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  1. #1
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    Helmet Advice/opinions needed re digital SLR cameras

    Okay.. for your off-season pleasure... I know I don't post much and most of you probably are wondering who the heck I am. That's okay.. I'm a true burgundy Redskins fan Anyone that knows me will vouch.

    I'm looking into digital SLRS and of course everyone says theirs is the best, blah blahblah. I know a little bit about the "tech talk" with regards to resolution, etc. I just want advice as to experience people may have with certain models, do you have a model you would recommend beyond a doubt, is there a brand/model to totally stay away from.

    What it is used for? Basically personal. I do sometimes take pictures of events but not enough to qualify as remotely hobby. I did take photography in high school and know a little about the SLRs, lenses, but not enough for you to go off the deep end with respect to gadgetry to the nth power I want a good camera that will take good pictures indoors and out; photos and action shots. It does not HAVE to have video capability but from what I am seeing, most of them come with some sort of video capability.

    I like the variability the 35 mm gives you with different lenses, lighting, effects, etc. So that's where I am. Price wise, not off the deep end (I just paid for Redskins tickets ::grin: but I don't want to get the cheapest just to say I have a digital SLR. I do a lot of "people" pictures and a lot of indoor pictures, but I also love landscapes and environment when I'm traveling. So I'm a sucker for nature as well.

    And.. if I could ask one more question.. if I can only get one lens, which one should it be, and if I can get 2, what would the second one be?

    THanks to all. and HTTR!

    Oh.. and to just add a Redskins twist to this. I had heard my dad tell the story of being at Griffith Stadium the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. The History Channel ran some documentaries and I happened to catch one that has about a 2-2.5 minute blurb about the Redskins game during the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing.. with footage of Sammy Baugh passing. Just a cool aside.



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    It all depends on 2 things, how much are you willing to spend? And Nikon or Canon? There is nothing on the market that can compare to those two brands unless you are willing to spend many thousands.

    If you are serious about looking into any camera, first thing you should do is visit a site like this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ Surf the info on Canons and Nikons. See which fits your style. I went to work for a company 4 years ago that just happened to be outfitted with Nikon, so I have always used them. I own a D70 and I have outgrown it. Whenever I am doing something like taking my camera to a Skins game, I just ask my boss to use one of the D300's. You talk about a great camera! But do you have $1500 for a new body only? They have the D300s out now for $1700-1800, body only.

    Again it is all preference. But I have heard great things about Canon.

    I am in the position to get a deal through my employer, but if I couldn't I would search Craigslist to see what used cameras where out there. I have brokered deals for friends in the past for Nikons sold used. With the new D300s out, you can probably find a nice used D300 or even a D300 depending on your limit for a good deal. Just follow what is being listed. You will quickly see what the going rate is. A used D300 should cost you $800-1000 used, with a lens maybe $1200. A D200 could be around $500-$600.

    From the sounds of what you are looking for, I would suggest a used D200. If you decide a Canon is your style, I can't tell you what they would run you. I can tell you that if you have a heavy interest in action shots like sports and you do go used, a 40D or a 50D from Canon would be your bet. If you want a more user friendly all around camera, I would go with my previous suggestion.

    If the above mentioned cameras above are more than you want, then Best Buy or the equivalent supplier usually run deals on packages for the more user friendly family style cameras. I can tell you this, if you go with one of the lesser models, you sound like the type who will outgrow it quickly. In other words, spend a little more than you want and grow into it, instead of spending less and growing out of it.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by Elephant; 03-08-10 at 01:03 AM.
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    Helmet

    I have been looking at Canons actually. I don't want to grow out of it fast but I have about $1200 to spend; unfortunately it's in a gift card (from a really good friend) so it needs to be somewhere where the gift card can be used. I can add a little to it or it doesn't have to be as much as. But it is what the card is intended for.

    How common is it that lenses from 35 mm cameras may fit? I've moved and I haven't found my old 35 mm but I believe the lenses were quantaray (or something like that??).. the body of the 35 was Olympus.


    This is not a make or break it deal issue (lenses fitting) but it'd be nice if they did.

    I appreciate your input. Thank you.
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    D-SLR lenses from one manufacturer do not fit another. Nikon does not fit anything but Nikon, and so on and so forth. You will need to get new lenses. A good 18-200 lens for a couple hundred could be all you need for now.

    Not sure where your Card is from, but $1200 is a good start for a quality camera, especially if you can add a few hundred to it. Canon makes a great camera, they are much more user friendly than they once were. They had to catch up to Nikon and have.

