New camera or new lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jywv8, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
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    Chicago
    #1
    I currently own a Nikon D70. I bought it thinking I was going to learn all about photography. Well, that hasn't happened yet. I end up using it on the auto settings all the time. However, even on the auto settings, it takes fantastic pictures. Even my amateur eyes notice a huge difference in quality between the D70 and my Canon PowerShot SD630.

    The problem is that the D70 is so big and heavy. I'm kind of reluctant to get another compact, because I've been spoiled by the image quality of the D70. And the quickness of the SLR is so nice.

    I'm overwhelmed by the choices. Basically, I want to find the camera with the best image quality that meets these criteria:

    - 4x or more optical zoom
    - less than $500
    - rechargeable battery
    - smaller/lighter than D70

    Again, image quality is main concern. I don't care about brand name or video or flip-out screens and crap. I take mostly travel/vacation-type of photos.

    Any suggestions?

    I'm starting to think maybe I should just get a lighter, more compact lens. Right now, I have a AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm lens. So I'd be open to suggestions on a lens, too.
     
  2. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    #2
    Nikon D40 :)

    Fits all your criteria and the same (if not better) image quality than/as your D70.

    Not even the best point and shoot can come close to the noise performance of a dslr.
     
  3. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #3
    Olympus E-420 kit.:D

    Smallest dslr camera, dust control that truly works, highest quality standard grade (affordable) lenses available to consumers, highest quality mid grade and professional lens upgrades... new kit priced around $540 including 14-56mm lens that will be tons sharper than your current kit lens, and 40-150mm tele lens upgrade for around $100 that will be sharper than any budget lens available with any other system. 2x digital sensor factor doubles your focal length. All system lenses specifically designed for digital sensor so that image circle is perfectly matched to the sensor... or even the E-520 for $100 more will also provide you with in body image stabilization and is still a small, light dslr.

    That said, a nice lens is always money better spent than a new body if you are looking for better image quality. Megapixels or a new digital sensor will not improve IQ much compared to sharper higher quality glass, ever.;)
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    Agreed. Either the E-420, which comes with a very good kit lens, or the Nikon D40. If you only have your kit lens for the Nikon D70, then you can switch to another brand and not really care. The E-420 is much smaller than the D40 if you pick them both up in person. It's noticeable. With the 25 mm pancake lens, it would be quite the compact camera (but it would have no zoom). Personally, as a Nikon user, I'd still go for the E-420 + 25 mm pancake lens if I was going to buy a smaller DSLR.

    The Nikon D40 is also very small, so I recommend it if you want to stick with Nikon. It sounds like you enjoy your current D70 when you use it, but you're having trouble bringing it everywhere.

    The best photos are the ones you didn't miss. What good is a good camera capable of taking good photos, when the camera is never used to take these photos! You need to use the camera to accomplish anything, which means you should get a smaller camera, not a new lens.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #5
    If the problem is the "big" part of the equation, then the SLRs mentioned will probably fit the bill. If weight is also an issue, I strongly suggest you go to a camera store and handle both cameras before buying. The D70 (which I have) is significantly bigger than those two, but the weight difference is not as dramatic. The E-420 is about the smallest DLSR you can get, and stripped it still weighs 370g. A large, good-quality point-and-shoot like the Canon G9 is 320g - and that's going to be at the higher end of that particular scale (and it's still more compact that the small SLRs).

    If you do end up with a point-and-shoot, do a fair bit of research on the image quality first. This Luminous Landscape review of two recent releases demonstrates this, with one taking great photos and the other being downright awful.

    Guys, note that the OP wants a zoom lens - not a pancake (or other) prime.
     
  6. jywv8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2003
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    Chicago
    #6
    That pretty much sums it up (e.g. love everything about the camera except the size/weight). I guess size is more of an issue than weight. Although less weight is always a good thing.

    I have read about the Olympus E-420, and it sounds really nice. But I couldn't decide between the pancake lens and the 14-56mm lens. I like the option of zoom... but I don't know if I really need it.

    And then I saw the E-520, and I thought that maybe I should get the image stabilization. But, of course, the E-520 is bigger than the E-420.

    But I don't think my current setup has image stabilization (either in camera or lens)... does it? If not, then I definitely don't need it and would probably lean towards the E420.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    Rather than spending more money on a sightly smaller camera that's probably about as likely to be left at home after the new camera smell wears off, why not try to get used to carrying the camera you have and learn enough to make a more informed choice down the road?

    The D70/18-70 isn't that big- but even the smaller dSLR bodies aren't that much smaller. You may as well spend some time with what you have since you already have it...
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #8
    Nikon 18-55 II (no VR): 70.5x74mm, 205g

    Olympus 14-42: 65.5x61mm, 190g
     
  9. jywv8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    You have a point. That is my fall-back position if I can't find a buyer for my D70. However, while the difference may not be that large in absolute terms, when you're carrying a camera around all day, the D70 just gets heavier... and heavier.

    I stopped by the local store today and messed around with the E-420 and the D40x. Not too much size/weight difference between the two, although I can definitely tell the Oly is lighter. But there is definitely a noticeable difference between the Oly and my D70. And I think it is a big enough difference for me.

