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cs
11-12-2007, 03:22 PM
While point and shoot digital cameras are all the rage at the moment, it is time to move onward and upward.

We started talking this weekend about updateing our Minolta X-500 SLR 35mm to a digital. Of course I just found out this weekend that Minolta is no more, that Sony took them over. I also learned some other interesting things, such as our lens collection will work on the digital SLR cameras, but to do that we would have to stay with the Sony camera.

It appears that we are talking in the $700 to $800 range for a deceant SLR digital with interchangable lens, around 10.2 megapixals.

So what a lot of this would be used for is action shots in poorly lit convention centers.

Any input would be appreciated. Input such as is the Sony a good choice? Are we better selling our existing lenses and looking at another brand? What is going to be best for low light action photos in SLR (and I know you can get good photos, I've posted plenty of those before)?

So any and all input.

Chad

Also where is a good place to sell my existing camera equipment to help finance this new endevour (Besides the obvous E-bay)?

Kaa
11-12-2007, 03:33 PM
It appears that we are talking in the $700 to $800 range for a deceant SLR digital with interchangable lens, around 10.2 megapixals.

So what a lot of this would be used for is action shots in poorly lit convention centers.

I use and like Canons. Canon 400D (aka Digital Rebel Xti) is a bit under $600, body only. That would seem to be your best bet for a DSLR camera.

Speaking of lenses, fast lenses tend to be expensive, but either a Canon 50mm f/1.4 (~ $280) or a Canon 85mm f/1.8 (~ $300) would be reasonable and will fit your budget. If you need more reach, you'll face an unappealing choice between a slow telephoto and parting with ridiculously large amounts of money.

If you provide more specifics as to what you want to shoot and in what conditions, I can provide more specific advice as well :-)

Kaa

Rational Root
11-12-2007, 03:42 PM
If you want info on digital cameras www.dpreview.com is the place to go.

Remember that even at 6MP you can tell the difference between a prime lense and a zoom lense.

Since the photo sensor is smaller, on the affordable DSLRs, a 200mm lense acts like a 300 on a film camera.

Get an 18-50 and a 50-200 to start. If you can spend money, get the wider aperture versions.

Anything longer than a 200mm on a DSLR will require a tripod.

Dave

cs
11-12-2007, 04:03 PM
Here are some examples of the type of shots that we would be taking.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2330/1989385400_dd8959f202_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2207/1988601641_941ee481ae_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2062/1988651219_a1ca4906db_b.jpg

Tried to upload some of the shots that weren't zoomed in, showing the whole state, but It was over the file limit size. These photos were taken by a professional. My wife (and myself) have played around with 35mm photography over the years as a hobby. We want to be able to do this type of photo with a digital.

Chad

cs
11-12-2007, 04:26 PM
One thing that is harder to tell in these photos is the distance that these shots are made from. Combine that with poor light and high action and most point and shoots just don't cut the mustard.

Chad

cs
11-12-2007, 04:48 PM
You see that is where it is a little deceptive, the lighting. The ambient lighting is not that good. You have a lot of multi-colored flashing lights above the stage and hardly any lights in the spectator area. Any normal point and shoot digital camera is lost in this (not even considering the loss of shots due to shutter lag).

If you were shooting this with 35 mm you would have to use a faster speed film (at least 400) and open you appature a bit.

Chad

Kaa
11-12-2007, 05:13 PM
Sorry, Norman, shooting action in low light is not an area where point-and-shoots shine. Two reasons for that, primarily. First, point-and-shoots have physically small sensors, which means that their pixels are physically small as well. That directly translates into high noise at anything more than 100-200 ISO sensitivity. (See e.g. http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7.html#Digisensors for a fairly technical discussion)

Second, point-and-shoots almost invariably have slow zooms as their non-interchangeable lenses. You can do much, much better optics-wise on an SLR.

Professionals who shoot indoor sports typically use something like Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. Unfortunately, this lens costs about $1,500.

So, cs, I think your best bet would be a Canon Digital Rebel Xti which is 10 megapixels and, like all Canon DSLRs, has very good performance at high ISO -- and you will need it. Lens-wise the only thing in your budget is 85mm f/1.8. If that's too short -- well, measure how much light you actually have and then figure out what's the slowest lens that will work. If you can live with f/4 or f/5.6 things become much easier.

Kaa

paladin
11-12-2007, 05:18 PM
If you use the Olympus machines and you get the changeable lense system you can purchase the adapter rings...I have a Maxxum 9000 system and the smaller unit with underwater housings, and I deliberately purchased the Olympus for that reason.

Henning 4148
11-12-2007, 05:22 PM
It's the sensor area (or more precise the sensor area per pixel) that makes good photos in poor light. And this is where the semi professional and professional cameras come in, they have the big sensor areas, by now up to 24 x 36 mm like a film on professional models!

Up to say A4 enlargement or even a bit bigger, 8 MP are plenty enough, so, for your application with poor light it just might be worth looking for 8 MP semi professional or professional models with a big sensor area currently being phased out and therefore reduced.

If you combine this with a light strong (expensive ...) lens you should start to go places. You need reasoanbly short shutter speeds as the photos are sport photos. Don't know about flash, if it is possible and allowed, a strong flash might help (not the built in one, a real flashy flash, a Metz or something like it).

You can also turn the sensitivity high (like 1000 ISO), but what that does is give you strong noise compression which will give you visible artefacts or lack of detail in the picture, so for good photos you normally want to stay with a setting of below 400 ISO (for instance 200).

In a recent review I also read, that the Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro, target for the semiprofessional market, has a very high dynamic range. That body will take Nikon lenses. Also, the Nikon D40x and the Pentax K100 got decent reviews, all those three comparable to the EOS 400 D with the Fujifilm offering the better dynamic (at a price though ...). These three have approx. 23,5 x 15,5 mm sensor area.

Just wondering how far you would go with a second hand Leica Digilux 2. The sensor "only" does 5 MP, but the lens looks pretty night active for a compact camera and on e-bay they are not expensive. For 4 x 6 inch enlargements or so, that should do nicely. Perhaps someone has more ideas on this ...

Larry P.
11-12-2007, 05:57 PM
Chad check out the reviews for the Nikon D50 and D40.
6.1 megapixels with tons of features and easy to use. The d40 is around $400 with the lens. I have the D50 and love it. At 6 and above higher megapixels is not the only thing to look for in a "prosumer" camera. Quicker shutter speeds and shorter lag between shots is more important for the type of things you'll be doing. Nikon rated very well in thease areas.

JimM
11-12-2007, 06:18 PM
I love my Nikon D50. The ability to take a burst of pictures is really a good feature. You are less likely to miss that one shot.

elf
11-12-2007, 06:23 PM
Minolta is dead, Sony's gone mainstream.

Pix like those take practice, access, skill and vision before equipment. To a considerable extent vision and access are the most important. Once you get to the point of needing top equipment you also need good Photoshop skills which you don't need top equipment to develop as long as your current camera shoots in RAW mode.

Your investment in Canon is likely to be more useful, since its market breadth is much greater than Nikon and that's what supports its professional camera line. Competition is fierce and Nikon doesn't have the resources that Canon has.

Get the prosumer version of Canon's cameras - the 10D would be a fine place to start because of the relatively low cost on eBay of a camera that old. Then get the best OEM lenses you can afford and start with good zooms.

In general I would say that you cannot shoot sports with primes. You mobility is too limited.

And yes, you can shoot that sort of stuff with 300 mm. It's technique, not equipment.

elf
11-12-2007, 06:28 PM
Yes. The point-and-shoot-sumer cameras like the Lumix can be pretty impressive. And they can cost more than $500. And you have no choice of lenses, which is a problem on the wide end.

But they do have nice big sensors and more than 6 MP and some of them will shoot in RAW mode.

Unfortunately, for dealing with the results you will need at least PS CS2, and the current plugin. The software that comes with the cameras is truely lame.

elf
11-12-2007, 06:33 PM
Checking out the shots there's a good liklihood that the photog brought in his/her own lights in advance and they are powered remotely but triggered by either the onboard pro flash, or an onboard transmitter. The local sports shooter here on the Cape carries tripods and powerful flashes and sets up before each game. Nothing like having a press pass...

elf
11-12-2007, 06:34 PM
There is no good place to sell your cameras. Film is dead and Minolta is deader!

Larry P.
11-12-2007, 07:16 PM
Elf one thing I seemed to have noticed is that cannon has dominated sports photography and Nikon dominated other types of pro photography. Is this still the case? and why?

elf
11-12-2007, 07:41 PM
It seems to still be the case. I'm not sure why. About the best I can tell you is why I switched.

The glass is equally good. The service is more or less equal. The feature sets are more or less equal, except that Nikon still has not produced a full frame digi. Canon has at its top level.

The ergonomics of the bodies aren't.

When I began shopping I was a dedicated Nikon user. We had a running joke at the paper between me & the chief shooter and our intern. He was just a high school kid, but he thought for himself and had bought in to Canon. We teased him, not quite mercilessly but almost! After all he was just a kid and we were Nikon users!

Anyway, long after that I was in Newport shooting the AC pre-trials -still using film. Around me were the cream of the cream with 2 bodies and these monster Canon tan lenses. The tables were turned. I was the one being teased!

Then the son of a friend of mine bought a D100 and I started shooting with it. He was too busy to bother... Well, well, well. Now that was neat, except that everything was terribly blue.

So when it came time I called our intern, now in college and studying photojournalism. He was on summer vacation and brought his camera over for me to try out, spent some time explaining to me how to control the important parts. We shot some flowers and stuff and then downloaded the pix into the computer. They weren't blue. Big deal! Then I wanted to change the focus point and discovered the big wheel under my thumb. Soooo simple.

So I concluded that, for me, the Nikon controls were inconvenient to operate and the auto white balance was way off to the blue side. NIkon's joystick was very inconvenient and imprecise while Canon's two control wheels were much more intuitive.

So I switched.

And yes, I see a lot of Canon cameras around me on the boats. And plenty in studios too.

But I'm a small sample.

Larry P.
11-12-2007, 07:51 PM
Just curious, I started using nikon 35mm back in college, I've never been more than a hobbiest. I bought Nikon for two main reasons, the reputation for being rugged (I tend to be hard on things) and the backwards compatibility for lenses. I guess I've just gotten used to using nikon.

Tar Devil
11-12-2007, 08:07 PM
Just how much did you inherit, Chad? :)

Milo Christensen
11-12-2007, 08:11 PM
Screw the digital, buy a big, wide lens and some ASA 400 color film.
Set the camera to ASA800. Tell the lab that develops to CD that you forced the film from 400 to 800.

Not that it really matters, because:
You won't get shots like that from the stands.
You won't get stop action like that under 1/250.
You won't get shots like that with any shutter lag.
You won't get lighting like that without at least 2 slaved strobes.
Basically, you won't get shots like that if you're not on the floor.

Edit: Looking at the ghastly makeup on those little girls, whyinhell would you even want shots like that?

Kaa
11-12-2007, 08:50 PM
There's an intermediate ground; tale a look at the Lumix DMC-FZ18K. It's 1/2" CMOS sensor is much larger than a typical point-and-shoot. Perhaps not quite as large as the interchangeable lens SLRs, but a lot better than the typical shirtpocket camera.

All I'm suggesting here is that half the money doesn't mean half the photo... the price performance curve flattens out considerably as you get away from the low end.

Well, I agree the prosumer point-and-shoots can be quite nice. And I agree the price/performance curve flattens out at the high(er) end. But the problem is that cs wants to shoot indoor sports -- a very very demanding application. You just don't have the leeway to trade things off against each other -- you need to have low-noise high ISO modes *and* big fast lenses *and* good auto-focus system *and* minimum shutter lag.

So while I have no problems recommending P&Ses to people for taking pictures of boats, or gardens, or relatives, etc. etc., specifically for indoor sports the DSLRs' advantages are considerable.

Kaa

Kaa
11-12-2007, 08:54 PM
Screw the digital, buy a big, wide lens and some ASA 400 color film.
Set the camera to ASA800. Tell the lab that develops to CD that you forced the film from 400 to 800.

Not that it really matters, because:
You won't get shots like that from the stands.
You won't get stop action like that under 1/250.
You won't get shots like that with any shutter lag.
You won't get lighting like that without at least 2 slaved strobes.
Basically, you won't get shots like that if you're not on the floor.


You're wrong, Milo. It would certainly help to have a few thousand to invest in a camera and lens, but you CAN get shots like this from the stands without any strobes.

And, by the way, at high ISOs the current-day digital is noticeably less noisy/grainy than color film.

Kaa

cs
11-12-2007, 09:07 PM
Thanks a heap guys. Lot of info to digest.

Everyone seems to recomend the Cannon. What about the Sony and using my zoom lens from my Minolta? It is a 80-200. Am I better getting a lens designed just for a DSLR?

And Milo I want to take those type photos because that is my kid. You may not like the make-up (and I don't either) but she loves doing this stuff.

Phil, inheartance ain't going to pay for this, just a lot of saving and scrimping.

Chad

Kaa
11-12-2007, 09:29 PM
Everyone seems to recomend the Cannon. What about the Sony and using my zoom lens from my Minolta? It is a 80-200. Am I better getting a lens designed just for a DSLR?

I suspect your Minolta zoom is too slow to be of much use.

If you want to be more precise about it, go with a camera -- any camera with a lightmeter -- to a show and see how much light you have. Assume, say, a shutter speed of 1/250 and ISO 800 and see what f-stop you would need. Can your existing zoom provide such an f-stop?

Kaa

P.S. With a few exceptions (e.g. Canon's EF-S lenses) the "made for digital" thing is just a marketing gimmick. Ignore it.

elf
11-12-2007, 10:21 PM
Canon has only one N in the middle! Even though we shoot with it!

BrianW
11-12-2007, 10:29 PM
I've discovered that my Canon XTi will not shoot in RAW mode when using any of the auto modes, such as the 'green box', 'landscape', 'portrait', etc.

Got to use one of the other modes, which take a bit more knowledge to use. That really bummed me out. Other than that, I love my XTi.

The Bigfella
11-12-2007, 11:49 PM
Chad

I use a Nikon D100 and have plenty of outdoor sports photography experience. I've taken shots at a few indoor soccer events and they do NOT come out like those shots above. I think you'll be spending big to replicate that sort of photography indoors.

elf
11-13-2007, 06:57 AM
I've discovered that my Canon XTi will not shoot in RAW mode when using any of the auto modes, such as the 'green box', 'landscape', 'portrait', etc.
Yup. That's why those modes aren't ever used by pros. They should eliminate them from the dial on the entire line except for the consumer models.

Shoot in Aperture Priority and use the auto focus and set the camera for RAW and learn to use Photoshop's RAW converter.

Just ask here for help. i'll be glad to get you started. It's really not that difficult and you have a lot more control.

Milo Christensen
11-13-2007, 07:14 AM
. . . If you want to be more precise about it, go with a camera -- any camera with a lightmeter -- to a show and see how much light you have. Assume, say, a shutter speed of 1/250 and ISO 800 and see what f-stop you would need. Can your existing zoom provide such an f-stop? . . .

Chad: Good advice here from Kaa.

I apologize for being such an old fuddyduddy curmudgeon last night.

Hey! Ijust remembered that Fuji makes a color film with ASA/ISO speed of 1600!

So, digitized persons, what is the highest ASA/ISO rating for a digital SLR in Chad's price range?

elf
11-13-2007, 07:22 AM
Most digis go up to 1600 ISO. The relevant question is "where does the digital noise become unacceptable?".

On a Canon 10D I regard the noise as unacceptable at 200 ISO. On my 30D I can go to 400 ISO before it's unacceptable.

I shoot all my sailing at 200 unless it's extremely bright outside, when I'll push it down to 100. I shoot nearly all my landscape stuff at 100 unless it's deep shade, and then I use the 30D.

Fuji's grain is not comparable to noise. I cannot get a grain free sky from a professional scan on Velvia 100. I can get a noise free sky on my 30D at 200.

cs
11-13-2007, 07:53 AM
Okay I think I'm getting a handle on this.

First I need a camera with a good size sensor area and I need one that lets me shoot in RAW format. I need a fast zoom and one with a f stop of 2.8 would be good. I will have to check my zoom and see what the f stop is, actually we have 2 zooms (one is a zoom/macro).

Still stuyding this but the Canon (with one N) is looking good. May try to find a Canon (with one N ;) ) Rebel with an entry level lens and go from there.

A couple of side notes. The photos above are taken by a professional who got in before the compittion and set up his equipment. So he does have the advantage over us. Also be let it be known that as far as where he is shooting from is the same location as we (the fans) are. We are right at the foot of the stage. The first 3 or 4 rows of seating are always reserved for fans of the team on stage.

Here is a link to Brian's website (the photogapher).

http://www.actionmoments.com/

He is actually a friend of ours, a friend in the sense that our daughter and his used to do gymnastics together and my wife used to scrapbook with his. Maybe I should talk to him about some used equipment.

BTW this is more for my wife than it is for me. I would like to be able to just buy a team CD of every event. But to really do that you need to get everyone on the team to pitch in and buy it as a group. Last time we did that it only cost each teammate about $25 for four CD's packed with photos.

I would rather enjoy the compitition rather than be tied to a camera. I was tied to a video camera during gymnastic meets and I hated it.

Chad

BTW no worries Milo, I can't stand the makeup either.

Joe (SoCal)
11-13-2007, 08:27 AM
For all his old fuddyduddy curmudgeoness Milo was correct about getting the shot in that location and that lighting no matter what camera you use.

A decent digital SLR as mentioned is the Cannon system, but as elf has pointed out it's not the equipment that get the shot.

Personally after years of shooting SLR's I've come to enjoy the look of range finders. I loved my Leica and would consider the new Digital Leica if I hit the lottery big $$$$.

Oddly enough for the kind of shooting I do now the I've been more than happy without he iPhone's quirky kinda artistic sometimes warped around the edges range finder type camera. It suits most of what I shoot. But would TOTALY not work in your circumstance.

My advice to you is get a decent digital SLR don't break the bank and get yourself in a better location to shoot the shot.

Chris Ostlind
11-13-2007, 09:14 AM
It's been interesting reading the responses from the gang on this topic. As a working pro photographer for the past 36 years with four in the military before that, I've had a few cameras run through my hands.

I have specialized in action sports and architecture all these years and went digital some years back without one scrap of film shot in the interim. (The local pro lab has dried-up and turned into a high-end furniture store as a result of the digi revolution)

I shoot with Nikon gear and have not suffered a bit at the hands of other guys who shoot Canon. The haggle with pixel numbers is largely irrelevant with my customers. Nobody has ever asked me to shoot a full frame digital or lose my work flow with them. Once you get above 8MP, the business of spotting a lower res shot, even on a double truck spread, is tough for even seasoned pros, so it really all comes back to that one thing it has been for a hundred plus years...

Ya' gotta know the sport you are shooting, setup with the best angles to cover the most action and get the gear to yield the shots that make a difference between yourself and the Uncles and Dads who crowd the same sidelines.

The guy (shooting the sample images) has his gear package dialed-in nicely for the event. It's probably maxed to the allowable aux lighting package he can get away with and triggered by either IR or wireless remotes. You are not going to compete with that setup no matter what camera package you buy.

Your shots will be flatter and less contrasty, less defined. They will also be motion blurred at the edges even with the best hand held gear. You will also see much fewer useable frames from your effort with missed moments, blocked views, bumped shooter at release, etc. There's a long list of things that can screw your shot and pros learn about them from years of doing what you are about to do and then correcting their problems the next day out. Your next day out will be next week (maybe) and you just might remember what went wrong last time while your conciousness is directed away from the shooting task to more pedestrian realities.

