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  1. #1

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    Mid-Range lens Dilemma

    I've been shooting a monthly band contest, (in a dark club), using a AF 70-210 F4-5.6 Nikon lens on a N80 body about 75% of the time and it's just not doing it. Sharpness is not where I want it. (I also have a Minolta AF and Canon FD bodies that I can use.) I think part of my problem is that I'm playing the long end more then I should, but the zoom is nice as I can stand in one place and not have to move. This last date I checked various focal lengths when framing to see what may be a prime lens consideration and 135mm seems about right. I could probably go with a 105 to 135mm lens and I'd be ok. Problem is, is that if I stay in Nikon the AF105 is too expensive and I don't know about the 135 selections and their sharpness. Additionally anything other then AF on the N80 results in no metering with the body so no TTL/Flash TTL. The Minolta (Maxxum 70) and Canon (A1) bodies would work, but it might necessitate buying a better flash.
    Since my shoot is more for fun then money making (now), I'm thinking maybe about a better performing 3rd party lens for either the Nikon or Minolta. My budget is $200 and under and I'd appreciate your thoughts.
    W.A. Crider

  2. #2
    Leighgion's Avatar
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    No surprise that combo isn't working well for you. Being stuck at f/4 in a dark club is already a slow death, so being stuck at f/5.6 is twice as dead.

    I think your analysis of your situation is fairly inaccurate in that there's no really good moderate length fast tele at a reasonable price that's going to get you metering support on your N80. Is not feasible to get yourself closer? Most band photographers seem to favor a fast 35mm f2 or f2.8 to shoot the performance from closer in. You could moderate and go with a very affordable 50mm f1.8, which is only around $130 new and less used.

  3. #3
    darinwc's Avatar
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    Could some of your sharpness problems be due to camera shake? If so, have you thought about a faster lens?
    What about the Nikon Nikkor AF 80-200mm f2.8 ED?

  4. #4

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    If you have a monopod, Vivitar 135mm f2.3 or One of the OEM (soligor I think) 135mm f1.8.

  5. #5

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    Taking a quick look around the KEH web site it looks like switching to Canon may be your best bet. There are some fast (f2.8 or better) mid-range (85-135) manual focus Canon lenses in your price range. You really want the 85/1.8 AF Nikkor but that's just not going to happen on your budget.

  6. #6
    ronlamarsh's Avatar
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    Lens

    If you can find an 85mm f1.8 you'll like it. mine is an AF but use it on my F3 its a good sharp lens but large and heavy.
    No escaping it!
    I must step on fallen leaves
    to take this path

  7. #7

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    I would look into manual focus lenses, even if you lose some things. It will save you some money, therefore will let you get a better lens with your budget. IMO, a meter will do you more harm than good in this situation. TTL flash metering is also a fairly useless thing in this situation, IMO. You don't need (or want) either of those things, IMO. Like I said, "in my opinion". I don't use flash for these sorts of pix. I'd look at 85mm f/1.8s and 105mm f/2.5s for sure. They are good bang-for-your-buck lenses.

    If you feel like AIing it, I just acquired a Vivitar Auto 135mm f/2.8 that I will never use, for pre-AI Nikons. (I already have a Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 that I love to death.) You can have it cheap, if you will actually use it.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  8. #8

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    Ok, thanks, and to answer some of your suggestions, I unfortunately can't get any closer to the stage as we video this competition. Secondly, I've got the 50F1.8 and it's a wide shot; I need full frame individual shots. Third, I don't want another zoom, especially one out of my budget, and the 85mm is too short. Ok, so that leaves the Hamsters rec's and 2F/s. Btw, the Nikon flash TTL is spot on and I mean spot on. Maybe I'll see if I can check the Vivitar out on Photosig. I hate to buy lenses just to try them. Thats why a drawer is filling up.
    W.A. Crider

  9. #9
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Zoom schmoom. Get a Nikon 105/1.8 manual AIS. Super lens, very nice for low light work. Sometimes I see them go for somewhere around your budget. KEH has a BGN one right now for under $400. N.b. if you trade in one lens for another, I think they will give you a discount.

    P.S. in low light I almost always manually focus. I do this with a 50/1.2, a 105/1.8, a 180/2.8, and an adapted mamiya 200/2.8.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  10. #10
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    You say 'sharpness is not where I want it' - is this because the AF can't focus in the dim light, there is camera shake (though you seem to be using flash), the lens just isn't sharp enough shooting wide-open, or the AF gets distracted by reflections from mike stands and the like?
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

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