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Digital camera help

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by mattsk42, Mar 9, 2006.


  1. mattsk42

    mattsk42 $100 off new Directv subsp.PM me BEFORE signing up Supporting Member

    I'm looking to spend around 600 for a digital camera. I'll eventually do semi-professional work and I take a lot of pictures. I'm a visual arts student. These are the best camera I have found for the price and with great reviews. Which one would you pick? Thanks!

    I'm just going to get the basic lens that comes w/ the camera/kit. Is the anti-shake really working and worth it to push the KM over the top?

    Here's my 3 choices as of now.

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0507/05071503kmmaxxum5d.asp
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos350d/
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond50/
     
  2. If you're looking to do semi-professional work, I'd recommend you go with the Canon Rebel over the other. Digital SLR work like regular SLR cameras except for being digital. This gives you a lot more flexibility for the kind of artsy stuff you're probably looking to do. While the non-SLR will give you sharper pictures due to the higher resolution, the digital SLR will give you more options for taking the shot.
     
  3. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    You want a low-end DSLR. DSLR is one full level up, there is no reason why you would want to limit yourself with a "semi-SLR" - there's a huge difference in both useability AND picture quality. I would take a 5Mpix DSLR over 12Mpix latest "SLR-style" any day, since if you have a photo sensor 1/8th of an inch in diameter it doesn't matter how many Mpixels there are crammed on that tiny chip, the quality will still be far from optimal.

    Pretty much any DSLR will work for you: Canon Rebel Digital XT works, as does Nikon D50 and pretty much every other consumer DSLR as long as it has 5 Mpix or more. You can run around the web checking graphs and reviews and listening to camera-wankers how this or that model is better than the rest, but honestly, all of them take DSLR level pictures and offer same useability.

    Remember to check the used market for good price on previous models like the Canon Digital Rebel, Olympus E-1 and Nikon D70.

    Notice that Minolta A200 is not a SLR but "SLR-like". This meaning, it appears like one but isn't.
     
  4. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    It's all in the lenses. With a true interchangeable lens SLR, you have a huge number of lenses that are designed for their specific tasks. It is very difficult to make a good sharp bright lens. Add onto that wanting it to zoom from very wide to very telephoto and you're going to loose some of those features (usually sharp and bright). A soft lens (that is, one that is not sharp, because the optical components are not made correctly or assembled perfectly) on a high megapixel camera is going to give you a lot of blurry detail. Megapixels are only half of the battle. I've seen 8x10 prints from 2 megapixel SLR cameras that look great, and I've seen 5x7's from 8 megapixel point and shoots that looked horrible. The lens has more to do with the sharpness of the image than the megapixels (to a point, over 6 megapixels, most point and shoots have more pixels than their lenses can resolve).

    If you're thinking about doing anything semi-pro, you're going to want at least a basic digital SLR (I'm a Nikon guy, so I don't know the specifics about the Canons, but their models that are close to the similar Nikons are more than likely just as good.) and I've used the Nikon D-70 (around $800, body only) can live up to pro needs. They've come out with a lower end D-50 (around $500, body only IIRC) that is basically the same image sensor, just missing some features. I think the Canon Digital Rebel is in the same market as the D-50.

    I'd really suggest you consider expanding your budget a bit if you're looking to do paid work with the camera, very few point and shoots or "SLR like" cameras will give you the features and useability you need, and in the end, you will be looking to get a new camera very soon.
     
  5. mattsk42

    mattsk42 $100 off new Directv subsp.PM me BEFORE signing up Supporting Member

    OK thanks. That's what I've been reading. What about a Nikon 50D over the Canon?
     
  6. Well, I'm old school, who still believes that film is better than digital. With film, you can get much higher definition in your shots, plus there is a LOT that you can do in the dark room to your shot. My family has all Minolta SLRs, an SRT-201, SRT-101, and an X-370 (which we found in the middle of the road after nearly running over it) I took several photo classes in high school, and the things that I could do in the dark room were very cool. While digital is a "new wave" of photo medium, I know of several professional photographers in my area that will not move away from film, simply because of the resolution.

