Buying Nikon SLR - couple of questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AndyVX, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Hello,

    I was looking at buying either the Nikon F80 or F65.
    These were the two models I was looking at on Nikon Canada's website. Are these the same as the N80 and N65 listed on the Nikon USA website?

    Also, can anyone let me know what the main differences are between these two cameras in plain english? I'm new to photography, so I'm not really able to grasp what all the listed specs mean.

    If anyone knows off-hand of any good websites for newbies to SLR photography, please let me know.

    Thanks a bunch.
     
  2. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    Andy --

    yes, the F80/65 are the same as N80/65. The "N" versions are the US names.

    As far as the differences, the ones that really probably matter are:

    metering The "matrix" metering mode (where the frame is divided into segments and the exposure determined over the entire frame) has 6 segments in the N65, while the N80 has 10. This will allow, in general, more accurate auto-exposure settings. The N80 also has 'spot' metering, which allows you to take an exposure reading from a very small area, while the N65 does not. This might come in handy if you wanted to, say, sillouette someone against a bright sky -- you'd spot meter the sky, lock the exposure, and shoot. The sky would be properly exposed, while the person would be drastically underexposed.


    shutter speeds N80 - 30sec - 1/4000; N65 30 sec - 1/2000. Having a faster maximum shutter speed allows you to shoot in very bright light more easily and can stop motion more effectively than a slower shutter speed. Normally 1/2000 vs. 1/4000 won't matter, but you never know.

    film speed setting The N80 allows you to manually override the DX-encoded film-speed setting of a roll of film, while the N65 doesn't. This might matter, for example, if you found yourself in a low-light situation but with only something like 100-speed film. With the N80, you could up-rate it to 400 or 800, thereby allowing you to shoot at resonably fast shutter speeds. You'd then tell the (probably professional) lab that you "pushed" the film a stop or two and they'd make the appropriate adjustments when deveoping the film.

    flash sync-speed The N80 can sync w/ the flash at up to 1/125 while the N65 can only go up to 1/90. What this means is that the flash can be timed correctly to expose the entire frame at a faster speed. That's probably not the best explanation, but in general, the faster the speed, the better.

    bracketing N80 allows 2 or 3 frame exposure bracketing, while the N65 allows only 3 frame bracketing.

    viewfinder info The N80 displays more info in the viewfinder.

    flexibility The N80 has 18 user-programmable settings. Some, like on-demand viewfinder girdlines, are very helpful for things like shooting architecture or landscapes. The N65 has no such features.

    viewfinder size The viewfinder in the N80 allows you to see more of the frame ~92% vs. 89%.

    focus lock N80 has it. N65 doesnt.


    So, that's the big ones that I can come up with by looking at the Nikon website. I've had an N80 for about the last 1.5 yrs and love it, tho I just bought an F100 off eBay and should have it by next week (I'm keeping the N80, tho). The bottom line is that if you have anything more than a passing interest, get the N/F80. It costs more -- $419 vs. $249, but I think it's worth it. Come to think of it, what you should actually do is go onto bhphotovideo.com, order the "imported" F80 for about $70 less. Since you're in Canada, you'll still have the full warranty.

    Some good sites for brief tutorials are

    http://www.photo.net/making-photographs/
    http://www.photographytips.com/
    http://www.kodak.com/US/en/nav/takingPics.shtml



    though I'm sure there are thousands of others.
     
  3. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    I only noticed depth-of-field preview in one of the camera descriptions. That button lets you see what the focus looks like, in case you're taking shots that depend on a small depth of focus (to blur unwanted background) or a large one (to get a clear picture of a group of people).

    All of these sorts of cameras should have through-the-lens flash metering at exposure time (the camera cuts the flash off automatically when there's enough light, so that you don't need to do complicated calculations to use bounce flash). My Minolta X-570 (stolen from me) and its replacement (an X-700, broken *and* discontinued) had TTL flash metering, and it was great. The X-370 doesn't have that feature. It's hard to believe that Minolta kept it, while ditching the other two!

    If you do any sort of indoor photography, get a separate flash unit with a bounce/tilt head. Direct flash is good mainly for ruining your pictures with "red eye" (or "green eye", etc., depending on the species of your subject). Make sure that the flash unit can work with your camera's TTL flash metering system, and that when doing so, it won't use up all of its charge unless the camera requests it. A flash that is thrifty with power will let you fire shots one after another, instead of waiting a lot for recharging (and possibly missing good pictures).
     
