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Thread: What Should I Get First?

  1. #1

    Default What Should I Get First?

    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,
    Pros:
    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)
    Cons:
    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,
    Pros:
    1. I can improve my indoor shots.
    2. I can take long exposure shots.
    3. It's an essential kit.
    Cons:
    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,

    Best regards,
    IngSiang

  2. #2
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    Depends on what you'd need the most. I'd suggest on the flash personally. Get it and some flash modifiers such as a bounce card, a omnibounce or mebbe a magiclight diffuser.

    And you got to experiment on the flash techniques too.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member erictan8888's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    really depends on what you are shooting....

    if you like to play with long exposure, landscape, etc, a tripod would be your priority....
    but ultimately, both the tripod and flash is really a must....
    it doesn't really matter much, cause eventually you will get both... (if you are seriously into photography)...

    get the one that meet your needs now, then get the other later...
    f;ash is good as it fills the shadows and gives you the catchlights... but you got to learn how to use it, else
    you will end up getting harsh pics...

  4. #4

    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    Thanks. I think my priority would be to improve my indoor shots and perhaps later only I'll save up more for a better tripod. Thanks people.

    Anyway, I am still wondering about this:

    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 mean in your opinion. =) Thanks people!

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    FYI, you shoot with tripod, you can go low shutter speed, more DOF, but will also have more problem with subjects movement, so your shots are still blur, unless you are shooting still life or ask your friends to hold the pose, and also shoot with tripod is very slow, it is not practical to shoot with what you want (gathering with friends, in restaurant, which is often low-light as to create the cozy atmosphere)

    if you want shoot with natural lighting only, the best solution is get better camera good have low noise with high ISO (D3), better lens (f1.4, f2 prime lens).

    the most practical option for you now is get a flash, learn how to shoot with bounce light, mixed light etc. you can get very good results with the flash if you know how to use it properly, in fact, it is much much much easier to get usable images compare to shoot with available light only.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    and also, if you shoot with available light only, you need to be very good in meter reading to get the correct exposure, and able to "see" the light,. (see as in able to tell is this a good lighting on the subject and able to be recorded on sensor)
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  7. #7
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    i agree with catchlights

    wise words

  8. #8

    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    Thanks catchlights, very well written and I think I made up my mind to go with SB-600 already, and I'll get the tripod later.

    Thanks a lot. =)

  9. #9

    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    In general,

    tripod is good for still life photography like landscape and

    external flash is good for indoor photography of people
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

  10. #10

    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    Quote Originally Posted by ingsiang View Post
    Thanks catchlights, very well written and I think I made up my mind to go with SB-600 already, and I'll get the tripod later.

    Thanks a lot. =)
    prob might be good to get a bounce card and a diffuser with it diffused lights are more flattering. Else can DIY ur own bounce card

    some links for u to explore
    http://forums.clubsnap.com/showthread.php?t=221527
    http://forums.clubsnap.com/showthread.php?t=270186
    http://forums.clubsnap.com/showthread.php?t=190416
    http://forums.clubsnap.com/showthread.php?t=313067

    Have fun! also can try exploring with different colour of bounce cards... will have some nice effects
    P&S: Sony U20, Pana-leica FZ5, Canon S90, Pana DMC-T3
    SLR: Nikkor F60, Oly E-510, Oly E-5

  11. #11

    Default Re: What Should I Get First?

    Thanks people, =) Yea, I'll play around with that viewwing, thanks! =)

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