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Thread: Which lenses to buy for a Nikon D800/E

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    Which lenses to buy for a Nikon D800/E

    Hi, I am buying a new Nikon and I have narrowed it down to the D800 or 800E,and I would like some lens advice.
    I will be using it for everything but my main interests however are macro, wildlife and motor sports, so which lens would you buy.
    I was thinking to start with a AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED then my funds would be limited to either a AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED or a AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
    I will end up with both in time but I want to buy a SB910 and a Tripod to start with, so one of the lenses will have to wait, so which one would you choose and why?
    The other option would be to buy a cheaper brand and to be able buy both in simular sizes but don't know which brand to pick, what would you do go the cheap stuff and get both or get one and save?
    Cheers Peter

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    From the sounds of it a non full frame camera may be better for your needs. With macro, wild life and motor sports you generally want to have as much reach as possible so a camera with a smaller sensor which will offer a crop factor would be handy. I'm a canon shooter but from a quick search the D300S seems to fulfil the same role as the 7D is the canon line up. It's the highest quality/price DX sensor camera in the line up. It has very fast FPS at 7 frames per second whilst the D800 has only 4 which will be a very important aspect for fast moving photography such as motor sports or trying to capture moving wild life.

    Hope this helps a little bit because from the sounds of it you're looking to spend a very large amount of money and it would be a pity to spend more than you need for what you actually want.
    Canon 60D - 24-105 F4 L - Sigma 10-20 - Kit lenses - 50mm F:1.8 - Tamron 90mm F:2.8 Macro - 430 exII _ Extension Tube Set


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    Well like you I have been on my D800 purchasing journey. It really does depend what you're wanting to shoot - you've identified wildlife (I assume things such as birds, rather than landscapes), sports and macro .. all of which points to the 70-200 2.8 (sports and wildlife) and the 105 2.8 for macro... looks like the 70-200 would be the best bet for those ones (I guess you could buy some extension tubes for the 70-200 and make it a "macro" lens per Matt Granger's video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwgbYaB2jqI&feature=plcp)

    But... with the 70-200 you obviously lose any wide shots. I mainly shoot landscapes and occasionally family and friends, so the 24-70 2.8 fits the bill for my interests. I guess you could say if you shoot a bit of everything, landscapes, people and short telephoto then the 24-70 2.8 is the best walk around lens when you're not 100% certain what you're going to find.

    With regards to the D800 v E, since you don't have a tripod I suggest you take the $300-$400 for the E and spend it on a decent tripod. Don't do what I did and buy a $150 one and hope it'd be okay... it won't.. get the best you can afford right now and don't bugger around. Contemplate purchasing from the USA.. I've picked up a manfrotto 055 legs and 496RC2 head for $218 USD..The legs alone in Australia are $250 and the head another $100.. although shipping from the US is usually around $80, so best buy other things such as memory cards and filters at the same time to spread the shipping fees out across several products.

    For the SB-910, I haven't used it, however from my readings the SB-700 generally does most of what the 910 does, but for the sync port (ask yourself will you need this?) and less flash power. Personally, the 700 will be fine for my needs, I just need a flash that bounces (ie not interested in any strobist work). You'll have to see which one fits your needs.

    In summary:
    - Get the D800. Personally the 4fps in FX mode is fine for my shooting, you might want more than that, so maybe it's not the camera for you shooting wildlife and sports (although you can wack it into DX mode and get 6fps)..
    - Buy a decent tripod with the money used for E version..Perhaps a Manfrotto 055 or maybe lash out and get a carbon fibre one. Ball head would be good too.
    - Buy Nikon 70-200 2.8 with extension tubes (won't be the same quality as the 105 2.8 in macro.. but then you get to buy...)
    - Nikon 24-70 2.8 best walk around lens.
    - Nikon SB-910 or 700, depending on whether you need the extra power and sync port (I think the 910 zooms further too).

    Anyway, that's what I'd do in your situation.
    Last edited by Sifor; 11-07-2012 at 3:34pm.
    Cheers, Troy

    D800; AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G; AF-S 50mm 1.8G; SB-910; || 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM 'S'; APO Teleconverter 2x DG || Phantom 2; H32D Gimbal; 5.8Ghz FPV LCD GS

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    I think the D800 is the wrong choice for macro, wildlife and motor sports - its really designed as a landscape, studio, portrait and maybe wedding camera

    I'd get a D300s, a 105 Micro, a 70-200 VR1 and a 2CTC and you'll have change.






    - - - Updated - - -

    I think the D800 is the wrong choice for macro, wildlife and motor sports - its really designed as a landscape, studio, portrait and maybe wedding camera

    I'd get a D300s (or even a D3s), a 105 Micro, a 70-200 VR1 and a 2CTC and you'll have change.




