advice on new DSLR camera... PLEASE :)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bearbo, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #1
    let me just say i'm very much an ameture in the digital photography field, so please forgive me for sounding stupid, and please don't laugh at me :)

    okay, so since I was small, my father has been very interested in photographing, but he's never professional, and he always tend to take too many pictures (and that was back then when there wasn't digital photography..).. but i always thought taking picture was very cool thing to do... and few yrs ago i took a photography class, which tought me some basic stuff, and got me further into photography. i had a non digital SLR, and digital non SLR (a sony from like 4 yrs ago).. it pretty much satisfy anything i needed... but recently i've being increasingly more interested with digital photography (i believe that increasing interest came along with my recent convert to mac).. so i think in the near future i might be in for getting a new DSLR... but i dont think i will be doing anything professional, just ameture and recreational

    okay, enough of background...
    so i think most of what i want come with all digial SLRs, these are the features i wish to have (forgive me for coming up with my own language):
    ability to take sports pictures... perhaps what i mean is less lag between pressing down the botton and shutter, and between shutters
    ability to manual focus and auto focus
    ability to manual and auto control aperture
    ability to change lens
    ability to add on flash

    there may well be many thing that i haven't considered, i need your help :D

    also, i have heard the debate between canon and nikon... what are the advantage of each? how good are other brands such os panasonic and olympus? can you recommend a model or two?

    for my general use, is a standard lens enough? or should I consider getting more than one lens?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #2
    All DSLRs should give you the ability to do all of that. I use canon, so I can only talk to their equipment.

    Most if not all will have a shoe above the viewfinder for an external flash.
    The canon lenses have a switch for auto or manual focus.
    DSLRs work like regular SLRs in that you won't have shutter lag like with a P&S like your Sony.

    Canon and Nikon have a much larger selection of lenses than the other two brands, although I have heard good things about the Olympus system.

    I think it's basically a personal choice which you go with. If you have lenses from one system, it wouldn't hurt to stick with that one.

    Edit: Lenses are very important. Cheap lenses will give bad results, except in the case of the 50mm f/1.8 ($75ish)
     
  3. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

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    #3
    Like jlcharles says - all DSLR's do what you're after. Nikon lenses also have a manual or auto focus switch.
    It does purely come down to personal preference. I went Nikon as the D70s felt right in my hands compared to the 350D (the 400D may have been different as I believe it has a bigger body)... that was all it took. The right feel.
    Go for what feels good to you and don't get sucked into the Nikon vs Canon debate - they all are capable of producing fantastic pictures.
     
  4. shieldyoureyes macrumors 6502

    shieldyoureyes

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    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #4
    Nearly all DSLR's would offer the things you have specified. Nikon and Canon both make great cameras and lenses and comes down to personal preference. It would be nice if we knew what kind of budget you had, but your best bet is to go to a camera store or Best Buy or whatever you have and actually pick up the cameras and see how they feel in your hands. That said, I shoot Nikon, so I would have to recommend the Nikon D50, or D80 if it is in your budget.

    I chose a Nikon D50 over the Canon Rebel because the body is a bit larger and it is much for comfortable to use. I got a cramp in my hand after using the Rebel for 5 minutes.

    For lenses, I would recomend upgrading from the kit lens if possible, but by no means are the kit lenses crap. I've seen some great shots taken with the kit lenses.
     
  5. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #5
    i've read that cameras have different fps, is that like how many picture you can take per second in a motion setting, like in sport event? if so, what is a average number... as in, obviously i don't do photo journalism, but i do occasionally take photos at sports event....

    also what is a daily usage kind of lens?

    i think i have a bunch of filters (that i can steal from my father), i understand the compatibilities depend on the lens size, what are the universal sizes? (at this moment i cannot reach my father, that's why i can't ask him...)

    edit: also, what is a good website that has a lot of information and price on these, where i can compare both brands?
     
  6. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

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    Jul 20, 2006
    #6
    sorry... another question

    when i choose camera, what other things should i look for?

    the price range... around 1000?

    of course, if there are very good ones for less, i'd love them
     
  7. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    Wenonah, NJ
    #7
    dpreview is a great site for technical info on all the camera bodies.

    Places to buy: bhphoto.com adorama.com or keh.com (used)




    I think my 20D does like 5 frames per second. a digital rebel is on the order of 3.

    I like my 50mm as a daily lens, although it's a bit long on with the digital. I like it much better with film.
     