Buy the disc set from the guy if he is doing his work well. It's far cheaper, yields greater, more frequent images that you will have forever. This allows you to take in the event from a purely emotional perspective rather then being glued to the viewfinder, trying to solve technical issues.

I have a daughter who is now playing college soccer in California. I shot all her games (either video or stills) from the time she was a little tiny goof who had zero skills until she won a full ride scholarship for being an elite player. Towards the end of her local playing days, I started asking a buddy to shoot the games so I could simply watch and get the full effect of the game, the surroundings and her overall effort as it related to her teammates and the opponent. As a cameraman, you do not get to enter that other, more encompassing, part of the game with your attention dialed into the viewfinder (as you have observed)

Get an acceptable point and shoot machine and enjoy the games/events. Love your kids and tell them so whenever you can.

My .02 as a lifetime shooter of stills and cinema.

Chris

cs
11-13-2007, 09:33 AM
Chris you make some good points. I don't flatter myself thinking that I can compete with the quality of shots as above, but I would like something that will get deceant shots. Believe me in this situation point and shoot don't work, to the point of being useless.

Most of this is for the wife who wants the ability to at least have the flexiabilty to do these shots.

Chad

Kaa
11-13-2007, 11:37 AM
On a Canon 10D I regard the noise as unacceptable at 200 ISO. On my 30D I can go to 400 ISO before it's unacceptable.

Your standards are higher than mine :-)

On a Canon 20D I shoot at ISO 200 by default and easily go up to ISO 400 if I need it. ISO 800 I consider acceptable (especially if processed through noise-reducing tools), but I do try to avoid ISO 1600 if I can help it.

Kaa

Kaa
11-13-2007, 11:43 AM
First I need a camera with a good size sensor area and I need one that lets me shoot in RAW format. I need a fast zoom and one with a f stop of 2.8 would be good.

Check and check. However I suspect a f/2.8 zoom would be out of your price range. Consider primes instead. Enough megapixels will allow you to crop successfully.


May try to find a Canon (with one N ;) ) Rebel with an entry level lens and go from there.

Get just a body and buy lens separately. The kit lens is junk.

Kaa

BrianW
11-13-2007, 02:32 PM
Shoot in Aperture Priority and use the auto focus and set the camera for RAW and learn to use Photoshop's RAW converter.

Just ask here for help. i'll be glad to get you started. It's really not that difficult and you have a lot more control.

Thanks for the advice! I will start shooting in that mode. I need to buy a manual for the camera, as my wife through mine away. Hard to blame her, as there were two, one spanish and one english, and she mistakenly kept the spanish one.

Maybe a good reason to go Nikon. ;)

Kaa
11-13-2007, 02:40 PM
Thanks for the advice! I will start shooting in that mode.

Actually, for the easiest I-just-want-to-press-the-button mode, use the P mode. It's basically the "green box" mode that doesn't lock you out of things.

Aperture priority is good if you need to control depth of field. Shutter priority is good if you need to freeze the motion and don't care much about the depth of field. But for overall "mindless" shooting, the P mode is the easiest.

Kaa

BrianW
11-13-2007, 02:44 PM
Get just a body and buy lens separately. The kit lens is junk.

I'm sure you seen some of those threads on photography forums, where they challenge folks to use a certain lens... I've seen some nice pictures taken with the 'nifty-fifty' there. But, of course there are better lenses. I've thought I've taken some nice pictures with my 'nifty-fifty' but they do look soft and out of focus a lot.

This one looks much better when not reduced to fit a forum webpage...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/BrianW/North%20Slope%20Summer%202007/mikkelsenatcrossisland.jpg

elf
11-13-2007, 03:12 PM
Thanks for the advice! I will start shooting in that mode. I need to buy a manual for the camera,
Look online for a PDF of it, on the manufacturer's site.

For sports you shoot in Exposure priority and take whatever DOF you get. I shoot sailing in bright light at 100 ISO at a 1250th of a second. If I kick it up to ISO 200 I can go for a 1000th but often that's too slow and I get blur. Sometimes I want the blur.

For landscape I shoot in Aperture priority so I can control my DOF. I use the lowest ISO I can get away with.

Kaa
11-13-2007, 03:23 PM
Too many people are so totally obsessed with the 'toy value' of the hardware that they forget the end result. That blurry, grainy, low contrast photo taken with the cheapest of cameras is no less significant and dear to me than the best shots taken with the highest-end stuff I can afford. I'm not suggesting that anyone purposely look to achieve poor quality... but I think that there's far too much emphasis on aspects of a photo that suppress and ignore the content and sentiment.

There are most certainly lots of people for whom the camera is no more than a hardware toy and who are much more interested in the toy itself than in the images it can produce.

And I agree that buying a camera does not a photographer make. I am reminded of Philip Greenspan's advice to people who wanted to buy big, long, and very expensive telephoto lenses without having an actual need for it: "just buy a white T-shirt and a black laundry marker. Use the marker to write 'I'm a dickless yuppie' on the front." :D

However, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. A lot of times you need specific equipment or you won't get acceptable pictures. I'll give you a simple example -- using a DSLR and a 50mm f/1.4 lens on it, I can take pictures of people inside a house using just available light. As a bonus I get very shallow depth of field which is good here. I cannot do the same thing using a point-and-shoot -- the hardware and the optics are just not up to it.

A camera is a tool -- sometimes you can make do with what's at hand, and sometimes you need specialized equipment and nothing else will do.

Kaa

David Tabor (sailordave)
11-13-2007, 03:54 PM
Great timing on this thread! I have been mulling over getting a Nikon SLR and stopped in Ritz today to look them over. D40 about $500, D40x about $600. D80 which is probably what I'll have to get is about $900... I have a bunch of autofocus and manual focus Nikon lenses for my old Nikon body... SUPPOSEDLY they all will work w/ the D80, some on the D40's...

I'm tired of missing action shots w/ my (great) Kodak 10x optical zoom 4mp digi...

Kaa
11-13-2007, 04:00 PM
I cannot remember EVER criticizing a single one of those 'priceless' images because of low resolution, blurriness, image sensor noise, or any of the other cautions and warnings that are being associated in this thread with so called 'point and shoots'.

Norman, you're missing my point. I am not saying that in some situation P&Ss would produce technically inferior pictures. I am saying they would not produce any usable picture at all.

You are talking about pictures you took using your P&S. I am talking about pictures you didn't take because it was too dark, because the picture was an unrecognizable blur, because while the camera was doing its thing the magic moment has passed.

To give you another example, I like pictures by firelight. I would not be able to take them with a P&S. It's not that P&S pictures would suffer from low resolution, or noise, or some other technical fault -- I would not be able to get pictures at all. You either get a proper camera with proper lens or get no images.

Kaa

cs
11-13-2007, 04:05 PM
Keep all the info coming.

Need to add though we have three point and shoots in the family and they all do reasonably well, but none of them will even work in the enviroment that I've shown above. Hence the need for DSLR.

Also keep in mind this is for the wife who likes to dabble in photography. Me, I used to but now I dabble in boats.

Chad

elf
11-13-2007, 06:52 PM
Well, that's true. I don't think my mid-grade Lumix would take a very good photo by firelight.

On the other hand, I've never been moved to take a photo by firelight. But I can tell you for a fact that millions of people do. Just drop by CVS sometime and ask the people in the photo department how many dinnerparty pictures they print that have candlelight, or hallow'een pumpkin pictures. People take these shots all the time.

Incidentally, that upscale Canon 20D that our friends took with them on our cruise to Maine turned out to be a genuine PITA. It uses a CF memory card, which doesn't fit the universal flash reader slot in either of our laptops. Not very universal I'd say, then.
It does have a USB port, but it doesn't offer a memory image model in the interface... It's not memory. it's a drive.
so I actually had to download a Canon application to pull photos off the thing. Good thing we had a Sprint broadband adaptor!

Both my Sony and my Lumix use other
FLASH card formats that fit in a limited
standard card reader in my laptop (Memory Stick and SD, respectively).... and even if they didn't, their USB drivers offer a standard memory model, so ripping the photos from the cameras is easy.
Not sure what you mean by a standard memory model. I understand my CF cards as external drives.

But perhaps we are talking about the same concept.

Seems your laptop is a consumer model. Pros generally do not waste battery downloading from their cameras and know to carry a card reader with them.

An interesting facet of the problem of selling prosumer and pro cameras to general consumers. The industry tries to make things accessible and easy for the average consumer while allowing people to upgrade as they get more skills. But quite a few leap straight into the more skills category without going through the earlier steps!

elf
11-13-2007, 07:18 PM
where I discovered that it doesn't support the mass storage model:
It does on a Mac...

BrianW
11-13-2007, 08:45 PM
Can't know about the card reader Norman used, but my computer recognizes my CF card when inserted into a cheap card reader.

Those big cards do seem a bit 'old school' though.

Joe (SoCal)
11-14-2007, 06:55 AM
CHAD GO FOR IT !!!!

http://www.letsgodigital.org/images/artikelen/35/nikon-d300-camera.jpg

http://www.letsgodigital.org/images/artikelen/35/d300-nikon.jpg

http://www.letsgodigital.org/images/artikelen/35/d300.jpg

Nikon D300 D300 digital single lens reflex (D-SLR), a camera that sets new standards of compact professional performance. The easy-to-use DX-format D300 offers outstanding image quality, multi-functional technologies and fast response. With class-leading 12.3 megapixel resolution, speedy 6 fps frame advance, self-cleaning sensor unit and high definition 3” VGA LCD display, combined with Nikon’s legendary durability, the D300 is a breakthrough solution for photographers searching for an advanced compact SLR.

“Packed with the latest technologies and Nikon’s renowned ergonomics, the D300 sets a new standard for professionals on a budget,” said Robert Cristina, Brand Manager, Nikon Professional Products, Europe. “The D300 is a true ‘go-anywhere’ camera, delivering fast response, high performance and ease of use that will appeal to anyone serious about their photography.”

Speed and Performance

The D300 is loaded with the latest professional technologies designed to produce images of the highest quality. The high-resolution 12.3 MP DX format CMOS sensor generates image files suitable for almost every type of output, combined with a fast standard frame advance rate of 6fps (up to 8 fps with optional Multi Power Battery Pack). The D300 offers fast power-up, quick response and outstanding flexibility to meet the needs of a wide variety of photographic assignments. The D300 powers-up in just 0.13 seconds, with an almost imperceptible 45 millisecond shutter lag.

Accuracy

The D300 boasts a self-cleaning sensor unit, which vibrates at high frequencies to remove any loose dust on the surface of the sensor’s optical low pass filter. The camera has a broad ISO range from 200-3200 plus Lo 1 (the equivalent of an ISO 100) and Hi (ISO 6400 equivalent). Image accuracy is also enhanced by the new Nikon Scene Recognition System, which uses the acclaimed Nikon 1005-pixel RGB colour sensor modified to recognise subjects’ shape and position before the image is captured. This also aids the new 51-Point Autofocus system in tracking subjects by their colour, while enhancing the accuracy of exposure and white balance metering. The D300 also offers Live View, which presents photographers with a live image on the LCD screen, with two modes suited to either hand held or tripod shooting. Autofocus is possible in both Live View modes.

Enhanced Images with EXPEED

The EXPEED image processing system is at the heart of the D300’s ability to capture and process high definition image data so quickly. The EXPEED system includes both hardware and years of Nikon image processing expertise. The D300 EXPEED system features 14-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion with 16-bit image processing, both of which contribute to delivering results with Nikon’s signature ‘look and feel’ of rich accurate colours, smooth skin gradations and exceptional detail.

From a Nikon Forum


All,
I have had a lot of request for the 100% crop. Here is the shot.
Just to clarify. I do not own a D300. I had the opportunity to shoot with one for this game. I just wanted everyone here to see how amazing this camera was after I shot with it. I was so impressed that I had to let everyone here see the quality and I am just lucky enough to be in the right place and time with the right pass. I am very thankful to Nikon for the opportunity but they did not search me out and I am very sorry that all of you could not get the same opportunity. It was just lucky that I was in the right place at the right time.

This is amazing!

Original

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2409/1969296874_97210f2ae2_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2136/2007836907_4b4680c1a3_o.jpg

BrianW
11-14-2007, 07:09 AM
Joe,

I know it's a C&P, and not yours, but the second image is grainy. If the first one is 100%, I'd not be impressed with the second.

Or, maybe I'm just way too harsh on my own cropped images. :)

Joe (SoCal)
11-14-2007, 07:15 AM
Yea I agree brian Im not skilled enough to say what or how the poster blew up the image.

I will say the first photo is the exact kind of image that Chad is going for. But the MOST important thing in getting the shot is not the equipment but as been stated before location, location, location. That and knowing what to do at that location. Obviously the person shooting the image knew what to do and how to do it. Depth of field, lighting, subject matter, expression, its all there coming together and frozen at the exact moment. thats what makes a shot not just the equipment. I love digital cameras because I just shoot and shoot and shoot till I get the shot and delete the evidence that I'm a poor photographer ;)

cs
11-14-2007, 07:25 AM
Wow! that starts at $1300. Guess you missed the price range I'm looking at. ;)

I understand about location. At competitions we are shoulder to shoulder with the photographer and I don't expect to get shots like they get, just maybe catch some deceant shots. I would like to be able to buy a CD from the profesionals at every event, but a team CD will cost you between $400 and $600. Individual digital images start at around $35 and $5 for each additional. So it would be nice to catch some halfway deceant shots and than just buy the really good ones from the pro.

BTW just so you have a better idea of the atmosphere and lighting where these shots are taken, just imagine a rock concert lighting and and noise level with action as fast as a pro basketball game and you are standing at the edge of the stage. That is about the best way to describe a cheerleading competition.
Chad

BrianW
11-14-2007, 07:33 AM
Something I think is important to action shots, and would be important to Chad, is the quickness and number of shots a certain camera could take within a certain amount of time. Probably measure is seconds.

Perhaps one of our professionals could address that issue?

elf
11-14-2007, 08:09 AM
OK Chad. You have the location, as you've said. You know the sport, as you've said.

That's 2 big plusses.

Now you're on to the big question.You know that you need to drop $800 to a thou for the camera body. You'll discover that you need to drop at least $500 more for a usable zoom. Canon or Nikon, the prices are about the same and I'd say you gonna have to switch from all your old gear. If you discover that you can't do without the lights, you're on to a new expense and maybe a political situation with the pro. (Keep in mind that this is how the pro pays for heat and trips to the gas station and grocery store.)

Once you get the gear, will you really stick with it enough to get the skill? Are you going to do this only as long as your daughter is in it and then go on to other things? How many years is that? If you get the skill are you really going to want to spend those years shooting her? Or are you maybe going to end up putting the camera aside a lot of the time?

Photography is voyeuristic. A considerable emotional distance really helps to get the best shots. Too much love skews your personal editor!

So think it over and then go to dpreview.com and read the reviews and then, if you can, go to the camera store and wrap your fingers around a few of those camera bodies, get the lenses on them and see how you react to having the equipment in hand. The model changes haven't been that great since this digital entertainment began. You don't have to buy new although I'd buy a new lens.

But you do have to think about just how much you want to be a cheerleading competition photographer. Because the skill takes a while to acquire.

Chris Ostlind
11-14-2007, 10:08 AM
I know it's a C&P, and not yours, but the second image is grainy. If the first one is 100%, I'd not be impressed with the second.

Or, maybe I'm just way too harsh on my own cropped images. :)


Brian,

That basketball shot is probably shot at 3200 ISO (maybe even 6400) with no flash support and only illuminated by the arena lighting. I'd further guess that it has not had any noise reduction work done to it, such as you would get from Noise Ninja, or sharpening, like Unsharp Masking and is totally raw from the camera file to the display image you see.

What I'm seeing, is a picture that is crisp, non color shifted, has little, if any, artifact residue and full of that crucial, story-telling element that all sports shooters look for in their imagery; the critical moment.

Shooting high tempo sports activities is the one of the most all-around demanding activities in the photography profession you can get. When a tool like this new camera from Nikon is available, it goes a long way to solving many of the issues.

Not bad considering that a 275 lb., 7 ft. guy, running at full speed, could be one step away from planting his left elbow in your ear hole while you sit like a trunk monkey on the gym floor.

To that end, I'm guessing that your second sentence is closer to the kernel of the matter.

Kaa
11-14-2007, 11:37 AM
Something I think is important to action shots, and would be important to Chad, is the quickness and number of shots a certain camera could take within a certain amount of time. Probably measure is seconds.

All modern DSLRs have an auto-fire shooting mode -- you press down the shutter button and the camera goes rat-tat-tat-tat-tat, almost like a machine gun :-)

The Canon DRebel XTi shoots at 3fps -- that is, three frames per second, and can do it for 10 raw images (so, 3.3 seconds) or 27 JPEG images (9 seconds).

However for indoor sports what is more important than fps is the autofocus system. You really, really want a system which locks on quickly and reliably (by the way, having a fast lens at f/2.8 or better usually helps with that, too).

Kaa

Kaa
11-14-2007, 11:46 AM
That basketball shot is probably shot at 3200 ISO (maybe even 6400) with no flash support and only illuminated by the arena lighting. I'd further guess that it has not had any noise reduction work done to it, such as you would get from Noise Ninja, or sharpening, like Unsharp Masking and is totally raw from the camera file to the display image you see.

Interesting :-) My impression is that this shot has definitely been post-processed and is not raw from the camera. Well, technically speaking, of course it's been post-processed since I assume it was shot raw and the image we're looking at is a screen-sized JPEG, but I think it had at least tonal corrections and some sharpening applied to it. I am pretty sure it wasn't shot at 6400 ISO either, and have my doubts about 3200. Don't know whether something like Noise Ninja was used, I am not that familiar with Nikon noise patterns...

Kaa

elf
11-14-2007, 12:42 PM
If it were RAW it would be flat, so clearly it's been processed since it's contrasty.

There is way too little noise in the crop for it to have been captured at much higher than ISO 800 on the top of the line as the guy said.

Perhaps his forum could get him to reveal what settings he used...

Chris Ostlind
11-14-2007, 02:43 PM
I looked at the cropped image in Photoshop at 500% and saw no evidence of USM or any other sharpening routine applied. The contrast edges of the image would have very defined pixel adjustments if this image were to have been "processed" in that fashion and there simply are none to behold in the example.

Same with Noise Ninja, or any of the other, popular, grain processing software packages out on the market for pro shooters.

I'm still guessing that this image was shot at a very high shooting rate in high quality jpeg format and selected out for the purposes of showing it ifor the review.

The D300 is capable of 2.5 frames per second when shooting RAW images and up to 8 fps when shooting high quality jpeg. Without question, most pro sports shooters use the higher speed format when shooting such fast action sports as this basketball image, unless their publication requires otherwise. It's just so much easier to pull the best image from an 8 frame burst than it is from a possible 2.5 frame run.

Lastly, newspapers and most sports print requirements are not mandated on shooting RAW for their spreads. If the content is good and the action is not too far away (needing huge amounts of cropping) then the image action is what speaks to most of these editors needs.

Nikons biggest development over the last few years has been to get the higher ISO shooting quality manipulated so that it delivers extreme quality images in very low light conditions. While a sports arena is not especially low light for conventional shooting, it can be dreadful, at times, for high action/high speed sports such as one sees on the basketball court.

Want a real test of your gear and your skill, shoot a soccer game outdoors at night under the really crappy lights that are typically present on most athletic fields and do it without any aux lighting.

