The ideal digital camera?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Steph, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have been reading a lot about the coming death of film on this forum and other places and this got me thinking. I am really happy with shooting film at the moment as I am pleased with the results. Of course, if film disappears or becomes prohibitively expensive or cannot be processed anymore I will be happy to move to digital but what would be the ideal camera for me?

    Thinking about it, I have realised that what I enjoyed about using film cameras had nothing to do with the medium but more with the handling of my cameras (Pentax Spotmatic and Bronica SQ). What I like about them is that I can focus manually, set the aperture easily with an aperture ring on the lens (next to a distance scale, useful for hyperfocal focusing) and set the shutter speed with a simple dial on top or on the side of the camera.

    My ideal digital camera would therefore have no autofocus and only 3 dials (ISO settings, white balance settings and shutter speeds). Even an LCD screen would not be necessary (I find it quite 'exciting' to receive my pictures from the lab, and I could wait untill I get home to upload the pictures on a computer). I think the only cameras which come close are the new Leica M8, the Leica R9 or a medium format camera with a digital back, but they are really expensive.

    I am NOT trying to start a film vs. digital debate here. I am just curious to see if other people are more into the ‘ritual’ of taking the picture and do not mind so much about the numerous features of their cameras. Do you think there would be a market for a basic (in terms of features), fully manual digital camera (something like a digital Spotmatic F or a digital Nikon FM3a)? Logically, such a camera should be cheaper (if there was real demand) and would really appeal to me. What do you think?
     
  2. mcktheknf

    mcktheknf TPF Noob!

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    Being new to photography I have to say that I enjoy digital the most because of the ability to be able to learn faster than what I could shooting film. Being able to step outside and try new things and then download them on the pc and see the goods, and the bads, of my choices (it also adds to the excitement of picture taking too), speeds up the learning curve quite a bit. I guess for me that is why I really appreciate digital the most. I do have two film cameras in the closet though and if development wasn't such a hassle for me, I'd be more interested in using them.
     
  3. Michael Humle

    Michael Humle TPF Noob!

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    Well, If you have $32,000 to $50,000 laying around, check out the new Hasselblad H2D-39! Talk about a mind blower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know this is not being realistic, but it does make for mouth watering reading. :shock:
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You aren't going to find a DSLR without autofocus. If you don't want to use auto focus, then don't. All modern lenses are capable of both. Viewfinders are small, and difficult to use, but you can get split focusing screens to aid in manual focusing.

    As for layout of the controls, they are not difficult to use. Any of the mid range DSLRs, or "prosumer" have the controls in logical places. My canon 20D has a nice big thumbwheel for setting the aperture, and wheel by the shutter for shutter speed. As for white balance, it's a non-issue if you shoot in raw, which you should if you really care about your photographs. You can control that on your computer in post process.

    If you are moving to digital from film, there will be a learning curve, on the shooting end, and on the computer end. There's just no getting around that. Don't let it sway you from jumping in. There are plenty of great books, and web resources out there to help smooth the transition.
     
  5. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with you. All the features I need are present on the current crop of dSLRs. I would just have the feeling to pay for a lot of features I wouldn't need (5 fps, multi-pattern metering, autofocus, auto-bracketing, picture style modes... on a Canon D30 for example). I was just wondering if there would be people interested in a more basic camera (which should be cheaper as it offers less) and therefore if there would be a market for it.
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    There might be a small niche market, consisting of probably the same people that are hanging on to LF format film cameras, and shooting black and white. It's not a market that the big companies care about, because there is no real money in it for them. I don't think you'll be able to get around paying for modes and features you won't use. They all have em.
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I come down with the author of the thread.... (of course)....

    I'll go you one farther. why doesn't somebody come up with a record only back that can be fitted to an existing slr camera. If they can do it for medium format but the size of the chip is what make it so expensive how about one less expensive for an old film camera.

    A do it yourself installation of course.
     
  8. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    There is actually one camera that could fit your needs perfectly. The new Nikon D40. It's layout is simple, and autofocus is supported only with lenses that have focus motors built in, as there is no such thing in the camera body. Take a look, see what you think.

    http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=2&productNr=25420
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I love playing with different styles of cameras. If there were digital version of some of my favorite film cameras, I would be in heaven. I went from an EOS-5 to a 10D, so everything was pretty much the same except for adding an LCD, but if I could have an affordable digital version of even an Agfa "Brick" to add to my collection, I'd be so happy. There was a manufacturer that was developing a digital sensor that you could put into many different 35mm film cameras. When I first heard about this I was so excited, but then it turned out that by the time it came close to release, the resolution was too low for me and it would work in only certain cameras. If someone made a good, high-res version that could be used in any 35mm camera.... That would be my ideal. And one for MF cameras.
     
  10. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    If we rememebered our lessons from 35mm film days 6megapx would be plenty...
     
  11. emogirl

    emogirl TPF Noob!

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    Steph...i just made the jump to digital myself.(and only to af about 2 years ago!)..and like you, i like things simple! Most of the dslr's have thumbwheels for controlling aperature & shutter, you can operate all lenses in manual mode (though, as you get older you appreciate autofocus when your eyes just arent focussing as they use to!!) You dont need to look at your pictures on the screen....you can shut that off. In fact, the very nice thing about a digital camera, is you can fine tune it to how YOU like to shoot!! Enjoy it...
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I think you hit the nail on the head with the Leica. Also check out the Epson R D1. It is a rangefinder, but it may be right up your alley. You will find that the the transition from slr to dslr is quite smooth. Especially if you have 2-5 grand to spend. Personally I went to digi about 4 years ago. Nikon FTB to D1. I now have a D200 and a Coolpix 5200. I love the technology and my 90 second photo processing. Thing I miss the most is hanging around the lab with my other photographer buds.
     

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