  8. wisredz macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2006
    #8
    Yes, different cameras have different fps. But 3 fps should be good enough for you along with a fast lens.

    In conventional film photography 50mm lenses are called normal lenses and are used daily. That being said I have a Nikkor 18-200mm VR on my D200 and I am more than happy with what it does.

    amazon.com is a great place to get an idea on prices and on ideas of people using those equipments. But I do believe you should check the gadgets yourself. Canon is a great brand but I chose Nikon. You will not get a clear idea from reading different people's reviews of said brands.
     
  9. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    #9
    For Nikon:
    D50: 2.5 fps
    D70/D70s: 3 fps
    D80: 3fps
    D200: Adjustable 1-5fps
    D2H/D2Hs: Adjustable 1-8 fps
    D2X/D2Xs: Adjustable 1-5 fps, 8fps using the High Speed Crop mode.


    Depends on what you do daily.

    All of them are "universal". A 52mm filter will fit on a 52mm threaded lens. Common sizes? 52mm, 57mm, 72mm, 77mm
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    Don't select a "camera". An SLR is a "system". You will buy some brand of camera and then a lens to fit and then another lens. One day in 3 to 5 years you will need to upgrade/replace the camera body so you will want one that fits the lenses you've bought. Eventually you will sell and buy more lense and maybe a strobe or two. Years from now you will still have the same "system" even if you no longer own any of the parts you bught today.

    So if you decide you want a Canon camera body because it has some small feature the Nikon lacks or you buy the Nikon because it is $50 less then your decision today effects which brand of lens you buy many years from now. You do not want to select a camera "system" because of $50 price difference of a 0.2 inch larer LCD screen.

    So I suggest not selecting a "camera". Decide which system you want to buy into. Look at the kit of equipment you want to own in 5 or 6 years and decide which brand would best get you there. Once you deside on a brand then pick a model to suit your budget.

    About lenses. Buy ONE. Use it for a while but keep notes on the shots you miss because you lacked the "right" lens. Then buy the lens based on your notes.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    Do not worry about "FPS". It's a stupid usless feature. If the camera takes 3 frames per second the peak of the action will happen between two of the frames. Best to just watch the ball and shoot when it's at the top of its arc.

    A "normal" lens is one where the focal lenght about equals the diagonal of the frame. on a DSLR that would be about 35mm. Lenses from 1/2 normal to about double normal are the most usfull ones which works out to abut 18 to 70mm

    Also do not forget about __aperture__ the faster the beter. If you are thinking about shooting sports you want f/2.8 but you likely do not want to pay for it. So you compromise.

    One bit of good news. Almost everyone seems to like what they use. If you get into a Nikon D50 for $600 it will work well for you or you could spend $2,000 on a D200 system and it will do well for you also. There is less difference then most peole think. So don't worry so much about it.
     
  12. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #12
    thats great advice, thanks!

    would you summarize for me what are the pro and cons of canon vs nikon? i know i suppose to do my own hw and research myself, but sometimes it's hard for an amateur to research something that's very clear to professionals.. thanks!
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    I shoot Nikon and love it. I also find the Rebel XT too small and plastic-y even though that's the camera I really tried to love, since my family and I have had a total of 6 Canon digital cameras from around 4 years ago. However, if you want good value for money, the Nikon D50 is good. Pentax also gives some very interesting options right now.

    Samsung is in bed with Pentax, so they'll give similar results. Both with give very good performance for the price. :) And while I don't have any experience with Pentax, I hear they make many excellent lenses as well. If you're not planning to become a pro, I'd consider a Pentax K100D or even K10D. That really should take care of you as a hobbyist. :)

    Panasonic is in collabo with Olympus and Leica, two companies I wouldn't scoff at either. ;)

    You'll be happy with any system, really. :) If you want a great general purpose, take anywhere lens, the Nikon 18-200 mm is a very good option, probably the best around right now. It's only for Nikon cameras though. :D What company does your father shoot with? What did you shoot with when using film?

    If you're just aiming for casual sports photos, I think any lens that shoots at f/2.8 and reaches to 70 - 100 mm is fine. Really. You're not going to be shooting sports all the time, are you? It doesn't sound like it, so I wouldn't necessarily aim for buying a camera lens like a 70-200 mm just yet. I have a Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8, and while a longer lens (say one that could zoom to 100 mm) would have helped me shoot my friend's dance performance yesterday, I don't feel that I missed a lot.

