Wednesday, July 02, 2014

You may need a new camera before a new lens

Nikon D60 announced in January 2008
You may have a wonderful camera that isn't all that old. This Nikon D60 was a great camera in January 2008.

It was a 10.2 megapixel camera and had an ISO range of 100—1600 and you could push it to 3200.

What prompted this blog post was a class I taught today to a group of photographers. After helping them a couple weeks with settings, one student went out shooting and was still having problems taking photos inside without a flash. All the photos had a great deal of motion blur.

The camera settings were ISO 1600, ƒ/3.5 & 1/2 sec.

Sigma 17—50mm ƒ/2.8 $519

Lens Solution

The first thought by many was to get a faster lens. The kit lens was 18-55mm ƒ/3.5—5.6.  We looked at replacing it with a Sigma 17—50mm ƒ/2.8. This would only give her about a little less than a stop at 17mm and at 50mm 2 stops.

So she could have shot only at 1/4 second verses from 1/2 second.

Nikon D3300 Introduced April 2014 $599.95
Camera Solution

I started doing the math in my head.  What if instead we look at today's newer cameras with higher ISOs.

If we buy a camera with a top ISO 12800 we would gain 3—stops. So instead of shoot ISO 1600, ƒ/3.5 & 1/2 sec, we could now shoot ISO 12800, ƒ/3.5 & 1/15.

Ultimate Solution

Buy the camera and the lens. However, if you are on a budget buy the camera first. It will upgrade all your lenses by 3—stops.  I remember going from the Nikon D2Xs to the Nikon D3.  The D2Xs ISO 100—800, but the Nikon D3 ISO 200—6400. Those 4—stops was making all of the lenses in my bag increase by 4—stops.

All my ƒ/5.6 lenses were equivalent in how much light they let in on the D3 as a ƒ/1.4 was doing on my D2Xs.

I can tell you from my personal experience the jump of 4—stops was the biggest game changer I had gone through in all of my gear upgrades in my career.