    If I were you, I would still go to B&H just to study the products and get a better feel.
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    I love my Canon Rebel XT, and I believe Boone has the same camera and loves it also. I think Canons are a little more user-friendly, and Nikons are more professional - at least that's what I've heard. My friend who is a professional photographer has a high-end Nikon, and her pictures look fantastic.

    Here is her website - I can ask her specifically what kind of camera she has if you want. http://www.katehaus.com/
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    I've thought about a Nikon D40, cause thinking about a basic DSLR. My main job is to take pics of things my wife may want to paint. Currently just have a Kodak point and shoot digital, plus my trusty Cannon AE-1 35MM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    It all depends on 2 things, how much are you willing to spend? And Nikon or Canon? There is nothing on the market that can compare to those two brands unless you are willing to spend many thousands.
    Not to quibble El but I am going to quibble.

    I shoot a combination of old Minolta and Sony gear and it does as well as anything Nikon or Canon have on the market and better at some things. It all depends on what you want. Sony bought the digital SLR business from Minolta so they both use the same mount which makes all my gear work together.

    I shoot mostly with a Sony A700 and love it. It takes any of Sony's current lenses and any auto focus lens Minolta has ever made which gives me access to a huge used market on eBay. Even better, since their anti-shake technology is in the body, not the lens like Canon and Nikon, any lens I buy whether it is new or used is anti-shake.

    Not that I am knocking Canon and Nikon either. I'm not. They do some great stuff, they just aren't the only thing on the market.

    Doc, my advice is to go somewhere and hold the cameras. Get the feel for all of them in you hands. There is one universal truth with this sort of thing and that is if it doesn't feel good, you won't use it. Period. You can hardly go wrong with any of the major brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc). They all produce such good images that you have be a serious pro to tell the difference most times. So go see which one feels good and which one is easiest for you to use.
    Last edited by Neophyte; 03-09-10 at 09:33 AM.
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    I am a big fan of the Rebel XT series (although mine is 5 years old now). You buy the right camera and you really could go a decade or more without needing to replace it. I think the SLR technology is SO good at this point, as Neo pointed out, you'd almost be hard-pressed to go wrong. I think there are some SLRs that are more 'user friendly' (and I think Canon does a good job at giving you lots of bells and whistles if you want to play at being a 'pro', but also plenty of auto settings if you don't want to have to get a PhD to operate your camera). I'd look for simplicity too unless you really plan to devote some serious time learning how to put your camera through the paces. I think others have also hinted, you can get a hell of a camera body for $700-$800, and then spend the rest on a really fantastic lens or two.
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    Canon lenses are the best IMO without a doubt, so if you plan on purchasing a bunch of lenses or a couple, such as prime and zoom, you should probably stick with Canon.

    I have the XTi, have the 18-55mm and the 50mm prime both are great on the camera. I do wish I had a newer camera at this point though, but that's just because mine is older and as I've gotten into photography more I understand what I need.

    Might want to check out the Canon 50D w/ 28-135mm lens. Great camera and the lens gives you a pretty good range.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...R_Digital.html

    Hopefully we'll see you at a game this year, I'll tell the family you said hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Not to quibble El but I am going to quibble.

    I shoot a combination of old Minolta and Sony gear and it does as well as anything Nikon or Canon have on the market and better at some things. It all depends on what you want. Sony bought the digital SLR business from Minolta so they both use the same mount which makes all my gear work together.

    I shoot mostly with a Sony A700 and love it. It takes any of Sony's current lenses and any auto focus lens Minolta has ever made which gives me access to a huge used market on eBay. Even better, since their anti-shake technology is in the body, not the lens like Canon and Nikon, any lens I buy whether it is new or used is anti-shake.

    Not that I am knocking Canon and Nikon either. I'm not. They do some great stuff, they just aren't the only thing on the market....
    Neo, you are correct to suggest that there are other cameras out there and I don't mind the quibble. I will simply state that Nikon and Canon are used by an overwhelming majority of professional photographers for a reason. I do not know a single pro that is using a Sony.

    I just checked out the a700 and it is being given some good reviews. I still don't see it taking over the market from the two brands I mention. But like we have both suggested, it is all a matter of preference. I still support the Nikon since I have been working with one for years and it looks like a lot of the others on the board support the Canon.
    Last edited by Elephant; 03-09-10 at 12:13 PM.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    Neo, you are correct to suggest that there are other cameras out there and I don't mind the quibble. I will simply state that Nikon and Canon are used by an overwhelming majority of professional photographers for a reason. I do not know a single pro that is using a Sony.
    I know a few pros shooting A mount cameras (that is anything from Sony or Minolta) but you are right. There are not a lot and the ones who are, are doing things like wildlife, weddings and portraits.