  4. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Thomas; I've used Minoltas for years, both x570 and a couple x700s. Actually the x570 was my first SLR. Funny, it fell off the trunk of my car years ago(I was doing an assignment for a paper) and all I did was bend the winder.

    Mind you I wrecked the hot shoe on an 360 flash years ago and wish I could replace it CHEAPLY.

    That, or find a used one.

    The x 700 was a fantastic camera.

    Brent
     
  5. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    Both the N80 & N65 have a depth of field preview button. Both have TTL flash metering as well.

    As far as a flash goes, a good, cheap flash for Nikon's is the SB-50DX. It's only like $159 and defaults to a bounce angle and also comes w/ a built in diffuser to put over the built-in speedlight if you want to use both at the same time.
     
  6. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Hey,

    Thanks for the help everyone. I'm still kind of on the fence as to which camera I'm buying.
    I was looking at the F/N55. I was just thinking that the money saved on the body could be put towards a higher quality lens.

    Tom, thanks for the links. I'll be sure to check them out.
     
  7. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    If you're already looking at buying better lenses, then you'll kinda defeat their purpose by getting an N55 as it doesn't autofocus with the higher end lenses. It also doesn't do TTL metering w/ add-on flashes, so you're s.o.l on that front. Since it sounds like you're trying get started on a limited budget, I'd suggest getting the 65 or 80, body only, then getting something like the the 50mm 1.8D lens. The "kits" all come w/ the 28-80 3.5-5.6 G lens, which are OK, but aren't as sharp as the 50mm or, say, the 28-105 3.5-4.5 D if you really want a zoom.

    Again, since it sounds like you're semi-serious about it, I'd say at least get the 65. It might be OK w/ the bundled lens, but if you were willing to spend an a little extra, you could get the body and then the 28-105, which goes for $300, imported.

    If you had lots of $$, I say get the 50mm, the 105mm 2.8 macro (I've got both), and then the 80-200 2.8D (which I lust after), tho this combo would cost you about $1800 total.
     
  8. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Thanks again Tom. I didn't realize that the F55 had those limitations w/autofocus and higher end lenses.

    The F65 is $409CDN and the F80 is $649CDN. So, I'm going to go with the F65 + a 50mm prime lens.
    The F65 kit (with 28mm-80mm G) is $519CDN. I would then need to add the 50mm lens on top of that. Is paying the extra money for the kit to get the 28-80 lens cheaper than buying it seperately worth the money (like would I be better off having that lens in my arsenal)? Or would I be better off just getting the body + a 50mm lens to start?

    As a side note, I've been looking at what macro lenses are for, and they sound very interesting to me. But, I'll have to hold off on buying one for a while. Should learn how to properly use an SLR camera first, before I go messing around with different types of lenses. [​IMG]

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    Macro lenses have a very short minimum focus distance, let you get really close for closeups and such. Pretty cool to have on occasion.

    Just out of curiosity, I scanned ebay for nikon lenses yesterday (after reading this thread for the first time), lots of stuff there. 50mm f1.8 lenses are going for not a whole lot there, that's an option if you're willing to buy used.

    One thing that's fantastic about Nikon cameras is their backwards compatibility. You can take a brand new, top of the line autofocus camera, slap an old manual focus lens on it and be good to go. You'll have to focus manually (obviously) but all the automatic exposure metering and control will work just fine. I still use my manual focus 50mm f1.4 lens with my autofocus nikon (an older N8008s). Works the other way too, I can use my autofocus lenses on my old manual focus body.

    The 80-200 f2.8D lens is pretty fantastic, I had a chance to use that a while back. Pretty huge and bulky though. The more I think about what I want next, the more I keep looking at a fisheye lens. Just something fantastically cool about the skewed perspective pictures!

    Andrej
     
  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I suggest you get a good book on photography as well. It doesn't matter how good your camera is if you can't get the exposure right!

    "National Geographic: Photographer's Field Guide" is a good start.

    If you don't know what an F-stop is, what exposure compensation means, and have no clue what a tripod is for, then DON'T get a camera until you visit a bookstore or library and do some research! What's the point of getting an SLR if you don't use any of the features?

    Those online guides listed earlier should help though.

    Good luck!
     