    And fps = frames per second. You'll almost certainly get a camera that shoots 3 fps, or 3 photos each second for like 7 seconds, maybe more. That sounds like enough for you. I almost never take more than 5 shot bursts when shooting concerts or anything that moves fast. ;)

    If you want a recommendation that's not well beyond $1000 (although a cheaper camera means you can buy a better lens, which is the most important thing anyway!), I'd go for a Nikon D50, D80 (high end of price range), Pentax K100D, or a Canon 20D or 30D (if you can still find the discontinued 20D at a discount, then go for it). :)
     
  14. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

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    Jul 20, 2006
    #14
    today i went to bestbuy and held the Canon XTi and Nikon D80, i just loved D80...
    one of the main difference (that i can detect) is that D80 has 10.2MP while as D50 has 6.1... how much difference is that really gonna make, and what else is making a significant difference between those two, assuming identical lenses?

    i believe the camera my father was using is of Rikoh Brand... that is the one i was using
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    To make a quality print you want to print at about 300 pixels per inch. Asume one camera was 3,000 in the horizontal direction. So yo could make a print 10 inches wide. If another camera had 4,000 pixels across you could make a print 13.3 inches wide. or you could crop off 1,000 pixels and still make the same 10 inch print. More pixels lets you make either larger prints or allows for more cropping. In general most post processing is helped by adding pixels.

    Notice that it's the LINEAR across the eddges of the frame that matters. The total count of pixels (6MP, 8MP or 10MP) is the product of the two edges. So.... resolution is proportional to the SQUARE ROOT of the pixel count. so the 10MP camera has about 1.3 times the resolution as the 6MP camera. sqrt(10M)/sqrt(6M) but just look above and compare 10 vs. 13.3 inches and you see the same 1.3 factor

    If you can afford the D80 go for it but not if it means skimpping on the lens

    One other thing: I think the D80 has two command wheels. My D50 has only one. Makes for faster handling
     
  16. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    #16
    That "stupid useless" feature is not what you think. There are many great shots produced from 8 fps. There are many great shots made from single shots.

    The peak of the action occurs between two frames? Come on.. We all know that sports shooting is knowing when to press the shutter and wish for the best. You can never be spot on perfect all the time. Whether you try to get lucky 1, 3, 5, or 8 frames at a time is up to personal preference.
     
  17. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
    #17
    I shoot a 20D and rent lenses when I need the good stuff. In fact, since I have a job at the end of the month doing team and individual shots for my ex-high school's ice hockey team, I had to rent a bunch of stuff. Renting would also be a good way to check out lenses before you buy.

    From the 8 or so MP of the 20D, I can crop down quite a bit and still get a great 8x10. I haven't had the urge or need to go bigger, but I'm sure I could. I run it through Canon 20D Resize Pro by Fred Miranda. Perfect every time.

    I think with sports, you have a greater chance of getting the shot with a faster fps. For example, with hockey (what I shoot) the higher fps of the 20D helps get nice slapshot sequences. I don't know how good they would be at only 3fps.

    The lens is the most important part. I'd suggest getting something like the D50 along with something like the 35-70mm f/2.8 That puts you around $1050ish to $1100 with a memory card too. The lens won't be very wide, in fact closer to normal on the wide end, but probably a pretty good start with a nice lens.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #18
    At prints smaller than 8x10", you're not likely to notice much difference between the two. But high resolution cameras are more difficult to shoot well, and show the defects of cheap lenses more readily. If you can live with the feel of the D50, I'd say get that and put the difference towards the lens, or a good tripod and head either of which is going to have more impact on the results.
     
  19. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

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    Jul 20, 2006
    #19
    can someone me help me explain what's the difference between nikon d50, d70, and d80?

    resolution is the only thing i can see, however even though d70 has the similar resolution as d50, but d70 is much more expensive...

    i like d80, but i dont know if i can justify the cost for the resolution if that's the only thing.....
     
  20. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #20
    I'd read Ken Rockwell's descriptions of the D50, 70s, and 80:

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

    I'd also fret about this:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d60.htm

    Basically, the D50 and D70s are the same camera, but the D70s has a few extra features (extra control wheel, easier flash control or something). If those features sound important, then they are worth the price difference. If they aren't key features to you, then get the D50. The D80 is a much better camera. It has entirely different internals. It's also nearly roughly as much as the D50. If it's within your budget, great. If not, get the D50 and get nice lenses.

    Or wait for the mythical D60.
     