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    Hi Thanks for your replies so far, I should say that the AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED will be one I do buy as I have budgeted for it (unless someone has a better idea) and its the second one that I was thinking about AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED or a AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II or maybe 2 cheaper brand lenses?

    I will be using it as an all around camera, but I do like macro in regards to the wildlife / landscape its more stationary than in flight rapid shots, even with 4 fps I should be able to get good results if I did want to do that after all its not a video I am after, but a single picture. I think shutter speed and good skills / experience would be more beneficial than fps or am I missing something with DSLR I am not aware of?

    Motor sports will only be occasional as I live in Tassie so we don't get that much here anyway, I just enjoy it, so if I can get a few shots that would be a bonus.

    As for the tripod that will be another topic and I have a budget of around $700 for that.

    Kiwi why do you think that the D800 is the wrong choice for macro, wildlife and motor sports?
    Last edited by flyreels; 11-07-2012 at 5:23pm.

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    Firstly it's quite slow re FPS and that does matter in all three genres

    Secondly it's fx so you lose reach with wildlife and Motorsport offset somewhat by the ability to crop harder

    Thirdly the big advantage of the d800 is its megapixel count but then you'd probably not use them for these genres, you're not exactly printing magazine billboards

    Fourth budget, it's a new high end fc body so expensive, I think investing in lenses is more important

    Even the d7000 is a great choice

    Sigma 70-200 is good value too

    Of course 200mm is mostly not going to be enough for wildlife so the Nikon 70-200 vr1 second hand on a dx body with a 2x tc is a versatile combo

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    Don't buy cheap stuff if you can avoid it,you will be kicking yourself down the track.I can't see much wrong with any of the gear you are suggesting.The D800 lacks a fast drive though,they really botched it there in my opinion in the quest for mega mega pixels.I use a D700 and am really pleased with it.It has never missed a beat.I have never needed a motor drive for macro,no need to so 4fps is heaps for that.Up to you though.What do you REALLY intend on doing with your pix.If for the web do you need 36mp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyreels View Post
    Hi, I am buying a new Nikon and I have narrowed it down to the D800 or 800E,and I would like some lens advice.
    I will be using it for everything but my main interests however are macro, wildlife and motor sports, so which lens would you buy.
    I was thinking to start with a AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED then my funds would be limited to either a AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED or a AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
    I will end up with both in time but I want to buy a SB910 and a Tripod to start with, so one of the lenses will have to wait, so which one would you choose and why?
    For what you do, the D800/E will be the best FX body you can get (IQ wise).
    The 105 VR will be your best choice for macro or portrait on the 36mpix.
    Personally, I don't like using the 24-70/2.8 on the D800 : I mainly use this zoom at f/2.8 and on the 36mpix the results are quite average wide open. If you shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, that will be fine but it will be a waste of money to buy such fast lens.
    The 70-200 VRII performs extremely well on the D800, except at 200mm wide open. Using it with the TCx2.0EIII is not recommended on the D800. So for wildlife work, it's better to get a good prime with TC or a longer zoom without TC (except the expensive 200-400 VR which accepts all three TCs very well on the D800).
    For motor sport, the 70-200 VRII (bear or with TCx1.4) should do the work : good optical quality with the x1.4 and the DX mode on the D800 will give you enough reach and fps for this kind of subject (the buffer capacity is more important than the frame rate on your camera !).
    Last edited by Sar NOP; 12-07-2012 at 9:10am.

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    Sar makes fine points re its being the best FX body, my question is why FX

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    Why FX ?
    As I stated in my first sentence : the best IQ from a DSLR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sar NOP View Post
    Why FX ?
    As I stated in my first sentence : the best IQ from a DSLR.
    well, you actually said "For what you do, the D800/E will be the best FX body you can get (IQ wise)"

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    well, you actually said "For what you do, the D800/E will be the best FX body you can get (IQ wise)"
    Actually,
    for macro : 36mpix is better than 12 or 16mpix,
    for wildlife : 15mpix on DX format is very comfortable to play with the crop, the high ISO is better than the best DX body and the best AF system (with the D4),
    for motor sports : 5 fps with large buffer capacity is comfortable too,
    and for eveything else : FX, 36mpix, best dynamic range, lighter than monobloc body make this D800 very versatile.
    Last edited by Sar NOP; 12-07-2012 at 11:35am.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I think the D800 is the wrong choice for [COLOR=#CCCCCC]macro, wildlife and motor sports - its really designed as a landscape, studio, portrait and maybe wedding camera

    I'd get a D300s, a 105 Micro, a 70-200 VR1 and a 2CTC and you'll have change.
    Can't agree that the D800 is just a landscape, studio, portrait and maybe wedding camera, I use it for wildlife, especially birds, and it is fantastic due to the croppability factor. Before the D800 I use to have 2 cameras, a D700 for FX and a D7000 DX for "reach", but now, the D800 covers both uses. The thing is, even with the D800 cropped to DX and 16Mp, it has more Mp than the D300s and the same amount as the D7000. Even the so-called "lowly" 4fps is not a limiting factor for birding, in fact, I have never found 4fps a limit for anything.

