Hi all. I am looking to save for a used camera and 2 or 3 lenses for night time street photography / cityscapes. I do not have a budget set yet. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Posted 11 January 2020 - 07:15 PM
No budget, that's the tough part...
I'm fairly new to digital so bear with me, I still have my old Canon F1n and the three prime lenses I used with it, (24mm f/2-50mm f/1.4 135mm f/2.8. I felt I could cover most opportunities with them. Digital is a whole new world, but I'll try and help you out since things seem to be slow around here right now.
Two reasonably priced Nikons I really like are the D5500 and the D7200, both crop frame cameras with 24MP and Expeed4 processors. The D5500 is a compact camera with no auto focus motor built in, but it boasts an articulating touch screen the D7200 lacks. The D7200 is a medium body that has the built in motor for auto focus meaning you have more choices in lenses and 51 auto focus points compared to the D5500 which has 39, the D7200 is also weather sealed which coule be a plus in the U.K. Either are very capable cameras for what you want. In U.S. Dollars, a gently used D5500 would run between $300-$400, a gently used D7200 $500-$650. You could get lucky on an e-bay auction and get either for less, maybe with a lens or other accessories.
As for lenses I would opt for the fastest lenses I could afford, decent used mid range zoom lenses would be in the $250-$350 USD range from Nikon, Tokina, Tamron, or Sigma. On a DX body you multiply the focal length by 1.5, (a 50mm becomes a 75mm for instance). Doing night scenes in a city, I might think about a Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II around $250 USD, so lets say your budget is $1000 USD and you opt for the D7200 and Tamron lens you should have cash left for a few SD cards.
Posted 12 January 2020 - 11:40 AM
Between the two cameras you're interested in, for me at least, it's a no brainer. The D7200 checks off all of the boxes I'm interested in. Just the fact that it has an actual pentaprism rather than the cheaper, dimmer and more fragile pentamirror that's used in the D5500 tips the scales for me. Also, the internal AF motor and AI indexing which allows the camera to use a vast... I mean really vast array of quality glass is the second deal clincher. And the fact that it accepts an add on battery grip is the icing on the cake. Many of us prefer the way cameras handle with a grip. I know I do. The D7200 is, all around, a far more versatile camera.
Lenses... gee, I donno. I usually caution the few people who ask my advice about obtaining too many lenses at once. And, even though I have a fair number of zooms in my bag(s) I tend to favor primes for most of my photography. Also, I can't really comment on any aftermarket lenses because all of my glass is Nikon. However, that said, the Tamron you're looking at seems to have pretty nice specs.
Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:12 AM
Thank you both for taking the time to respond.
It is my (very limited admittedly) understanding, that larger sensors are "better" (if that is the right term) at gathering light and that sensors with lower Mb values are better still, because the pixels are larger. However, sensors with fewer pixels do not allow you to crop in as much as a sensor with more. Is this true?
The reason I mention this is that I am lucky enough to live an hours drive from a large camera retail store. They have a D700 (12Mb sensor) retailing for £400 / $518 with 12K actuations and has very little signs of wear. I do appreciate it is a much older camera. Having just said that, I did view the Nikon promotional video for the D7200 and it does seem to capture nice images in the dark.
With regards to lenses, I am looking for a couple of primes. Looking at images on the internet I really like the 35mm & 85mm focal length.
If I bought a zoom lens, I would probably spend to much time zoomin in and out trying to decide what focal length I prefer, instead of just taking the shot
Would either of you recomend starting with manual focus lenses for night time photography?
Thanks again guys.
Posted 14 January 2020 - 07:46 AM
The D700 is old enough that the D7200 has about equal performance for available dark if you expose correctly. You would be better off with a D750.
If you like what you see from an 85 on FX, going FX is the only way as you can't get that FOV on DX without paying through the nose for a 58/1.4 or get a slow 60/2.8 MicroNikkor. OTOH, a D7200, AF-S 24/1.4 and AF-S 58/1.4 would make for lots of good available dark photos.
Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:38 AM
As an aside... the current AF-S 85mm f/1.8 does a beautiful job on DX. The field of view is close to that of a 130mm lens on FX which makes it a very nice portrait lens. I use it quite a bit on my D7000 for that purpose and I've been more than happy with the results.
Posted 14 January 2020 - 02:20 PM
I should add that available dark is difficult enough without dealing with manual focus in cameras that aren't optimized for manual focussing unless you are already proficient in focusing manually. I have a Katz-eye screen in one D700 and it is almost as easy to focus manually as an old F2, F3 or F4. This is not the case with the original screen. Katz-eye are no more and all others are very far from that level.