    As a guy who shoots semi-pro, I can tell you why and it really doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the gear. It is all about Pro Services. Canon and Nikon both have excellent professional support and frankly, that is non-existent from Sony (and Minolta before it got out). As a pro, you can't have a body in the shop for 3 weeks and not have a loaner. You also need access to rental lenses on a regular basis and a host of other services that the average consumer shooter will never need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    I just checked out the a700 and it is being given some good reviews. I still don't see it taking over the market from the two brands I mention. But like we have both suggested, it is all a matter of preference. I still support the Nikon since I have been working with one for years and it looks like a lot of the others on the board support the Canon.
    The A700 take over the market? No, not going to happen (especially since it is a 2 and a half year old camera that Sony has discontinued). But when new it was right there with the other cameras in its class. A bit behind the Nikon D300 in features and function but it was also $600 less MSRP too. Most who compared it considered it a bit ahead of the Canon 40D.

    Sony is really a new player in the market, having just purchased the DSLR division from Minolta 4 years ago or so. Granted, they have decades of history with that purchase because Minolta was a power for a long time but they are really just getting it all figured out. Sony takes a little bit more market share every year and they are firmly entrenched at #3 now. Give them another decade and who knows?

    In the interest of full disclosure, if I were starting from scratch today I would more than likely be going Nikon but that is purely to fix a few issues that most photographers will never have (superior mobile flash system, standardized hotshoe, access to brand name rental gear and pro services). I am shooting Sony not because I chose them but because they choose me when they bought my preferred brand . . . Minolta, which I have been shooting since the early 80s.

    But I don't want to turn this into a thread about gear ideology. Great photos are shot by the photographer, not the gear. Which is why I said go handle the cameras, see which one feels good to you. Figure out which one has the controls in the best place for your hands and your fingers. They will all do much the same thing for you, it is just that they do it in different ways.

    Once you have a rig you like and understand, great photos soon follow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post

    Once you have a rig you like and understand, great photos soon follow.
    So true! The problem I have is that I have since outgrown the D70 that I was given as a Christmas Bonus almost 4 years ago. As soon as the D300 was introduced a little more than 2 years ago, my friend/boss went out and purchased the first 25 that were available in the mid-Atlantic area. Since, I have not been able to use my D70 for anything other than landscapes knowing the capability of and having access to the D300. Just this fall I began using the D3. Now there is a camera. I wanted to take it to Redskins games, but as I was preparing to load up for the Eagles game, I thought about what would happen if I lost/broke both the Nikon D3 (camera body about $5000) and the 70x200 VR f/2.8 lens (about $1200). So I just took the D300.

    Docsandy, I hope our discourse has helped. I have a lot to learn about photography having only been working in the field part-time for the past four years. As you can see there are a lot of options. I think Neo has steered you in the right direction by telling you to go to a store to see how one fits in your hand, but I also think you would be wise to visit the sight I suggested to study some of the cameras and what they offer to have an idea of what you are looking for before you go in. You will discover exactly what you are looking for.
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    Wow. What a response Thank you all. Now my head is spinning a tad.

    I really appreciate everyone's input and I'm proud to say that I actually understood MOST of it I do agree I need to handle the camera and make sure it is comfortable. That is #1. I'm not ordering this from a catalogue or online.

    I'm sortof leaning towards Canon/Nikon just from what I've read here and elsewhere. I still want to go to a few sites and do some research. But i still am open

    A lot has been said about start with a good body and add great lenses. Okay... Excuse me here if I now may sound ignorant and my lack of knowledge may start to show. I'm assuming the body determines such things as ease of focus - whether you want to manual or autofocus, adjustments to environment (lighting/etc.). Do the lenses determine things such as resolution (as well as power/zoom, etc.)? This is where things get a little foggy for me. I'm all for buying a decent body possibly for a little less and spend a little more on 1, 2 or even 3 different lenses. But what really determines the quality of the end product (other than, or course, the perspective of the person taking the picture)?

    For example... generally, my pictures are going to be vacations, family get togethers, special occasions and the like. But once or twice a year I do take official photographs for a media convention that has so many different types of lighting depending on what is going on (plays, masquerade, people talking on stage), all of which have different lighting schemes by our lighting experts. I would need to be able to adjust for the different types of lighting. Perfect example at one of these conventions would be:
    During the day, for speakers, the stage is fully and evenly lit; the piping and draping surrounding them is dark but usually not an issue because the lighting is more flood-like and takes that problem away.

