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Sigma just announced a few HSM lenses for Nikon (for Autofocus on D40).

D40 is a lovely camera.

I got a D40x recently and whilst I am still getting to grips with it (it is my first SLR), I am loving it so far.

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I got a D40x recently and whilst I am still getting to grips with it (it is my first SLR), I am loving it so far.

I too, love my D40.

I thought you swapped yours for a canon, HM?

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I love Nikon bodys and Canon lenses - there is a fatal flaw in my combination tho :D

Duct tape man. Duct Tape!

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Just received my Hoya circ-polarising filter through the post. I've taken a couple of test snaps of the neighbouring houses and the sky and so far the effect is really nice. No more need for adding saturation to the sky at post-processing, I hope. Now for the question: will it make a real difference if I keep my UV lens on (that I use for protection) while I'm using the polariser? I don't want to start wearing the threads out on my main lens.

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Just received my Hoya circ-polarising filter through the post. I've taken a couple of test snaps of the neighbouring houses and the sky and so far the effect is really nice. No more need for adding saturation to the sky at post-processing, I hope. Now for the question: will it make a real difference if I keep my UV lens on (that I use for protection) while I'm using the polariser? I don't want to start wearing the threads out on my main lens.

I bought one at the weekend following the Soong thread. I took a few quick shots out in the garden and I love the effect.

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The 50mm f/1.8 is absolutely great, Duncan (you mentioned it on the prev page, I think?), but I don't think it works with a D40. In fact my number one reason for someone to get a D80 would be because you can use the lovely no-motor Nikon primes.

Playdoh (who has my second hand D70 and lens, yay!): Get the 50mm prime. It costs nothing and it's totally amazing. The 70-300 VR that someone recommends is about £200-300 over here I think. Bear in mind that 70 is fairly close to start with though and so it's a fairly specialist lens. If you want to mess around with that, there's a Nikon 70-300 non-VR about, that's about the same price as the prime (about £80). I have it- it's slow to focus and noisy, but perfectly decent for the price.

The Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 is worth a look too, as a walkaround for lower light situations. I got mine from Hong Kong on eBay (where I buy all non-body stuff- you get an Int'l warranty and it's CHEAP) for £195 all in.

The upgrade the 'other' way for a walkaround is the 18-200 VR. It's an awesome superzoom but it's still F3.5-5.6, so pretty slow on the light front.

Anything beyond that stuff is getting pretty specialist. Zooms for gigs/wildlife/sports/reportage, wides for landscapes, macro, etc...

Now for my stupid question:

The F-stop is a RATIO, right? Does that mean the 17-50mm lets in more light at 17mm F2.8 than it does at 50mm F2.8?

The size-of-the-hole is altering proportionally as I zoom or?

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Now for my stupid question:

The F-stop is a RATIO, right? Does that mean the 17-50mm lets in more light at 17mm F2.8 than it does at 50mm F2.8?

The size-of-the-hole is altering proportionally as I zoom or?

Potentially yes, but in fact modern zooms do crazy things with the optics so it is not necessary to actually alter the size of the aperture. Keeping the focus plane constant through the zoom range is also a complex thing that is better in expensive zooms.

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I always think it's funny when people do maths like "1.4 x 1.4 = 1.96, which would rond up to an f stop of f/2". 1.4 is just shorthand for √2 in these situations, and 2.8 is shorthand for 2 x √2, etc. So "1.4" x "1.4" is actually 2.

They're arranged in stops of √2 because in order to double the area of a circle you multiply its radius by √2, which means that each change by one f-stop doubles (or halves) the amount of light getting in.

f/2.0 obviously means that the aperture diameter is half the focal length. So yes, when you change the focal length from say 40mm to 20mm, in order to maintain the ratio of f/2.0, the diameter of the aperture changes from 20mm to 10mm. In theory. In practice, what fragglerock says about clever optics is probably more likely.

Sorry if that sounds patronising.

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No that's cool, I understand the maths now...

So in PRACTICAL terms: when I change the focal length, if the speed+ISO stays the same, do I actually get a different exposure produced?

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If the aperture readout on your camera is still the same, and you've only changed focal length, then your exposure will be the same. If it's had to change it then it will also change the readout. But if your camera still says "Hey James, I'm doing f/2.8 here" then it means it has divided your focal length by 2.8 to get the (effective) aperture diameter. Thus keeping exposure the same.