What I believe you are seeing here guys (and I'll be perfectly happy to correct my assessment if it proves otherwise) is a next step iteration of internal camera software for handling high ISO imagery. This is coupled with a big leap in detail as rendered by the higher pixel count imaging chips present in the new cameras.

With pixel count something near saturation point for this size camera, the real developments in the field will be in how to get the best images at all sensitivity levels with the best, and most pleasing, grain representations possible, along with accurate color fidelity.

Then, and at the same time, (and I won't bother getting into this right now) there is the whole discussion about lens chromatic aberration, especially at the corners of the frame, as well as focused coverage from the extreme wide angle glass needed to render true, ultra wide angle views.

Fun stuff still to come.

Chris Ostlind
11-14-2007, 02:57 PM
Go to this site. http://galleries.daveeinsel.com/d300test/content/index.html

Take a look at the images shown from a local footbal game under the lights from the D300. The camera was used a 3200 and 6400 ISO. the images were not manipulated save for Level Adjustments. There is no sharpening and no grain manipulation present.

Truly and incredible camera.

Kaa
11-14-2007, 03:02 PM
What I believe you are seeing here guys (and I'll be perfectly happy to correct my assessment if it proves otherwise) is a next step iteration of internal camera software for handling high ISO imagery.

Well, a few years ago Nikon was way behind Canon in high-ISO noise (that is, lack thereof). My understanding is that it pulled up by now.

Here -- http://nikond300.dpnotes.com/high-iso-nikon-d300-raw-nef-sample-photos-from-paris/ -- are high-ISO test shots from Nikon D300 (from 800 to 6400 ISO). Looking at them I'd say the posted picture of the basketball court was made at ISO 800. No way it's 3200 or 6400.

Kaa

Chris Ostlind
11-14-2007, 03:43 PM
Well, a few years ago Nikon was way behind Canon in high-ISO noise (that is, lack thereof). My understanding is that it pulled up by now.

Here -- http://nikond300.dpnotes.com/high-iso-nikon-d300-raw-nef-sample-photos-from-paris/ -- are high-ISO test shots from Nikon D300 (from 800 to 6400 ISO). Looking at them I'd say the posted picture of the basketball court was made at ISO 800. No way it's 3200 or 6400.

Here's the URL for the originally posted shots of the basketball player in the D300 sample images as seen above:
http://flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=1969296874

Look closely at the rated ISO for the shot. Could that really be ISO 3200 that is shown with the picture in question?

Kaa
11-14-2007, 04:14 PM
Here's the URL for the originally posted shots of the basketball player in the D300 sample images as seen above:
http://flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=1969296874

Look closely at the rated ISO for the shot. Could that really be ISO 3200 that is shown with the picture in question?

Umm... errr.. yes, sir, that crow tastes good! :D

I yield the point.

Kaa

Chris Ostlind
11-14-2007, 04:48 PM
Then we dine together, Kaa.

I can't tell you how many times I've had that bird for dinner. I'm rather used to it by now.

Henning 4148
01-24-2008, 02:32 PM
A Nikon D3 should do the job ...

Just read a test report. Full 24 x 36 mm sensor with 12,3 Megapixels, ISO 6400 without using boost options. Maximum ISO 25600 (but at that setting it is a bit grainy - according to the test report similar to a compact camera at approx ISO 400).

That tool really should be up to the task. Mind you, it is targeted at the professional market. Probably another few years until that performance is available in consumer models.

elf
01-24-2008, 02:40 PM
Ah, then there's the price.

Dan McCosh
01-24-2008, 02:43 PM
I own a couple of digital cameras, and my daughter uses a digital camera professionally, in her job as graphic designer. She has a Canon 20D, and uses it occasionally for non-professional stuff.

From what I can see, and strictly in my own opinion, unless you're a genuine professional and/or have truly unique technical needs, there are loads of intermediate cameras that are not only a lot less expensive, but result in photos just as good as the high end professional cameras... without the bulk, weight, expense, or inconvenience.

Of course, hard-core hobbyists will probably insist on interchangable lenses... but I'm not sure that you can't live with a reasonable zoom range on a fixed mount lens.

For example, my 'better' camera is a Panasonic Lumix, forgot the model number.... it's an SLR 'shape', but the viewfinder is a tiny LCD (no flapping mirror) and it's highly usable regardless of ambient light. The lens is a zoom, roughly equivalent to a 35mm-200mm on a 35mm camera, which is adequate for my needs, and, I would guess, most people's needs. The camera came with a lenshood threaded for accessories, to which we've added a polarizing filter, but you could add just about anything (the diameter is a standard one, easy to get various filters, etc. It's a 6 Mpixel camera, which is more or less typical these days... adequate for all but giant prints, unless you're planning to do a lot of close cropping. A professional photographer friend of mine has been using a Canon 20D, which is 8 Mpixels, for a number of years now, so I'm presuming that since it's more than adequate for pros, 6 Mpixels is probably good for serious amateurs.

It works exceptionaly well in low light... I rarely ever use the flash.

I think I paid around $300 for the Lumix... I've seen similar cameras from Sony and others, but I didn't buy the Sony this time around because I was pissed off that their cameras wouldn't accept standard 'memory sticks', but require the more advanced version (thereby obsoleting the bunch of earlier generation memory sticks I had bought for my previous digital camera, a Sony).

I would ditto this, although I have been using a Panasonic Lumix for about two years, and the lens range is more like 35-400 mm before an extension on the Leica lens. Newer models are lighter, and more pixels. Still, it has amazing flexibility. I had a conversation with a pro photographer about a year ago, who was using a SLR. He said "You know, I do a lot of shooting in Hollywood, and security won't let you in the press conference without an SLR--they think it's what pros use."
Odd reason to get one.

Kaa
01-24-2008, 02:46 PM
Note that Canon just announced the new iteration of its Digital Rebel line -- the XSi (aka 450D).

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08012403canoneos450d.asp

Kaa

htom
01-24-2008, 03:41 PM
The easy answer to your question is that there isn't such a camera made. Your target use is at (or beyond) the cutting edge of what is practical for a non-professional tool. You're going to have to add a lot of both skill and luck to get images like those of the pros.

Your old lenses might fit onto a new digital body, but because that will have a smaller sensor than a 35mm film, their effective focal length and speed will change (they'll appear to be longer and to have deeper depth of field than they do with film.) See Luminous Landscape (http://http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/dslr-mag.shtml) and Earthbound Light (http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/digital-crop-factor.html) for more elaborate descriptions.

To get pictures of people in motion in the dark, you need big sensors (and lower pixel count), at high ISO values, and fast lenses (and more light will help!).

You could look at the Pentax 10 D with the 16-50mm 2.8 (roughly a 24-80mm effective), but I think that would break your budget.

RodB
01-24-2008, 05:54 PM
I had to jump in here and put in my two cents worth...

I too have been a professional Photographer (Advertising) for over 20 years...and have shot many cameras. I have shot the Nikon D200 for the past couple of years. First and foremost, I have to recommend that you should go the the Ken Rockwell website for the most accurate and honest review of Canon and Nikon... period. www.kenrockwell.com This websight is without peer in technical information and reviews...on almost any subject you can imagine including sports photgraphy. Ken compares all the cameras mentioned here (Canon and Nikon) and fully covers all the features, strengths and weaknesses of each and has fantastic user manuals for each camera and how and why to set up each camera.

I think you will find that since the Nikon D50 and D70 came out, Nikon has been kicking Canon's butt in digital SLR's. Once the Nikon D200 came out, Canon was left in the dirt for action sports. Canon had the edge on full frame sized chip until the latest D-3 came out, and there has been a lot of missinformation in this thread.

The Nikon D50, D70 and D200 are much more user friendly than the Canon system and the newer Nikon D300 and D40 just kick ass period. You need to read up on all this and once you see the really smart design in user friendly terms by Nikon, you will be convinced.

Naturally, a camera like the D300 is out of your price range, but you could certainly afford a used Nikon D70S, which you could "steal" at the present time. The D70S and the D200 and the D300 are without peer in fast sports photography. I think you will see that Ken Rockwell recommends the D70s for sports over the D40, but the D40 has a higher megapixel range and has a nicer viewing screen. The D70S has some better features for sports, and you would not notice the difference in the quality of the images between the D40 and the D70S for your purposes. After all, you just want a nice sharp good color 8X10 at 300 dpi... and the D70S will do that with ease.

What you have to realize is you need an acceptable DSLR body, but the lens is everything. You need a fast lens that will allow you to really freeze action, and that means an f 2.8 widest aperature. If you bought an appropritate lens, say a 80-200 f 2.8 you would be making a good investment for the long haul and be able to accomplish what you have suggested you want a camera to do. With todays technology, camera bodies are doing you a great job if you keep them 2-3 years, but lenses can be solid investments for 10 years or more. Also, with quality digital equipment you will find you will take many many more pics than in the past. For example, I shot over 900 pics in 4 hours at the Herreshoff Regatta with my D200, with a film camera I would have at max shot 10 rolls of 36 exp. . .. . 360 pics... Also, using the 18-200 VR lens allowed for me to not miss any shot due to changing lenses and with the VR (vibration resistance feature) all my 900 pics were sharp.

One of the finest lenses ever made by Nikon is the new 18-200 VR DX. At about $750, this lens is fantastic and I have shot the Herreshoff Rendezvous 2006 with it, plus so many other types of events. This lens does so well at macro that you don't even need to buy a macro lens. BUT, I would not and do not use this lens to shoot high school football games at night (my brothers son plays). I use the 80-200 f 2.8 at f 2.8 in aperature mode... and freeze action no problem at ISO 800 and ISO 1600. Sometimes you just need the right tool to do a job, and believe me, freezing action in sports requires a fast lens. When you see a 5 shot burst with such a lens, you immediately realize how the proper lens just does a great job.

You could probably pick up a used D70S for $300 or a used D200 for around $6-800, the lens is about $900....but there are used 80-200's and older models work fine too. If you buy a used D70S with an 18-55 or 18-70 lens for under $450, you will be fine for most other shooting and the fast tele zoom will do what you want. Obviously, if you can get closer to the action, you could do without an 80-200 zoom, and save lots of money.

Good luck and check out www.kenrockwell.com --- you really enjoy this website.

RodB

DaveWhitla
01-24-2008, 06:02 PM
I own two Nikon D200s and an old F4.

Took me ages to go digital but the D200 is a fantastic camera. If shopping now I would buy the D300. It has a superior image processing system with a bit wider exposure range. With my D200s I find myself sticking pretty consistently to low ISOs of 100 - 400.
I don't like the grain of the higher ISOs despite the hype. So I tend to shop for fast lenses of F2.8 or better as most of my photo's are taken early or late in the day - I prefer the light if what I am doing gives me the choice. I think the Canons in the same price range are probably a bit better in this respect but the newly released D3 and D300 blow them away now also.

Understand that it is the lenses that will cost the bulk of your money if you want good focal length coverage with the kind of quality glass that will deliver camera pamphlet quality images. Even then they're not much good without a photographer with reasonable ability.
For example most of my lenses run at about $1500 each.

I strongly second the recommendation above for Ken Rockwell - really great no bull**** info there - reason I bought the D200s. As far as user friendliness go I think my D200s are perfect. Nikon completely redesigned the location of controls for the D200 (the D100 was crap in that respect I must admit). The fact that the D300 is almost identical in its layout is a strong indication of the strength of the design. I find it far more intuitive than my friend's 40D.

What I like most about Nikon are that I can still use lenses that I bought 15 years ago, and the metering is probably the best of any DSLR. The downside is that you probably get less bang for buck when buying lenses (than Canon). But that's it for me - Nikon or Canon. And I obviously prefer Nikon.
One last thing about lenses - resist the temptation to buy DX lenses. Nikon has begun a shift from the DX format I think. I expect the D300 will be the last of it's semi-pro range to use DX. The D3, being an FX body, has overnight reaffirmed my investment in full-frame lenses, despite their extra cost. An additional benefit is that full-frame lenses will exhibit less distortion all the way to the edges of a DX sensor such as you would find in any Nikon DSLR other than the D3.

I'll be upgrading to a D3 as soon as I have that much spare cash.
ISO 100 clarity at 6400. Absolutely amazing.

High C
01-24-2008, 06:05 PM
...I have to recommend that you should go the the Ken Rockwell website for the most accurate and honest review of Canon and Nikon... period. www.kenrockwell.com This websight is without peer in technical information and reviews......D40...

I'd like to second this advice. Rockwell's site and his advice are terrific. I bought the Nikon D40 partly on his advice and couldn't be happier. I compared it to comparables from Pentax, Cannon, and Sony and found the D40 to be the best handling, quick to focus, superb images, easy to do everything, a real gem. :cool:

Give Ken a visit.

RodB
01-24-2008, 08:22 PM
Heres an example where I did not miss a shot that was only there for a few seconds because I had one lens that took the place of many...a broad range zoom that is not cheap. Both other photographers in the spectator boat missed this shot, but my 18-200VR allowed me to just zoom to crop...and shoot. The settings here are... high quality, large, jpeg, shot with max VR setting and the 18-200VR Nikon DX lens...and D200 body. The exposure on these sailboats was critical so as not to blow out the sails....and the color histogram offered by Nikon on the D200 and D40 and D300 and D3 makes it a simple quick task to make sure your exposure is perfect. All shots on this day were at ISO 400, and Max VR setting on the lens.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/yrgb.htm

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m13/RodBrink/SchoonerandQboatbridge-72.jpg

Just to illustrate the value of a quality zoom with a broad zoom range... When you are shooting sailboats for example, with a range of 18mm thru 200mm, you can be within 40 yards of the subject or across the bay...and still get the shot you want, just zoom to desired crop, and shoot. When you see the versatility of such a lens you don't mind the $750 price tag.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/Poster_Schooner_and_Qboat_comp_FLAT.jpg

RodB

elf
01-24-2008, 08:33 PM
and a few moments later

http://www.landsedgephoto.com/CRW_26830.jpg

shot with a 4 year old Canon 10D underexposed 1/3 stop and in RAW.

DaveWhitla
01-24-2008, 08:40 PM
and a few moments later
shot with a 4 year old Canon 10D underexposed 1/3 stop and in RAW.

I'd tend to underexpose this kind of shot also to preserve the subtleties of the sky. It also adds a nice dramatic look balanced against the bright white of the subject which draws your attention.

Very nicely composed photo. With nostalgic shots like these lighting is paramount I think. I tend to crop on the puter rather than with the lens. With the lens I am going more for field and compression control. I also use only RAW. Storing JPEG instead I think is too lossy and storing it as well (as can be done on many cameras) is just a waste of space.

Liked some of yours too Rod. Second row second from left is really nice - well framed, good lighting, nice balance. One thing I notice with my D200 is it tends to underexpose this kind of shot by about 1/3 automatically. Nikon metering is really the best around ;)

RodB
01-24-2008, 09:03 PM
Nice shot elf, like I told you before, I really envy your location in the North east. Nice website too.

Thanks Dave, thats my favorite too.

Rod

DaveWhitla
01-24-2008, 09:28 PM
Not sailing but it might give an idea of detail and colour saturation possible on the D200.

Lots of factors I know ... OK so I just wanted to post a pic or two :p

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/159/397395544_15b79ef915_b.jpg

These two are ever so slightly blurry cos the building was moving in the wind and the exposures were long. But they show very little reciprocity failure at long exposures. Really wish I'd had a neutral grad handy :(
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/162/391091650_a9de6a7007_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/155/391090109_4ca3283b37_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/159/391085248_f47d99306a_b.jpg

DaveWhitla
01-24-2008, 09:38 PM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/159/383591524_822c52083f.jpghttp://farm1.static.flickr.com/131/383589965_c52741c781.jpg

OK ... that's probably more than enough ....

elf
01-24-2008, 09:43 PM
Gallant is sure a pretty girl, hey. If only Rugosa had been there with Nor'easter but she was behind them if I recall correctly.

We are so lucky when days come up like that. it's a totally different thing to shoot when the sky is yuckky. Completely different shots.

http://www.landsedgephoto.com/ELFCRW_36248.jpg

High C
01-24-2008, 09:45 PM
Wow...the subway pic...WOW!

DaveWhitla
01-24-2008, 09:57 PM
Wow...the subway pic...WOW!

Thanks man. Holiday snaps when in Japan last winter. The exposure was just a little too long - it made some of the people rushing around the platform completely disappear when I was trying for just extreme motion blur. Still worked out OK though. I think its a really cool reportage style shot when you can pull it off - you usually need an ND4 or ND8 filter.

There is one thing I miss from my F4 though - Nikon execs reading?
The film camera had field-changeable viewfinder prisms - so you could remove the viewfinder completely, invert the camera and compose off of the focus screen to lift the camera above a crowd for that throng shot.

I tried something similar with the pic below but without being able to compose properly it was a bit of a disaster - in cleaning it up on the puter a bit of quality was lost too.
How'd you like having to deal with this every morning on your way to work?
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/137/397384097_47632dc026.jpg

High C
01-24-2008, 10:07 PM
Thanks man. Holiday snaps when in Japan last winter. The exposure was just a little too long - it made some of the people rushing around the platform completely disappear when I was trying for just extreme motion blur. Still worked out OK though. I think its a really cool reportage style shot when you can pull it off - you usually need an ND4 or ND8 filter.

Yeah, I really like the juxtaposition of the blurred moving train to the stopped one, and the moving people to the sharp neon or LCD sign. The contrast between motion and crystal sharp stillness, and the framing of the opening in the foreground, very cool.

Paul G.
01-24-2008, 10:45 PM
get the lowdown here
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm

cs
01-25-2008, 08:04 AM
Thanks. We are still talking and looking. This is a big investment, much beyond your standard point and shoot, and we are still looking and seeing what will fit our lifestyle and budget.

Chad

Gary E
01-25-2008, 08:32 AM
An INVESTMENT???

only if you are going to SELL what it makes....otherwise it's just another expensive toy....

RodB
01-25-2008, 12:54 PM
When you have been using a camera for a long time as a tool, you consider the true functionality of that tool and more specifically exactly what you want to do. AS time goes by, you add or subtract to your inventory of equipment depending on your exact needs. A good analogy would be, I woudn't buy a cheap table saw or jig saw... mainly because of the poor performance.

The average "happy snap" shooter just wants pics of everyday life, a few boats, and parties and birthdays and Christmas etc, etc... But when your requirements shift to specific tasks like sports photos in "action mode"... in "low light".... you have to consider tools that can actually do the job. I am not talking about really expensive cameras, but the lens has to be capable of doing what you want. Any fast (f 2.8) moderate telephoto zoom will work (even if an older model), and most camera bodies will record a decent quality image for your needs.

Good luck.

RB

MiddleAgesMan
01-25-2008, 03:44 PM
Then we dine together, Kaa.

I can't tell you how many times I've had that bird for dinner. I'm rather used to it by now.

Wasn't it Carl Sandburg who said:

"I can eat crow...

"but I don't hanker after it"? ;)

cs
01-26-2008, 08:49 PM
Just came in from a full day of running around and one stop was at a camera shop. Didn't buy anything but cam real close. They had two used bodies. One was a Nikkon D200 for $995. This one was a little pricey for me.

But the other one was a Cannon 20D for $425. For another $200 I could have gotten a nice F1.8 51mm lens.

May have to go back for that.

Chad

Kaa
01-26-2008, 09:04 PM
But the other one was a Cannon 20D for $425. For another $200 I could have gotten a nice F1.8 51mm lens.

Chad -- FYI, a new Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens costs $70.

Kaa

cs
01-26-2008, 11:24 PM
On the lens I believe it was this lens.

