Pro minimalist photographer going digital, on a budget, reccomendations?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by fotoflo, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. fotoflo

    fotoflo TPF Noob!

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    HI everyone,
    I am a pretty minimalist photographer and i am about to make the switch to DSLR. I am currently using 1970's Olympus OM1 with 24 f2.8, a 35 f2 and a 50 f1.4 lenses. this pretty much covers everything i do. I also have a panasonic dmc-fz20 which i use for macro work and work where the quality isnt as important as quantity and ease of use.

    I am planning on switching to a nikon DSLR setup. Im thinking of getting a d40x, a lensbaby 2.0 , a 50 f1.4 and a 28 f2.8. but i realize im going to be losing a lot of width... any suggestions here? are there good wide lenses for these DSLRs? do they cost a fortune? am i giving up a lot of lens choices with the d40x?

    I am wondering if i should expect the same kind of lifespan from a dslr body.

    Also, with a new DSLR is the ISO 400 good enough to use a zoom lens (most of which are f3.5, at least) and get the same results i would get with an SLR and 200 speed film and a 50 f1.8? i see so many people lugging around these huge zooms, i figure they must provide terrible photos in modest light... right?



    Ok thanks
    -fotoflo
     
  2. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    With all due respect, there are multiple discussions of D40, lense ranges and all the other information you asked many places here, on sites committed to reviewing equipment and through searches on the web.

    You won't be getting the breadth of info you want and need from casual anwers here. This info is book length and you should only be satisfied after you read a trememdous amount of existing information to take this big step.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I know almost nothing about digital slrs but....

    My son in law is big into nikon as a working pro. He tells me something that doesn't bother him because he is used to swapping out cameras regularly. According to him a hard working heavy shooting professional photographer will hit the advertised life of a dslr in a couple of years or less. I don't remember the numbers but it seemed rather a long time till he told me the number of images he shoots on any given job.

    Now answer one for me please.

    What is it you feel you can't shoot with the panasonic if it had the Nikon name on it instead. That is not trick question because I know the name on the camera to a working pro is important to the customer's satisfaction of his service. But in reality what is it that you couldn't shoot if that was all you had on you at the time.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not to interrupt the Scribe's question but you probably want to step up to the D80 for the ability to auto focus on the Nikon lenses that don't have internal motors.

    I don't shoot that wide but I hear nice things about the 12-24mm's. Also, those people who carry around those huge lenses in broad daylight -can ;). (in most instances the 77mm Zoom lenses are sharper too)

    mike
     
  5. fotoflo

    fotoflo TPF Noob!

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    Ok:

    First of all, Thanks mystery_scribe, and mike_e.

    Traveler: i have read many reviews of course. i havent read anything about lifespan, and duriablity in them. or lens quality vs. fixed length lenses. maybe i should google more, sorry for wasting your time.

    Mysteryscribe: thanks. the panasonic has a few flaws. the quality of the images is just never any where near as good as film, the color balance is weak, the lens is slow, only f2.8, and the preview screen (and viewfinder) isnt sharp enough for me to pinpoint the focus, so i often end up with the focus in the wrong place.. i dont really like auto focus. I think thats about 3/4ths of the problem. the other problem, of course, is that my client need to see a pro camera in my hands. if the panasonic shot perfect pictures, i would tell the client, so what if it doesnt say nikon... look at the results. but it doesnt function when i need to do documentary or magazine work. it's really only good for still life - when i have time to deal with those problems.

    Mike_E: i was thinking about that. I want to buy a body now, but put my real investment in the lenses. i'm reading http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm but the list of lenses that do and dont have intenal motors isnt immediately apparent... is there a better resource for this? maybe a d50 instead of a d40 would keep my investment low on the body? is it safe to buy used? im still not sure about the durability issue.

    thanks
    -fotoflo
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi again, fotoflo. The lenses that have the internal motors are AF-S. The S is for 'silent wave', -they are quiet and fast! As far as buying one used, if you are buying a tool for your profession to be used daily I would shop around because you can find them still new in the box at camera stores here and there. I would also consider Factory referbs. It's not but around $300 to have one rebuilt but can you afford to have a used one in the shop?

    The D50 is a great camera by all accounts but it doesn't have a PC connector. A D70 does and will sync to 1/500 (actually much higher speeds as it uses an electronic shutter I'm told). I believe there are still referb and some new D70s's left too but I can't attest to that. If you can find one of either owned by an individual (non-pro) that has been taken care of then go for it!

    All in all, if my job's on the line and I need flexibility in the lenses I can use, I'd go with the D50 or D70s 8 days a week.

    mike
     
  7. fotoflo

    fotoflo TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys,
    Thanks again for your responses,
    I went to the market today and picked up a d80 with the d40 kit lens. its 18 to 55 (which is really like 25 to 75) f3.5 and that covers most of my needs, though its still pretty slow. together with an extra battery, the lens, and a uv filter, i spent just around $975

    The d80 is heavy and bulky and thats kind of annoying, and the lens is light and plasticy, but in the end, i decided i didnt want to lock my self out of future lens choices.

    unfortunately, there were no lensbabies for sale here (no one had even heard of them... its beijing) so i think ill have to get one shipped from america.

    anyway, thanks again.
    fotoflo
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Congratulations! I'm sorry that I misread your second post, Buying used lenses is a hit or miss thing, I've bought several through e-bay some were beat-up most were OK, some were in great shape. If you can hold the one your thinking of buying you will have a better gauge of what you are getting of course but remember to take a small flashlight and shine it through the lens with it set to the largest aperture (smallist number) to check for scratches and fungus. If the lens has a fungus (looks like lichen on a rock) give the lens a miss as the fungus will literally eat away the glass over time and is not repairable unless the glass is reground. Sometimes if you catch the fungus in time it can be cleaned away but there is a large risk.

    Good luck, mike
     

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