    The image quality from the D800 is better than both the D700 and D7000. High ISO is better as well and I can shoot at ISO6400 with complete ease and the D800 also has better DR right across the ISO range. In fact it has the best rated sensor of any camera according to DxOMark.

    The thing is, the D800 is the most complete camera I have ever used and I wouldn't use anything else at this stage.
    Last edited by Lance B; 12-07-2012 at 11:47am.

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    i didnt actually say "just is"

    - - - Updated - - -

    and I also said when $$$$ is an issue D7000 or D300s is a more affordable option, and will give you more $$$ for lenses which I think's more important

    Id buy a d800 tomorrow too :-)

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    i didnt actually say "just is"

    - - - Updated - - -

    and I also said when $$$$ is an issue D7000 or D300s is a more affordable option, and will give you more $$$ for lenses which I think's more important

    Id buy a d800 tomorrow too :-)
    Fair enough, and I don't mean to harp on about it, but I am not so sure it should be described as being primarily, as you describe; "its really designed as a landscape, studio, portrait and maybe wedding camera" either, as there is a huge amount of D800 owners that have specifically purchased the D800 as an "all in one camera" that covers both FX and DX purposes and they are using it specifically for wildlife and sports where fps of 4 is more than adequate. I really don't know where this "myth" came from that it was "designed" as a landscape or studio camera or whatever, although I have seen it mentioned a few times on DP Review earlier on in the birth of the D800. I am sure that Nikon didn't "design" it specifically for anything other than for high Mp as a dual purpose camera.

    The D800 has 36Mp for more reasons than just for a high resolution sensor, it is a sensor that gives you options, ie you have the ability to crop how you want and that it really is two cameras in one, FX and DX.

    Also, I think you'll find that the reason it is "only" 4 fps is not due to any real desire to limit it's speed, but because the processing power required to process a 75Mb RAW file is huge and the internal computing power is the limiting factor. If it "only" had a 16Mp sensor, then I am sure you would see it being able to do 11fps just like it's D4 sibling due to the file sizes being smaller.

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    I agree that the word designed is probably misplaced, should be "intended"

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    I think the D800/E has been pigeon-holed as a specialist camera which I don't completely agree.
    I think its the jack of all trades camera that the D700 was but it betters the D700 in just about every way except the FPS in FX mode.
    It just so happens that in upgrading all of its jack of all trade qualities, that its also exceeded the previous Nikon IQ king (the D3x) and now ALSO (not only) excels as a studio and landcape camera.

    The big question is for a given amount of money, whether another camera might serve the buyer better and there is a case for purchasing a D7000 for example and allocating more money to lenses.
    Nikon FX

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    Hi, Thanks for all the replies so far it has been very helpful, as for budget as I said in my first post, I have allowed enough to buy the D800E, AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, SB 910 and around $700 for the tripod and head, I will have enough for one of the other two lenses, after reading all of the comments on here, I think I will get the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and then a few good cards most likely a Lexar 32GB Professional 1000X CF and a SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro SDHC 95MB/s for starters and save for the other two lenses on my wish list.
    The big plan is for next year when, will be to get the second lens and my special treat will be either a AF-S NIKKOR 500mm or 600mm f/4G ED VR.

    As for money that is not my prime concern, to me I like to get the best that my budget will allow for any of my pursuits, photography is no different to me than having 30k in my boat which just sit there more often than not, then there’s my other passions like my 4x4, motorbikes, rifles ets that don’t get used that much, I am sure I will use my camera more than any of the above, so to me it will be money well spent. So I guess I have answered my own question about buying the cheaper lenses.
    Its good to hear what lenses work with the D800 form those that have one and your opinions.
    Cheers Peter
    Last edited by flyreels; 12-07-2012 at 7:19pm.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    If you are like Mongo, you may be just lucky enough to drag all the old fine lenses out of the cupboard that you have not used since the film camera days especially the wide angles that were useless until you go this full frame camera. Mongo has resurrected his prime 20mm and 14mm since getting the D800. Also, all his macros (55, 105 and 200) are all genuinely the focal length they say they are now instead of longer.

    for what you want to do, Mongo would have said exactly what Sar said to you. Get a 105 macro and a 300mm f4 with some converters. These are the best value for money performing lenses for what you wish to do without a doubt. If you want a lower/mid range zoom as well, the 24-70 has a reasonably great reputation but is not necessarily the best in every sense that you can buy e.g it is far from the best value for money and there are other alternatives.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    Thanks Mongo,
    In regards to the 24-70 what would you recommend as an alternative, I am after the best focal clarity (sharpness) available?
    Regards Peter

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