an issue of interest.  All opinions welcome.


Missus Wookie said...

To the amazement of several people I held out buying a mobile phone until the iphone 5 was released and then bought a 4S. The main reason? Apple didn't change the camera ;)

I have a Canon G12 just over a year old - I like it but need to venture into manual mode more. I've just started touching those rather scary dials...

Amy said...

This is very interesting, I am just about to upgrade my camera body. I use Canon cameras and am likely to stay with them because I am familiar with all the buttons and dials!

I have to say, if it weren't for this particular body starting to play up I would have spent money on an 35mm or 80mm fixed lens instead. I have a Canon 10D which is quite an old body now - it still takes a very good photo - when it is not having a temper tantrum!

I have a 24-70mm 2.8 lens and a 50mm 1.8 lens. I really like the 50mm and would consider upgrading to get a faster one.

I was considering the Canon 5D mkII for the new body - it is a full frame camera, but may not after considerable research indicating that it has fewer focal points than the 7D which is not full frame .... and I cannot afford a 5d mkIII - I'm a hobbyist not a professional! I know I will notice a big difference going to the 7D - but it is essentially an upgrade of what I have, albeit several modes up ... I was wanting to go the full frame as the next challenge.

I also have a Canon G11 as my point and shoot - I would thoroughly recommend this camera to anyone who doesn't want a larger dSLR but wants fantastic shots and a camera with an excellent macro capacity - most of my shots on the blog this year have come from that camera. I have been very pleased with the results.

One draw back to Canon body in this range, and the one I want to upgrade to, is that they are very heavy. The upside is that they are not a plastic construction, but after the weddings or long sessions with the camera my wrists and arms hurts.

Amy said...

I've just seen Missus Wookie's comment - go for it Mrs W, they are great cameras and you will LOVE the off auto settings once you get the hang of them!

Sian said...

Sorry, I know nothing about any of this! I can't contribute to a discussion about lenses at all - I have a five year old Panasonic Bridge camera and I keep thinking about upgrading and then I spend the money on our travel fund instead.

Karen said...

I have a Canon Rebel Xsi. It's now several years old, and much improved Rebels have come out in recent years, but it still is enough camera for me. If (when) I upgrade I will probably go to the Canon 60D which is a better body but will still take the lens I already own. I'm not a good enough photographer to warrant going to full-frame and having to replace the lens. My favorite lens is the Canon 50mm 1.4. I also have three Tamron lens (less expensive than Canon, but excellent quality): 28-300, 17-50, and a 60mm macro lens. If I had to do it over again, I would get the 85mm macro.

I also have an iPhone 5, and a Canon Power Shot 95. The point and shoot takes fabulous photos (impossible to distinguish from the Rebel's) but it does not do a great job with open apertures, and I find using shutter priority more difficult too. But for everyday portraits and landscape shots, it's great and it fits in my pocket or my purse. I almost always have my phone and the Power Shot with me.

I'll be back later to read the rest of the comments!

Cheri said...

How fun that you've asked us all to talk about ourselves and one of our fave topics!

So, I shoot with a Canon SD1400IS point & shoot which has a fantastic macro mode and was the camera of choice for a lot of my nature walks and Friday quote photos.

And I have the Canon EOS 60D that I got for my birthday this year and am just learning to use. The 60D replaced a Canon Rebel purchased in 2002, the first year we went digital. That Rebel was only 5 or 6 megapixels and at the time was pretty "up there" but by the time I got serious about learning to use it, I was getting far better pics from my little p&s. For the 60D we upgraded from the kit lens to a Tamron 18-270 lens (highly recommended by our camera store). I also have an older Canon 75-300 zoom lens, and a Canon 50mm 1.8 fixed lens. With the range of the Tamron, it is rare that we use either of the other lenses. My next purchase (not anytime soon) is likely to be a macro lens and then I'll be talking to Karen!!!

Abi said...

Ooh, we have very similar tastes in cameras! I have a Nikon D40. I know it is pretty old now but I love it and I definitely don't have the money to upgrade it. To be honest it does all I want it to so I have no complaints. I use the kit lens and a fixed 50mm which is manual focus. Like you it in turn drives me up the wall because its a bit tricky but I LOVE the f-stop. I think I am going to try and save up for a 50mm prime with auto focus.


Elizabeth said...

I only have a Canon SD1200 but I do love it. It fits nicely in my purse so I always have it with me. Frankly, I don't have the patience to learn a more sophisticated camera.

Ladkyis said...

I was given an Olympus SP-55OUZ. It has a x18 optical zoom and so many whistles and bells to help make pictures look good. I love it and haven't a hope of ever making the most of it because I am a snapper not a photographer. I leave that to my son-in-law who has a degree in it! I can set it so that I use available light or use the flash (not very often) I have played with that setting that makes it take a load of pictures at once but that is just too scary. I would love a DSLR af any kind simply because I like gadgets. I would never take it off auto so I am content to use my gift camera and gradually discover what it can do.

debs14 said...

My husband just bought 'us' a Nikon 5100, although I don't seem to be getting to use it very much. He's also started going to a local photographic club and he's thoroughly enjoying getting back into SLR photography. I have a little Panasonic Lumix which I love and although it's just a point and shoot, I'm always pleased with the results. I also love the fact that my iphone has a camera, so there is never an excuse for missing a photo opportunity!

becky ruppel said...

I tend to buy used gear and I've been lucky with all of it. I have (oh no I counted) 11 cameras, 4 are digital. My favorite of the digital is the Nikon D800 I bought with the proceeds of a large job. Big files but beautiful, very little post production. My favorite film camera is the 40 year old Hasselblad I bought 6 years ago. It's with me all the time, I shoot black & white, color and Polaroids with it. No batteries, no auto focus, no built in light meter. It forces me to slow down, breathe, and compose,
But I do love my IPhone too....and I have the first camera I ever shot, my dad's Kodak Pony 35mm from the 50's.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I recently upgraded from a Nikon D40 to D3100. I have the kit lens, the 55-200 zoom, and the 35mm fixed lens. Mostly I use the 35mm because it has the f1.8 option & at my usual home light levels I need that f stop. I'm pretty happy with my lenses but now that I have a camera that will auto focus with a 50mm, I am thinking about it for next November. DH wants a 55-300mm but I'm having problems justifying the cost.
I also have a little Nikon P&S that I keep in my purse.