    Rock on
    Eric
     
  7. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Oi! Roll along with your wheelchair, granpa! :D

    Fortunately, if you want to experiment with film after getting the digi, you can get a basic SLR body for $100, usually with an objective too. I still prefer my D70, though :)
     
  8. mattsk42

    mattsk42 $100 off new Directv subsp.PM me BEFORE signing up Supporting Member

    I thought about film, but I don't have a darkroom or a lot of time right now and like I said I'm still in school so I just want some pictures right now with something that can expand to the future and THEN I'll do some film if I feel like it.

    I'm just going to get the basic lens that comes w/ the camera/kit. Is the anti-shake really working and worth it to push the KM over the top?

    Here's my 3 choices as of now.

    http://www.bestpricecameras.com/314396-312367-1-2186-931-Konica-Minolta-Maxxum-5D-with-18-70mm-.html
    http://www.bestpricecameras.com/215...Eos-Digital-Rebel--XT-with-18-55mm-Lens-.html
    http://www.bestpricecameras.com/250633-0-1-25231-Nikon-D50-Kit-with-18-55mm-DX--Nikkor-Lens.html
     
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I met a guy like that (from a different field) about 3 years back. He came to our office to see if we were interested in using his services. The company he worked for closed it's doors and he decided to start his own business. Wanted to know how much of our video was shot on 16mm film because he had just set up a 16mm editing bay in a nearby office (we'd been shooting everything on beta for the past 15 years and had just bought our second Media 100 Non-Linear Editing System). I've been shooting Digital cameras professionally for over 8 years, and I still shoot film when the need arises, but anyone who is a professional photographer, and is not working in some niche market doing large prints or art reproduction, who is not using digital in the situations that warrant it, will soon find they have a lot of free time on their hands.

    In the end, Film is going nowhere. It will always be around. So will digital, they are tools, and each serves a purpose. If you refuse digital for digital sake, or deny film because it's old and slow, you're just reducing your options based on misguided and biased perceptions.
     
  10. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    As I said before, I'm a Nikon user, so my suggestion would be to go with the D-50, but I'm sure the Canon would be good too, I don't know much about the Konica-Minolta. The various vibration reduction techniques DO work quite well when used correctly, and if you go with the Nikon D-50, I'd suggest you look into the Nikon 24-120mm VR lens, it's a great lens with an unbelieveable zoom range and vibration reduction built in, it's relatively cheap (around $450). Drawbacks are it's not the brightest or sharpest lens around (but very good for it's range and price point) and it's aperture is variable within the zoom range (but the cameras can control that within their limits).
     
  11. From everything I've read, the new DSLR cameras like the Canon EOS-1Ds (16.7 MP) and the Nikon D2X (12.4 MP) cameras offer better resolution than film cameras and also a better signal-to-noise ratio as well.
     
  12. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Matt, I'm glad to see you are doing well with your choices. VR is the only thing giving the Minolta an edge over the rest, but then again Canon and Nikon are so popular brands you won't have any problem finding objectives or flashes when you might want one.

    Minoltas VR might be worth it, but as LajoieT put it, Nikon has a good VR objective around at very low price - trust me, $450 will feel like a very low price after a few years when you are pondering about getting 1-2 grand lenses ;)

    If you can go to a store and try the different cameras in your hand, that would help you making the decision. They are all quite similar in features, but feel very different.

    PS. LajoieT, nice to see another Nikonista on the boards! And a fellow D70 owner at that. :smug:
     
  13. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Yea, I've got 2 D-70's that are likely going to be pretty lonely in the near future, the D2x just landed!!!! I have a lot of great things to say about the D-70, but there is no comparison.
     
  14. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Laugh, I can believe that, since there's no comparison on the price tag level either :D

    Looks like I'm gonna hang on to my D70 a while, I just got it last summer and don't even have lenses for it except for the kit one - one of the reasons why being a student and semi-pro photographer don't mix ;)
     
  15. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    OK, here's my take on the Film vs. Digital debate.

    The big question:

    How many megapixels do I need to match film's quality?

