Reommend Nikon D70 lens, filters and accessories.
November 24, 2004 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Which lens, filters, and accessories would you recommend for a Nikon D70 digital SLR camera?

My husband bought the kit with the Nikkor AF-S DX 18- 70 mm F3.5 - F4.5G lens bundle when this camera first came out. He's a relative novice with digital SLRs and now that he has the basics down, wants to expand his skills.

Since Christmas is coming up, I'm looking for some ideas. He mostly likes to take nature/outdoor shots. He does have a good tripod, so other suggestions from those more experienced with equipment would be appreciated!
posted by cyniczny to Technology (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Easiest thing to get for any novice photographer shooting outdoors is a polarizing filter. It'll make taking color landscape and other outdoor shots vastly easier, in my experience. He'll want a circular polarizer, of the same width as his lens. I recommend B and H for your filter needs, as they have a very nice filter finder as part of their online store.

A macro lens is a lot of fun, but more expensive. Nature photographers will probably eventually want a nice macro lens and also a wide-angle lens.

Lastly, you might think about getting him a nice camera bag. Having the right bag makes a huge difference in the field.
posted by selfnoise at 12:59 PM on November 24, 2004

I carry my D70 around in a LowePro Computrekker bag, and I'm really happy with it. Durable, easy to carry, full of room for all the gadgets you'll need -- and has a laptop sleeve. I've carried the bag on two long trips, across the U.S. and through Asia, and it's pretty close to an ideal blend of photo bag and hiking backpack. That's great for outdoor photography, which I do as well.

Photoco Canada has the bag for much, much cheaper than any place else. That's where I got mine.
posted by jeffmshaw at 1:10 PM on November 24, 2004

50/1.8 AF-D prime. Cheap, sharp, awesome in low light (e.g. indoors without a flash). On a digital SLR like the D70, it has a field of view equivalent to 75mm on a film SLR, making it flattering for portraiture and candid people shots. This should probably be most people's second lens purchase. Around $100.
posted by kindall at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2004

Kind of tricky to answer without more to go on. What kind of pictures do you want to take? Initially, I'd suggest just use the camera as is and get to know what it can do. You'll realize soon enough if there's something you want to do that it's not so good for on its own. Then you'll have a much clearer idea of what you might need to overcome that.

I'm assuming you've already got a lens.
posted by normy at 1:31 PM on November 24, 2004

Some people like to pick out their own tools, but appreciate receiving toys from others. Maybe he'd enjoy a Lensbaby.
posted by departure lounge at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2004

A remote control is a good thing to have and very cheap. Even with a good tripod, the action of pressing down on the shutter can create movement and lose you sharpness, with a remote this is no longer a problem.
A polarising filter is essential for landscape photography, and spare batteries are a pretty good idea too (albeit dull). Another good filter for outdoot stuff is a neutral density gradient filter which balances out the big exposure between the sky and the ground.
How about a waterproof covering for the camera? I don't have one so can't recommend one, but would be pleased if someone bought me that as a present.
That LowePro Computrekker bag jeffmshaw mentioned is good, I have one too.
posted by chill at 2:00 PM on November 24, 2004

....big exposure difference...
posted by chill at 2:03 PM on November 24, 2004

I hope no one minds a small derail...Is it possible to add an external flash to a consumer level digital camera? I have a Kodak DX6340, and love it, but I often get that dark halo around the subject...a friend offhandedly referred to the benefit of a flash that is not mounted to the camera...I know I should be able to get the answer from kodak's site, but I find it a little unwieldy as sites go sometimes...
posted by Richat at 2:26 PM on November 24, 2004

A decent tripod in the $100 range. Almost all shots (minus sports stuff) can be improved with a tripod. If only because it makes you contemplate your composition, something that is often lacking in the "no-cost per image" digital mindset.

Richat you can get flash slave units. You'll need the style that fires when it detects another flash firing rather than the wireless or wire sync style. I've got a little module that plugs onto my large speedlight (works with any plug onto camera flash) where the camera usually goes. Works like a charm though your camera may overexpose without some fiddling.
You can also get slave triggers combined with flashes in a single unit. they tend to be weak but I've used them for hair lights and backgrounds.
posted by Mitheral at 2:48 PM on November 24, 2004

Is it possible to add an external flash to a consumer level digital camera? I have a Kodak DX6340

Not yours, as it doesn't have anywhere to attach an external flash. This is a feature you are more likely to see on higher end consumer models. For example, something like the Canon Powershot G-series.

You could use a slave as Mitheral suggests, but then you get two flashes, and one of them is still in the absolute worst place for a flash -- too damn close to the lens.
posted by kindall at 3:15 PM on November 24, 2004

He mostly likes to take nature/outdoor shots.

As far as kit lenses go, the D70's is very nice indeed, but many nature/landscape photographers like to go wider than the 27mm FOV (field of view) it provides. The Sigma 12-24 is the most economical (though still pricey) way to go wider, to a 18mm FOV. Nikon's version clocks in at 50% pricier and uses a less backwards-compatible DX format, but has the advantage of being of half a stop to a stop faster to boot.

I'm making assumptions based on other nature photographers I know though--your husband may already been happy with the focal range of his kit lens. And for something priced a little more down-to-earth, I second selfnoise's recommendations of a decent polarizing filter for his current lens. (FYI Heliopan and B+W are the most highly regarded brands for filters.)
posted by DaShiv at 3:18 PM on November 24, 2004

A larger memory card is always nice (like a 1GB Lexar 80x compact flash) which can be had for under $100. B&H Photo and Adorama are photo dealers I use often (along with Amazon).
posted by dbh at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2004

Nothing really new here, just supporting other answers.

A circular polarizer is a great idea. Extra batteries are a bit boring, but I know I've missed several great shots because of dead batteries.

A neutral density filter or graduated density filter can really help you do neat things outdoors.

If he likes experimenting a bit, you could try getting an infrared filter, like the Hoya R72. (Google first to make sure the D70 is sensitive enough to infrared light to make it work though, many consumer digital cameras won't work with IR, not sure about DSLRs.)

IF he doesn't already have a big memory card, that's a great idea too. I just bought a 512mb card last weekend, and it's nice to have the freedom to take as many shots as I'd like without worrying about running out of memory.
posted by sinical at 5:05 PM on November 24, 2004

This is a vaguely unrelated response, but regarding consumer level cameras with flashes. I have a PowerShot G5 with the flash hot shoe. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good basic flash? I'm working on improving my photography skills, but I'm still a novice, and I usually shoot outside.
posted by jed at 9:18 PM on November 24, 2004

jed - The Vivitar 285 or Sunpak 383 would be good choices.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:33 AM on November 25, 2004

Response by poster: Just a quick thank you to everyone who has provided suggestions (and links!!). Your help is MUCH appreciated. Cheers!
posted by cyniczny at 6:47 AM on November 25, 2004

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