architecture student looking to buy a DSLR... nikon 4/6/80?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pshummy, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. pshummy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    #1
    hi guys

    im an architecture student and im beginning to want to climb into the photography world.

    having bought a Lumix LX-3 two months ago (from Hong Kong) only made me wonder what the possiblities of having a DSLR would be!!

    (Lumix LX3 is 10mp, 24-60mm, F.2-2.8, ISO 80-3200)

    i take my LX3 with me nearly everyday so if i buy a DSLR it would only be for trips and days when i know im heading out to take nice pics, and i've read numerous threads on forums so i know the basic differences between these entry-level nikons are.

    obviously i like to take architecture/landscape pics , so i know sometime in the future i'll invest in a wide angle lens. and i know my photoshop - since i use it nearly everyday in school, i can shoot raw so the image processing wont be all that important.

    so here are the my thoughts on the nikons- ive been told they are better for landscapes.

    d40 - cheap!! but it sounds dumb that im getting something which has less MP than my LX-3... (but i wont be printing my photos larger than A4 probably) 240GBP on amazon

    d60 - more expensive!! is the sensor cleaning all that great? 340GBP on amazon

    d80 - if i get this i would be getting second hand.. altho the 11point AF wont really attract me.. the bigger viewfinder, more non-menu buttons (i hate going through all the menus on my LX-3), and the internal AF motor are the plus points.. but buying second hand scares me a little. around 300GBP?!?

    so.. would any experienced photographers tell me if my thoughts are correct and advice me on what are more important factors in a camera for archi/landscape shots please??

    sorry i typed so much, i want to be as specific as possible so i can have specific constructive advice :p

    thanks!
     
  2. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #2
    I think a D40 sounds like a great option for you. Megapixels are meaningless at this point in time. I've printed awesome 19x23" and larger prints from the 8MP Canon 30d.

    A4 is nothing... a 2mp digital SLR can do a great job with a4 prints.

    I've never owned the D40 (I own a D300) but I've used it a number of times and it seems like a great camera. Too small for my mitts though :D
     
  3. pshummy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #3
    oh i forgot to add..

    if i do get a wide angle lens at lets say.. 12mm-ish

    would the d40/60 still be good with them?
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    If you want to shoot architecture you have very specific identifiable requirements. So this makes selection easier.

    First off you are going about this BACKWARDS. What you need to think about especially for architecture is angle of view, perspective and lighting. Don't worry at all about which body d/40 D300 or whatever it makes NO DIFFERENCE in the end result. The good thing about architecture photography is that the building can sit there and wait for you while you think and move your tripod two feet to the left for a better angle.

    What you are doing backkwards is trying to select a body first. You need to be looking at lenses first. Especially for architecture. Nikon is a good brand to go with. They have a great selection of wide angle lenses and they have the only fish eye that works with DX format bodies. So pick out a few Nikon wide angle lenses. Maybe you like a 20mm lens or that 12-24 zoom. Just pick out what you might want to buy over the next few years. Then and only then pick out a dSLR body that will work with those lenses. Note that maybe the D40/D60 will not work with your lens. The D40 and D60 both lack an in-body focus motor and need lenses that have their own motors. The D80 can drive a motor-less lens. The D80 is a great bargain right now as Nikon just lowered the price.

    Don't forget to budget for a good sturdy tripod.

    But your first job is to think about the angle of view you might need for interior and exterior shots. Later you can think about lighting and flash setups.

    About mega pixels. Those little point and shoot cameras have way to many. There is no technical reason that a camera that small should have more than 6MP. Any more and the camera company is simply pandering to uneducated consumers who think (wrongly) that more is better. What really matters is the physical size of the sensor. There bigger is actually better until it effects portability or prices the camera out of reach
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    The D80 is a great camera and should be cheap (the successor, the D90 has just been released). For several reasons:
    (1) The large, magnificent viewfinder: I've sold a D70 after one week (whose viewfinder is as large as that of the D40 and D60) after I've tried the D80. This is probably the most important factor in taking good pictures, because it makes you a lot more comfortable with the camera.
    (2) Built-in motor. I say that, because you should have a look either at Tokina's 12-24 mm f/4 or 11-16 mm f/2.8 lenses which are very, very good and sturdily built. These lenses do not have a built-in focus motor, so they won't work on either the D40 or the D60.
    (3) It's cheap, because a successor has just been released. :)

    In terms of IQ, you won't see the differences unless you look for them with a loupe (even then ...).
     
