Low available light photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by peterbj7, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. peterbj7

    peterbj7 TPF Noob!

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    I don't know if this is the right place for this. Last year I bought a Canon 5D primarily for its low light capability. I haven't exploited that yet as I'm not in the right place for it, but I'm already becoming disillusioned with the camera. The problem is simply that here on an island in the Caribbean it keeps filling up with dirt, and I'm tired of having to clean the entire inside of the body - sensor, mirror, prism, screen - after EVERY shoot.

    So I'm thinking of alternatives. A Canon 1Ds III would enable me to use my existing lenses, but as I only have two so far that need not be a deciding factor. And I've read a few vaguely critical comments about the camera, though it should work superbly in low light. Kinda pricey, of course.

    Friends here who have Nikons seem to have no dirt problems, so I'm wondering about a D3 or maybe a D700. The key attribute being very good low light performance. I've read reviews that suggest that more mp than on the D3 give no benefit, and the D3 is in every way equal to or better than the 1Ds III.

    I'm too new at this game (digital SLRs) to have enough experience to judge for myself. Can anyone help?
     
  2. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Weather sealed bodies will help you with dust problems. Pentax and Samsung make those for sure. I would be surprised if the D3, the D700 and the 1D mkIII didn't.
    Also, Olympus seams to be the only maker with an effective anti-dust system. So the E-3 would probably be the one worth checking out.

    But, since you already have some Canon gear, you can wait a few months for whatever is going to replace the 5D. I would be surprised if it didn't come before the end of the year, and I suspect that it will be weather sealed.
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm surprised the 5D isn't weather sealed. As far as Nikon go, the D200, D300, D2*, D3, and I'm sure the D700 are all weather sealed. The D300 and D700 have an internal sensor-cleaning system. The weather sealing is dependant on the lens however, as consumer-grade lenses don't have a sealing ring. All of that aside, I don't understand your problem; I've shot in that area, and have been shooting in the Middle East recently (UAE) with only minor dust & dirt problems. When you change lenses, do you keep the opening pointed down, shield it with you body from the wind, etc?
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually some do, and there appears to be no pattern to it. The 18-70mm kit lens I and many other people have has a weather seal ring at the base. The 16-75mm VR does too. The former especially is not an expensive lens except by D40 + 18-55mm kit standards.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Really? I didn't know that. Thanks! Of course it still doesn't answer the question of why the OP seems to be getting an inordinate amount of dirt into his camera.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Are you using your camera as shovel???

    I'm kidding, but in all seriousness... can you describe what it is you are doing with the camera? What you are describing sounds kind of over the top for any camera in nearly any situation.
     
  7. peterbj7

    peterbj7 TPF Noob!

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    I've been using SLRs for almost 30 years and I've never known problems like this. I think the key problem is that dirt gets into the body and coats the internal surfaces, then when the lens is on it simply moves around. I can take two consecutive pictures without changing the lens - the first is clean, the second shows sensor dirt.

    There are I think three problems here which compound each other. First, it's very dusty. Second, there is always a wind. Thirdly, we're on an island in the sea and the air is salty. Anything made of mild steel here rusts within days, no matter where it's kept and how carefully. Even stainless steel often rusts!

    But the fact is that I know no-one else here who has these problems, and I'm the only person with a 5D. I'm actually one of very few people with a Canon, as most SLRs here are Nikon. A friend uses his D80 with two lenses which he swaps quite often, and he tells me he has never had to clean the sensor. He and I change lenses in much the same way, doing our best to protect the interior of the camera and inner surfaces of lenses. On a tiny caye in the middle of nowhere I met a group of professional photographers, all with D3s. It was their second day there and they said that camera dirt was something they hadn't even thought of.

    I keep a filter on each lens I use, and I have to wet-clean that filter after most photographic trips. There's a greasy & salty residue that doesn't respond to an air blast. I've never had that anywhere else. There's no doubt these conditions are about as tough as they get for camera dirt. But my friends with Nikons don't seem to have the problems I do. Maybe a more modern Canon with automatic sensor cleaning would be better, I don't know.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As far as high ISO low noise, the current world leader is the Nikon D3, however, they are not giving them away (4500-5000 US plus lenses).

    If your camera is giving you issues, there is not much to suggest except to change lenses less or not at all, and be more protective of the body.
     
  9. peterbj7

    peterbj7 TPF Noob!

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    High ISO, low noise - is the D3 better than the 1Ds III? Seems unlikely.
     
  10. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Actually it seams to be. The sensor is the same size but when Canon packed up 21 MP in their sensor, Nikon "only" has 12 MP. Because of this, they have larger photocytes and thus, lower noise!
     
  11. peterbj7

    peterbj7 TPF Noob!

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    So why would anyone pay $8k for the Canon?
     
  12. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Because they already have tones of money invested in Canon glass, or because they want to print HUGE pictures (21MP!).

    Plus, the fact that the D3 deals better with super high ISO (because i doubt that you can really tell the difference all the way up to ISO 3200) doesn't mean that the Mark III performs poorly. It is still an incredible camera!
     

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