Canon 50 mm EF f/1.4 USM Lens
http://a1672.g.akamai.net/7/1672/116/20080101/www.ritzcamera.com/graphics/products/5-83/large/541168183_bg.jpg

$399.99 list price at Ritz

I believe that was the lens. It was not just a standard 50mm. I was actually more interested in the camera body at the price. I had asked them about a lens that would go with that body that we could use as a entry level lens.

Chad

Kaa
01-26-2008, 11:29 PM
On the lens I believe it was this lens.

Canon 50 mm EF f/1.4 USM Lens

$399.99 list price at Ritz

$299 at Adorama :D

But there's a noticeable difference between a Canon 50mm f/1.8 and a Canon 50mm f/1.4.

Kaa

cs
01-26-2008, 11:29 PM
BTW here is the link to the store, but they don't have the two we looked at updated on their site yet.

http://www.superiorcamera.com/

Chad

cs
01-26-2008, 11:31 PM
You are indeed correct about that. I couldn't remember for sure what she had said the F stop was. She had at first talked about something in the range of 70 - 200 mm zoom with a fast stop and than I asked her about a good lens to go with that body that would work till we could get a better lens.

What do you think about $425 for a Canon EOS 20d in perfect shape?

Chad

Kaa
01-26-2008, 11:36 PM
What do you think about $425 for a Canon EOS 20d in perfect shape?

Don't know what the going price for a 20D is, but check the number of shutter activations. 20Ds have a fairly low MTBF for shutters and shutter replacement is expensive.

For a price check, try keh.com.

Kaa

elf
01-26-2008, 11:38 PM
What do you think you need that lens for? Have you ever used an SLR before? I don't quite recall whether you said.

In my opinion there is very little that lens is worth having for. If you're hoping to get anything at all from the cheerleading routine that 50 will do nothing for you. It will allow you to shoot the entire stage and that's about it.

A monopod and a good 70-300 f5.6 zoom will serve you to start, especially if you get the most recent prosumer Canon or Nikon. Your shooting situation seems to be pretty well lit, except at actual games. And if you get a 30D or 40D you can jack the ISO up high enough to compensate for the lack of speed in the zoom. The price differential is about $1K between the consumer version of that sort of zoom and the pro version. Armed with a monopod to stabilize your camera somewhat, without unduely hampering your panning flexibility, you might be able to get something moderately satisfactory from the first three or four rows.

The faster long zooms in that range not only cost a large amount of money, but also weigh quite a bit. Most of the sailing shooters go to the gym to keep in shape to hand hold those lenses.

elf
01-26-2008, 11:41 PM
The 20D is supposed to be good to a couple hundred thousand actuations. No problem there. Besides, they're so cheap you don't fix them. Just get another one when that one dies.

Any DSLR under $1500 is not worth fixing at this point. The same camera body will cost $500 with 40,000 actuations on eBay in a year and a half. You can get a brand new 20D there for $450 now, $700 for the 30D I bought 3 months ago for $900.

elf
01-26-2008, 11:43 PM
For a fair price check, go to B&H. KEH is not a real good place to buy used. Their prices are very high.

cs
01-26-2008, 11:45 PM
For the 20D I'm seeing body only prices anywhere from $900 to $1545 on the web.

The lady at the store new the type of situational shooting we were talking about and she talked a little bit about how to handle that situation with that lens. With the faster lens (even though it is a fixed focal length) that you would be able to crop the shots that as needed due to the lower pixalation.

Chad

cs
01-26-2008, 11:48 PM
B&H has it used for $530

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/348299-REG/Canon_9442A002_EOS_20D_Digital_Camera.html

Chad


BTW both the wife and myself shoot quite a bit SLR way back when. At the presnt I have a Minolta X-700 that hardly ever gets used.

Kaa
01-27-2008, 12:23 AM
A monopod and a good 70-300 f5.6 zoom will serve you to start, especially if you get the most recent prosumer Canon or Nikon.

Beg to disagree. A f/5.6 zoom is kinda useless for shooting indoor sports, regardless of how cheap it is. Granted, a 50mm is not the most useful lens here either, but a 85mm f/1.8 ($330 new, 135mm in 35mm-equivalent) or a 100mm f/2.0 ($375 new, 160mm in 35mm-equivalent) would be good, I'd think.

Kaa

elf
01-27-2008, 12:28 AM
With a 50 you'll have so much to crop out you won't have much left. Unless you're standing on the stage.

Believe me, you gotta get a long lens even if you're in front of the proscenium. Take a 50 and stand at a window and try shooting birds at a feeder right outside the window. You'll see.

Now if you actually can get up against the stage, you may be able to use a 70 and get the whole ensemble. And you do want some of that. But you want the flexibility to get in their faces as well, and that's where a prime really lets you down. There is no time to change lenses, hardly time to grab the other camera. Even shooting sailing with large boats and a safe distance away I have to commit to one camera or the other - short zoom or long zoom - for swaths of time.

elf
01-27-2008, 12:34 AM
Well, I dunno. I've been shooting sports for 12 years and I wouldn't dream of confining myself to a prime.

Kaa
01-27-2008, 12:40 AM
Well, I dunno. I've been shooting sports for 12 years and I wouldn't dream of confining myself to a prime.

Yeah, but you're a professional. It's pretty clear that the proper lens for the job is a 70-200 IS f/2.8. Unfortunately it's way out of Chad's budget.

In Chad's situation if forced to choose between a fast prime and a slow zoom, I'd pick a fast prime. You'd get some good shots, while my fear is that with a slow zoom you'd get none.

But again, as I think I suggested earlier in the thread, what Chad should do is go to an event with any camera that has an exposure meter and find out how much light does he have. From that it's pretty easy to figure out how fast a lens does he need.

Kaa

RodB
01-27-2008, 03:48 AM
CS,

Did you look at the Ken Rockwell web sight that 3 pros advised you to look over? If you read his site you will see suggestions on how to achieve what you want at differing budgets...depending on how much money you want to spend. The Canon you are asking about is OLD technology in "the digital world", why would you consider it?

The reason we suggested Ken's website is because he has tested just about every lens in existence from Canon and Nikon and he compares them to their counterparts from different brands. Also, He has tested and owned every DSLR from the two major players, and compares each model to each other... He has a section where he recommends what lenses you should consider/ need for digital full frame chips, digital DX chips, and film. His technical excellence is unsurpassed if you take the time to read many of his sections, and he gets no money for his reviews etc, he counts on just the general public to donate some money so he can continue to offer his fantastic informative websight on photography on all the equipment that is available on the market today. He covers so many aspects of photography and related subjects that you will be amazed and I promise you you will find that he is one straight arrow offering the real straight info on any subject you read about.

From this thread alone there have been three pros who consider him one hell of an information source. You owe it to yourself to take a serious look at all the areas of his website ...go under technical area and you will see hundreds of subjects you will probably want to read about, with real "meat" in the short essays on each subject.

I won't bother to offer any more info here, Ken Rockwell already has done it better than any of us can do... you just need to do a little homework if you want to make wise informed decisions.

Good luck,

RB

cs
01-27-2008, 10:36 AM
Rod please don't stop with the info. I was reviewing that site just now and their is indeed a lot of info there, but a lot can be too much. You guys are helping with specfic questions that would be hard to find on his site.

I did find where he compared the Nikon D70 to the Canon 20D. BTW he seems to prefer the Nikon but likes both brands. Here is some of the things he said between the D70 & the 20D.


I've been using Nikon for decades and just got a D70 a few months before the announcement of the 20D. I love the 20D, and after using it they are similar cameras, and each is a little better depending on what you want to do. Neither is better on an absolute basis. No one pays me anything for my opinions or sponsors me, I have to go buy stuff the same way you do. If I started from scratch again the D70 would win for me personally since I work in the field in changing conditions and need immediate access to all adjustments and fast flash sync, but everyone's different. If I shot sports or shot a lot of action in extremely low light the 20D would be the winner since it goes to ISO 3,200 and has almost double the frame rate of the D70.


Both cameras are excellent. A year ago the world had never seen anything like either of them at any price. Either is an excellent choice and you'll love it. If you already own a Nikon or Canon system just get that camera and you'll love it.


I suggest the D70 for portability, use in fast-changing conditions and fill flash and the 20D for sports or places with extremely low light.

Here is what he says compare the 20D to the Canon 5D.


Compared to the 20D the 5D Loses:

Here is some more of what he says.


Image Quality

Like all Canons, the colors and images look great. They are smooth, sharp and detailed, without being harsh.

Shoot with a 20D, and if you know what you're doing, you'll get fantastic results.

Exposure

Exposure is uniform. It's much better than my Nikon D80, but not as good (consistent) as my Nikon D200.


The 20D (or 30D) is what I'd have if I shot sports all the time and this was fit my budget.

If you're in the Canon system, the 20D and 30D are the first choice of weekend pros and serious amateurs. Full-time pros use the 1D Mk II N, and people who just want the same great photos in a lighter, less expensive camera get the Digital Rebel XT. The new Digital Rebel XTi has more resolution than any of these, but not the ruggedness or speed of the other non-Rebels.


Sure this may be old technology, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. ;) I'm not sure if 4 year old technology is too old for me. We are not pros at this, just fairly knowledgable (35mm slr) amateurs. The Canon 20D at first glance seems about right.

Chad

john l
01-27-2008, 11:06 AM
my favorite all time lens is a nikon 105 macro on my Nikon f2. if i bought a new nikon dslr would i be able to use this lens?

elf
01-27-2008, 11:21 AM
we would all kill for that Nikon lens. It's extremely highly regarded.

But I'd have to go back to film...

Gary E
01-27-2008, 11:31 AM
Chad.

Whats wrong with the 35 mm SLR FILM camera you have now?
With the proper lens and pushing the ASA up you can do just fine...

But of course you wont have that cool new toy
But you WILL have an extra 3 or 3 grand in your bank accct... or is this a put it on the IOU and pay 19% interest to be ... uhh..cool

elf
01-27-2008, 11:37 AM
Pushing the film speed? Where's he gonna get it pushprocessed?
It's a new age. You only get 38 exposures on a roll of film. He'll need 15 rolls of film per event at a minimum and lose shots changing rolls.

Nobody's ever still in cheerleading, like most other sports.

Gary E
01-27-2008, 11:44 AM
elf
If he needs that may shots... git todays version of a MOVIE camera

No independent labs around ??
Do it yourself... start with black and white, it's easy

elf
01-27-2008, 11:47 AM
Well, yes. That's another option. We can start studying all over again! And learning new skills.

Thinking about it myself.

High C
01-27-2008, 12:00 PM
my favorite all time lens is a nikon 105 macro on my Nikon f2. if i bought a new nikon dslr would i be able to use this lens?

From what I gather reading Ken Rockwell's stuff, the answer to your question is a qualified yes.

It would work, but not autofocus, of course, and its effective focal length might be somewhat longer, depending on the model dslr it's used on.

elf
01-27-2008, 12:31 PM
Well, it never was an autofocus lens, so no, it won't autofocus. I dunno about the aperture ring. Probably have to do that manually which would mean you'd have to shoot manually whenever you use the lens.

DaveWhitla
01-28-2008, 04:20 AM
Film:
I gave up. Just too hard. The turnaround on diapositive film processing (I wouldn't waste time on negative) was just too slow (weeks in some cases) and was an active disincentive to just get out and shoot. I don't have the time or inclination to set up my own lab and the wastage of roll after roll of film to get a handful of quality shots just plain sucks. Film has had its day - time to embrace the present.

The Canon 20D:
It is a great camera which I can't recommend against. Just get the best price you can. One thing which hasn't been mentioned anywhere so far (I think) is the Achilles heel of the DSLR - dust on the sensor.
A real selling point of some of the new DSLRs are their self-cleaning sensors. Worth considering for this alone.

Lenses:
Don't waste your money on prime lenses. The exception might be a 105 or 135mm fast prime for portraits, or extreme telephoto which are usually too much of a compromise as a zoom. The improvements in zoom lenses over the last 20 years have been amazing. You can now get constant 2.8 zooms for very affordable prices where once zooms were just too big a compromise for pros or serious amateurs to contemplate. The ideal zoom ranges for a DX camera are 12-24, 24-70, 70-200 (maybe a 300-400 depending on your budget and personal style). The first three will cover almost every shot you could imagine provided you get FAST glass. I can't say this enough - get the fastest lenses you can reasonably afford. An extra 3 stops can make the difference between catching that amazing photo and making a pile of excuses. And those great photo opportunities always seem to come in low light. I would try for f2.8 in all the above ranges. You can get faster but the price will melt your wallet. In the extreme wide angle zoom constant f4 will do just fine. Most cameras will come new with a bundled lens that is usually crap (there have been exceptions like the 18-200VR). Negotiate the bundled lens out of the deal - they are a waste of money and you'll have difficulty even getting rid of them on eBay. If you have to buy one lens at a time like I did, start with a 24-70 which will cover well more than 50% of your likely usage. Next would be a 70-200. Depending on what you plan to shoot you may want the 70-200 first - I don't know what you like to photograph. My creative faves are extreme wide and fast telephoto. A good near-tele of around 135mm is indispensable for magazine quality portraits.

If you're deciding between Canon and Nikon, and don't yet own either, I'd recommend surveying the prices of the lenses you'll want first. There is very little between the bodies in terms of features and quality. The lenses are where you will spend most of the money so a relatively small variation in bang for buck here will make a big difference over time.

elf
01-28-2008, 07:17 AM
If you're deciding between Canon and Nikon rent one of each for 48 hours and go out shooting. Read the manuals carefully, see how long it takes you to become comfortable with all the onboard controls you're likely to use, learn everything that the cameras can do and, most importantly, shoot RAW and bring the files home immediately and push the keepers through Adobe Camera RAW. For an extra test, make sure you try the cameras in their Program mode.

cs
01-28-2008, 07:27 AM
A couple of things I want to add because I think I forgot to mention it up front. First most of your compititions do not allow the use of video cameras and all of them don't let you use flash photography.

So use a video camera is out.

Keep in mind I don't want to do this professionally, but I would like a set up that would give me a deceant chance to catch some good shots and something that is expandable and adaptable to changing situations (ie interchangable lenses).

Chad

DaveWhitla
01-28-2008, 06:42 PM
All that harsh backlighting and no flash - ouch.

Kaa
01-28-2008, 07:17 PM
One thing which hasn't been mentioned anywhere so far (I think) is the Achilles heel of the DSLR - dust on the sensor.

If you're shooting at open apertures -- below f/8, more or less, the dust is invisible. Besides, cleaning the sensor is not all that hard.


You can now get constant 2.8 zooms for very affordable prices where once zooms were just too big a compromise for pros or serious amateurs to contemplate. The ideal zoom ranges for a DX camera are 12-24, 24-70, 70-200 (maybe a 300-400 depending on your budget and personal style). The first three will cover almost every shot you could imagine provided you get FAST glass. I can't say this enough - get the fastest lenses you can reasonably afford.

I agree about getting fast glass, but Dave, affordability means different things to different people. Constant 2.8 zooms are affordable? Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 (non-IS) is $1,100 at B&H. That's affordable to some, but not affordable to others. Chad is not a pro, all he wants is pictures of his daughter.

Kaa

DaveWhitla
01-28-2008, 08:03 PM
If you're shooting at open apertures -- below f/8, more or less, the dust is invisible. Besides, cleaning the sensor is not all that hard.
I disagree. Most of the photo's I have had to clean fall into this category. Cleaning the sensor manually is the single easiest way to destroy your camera. If you are going to do this I'd recommend an electrostatic cleaner.




I agree about getting fast glass, but Dave, affordability means different things to different people. Constant 2.8 zooms are affordable? Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 (non-IS) is $1,100 at B&H. That's affordable to some, but not affordable to others. Chad is not a pro, all he wants is pictures of his daughter.

Kaa
Agreed. It's up to Chad to determine what is "affordable" for him.

Kaa
01-28-2008, 08:08 PM
I disagree. Most of the photo's I have had to clean fall into this category. Cleaning the sensor manually is the single easiest way to destroy your camera. If you are going to do this I'd recommend an electrostatic cleaner.

I guess we'll have to disagree. It's rare that I have to clone dust spots out of my pictures and I'm particular about image quality. But I guess it depends on the kind of photography that you do -- likely a big problem for landscape people, not much of a problem for portraits, for example.

As to cleaning, I've cleaned the sensor of a Canon D20 many times, both dry and wet ways. The camera's still alive :-)

Kaa

elf
01-28-2008, 08:35 PM
Well, I just spent the day in Carver shooting landscapes. At one point one of my keepers was at 100 ISO, a 60th at f29.

Just spent an hour cleaning up the mess.

Remind me not to shoot at anything higher than f22, or get the sensor cleaned.

http://www.landsedgephoto.com/ELFMG_9843.jpg

elf
01-28-2008, 08:39 PM
I hardly ever have dust bad enough to have to clone it out at f8, but if I'm doing a 12x18 I will clone it out. Notecards? Naw. Fergettit.

But it is visible at f8, and shooting sailing I do trip into f8 some of the time.

Landscapes are where one chooses ones aperture for effect, so dust on the sensor becomes a much bigger issue. I didn't need f29 for that image, clearly, but I was in the zone, it was 25 degrees outside, the clouds were nifty and when I got home there it was.

RodB
01-28-2008, 09:26 PM
Nikon D200's are dropping now because of the D300. You can get one for around $6-800. The Nikon D70S could be had for around $350, then you could put the money into an appropriate lens. The D200 and D70s will work with any lens ever made by Nikon. No matter what camera you buy, you will need a fast medium telephoto zoom lens to do what you want (unless you can get very close) , no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you only want a few decent photos now and then and can get them without the proper lens.

If you were going Cape Buffalo hunting and needed a .375 H&H rifle, but only had the money to buy a used .270, I would say forget the hunt.

Sorry, no matter what kind of deal you find on equipment, if it is not the right equipment to do the job, you will be disappointed.

Read all of the following to get a handle on pure functionality and ease of use in the field...when time is short... Whatever you decide, spend the money on the right lens, you won't be sorry. I would not let the only deciding factor on buying a camera be the ability to go to one more step in ISO, ie,. 3200. The other factors like a fast lens, and smartly designed controls and ease of use would far out weight that factor in every day use. ISO 1600 with an f 2.8 lens will pretty much capture most sports events no problem, being able to work the camera quickly should not be under rated.


Good luck.

RodB

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/nikon-vs-canon.htm

cs
01-28-2008, 11:18 PM
I know what you are saying about the right lens at the right time. I'm thinking that if we can at least get into a good body with a deceant lens that later as we can afford it we can go for the high end telephoto lens.

As it is, getting a body and a decent lens is at the high end of what we are willing to pay out all at once. Of course some will say if that is all you can afford just don't get anything. If I did that I would probably never be able to get started in the DSLR stage.

We are still playing around with what to get. Probably by the time we are ready to buy they probably will not have that camera at the store and we will have to find something else.

Chad

stevedwyer
01-28-2008, 11:50 PM
Then, it might make sense to do your research on the preferred lenses
first. After all, you'll probably end up spending far more on the lenses than the camera body. I happen to favor Nikon or, to be precise Nikkor.
I could, but I don't often use the lenses I originally bought for my film camera. The lenses I do use were bought for specific tasks.

I do think you may save money by buying the camera body separately
and choose your lens carefully. There's no profit in buying a package deal if the lens that came with it just doesn't get used.
With my nikon lenses, I'm assured that my lenses will fit a new camera.

That being said, look for the lenses you will ultimately purchase and buy the body to suit the lens.

Just a note on dust. The nikon d200 has far better seals than the less expensive d70, and is more shock and water resistant.

