So I need help buyng a new camera....

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 12991, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. 12991 macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    #1
    Im thinking of the powershot s3, nikon d40, or the rebel xt.

    I know about DSLRs, but im confused on the lenses and there zoom. I like the powershot s3, but i want like a 6-10x zoom for the dslr. Nikon will be expensive b/c the lens needs the autofocus. I see some good price on lenses compatible with the xt.

    For zoom, do you divide the second number by the first?? I want to take pictures of landscapes and the moon.

    Here are a few lenses i thought about for the rebel xt

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...209&is=USE&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...681&is=USE&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...290&is=USE&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...292&is=USE&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

    Thanks, i just want to understand the lenses now. I understand aperture, shutter speed, how they work, and everything else more or less
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    Why? 6X or 10X means nothing. let's look at 10X. Do you want a 10 to 100 or 80 to 800? Both would be "10X" but they'd be very different lenses so different they'd be uncomparable. "10X" is a marketing number. It';s aimed at people who don't know about optics. Read it just like when they put "Super ultra extreme" in the product name. It says nothing.

    What matters is the lens' focal length and the physical size of the frame. You can draw a picture. Looking down at a camera you see the film or CCD as a line 24mm long in front of the line (film) you have a 100mm lens. Draw a dot 100mm in front of the line. Geometrically the lens acts just like a pin hole 100mm in front of the film. Draw a triangle by connecting the ends of the line to the dot. You now have a tall equilateral triangle the lens 100mm lens will "see" an angle equal to the top of the triangle. given a 200mm lens the angle is smaller. Light rays that are outside the angle go through the pin hole but miss the film or sensor. A zoom lens in effect allows you to move the pin hole farther or closer to the film thereby chaanging the angle of view.

    Now for the moon. Do you want to shoot the whole moon or just certain features close up? Either way you can work out the lenght of lens you need (the moon as about 1/2 degree wide) and you wil not like the answer. You are going to need a telescope, not a camera lens.

    Now for prices: You looks at the wrong lenses. Nikon is NOT more expensive than Canon. In genera it's the other way around. Canon costs more. It's like with cars. Look at cars. A chevy corvett costs more then an ford escort. So do Chevys cost more then Fords? NO. Each company makes a range of products

    The lens that would fit the Canon will be more or less the same as the lens for Nikon. Canon makes a wider range if qualities than does Nikon. Canon's low-end is border on "cheaply made" and their high end is about as good as it gets. Nikon's low end does not go quite as low. Nikon's low priced 18-55 is actually quite good for what it is.

    With an SLR you would not buy just one lens and expect it to be good for all uses. As attractive is it sounds it never works. That's why the lenses interchange.
     
  3. Mydriasis macrumors 6502

    Mydriasis

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    Mar 17, 2005
    #3
    Zoom as in 10x is different from the focal length of a lens.

    The focal length is the distance from the center of a lens to its principal foci (or focal points).

    In photography a "normal lens" is a lens that generates images that are generally held to have a "natural" perspective compared with lenses with longer or shorter focal lengths. Lenses of shorter focal length are called wide-angle lenses, while longer focal length lenses are called telephoto lenses. In still photography, a normal lens is a lens whose focal length is roughly equivalent to the diagonal of the image projected within the camera.

    For a standard 35 mm camera with a diagonal of 43 mm, a normal lens is 50 mm. But the cameras you are considering all have senors smaller than 35 mm, thus they are not full frame cameras. In oder to speak of equivalent focal length you need to calculated with a conversion factor.

    Zoom is the relationship between a lenses shortest and longest focal length. In optics a 100mm - 300mm lens would be considered a 3x lens.

    Generaly speaking a lens that has more than a 3x zoom factor, is loosing significant quality when compared to par lenses.
     
  4. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #4
    While ChrisA and Mydriasis have done more than a competent job in explaining the science behind the lenses, which you should read and take to heart, I'm going to take a slightly more pragmatic approach, and tell you to look at some other lenses from the ones you have linked.
    Quantaray are literaly crap. If you are looking for a nice paperweight, then yes, get it. The Tamrons and the Canon lenses are so-so at best. As Mydriasis pointed out, any lens that goes far beyond 3X is likely to be compromised on image quality (a notable exception is the Nikkor 18-200 VR, and maybe the EF 100-400, though the latter is still just OK on a full frame). If you were to go for a Nikon SLR, then look at the 18-70, which was a kit lens for the D70 a couple of years back. I'm not sure what the current standard lens is, but I think B&H and Adorama, do some various kits. Later on, if you get into the whole photography thing, you can get something more expensive, like the 18-200, or, the 17-55 and 70-200 (if you hit the lottery);)
    On the Canon side, look at the 17-55 (yes expensive, but worth it), or even something like the 17-85. My point is that chances are that if you get into the DSLR world, you'll be paying more for the lenses than you will for the body. That's just the way things are- good glass costs, and if you go cheap on things, then it just wouldn't give you the results you're looking for.

