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I shoot portraits mostly, and some street photography, landscape, and shots of the family. I would like to get into wedding photography work later on. My previous lenses on Canon were the 50 1.4, 85 1.8, and 70-200. I'm not familiar with Nikon lenses so if you guys would be kind enough to tell me some bargains and stand-outs that would be great
Nikon has lenses in the same focal range as the Canon counterparts you mention. As fas as the 1.4/50 and 1.8/85mm are concerned, these have both an (older) AF-D (= without focusing motor, so use only on camera bodies which have one, but with aperture ring) and and AFS (with focusing motor, so also usable on bodies without focussing motor like D3000, D3100, D5000, D5100 and older bodies like D40 and D50, no aperture ring). There have also been manual versions of these two lenses
I still have copies of the older manual 1.4/50mm and 1.8/85mm (really an oldie) and have owned copies of the manual 2/85mm and the 1.8/85 AFD. Nothing particular to mention about them, just like to have them, good mechanical and image quality (you will find enough songs of praise in the ' Manual Focus Nikon Glass' thread on the older manual versions)
Nikon has two versions of the 70-200, both with a 2.8 maximum aperture (no 4.0/70-200 version as Canon offers) The first version (VR1) has an excellent reputation on DX (=crop) format, but is reputed not to offer stellar performance on FX (Full frame = D700, D800, D3 etc.). The newer VR2 version is getting excellent reviews but of couse is more expensive then the older VR1 version (which can be found for quite reasonable prices 2nd hand)
I also need some advice on a body. I actually like older pro bodies a lot because they are still good cameras! As of now, my considerations are the Nikon D2x, D300s or D300, or D7000. Want to keep it in the 1,000 dollar range. Thanks guys for all the help
I still have a D2x and had a D300.
My personal (short) review of the camera's is
D2X: Pro body, excellent AF, excellent IQ as long as you stay under 800 ASA. Added extra the HSC option giving a 2x crop vs the standard 1.5 DX crop, which with the higher fps is nice to have when shooting outdoor sports (with enough light)
D300 : despite not having the bullit proof built of the D2X, still a very sturdy body, AF on par with D2X (although I like the snappier AF of the D2X better), better high ISO up to ASA 2400
D300S: Newer version of the D300 (main difference added video function). No personal experience, but said to have improved AF and high ISO.
D7000 : No personal exprience, said to have better AF and high ISO then D300(S), but on the several fora subject of much discussion on that. Main difference higher megapixel and SD cards only
All the afore mentioned bodies can be found well under the $1,000 mark on ebay and similar sites
On a side note:
There's much noise and discussion on the Internet the said to be the shortly (at the Photokina later this month?) to be announced (or not) D400, supposedly successor (or not) of the mentioned DX cameras which are for DSLR's are well overdue for replacement(D300S introduced november 2009, D7000 introduced november 2010, D2X dinosaur).
Also, apart from the lenses and bodies you are looking into, with wedding photography in the back of your mind, I would also look into the Nikon flash system.
The older SB600 and especially SB800 still have an excellent reputation (which unfortunately translates in a relative high 2nd hand price).
The SB900 is subject of much discussion over overheating problems, especially with wedding and similar events where flashes much put under much workload, problems which have been soled with the SB700 and SB910 (at a price)