    The number of Oranges it takes to make an Apple pie. (get it, APPLES vs. ORANGES)

    From an image standpoint, film has the same disadvantage as dot matrix printers. For the most part, color film has 3 color layers, blue, green, and red. To make, say purple, the film has to use specks of blue and red together to make the illusion of purple, and if the purple is a graduated color, it will varry the proportions of each to vary the value of purple across the gradation. Digital on the other hand, can make ANY pixel ANY of (for arguements sake) 16.7 million colors, 2-3 millon of which could be described as purple. So where digital would show a solid smooth purple gradation, film would have the grainy, spotty look (not a negative, people still use pointilism in painting, it's just a different texture feel to the image).

    Digital sensors have their pixels lined up in neat little rows (yea, some of those rows are diagonal and they play tricks with them, but they're still in neat little rows) and the pixel is either this or that, RED, MAGENTA, BLACK, CYAN, it's all or nothing. Films grain is a bit more dynamic. When the area is very red, the red grain will be larger and more dense, and when it's white, the grain will be almost non-existant. This gives film a big advantage in resolving power (the ability to distinguish between thin lines placed very close together like test patters) because the grain doesn't need to line up like little soldiers, they can kind of grow where they're needed (within limits of course).

    From a useabiliy standpoint, at least 98% of the photos I take pass through a computer, which means if it's film they will eventually be scanned in, which is time consuming, expensive, and depending on who does it, the quality can vary greatly. If I shoot medium format film and scan it myself, it can take me a full hour between mounting the film in the holder, scanning it, adjusting it, and removing dust and stuff. That's pretty time consuming to me, as well as stressfull on my eyes, so shooting digital can save a huge amount of time in that regard. However, I can also lay out about 150 images on a lightbox and go over them all looking critically at focus, composition, and expressions (I shoot a lot of people, practically none are models) in about 5 minutes. It would take my computer 15 minutes to open thumbnails of that same number of images, then I'd have have to open the full files of the ones I like the looks of to see if they're sharp or the expressions are really good. I always say, digital does a few photos quicker than is possible with film, but film will do 500 pictures FAR quicker than digital every can. Of course I can take my laptop anywhere and do work. I wouldn't want to carry my lightbox more than about 10 feet, and I still would need to get the film processed before I could look at it.

    I can take a person's portrait, and in 2 minutes show it to them to see if they approve of it, if they don't we shoot a few more, if they do we're done. If 10 people need it it gets e-mailed to them, no need for dupes. If they want a 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, no problem, if they want a 36x40, I would have wished I shot film.


    Strange mixed lighting (daylight, tungsten, mercury vapor, florescent, etc.) no problem, I can adust for them in photoshop in selected areas of the image. Of course getting the color ballance perfect in the first place is NOT easy, or cheap.

    I can store a huge number of photos on a little hard drive, but I've never opened up my slide file drawer to find it didn't work and everything inside was lost forever.

    I could go on forever, but I think I've made my point,

    Film vs. Digital? I'll take both.
     
  16. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    If you're looking for some new lenses let me know and I can give you my opinions (see my last post, I've got a lot of opinions, they're free!!!!) on which ones are useable and or worth the $$$ and which ones aren't. I got the 24-120VR thinking it would work for quick stuff, and quickly found myself using it all over the place. There are a lot of lenses in their line up that leave me scratching my head as to why anyone would buy them.


    {sorry for the derailment mattsk42, it's all part of my subliminal plan to get you to go with Nikon, oops, I've said to much...}
     
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
  18. mattsk42

    mattsk42 $100 off new Directv subsp.PM me BEFORE signing up Supporting Member

    Thanks that helped a lot. I really like the antishake, but everyone's saying to get the other two!
     
  19. There's solutions for this such as certain types of RAID arrays, DVD's, backup drives, etc. I lost an entiremy entire hard drive but I didn't lose a single byte of data (photos, Journal Articles, various research data, about 30 GB worth). IMO, this shouldn't be a worry for anyone.

    That said, I have an older Canon AE-1 Program that I have this sort of nostalgic attration to. It is a cool camera, takes nice pictures, and looks fairly retro.
     
  20. mattsk42

    mattsk42 $100 off new Directv subsp.PM me BEFORE signing up Supporting Member

    Yeah I've got a dual sided DVD burner. If I ever need more than I can burn on that....well then I'll have enough money to have someone do it for me, or I need to get better at photography! :D

    Back to the subject, though......