RodB
01-29-2008, 12:57 AM
One note from the Rockwell site... Lenses should be considered an investment that should last you 10 years or longer and hold their value for quite a while. Camera bodies are doing well if they last more than a couple to three years. The technology is moving so fast that many times you can buy a newer camera for quite a bit less money than a past "killer" model, and get a much better device simply due to the progress of technology. One point of view...if you spend say $2K today for the latest technology for a camera and good lenses... there is no reason why you wouldn't be quite content for the next 5-7 years, and you could update the body down the road when they have made DSLR's several times better... With such an investment, how much would it really cost you if you took thousands of photos over the years...any time you had the whim...and you could pop em on the computer and throw away the bad ones.

I know from personal experience, I take many hundreds of more photos now with good digital equipment than ever with film, and I am only talking about personal photos not business images.

Another note, Ken Rockwell considers the 18-200VR DX lens from Nikon one of the finest lenses in existence... and it will allow most folks to do around 85-90% of what they need in general photography. I own this lens and it is fantastic... and you would love it too except when you wanted to shoot pics of sports at the extreme end of low light. I tried shooting night high school football at ISO 1600...and this 5.6 lens was just not up to the task, while my brothers 80-200 AF f 2.8 was the right tool. That extra couple of stops made all the difference, thats for sure, especially when you need at least a shutter speed of 1/500 sec to freeze action on running players.

You will need 70-200 or 80-200 f/2.8, you could get by with a lesser tele zoom that is fast, but you will have to get closer. I don't have to shoot in low light and freeze action, so I love my 18-200VR.... I shoot everything else with the 12-24 Nikkor DX lens.

Heres a less expensive choice if you can live without a zoom, I owned one of these for years and it is a great lens...you just have to move to the position you want to shoot from which I did for a long time... and I didn't think it was much of a problem all these years.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/180af.htm

Heres your best bet if on a budget.... read what he says...

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200afs.htm

Heres the best for pros per Ken R. at $1K ... my brother got this cause he has a son playing football. He uses a D70S and this lens for football nights...and an 18-70 kit lens otherwise... This 80-200 f 2.8 is superb.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm

Any of the older Nikon medium tele zooms with the fast aperature would work for you on the Nikon cameras, and you might get a really good deal on one if you look around. Note, the D200 will work on any lens Nikon has ever made except for the D series from a long time ago.
Also read up on the Canon lenses in the zoom range you require... with an aperature of f 2.8 and see how plentiful they are and what they will cost you. If you read about the Canon 40D you might get the fever, for $1299 its a damn nice camera too, and its the latest technology. Ken likes the controls and general usage of the Nikons, but he really likes the new Canon 40D for sports cause of the ISO 3200.

If you decide to get a camera kit with a lens, get the widest range zoom you can, ie., 18-70 say, instead of 18-55. If the kit lens is not fast, (and it won't be) you will find it limiting when you shoot the sports with low light...and you will have to get much closer. If you get a camera capable of ISO 3200, be sure to take some pics in very low light and see if you can live with the grain in the shadows. With a camera like the CAnon 40D, capable of ISO 3200, you may be able to get by with an f/4 lens but you will have to get an idea of how much light is available at the locations you shoot sports.

RodB

Chris Coose
01-29-2008, 05:36 AM
I didn't read through the entire thread but where is Duncan to give you hell for the girls being projected into the air to make the boy athletes and the audience feel better about prevailing over the other boy team?

DaveWhitla
01-29-2008, 06:49 AM
I didn't read through the entire thread but where is Duncan to give you hell for the girls being projected into the air to make the boy athletes and the audience feel better about prevailing over the other boy team?
WTF?

I read this four times and I still don't know what you're asking.

cs
01-29-2008, 08:05 AM
I think that even though the 50 is not the best lens for cheerleading, I still feel like that it is something that would still get used in other places and for other things.

Although the prime reason for getting the camera is cheerleading, if we got it just for that it would be a poor investment. It would get used for portraits and landscapes and that kinda stuff also.

I have to find the fit between budget and quality, somewhere between the perfect set-up and what will work. All the input is appreciated and I will read those links more later. At the moment I have to get ready for a meeting than go to Lynchburg.

Chad

Gary E
01-29-2008, 08:30 AM
So Rod...
How much is KenRockwell paid by Nikon??

are you on the pad too?

elf
01-29-2008, 08:50 AM
I think that even though the 50 is not the best lens for cheerleading, I still feel like that it is something that would still get used in other places and for other things.

That used to be true. But I have concluded after nearly 40 years now, :eek:, of all kinds of shooting, many of those years just recording family events and such, that a prime is not of much use if you want to frame in the viewfinder.

It's a starter lens for the starter photographer. Once you have explored its capabilities for your purposes it's time to move on to more flexibility.

Zooms are so convenient that, 20 years ago, manufacturers came to terms with the quality problems they once had. A decent, pro-quality, zoom for either Canon or Nikon will serve you as well as a prime in nearly all situations you might encounter. If you go with the 20D, try to buy the L lenses. But if the price scares the **** out of you or your credit card, really you can buy the less-than-L lenses and survive just fine.

For the cheerleading you need the flexibility of a zoom, for the family Christmas or ski excursion, or sailing trip, you need the flexibility of the zoom. To shoot the senior portrait the 50 might be useful, but actually is too wide anyway and those fleeting moments of laughter or pouting will end up lost in the whole face.

Kaa
01-29-2008, 01:06 PM
That used to be true. But I have concluded after nearly 40 years now, :eek:, of all kinds of shooting, many of those years just recording family events and such, that a prime is not of much use if you want to frame in the viewfinder.

It's a starter lens for the starter photographer. Once you have explored its capabilities for your purposes it's time to move on to more flexibility.

In some situations -- not all -- I much prefer the availability of, say, f/1.4 over the framing convenience of a zoom.

Family events in particular, take place in kitchens and living rooms, in restaurants and cafes. With a fast prime I can shoot pretty much anywhere without a flash (which kills the mood) -- a slow zoom just wouldn't cut it. The shallow depth of field is also a big benefit.

I have zooms -- but when I shoot people I usually take them off and put on a prime.

Kaa

cs
01-29-2008, 01:14 PM
Well I didn't go to Lynchburg today, meetings took until lunch, but in the same breath I don't have the time to really read much more of his articles.

I will add that when I used to shoot 35mm I used my 50mm quite a bit. The appature range really let me shoot with depth of field or all the way down with no depth of field.

I used to play a lot without depth of field. An example of that would be a spider on his web in the early morning light. You would see the spider and the web with dew dripping off of the web clearly, but everything else was a green blur.

This was the type of shooting I liked and did plenty of it and most with a 50. I've even done some of this with a macro, but the 50 was a good general lens that let me catch lots of shots.

I've also done some shooting in zero light using the manual shutter selection with prolonged shutter openings. Requires tripod and manual shutter release.

But typical sport shooting is something I've not done much of. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think a fast prime would be a waste because of other places I could and would use it. I think that maybe it might allow me to get back to shooting those shots that I played around with when younger.

Chad

BTW Can you do the manual shutter thing with a DSLR?

elf
01-29-2008, 02:15 PM
DSLRs do every thing manually except multiple exposures. If you want a multiple exposure you have to shoot multiple shots and overlap them in Photoshop.

Of course, in their effort to try to be all things to all people, they also do lots of pre-programmed stuff. But the pro modes are manual, aperture priority and exposure time priority.

cs
01-29-2008, 02:21 PM
Never tried any multiple exposures, but it sounds like fun.

Maybe later I can pull up some of my old photos of no depth of field and scan them in.

Chad

RodB
01-29-2008, 02:23 PM
What Elf said... right on the money.

My quiver of lenses before zooms was. 18mm, 24 f/2, 35 f1.4, 55mm Micro, 85mm f 1.4, 180 f 2.8...and a 300mm f/4.

When going on a vacation, I took the 18mm, the 55 micro, and the 85mm (sometims left it home) and the 180mm.

Now I use a 12-24 DX and an 18-200VR, and all fits in a sweet little Lowes Sling shot single strap backpack for shooting personal stuff and doing a lot of walking like a boat show or a hike. I use a normal camera shoulder bag for business.

I agree with Elf. If shooting people a 35mm will usually be a better lens than a 50mm, most fashion shot on 35mm was shot with a 35mm lens if one wanted full length and no distortion. Do you realize the degree of versatility and simplicity you gain by carrying an 18-70 mm zoom...thats like 3-4 lenses in one.

Another thing, if you like the use of "selective focus" blurring out all the stuff behind your subject, then you need a telephoto lens to do it right. Note: all the great shots on football are done with a 200mm or 300mm or 400mm f 2.8 lenses wide open, and its like you painted the football player on a soft blurry background. In your case, even an 85mm or 105mm f 1.4 lens would be eminently better than a 50 f1.4. Stop looking at the f stop and look at the focal length if you want to be satisfied in the long run. If you were talking about an 85mm or 105mm, then that would be more useful even if not a zoom.

Standard portrait setup has mostly been an 85mm or 105mm or 135mm wide open and the subject to film distance very short...and depth of field just covering the face...the ears getting soft.... If you try to do a portrait with a 50mm lens, and you get really close, the persons nose will distort and look very funny. Longer lenses are needed to get in tight for a nice portrait.

Nikon does not pay Ken Rockwell anything, and he is the most unbiased reviewer with real technical expertise that I have seen. If you read his website you will soon see that he pulls no punches and calls it like it is, on either brand of camera. You will not find a better review or brief synopsis for the real world on every lens that CAnon or Nikon have made. He has said if buying new that he would consider Canon or Nikon equally depending on the lenses you needed and what you were going to do.

Canon will have an 18-200VR counterpart soon, you can bet on that, cause Nikon even two years after this lens came out is still not able to keep up with the demand. All you have to do is shoot one for a few minutes and you will wonder how you ever got along without it. One camera, one lens with macro capability and able to cover everything from 18mm to 200 mm... just terrific.

Oh yea, the Nikon D200 and D300 (I'm not sure about the D70S) allow easy multiple exposure, just go into the menu, select the multi-exposure mode and select how many exposures you want and it automatically gets the exposure right...easy as pie...

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/doubleexp.jpg

This shows you the macro capability of my 18-200 zoom...
http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/dragonflies.jpg


One final point, I realize most folks who are not in the photo business would not think of spending $2-4K on camera equipment (solid camera with two lenses) but spend much more than that on a boat or trailer or Seadoo, or any other toy you can think of. Of course the camera would be used a lot more than most other things you can mention.

If you take this substantial investment and spread it out over several years, the cost is not all that bad per year and you have the ability to get great photos all the time in any situation. Years down the road with thousands of photos on your computer you will not think the cost was all that much.

Just an opinion.

RB

Oyvind Snibsoer
01-29-2008, 04:16 PM
Since I have in my posession some of the equipment that has been suggested to Chad, I figured I's take it to my son's hockey practice tonight to give you an idea of actual performance when shooting sports indoors.

The camera is a Nikon D70s with the 18-200 DX lens. ISO is maxed out at 1600, +0.3 EV. Click on image for original size. All these pics are shot at 1/125s, f/5.6

http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803478-L.jpg (http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803478-O.jpg)

http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803677-L.jpg (http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803677-O.jpg)

http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803793-L-0.jpg (http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248803793-L-0.jpg)

For my use, which is mostly family albums and the occasional forum post, these images are totally acceptable. As photography goes, I'm more into reportage style shooting than artsy stuff. I'm not that picky about grain, and some motion blur is acceptable and may even be desirable in some cases, IMHO. Of course, these kids are nowhere as fast as Chad's kid probably is in her act, and then the motion blur may become totally unacceptable.

Here's another one, shot on a Bangkok street at night. Same camera, Nikon 24mm f/2.8 @ 1/25s (auto). I don't think this shot would have turned out well with a slower lens. As much as I like my 18-200, and it has never been removed from my camera since I first put it on, the 24mm is my first true love. I'm just feel so bad about her having been demoted to a "common" 36mm.
http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248820382-L.jpg (http://oyvind.smugmug.com/photos/248820382-O.jpg)

RodB
01-29-2008, 04:43 PM
Good informative input, thanks. I had the same problem with my D200 and shooting football at night with my Nikon 18-200VR lens. I was thinking there would be plenty of light to shoot. . I think we had more light than your hockey match...and I set the shutter speed to 1/250 sec, ISO 1600 at f/5.6. The problem was at some parts of the field the light was less. My wonderful 18-200VR was just not meant for sports in lower light levels, course it does great with a little bit more light, like sailboat regattas. My brothers 80-200 f 2.8 was a perfect tool for night football and did a great job..

Heres a shot with my 18-200 VR with the VR on max...

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Ternsflying2.jpg

Your hockey images are fine... on the edge ... but still within color correcting range in Photoshop, takes 30 seconds.... But it shows you how valuable the f 2.8 lenses are if you need them. Don't forget the general rule of thumb, always use a minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length of lens at least to get sharp hand held photos. So a 200 mm lens should be shot at a shutter speed of 1/200 or round up to 1/250 sec shutter to hand hold and get sharp photos. I have always used 1/500 of a second to freeze action in fast action activities.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/hockeyccd.jpg

RB

cs
01-29-2008, 09:57 PM
Okay I found some of my old photos and scanned them in. Be advised these were scanned from 4 x 6 prints that are over 20 years old. I probably don't have the negatives anymore and all that is left are these prints.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2096/2230040812_6714fd51af_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2142/2230049884_aa2e21fece_o.jpg

These were shot with a Minolta X-370 standard 50mm lens. Can't remember the film speed but it was probably 200.

Chad

elf
01-29-2008, 10:03 PM
Hmm. Time for some practice with the rubber stamp!

Film is tough. You'll enjoy shooting RAW. No more blown out spider bodies.

And if you own that hibiscus, can I have a cutting?

cs
01-29-2008, 10:16 PM
Not sure what you mean by "practice with the rubber stamp"

I did hesitate to post the spider because of the burnt out body of the spider, but I really liked the overall effect of that shot. I've some others of spider webs that are pretty cool, but not another with the spider at home.

Oh and both of these were shot in the woods behind where I lived and it was back in the early to mid 80's, so I doubt that flower is still around.

Chad

elf
01-29-2008, 10:37 PM
Well, if you have Photoshop, there's a little tool in the toll palette which looks like a rubber stamp. You use it to replace a flaw in the scan or film with the correct color.

It's very time consuming.

I used the Dust and Scratches filter here, however:
http://www.landsedgephoto.com/hibiscus.jpg

cs
01-29-2008, 10:40 PM
Ahh I understand.

One thing I hated about film was taking the photo and trying to remember all the settings you had for a paticular shot. I was never good at recording all that stuff. And the wait time from shot to print would kill all memory of what I did. Most of my shots were by feel alone.

Chad

MiddleAgesMan
01-29-2008, 10:44 PM
Your hockey images are fine... on the edge ... but still within color correcting range in Photoshop, takes 30 seconds.... But it shows you how valuable the f 2.8 lenses are if you need them. Don't forget the general rule of thumb, always use a minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length of lens at least to get sharp hand held photos. So a 200 mm lens should be shot at a shutter speed of 1/200 or round up to 1/250 sec shutter to hand hold and get sharp photos. I have always used 1/500 of a second to freeze action in fast action activities.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/hockeyccd.jpg

RB

As a Photoshop ignoramous I'd say what you have done to that shot is amazing!

elf
01-29-2008, 10:53 PM
Just took the yellow out of it, that's all.

This is an example of where getting a white balance in advance is a good idea. The lighting is fluorescent and maybe some tungsten for good luck somewhere, making a sort of greenish yellow tonality across the entire shot. To correct, either you choose a color temp in the camera which compensates for that, or you do it after the fact in Photoshop.

There are quite a few possible ways to do it in Photoshop, but it's always nicer to not have to.

elf
01-29-2008, 10:55 PM
Chad, go check the previous page. I took some of the crud out of your hibiscus.

RodB
01-29-2008, 10:59 PM
Its quite easy to take a photo such as yours and just set the white point for highlights if a neutral object is in the photo like say, the ice.

I took the curves command "highlight eye dropper" and with my max highlight set at R 244, G 244, B 244 which is neutral and still shows texture... for a highlight... and just clicked the eye dropper on the ice in the photo. ...and its done. It set the ice as neutral and also at the 244 mark for RGB which still has texture.

Here is the standard "Curves " command, just DOUBLE CLICK ON THE HIGHLIGHT EYEDROPPER and set as below for highlights...

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/curveseyedroppers.jpg

Here you just type in 244 for each of R, G, B.... and click OK.. now your highlights are set if you use the eye dropper for setting a highlight. All you have to do is use the eye dropper to click on a part of the photo that is neutral and a highlight. You need to select the right brightness of highlight or your photo will be too light or too dark.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/RGBto244-1.jpg

You can set a midtone by setting as below... just double click on the midtone eye dropper and this window comes up.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/midtonessetto128.jpg

And finally you set the shadow at RGB 25 as below... again double clicking on the shadow dropper to get this window.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/shadowset25.jpg

Now when you call up "Curves" you can use the highlight, midtone, or shadow eye dropper on a neutral item in your photo to get rid of color casts and also to get the appropriate tonal range with one click... Just click on the eye dropper for Shadows, midtones, or highlights and click once on the appropriate object in the photo. Oh yea, I took 5 seconds to sharpen your image too..


This could be done in curves if you want to mess around with the RGB channels, but it takes more experience.

You can get PHotoshop Elements 6 for about $100 instead of the full blown Photoshop CS3... and do about anything you would want to your photos.... pretty easy to learn and you will use it for many years to come.

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/?promoid=BONSY

RodB

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
01-30-2008, 02:14 AM
Milo, makeup had to be exaggerated for the stage and performances, to compensate for the bleaching of the lights, and for features to be exaggerated at a distance. It's the stage, not high tea. :) I still remember the girls applying makeup to me before a performance on the stage in high school, I was clueless but they knew more.

I'm hoping there will someday be some collector value for all my minty vintage Nikon gear. Nikon lens mounts generally are backward compatible, except the original ("non-AI") F lenses. Those won't fit the newer bodies. Mine are so old they have the metering fork on the outside of the lens. The newer manual lenses would fit the early autofocus Nikons, which would display "focus aid" prompts in the viewfinder. I have no idea if they would fit the Nikon digitals. For some lenses, you don't need autofocus, like a short 24mm with a long depth of field, and a perspective-control lens for architectural work.

I was hoping for a long time that they would come out with a digital back for the Nikon Fs, but I am pretty certain now that will never happen.

They look real pretty. Great for props in 60s and 70s movies, and collectors shelves. Oh yeah, and they are actually repairable. What a concept. AND, no electronics so they will survive the EMP of the Big One. Someday I probably won't even be able to get film for them. I have some huge Polaroid bellows cameras that are beautiful display pieces that I got for something like $10, they no longer make roll film for them, heck I don't think you can even get the later Polaroid films.

But digital is the way to go. No use of precious silver. Print out only the shots you like. Fast.

DaveWhitla
01-30-2008, 05:47 AM
Or, if you own a Mac, you can do it far more simply and intuitively using Aperture.

cs
01-30-2008, 07:47 AM
Elf I saw that. It is amazing what couple of minutes cleaning up a scanned photo can do. I've not the software nor the skill yet to clean up scanned shots like that.

One of the reasons I posted these shots is to defenend my position (or justify or make excuses take your pick ;) ) on getting a good 50mm prime lens. Good shots can be taken that way. Sure there are other lenses that are better for each different application.

I'm still thinking about this setup, the Canon with the 50, but haven't decieded yet. If I do go this route the next step would be to save enough for a good zoom and than a good macro. But if I have to start out with a good zoom there is not the budget there for it.