  21. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    #21
    Basic differences
    D50:
    5-point Cam900 AF system (same as D70)
    One command dial
    6 MP (same as D70)
    1/500 max flash sync speed (same as D70), hybrid electronic/mechanical shutter, fastest shutter speed: 1/8000
    2.5 fps
    2.5" LCD
    SD Card

    D70/D70s:
    5-point Cam900 AF system (same as D50
    2 command dials
    6 MP (same as D50)
    1/500 max flash sync speed (same as D50), hybrid electronic/mechanical shutter, fastest shutter speed: 1/8000
    3 fps
    "Commander" function to control remote flash units (N/A on D50)
    Viewfinder gridlines (N/A on D50)
    Backlit information panel (D50 panel does not have backlight)
    Larger than D50
    D70: 2" LCD, D70s: 2.5" LCD
    CF card

    D80:
    11-point Cam1100 AF system (same as D200)
    2 command dials
    10 MP (same as D200)
    1/200 max flash sync speed, mechanical shutter, fastest shutter speed: 1/4000
    3 fps
    "Commander" function to control remote flash units (N/A on D50)
    Viewfinder gridlines (N/A on D50)
    Backlit information panel (D50 panel does not have backlight)
    Roughly same size as D50
    Available battery grip with vertical shutter release (N/A on D70 and D50)
    Multiple-exposure feature (N/A on D70 and D50)
    New "processing" functions in-camera
    2.5" LCD (same as D200)
    Much larger Viewfinder than D70 or D70, similar to D200 and D2 series
    SD Card
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    Worth noting is that the D50 and D70/D70s are both 6 MP, but they aren't the same sensor. The D50 produces photos with less noise than pretty much anything else in the camera lineup, and as good as what's in the Canon lineup. :) My friend shot the Cog concert with me up front since I'm allowed in, and he was surprised about the noise in my photos. It produces the same amount of noise as the 350D, but the noise from Nikon DSLRs are handled differently. Nikons produce more noise (generally), but the noise produced isn't chroma/colour noise where you'll see a black sky with many random red and green pixels littering the sky. It looks like grain. Canon's produce less noise, but it's more chroma, so in a way I actually prefer Nikon grainy photos rather than chroma noise.

    My D50 also focused much better than my friend's Canon 350D, although that could be due to the lens he used (the excellent Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8) and his technique. :eek:

    Also, the D50 produces sharper and more saturated photos than the D70s. I think that's good, but I know some more experienced photographers scoff at oversaturated photos like that produced by the D50. I don't think the colours in my photos are oversaturated, but whatever.
     
  23. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #23
    it sounded like i probably should save up a bit and get d80... how's d80 compare to canon XTi? would there be an advantage for XTi over d80?

    (i see the d50/d70 has a sync speed of 1/500 while d80 has 1/200, and d50/d70 has max shutter speed of 1/8000 while 1/4000 on d80... how much is that gonna matter? or is it just one of those pushing to the limit thing...)

    lenses wise... i realize one of the lenses that usually in a kit with d80, 18-135mm one, has aperture of f/3.5 to f/22 on 18mm, but only f/5.6 on 135mm... would 3.5 be too small if i want to shoot something fast, and would f/5.6 be too small if i want to shoot something far?

    what can i find a lens compatibility chart or something similar? i kinda want a lens that can have:
    a small minimum focus distance (i believe the 18-135mm's is 0.45m), so i can achieve the effect of getting something close to be to be very clear while the background be blurry...
    big aperture even at far distance...

    i dont know if i'm being unreasonably picky about it, provided i'm only an amateur...

    thanks so much for everyone's help, i really appreciate it
     
  24. dogbone macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #24
    8000 shutter speed is obviously good for stopping motion however you need a *lot* of light. Probably more than is available for indoors shooting.

    Regarding sync speed I read somewhere some time ago that one or two of the D70 contacts can be taped up and it will sync at much higher speeds. But you'll have to search for details, perhaps on the dpreview forums.
     
  25. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #25
    :confused: What? I don't understand the question.

    Any current Nikon lens will mount and work on any Nikon SLR. Third-party manufacturers will state "Nikon-mount"

    To blur the background, it is a combination of aperture, subject-camera distance, and focal length.

    check out http://www.dofmaster.com/ for more detailed info.

    I wouldn't fret too much over it. You are choosing a system (Nikon or Canon). Pick whichever one feels best to you. Nikon and Canon have been going at each other for years and not once has one been a clearly superior system (except for maybe a long, long time ago). I'm sure the trend will continue.
     

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