Bout to take the plunge into DSLR..

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Daylon, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Daylon

    Daylon TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone, first time poster here. I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. Trying to see if I can start getting work part-time as a photographer (hopefully eventually full time).

    I'm about (next 2 months or so) take the plunge and go for the D200, 18-200 VR lens, and the SB-800 speedlight. I've been shooting film for the last year and it's frankly just rediculously expensive. By the time I buy and develop rolls of Velvia and then have prints made, even if you're charging $150 an hour you're still barely breaking even.

    I think the D200 will be a nice upgrade to my 35 year old Canon F-1 and manual focus lenses I've been using. I think I'm a little behind the curve so I need to catch up.

    My question is your thoughts on picking up a higher end photo printer to go along? I'm thinking of you can print your good quality contact sheets and prints, then it's more $$$ for you right? Not sure if I'll have any $$$ (or credit for that matter) after the camera equipment buy, but I think a quality printer is probably a must.

    I was leaning towards the Epson Stylus Pro 3800? I've spoken with several other photographers and they all seem to favor Epson over HP printers. Comments?

    Thanks in advance -
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Digital is great...did you do a lot of digital editing of your film shots? If not, get ready for a significant change in your work-flow. Of course, if you are used to shooting slide film...then you should be pretty good at getting the exposure where you want it...which will help...but there are still plenty of things to do in the digital work-flow.

    I don't have a high end printer...just a mid-level one...but here is my 2 cents anyway ;)

    You will need to calibrate your monitor. You should do this, even if you don't print at home. You may need something to profile and calibrate your printer as well...if you intend to have high quality/accuracy in your prints.

    Once you factor in the cost of ink & paper (not to mention the learning curve and time involved)...the cost of printing at home isn't really the big savings that many people think it is. Finding a good place to get your prints done, may be a better option...but that's up to you.
     
  3. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    THe printer is a good one. I am not sure if you really need it. You can send off your prints to online printers. It is hard to beat 1.5 bucks for an 8*12 print with an epson.

    I would prefer the 110ml cartridges though.


    I'd be against the 18-200 lens. It's slow and is too expensive for what it does. I'd buy... different glass. I have no clue what you shoot, so I can't really suggest.
     
  4. Daylon

    Daylon TPF Noob!

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    Good suggestion on getting a monitor calibration tool - I think that's definately a must have even if I don't have enough $$$ left over for the printer. There's a recent buying guide article in Digital Camera and Photo that recommended the Spyder 2 Pro and Huey systems.. any experience / comments with these?

    Currently I don't do a LOT of editing (I'm a relative Photoshop and Illustrator newbie) beyond the basics (cropping, resize, some cloning and exposure / contrast changes...). I'm starting to get the idea that there's a Photoshop course in my future somewhere. I would like to get comfortable with layers, masking, dodging / burning... those seem like needed skills for being successful in the digital world.

    Also re: 18-200 lens too slow and heavy? I liked the idea of one lens replacing a wide angle, mid range, and mid telephoto. Plus you don't have to worry about lens changes and cleaning dust of the sensor, right?

    I mainly shoot candids, and some art / architecture stuff, so speed isn't really a factor. But I would like to know that I can use that 5fps option with this lens and a D200 if I head out to the local sporting event.. (or if I get lucky and really close catching some birds on the wing...)

    D.

     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have a Spyder II, it's pretty good. I got the cheap one 'Express'. The hardware is the same...but the difference between 'Express' and 'Pro' is the included software. Check the Colorvision web site for the differences.

    The greater the zoom range...the more that image quality (and other things) are compromised. Sure it's convenient...but there are better options that give you great quality along with moderate convenience. The 80-200 F2.8 VR is supposed to be the cat's meow.

    Don't worry too much about dust. I've had a DSLR for a couple years...and often change lenses. I've never had to wipe my sensor...only blow it off, from time to time. If you are careful...it's not a problem.

    The lens should not matter...you can use that, or any other lens for that. The problem may be the maximum aperture of that lens. It may not be big enough for you to get the fast shutter speeds required for sports etc.
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I own a D200 it is an amazing camera. Quality prints are essential to my work. Personally I would put it very high on the list. The printer is a major part of your digital darkroom. I have the Epson Stylus PHOTO 960. Measly compared to the 3800. None the less it produces amazing results. All the pros use Epson. They have been catering to photographers for years. I am not familiar with HP printers.

    I would hold off on the calibration tools. If you concentrate your efforts on Photoshop you will find that the program contains all the calibration you will need. The 80-200 VR is a great lens. If you shoot candid and architecture you may want to consider the 17-55 or the older 17-35. Actually the kit lens is adequate. You may want to exhaust it's possibilities before you spend 2 grand on glass.
     
  7. Daylon

    Daylon TPF Noob!

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    Well, the reason I was leaning towards the 18-200 is all the good reviews I've seen of the lens. Wolf Camera actually has the D200 paired with the 18-200 as a kit for $2400. It's my understanding that the 18-200 is on something like a 3-4 month backorder by itself.

    D.

     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Good reviews is the wrong reason to get a lens. Consider your shooting style and the quality of glass that you will need.
     
  9. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't have a lot of experience with digital but I have been playing with cameras for more that 35 years. Got on to Nikon over 20 years ago. Learned the expensive way to get the good glass. I bought cheap at first then bought again later. Some of lenses are now 20 years old and work flawlessly. Use the kit lens for all it's worth and save up for the good stuff.
     
  10. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I use an r 1800 epson printer and the results are good but the price of epson inks is ridiculous in the uk they also dont seem to last very long either. The HP printers are getting rave reviews here and canon also have excellent A3 printers, with ink prices half of similar epson inks, look around.
     

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