Looking to go digital - need advice

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bluesguy, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. bluesguy

    bluesguy TPF Noob!

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    I have been using a Minolta 9000 (I actually have 2 bodies), Maxxum AF 35-70; Sigma AF 75-200 and Sigma AF 400 (rarely) for a long time. As many of you probably know getting the body repaired is difficult and parts are almost impossible. 90% of my photographic work is in bars and nightclubs photographing blues artists doing their thing. :wink:

    I almost always use either Kodak TMX 100 or TMZ 3200 film when I photograph. Many artists and venues do not like flash photography. I have become pretty good at using the 3200 film to get what I want.

    I have recently received a large amount of $s. I am interested in finding out what are my options for a digital SLR and replacing the first two lenses. Definitely need the 3200 capability.

    Suggestions & recommendations for camera, lenses, and places to purchase.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Normally I would suggest that you stick with Minolta so that you could use your current lenses. Konica Minolta, however, has left the camera business and has sold out to Sony. I've heard that Sony will continue to make cameras that are compatible...but who knows?

    I know Canon...so here is my 2 cents. Nikon is probably just as good.

    The Canon 20D is said to be one of the best performing DSLRs at high ISO. It does have settings up to 1600 and H (3200). There will be a lot of digital noise at those levels but that's the trade off for the speed you gain. It does have a noise reduction mode, but that slows the camera down quite a bit.

    There are noise reduction programs like Neat Image, which do work quite well.

    Actually the 20D has recently been replaced by the 30D...which should perform the same or better than the 20D. Canon also has a 5D, which has a full frame sensor but I've heard that it's not any better than the 20D at high ISO. If you can spend more than a few thousand...the Pro bodies are always an option.

    As for lenses, I would think that fast prime lenses are the way to go if you are shooting in bars without flash. A 50mm F1.8 is cheap and sharp.

    If you don't know about the "crop factor"...now would be the time to learn about it. Basically, most DSLR cameras have sensors that are somewhat smaller that 35mm film (which most lenses are designed for). The result is that the sensor only sees the middle of the image circle from the lens. This gives the lens a different field of view on the digital, than it has on the film camera. The factor is 1.6 for Canon and 1.5 for Nikon (I think). So a 50mm lens on a Canon 20D, will give you the same field of view as an 80mm lens on a 35mm film camera.

    To avoid this, you can get a full frame DSLR...but the the cheapest one is the Canon 5D and it's $3000.
     
  3. bluesguy

    bluesguy TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike
    Thank you.
    I had read this as well. And since making cameras is not Sony's main business I thought this was just another 'sign' to make the move to digital.
    I have been looking at the Canon 20D (online reviews etc). As far as the noise goes, I am guessing it probably is the same as using 3200 film without a flash.
    Hmm. Have to look into that.
    Didn't know anything about that at all.
    Don't have that much to spend ;). Be nice though.

    Do you have any suggestions on where to buy on-line?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    On the bottom of this page, there are links to B&H and Adorama. They are probably the two biggest mail-order photography stores in North America, if not, the world. They both are said to have great service and fair prices. Also, if you use the links from this site, when you buy, you would be helping this forum.

    A quick search will turn up many 'lower' prices...but there are many crooked people out there, trying to cash in on the popularity of digital cameras. Most offer a low price but don't include standard things like manuals and batteries and cables etc. They then give you the hard sell on those and other accessories...and finally tell you that the camera is on back order and will be in stock in 3 months.

    My suggestion would be to stick with the big two or some other site that you trust. I've been hearing that Amazon is listing cheap prices but I don't know much about it. I personally like buying this kind of thing from a local store, often the lack of shipping costs will make up for the price difference.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I'm guessing that if you are looking at a Canon 20D or 30D (or even the cheaper Rebel XT)...you will have a question about whether or not to get the kit lens (EF-S 18-55). It's been asked by just about everyone in your position. You will probably have read many unflattering reviews of it.

    Here is my take on it.

    Because of the crop factor, it's hard to get a wide angle of view with most DSLRs...and true wide angle lenses are expensive. So the camera companies made ultra wide lenses that are made specifically for the 'cropped' sensor size. The good part is that they are much cheaper than regular wide angle lenses and the bad part is that they are not compatible with film SLR cameras, like most other lenses are.

    Canon has the EF-S line of digital only lenses to compliment their line of EF lenses. The cheap kit lens that often sells with the 20D or Rebel XT is EF-S 18-55. It's a very cheap lens...it feels like it's entirely made of plastic. The image quality is nothing to write home about either. However, it only cost about $100 when purchased with the camera. That's a pretty good price to get an 18mm field of view (about the same as 28mm on a film SLR). I have this lens, and it's not as bad as a lot of people seem to think.

    Now, if you can afford a bit more. There is another EF-S lens that would be much better. EF-S 18-85 IS. It still goes to 18mm but has more reach at 85mm. It has IS, which is image stabilization (allows for sharper shots at slower shutter speeds), and it's built a lot better than the 18-55.
     
  6. Goldeneyes

    Goldeneyes TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike, that was a lot of good stuff that you wrote there. I am planning to purchase the Canon 30D this weekend and did not know about the other lens. Thank you for the recommendation!!

    -Goldeneyes
     
  7. kemplefan

    kemplefan TPF Noob!

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    now i know nikon fairly well
    i would get a say d200 and a verticle gip that will set you back $1500 then a 85mm 1.8 or 1.4 a 70-200 nikor 2.8 vr zoom and somthing low in the range
     
  8. bluesguy

    bluesguy TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for all the good advice. Plan on doing some more window shopping this week at a local camera store. Feel like I have a clue what to look for now.
     
  9. bballmanmf13

    bballmanmf13 TPF Noob!

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    Not to hijack your thread, but I'm kinda in the same situation. However, I own a Nikon, so I would prefer to stay with a Nikon so I could use my lenses. Right now I have a 28-80mm F3.3-5.6 G and a 70-300 F4-5.6 G lenses. I know they are cheap, but its my dads and he just wanted something that had some zoom on it. He wasn't too concerned with quality.

    I'm looking to spend like $1500, I know its not a lot, but I'm still a college student and I don't have too much money right now. I shoot mostly race events so it would be outside and I would need a little zoom, so if you have any recommendations for a camera and/or lenses that would be great. I would like to get a good camera so maybe I'll use my lenses for now, and then save up for better lenses later.

    Any input would be helpful.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Have a look at the Nikon D50 for starters and then a D70s.
     
  11. bballmanmf13

    bballmanmf13 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I've been looking at those two as well as the D200 (which is a little more than I want to spend but I may do it). Would it be worth it to spend the extra cash on the D200 and use my lenses for now and then get a better lens or two later. Or would it be more beneficial to get a cheaper camera and better lenses?
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    That depends.

    Some people say to get the best you can possibly afford...and get the rest when you can. So, if you can afford the D200 then get it...use your cheap lenses and get better ones when you can.

    On the other hand, a lot of photography people say to save on the body and spend on the lenses. If image quality is high on your list, good glass will go a long way.

    What kind of photography do you do? The lenses that you have will be OK in some situations but very limiting in other situations. As you know, the quality will not be as good as better, more expensive lenses. I don't know if those lenses will be adequate for shooting races or not.

    One thing to note, the D200 is has weather sealing (cheapest DSLR with that)...so if you plan to be outside shooting races in the rain...that might be a consideration.
     

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