Help choosing a camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by raptor96, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. raptor96 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    RI
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm new and it's my first post to both the DP forum and macrumors. That said I've been reading both for a while.

    A little background:

    I'm a student and I travel a lot and take pictures whenever I can in my spare time. I've been shooting digital for about 4-6 years. I have been shooting with a P&S Sony DSC-P10 5.0 MP camera. I want to upgrade because while I like the P&S simplicity I've gotten confident enough in my composition skills that I want to have more control. I've already invested in a Nikon 6006 SLR (because I'm taking Photo I next semester) with Speedlite and a good Nikon lens so I think I could go DSLR or a solid pro-sumer. I don't know that much about manual settings and such and hope to develop that knowledge in my photo class so I'd like a camera that gives me manual functionality (to grow on) without sacrificing ease of use (P&S). That said I'm not intimidated by 'complex' cameras either, I've shot with the D70 and D70s.

    I've looked at the DSC-V3 (discontinued) and the DSC-H5 and H2. I'm looking at other cameras as well. Here's where you guys come in. I'd really like some advice as to what to look at in considering cameras (or models you guys/girls favor). The images I take generally are landscape or building photographs though I'm really enjoying knitting together panoramas (so locking exposure settings would be nice) and night photography (so long exposures would be nice). I am pricing around <$600 because that's what I have saved up. That said I don't care about the form factor though I looked at the V3 which I'm sad is discontinued because it was a small camera that could take larger lenses (with an adapter). Any suggestions?

    Should I go D-SLR and get a Nikon body (if so which) or kit...or should I spend less and get a prosumer with good optical zoom like the H5 (or V3)? Any other brands I should consider (i.e. that take Nikon lens mounts or that just jump out as perfect for my needs?). Thanks for any help you guys can give me.
     
  2. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    #2
    I would get a new or used Canon Dig. Rebel or a Nikon D50 if you prefer Nikon. I have the original Digital Rebel and love it, I haven't tried Nikons so I can't speak for them.

    As far as getting a P&S or a DSLR, I would say go DSLR. It will be much more beneficial in the long run and it will teach you much more about manual control/etc just by playing around with it.


    Hope this helps.

    Kevin
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #3
    Get a Nikon D50 with no lens. You own a lens already, right? You still have money for another lens, so get a 50 mm f/1.8. After that, save up and get another decent lens. :)
     
  4. raptor96 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
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    RI
    #4
    Thanks!

    Thanks for your help...sorry re: double post (forum tabbed to post instead of next line when I hit enter.)
     
  5. raptor96 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    RI
    #5
    Thanks!

    Thanks guys...your advice is helpful.

    I was looking at the D50 and I like the camera a lot but here's my question:

    Do you think (looking forward) that having only 6.1 MP (when more and more cameras are breaking 10 MP) puts me at a disadvantage in terms of blowing up images or image quality? Thanks.
     
  6. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    Depends on what sort of resolution you want when you're printing. Suppose you want 300 dpi. A standard 4x6 print, then, would need 4 * 6 * 300 * 300 = 2160000 pixels, or 2.16 MP. 6.1 MP gives you 2.824 times as much resolution. Sqrt(2.824) means you get to multiply 4x6 by 1.68 (in both dimensions) to get the maximum physical size: 6.72 inches by 10.08 inches.

    Drop the print resolution you're prepared to accept, and the figures scale accordingly. Only you can say what resolution is acceptable, and what size print you need.

    As for image quality, the lens you put on the camera will have a far greater effect on it than the resolution of the camera. I'd far rather have a 6.1MP shot taken with (eg) the Canon 85mm f/1.2L than a 10 MP shot taken with the 75-300mm at 85mm: the former will be much sharper, and generally come out better (no surprise - the 85mm f/1.2L is a couple of thousand bucks, while the 75-300 is only a couple of hundred, at least here in Australia). Never forget (as has been said here before), it's the glass that costs the big bickies; the glass that creates the image that the camera records; and the glass that you can take from one body to another.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    I would suggest something like a Canon A540 for P&S kind with manual controls. It may be a good and cheap camera to learn on. Many digicams nowadays come with manual controls - the important differentiating factors are the lens, the sensor and the image processor. You could also have a look at Canon S2 IS or Canon S3 IS or Sony DSC H5.

    As far as I know, all the Canon cameras I've mentioned above provide a good photo stitch function which would help you in your panoramic shots.

    In a recent comparison I did for someone else (in the near-prosumer category), it was a tie (according to me) between Sony DSC H5 and Canon S3 IS - both have some good and bad aspects.
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
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    #8
    I have a D70 and it is a great camera. I haven't personally used the D50 or D80 but they both look like good cameras.
     
  9. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    Oct 29, 2006
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    #9
    I have a Canon 10D and have been extremely happy with it. I'll probably have it for a bit, even with the new models. This is 6.3mp and I have printed 13x19 with great results on Epson 2200. Since I don't plan on doing much very large output, higher res would mostly give me more cropping options.

    lenses: Canon 75-300 IS zoom, Canon 17-40 EF-L, Sigma 50 macro
     
  10. raptor96 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    RI
    #10
    F-mount cameras?

    Thanks for all the input guys!

    I've been looking at the Nikon D50 and it seems like a pretty sweet camera. I also just found out about a Sony CCD 'advisory' (recall) so now I can get my DSC-P10 fixed free, which is cool because it gives me back a P&S to take with me everywhere so now having a small form factor is not an issue at all as if I need a small camera I can take my Sony. In any case, I think I'm headed more in the DSLR direction because of this (though as someone said, from what I read the DSC-H5 seems awesome) and probably in the direction of Nikon (D50 specifically because it seems like a good camera to learn on and is cheaper).

    Does anyone know of the quality of Fujifilm's and Kodak's offerings (i.e. CCDs and images they produce) that have the Nikon F-Mount? Does anyone have one of these cameras? The reason I ask is because I really like Nikon cameras (the ones I have used) and my dad has a Nikon and lenses as well so staying with the F-mount cameras seems like it would be cost-effective for me. Thanks again for all the answers I've gotten already.
     
  11. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #11
    I have a pro photographer friend that's very happy with his Fuji S2 Pro.
     
  12. raptor96 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2006
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    RI
    #12
    Cool thanks.

    I just came to the realization that all the non-Nikon F-mount cameras are madly out of my price range though so it's a moot point :). Thanks for all the input everyone. I think I'm going to keep looking at the D50 and watch for promotions/random deals (though that seems to show up a lot more often on the Canons...I've found two deals on them already :-/).
     

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