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Author Topic: DSLR recommendations  (Read 6636 times)

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Offline MattD

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DSLR recommendations
« on: February 21, 2004, 11:42:51 PM »
I've been shooting film since HS (wow, like 8 years ago) on a Minolta and am thinking about going digital. I have always been a conservative film shooter because of the development/printing costs and think I miss out on a lot of opportunities because I usually won't shoot unless it's "perfect" to my eye.

I've looked at the DSLRs out there and it seems like the Canon EOS is the way to go. I checked out Damon's 300D ('digital rebel') a few weeks ago and it looked really nice and felt surprisingly sturdy for a plastic body. I think my choice in bodies would be between that body and the 10D. I hear they're coming out with a new model, but it's likely out of my price range (I've heard $3500 estimated).

Has anyone used both the 300D and the 10D? What are the major differences? What's the maximum print size I could expect to get with "like film" quality from such a camera? If they're similar enough that I could make up the difference in price by getting better lenses, I'd definitely take the 300D.

I currently shoot with a Minolta Maxxum 500si w/ a pair of ok zooms (28-80 3.5-4.5 and 75-300 4.5-5.6). I generally use aperture priority mode or manual mode. I go full auto for sports photography if I'm moving around a lot.

Thanks for the input,
-Matt
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jpschust

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2004, 11:48:09 AM »
ive used both, and first off- I hate digital.  Plain and simple if it's up to me I'll never shoot digital ever.  For me the quality still isnt there.

As per that being said I've used the 300D and the 10D.  If you just pick them both up you can tell which is of better build.  As per digi and Canon the 10D is the way to go, the drawback is that I really think that the MP should be higher on that camera for the price.  

Remember, if you are gonna be buying a Canon you need to sell your lenses and your body and get all new lenses.  I've actually got a Tamron for an EOS system (all the Canon mounts are EOS mounts) if you are interested.  (its a 28-70 f.2.8)

KC5

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2004, 05:44:24 PM »
i use a nikon f2as with a nikkor 20mm 3.5.  i have a 50mm 1.4, and a 200mm 4.5.  typically, i'd use asa100, but i've been tinkering with 200 and 400.  i usually shoot with 100 for high resolution.  that all said, i also have a sony 4 mp that has a zeiss lens.  there are several things i don't like about the digital camera.  takes like two secs befoe it finally takes the shot.  and sometimes the camera "looks" somewhere else in the viewer and what i'm actually looking at gets blurred.  however, i've taken some GREAT shots of the balloon fest here and the pictures turned out excellent.  i was suprised at how sharp the pictures turned out.  it's also a great camera for macro shots.  i'd like to try the new nikon dslr's.  but for now, i'm sticking with film for most of my stuff.  when the nikon dslrs come down ( or i find one used cheap ), i'll probably make the jump.  but the two complaints i have above need to be addressed first.

i did just hear about the canon dslrs the other day.  heard that they sell for $1000 at 6 mp?  and the folks using them are very happy.  

Offline dmonterisi

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2004, 07:11:06 PM »
ive used both, and first off- I hate digital.  Plain and simple if it's up to me I'll never shoot digital ever.  For me the quality still isnt there.


*yawn*  are you and marc related?   :banging head:

i really like my rebel.  i have learned a lot since I got it.  you should also check out the new nikon, same price range as the rebel.  D70

it looks very very similar feature wise.  the biggest negative about the rebel to me is that you can only shoot RAW in manual.  don't know about the nikon.  the focal crop is essentially the same (1.5 on the nikon, 1.6 on the canon).

i do not think the step up to the 10D makes that much sense right now.  the technology is changing so fast.  this will not be the last camera you own.  go with the brand whose lenses you like and then be ready to upgrade the body in a couple of years.  

if you want to mess around with my rebel, you are more than welcome to.

jpschust

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2004, 09:55:53 PM »
ive used both, and first off- I hate digital.  Plain and simple if it's up to me I'll never shoot digital ever.  For me the quality still isnt there.


*yawn*  are you and marc related?   :banging head:

i really like my rebel.  i have learned a lot since I got it.  you should also check out the new nikon, same price range as the rebel.  D70

it looks very very similar feature wise.  the biggest negative about the rebel to me is that you can only shoot RAW in manual.  don't know about the nikon.  the focal crop is essentially the same (1.5 on the nikon, 1.6 on the canon).

i do not think the step up to the 10D makes that much sense right now.  the technology is changing so fast.  this will not be the last camera you own.  go with the brand whose lenses you like and then be ready to upgrade the body in a couple of years.  

if you want to mess around with my rebel, you are more than welcome to.

The quality just isn't there and isn't commensurate with the price for digital.  If you wanna go shoot for your snapshots for the fridge, go shoot digi and print it at your local drug store.  If you want to do anything even remotely serious with some real quality to it, stay shooting film.  

Oh, and lately whenever I pose this argument people go, "Yah but SI shoots all digital now."  and my response is look at their shots that span two pages and bleed to edge (doubletrucks).  Look closely and tell me how close that looks to film- pixelation and all.

