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Thread: Nikon D3100 lens kit or not?

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    Member yaksta's Avatar
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    Nikon D3100 lens kit or not?

    Hi guys I intend to purchase a D3100 in the next month or so and just curious as to whether I should buy with the single lens or twin lens kit. I will use the camera for various applications but primarily as a hobby. I will use to take product images for gift baskets to display on website as well as to create images for sign writing and advertising of business. Also for family shots and holiday images, nature images landscapes.
    Should I purchase with lens kits or look at other more appropriate lenses. Any recommendations appreciated before I take the leap. Also wanting to purchase from an Aussie store so any recommendations on that would be great as well.
    Cheers

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    Member sid's Avatar
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    I suggest the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8. Kit lens(18-55mm) is good value for money, but you may find it a bit limiting, especially aperture wise. It should cost you around 700 AUD from an Aussie store, 500 odd from ebay.

    If you decide to buy the kit lens, my advice is to go with the single lens kit, and then buy the second lens a bit later, when you actually know what you want.

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    You can do a lot and learn a lot with the single kit lens (18 to 55) and it is good value for money. If you want the second kit lens in three months time, I doubt it will cost that much more, than if you bought it in the kit.

    A prudent course would be to buy just the camera and that one lens until you learn more and can define more clearly what you do need and understand more clearly what you can and cannot achieve.

    You might find that for the majority of your needs (Product Images etc), the purchase of a dedicated Flash unit and some lighting accessories (umbrella/bounce modifier and off an camera cord, as examples), will be a better value for money investment, than buying any more lenses, initially. Depending upon the size of the products a set of three Kenko Macro tubes might be useful.

    But this is in the future – and it would be best to get the camera and the one kit lens and use it and then seek advice asking specific questions with examples.

    WW

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    For product photography you will need more than the camera and lenses, you will also need to consider some sort of lighting setup, backdrops etc. I suppose it depends how good you want the results to be, if it was me, I would want THE best photos of my products, and therefore I agree with sid, that an f2.8 lens (generally equals higher quality lens) would be a better choice, along with a good sized light tent and lights. The sigma 17-50 will cover most of what you want.

    However there is much more to getting good product shots than just having a DLSR and good lens. I reckon the big learning curve is ahead of you, learning how to get the best results to present your products well enough that they look better on your website, than your competitors do.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Hi guys, thanks for the feedback. I do have a light tent and lights for the product images. When I login to my laptop later this evening I'll post a couple of images of the setup and some images taken with the TZ10 and get your feedback on how it can all be improved and how the D3100 will improve images overall.

    Cheers
    Wayne

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    OK, I have attached 3 images. One shows the light tent with lights as I would normally set them for a product shot. Disregard the product as that was just sitting in there from the other day. This image is simply to illustrate the tent and light positions I use. The other two images are actual images used on our website. Camera used is the Panasonic TZ10. The background was cut out using Paintshop Pro on the product images.
    Any feedback on the lighting setup and images appreciated.
    Cheers
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Ok, even though this is not a critique forum, your images used on your website are crooked. The bottles are leaning to the left. They also look very soft, and I reckon need a decent dose of sharpening. From a lighting point of view, I think you have that down quite well

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    The IQ from the 18-55mm lens is pretty good for a lens that will only set you back $100 over the price of the camera body. I personally would not go for it as it has a rotating front element which makes using square filters (Cokin style) and polarisers a bit of a pain.

    For your use, it will do perfect fine and then if you want to use the camera for more adventerous stuff in the future, you can look at alternate lenses.
    Cheers

    PeterB666


    My photo-mojo has gone

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Metabones Speed Booster and Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 - almost as insanely wicked as sin itself... but then again, the Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 is kinda fun.

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    IMHO, the shots are useable, but lack the crisp look you need to make the products really stand out.
    Keeping them all straight and perpendicular would also help, unless you want them crooked, but then you have to make them a lot more crooked than you have here otherwsie it just looks sloppy.