Chad

elf
01-30-2008, 09:39 AM
Or, if you own a Mac, you can do it far more simply and intuitively using Aperture.

But you need 4Gig of RAM and the fastest possible machine.

And the same applies to Lightroom, which is cross platform.

At least Photoshop doesn't hog so much RAM. And Rod is absolutely correct about Elements.

of course, if you own a Mac you can do lots of it in iPhoto. Don't even need to by any after market product at all.

elf
01-30-2008, 09:48 AM
One of the reasons I posted these shots is to defennd my position (or justify or make excuses take your pick ;) ) on getting a good 50mm prime lens. Good shots can be taken that way. Sure there are other lenses that are better for each different application. Well to me, that's also debatable. That bird pic I put in the thread on what's at your feeder? That was taken from 6 feet with my 75-300 zoom fully extended. Granted it's a little soft because birds move and you only have a split second to get the shot and you really can't use a tripod for that kind of shot unless you're willing to do a lot of cropping, but for that situation, outside my study window, that lens is the right choice for me.


I'm still thinking about this setup, the Canon with the 50, but haven't decided yet. If I do go this route the next step would be to save enough for a good zoom and than a good macro. But if I have to start out with a good zoom there is not the budget there for it.

Chad

Well then, get this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/397663-USA/Canon_0345B002_70_300mm_f_4_5_6_EF_IS.html

cs
01-30-2008, 10:46 AM
I think on this point we may have to disagree. Although I will conced the fact that a zoom would be a better investment, but the prime will at least get me started. Otherwise I probably wouldn't even get started.

I hope in the next week or so to make a decission on what to do. And who knows if they will have that same camera when we do deciede.

Chad

cs
01-30-2008, 10:49 AM
BTW they finally got a photo of the camera online. It is this body that we are thinking about.

http://www.superiorcamera.com/websitesuperior/Used_Equipment/IMAG022A.JPG

Here is another lens that we didn't see the other day.

Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS Ultrasonic lens
Excellent condition $325

http://www.superiorcamera.com/websitesuperior/Used_Equipment/IMAG023A.JPG

Chad

elf
01-30-2008, 11:10 AM
Sure. Any old pic of a 20D will do. There are hundreds on eBay. And that's probably a nice starter lens, although with the multiplication factor it's going to be a 35-170 or so. So your wide angle will be non-existent.

Better than the 18-55 kit lens that comes with all the prosumer Canons.

But the lens won't get you shooting cheerleading. You need something a lot longer than that.

As for the pair, if they're both used, and depending on how many actuations the body has, I'd say $650 might be a good price. Maybe even $700 if the body has fewer than 5000 actuations.

As always - check eBay for prices. Always look at the recently sold prices to determine what's reasonable.

RodB
01-30-2008, 03:52 PM
Has it ever made sense to buy lesser quality tools if you had to re-buy them again later on? Cameras and lenses are no different than woodworking tools.

I'm curious, what is you max total budget?

RB

cs
01-30-2008, 03:57 PM
The thing about it is the 50 mm is not a lesser quality, in fact the way I understand it is that it is a better lens, just of a fixed focal length.

BTW I need to stay right around $800.

Maybe next year I can look at a new zoom lens but this year I need to be in that range for a complete package. And I'm not going to buy a body and wait a whole year to get a lens.

Chad

RodB
01-30-2008, 04:30 PM
Elf and I understand exactly what that lens is, we probably have both owned one at some time in the past. It seems like it is hard to make the point to you that a fast 50mm lens is not even in the same ballpark for usefulness as say a 105mm or a 135mm or a 85mm ... that is the point.

Invest your $800 in a good lens that will do what you want, and get a lesser body for now that works with said lens. That way, you are not having to re-buy everything later, the lens will have been a solid purchase with the useful life expectancy of several years and hold its value for a long time.


This kinda reminds me of buying lesser capability woodworking tools and later on having to sell them and buying better equipment with the added functionality. By the time you buy the first stuff and use it some, then sell it at a loss, then buy the better equipment... how much have you wasted compared to if you just bought the better stuff in the beginning?

Most folks just buy a starter kit to get into photography but later on they learn more and know exactly what suits their needs as they progress on the learning curve. You have already done that, why do it again?

If you are going to purchase a DSLR right now for just general photography, and not worry about the fast telephoto until next year, according to Ken Rockwell,you cannot get more camera than the brand new Nikon D40 with an 18-55 lens for about $500. Read what he says. This is a 10 megpix camera with the same view screen as the D200. The D40 also has the color histogram feature so you can tell instantly if you are properly exposed, which is invaluable. Read up on it, you will see its hard to beat. It will also be easily traded or sold when and if you upgrade to a better camera later on cause its "current technology". I think Cameras are worse than computers at dropping in value as time goes by, quality lenses maintain a high degree of value for quite a while. Get the right lenses first, bodies will come and go.
R

cs
01-30-2008, 05:16 PM
I hope I'm not coming off as I'm not listining, because I am. I understand that you guys have way more experiance than I do. I know what has worked for me in the past but that may not always be the best way.

I would rather invest in a good body and an okay lens first and save up for the better lens later. I will look at what he says about the D40 and see what I can find on that also.

Trust me, I do listen to what you guys say and we will make a decission based on what you suggest, what we find on the web, what we can afford, and most importantly we will end up gettting what the wife wants.

Chad

elf
01-30-2008, 05:18 PM
Has it ever made sense to buy lesser quality tools if you had to re-buy them again later on? Cameras and lenses are no different than woodworking tools.

I'm curious, what is you max total budget?

RB

Well, I dunno about quality. Lesser features, maybe. For instance, I spend a lot of time shooting on salt water. Salt water is very hard on printed circuit boards and electrical connections.

For a big while last year I lusted after one of the higher end Canons, partly because it had seals around every body part where water might do damage. Then I began to think about the equation. I could wait a couple years 'til I had $1800 and buy that camera body, but it would be out of date by then, even if new. And I'd be out a camera while I was saving, or paying interest if I used a credit card.

And with a third, or half, the money I could buy a prosumer model with the same size sensor and slightly smaller file size and use it until it rotted out, about 2.5 years. By then most of the upgrading which had been introduced into Canon's highest end pro bodies would have migrated into the prosumer market and for another half the money I could then upgrade to the next prosumer model which would then rot out in another 2.5 years.

So I bought the prosumer model and it's doing just fine, and will do so for another year or so, or 2 seasons.

Now lenses? They're another question. I still have a lot of faith in the concept of buying as top quality glass as you can afford, although I have the top quality short zoom (17-40 L) and it has some liabilities, like barrel distortion. But then the barrel distortion only shows up on panoramics, not on portraits, and I mostly use it at 17 for closeups of faces or objects. So it's not horrrible, just something I have to keep in mind.

Kaa
01-30-2008, 05:38 PM
Trust me, I do listen to what you guys say and we will make a decission based on what you suggest, what we find on the web, what we can afford, and most importantly we will end up gettting what the wife wants.

LOL. It's good to be realistic. :D

Kaa

RodB
01-30-2008, 05:46 PM
I agree with you 100%. My lenses are still worth close to what I paid for them last August, but the body is dropping like a stone with the advent of a newer model, just like computers. I am happy with the camera and probably would not have been satisfied with the prosumer models, but I sold lots of film equipment to raise the money.

If I was starting over, I would buy the lenses I needed and get a body that worked ok as you suggest. The only reason I would buy a higher end body would be because its capabilities far exceeded the lesser cameras and I needed some of those features.

I would like to upgrade to the D300 now (higher resolution, larger viewing screen, less color fringing, faster for sports...) , but if I don't it will not really matter. I can get a couple more years use from my D200...which I guess by then will not be worth a whole lot. But my lenses will still be damn sharp and great tools.



R

Fitz
01-30-2008, 09:06 PM
CS:

Watch out for Gray Market gear. Don't ask me how I know:(.

cs
01-31-2008, 07:54 AM
What is this Gray Market? E-bay?

Chad

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-31-2008, 08:02 AM
What is this Gray Market? E-bay?

Chad

The Grey market is usually unofficial imports.

Long long ago I used to shoot fast action in some horrible dark holes - kayak slalom racing in mountain valleys - all too often in the rain.
I was doing this for fun on a limited budget and while the 80-200 f4 zoom was the tool of choice (300mm F2.8 being way beyond my pocket) the hoary old 135mm F2.8 prime was the go-to time and time again - Cheap and useful.

elf
01-31-2008, 08:15 AM
Grey market carries no valid US warranty. B&H carries both so I don't worry about it a whole lot any more.

eBay carries both used and new. It's populated by dealers and individuals. There is a checkbox on eBay for limiting search results by source so, for instance, I don't buy from any seller outside North America. I also compare the recently sold prices on eBay with the B&H price. If I can get it new from B&H for less, why should I fuss with an auction?

Your exchange rate may affect this thinking, however.

Kaa
01-31-2008, 11:20 AM
Grey market carries no valid US warranty.

Generally speaking, that's not true and depends on the manufacturer. Canon, for example, will honor its warranty (at least on the photo equipment) regardless of whether the item has been "officially" imported or a grey-market item.

Kaa

Fitz
01-31-2008, 12:48 PM
I recently shopped around for a camera and found a good price via an internet purveyor. I thought I had done my homework pretty well, but I had never heard of gray market items. The camera works fine, but accessories were separated from the package and sold separately, the instruction manual was a poor copy, and when I tried to register the serial number with the manufacturer it noted it as a likely gray market item. Warranty and repairs will be an issue.

Look for manufacturer authorized US dealers to avoid the situation. You will likely pay more, but maybe end up with a better deal in the long run.

RodB
01-31-2008, 01:00 PM
Fitz is right, the Rockwell site talks about this and the problematic variations in detail.

R

Battenkiller
01-31-2008, 09:27 PM
I like the Canon 40D. Very fast compared to my Canon Digital Rebel. Everything feels so instantaneous, great for the kinds of action shots you are looking for. It's $1375 with the 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS lens, which is just long enough to do the job for you IMHO. I took my Rebel down to Best Buy and took a couple of shots with it and used my flash card to take a couple of shots using the 40D to view at home. That lens is not that bad and with the IS you will pick up a couple of stops so no big deal except for less background blur than a 2.8. The shots at ISO 800 were very noise free. I'm going to get one real soon, but Mrs. BK says I gotta sell something. Anybody looking for an Old Town Discovery Sport 15' squareback?:rolleyes:

I took the liberty to play with your hibiscus in Photoshop. Here's what I came up with:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v306/drfera/Web%20Linked%20Images/Hibiscus.jpg

RodB
01-31-2008, 09:32 PM
That 40d looks marvelous...

RB

Battenkiller
01-31-2008, 09:36 PM
when I tried to register the serial number with the manufacturer it noted it as a likely gray market item. Warranty and repairs will be an issue.

Look for manufacturer authorized US dealers to avoid the situation. You will likely pay more, but maybe end up with a better deal in the long run.

Fitz,

I called Canon last year and the service rep came right out and said that they support gray market goods, but only for warranty issues. I'd give a call and ask, if just for your piece of mind. If it is still true, gray market can be a way to get a real pricey camera into your hands.

cs
01-31-2008, 10:32 PM
You guys sure are making my flower shot look better and better.

I'm going to bed. I've done as much damage to my lesson plan that I can tonight and my eyes are crossed.

Chad

cs
02-01-2008, 08:10 AM
Before:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2142/2230049884_aa2e21fece_o.jpg

After:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v306/drfera/Web%20Linked%20Images/Hibiscus.jpg

Do I still get to claim this as mine? :D

Chad

Gary E
02-01-2008, 08:45 AM
You keep futzin with it pretty soon it's not real or what you would see in real life, so it may as well be plastic...
But you doit cuz you can... not because it looks real

elf
02-01-2008, 09:03 AM
Well, getting rid of the spots which result from poor care of the print, and probably some failure to remove the dust from the scanner plate, is not tampering with the image. But it would always be best to start with the negative.

Now, softening the background is another matter. It's not Chad's vision of the situation any longer. But it is what one might see in real life. The human brain is perfectly capable of seeing only the flower in focus. It's up to the photographer to realize that that's the way they saw it, and do it in capture, rather than after the fact.

In reality, Chad probably didn't see most of the green stuff at all, especially what's on the far edges. He was stuck with more than he saw because of the accident of 35mm film ratio. So cropping much of it off might be quite valid too.

But I'll bet he saw the flower sharp, and the stamen sharp too. And there he might not have been able to choose to make that happen because of the angle and the lens characteristics.

And sharpening the flower realistically without artifacts around the edges in Photoshop is not possible at this point.

Kaa
02-01-2008, 11:08 AM
But you doit cuz you can... not because it looks real

Who told you that the goal of a photograph is to look real?

Kaa

elf
02-01-2008, 12:11 PM
Who told you that the goal of a photograph is to look real?

Kaa

Up to the photographer!

Paul Pless
02-01-2008, 12:15 PM
from an interested lurker's standpoint, this has been a great thread, thanks guys

cs
02-01-2008, 12:45 PM
Paul I bet they think I'm being ornary and not listning, but I really have learned a lot and appreciate what they have added.

Chad

Battenkiller
02-01-2008, 01:25 PM
Now, softening the background is another matter. It's not Chad's vision of the situation any longer. It's up to the photographer to realize that that's the way they saw it, and do it in capture, rather than after the fact.

He was stuck with more than he saw because of the accident of 35mm film ratio. So cropping much of it off might be quite valid too.

But I'll bet he saw the flower sharp, and the stamen sharp too. And there he might not have been able to choose to make that happen because of the angle and the lens characteristics.

And sharpening the flower realistically without artifacts around the edges in Photoshop is not possible at this point.

I agree with you. All I was trying to do was to rid the shot of dust and those annoying vertical lines without further softening of an already soft central image.

I used the "healing brush" tool in CS to get rid of the big specks so I could get away with a a very low setting using the "dust and scratches" filter. Even at a 2 pixel radius there was some general softening of the image, so I applied a small correction with the USM filter which then accentuated the lines in the background. I used a layer mask with a very soft brush to mask the flower and then applied just a bit of lens blur to the background to get rid of the vertical lines. I prolly could have use a little less, but it was a quick job on someone else's photo. The only place it is apparent is in the lily in the background.

I don't know what artifact you are talking about. Like I said, I sharpened the entire photo and then masked the flower out in such a way that the edges were not touched by the lens blur. There are a couple of small areas where I could have been less sloppy with the mask, but I was doing it as an afterthought. Any artifact present is that created by the use of the USM filter, but I used a very low setting. In fact, if you compare mine to the original, you will see that the flower isn't quite as sharp as it is in the original scan.

I my normal workflow I rarely use USM but I do use a different method to sharpen, an absolute necessity IMHO whenever an image softening filter has already been applied.

Without a doubt, capture is the time for making all the right decisions, but life doesn't always work that way. If it did, the folks at Adobe would be out of business. That said, I would have shot this vertically on 35 MM, and I think the image looks less "fake" with a crop similar to that aspect (pardon me for further imposing on the artist's vision):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v306/drfera/Web%20Linked%20Images/Hibiscus-1.jpg

elf
02-01-2008, 01:37 PM
O would have shot across the flower, actually. Like this:

http://www.landsedgephoto.com/hibiscusatlongwood.jpg

And then cropped a bunch off both sides, as you did.

Kaa
02-01-2008, 02:29 PM
Speaking of photographing flowers, here's a series called Vegan nightmare

Fanged Eye:
http://www.kaax.org/images/archives/2002/12_20021114_0010_Eye.jpg


Tentacles:
http://www.kaax.org/images/archives/2002/13_20021130_0078_Tentacles.jpg


Homage to Giger:
http://www.kaax.org/images/archives/2002/14_20021130_0062_Giger.jpg

Kaa

cs
02-01-2008, 03:32 PM
Hey Elf you gotta give me some kind of credit for a non-trained 18 year old kid taking that shot. Don't ya?

I've got a few shots where I was expirmenting thinking that I could actually do photography. Developing roll after roll of film got to be too expensive (cut into my party money) and I pretty much quite photography when I went on active duty.

Might be fun to start up again and do something more serious than just your average family shot.

Chad

elf
02-01-2008, 03:40 PM
Sure, Chad. No prob. This has been a great thread for thinking about photography and I admit I'm sort of using it to show off a bit...

I'm looking forward to your getting this here camera and beginning to share with us what you're learning and the fun you're having, too.

High C
02-01-2008, 03:45 PM
Fascinating thread.

Chad, a question, and I'm sorry if it's already been answered, but why are you seeking out one of the older higher end cameras instead of a newer, lower cost model, such as the Nikon D40 or a Canon Rebel xti?

Is it for the faster.....we used to call it frame rate, or motor drive speed? Other than that, I can think of little reason to go with an older high end design. The D40 is an amazing performer that lacks only a really fast frame rate. It's 2 per second, BTW.

I recently bought a D40 with the Nikon 18-55mm lens, and a Nikon VR vibration stabilized 55-200 for under $700. It focuses fast, meters fast, and handles like a dream. The VR technology effectively gives you a stop or two in additional speed as it allows you to hand hold at slower shutter speeds without blurring. The images with both lenses are very good. Its main limitation, again, is that it won't fire off a burst of four or five shots a second, and that may well be important for your needs.

Is frame rate your big issue?

Kaa
02-01-2008, 03:58 PM
...newer, lower cost model, such as the Nikon D40 or a Canon Rebel xti?

As of a few days ago, Canon XTi is no longer a "newer" model, but an "older" model. It has been replaced by Canon XSi (aka 450D) -- see http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08012403canoneos450d.asp for details. List price is $800 for body only.

Kaa

P.S. The new Canon XSi shoots at 3.5fps, the 20D and 30D -- at 5fps, the 40D -- at 6.5fps.

cs
02-01-2008, 03:58 PM
I'm not tied into either new or used. The main limiting factor is the budget.

We have actually been able to put our hands on the Canon 20D and it felt real good and yes the fast frame rate is real nice and I can see where it would have its greatest advantage in any sports.

I think I like used (but good) higher end over the new lower end.

The D40 is also one that we are considering.

The options are still wide open, but we do have a better direction thanks to some great advice. We started this thing thinking that maybe we could get a new DSLR that we would be able to use our older Minolta lenses on and have moved into completly forgetting the old Minolta system.

Chad

High C
02-01-2008, 04:03 PM
...We started this thing thinking that maybe we could get a new DSLR that we would be able to use our older Minolta lenses on and have moved into completly forgetting the old Minolta system.

Chad

That's exactly what I did recently. I have Minolta lenses that will work on the new Sony digital cameras and started shopping with that in mind. But the Sony left me cold, just didn't feel like quality gear, and its mirror was noisy.

I understand about the frame rate and sports. It's nice to fire off a burst and have several images to choose from. You may get the winner that way!

RodB
02-01-2008, 10:29 PM
Don't forget you can use some of the many great filters in photoshop to make a straight shot look like a painting or all kinds of other special effects. Sometimes I like to add drop shadows for depth...and a background color that is acquired from the photo.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/3yellowtreesspeceffects.jpg

Heres a low res image manipulated in photoshop to disguise the really low resolution but pump up the color and also use some special effects filters...
http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/Valeryclseyesgreat.jpg

Heres one of the first pics I ever took with a borrowed Nikon D50, before I bought my D200. .. my dog Sam. I knew Nikon had it down pat when I saw this.....no manipulation except for usm a little.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%20boats%20etc/MydogSam.jpg



Rb

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 01:53 AM
But you need 4Gig of RAM and the fastest possible machine.