    After you look at the prices of these lenses that I've suggested you'll probably think I'm insane- $800 for a lens! Yup, and that's fairly cheap. Given your budget, you'd probably want to stick with a kit lens and after that figure out what it is you want to do with photography, and what lenses will help you do that.
     
  5. 12991 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    #5
    ok, thanks for the responses. Very Helpful.

    Can someone tell me what the hell focal point and everything is in easier terms to digest?? I basically want to get nice clear pictures of the moon if possible. I saw a 300$ telescope that is supposed to have a camera attachment that i could use for the moon.

    I just want to take pictures of buildings, cars, macros, landscapes, random crap in NYC. What is focal length? Why is it important? Why should i care???

    And please. Dont call me a complete idiot, im not... im 16 and i just want to learn photography

    I also have verrry shaky hands with my current a710is which im planning on returning for the new camera. SO I WILL NEED IMAGE STABILIZER.

    Also, what camera would you guys recommend. Im leaning towards the d40 just because it looks good for begginers, and its newer.
     
  6. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    May 1, 2005
    #6
    I think that you should seriously consider going to a nearby community college and enrolling in a beginning photography class. You'd learn what most of these terms mean conceptually, and what they mean in terms of real-world how they impact the final image you'd see.

    Or even a local library and reading some photography books.

    Given what you've said, I'd still say hold off of the dSLRs, just seems like overkill and a lot of stuff to learn. Not to mention the costs of the body and the different lenses you'd probably want. Heck, I'm using a 35mm SLR after taking 1.5 photography courses and I think that dSLRs have a learning curve.

    So I'd recommend you go w/ a more advanced P&S (point and shoot) type camera. The Canon S3IS is a superb camera. Yes, the IS stands for image stabilization. And yes it has a decent zoom. And while not one of your requirements, it has an amazing video/ movie mode.

    It's a great camera.
     
  7. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #7
    The focal point is the focus point. Point any camera at a 3-dimensional object, and you'll see that you can either focus on the front, side, top, whatever of it. Where your camera is focused, is your focal point (that's about as simple as it gets).
    The focal length is the length of your lens. So if you're shooting the moon with a $7000 600mm lens, your focal length is 600mm. If you're using a zoom lens, say an 18-55, and you shoot at the widest angle possible, you'll be shooting at 18mm.

    In terms of your telescope, ask what kind of cameras it takes. Does it have an EF mount (canon), F mount (nikon). If it doesn't then you might want to look at alternatives.
    In terms of your shaky hands, there is little you can do. Get a tripod, use faster shutter speeds (1/40 is usually low end for me but I have rather stable hands, so more like 1/100 and faster), you will also find yourself using higher ISO speeds in order to achieve those speeds. IS (Canon) and VR (Nikon) lenses are indeed available, but they run very pricey, so they are probably out of the equation.
     
  8. Mydriasis macrumors 6502

    Mydriasis

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    Mar 17, 2005
    #8
    Okay for practical purposes the focal length is your magnification factor. The larger the focal length the more your 'zoomed in'.

    Lets say we take your dads old 35mm film camera (the 35mm here reflecs the film size, and not the focal length of the lens!!!):

    • We put on a 50mm lens (normal lens) and take a picture of an apple. The apple will appear to be the same size on film as it does to you with your eyes.
    • If we put on a 25mm lens (wide angel lens) and take the same picture, the apple will appear smaller and we will see more of the background.
    • Finaly we use a 200mm lens (telephoto lens). Now we see a big detailed apple, kinda like looking through a magnifying glass.

    So you use a telephoto lens when you want to take a picture of something far away, but want it to appear closer (like when taking a picture of a lion: you want to look big but your scared to get closer). And you use the wide angel when you cant back off far enough (like fitting an entire skyscraper on one picture when the farthest you can step back is accross the street).

    There is lots more too it, like depth of field, but you can start with that.
     
  9. 12991 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    #9
    So let me see if i have this right... the higher the magnification number the bigger the range. So like 18-200 has a big range, but for long distance its ok compared to a 70-300mm lens right? So a 70-300 will actually make the images larger in pictures than a 18-200 or even a 55-200 right?

    And people really like a 18-200 so they just have to carry one lens.