    The exposure seems a bit too bright and if you added some contrast, it would also improve the photos and give them some punch.
    If you could also do something about softening the light from the front, you wouldn't get so much glare on the shiny packets either.
    You also need to use a smaller lens opening to give you more depth of field, but this is why you're getting an SLR isn't it? So you can have more control over the picture.
    If this is the sort of photography you are into, I would suggest using a shortish (50 or 60mm ) macro lens as these always give very crisp images, and I use them a lot for my product photography.

    Having said all of that, if you're not sure which lenses to get, get the one kit lens, as it's so cheap it's almost laughable, and when you do have a collection of lenses, you can always sell this lens with the camera, as many people who are buying a used, basic SLR wont buy it if it doesn't come with a useable lens.

    Just my 2c worth.
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    Thanks for the extra information, which gives a lot more meat to the original question.

    My understanding is, this is primarily a business purchase and that understanding originally guided my first comment – and so the basis, for the following comments:

    If the products shown, are typical in size and nature and the lighting shown is typical and the resultant use of the images is only web advertising and the images tend to be in a “churn and burn” (high turnover) inventory and desired IQ is as shown (noted - I agree they do require sharpening) and the main other use for the lens and camera is for making templates for images placed in signage, and you have reasonable lighting when shooting those images and they will mainly tend to be two dimensional (like logos ets) - my opinion is the lens 18 to 55 kit lens will suffice, especially if the budget is prudent.

    However, if you are intending to use the Product Images you make for more upmarket glossy display advertising and if you will be using more sophisticated lighting sets and using those lighting sets on location and if the images on location for signage templates are three dimensional, then I suggest something like a Canon 5DMkII and a TS-E 45 or TS-E24 or both lenses.

    WW

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Nikon's best kit lens(for the money) is currently the 18-105VR. If you can extend the budget to this lens, then this is the better option of the various kit lenses available with this camera.

    Many retailers give you the option to specify which of the various kit lenses you want, whether a combo of two or more lenses, or a single lens.

    For your product type images generally shot at f/8 or so, the 18-105 at focal lengths of around 24-50mm is a stellar lens(for the money).

    Of course there are better lenses available than the 18-105VR, but they either cost more, or are limited in other ways.

    My recommendation is for the 18-105VR, and as already said, invest in some more lighting equipment too if the budget allows.

    NOTE to all. The sample images provided by the OP have been captured with a bridge type camera, almost certainly at it's widest aperture setting(of f/3.3) so are not really indicative of the quality that can be achieved with a DSLR and a decent lens.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks guys, will take all the feedback on board. As I said current images using TZ10 and hope to see significant improvement once I pick up a D3100. Looking fwd to the learning process. Now to start looking for the best deal on the D3100 with single lens cheers Wayne
    Last edited by yaksta; 05-11-2011 at 8:55pm.

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    I suggest that you get "Hands On" before buying.
    I would get the D5100 and use a 18-55 to start.
    Nikon now has rebates on many items and Black Friday is coming soon!

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRRoger View Post
    I suggest that you get "Hands On" before buying.
    I would get the D5100 and use a 18-55 to start.
    Nikon now has rebates on many items and Black Friday is coming soon!
    I agree with spending the extra on the D5100. For the table-top and close up work, using the vari-angle LCD in live view and manually focussing the lens is a good way to go. It just gives more options and greater ease of use. That said, the D3100 will still suit the task at hand so it is a matter of convenience more than anything else.

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    +1 for a camera with a moveable screen.
    It makes product and macro shots so much easier.

    I do a lot of product shots and I find the moveable screen of my Canon 60D invaluable.
    If only they would bring out a 5D MkII with the same screen.

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    Once again thanks for the input guys. Will have a closer look at the 5100 and see where I can find the best deal. Hoping for a pre Christmas bargain. cheers

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