Offline dmonterisi

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2004, 10:15:23 PM »
but why do you feel the need to continually raise this point when it's not really relevant.  do you think matt is not aware of the facts you recite?  pretty sure he is.  it's like continually suggesting that people should be using a reel to reel, when they are asking for recommendations between a p1 and an HHB.  

Offline MattD

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2004, 10:23:54 PM »
Is it a question of how many MP a digital sensor needs to be before the quality is similar at, say, 16x20 or so? What is that "break-even point?" If not, is it a factor of the processing/printing stage for digital?

I'm planning on shooting mostly to decorate my apt with stuff that's meaningful to me, then do photostudies of my family and friends as gifts. I also want to get better through taking more pics, because I shoot very conservatively with film and often miss out on what could be a good shot b/c I don't want to bracket one more stop or something.

Johnny, since you clearly shoot film, do you have any tips for cutting costs there? How about new camera? I think I have outgrown the minolta 500si. I wouldn't mind selling that for an EOS body and putting $ into those lenses while waiting for a digital body that can result in prints that are like film up to 16x20ish.

It's fun to see the analog/digital "war" in another medium besides audio. I just don't want to get stuck with something I can't use.

Damon, thanks for the offer. I'll figure out when I can take a weekend to shoot when you don't plan on using it and take you up on it. I'll even try having a few prints done to see what they look like.
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jpschust

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2004, 10:53:45 PM »
damon, because its a relevant argument.  simple enough.

Matt, cheap body + very high quality lenses.  Lenses will last forever and if they are well made will hold their value, digital bodies don't hold their value worth shit.

 IMHO there isn't a digi piece that holds its own beyond 8x10 the way film does, so the options are either spend a ton of money and get closer, or spend less money and wait for the technology to come along and the price to drop.  I vote for spend less money personally

As per the getting better taking shots I think there are 2 schools of thought on this issue.  The first is to shoot lots.  The more the better.  The second is shoot less and spend more time on composition- setting up your shots.  

If you are beyond basic learning on your camera- ie you know what ap. does, you know what fstops do, you know how to increase and decrease stops based upon conditions, how to push film, etc. then I really think that you are beyond needing to shoot tons.  

One of the big downfalls in digital from my experience is that it causes photographers to become lazy- they spend less time setting up their shots and really piecing things together and more time firing off shots.  So the end result is instead of getting 1 good shot per 36 exposures (thats the goal most serious photographers look for) you end up with about 1 per every 100-150 shots.   The trick with digital is getting over that hump.  

So just some thoughts for now, im happy to share more as i come up with them.

Offline dmonterisi

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2004, 07:51:59 AM »
matt, here is a review of the 300d

300d review

and here is a comp including the D70 and 300d

D70 review


Offline drumminj

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2004, 09:40:07 AM »
The quality just isn't there and isn't commensurate with the price for digital.  If you wanna go shoot for your snapshots for the fridge, go shoot digi and print it at your local drug store.  If you want to do anything even remotely serious with some real quality to it, stay shooting film.  

Oh, and lately whenever I pose this argument people go, "Yah but SI shoots all digital now."  and my response is look at their shots that span two pages and bleed to edge (doubletrucks).  Look closely and tell me how close that looks to film- pixelation and all.

Hahha. I'm not going to have this argument with you again, as I think your points are valid in the domain you speak of (print journalism).  However, I think that digital is A) widely used, as you say, and B) a great learning medium.  I don't regret buying a dSLR body, and haven't touched my film body since.  I've learned a lot since I've been able to get instant feedback, and experiment more w/o having to worry about film costs or developing.  And I don't have to worry about brining the wrong speed film to an event, and push-processing or dealing with unnecessarily grainy images.

That said, I just wanted to pose an alternate viewpoint here.  If you're looking to shoot for publications, it's probably good to still have a film camera, though many get by with digital.  Granted, jpschust is the professional here.  However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't own a digital body.  A good film body can be had for $300-$350 used these days, so if you need it, buy one as well.   The lenses will work with both.

J

jpschust

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2004, 09:53:32 AM »
yah that really isn't the argument im going for here, what im really trying to speak to is the learning curve with each of them and composition and the eye for shooting.  i think there is a real difference between the two especially when it comes to issues of color depth.  It's work spending more time than most do with digital on composition and some theory, IMHO.  The real differences between photographers are twofold: eye and being there.  The second part you can't to a TON about, but you can really train your eye.  I think that all too often in the digital realm people forget that since there isn't any pressure to get great shots since you can grab and dump so fast.  

Based upon his case now, I'm not really fully arguing against digital for him, even though I'm still against digital in general, however what I am arguing for is really working your eye when it comes to your film so that it will better translate over to great digital shots.