And the same applies to Lightroom, which is cross platform.

At least Photoshop doesn't hog so much RAM. And Rod is absolutely correct about Elements.

of course, if you own a Mac you can do lots of it in iPhoto. Don't even need to by any after market product at all.

I own and have used all of the above.
4GB of RAM - nup. I have 4GB now because I bought a new puter for work but I used Aperture fluidly for all the above with 2GB on a laptop. Photoshop is an indispensable product for some things I do. Correcting and managing digital photos isn't one of them.
Photoshop uses more RAM than Aperture - but such a blanket statement is very misleading - it depends entirely upon what you are doing with them. Aperture offers far more for the travelling photographer in a one-stop package. Lightroom struck me as a weak imitation of Aperture - not nearly as good on a Mac. On Windows you don't have Aperture - so go right ahead and use Lightroom.
IPhoto is OK for many things. But even my Mum felt like upgrading to Aperture which has far more in the way of RAW image manipulation and a superior (if similar) user interface.
Cross-platform - don't care - I am a professional software developer and chose the best operating system which I use almost exclusively - cross-platform == lots of compromises.

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 02:06 AM
Grey market:
I got burned despite specifically avoiding "grey market" items.
My first D200 was misrepresented as Australian stock but turned out to be grey market. I mail-ordered inside Australia thinking I was protected ultimately by our fair-trading laws. Nup. Nine months of legal crap and another D200 (so I didn't use the other one making it unreturnable) later and I'm no better off. Ended up giving it to my mother who is into photography but will probably never appreciate it fully.

Lesson - physically examine any item in person before buying or buy from someone reputable like B&H or Adorama (which I have purchased from and am very happy to endorse).

If you know exactly what you are getting though, gray market can work well for you. Example:

Gray market Nikon D3 from US to Australia with current exchange rate is about AU$5,000.
Legit Australian Nikon D3 from Australian store (if you can even get one) is about AU$10,000.

If it dies within 12 months you could just about buy a second one and still be better off ;)

Kaa
02-02-2008, 02:10 AM
Since people post pretty things here, let me also post a pretty picture...


http://www.kaax.org/images/archives/2003/04_20031005_0060_Backlit_leaves.jpg


Kaa

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 02:17 AM
Since people post pretty things here, let me also post a pretty picture...
Kaa

That IS nice. I'd hang that.

RodB
02-02-2008, 03:04 AM
Whether I used Iview Medi Pro, Aperture, Lightroom or iPhoto to manage photos, Photoshop is without peer for digital imaging and color correction... and would always be my choice in working images. I use Lightroom only for managing photos, not working images. The reason for this is because I have used Photoshop so long that I am not interested in learning to change color casts, contrast, sharpen, crop, etc, etc.. in another program other than Photoshop.

Once you are proficient in Photoshop you can do a fantastic amount of manipulation in just minutes that none of the image management softwares are even capable of.

I have been watching Aperture, (they have been marketing it in the Apple Stores) but decided to go with Lightroom as it is so compatible with Photoshop... ie., it is developed by Adobe too.

Tell me why you think Aperture is so useful...?

RodB

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 03:17 AM
The reason for this is because I have used Photoshop so long that I am not interested in learning to change color casts, contrast, sharpen, crop, etc, etc.. in another program other than Photoshop.

Once you are proficient in Photoshop you can do a fantastic amount of manipulation in just minutes that none of the image management softwares are even capable of.

I have been watching Aperature, (they are marketing it in the Apple Stores) but decided to go with Lightroom as it is so compatible with Photoshop... ie., it is developed by Adobe too.

Tell me why you think Aperture is so useful...?
RodB

The bold bits are precisely what Aperture excels at - especially white balance correction - it also has an excellent interactive tool for correcting horizontal alignment (much better than in Photoshop). It's also written in Objective-C enabling it to leverage all the performance and imaging abilities of the core OS allowing much more interactive feedback when making any change. It also uses differential versioning for non-destructive editing and small memory and disk footprint. The feature set is exhaustive and I can not do it justice here. Photoshop has none of these features. I love Photoshop and consider it a must have on my computer (despite the extortionate price tag). I just find Aperture to be everything I need when playing wanna-be travelling national geographic photo-journalist. It gives me an ideal workflow when travelling with just my camera gear, laptop, small external HDD and some DVDs. I've only used Aperture since 1.5 so I don't know what features earlier versions had or lacked.

I'm not going to sell it to you. Trial is the only way you can know for sure if it's good for you. If you have a Mac you can try it for free without restriction (for 60 days I think).

RodB
02-02-2008, 03:25 AM
I think I also passed on it cause it needs an intel MAC to work properly. I'll check it out in the near future.

R

elf
02-02-2008, 09:10 AM
Photoshop is an indispensable product for some things I do. Correcting and managing digital photos isn't one of them.Interesting. What do you use Photoshop for, then?

Battenkiller
02-02-2008, 10:58 AM
I've only used Aperture since 1.5 so I don't know what features earlier versions had or lacked.

I'm not going to sell it to you. Trial is the only way you can know for sure if it's good for you. If you have a Mac you can try it for free without restriction (for 60 days I think).

I tried a trial version a few years ago. Maybe it was a Beta version, I can't recall. What I do recall is that it basically froze my Power Mac up every time I tried it. My Mac is getting pretty long in the tooth but it shouldn't lock right up using an Apple designed product. I've got two 867 MHz processors and 1.5 gigs of RAM.

Maybe they've worked out the bugs but I doubt it will ever be fast on my machine. What's the use of an app that's supposed to improve my work flow if all it does is bog my computer down?

Oh, I get it. It's a Pro application so a good professional is supposed to ditch his perfectly functional old Mac and spend over 2 grand for a new one that will run the $500 POS program. Thanks again, Steve.

I tried out Lightroom and I love it. For just photos, it has almost everything I normally need. It works fine on my machine and I can get a fully licensed version for $99 because I've got a kid in design school.http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/images/icons/icon12.gif

RodB
02-02-2008, 11:54 AM
I too thought it way too complex...trying to do too much, and the hardware req were high... Lightroom was much more affordable. The main thing that made me think this program was worth considering was that Apple was embracing it and pushing it... and they usually have great products with innovation. Perhaps the newer version of Aperture is really a dandy, it never hurts to check out such things... but I won't be buying a new computer either for awhile. My Imac 20 handles all my needs for now. Photoshop is "the" image software.

RB

Kaa
02-02-2008, 01:44 PM
While I haven't played much with Aperture/Lightroom, it seems to me that if you want to work on a single image for a couple of hours, Photoshop is better. But if you have a few hundred images to sort through and and produce a dozen decent images in limited time, Aperture/Lightroom is more convenient for that.

Kaa

elf
02-02-2008, 02:05 PM
Bridge works great for that part for me. Relatively speedy to load, easy to create a XML template and apply to all, star the keepers as you scroll through the shoot, export to the RAW converter, correct everything you need to and save to whatever folder you want.

No waiting for the rest of the image database to load, bigger sliders for adjustments than Lightroom and can tab through the sliders if you wish to input numbers, has the same set of tools, but an especially excellent levelling tool, keyboard commands for sorting.

Easy application of Photoshop Actions, and quickie slide show.

RodB
02-02-2008, 03:53 PM
While I haven't played much with Aperture/Lightroom, it seems to me that if you want to work on a single image for a couple of hours, Photoshop is better. But if you have a few hundred images to sort through and and produce a dozen decent images in limited time, Aperture/Lightroom is more convenient for that.

Photo management software will not replace Photoshop IMHO, but with the workflow developments of our times and with many hundreds of images commonly shot digitally on projects... the consumer will be the winner in the long run, with constantly improving image management software... whether independent or an integral part of Photoshop.

Photoshop will remain the core program for those who need digital imaging capabilities.

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/

RB

High C
02-02-2008, 05:40 PM
I don't think anyone has mentioned Google's Picasa software. I've recently started playing with it and am amazed what good software it is. For file management and display it's very good, and does lots of image fine tuning and whatnot like the big boys. Handles RAW, too. It lacks the layers thing and no doubt many other features of Photoshop.

Would any of you experienced photogs who have experience with it care to compare it to say...Photoshop Elements? Does Elements bring more to the table?

Ron Carter
02-02-2008, 06:42 PM
Just downloaded Picasa2 and have played with it a bit. Seems like it might be good. Found a couple of files I had forgotten about. Would be interested in the "pro's" thoughts.

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 06:52 PM
Hey, use whatever you want. It's your time.

I'm just telling you what I find best, from experience of using them all on the same hardware.

I use Photoshop for work, when creating or manipulating original works. By manipulating I mean radically changing rather than simply cast correction or that set of actions commonly required in tweaking what I didn't get right on the camera. Photoshop for stuff like magic wand select and edit, special effects, airbrush, 3D projections, drop shadows etc. Not stuff that I ever do to a photograph.

Photoshop is one of my tools of trade and I have used it almost daily for years. I was bitterly disappointed with Adobe's attitude to OSX Intel when I had to use Gimp for over a year to get even a weak imitation of Photoshops tools. When CS3 came out I was at the head of the queue. I haven't taken the Apple pill. Aperture is just a damn good complete product. If you don't think you need it's features don't buy it. Other tools will probably suit you just fine. Hell, I happily wrote most of my code in vi for years until IDEs came out - now I wouldn't consider going back. As far as pricing goes - I think Aperture is positioned correctly. Student's can get student pricing also. And it's way cheaper than Photoshop partly because it's a niche product.
If you need all the general image editing features of Photoshop you probably already have it as I do. You may want to use it for photos to help justify that money you shelled out. As far as workflows spanning multiple tools go - just plain cumbersome. Incidentally most people used Bridge before Aperture was an option so it's not a new idea - it was the best option - before there was a better one.

As I said, use whatever you want. I'm just offering my experiences in the hope that it might improve someone's hobby.

Paul Pless
02-02-2008, 06:56 PM
Here's a question from someone with no experience with digital slr cameras. Can you you guys recommend a good basic text/tutorial to learn and explore the capabilities of these cameras and related software?

thanks

DaveWhitla
02-02-2008, 07:14 PM
My Mac is getting pretty long in the tooth but it shouldn't lock right up using an Apple designed product. I've got two 867 MHz processors and 1.5 gigs of RAM.

Maybe they've worked out the bugs but I doubt it will ever be fast on my machine. What's the use of an app that's supposed to improve my work flow if all it does is bog my computer down?

Oh, I get it. It's a Pro application so a good professional is supposed to ditch his perfectly functional old Mac and spend over 2 grand for a new one that will run the $500 POS program. Thanks again, Steve.

Well. Apple had to migrate from the PowerPC architecture. It was a dead platform that couldn't scale to faster clock speeds in small form factors. Architecture changes suck. Try being a guy who has to write the applications you use. But it was necessary for the survival of OSX. It is in large measure responsible for the currently increasing market share which will bring more developer attention to your platform - embrace it. Due to the timing of my switch to Intel I got royally shafted by application developers who had been given an enormous advance warning and complete tool sets for Intel development. Now the tide has turned. If you are on PowerPC still you are gonna have a whole lot more issues than running Aperture. The OS has already been completely optimised for a 64 bit instruction set and memory architecture and I expect that the next OS release won't even support PowerPC. This isn't a marketing trap or Steve Jobs being an arsehole. It's progress required to stay competitive in the big bad world of consumer electronics.

This sort of scheduled compatibility end-of-life seems to be far more shocking to long time Apple users because you typically have it so good in the compatibility area. Commodity "yum cha" hardware users have a whole lot more to complain about I think.

Battenkiller
02-02-2008, 07:33 PM
I looked at the system requirements for Aperture and thought it might work so I downloaded the new trial.

Into the "Trash" with it since it won't even install on my machine. I think it may be my video card, but I'm not likely to replace that anytime soon.

I see that the price has come way down. It was $500 when it first came out. I guess the $200 tag on Darkroom forced Steve to give us a break. Student pricing on Apple products is usually 0-10% so no real savings there.

Found a trial user whose sentiments reflect mine:


Now that I've got 1.5 GB of RAM in my PowerBook, I installed the Aperture trial. Unfortunately, it was very sluggish. There was a noticeable lag whenever I did anything. Even using the slider to adjust the size of the photo thumbnails was slow, which is odd since the same function in iPhoto is smooth.

So it looks like it's not really practical. I mean, it's not so slow as to be unusable, but I'd rather just stick with iPhoto. I'm not like a professional photographer or anything, so I'd rather have iPhoto's speed over Aperture's advanced features.

Good thing Apple offers a demo...otherwise I'd be really annoyed if I had bought it

RodB
02-02-2008, 07:42 PM
Dave,

I will probably upgrade to a 24" IMac later this year, but I am quite happy with CS3 on my G5 Imac 20.

I will keep an eye on Aperture but I assume Lightroom will also continue to improve. I worked in color correction for a few years just to become proficient in digital imaging so Photoshop becomes second nature with key commands, actions, etc, its hard to imagine anything being as fast and simple as Photoshop if you are quite used to it. Be more specific on what you do with Aperture... if you don't mind.

I am interested in quick mask, color brushing, retouching, just to mention a few tasks I do in Photoshop regularly.

RB

elf
02-02-2008, 09:27 PM
Here's a question from someone with no experience with digital slr cameras. Can you you guys recommend a good basic text/tutorial to learn and explore the capabilities of these cameras and related software?

thanks

Read the manual and shoot RAW. Shoot in either Aperture priority or Exposure time priority. Learn where all the controls are on the camera. Carry the manual around with you for at least the first week and shoot at least 40 images every day. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. It's all disposable.

Come back to the computer and adjust your shoot every time you go out. Go back to the manual and see whether there is a way to make it easier to do whatever your examination of your images makes you wish had happened.

As you work with your images, think all the time about what you saw, what you want the image to look like, and what could make it better. Look in the corners of the image, think about how to get rid of excess or include something that's missing.

Explore all the buttons and switches and sliders in the software during that week until you are acquainted with what they do and have a group that you consider most important.

Subscribe to Pop for a year and read all the articles about color correction in the computer and try out what they suggest. Read all the articles about image improvement and see what you like. Look over the articles about new gizmos for your camera so you know what's there and why you might want it, or might not.

Talk with other people, like us. Books are hard to learn from, people are much easier.

It only takes a week to get on top of the basics so you can be pretty confident. It's not a lifetime project to get there. And keep in mind whatever mistakes you made, you can always pitch the file in the trash, so there's no need to worry about whether it's OK or not.

RodB
02-02-2008, 10:15 PM
Great post Elf.

Paul, also don't underestimate the value of learning basic photo manipulation with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Not being able to manipulate images is very limiting.

Also, the website www.kenrockwell.com has really great manuals for many cameras of today and he goes through all the setup and photo taking settings and explains them in detail.

A beginner can go through one of these manuals on Rockwell's site and set up the camera with all kinds of technial tips on taking photos during the process. Once you have gone through this setup a couple of times you will have a pretty good understanding of your camera.

Good luck,

RodB

PeterSibley
02-04-2008, 03:45 AM
This has been very informative and perhaps best was the link to Ken Rockwell .This page on his site particularly caught my eye !:D Especially since my camera is Fuji FinePix S3500 :D.It cost me $150.
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/150-vs-5000-dollar-camera.htm

cs
02-04-2008, 08:14 AM
Just to let you know I keep coming back to the Canon 20D over the Nikon D40 or D50.

The Canon is a 8.2 megapixal and the Nikon is a 6.1. The Canon has a frame rate of 5 frames per second and the Nikon 2.5 per second (I think sports when I see this).

So ain't bought nothing yet but those are the two it seems to be coming down to.

Chad

elf
02-04-2008, 09:11 AM
The 20D will be fine. Just do what I said to Paul a few posts ago once you get it. Keep the manual with you, shoot RAW and shoot 50 shots in one stint every day for the first week. You may find a free copy of Photoshop Elements in the box, it used to come with the 10D. If so, install it and work with it with the shoot.

Or download a trial and use that.

John Boone
02-04-2008, 10:15 AM
This has been an informative thread. I use a 20D and have found it to be a good performer for my needs. Chad, if you decide to go that way I have no doubt you will be happy with it.

Elf's advice regarding Photoshop Elements is a good start and I believe it does still come with the new Canon's but may not be included with a used camera if you decide to go that way. Either way it is not expensive software.

The 20D is quick to start, good on batteries and relatively light to carry. Carry an extra battery and a couple of 1 or 2 GB data cards and you can shoot all the photos you might need to in a cheerleading competition weekend or sailing trip.

I agree with the advice given with respect to buying the best lense you can afford at this time and upgrading the camera body later as you can.

Others have provided good suggestions on which lense(s) might work for you so I won't add in.

Good luck with your decision.

Regards, John

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd304/jsbpbacct/PNW%20Trip%202006/IMG_1812.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd304/jsbpbacct/PNW%20Trip%202006/IMG_1813.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd304/jsbpbacct/PNW%20Trip%202006/IMG_1814.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd304/jsbpbacct/PNW%20Trip%202006/IMG_1709.jpg

Whichever camera you buy, just go have fun....Above taken in PNW with my 20D and 28-135 lense.

RodB
02-04-2008, 01:04 PM
CS,

No matter what you choose, I think a fast/ medium telephoto will cost you a bit... and you will be better off finding the lens and getting a less expensive body. This is really the pivotal element in your decision... choosing the lenses you want to end up with and figuring out the best way to end up with them without wasting money or buying something you must sell later.

Note: Ken says on his web site, the D40 is the best value in DSLR's on the market... period.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm

Both Canon and Nikon have great products, you just have to take the time to wade through the maze of products and decide what works for you long term, ie., how to wisely spend your money. Lenses are usually the starting point here cause you can get used to any camera. Have you read Rockwell's website as to user friendliness and how smartly controls are laid out for basic camera operation? Color histograms? These are some important features you should consider. One more observation, when someone like Rockwell points out really valuable features for DSLR's, its funny that the manufacturers come to the same conclusions in newer models. Don't forget these recommendations are based on a solid list of criteria and features that make lots of sense in the real world of taking photos every day. When you use a tool alot, the shortcomings for every day use start to become evident real quick. Learning from an experienced user vicariously is only a smart way to proceed.... kinda like beginner boat builders asking equipment questions on the WB fourm so they can make wise choices.


I think if you would spend a few hours reading the Rockwell web site, you would be able to make a much more informed decision... much better than with just the info any of us folks here can add on this forum. Also, he is an advocate for both Canon and Nikon. I am not talking about skimming over but really reading the many technical articles on lenses and sports photography, camera reviews, and high priority features for a DSLR. What really matters is the group of lenses and features you want to end up with in the long run.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/150-vs-5000-dollar-camera.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/1-6x.htm

R

High C
02-04-2008, 01:42 PM
CS,

You are wrong on the D40, its a 10 megapixel camera...

Rod, I think you've misread Rockwell's review. The D40 is a 6 megapixel camera. The D40X is 10 megapixels. I own the D40, and it's definitely a 6 megapixel camera.

Rockwell owns both models and prefers the D40, despite its lower megapixel capacity. It has other advantages, such as a higher flash sync speed than the D40X. He also goes into detail as to why the preoccupation with megapixel count is silly. There's much more that determines image quality. My old 3 megapixel Olympus C3000 is proof of that. It has its drawbacks, but image quality is not one of them!

That said, my D40 is an incredible machine, lacking only the high frame rate that Chad wants.

RodB
02-04-2008, 01:58 PM
Thanks HighC, I was mistaking the 40X for the D40. I edited my post.