    Thanks again for all the help guys!

    I also do understand DOF. The larger aperture, like 2.8, the less focus there is on the background. The smaller aperture has a more in focus background right?
     
  10. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #10
    I second this. Get a high-end point and shoot camera, like the one Devilot suggests here (Nikon or Olympus might have something comparable, but I only know Canon). This one will let you decide how much you want the camera to do for you automatically, and how much you want to try out manual settings. A good compromise while you're getting started.

    You can take a look here, too, to get started. Very basic info explained in plain language.
     
  11. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #11
    Yes, a 300mm focal length will get you closer to an image than a 200mm focal length.
    And yes, the DOF refers to the focal point, and how deep it is. The larger apertures will give you less DOF, allowing you to "isolate" an object, while smaller apertures (8 and up) will produce images where the background is more in focus, and your object will thus be more "a part of something larger," to think of it that way.
     
  12. Mydriasis macrumors 6502

    Mydriasis

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    #12
    Yes, but aperture is only one aspect. Focal length also affects DOF. A large focal length has a smal DOF and vise versa.
     
  13. 12991 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    #13
    What im going to do is...

    Return my a710 at circuit city
    Buy the Nikon D40 next weekend at bestbuy
    Stick with the kit lens for a bit
    Take it on my trip to Dubai
    If i like it, awesome
    If not, return it and get the powershot s3
    If i dont like that, im done with photography

    But im sure ill like the D40. If you know what you're doing, you can make good picture of anything
     
  14. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #14
    I'm sure you'll be happy with either of those two models, I'd just like to add that if the Nikon kit lens is anything like the Canon kit lens, you'd be getting a much better lens on the S3. And it's the lens that will make the biggest difference (besides the person behind it, of course :) ).
     
  15. 12991 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Hm?? The nikon is supposed to have a pretty good kit lens. Lots of people just use that. The s3 is a p&s, so its lens isnt too good. I think im gonna be really happy with the d40, and i cant wait. I just wish i had more time to dedicate to photography! I have to focus a lot on school, APs, and web design too, so when Im older I can buy all the cameras, macbooks, and lenses i want
     
  16. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #16
    I've heard good and bad on the Nikon kit lens, but I would say most people find that it isn't enough after a while. As far as comparing it to an S3 lens... you'd probably get more out of the Nikkor, IMO.
     
  17. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #17
    What I said is based on what I was told in the best camera store here, about the Canon kit lens (which I did point out in my post). I was considering buying a Canon 350D, and couldn't afford anything other than the kit lens at that point. The salesman (who could've sold me a 350D that day) told me to stick with my S2 (this was before the S3 came out) until I could afford something better than the kit lens. He said that the S2's lens was much better than the Canon kit.

    A lens is not bad simply because it is on a P and S, 12991. ;)

    That said, I don't know anything about the Nikon kit lens - it might be much better than the Canon.

    (I ended up getting a used 350D, adding a used 28-80 L lens, and keeping my S2. :) )
     
  18. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #18
    I suspect the Nikon kit lenses are slightly better than the Canon kit lenses, just because when you're #2 you have to try harder as they say. :) Or maybe it's just to justify the price point they decide on - or a combination of those factors. The reviewers I've read seem to lean towards the Nikon kit lenses over the Canon's (NOTE: I'm not making a statement about Nikon glass versus Canon glass, that'd be silly; just about what's being put on the low-end dSLR kits).
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
  20. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #20
    if you don't know/care about the specs of SLRs, you'll love the S3 IS. Produces amazing shots without much work needed by the user. Have a look at my deviantArt site (link in sig) to see some example shots.
     
  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #21
    12991,

    Get the Rebel XT and the Sigma 17-70 (for walk-around and city shots) and the Sigma 70-300 APO macro (for your moon shots plus a decent non-dedicated macro lens). About $800 total. Nice travel kit.
     
  22. TheSunmiester macrumors member

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    #22
  23. 12991 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    #23
    i got a pentax k100d... i dont like the bulkiness, the quality, nothing really i like. I think im just going to return it. I hope i get full credit for it!! Then im just going to get the s3
     
  24. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #24
    All this and you go for a Pentax? By the way, what do you mean quality.. in what aspects? (Build quality, images, etc) I know someone with a K100d and they can get great images. (& are very happy with it) If it means anything, I have a D50 and love it. :) Anyway, I third just buying the S3 in the first place. I think a dSLR would be too steep a learning curve just yet. I also think it would better benefit you to learn the creative side of photography first rather than trying to learn a complex camera.

    Just my 2 cents.
     

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