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Curse you Nikon!!! (for tempting me)

 
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Moebius



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Omaha, NE

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:01 am    Post subject: Curse you Nikon!!! (for tempting me) Reply with quote

Ok,

I bet I have spent 50+ hours on the net researching my first dSLR/lens/flash combination purchase. Initially, something convinced me to go Canon and that is where my research has been focused.

Thus, I had decided on:

20d
100mm Canon Macro lens (spent much research here...seemed a tie between the Canon/Tamron/Sigma, but decided on Canon for resale, future compatibility issues). Most shots will be handheld, so did not want extra weight of greater than 100mm.

Flash (still not sure...MT-24EX is to bulky to hike around with as are flash brackets....MR14 ringlight is good/bad depending on who you listen to...still contemplating)

ok, so far so good and am about ready to make a purchase.

Then Danny reminds me in a post about Nikons new 105mm macro lens with IR (or VR as Nikon calls it). Hmm, that could be nice, though I am not sure how well it would/could work (comments on this?). Then I see they have wireless flash as well to help take some weight/"cumbersomeness" off. These and the Nikon d200 with its weather sealing (going to Peru this summer) are tempting me (though a little bit more expensive)

Thus, now I am tempted by Nikon's offerings. I don't have any investment in any glass at the moment, so am undecided. What would you, the seasoned veterans purchase if you were starting from scratch as I am? My FZ-20 was kind to me last year, but am ready to upgrade just a little.

Ken
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Canon 20D with the Canon 100mm Macro and the Canon 550EX or 580EX Flash unit. Laughing

But, I have never used Nikon, and heard that was good too. I am just a Canon person.
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MikeBinOKlahoma



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
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Location: Umm....Could it be Oklahoma?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right to look at lenses, and not just cameras. You're buying into the whole Nikon or Canon system, not just an individual camera.

Between the 20D, and the D200, I don't have a lot of input. I haven't shot either camera, though I'm pretty familiar with the 10D, the predecessor of the 20D. From what I know,t he D200 has slightly more pixels, probably a good thing, though I wouldn't expect the difference between 8 and 10 to be large. The big advantage of the Canon is that it has excellent high-ISO performance. My understanding (check and verify this) is that the Nikon doesn't do nearly as well at high ISOs. Particularly if you want to shoot without flash, being able to crank up your ISO to 400 or 800 with little or no concern about noise would be very handy for a macro shooter (my main camera is an older Canon that starts to get noisey above 200 ISO, so I'm very sensitive to this advantage).

As far as the systems, for macro shooters, the way I see it is:

Canon advantages: The MP-E-65, by far the most convenient way to shoot at greater than 2x. And the Canon 300/4 IS, very close-focusing, stabilized, and a great dragonfly/damselfly lens. I don't think Nikon has anything to compare with either. With Canon you definitely have the option to go full-frame if you choose to in the future. This may or may not matter to you. When, if ever Nikon will come out with a fullframe DSLR is anyone's guess.

Nikon advantages: It's discontinued, but Nikon had a 70-180 "micro" zoom lens. Nothing like it that I'm aware of from any other manufacturer. It does NOT go all the way to 1x, unfortunately, but I hear it is a nice lens for what it does. If I were a Nikon shooter I'd definitely have one, even if I had to buy used! Other advantage of Nikon is the 85mm pc-shift lens, which appears to me to be better for macro than the equivalent Canon 90mm TSE. I hear it is clumsy to use, but don't have any direct knowledge. Both these lenses are pricey, but appear worth it. My impression from what I hear from others is that Nikon's metering (critical for flash!) and to a lesser extent autofocus are a bit superior to Canon's.

As for the Nikon 100mm micro stabilized lens, I don't think anyone has any experience with it. Macroholics seem to be split between those who mostly shoot tripod-mounted, and those who mostly shoot hand-held (I do a fair amount of both, partly because my 180 lens is fairly heavy. If I shot a 100 I would probably do less tripod shooting.) If you expect to do a fair amount of handholding, I'd think that stabilization would be very nice to have. Only critique of it I took seriously was that a big problem in macro is keeping the DOF in at the right point, and image stabilization doesn't help at all to keep you from swaying slightly towards or away from the subject, putting the key parts slightly out of focus. I think this complaint is true, but image shake is still a useful thing to control.

Handheld stabilization would most likely be useful for macro shots (this is my wild guess for a 100mm macro lens) between 1/125th and 1/15th of a second. YOu might want to look at what percentage of your shots fall in or at least near this range. My opinion is that faster than 1/200th of a sec or so, you'd probably handhold adequately even without stabilization, while longer than 1/15th of a second, I'm not sure even gaining (say) two stops with stabilization would help enough to be reliable (though I sure wouldn't turn it down!).

Keep in mind that I've never even held a Nikon DSLR in my hands, and have never shot with a 20D, so apply sodium chloride liberally to my words and check things for yourself. But I wouldn't panic over the choice....Either system is a fine system, and neither one will be a horrible choice. Having said that, if macro was the only consideration, AND shooting at greater magnifications than 2:1 was NOT important to me, I think I'd go with Nikon if I were starting over. If shooting at greater than 2:1 is important to you (even if you don't plan to start doing it till later) I think Canon is far superior.