    The Oly seems to have sane controls and menu layout. It seemed relatively easy to use. Definitely no more difficult than the D70.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    Getting a fixed 25mm lens might be the way to go if yo want to force yourself to learn. Almost all beginners tend to stand in one place and use a zoom. the 25mm lens will teach you how to use your "zoom feet". You will learn a bit about perspective and angles. But is that really what you want. Sounds like what you really want is a high quality point and shoot. The problem is that image quality is exactly proportional to the physical size of the camera. You can't get around that fact. You have to find a compromise. For many of us that means owning more than one camera.
     
  11. Cybornut macrumors newbie

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  12. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I'm not sure this would be the best choice. I don't think it's much smaller (or if it even is) than it is from the D40 and the OP is already a Nikon guy. The omlympus on the other hand, is quite a bit smaller than the D40.
     
  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #13
    No, he's just a guy looking for a new camera .... look at what he said about brand .......

     
  14. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a

    Shacklebolt

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    Sep 2, 2004
    #14
    Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Yeah, new camera kit seems to be a wiser idea. D40x?
     
  15. yaroldb macrumors 6502

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    Feb 21, 2007
    #15
    I started with an E-500 Olympus and have opted to stay with the Olympus. I have since purchased a few lens from Sigma and Olympus. They make excellent equipment and the image quality is incredible. I plan on upgrading to the E-520 soon. You will not be disappointed with the Olympus camera. You can get the 25mm lense, it is a fast 2.8. Makes it a great vacation lens and good for indoors.
     
  16. jywv8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Chicago
    #16

    How important do you think the image stabilization is in the E-520 (versus the E-420)? Like, are there certain conditions under which it would be of more value than others? Or is it always just a matter of how steady you can hold the camera?

    And can you get a E-520 in a kit with the pancake lens? I've only seen it with 14-42 MM lens.
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #17
    The OP wants a smaller camera, the 450D is hardly smaller.
     
  18. yaroldb macrumors 6502

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    Feb 21, 2007
    #18
    There are a few times I can see using IS on the E-520. In low lighting/night shooting, the IS helps you get a better shot. I also plan on purchasing the Olympus 70mm-300mm lense. Olympus uses a 2x digital sensor so the focal length is really 140mm-600mm. Hand holding anything above 200mm for me is not possible. My hands are not that steady. Also, the sensor on this camera is almost the same as the one they use on the E-3. This means I can get better shots (less noise) using higher ISO than I can with my E500. I do this to shoot indoors with a faster shutter speed.

    I have not seen a E-520 kit with a Pancake lens. A quick google came up with only E-420. Other than IS and size, I really do not see a difference with between the two.

    Yarold
     
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #19
    D70 679 g (24 oz) 140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in) =75 .02 cubic inches

    Canon 450D 524 g (18.5 oz) 129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in) = 47.74

    Olympus E-420 440 g (15.5 oz) 130 x 91 x 53 mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in) = 38.56

    D40 522 g (18.4 oz) 124 x 94 x 64 mm (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in) = 45.33

    The Olympus and Canon are much closer to each other in size than is the D70 and 450D. The D40 and 450D are more or less exactly the same size.
     
  20. Whorehay macrumors 6502a

    Whorehay

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    Feb 17, 2008
    #20
    I am a big fan of Olympus and their cameras. Very robust cameras and if you decide to move up to the E-3 one day, you'll have the best weatherproof lens lineups out there. Most Olympus lenses, outside of the kit/starter lenses, are weatherproof, and excellent in quality.
     
  21. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #21
    The biggest turn off for me about the Olympus when looking at cameras was the small viewfinder. Maybe if I were younger and didn't wear glasses it wouldn't be as bad, but it's a significant difference compared to the Nikon and Canon APS-C size cameras.
     
  22. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #22
    Without doubt that is my only complaint - manual focus is a pain without anything other than the E-1 or the E-3 which both have large and bright optical viewfinders. The compensating factor would only be that all Olympus bodies have built in a/f which auto focuses correctly with all 4/3 lenses... unlike some of the other starter kits from different systems. There are trade offs with any system at the consumer level, and noise at high ISO is another one with Olympus although from latest reports they have made great strides there with their most recent sensors in the E-3, 420, and 520...
     
  23. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #23
    Well, I looked through the E-400 viewfinder and I saw no problem.
     
  24. pointycollars macrumors regular

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    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    #24
    I'm going to second this. I have a D40, and I love it. You're just not going to match the image quality of a DSLR with a point-and-shoot. Also, since the D60 has come out, you can probably get your hands on a used D40 at a camera shop for around $300 (mine was about $500 new).
     
  25. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #25
    The D70 is a pretty small dSLR. The D40 isn't really much smaller. You're going to have to carry around the same shape/weight/accessories regardless of which one you carry.

    In the interest of saving money, I'd recommend you take a point & shoot when you want light weight and the dSLR when you have time and need the extra speed.

    No point in purchasing a D40. No real gain.
     

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