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The 50mm f/1.8 is absolutely great, Duncan (you mentioned it on the prev page, I think?), but I don't think it works with a D40. In fact my number one reason for someone to get a D80 would be because you can use the lovely no-motor Nikon primes.

oops - totally missed this. it works, it's just the auto focus that doesn't. reading around, some people do use it on their d40, and it doubles as a 'learn how to use manual focus' fun learning tool!

that aside, no fucker seems to sell it. no wonder jessops are losing cash when they dont even have stuff like this in stock! hmph!

and the rest of your advice was interesting as well - had my eye on that other lense you mentioned (hey, i'm cheap!). nice to know that it's usable, despite the slow AF. wonder how much difference VR does acutally make to the setup?

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They have it in the Jessops 100yds from my work, I saw it yesterday! (in Hammersmith) for £89.99.

You can surely pick it up online or from eBay or from one of those independent camera shops in Bloomsbury area (there are tons)?

A word of warning on manual focusing a really fast prime though- it's damn near impossible to get *exactly* what you want sharp at f/1.8 because the depth of field is SO narrow. Especially without a split circle viewfinder, and especially in the dark conditions you'll want the lens for....

Bring back split circle viewfinders!

view201.jpg

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VR is a little overrated, but obviously it's especially good on big zooms, since camera shake is magnified when you're zoomed. The rule of thumb people tend to use is that you need to go 1/focal length to be sharp.

Which means 1/300th on the 70-300 (at full zoom) and that's at f/5.6. So as you can imagine, you're not letting in much light at that point. However, I use mine mainly at festivals and mainly during the day (lets face it, you rarely need 300mm when not outside), so it's fine. You can also obviously crank the ISO up and get away with a bit slower (1/200th is probably fine, for example), but it's good to be aware of those limitations. VR gives you 2-3 full stops more, in that you can probably get away with 1/60th - 1/125th at 300mm.

That's the general 'rule' anyway. Don't think I don't shoot mine at 300mm and 1/60th all the time, squeeze off a few or rest against a wall and hope I get a sharp one :unsure:

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Probably a stupid question but I am going to ask anyway. What is the difference between the Nikon AF and Nikon AF-S lens fittings?

Cheers.

Andy

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Assuming I'm not getting my abbreviations mixed up, AF-S lenses have a motor in the lens to drive their focus mechanism, while AF lenses rely on the camera's own focus motor. The D40 and D40X don't have inbuilt focus motors and so can only autofocus with AF-S lenses, or I assume HSM lenses from Sigma.

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Assuming I'm not getting my abbreviations mixed up, AF-S lenses have a motor in the lens to drive their focus mechanism, while AF lenses rely on the camera's own focus motor. The D40 and D40X don't have inbuilt focus motors and so can only autofocus with AF-S lenses, or I assume HSM lenses from Sigma.

Thanks for that - I suspected that might be the case. I am looking for a cheap Macro lens for my D40x and I noticed a couple of good value ones with AF fittings. Looks like it might be time for me to get to grips with manual focusing

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thanks James,

I'll have a look into that when i get back home.

Though i might still end up going for a 300mm Macro, just as a result of some nature stuff i've tried recently..

But i'll probably just look at my bank ballance and then forget the whole thing..

:)

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I don't know very much about flashes, can somebody tell me the difference between the 430Ex and the 580? Are third party flashes worth looking at?

Also, I'm after a Macro lens for my 400D, should I go for the 100m Canon, or look for a longer third party offering?

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Sigma's Canon flashes are worth looking at, they look a bit cheap, but they cost about half - the 500 super is supposed to be pretty similar to the 580 but not exactly.

Jumble has the the 430ex and it works really well on my 30D.

I've read amazing things about the Canon. That's the on I'm getting, although I think the Tamron 90 is also excellent.

If I had a Nikon I'd get the 105 vr :)

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I've got a 550ex (model before the 580). Really great flash.. though it is massive. The 430 is a fair bit smaller.

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I'm going to show my ignorance now...

What's the difference between the 430 and 580?

The 580 is more powerful, and can be used as a master flash (to set off other canon flashes). Faster recycling time, and weatherproofing.

You're probably better getting the 430 or one of the sigma ones as your first flash, unless you're minted. (which you do seem to be .. :) )

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