Nikon D300 Starter kit advice

liverpoolfan

Standard Member
Hello all,
I feels as though I have mastered my Olympus e410 and it gave me a real hunger for photography. I would like to move up to the Nikon D300. This December I am going to New York and thinking about buying one out there.

My question is, I have a budget of about 1,500 pounds and I have seen some D300+18-200 kits for the 1,100 pound mark. Do I a) go for this plus another lense or do I b) buy the body only for 800 pounds and then buy two seperate lenses?

Are the kit lenses the same quality? I am not really interested in macro photography, mainly landscapes and urban shots. What Nikon lenses would you recommend?

I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, Philip
 

Steve N

Distinguished Member
I think the 18-200mm is almost an essential for everyday stuff.
Pretty good all round lens, light and extremely versatile
I bought one even though I've got a 17-55 and 70-200vr which covers the practically the same focal length with pro quality.

So i think D300 + 18-200 would give you a great all round starter pack.
 

dazza74

Distinguished Member
Seem around the £1300 mark to get the D300 & 18-200 VR. I think it comes down to how often your willing to change lenses and what you wish to carry round. If your going to New York and only want to take one lens then I think the 18-200 VR is a good buy. I'd probably in your position look at getting just the body and perhaps the new 18-105 VR + 70-300 VR you can get both these for about the same money as the 18-200mm VR lens
 

hilly10

Active Member
I have the D300 its a great camera but I have found it a lot harder to get sharp images this is due to getting the in camera settings just right. I used to get great images from my D40 which I had for eighteen months but I have found the D300 a bit daunting at times. I have found a lot of reading ie Manuel forums etc is invaluable and handling and using the camera every spare minute also helps. I expected to get clear sharp images straight away soon come down to earth with a bump. The D300 is clearly a complex piece of kit and needs to be treated as such. I have been out sometimes and come back with some mixed results more crap then keepers but this morning I went to the lake and the results are very promising which will now spur me on I am gonna get there in the end. Good Luck
 

Yandros

Well-known Member
I've a D200+18-200VR, and I'm very happy with it. What I would say though is that I don't use the long end much, except for wildlife, and then I could do with something longer.

You might also consider the Nikon 16-85VR. It's the same higher end construction as the 18-200, but you gain that little extra at the wide end, and it's a bit cheaper of course. This would pair quite nicely then with a Nikon 70-300VR if you need the reach.

The main thing I'd say about the kit lenses though is that the bokeh is a bit poor, and of course you can't get get a very shallow DOF. I'd be tempted to add at least one prime - Nikon 35mm f2 or Sigma 30mm f1.4 would probably be interesting for urban shooting. You might find a superwide useful (Tokina 12-24 is a good walkaround, or the Sigma 10-20 if you want a little more extreme). And of course there's the bargain bucket Nikon 50mm f1.8.

Dazza makes a good point about the 18-105VR btw - another interesing possibility. It's as good optically, but a lower build quality (plastic lens mount etc).
 

personals

Standard Member
Snap. Agree D300 with 18-200 is my starter kit, was 18-70 , but upgraded to 18-200. The quality is not Pro-level, but the convenience is awesome. For a faster lens that'll be useful in lowlight, I'd get either a Nikon 50mm 1.8, as it's cheap < £100 or the Siggy 30mm 1.4 which give you a bit more width given the crop factor of the camera.

D300 is a superb camera, and I've found that the out of the camera jpgs are ofter great, and I don't need to process raw files that much since moving up from the D80.

Good luck.
 

johnaalex

Distinguished Member
I have the D300 and 18-200 and I think it is a great combination. Of course there are better lenses but for all round versatility this set up is hard to beat. One possible down side is that this a DX lens, but this is only an issue if you think you might move to FX at some point. My view is forget about FX right now and get your D300 and 18-200VR, BUT make sure you get a proper Nikon International Warranty if you do make the purchase in the USA.
 

liverpoolfan

Standard Member
Thanks for all of your advice. Though I am tempted by the practicality of 18-200mm, in all honesty when I do need a zoom facility I think I'll want more reach. So perhaps a lense to go the whole 300mm. Then a teleconverter for an extra boost. That leaves me with a gap for my urban/everyday shooting. What do people think of this for a starter kit?

