BTW, good move on the 80-200mm zoom decision: it is a fine lens but with the dedicated hood it on is 22cm long, and it takes 62mm filters which do not fit in with your other lens choices. When people are trying to decide on whether to buy an F3 or other Nikons I always remind them that the metering pattern is 80% center-weighted compared with more moderate center-weighting on other manual focus Nikons. It does affect the way you use the camera. I liked my F3HP in most respects, but never liked the little LCD meter readout, so I sold it. I agree with the comment on the value of 100% viewer coverage, and I use an F2A for situations where that is important: what a great camera.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned, and is the main reason why my FE sees a lot less use than the FM and FM2N, is the viewfinder metering indicator. The unilluminated match needle system in the FE is great in good lighting conditions, but against a dark background is completely unusable. The -/o/+ LEDs in the FM are clearly visible in all lights, as of course are the backlit LCDs in more modern bodies.
I don't quite get what you guys are talking about with these 200mm lenses (either zoom or prime). What are you planning on shooting with this thing, birds?
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
I hate to tell you this, but doing bird photography with a 200 mm. lens is a joke. Really serious birders do their thing with a 400 mm lens and a 1.4 converter. Small to medium sized critters in the zoo are in the 200 mm lens range.
Originally Posted by clayne
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Up to around 200mm is very useful for portraiture (better ears/nose ratio) and general scenic stuff, and I also use that field of view a good deal for landscape.
But lately I am packing the mamiya 645 pro system with me on travel, and I have a superb 200/2.8 apo lens for that and an adapter which allows me to use it on my 35mm Nikons. The price of the Nikon 200 prime is nutty, almost everybody who needs 200mm goes for one of the 80-200 or 70-200 lenses.
I agree with Frank, 200mm for birding... nah... well okay maybe pigeons For general magazine-style, tight-crop birding, a 300 or 400 is advisable, and many will use TCs with those (just poke around in Audubon magazine, for example, in their last competition issue). What little birding I have done has been with a 300/4 and a 400/3.5.... and most of the time those were short.
I guess I would just get the gear you picked out. The FE2 is a great camera. All the manual focus cameras are old now and getting older. Maybe you will have to have it serviced and maybe not. The lenses you selected are fine. You have a $500.00 budget and so you cannot buy everything right now. The SB15 flash works well with the FE2 ($25.00). Also the sb600 which is a new model will work well. I used that one on my FE2 many times. One of the neat things about the FE2 is the fast sync speed which is great for using fill flash. You can use focus screens and diopter eye pieces from the FM3A which are still readily available.
Keep it real simple, always.
Stay away from off-brand lenses. Manual Nikkors are dirt cheap now anyway and you simply aren't going to get better quality than they.
Consider, strongly, a manual camera like FM, FM2 or FM2n.
Overall, I like your planned kit. The FE2 is a fine choice. I would delete the 80-200 zoom. There simply is no need for the compromises of a zoom. I recently bought an AI 200/4 from KEH for only $59 (EX condition). I have been using the AI 300/4.5, and I have yet to see any faults in it. I like DOF, and so I have been using it stopped down (F/8 and beyond). It has produced excellent results.
Last edited by FilmOnly; 04-13-2010 at 09:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Your planned kit sounds fine. I've shot a similar kit for many years, except with different bodies. I'd probably go with an 85/1.8 AI'd Nikkor, either the rubber focus version or one of the metal focus ring Nikkor-H or HC versions. Through KEH, they are a bit more expensive than the 85/2, but they are nicer lenses. I still own my 85/1.8 that I bought in spring 2007. Mistakenly sold the first one in 2006, due to financial troubles.
The 200/4, pretty much any version is good, yes, even the original Q version. KEH currently has a BGN grade 200/4 QC with factory AI ring for $35.00.
I'd also subsitute a Nikkor-H 50/2 with AI ring for the 50/1.8. Single coated version is slightly contrastier than the Nikkor-HC and later variants, but not as big a difference as the 50/1.4 S versus the 50/1.4 SC, which was fairly low-contrast, compared to the single-coated S version and the AI version which both seem to be about the same.
To bridge the gap between 24 and 50, a 35/2 Nikkor-O with AI ring would be a good choice. Just make sure you have the HN-3 lens hood. It does like to flare a bit. Between the 85 and the 200, a 135/3.5 Nikkor with an AI ring (or even a milled ring) would be good. Found it to be pretty darn close quality-wise to the 105/2.5, but at 1/2-1/3 the cost. Again, either single coated or multicoated is fine.
Forgot to mention, my current setup, lens-wise is:
20/3.5 Nikkor-UD with AI ring (nice lens, 72mm filter size, tho)
24/2.8 Nikkor-NC, again with AI ring
50/1.4 Nikkor AI
50/2 Nikkor-H with AI ring (plus one that's unmodified)
55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AIS
85/1.8 Nikkor with AI ring
60-300 Tamron SP (yes, zoom, and not a Nikkor - surprisingly decent)
200/4 Nikkor AI.
Still need to add a 35/2 or a 35/2.8 to flesh out the range.