I am thinking of getting myself a tripod these days (around $150++) and most people are said go for the best so you wouldn't need to upgrade anymore. Well, my set up is very light, and I don't really need a very expensive tripod, but even so, I would have to spend close to $200 (including shipment) and that's almost half of what I prepared to fund other purchases (either a 55-200mm VR, or a SB-600). I am on a very tight budget, and I need to buy what I need first.
I found myself often have to shoot indoor (gathering with friends, in restaurant, which is often low-light as to create the cozy atmosphere), and even at my biggest possible aperture (f.3.5 of my kit lens) and highest usable ISO (800, I think 1600 is acceptable but it's not quite usable), I still often have to shoot at around 1/10th or 1/20th, enough to avoid most hand shake, but photo just aren't sharp enough.
My initial intention for getting the tripod is to assist my low-light shot, so I can get sharper photos at slower shutter speed. I would love to do long exposure shots, too, but it's not quite what I need at the moment yet.
Now I am having a dilemma, should I get SB-600 first, or a tripod first?
Get SB-600 first,
1. I can get good, sharp image at lower ISO, smaller aperture (lens works better when they're stopped down?) and longer focal length.
2. I can get my photography to the next level (such as stobing and etc)
1. Fake looking flash?
2. I might use the flash so often that I lost the opportunity to force myself to train my hand holding ability and also looking for natural lighting, rather than blowing everything with the flash
Get tripod first,
1. I can improve my indoor shots.
2. I can take long exposure shots.
3. It's an essential kit.
1. It's non as convenient as flash (you're at a gathering with friends, or sometimes hanging around with your buddies, so yea..)
2. It's not useful when your subjects are moving (enough for less than 1sec but what if I need to get more than 1 sec when I stop down my aperture?)
What do you guys think? Should I get SB-600 first, then save more and get a better tripod (like a Manfrontto, rather than PPCP or Benro's lowest end) later? Or should I get a tripod now, and keep using natural lighting?
I love natural lighting, but it's not a must for me, how unnatural is flash from SB-600? I used a Canon flash before, and when bounced to the ceiling, I think it's quite ok, I only hate patch of strong light on the cheek and eyes, and harsh shadow, if I'm not wrong, these can be corrected by diffuser and etc, right? Is the improvement in the quality of image (sharpness due to faster shutter speed, and better IQ when aperture is stepped down) justifiable by the loss of natural lighting?
I am a beginner here, just got my D40 a month ago, and I am on a very, very tight budget (and I live in Brunei Darussalam, I need friends to help me get stuffs from Singapore, and for a tripod, I need it to be mail over to me).
Thanks in advance,