Which digital camera?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Rob, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    No, I'm not going to ask you which point and shoot to buy for wedding photography.

    I am going to buy a digital camera in New York. It's going to rapidly become my camera of choice, accompanying me pretty much everywhere. It may be used professionally, but not really very often.

    I shoot a variety of things, mostly people portraits under very difficult lighting conditions. I don't generally go over 135mm in length, and certainly don't ever need to go above 180mm. I like prime lenses and hate high f-number cheap plastic zooms and the results they produce. I print things at about A4 or under normally, so not really worried about MP.

    I hate most images people take with digital cameras (naturally not you lovely lot here!) I especially notice two aspects of many digital images: purple fringing and that strange depth-of-field thing where something loses it's perspective and looks like it's been photoshopped in.

    I am very old-school when it comes to photography, and I like things which are simple and intuitive to control. I actually work in IT, so technical things are not beyond me, I just don't want to have to hold three buttons, scroll a wheel, generally faff about just trying to change the aperture!

    I'm not really bothered what brand, but I would be looking to try and keep it under $1,400 or about £800.

    Image wise, actually the Sony DSC-R1 has been one of only a few digital cameras whose prints I've seen and been really really impressed by. Ok, it's crap at the short end, but I don't take many super-wide shots. I also was impressed with the Olympus E-300 which seems to have some kind of anti-purple fringing built into it. I am generally not impressed with the 350, except for one shot I've seen which was taken with a 50mm f1.8 - perhaps because most shots are with the kit zoom.

    A lot comes down to the type of shooting I do with film - quite a bit of very high ISO, grainy B&W at very wide apertures. Also, I like a sharp accurate colour picture. I tend to shoot TMAX 3200 and Reala 100 most of all. I'm not sure I can cope with a camera/lens setup whose minimum aperture is like f4 and whose maximum decent ISO is 800 - I simply wouldn't be able to get those indoor shots. I don't generally use flash, and when I do, it's got to be a massive GN off-camera bounced, or maybe a very very subtle fill flash.

    So anyone got any ideas or suggestions that are perhaps more off-beat than "get a digital rebel" or "get a d50"? I'm open to suggestion and I'll research any options anyone gives.

    Help! Purchase probably to be made next weekend by a friend! :hail:

    Rob
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Are you looking for a digi-cam or possibly a DSLR?

    The 20D is supposed to be one of the best performers at high ISO and image quality is among the best DSLRs available. Couple it with a 50mm prime and you're ready to go. I think they are going for around $1300 US.

    I've had mine for about 8 months and I really like it. It's a bit big to really "accompany me pretty much everywhere" but that may not be true for you. You definitely can't slip it into your pocket. Although, with one of those pancake lenses....

    I was fairly impressed that it showed no ill effects after getting soaked in the rain forest, and it has the feel of a solid, quality piece of gear. (unlike the kit lens).

    As far as I can tell, color accuracy is great and purple fringing is seldom seen.

    Have fun in NYC!
     
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  3. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    I think yseeing as you have the money you should get a digital SLR. I'm not going to recommend one as I can easily say 350D, 20D, D70/D50 without giving it any thought.

    Don't forget the other brands as well and try them all out. I take it you'll be going to B&H? If you want it at your side the whole time the 350D is the smallest of the prosumer slrs wich might be a consideration. i don't think it's that small some people say it is.but I have big hands (span not chunky whcih could be why I dont have a problem) and find it a great size.

    I don't know about olympus or minolta digital slrs and size but I know that any brand will be good as they're much fo a muchnes. I suggest you think about what lenses you want to buy. I think olympus lenses are hard to get ni the UK (could be wrong) so remember that. The jessops website only stocks 7 olympus lenses.

    Canon and Nikon definately have the biggest lens accesability.
     
  4. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    A 'which camera' query from THE Rob? :scratch: ;)

    For that price range, 20D seems to be your answer. No surprises there from me! :p
    Very intuitive (for me) and a stellar high-ISO performer (my main reason behind the purchase).

    Throw in the 85mm f1.8, if you favour 135mm. But it will stretch your budget.