  6. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #6
    Ignore the MP count on the cameras. Unless the Lumix has the same physically sized sensor as the dSLRs you are looking at the image quality will be vastly superior with the a lower MP SLR.

    My wife has a little 8 or 9mp pocket camera (great for her, it's small, good on batteries, easy to use, shoots surprisingly decent video, etc etc) and my D40 with "only" 6mp takes pictures with 2x as much detail, easily. That doesn't factor in the greater lens options, low light performance include vastly cleaner picture at high ISOs, etc etc etc.

    Listen to what everyone says about the glass, and just ignore the MP count of the body. I've seem 18x24 prints from 6MP dSLRs and they're absolutely great looking. I'd say go for the cheaper body - there's lots of good deals out there - and spend the extra money on lenses. You can upgrade the body in a few years, if you want, and extend those benefits out to all your lens immediately. EDIT: one note on the built in autofocus motor. Yes, it limits your lens choices some, BUT the camera really is magnificantly small and light. Because of this I'm able to carry mine with me literally all the time - I leave it in my messenger bag and barely notice it.
     
  7. NStocks macrumors 65816

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #7
    The extra money you invest may well be worth if for a number of reasons .

    pshummy :

    This isn't any help to you, it's more of a question from me : You study Architecture I assume at a University ? Do you find yourself needing a Laptop during classs - Check my other thread its talking about iMac or MBP !

    Thanks

    NStocks
     
  8. pshummy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #8
    thanks for the help so far guys

    having read the suggestion for a lens i would like to get in the future,
    it's probably going to end up with a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 WA lens in the future and a 15-55mm AF VR f3.5-5.5 while im saving up for the WA!!

    now it looks like it will have to be the d80 since the WA lens wont AF/meter with d40.

    i HAVE looked at WA+AF lens.. but the nikon 12-24mm costs double of the tokina....!!

    so am i heading down the right track now??
    the d80 + 15-55mm VR will set me back 450GBP....

    or are there good alternatives available to me?
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    Spend as little as you can on the body and as much as you can on the lenses.

    If you want to do architectural photography in the future, perspective control (PC) lenses are important, but very expensive. Nikon now has a complete line of PC lenses, so whatever you get now will be compatible with future bodies.
     
  10. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #10

    As long as the lens has contacts, and all the AF ones do, you just lose focus with the D40, this may or may not be a problem for slow moving objects (like buildings...) but those cameras aren't exactly built for manual focusing. It can be done, but it's not mega-easy.

    Half of me thinks that the wide-angle third party zooms will be motored up in the not too distant future.
     
  11. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Bay Area
    #11
    I normally would agree, but I'm MUCH happier with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 (about $200) lens than I am with the Canon 40d and 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, 24-105mm f/4 IS and 24-70mm f/2.8 that I use every day.

    The D300 simply takes better pictures under every situation I've encountered, even though the glass on the 40d costs 5x more.
     
  12. Nikon Shooter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #12
    Nikon

    I would get either a Nikon D3 or D700 DSLR because these full frame cameras take full advantage of their wide angle lenses.

    The Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 and 24-70 f2.8 are absolutely stunning.

    NS
     
  13. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #13
    Wow, really? A topic 2 weeks old, and you bump it with an answer that doesn't fit at all.
     
  14. UltraMegaMan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    #14
    His answer does make sense in this context. Architecture photography is even often done with medium and large format for the increased angle of view (and some other reasons).

    But with digital, stitching can easily be used with still subjects like in architecture. Since pshummy is a student and if he's like many students, a decent tripod should be a better solution than the much more expensive D3 and D700.
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #15
    The reason for large format isn't often angle of view, it's almost always perspective control. Camera movements are really, really useful for serious architectural shots. (IOW, they're the primary reason for shooting LF, not just some other reason.)
     
  16. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #16
    I meant that each of the LENSES stated in his post are more expensive than the whole setup for this fellow.
     

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