This summary may interest you if you haven't seen it:

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/canon_eos_30D_compared.html

Incidentally, if it was me, I'd seriously consider the 30D over the 20D if you decide to go with Canon. The larger LCD would sure be nice on the eyes when looking at menues. If you aren't 40 yet, you may not understand taht, though! Smile
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Last edited by MikeBinOKlahoma on Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MikeBinOKlahoma



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and as for flash...My MT-24 is awfully nice. Then again my 550EX (regular flash) is awfully nice, too. And I'm sure the new 580EX or 430EX are also nice.

I don't shoot with a 100mm macro lens, so I'm not sure how well a regular flash illuminates the area of the photo at minimum focusing distance. Sue does great with a regular flash and a 100mm macro, though. So it must work!

If you want my advice, if you intend to use a flash heavily for non-macro shooting, I'd go with a Canon 550EX or 580EX. In macro, I'd go for the MT-24 over the MR-14 ringlight, as I feel the '24 gives you more control, and it definitely produces more light (yes, Virginia, you can be short of light blasting a bug at six inches, or at least I can! Try shooting at f/32 or higher in poor ambient light). If you can't or won't tote the MT-24 on a hike, the 550/580 is clearly the way to go.

(Obviously, the above refer to the Canon system--I'm not familiar with Nikon flashes, so can't really comment).
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MikeBinOKlahoma



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeBinOKlahoma wrote:

Between the 20D, and the D200, I don't have a lot of input.


You know when Mike says "I don't have a lot of input..." a 2000 word essay is going to follow! Laughing
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nephiliim



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing yeah, that just about said it Mike Very Happy

I to am thinking about buying the 20D because it has
1 More focuspoints (up to 36 I believe)
2 Remote TTL, great for use with the sigma 105 mm macro (which was reccomended to me
3 From my experience in the store, Nikon tends to terminate anything older than 5 to 10 years and comes up with a completly new series that need new flashes etc. Canon doesn't do that and even if they do they come up with some intermediate flash-shoe-bracket so that you new camera can still talk with your old flash.

Furthermore, Canon provides a little bit more customer service and warranty service tan Nikon (in the netherlands anyway)

All the best,

Tom B
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Moebius



Joined: 27 May 2005
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Location: Omaha, NE

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems a consensus among all the research I have done that the MT-24EX is considered the best macro flash and also that the 150-180mm macros give you more working distance.

However, the problem I am having is determining if these would make the camera too heavy/bulky to handhold. Keep in mind that most of my photo jaunts are 4-6 hours in length and my arms don't exactly look like Mr. Universe. Would that extra pound of say a 150 or 180mm lens make much difference, or should I use my monopod more or Lord V's beanpole idea? Or perhaps that extra pound wil make a difference and the 150-180mm should be restricted to monopod/tripod.

So basically, those of you who use a 150-180mm setup, could you comfortably take handhelds for this period of time or are these best for tripod use?]


Ken
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MikeBinOKlahoma



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can handhold the 180mm with a flash at 1/250th second or faster and generally get sharp shots (occasionally I blow one). If I shoot slower than 1/250th, I try very hard to either use tripod, monopod, or elbows on ground. A monopod or tripod is a very good idea for long photo jaunts with the combination.

For full frame, I think a 180mm macro is the way to go for general bug shooting, because of the working distance it provides. For 1.6 crop cameras like the 20D, a 100mm becomes at least a reasonable possibility, though I still replaced my 100mm Vivitar with a 180 pretty quickly once I got into bugs.

If shooting handheld is really important to you, you may like the 100mm better, but if you go that route, you'll have to accept that you are going to scare off some subjects due to close approach. Like everything else in photography, you have to decide where to compromise--On weight, or on working distance! Smile

The current version of the Canon 100mm macro has an adapter ring for the mt-24ex built-in. The Sigma 105 doesn't, so you'll need something called a "macrolite 58C adaptor" to hook the macro flash onto the lens. Neither the Canon nor the Sigma 180mm's have the adapter ring, so you need to buy a "Macrolite 72C adapter" to use the MT-24 with either of them. Here's a link to the 180mm adapter at B&H, most large European dealers should have it too:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=112547&is=REG&addedTroughType=search
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nzmacro
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, not my fault I tell ya Very Happy . I just found it interesting that Nikon would come out with a macro lens with IS before Canon did. I've mentioned it for years and often wondered why Canon didn't. Makes great sense to me and its also the reason I would look very carefully at the Minolta 7D and 5D DSLR's with IS on the CCD. IMHO, exactly where it should be and I would want it to be.

Having said that, I'm a huge fan of the Canon lens system. Their 100mm macro is excellent, but so is the Sigma from what I've seen so far. There is one reason i would go Canon though, thats the MP-E-65. Nikon must really hate that lens Very Happy Cool Wink The macrolites have always been superb from day one when they first came out.

Anyway, I'm now looking at the 4/3rds system which might just suit me. Time will tell.

Danny.
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