    20D+85/1.8 - 1,249.95 + 339.95 = US$1,589.90
    20D+50/1.8 - 1,249.95 + 74.95 = US$1,324.90
    --

    But, why don't you wait till the upcoming PMA?
     
  5. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    One thing I think could be a consideration for you is Compatibility! You mentioned you shoot alot of things, so with that, what do you use for film? If it is a brand where your current lenses will work with the wide product lines of DSLR's, you may want to go that route. Other then that, it is more a matter of personal preference as to how it feels in your hand and not so much the brand as they are very similar in features. There are alot of Canon and Nikon users here (including myself) and everyone of them can give a good arguement, but it is up to you to go to a shop and feel them up (so to speak).
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Cheers guys....

    I've given it a lot of thought, but we can all learn from each other, so every comment will be taken onboard!

    All of my lenses are non AF, so they won't work on anything properly.

    Any more ideas?

    Rob
     
  7. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Rob, why don't you check out the predecessor the 20D, the 10D. I think you could probably get a slightly used one, or even a new one for much cheaper, and then add some nice glass to it. The fact of the matter is, no high ISO photo from a digital cam will compare to it's film counterpart. The 20D does have some great high ISO perfomance, but the chip in the 10D is superb as well, and the 10D has all the same features as the 20D.

    Based on what you said, I'd start you off with a 50mm f/1.8, and an 85 mm f/1.8. With the 1.6x crop factor, you'll have roughly an 80 and 135 prime.

    I do indoor low light concert photography with both of those lenses and find that ISO 800 works in most situations.

    Keep in mind what you'll be spending on batteries, and memory. I highly recommend the battery grip for both the 10D and 20D, to add a second battery for lots of battery life, and also a bit of weight and stability. Start with a 1G compact flash card. When you factor in the lenses and accessories, you are looking at several hundred, so that's why I think a used 10D might be a good option.

    You'll have lenses and accessories that will work with a 20D, should you choose to upgrade somewhere down the road, and will most likely be compatible with the successor to the 20D, whatever that may be.
     
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  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    It sounds like we were in the same ballpark as far as our needs, Rob. I also used to shoot low-grain color and high-speed B&W. Now it's mostly b&w portraits. I can't comment on how the 10D does with color, as I've used it for that very rarely, but I've been happy with it for available light portraits that get printed B&W via Piezography. I use the 50mm f1.4 and the 85mm f1.8 with it, like others here. I think Matt has a great idea looking at one to save some money that you could put towards glass. Might be worth looking at.
     
  9. 57%_Burnt

    57%_Burnt TPF Noob!

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    So I know i'm a noob here, but maybe I can offer some advice. I do work at a Wolf/Ritz Camera after all (I wonder if thats a good thing or a bad thing!:shock::D)

    I do play with all these cameras everyday, and in my honest opinion, I think you are going to be happy with any of them. Any DSLR released in the past year has good enough technology to take the pictures that you are looking for. The D50/70, Rebel/20D, and the Minolta 5D are all great cameras. I only have a qualm with the construction of the D50 (plastic all the way) and I dont think the indoor quality is quite on the level of the rest, but it's hard to argue with the price.

    Best advice anyone can give you, is go into a dealer and see them for yourself. It's the best way to get an idea of what you're getting into, and taking pictures there in the store can definately give you a good idea of what the camera can do.

    Hope that helps!

    (I vote sticking with whatever set up you already have)

    Mike
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    So true. Those of us with cameras can say we like them, but unless we own several, it's hard to make a comparison. We can only share our experiences with what we have.
     
  11. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys, it looks like the intermediate option will be taken - a 350D with a 50mm f1.8 II and possibly a 80-200 f2.8 IS USM... I will let you know what happens...

    Rob
     
  12. tempra

    tempra TPF Noob!

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    Hi Rob, the shots taken in the evening pub on the saffron walden meet-up were 800 - 1600 iso, I know that the one of scurra was a 1600, and as you know that was the 10D with the 50mm, the 350 and 20 are suppposed to have better quality at those levels, so you can't really go wrong.


    Whatever you get, I'm sure you'll enjoy it ;)
     

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