  11. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    I found a book tucked away in my house, that we've had probably since around 1985. It's called 'The Joy of Photography iirc(the book's not infront of me at the moment). Seems like a good book so far. It appears to cover all the major/minor aspects of photography using a SLR camera in manual mode.

    It all seems a little confusing right now, but I'm slowly starting to uderstand. I'm sure that once I start taking some pictures (with the book inhand) I'll more quickly start understanding everything.

    I went down to the camera shop today to look at and hold the F65. Feels very comfortable. Probably next paycheck (friday) I'll take the plunge. Still yet haven't totally figured out what to get for the first lens though.

    Thanks everyone for all your help.
     
  12. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    For a first lens, I'd recommend a zoom lens in the 35-70mm range (or something similar). They aren't very expensive and will cover you for most of picture taking circumstances. One you have a better idea of what type of photography you'll be doing more of, then pick up some more prime (non-zoom) lenses. These will give you a better picture (especially when you magnify pics), but aren't as flexible as zoom lenses.

    You might be able to find or talk the camera shop into giving you a package deal on the body and lens both together, I've seen ads for that in many flyers and such.

    Andrej
     
  13. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Unless that zoom lens has an aperture of no higher than f/2.8 (at all focal lengths), supplement it with a 50mm lens with a fixed speed of f/1.4, f/1.7, or f/1.8.

    Then you'll have something to use when you want to take pictures in low light.
     
  14. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    What Thomas says makes sense .... if you get the F65 kit that comes w/ the 28-80mm 3.5-5.6G zoom, you can then also get the 50mm 1.8D for only like $100(US) more.

    Good luck ! Hopefully I'll have my F100 around the same time [​IMG]
     
  15. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Hey everyone,

    I decided against the F65 kit. It comes with the 28-80mm G lens. The G lens has no aperture ring. So, using the camera with that lens means I don't have full manual control... which I want.

    So, I'll be getting the F65 and the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.

    Thanks once again everyone.
     
  16. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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  17. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Hey everyone,

    I went to a camera store near my house today and actually used the F65 w/28-80mm G lens(as opposed to just holding it like last time).

    Now I have a bunch more questions. [​IMG]
    First off, I didn't like that lens at all. The zoom wasn't smooth at all. It just felt really, for lack of a better word, "crusty"... if that makes any sense. I sure am not getting the kit that comes with that lens!

    Another thing that I didn't like, was that you couldn't focus manually on it. You just frammed the shot, and the camera did the focusing just before it snaps the picture.

    This was very different than what I've been getting used to on my 20 year old Minolta X70. When I buy the F65 w/50mm f/1.8 lens, tell me that things wont be like that in terms of the focus... because I didn't like it at all.

    One other thing. There are two AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lenes. One has a 'D', the other doesn't. What's the difference, and which should I be getting?

    Thanks again everyone.
     
  18. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    Andy --

    Well, yeah, the 28-80G isn't the greatest, though I'm not sure what you mean by "crusty". Could you not zoom in and out smoothly ? Did the zoom ring stick ?

    The "D" lenses are able to send distance information back to an add-on flash, like the SB-50DX. If it knows how far you are from the subject you're focusing on, it can adjust the intensity / duration of the flash accordingly. I think the D is only $20 or so bucks more than the non-D, so you may as well get it to safeguard against future purchases.

    And, the N65 does indeed have a manual focus mode. There's a switch near the bottom left of the lens (as it faces away from you) that sets either "M" or "AF". You probably also want to make sure that it wasn't in "closet subject" mode where it assumes you want to focus on whatever is closest to the camera at the time.

    hth.
     
  19. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Tom,

    Ya, the zoom just wasn't smooth. But it doesn't really matter much, since I wont be getting that lens anyways. [​IMG]

    I found that switch on the front for AF/M. I set it to M, and the dial near the LCD was set to M. The lens still wasn't focusing though as far as I could tell. Like it was just allowing me to zoom in and out between 28-80mm.

    Maybe I'm just not understanding zoom lenses compared to the 50mm lens that I'm using now. I just thought that there would be two dials on it. One for zooming in and out, and another one for adjusting the focus.

    Am I missing something here?
     
  20. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I've got no speccific advice.

    But shop carefully. A good SLR will last a long, long time. I still use my Dad's Canon AE-1 Program from the early 80s, and it takes a stunning photograph (assuming I do things right).
     

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