You make some good points, especially about frame rate. If someone knows photography will be a priority in their life, I would recommend raising the budget here (even if it has to be on a loan) and getting a solid set of equipment.... a decent camera with the right couple of lenses and the person would be set photographically... with no limitations on photo taking. How much does the cost really add up to if you take thousands of photos over several years, and have the right tool/tools when you need them? Say $2500 spread out over several years of great use in all your life's moments... ain't all that bad? And don't forget, quality lenses last a long time, bodies come and go...

In general I think the used D200's are the best deal on the market...cause many guys are upgrading to the D300, so D200's can be picked up for around $700-$800 if you look hard enough. The D200 can't be beat for such a price. Even if you pay a little more, if the seller throws in an extra battery, a couple of 2gb memory cards, you end up with a lot of camera for half of the new price.

RB

abe
02-04-2008, 01:58 PM
Hi Rod


You are wrong on the D40, its a 10 megapixel camera

The D40 is a 6 megapixel; the D40X is the ten megapixel. About $150 extra bucks for the D40X. Also be aware that the D40 will not be compatible with many AF Nikon lenses. It uses the AF-S DX series and most older Nikon lenses must be manually focused.

I am told that he (she) who has the most megapixels only demonstrates that you have more disposable income. As far as I know, 6 megapixels is More than sufficient for an 8 x 10 print.

I have the D40. Bought it because web reviews where good. Never saw the Ken Rockwell site until after purchase. It has been suggested that another 4 megapixels is not worth the extra $150. I have some IX - Nikkors that are useless for the D40, but I am happy with the kit lens and the 55-200 zoom. Very happy with exception of the software.
Nikon tech support is great to deal with on the phone.


abe

elf
02-04-2008, 02:02 PM
I've printed 6 megapixel files up to 16x20 without any problem. As long as your sensor is low noise, 6 megapixels is quite a lot.

It is vastly more important to get a body with the least possible noise at high ISOs. Especially under the conditions Chad is contemplating.

abe
02-04-2008, 02:07 PM
;)Interesting when someone makes a typo we all jump in with a correction; sorry I take so long to type.

Happy to see another D40 owner, High C.

Chad, Whatever you select, I am certain you will enjoy the advantages of digital SLR over the point and shoot models. Please let us know what you decide.

BTW, some nice shots on this thread.

abe

Kaa
02-04-2008, 02:17 PM
I am told that he (she) who has the most megapixels only demonstrates that you have more disposable income. As far as I know, 6 megapixels is More than sufficient for an 8 x 10 print.

Nice quote, but as usual not exactly true. Again, as usual, it all depends :D

The most important factor is your subject matter. Basically if you don't need fine high-frequency detail (portraits, sunsets, etc.) you don't need high megapixel counts. If you do need fine detail (forest landscapes, furry wildlife, etc.), you do need lots of megapixels.

There's a variety of trade-offs involved in stuffing more pixels onto the same sensor area (higher noise is among them), so yes, for some people less is more. On the other hand, there is general agreement that the larger your sensor area is (in square mm), the better off you are. Unfortunately, large sensors tend to be much more expensive than small ones.

Oh, yes, and there's cropping. It's not a dirty word and it makes calculations of megapixels-needed-for-a-given-sized-print somewhat suspect.

Kaa

RodB
02-04-2008, 03:00 PM
If your priority was low light sports, then you could get an idea of the amount of light in these venues...and then decide on what you needed dictated by budget etc... as below...

(Hight ISO camera with acceptable noise factor....)

1) High ISO camera and fast f 2.8 lens (very low lighting conditions)
2) 1600 ISO camera and a fast f 2.8 lens (works for most situations)
3) High ISO camera (3200) and an f/4 lens which would save some bucks.

Some of the newer high dollar cameras are coming with ISO6400

RB

elf
02-04-2008, 03:39 PM
My 30D only goes to 3200. Gotta go check out an ice hockey game someday!

Kaa
02-04-2008, 03:57 PM
Theoretically you can push it two stops more during Photoshop's RAW processing. Noise is going to be brutal, though, and niceties of color will suffer much.

Kaa

elf
02-04-2008, 04:02 PM
I've shot at 16, I don't think I'd like the results pushed 2 stops in RAW except on newsprint, but of course, that's 3/4 what those types of shots are for.

Fitz
02-04-2008, 09:18 PM
These are some shots I took with my new camera. It is a Nikon D40x. I'm still learning about it and doing what elf mentioned above - lots of experimentation. If it helps Chad, here are some photos I shot with the continuous shooting mode. The D40x will shoot 3 fps if need be.

FLAG!!! Ice fishing in Maine.

http://inlinethumb50.webshots.com/42353/2827601380054321892S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2827601380054321892oPRvXL)

http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/43063/2038007470054321892S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2038007470054321892YEUjZK)

http://inlinethumb29.webshots.com/40220/2225074890054321892S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2225074890054321892pHChHg)

http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/36477/2776014430054321892S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2776014430054321892hnZzKo)

Ed Harrow
02-04-2008, 09:57 PM
Chad - lots of good advice here. You aren't going to get much with a 50 mm lens (with respect to athletic events). Think about your 'sign-off' comment... ;-)

RodB
02-04-2008, 11:45 PM
FITZ,

Is the one on the right your daughter...??

Nice photos...

RodB

cs
02-05-2008, 07:56 AM
Note: Ken says on his web site, the D40 is the best value in DSLR's on the market... period.




Rod, indeed Ken does like the D40, but he also likes the Canon 20D.

From Ken's site:


The 20D (or 30D) is what I'd have if I shot sports all the time and this was fit my budge


AF is Canon's strong point. If I was a sports shooter, I'm sure I'd be shooting Canon, too.

Here is what he says when comparing to the D70.


If I shot sports or shot a lot of action in extremely low light the 20D would be the winner since it goes to ISO 3,200 and has almost double the frame rate of the D70.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/20d.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/20dd70.htm


Chad

RodB
02-05-2008, 11:49 AM
Already read this stuff, but different folks have different priorities in a camera, for me its all about smart design and ease of use, which if you read through the many reviews by Ken ( and I have), you will see that the Nikon D200 is the hands down better choice... for many many reasons... not so sure about the D70S and D40. . . and now with the advent of the D300, used D200's are at very reasonable prices. I have read this stuff quite a while ago... and I can tell you Ken has softened his stance lately on some of his comments. The newer Canons are starting to incorporate some of these smart user features like... color histograms, independent controls on the exterior for commonly accessed features during use and simplifying menu access. I'm not even mentioning other features that can be accessed in less steps on my D200 and the superior functioning/performance of elements like auto focus and metering. For example I can, with the touch of a buttom zoom in to 100% to check image sharpness, touch the same button again and see the color histogram to insure perfect exposure... all in a few seconds.

Having ISO 3200 is fine if the noise is acceptable, if not then this is not a valid point. From my experience I have found ISO 1600 with an f 2.8 lens has worked at 99% of events....and this combination has worked for long time for millions of photographers. Unless you spend lots of bucks, from my take on this subject, the higher ISO's ain't that great in image quality in the intermediate price point cameras.

One point... Nikon looked at the market before conceptualizing the D50 and it came out a winner...and the D50 and D70 have been kicking Canon's butt over the past few years with features and simplicity and pure performance...and with this culmination of smart design out came the D200 which beat the higher end Canon in features. Naturally Canon is trying to make a resurge... looking at the feature sets of their newer models.

Personally, I would not be interested in the Nikon D70S, the D40, or any of the older Canons for free....compared to the feature set of the D200, and I certainly would not invest in 2 year old technology if for a little bit more money I could get a D200 (its about a year or so old). The new price $1600...now $1300 for the D200, can be had used for around $650-$750 according to my local pro store where many guys are upgrading to the D300. I have seen numerous used D200's on our local Craigs List too.

To be candid, if I were an intermediately experienced user and if I knew I was going to utilize photography plenty over the next 10 years, I would recommend raising your budget...perhaps taking out a loan... to get into a solid system as mentioned in my earlier post so that you could handle any situation you may come up against in the future. I would consider cameras like the new Canon 40D for starters, and if I could swing it the D300. No matter which manufacturer came up with the most camera for the least money, that would be the way I would go depending on what equipment you already own.

Whatever you decide to do, you are better off purchasing wisely so as to avoid having to sell and rebuy later on. Determine exactly what you want to end up with lens wise...and head towards that goal, with camera bodies as the area you may cut corners.... cause like Ken Rockwell says, quality lenses will last at least 10 years in use and value, but bodies will come and go...and every couple of years a newer, better, cheaper body will be available.

RB

Gary E
02-05-2008, 12:11 PM
Rod, your sounding more and more like a PAID supporter...
or maybe you just own stock in Nikon...

RodB
02-05-2008, 01:12 PM
Not really Gary, I would switch to a Canon in a heartbeat if it was the best tool for me.... and as is true in all areas of the free market, this manufacturer competition is fantastic for us consumers... cause we end up getting better and better equipment as time goes by for better prices. For example, the new Canon 40D sounds like a humdinger.

I am kinda pissed at Nikon for pushing their 1.6 ratio chip (D200 etc) so strongly and developing lenses specifically for it...then refocusing on the full frame system (D3) and causing us that want the best quality to have to change both cameras and lenses in the future. Will the D300 be the last camera in that system? Will Nikon end up going with the full frame chip as their only offering? Who knows? The only thing you know for sure is the progress of technology marches on. For now, I love my D200, and hold its "features set" as one hell of a benchmark.

This "having the edge" by one company over another is a fleeting situation in todays world, and I have shot Canon and Nikon over the past 25 years. Both are excellent and it takes a discriminating eye to evaluate all the technical features of cameras today trying to figure out what features really are important considerations and which are not. It comes down to a compromise decision in the end, whichever you decide on...just like boats.

I make some general comments based on staying up with the literature and reading web sites like Ken Rockwell. Ken is impressive because as you read his stuff, you realize what a straight shooter he is with a high degree of objectivity. If you read his reviews, you won't necessarily choose one brand over another, you just realize the advantages of one feature set over another in different cameras.

Also, I have not found him to be wrong yet... over the past 2 years... in his evaluation of any equipment... and when the equipment is more or less equal, he says so and recommends choosing what you like for personal reasons or based on equipment you already own. Sometimes its not "just choose, Chevy or Ford"... sometimes there are objective reasons why one piece of equipment is superior to another... Ken is kinda like Fox News... he reports .... you decide... BUT he does offer an opinion under "Recomendatons".

RodB

Paul Pless
02-05-2008, 01:23 PM
Ken is kinda like Fox News... he reports .... you decide... Maybe Fox News isn't the best metaphor to use around here...:p;)

RodB
02-05-2008, 01:28 PM
I know...;)

elf
02-05-2008, 04:09 PM
Fox News - he reports? - you decide?

Surely you jest!

cs
02-05-2008, 04:26 PM
Appreciate your input there Rob. I've been doing as suggested and when I can roam Ken's site. From what I've read on his site and what I've picked up here and knowing what my budget is and knowing what my needs are, the Canon 20D seems to be the best fit.

As far as uping the budget, not a chance. I'm not making a career out of photography, just want some good shots. And as far as budget goes, we just got back from the dentist and the kid is ready for braces.

Still not sure what I will get at the moment. A lot depends on what is available at the instant we are ready. We will not go wrong with either a Canon or a Nikon, just which one hits at the right time for the right money. I think if I found a Nikon D40 and a Canon 20D at the same price and all other things being equal I would choose the Canon.

Chad

Kaa
02-05-2008, 04:41 PM
Chad -- remember that a good hand feel is important. Given technically comparable cameras you should pick the body that feels better in your hands. You will be handling, poking, caressing, and twiddling that body and its parts for a while. :D

Kaa

elf
02-05-2008, 05:12 PM
It is, indeed, really important to get a grip on each body and see what suits you. Unfortunately, it's not so easy. Rentals are unlikely in this day and age, especially if you're not in a big metro area, and borrowing isn't easy either. I was very fortunate to be able to use a D100 for nearly half a year before I had to return it, and then to have an intern who owned a old Canon digi and walked me through some of the features.

Ergonomics made a huge difference to me, I as outlined way back in the beginning of this thread. My thumb simply couldn't manage a joystick with sufficient precision.

Maybe the thing for Chad to do is go to a Woodenboat gathering somewhere this summer and borrow various models of camera from those who have them for an hour or so, or stroll the show with people who have the cameras he's considering.

Or find a camera club and see whether there are people he can get together with who can help him try out their cameras.

RodB
02-05-2008, 11:13 PM
Good luck... On handling of the camera body, that is the first and foremost criteria for me... but that goes without saying. So... What lens is first??

RB

crawdaddyjim50
02-07-2008, 07:57 PM
Ergos are at the top for pros. Duffers will put up with a lot of crap an nonsense because they just don't shoot 10K pics a year.

But after reading through all of this and doing a crapload net research and reading a few books at the local wordmonger.

I will be aquiring a D-200 with a 18-200, 50, 105micro, sb400, and possibly a sb800. All new lenses with used body and flash. I also may trade out the 50 for a dedicated 18 prime. NOT going to look good on the old savings acct. But I am getting a chunk back if they ever get around to passing the bill.

cs
02-07-2008, 09:06 PM
Rob that will depend on how much I spend on a body. If I can get a 20D or a 30D at a good price I will start looking in the 70-210 range and for something around 2.8 (or the fastest I can find).

Chad

DaveWhitla
02-09-2008, 03:39 AM
Well,

I just had the pleasure of handling a D3 for the first time today. Almost certainly not the camera you are looking for Chad but I had to tell someone just how amazing it is.

Leave it set on ISO 800 permanently - RAW images seem to be as clear as at 100 on my D200. I tried it at ISO 6400 also - the image quality would have been absolutely amazing even if I had thought it was set to ISO 1600. The D3 is easily without equal for the time being. If I was starting over from scratch I'd buy a Nikon body just so that I'd be able to upgrade to the D3 somewhere down the line. Tried the new 24-70 f2.8 and the 70-200 f2.8 VR - have already placed my order with Adorama. Focus was practically instantaneous and completely silent.
That's all I have time for - have to find things around the house I can sell to buy a D3 ;).

crawdaddyjim50
02-09-2008, 10:22 AM
Dave, I know you just got to fondle it a little, but how did the ergos feel? Do you think you could hold it for an hour straight?

Went down to the camera shop in Orlando and started talking with the sales guy. He is from Britain and used to lecture at Cambridge on physics retired now to Florida to photograph wildlife and is working at the shop to feed his habit. Now I am all fatootsed :eek: He told me he was a diehard Canon man and that the D-300 was all the camera the D-3 is and half the price. I held the D-300 and it was a really good fit. With the 18-200 hanging on the front it would be a long day if there were no breaks to be had. He talked me out of the D-200. Showed me two pictures taken indoors of the same shot during a volleyball match. The difference was amazing! Possibly the best available light camera to date.

RodB
02-09-2008, 10:40 AM
Now, you just have to decide if you want to go the full sized chip (D3) route and spend around $8500 for a couple great lenses and that body... You can bet pretty soon the 18-200 will exist for the D3, or something close to it. An 18-200 that covers the larger chip would probably be too large... so the zoom range will be smaller.

I'm thinking the D300 will be ok for a couple more years...I am wondering if the D300 will be the last camera in that DX line... and will Nikon began to focus solely on the D3 line for pros... Hell, how can they lose keeping variations of everything at many price points... all just marketing.

No matter, my D200 is a fantastic tool with both ergonomics and pure functionality...and of course very user friendly with smart design... I 'm still trying to decide on the D300....

RB

RB

crawdaddyjim50
02-09-2008, 10:45 AM
The D-3 will have to wait until I am running a camera for a living or I hit the Lotto and have mad cash. Then again if I quit feeding the animals and children I believe I could swing it. Yeh that might just work......:D

DaveWhitla
02-10-2008, 12:19 AM
Dave, I know you just got to fondle it a little, but how did the ergos feel? Do you think you could hold it for an hour straight?

It was lighter than my D200 which I had with me. I was really surprised. Much lighter and easier to handle than the D2. And this was with the really long 70-200 VR on it too. I could have held it all day while hiking I think.


Went down to the camera shop in Orlando and started talking with the sales guy. He is from Britain and used to lecture at Cambridge on physics retired now to Florida to photograph wildlife and is working at the shop to feed his habit. Now I am all fatootsed :eek: He told me he was a diehard Canon man and that the D-300 was all the camera the D-3 is and half the price. I held the D-300 and it was a really good fit. With the 18-200 hanging on the front it would be a long day if there were no breaks to be had. He talked me out of the D-200. Showed me two pictures taken indoors of the same shot during a volleyball match. The difference was amazing! Possibly the best available light camera to date.
The D300 is definitely superior to the D200. It has the same focus module and exposure module as the D3 - but I would not sell my D200 to buy a D300. I'll be selling both of my D200's and my F4 to buy a D3 instead - it was seriously that much better than the D300 in my opinion. The D300 was little better than my D200 in terms of ISO and shutter speed range. The D3 really kicked it's arse there - the continuous high-speed was all you could ever want for action and the buffer seemed to be huge with no slow-down after 25 shots like my D200. I took a few photos at ISO 1600 and 6400 in the low light of the store where I would have used a flash on my D200. At 6400 the shutter speed was so high I was catching the odd half-green image due to the off-cycle of the fluoro lighting - and yet the images were sharp as. I used my own CF card for the test so I'll post some images with data.

DaveWhitla
02-10-2008, 12:21 AM
Now, you just have to decide if you want to go the full sized chip (D3) route and spend around $8500 for a couple great lenses and that body... You can bet pretty soon the 18-200 will exist for the D3, or something close to it. An 18-200 that covers the larger chip would probably be too large... so the zoom range will be smaller.

They were already released with the D3. They are 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8. And I already have them :D I already have most of the lenses I will ever need - I have always bought fast pro glass so it's not an issue.
I just need to find $5000 for the body which I should be able to do just by selling some of my old stuff.
This is what I was getting at when I harped on about lenses earlier.


I'm thinking the D300 will be ok for a couple more years...I am wondering if the D300 will be the last camera in that DX line... and will Nikon began to focus solely on the D3 line for pros... Hell, how can they lose keeping variations of everything at many price points... all just marketing.

I've already said this above somewhere. I'm pretty certain the D300 will be the last DX body in the "serious amateur/semi-pro" range.
I would advise against any further purchases of DX lenses unless they are a real bargain. Even then, full-frame lenses of the same focal length, max aperture etc will produce sharper images edge-to-edge than the DX equivalent on a DX body due to the lens centre covering much more of the DX sensor.


No matter, my D200 is a fantastic tool with both ergonomics and pure functionality...and of course very user friendly with smart design... I 'm still trying to decide on the D300....

The D200 is still a very capable camera. As I've said - it's good enough that I see no need to buy the D300 despite its new features. I'd stick with the D200 if I wasn't so won over by the D3. I'm sure I'll still feel guilty handing over the money.

RodB
02-10-2008, 12:37 AM
Thanks Dave, I appreciate the feedback from your direct hands on experience.

I'll take all into consideration, I too want to end up with the D3 or its replacement.

RodB

DaveWhitla
02-10-2008, 12:57 AM
Dave, I know you just got to fondle it a little, but how did the ergos feel? Do you think you could hold it for an hour straight?

I should mention that they moved the ISO button and the play button which caused me some initial annoyance because I seem to operate them by feel now. The ISO button was relocated to a better location I think and the play is now next to the trash button which makes sense if not much difference ergonomically. I'm sure I will adjust quickly enough.
It's also worth mentioning that the body was just as well balanced and comfortable in the vertical format as horizontal which is important IMHO.
Oh yeah and the shutter lag is non-existent - and sounds cool too which I realise is not important but I just had to add :D