Tag Archives: digital cameras

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Which lens should I buy for my Nikon D60?

I have an important question for all the experienced photographers who happen to read my blog. I just spent a couple of weeks working with my colleagues in the Google Dublin office. Everyone there is great, and it’s really impressive how they cover so many different languages and help webmasters in so many different markets.


Despite Ireland’s rainy reputation I had plenty of opportunities to take photos, and you can see a picture from the top floor of one of the Google Dublin buildings at the beginning of this post. I also managed to drop my camera, a Nikon D60, lens-first to the pavement. This was right before a trip to Ireland’s beautiful west coast, including Connemara. My 18-55mm Nikon kit lens wasn’t completely smashed, but zooming is painful, autofocus doesn’t always work, and something is out-of-plane because I get annoying directional blur in the sides and bottom corners of most shots.

So I need to replace the 18-55mm. I don’t have a lot of budget for cameras and equipment, hence the D60. I have a few ideas about what I might get, but between the experienced photographers I know and rest of the web I hope to get some suggestions, pointers, and other wisdom.


Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. I keep wanting more telephoto than my kit lens, and I’d like to have one versatile lens that I can leave on the camera for entire trips. It’s got decent reviews, and more importantly, it looks like I can pick it up for under $500, compared to $750+ for the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II. One drawback with any super zoom lens is weight, and this one clocks in at 628 g. I might also consider the older Sigma 18-200mm is it’s significantly cheaper.

The Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens is tempting too, but Ken Rockwell isn’t a fan and I’ve had luck with his recommendations in the past. It looks like I can pick it up for $360 and probably get a lightly used one for even cheaper – this is the kit lens for some cameras so a lot of people sell it when they upgrade. Not as much zoom as the Sigma but also not as much weight – only 420 g.

I’m also really interested in picking up a prime lens at some point. I take a lot of photos of my kid, and she’s moving faster every day. Any recommendations on 55mm vs 35mm? Should I pick up a used 18-105mm and use the savings to pick up a prime lens too, or is buying used a big risk with these kinds of lenses?

Please tell me what you think (or that I’m crazy and should pick up something completely different instead) in the comments below.

Obsolescence and obscurity in digital cameras

University Hall Tower at OWU I’m planning on buying a new DSLR, and as I looked through old photos from college today I started to think about my first digital camera, a Philips ESP50.  Here’s a page with some specs, translated from German.

I remember buying the camera, logged in to eBay from my parents’ house late at night the day after Christmas.  I think I ended up paying something like $250 for it.

This was before the megapixel war, when 640 by 480 was considered a viable resolution.  This camera applied tortuous levels of JPG compression to fit images on the 4MB disk.  At the time, though, it seemed like a good deal.  Film cost money, and developing film cost money, and most of the year I was a ramen-noodle-eating college student.  Probably the biggest reason to go digital was the tiny little screen on the back – you could actually tell if you got the shot, instead of waiting to get back a bunch of blurry prints.

The camera is painfully obsolete now, and even then it was somewhat obscure.  The thing is, the Web was a pretty amazing place even back in 1998 – there were lots of web pages about this camera.  I remember reading at least a couple reviews, and searches for it on WebCrawler or Alta Vista or whatever I used back then came up with retailers, other auction sites, etc.  Look for information about this camera now, and it seems that it has been largely forgotten:

And that’s about it.

I wonder, is this the destiny of all cameras?  Will I do a search for my Nikon Coolpix 5700 in 2014 and come up with just as little, or has the Web expanded so quickly that the copious product reviews, blog posts, and technical discussions on photography forums outweigh the force of entropy?  I wonder if the Internet has gained any stability as it has matured – do pages tend to stick around longer, or is linkrot a constant of the universe?

Future generations will hardly feel deprived if they miss out on information about some crappy old digicam.  Still, you never know what kind of information will end up being useful to someone at some point, and this same problem extends to all the information on the Web – from reviews of obsolete products to the human genome.  If a website goes under and deletes a thousand blogs, it won’t exactly make the news.  But our great-grandchildren might look at that stuff the way we look at letters from the Civil War.

The only solutions I have are more effort behind projects like archive.org, increased data portability, and rational intellectually property laws that don’t make saving 70-year-old content from deletion into a federal crime.

For discussion, how do you deal with ancient equipment, keeping around old web content, or even archiving old email?