Offline drumminj

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2004, 10:00:23 AM »
Re: dRebel vs. 10D - I think there are several reasons to choose the 10D over the rebel.  The 10D probably won't be replaced until fall of this year, and even when that happens, it won't make the 10D any less of a camera, and the only upgrades you'll see are probably more MP and better AF performance.  The dRebel has a few limitations placed on it in firmware - you can't do flash exposure compensation.  Don't have custom functions, and are limited to only one AF mode.  For most people, this isn't a huge deal.  But if you're used to the flexibility of Canon EOS bodies, it will be an issue.   A buddy of mine has a dRebel.  It takes the same quality pics (same CCD as the 10D), and actually autofocuses better.  However, he had to buy a more expensive flash(550ex rather than 420ex) to be able to set compensation.  Last night he ran into limitations with the AF modes.  Just something to consider.

A lot of people are still shooting using D30 and D60's.  The D60 is actually better than the 10D in some respects.  Just because a newer camera comes out doesn't mean the quality of your current camera lessens.

I do agree with Johnny - shooting digital does allow you to get lazy.  But if you're serious about photography, you probably want to learn to get more "keepers", regardless of the medium.  You can be just as lazy with film, it just costs more.  The advantage digital brings is that your "mistakes" and the learning process doesn't cost as much.

For those bellydance photos I posted - I probably took 60-70 photos.  I didn't shoot haphazardly, but I'm sure I shot more than I would have with film.  However, I was able to periodically review my shots, adjust for incorrect assumptions or changes in the lighting while shooting a VERY active subject.  If I were a better photographer, I'm sure I could do that without having to review.  But in this case it allowed me to learn.  I also had a decent number of slightly out of focus shots, b/c by the time I focused, recomposed, and shot, the dancer had moved a foot or two (or across the whole stage), when my DOF is at most one foot.  Either way I would have learned my lesson (I need to shoot more events like this to hone my technique), but at least I walked away with what I would consider 5 great shots.  And I have the EXIF data to review what settings I was using at the time, as keeping a notebook at an event like this would've been impossible.

The best learning tool is an all-manual film camera with a fixed 50mm lens.  It will teach you about DOF, shutter speed, aperature, and composition.  However, once you've learned to think in those terms, I think a digital SLR is a great next step up.  It will allow you to get instantaneous feedback to hone your technique and not just learn what you did wrong, but also see how to do it  right (by being able to try again immediately).  If you truly are interested in learning, you will do so even if it's easy to shoot off 200 shots in 5 minutes.  You can be just as lazy with a zoom lens - it doesn't require you to think about composition/framing as much.   I think it all depends on where you're coming from

J

jpschust

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2004, 10:19:48 AM »
good points all around + T for everyone

Offline drumminj

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2004, 10:46:28 AM »
yah that really isn't the argument im going for here, what im really trying to speak to is the learning curve with each of them and composition and the eye for shooting.  i think there is a real difference between the two especially when it comes to issues of color depth.  It's work spending more time than most do with digital on composition and some theory, IMHO.  The real differences between photographers are twofold: eye and being there.  The second part you can't to a TON about, but you can really train your eye.  I think that all too often in the digital realm people forget that since there isn't any pressure to get great shots since you can grab and dump so fast.  

Based upon his case now, I'm not really fully arguing against digital for him, even though I'm still against digital in general, however what I am arguing for is really working your eye when it comes to your film so that it will better translate over to great digital shots.

You do raise a very valid point here.  Though, since he's been shooting film for so long, hopefully he already thinks in this way.  I think, regardless of the camera, either you learn to think in "photographer's terms", or you don't.  Some people have a natural eye, some don't.  I do understand the point your making, and don't want to come across as arguing with that.  I simply don't think that digital is the antithesis to learning good technique and composition.

And besides, sometimes it's nice being lazy and just taking 200 shots hoping that at least "one" comes out :)

Offline MattD

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Re:DSLR recommendations
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2004, 11:25:12 AM »
Thanks to all for such a good discussion so far. I do think my eye is quite good. When taking a photo, I usually know if I got the result I desired or not as the shutter is released.

My reasons for going digital are: take more photos for less $, share photos online w/ others w/o the cost of developing + scanning

My reasons for sticking with film would be: better quality, especially when printing > 8x10, already have the gear.

What I'm thinking I'll end up doing is getting one of the less expensive 6mp digital bodies and putting the $ into lenses. I'll keep my film body (or sell it and get a film body that'd be compatible with the lenses for the digital body) and sell my AF zooms and pick up some nice primes with that $. That way, if I'm shooting something I know I'd want to enlarge significantly, I can still go with the film body.

That D70 looks really nice. I'm used to more flexibility than the 300D seems to give, but I doubt I'd be too disappointed with either. Once I try the 300D out, I'll know more. I guess it really comes down to Nikkor vs. EOS lenses.

Based on that, any further thoughts for me? What % of a budget should I put into the body vs. lenses? What accessories would I need to purchase for a digital body besides a CF card? Any "must have" lenses? I'm thinking a 50 mm 1.4, 28-70ish 2.8 and maybe a longer zoom that's a bit slower (since odds are I'd only use a huge zoom outdoors).

Thanks again and +Ts for the help!
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