Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I have just changed my D200 for a D7000 with the kit 18-105 lens. However, the quality of the pictures is not comparable with those of my D200: not as sharp, not as much definition and overall a little wooly etc.

I am not the most advanced photographer, so tend to use it in auto setting, though I have tried different shutter speeds and ISO, but still can't get the results. Friends tell me the D7000 should give me even better results than the D200 and advise me the kit lens is not really that good, and that it is probably the lens that is the root of my problems (Wish I had kept all my lenses but sold them with the D200).

I tend to use the camera for fast sports in all conditions and of course the usual family stuff. I would preferably like a lens up to 300mm so was considering the 70-300 but also am worried I will regret not having the lower range. I would appreciate advice and views of suitable lenses.

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What is your budget? –  ElendilTheTall Jun 23 '12 at 8:42
    
I am happy to spend up to a 1000 Euro have been looking at the AF-S NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR but its so new cant find any decent reviews alternativley I was considering the 28-300 FX –  Richard Jun 23 '12 at 10:27
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Note that a lens with a super zoom range is likely to not give an image quality improvement over the kit lens (read more here and here). –  mattdm Jun 23 '12 at 13:23
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Also, I wonder if you are comparing the cameras in an equal way. Your new camera has a higher-resolution sensor, which means that if you compare both zoomed to 1:1 and everything else is equal, it may look more "wooly". Have you compared same-size prints from both? –  mattdm Jun 23 '12 at 13:26
    
I just got a D7000 and wasn't happy till I af micro adjusted. Even a -2 was a huge difference. At first I thought it was good at 0, but after several tests even the -2 makes a HUGE difference to me. –  rfusca Jun 23 '12 at 16:09
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2 Answers 2

Yes, indeed the D7000 has truly outstanding image quality and you are limited by the lens in your case. Not only is not good quality but it is also the wrong lens for your needs.

For sports you need a fast and long lens and those tend to be expensive. The usual working lens to get started is the Nikkor 70-200m F/2.8. If that is above your budget consider getting the equivalent Sigma, like their 100-300mm F/4 which is one stop slower but incredibly sharp.

You will also have to complete your set of lenses. A Nikkor 17-55mm F/2.8 or 24-70mm F/2.8 would be a great match but these models may be above your budget. They are bright and have a very useful zoom range. The one that starts at 17 is considered more versatile because of the wide-angle but is not usually used for the subjects you list.

The other option is to add a set of prime lenses which you can buy one at the time not to bust your budget. That would let you have wide apertures which are great for portraits such as a Nikkor 50mm F/1.4G, followed by some wider ones.

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Gents thanks for your advise Althouygh my budjet was set I have decided to go further and try to get the best from this camera so am ordering the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and the 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR, way over what I wanted to fork out but I do want results. now all I need to do is to work out how to do the AF Micro adjustment once again thanks for your tips –  Richard Jun 24 '12 at 5:57
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@Richard - fair warning...those are massive lenses. They're an elephant to carry around. You may try renting one first - lensrentals.com or borrowlenses. A 70-200 f/2.8 was on my list till I carried it around. Finally I decided the lens wasn't for me when the same quality for less money and weight was available in a prime lens (for me, the 85mm). –  rfusca Jun 24 '12 at 15:38
    
I know 18-105 isn't the best lens one could get, perhaps it's true for all kit lenses, but it should be possible to get good result from this lens too, actually there are many good examples on Flickr, Nikon D7000 18 105, what do you think? –  Omne Sep 19 '12 at 11:41
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Do not confuse a good photo with a quality photo. You can get good photos with any lens but for a quality photo it takes a quality lens. Image captured by a softer lens is simply a soft image, it can be a great photograph but it will look soft. Kit lenses are terrible, particularly at the long end. Normally you stop down a lens 2 stops from the maximum to get maximum sharpness, however if you do that from F/5.6, you get to F/11 which is close and even sometimes beyond to the diffraction limit modern DSLRs. –  Itai Sep 19 '12 at 13:37
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The is nothing wrong with the kit lens for sports. You need to fine tune the focus setting. You do this be putting the camera on a tripod and seting up 3 small items to shoot. I susgest about 3 ft away. Place the items staggered so they are different distances and focus on the one in the middle

Take a shot and then view it, I use a 40in tv for this :-) you soon see your lens is maybe back focusing. Go in the admin and tip the fine tune down say 2 points at a time till you take the same image and the item in the middle is in focus.

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There are better ways to AF Fine Tune a lens. See photo.stackexchange.com/questions/35453/… and photo.stackexchange.com/questions/35453/… –  Michael Clark Apr 14 '13 at 19:44
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