D300
Battery pack
70-300mm
12-24mm
Heavy duty tripod (any suggestions?)

I am hoping to spend about 1300 on this. I have noticed that Ebay sells packages from UK sellers for this. Though they say the lenses are Nikon, do you get cheap and nasty nikon 18-200mm or is there just one?

Thanks, Philip
 

psenior1

Active Member
I have a 16-85mm and would recommend it, that combined with a 70-300 and D300 would be a great combo imho (and one that I'm working towards myself!)
 

personals

Standard Member
Hi,

Longer zoon reach is all well and good, however, it might be a thought to get VR (Vibration Reduction) on the 70-300. You might already have thought of this though.

Also, by the way you've listed your desired items, it looks like you might be missing a lens to cover the 24-70 range - which is quite a versitile range for day-to-day shooting. Sorry, if you've got this covered already.

Finally, I'm not aware of any cheap and nasty Nikon 18-200 zooms - just make sure that they're Nikon (Nikkor) and have the VR on them. There are cheaper non-VR (and VR) lenses from other manufacturers (e.g. Sigma etc).

Good luck and happy shooting.
 

Yandros

Well-known Member
Ok, with a £1500 budget and a brief of "Landscape/Urban" I'd suggest this sort of thing...

D300 £898
Tokina 12-24mm £269
Sigma 30mm f1.4 £254
Nikon 50mm f1.8 £80

The Tokina is a great walkaround in crowded cities, but 24mm is still pretty wide. Throw in a good fast "street" prime and a short portrait, and you're sorted with a set that isn't as convenient as a superzoom, but will take MUCH more interesting pics.


D300 £898
Nikon 16-85mm VR £362
Nikon 35mm f2 £190

The 16-85VR is the new benchmark for sharpness in Nikon kit lenses, and in an urban setting you're unlikely to use more than 85mm. The 35mm f2 is another popular fast prime that a lot of street photographers use as a walkaround. It's also small enough to chuck in your pocket.


D300 £898
Sigma 10-20mm £300
Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 £250

A couple of bullet proof lens choices here. The Tamron is 90% of the sharpness of the Nikon 17-55 but at 1/3 of the price. The Sigma is the most popular superwide, but you'd really use it only when you want that WOOOAH factor (12-24 is more walkabout friendly)

D90+18-105mm VR £750
Tokina 12-24mm f4 £269
Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 £250
Sigma 30mm f1.4 £254

How about a D90 and another lens? If you don't need the fps and weather sealing, it gives you £300 more for lenses :thumbsup: You could get a superwide, a VR zoom, a fast walkaround and a fast prime!

Decisions, decisions!
 

jchastain

Standard Member
I also have a D300 w/ the 18-200 VR and it is the lens that stays on my camera the majority of the time. While it isn't a pro lens, except for special occasions you won't be able to see the difference in normal sized prints. There are times I want/need a faster lens, but I find that I capture a lot more spontaneous moments when I have the full range of this lens available.

I agree with Yandros that the Tokina 12-24 is a rock solid wide lens. But wide lenses are generally a specialty need you can fill in later (otherwise you'd need to be considering the 700 anyway).

The Nikon 50mm 1.8 is a good choice as a fast lens, but you can likely get a great deal on the old 50/1.4 now that the new version has been released and the 1.4 is an even better choice for pairing with a D300.

With the 18-200, I never use my zooms with lesser range except for the 2.8's for when I need fast glass.

The options at the long end are a bit trickier depending on circumstances, but that's the expensive end of this hobby and I'd play with the 18-200 and get a better idea of your upgrade needs before doing anything else on the top end.
 

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