    Switch to night time. Masquerade. People in costumes. The stage is dark with only a spotlight on the person on stage. I can use a flash; but with a "regular" digital, sometimes it just doesn't work because the lighting is focused but the flash sometimes bounces off the draping around the stage.

    Switch to: Stage play... lighting is variable depending on what is going on on stage. Lighting can be dim; backlighting may or may not be on.

    I don't know if that is going to help with advice or hinder. 90 percent of the time, this is my personal camera for family outings, yes, redskins games of course and tailgating, (and yes, Kiel.. I DO hope we get to see each other at a game this year!. still can't get over the small world this is)... traveling (landscapes, sunrise; sunsets, oceans, mountains, variety) and people. Then there's the media conventions that I described above that would provide me with my biggest challenge in my opinion. If I had to put a priority on importance, I'd say personal use. But sometimes my personal use can get me into trouble because then I think of projects.. and well.. I could go on. Then I get in trouble. But that' a whole 'nother story.

    Again thank you all, and sorry to have steered away from the football talk, but this is a big decision for me. This camera is going to have to last me a while, so I don't want it to be a "beginner" camera that I will outgrow in a year or two. I'd rather grow INTO it, than grow out of it. I'm not afraid of learning the "bells and whistles" of something that is not as user friendly as one that isn't quite what I need but is simpler to use.

    Thanks again for all the input. When I first started this journey a few months ago, the Canon Rebel series was what I was looking at. From what I am reading, I wasn't totally off the mark as far as where my head was with regards to quality and the like.
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    Okay... now this is a salesman/customer question. When I'm ready to go in and actually buy this camera.. what do I NOT listen to when a salesman is trying to sell me a camera. After all, I'm a "female that knows nothing about electronics" (sorry but that stereotype still exists in some places)... I want to go in with something definite in mind, but is there anything to watch for (or rather listen for) as far as red flags that someone might throw around that may be ambiguous or may sound good and mean absolutely nothing?
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    Doc,

    With what you are going to do, nearly any of the cameras mentioned in this thread will do the job. Anything released in the last couple of years will be able to handle your special needs too by going to higher ISO settings (and maybe a faster lens). Were I in your shoes I would probably look at getting a super zoom for the everyday stuff (these are often called "walk around" lenses). Not sure what is available from other manufacturers but Sony makes an 18 to 250mm zoom that works great for this type of stuff so you only need to carry the one on vacation or trips. I would think something similar would be available from Canon and I know Nikon makes one.

    Then I would look at a fast prime lens for your low light needs at the conventions. Without knowing how far away you will be shooting there I can't offer a great suggestion about specifics though.

    If possible, I would recommend getting stabilized lenses where possible (assuming you don't go with a stabilized body). They are more money but I wouldn't shoot without it now, especially in lower light situations. I shot for years without it but after 5 years with it, I have no clue how I did it before.

    I to would recommend checking out B&H, just as El said. Nearly all of the gear I own that I bought brand new came from there. The website is very informative as far as features are concerned and offers good customer reviews on the cameras and lenses. Another site I would recommend is Digital Photography Review which is now owned by Amazon but still does top notch work. They do in depth camera reviews with more detail than most pros need. I would check out the forums too where you can get a feel for what the folks who own and use these models think.

    As far as the sales person thing goes, well, that is tougher. All sales guys are different. If you are looking for real information, go to a camera shop rather than some place like a big electronics store. You will get better service and folks who are more likely to actually spend their spare time using the gear they are talking about. Just remember that they too will have their prejudices and biases. Sometimes those things will be based on real issues with the gear and sometimes it just be how the rep from a brand treats them.

    Whatever you do, don't buy the first thing they hand you without trying several other things. If they don't want you to try other things, walk away and find another shop.
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    Doc,

    Neo has steered you in the right direction by suggeting the walk around lenses for your everyday family shots, vacation and landscape shots. I would suggest getting one of better quality. With ones of lesser quality you run into problems with focusing and quality of the images in the mid-range distances on the cheaper lenses. I made that mistake by buying a Quantaray instead of the Nikkor for my Nikon. I saved $150 but was limited with the Quantaray. A good camera can be hindered by a poor lens.

    I have one question, can you have a flash with you during these yearly events? This could save you money on one of the faster lenses Neo suggests. Some events do not permit flash photography. If you can, an SB flash is much less expensive than one of the faster lenses, plus it can eliminate a lot of your low lighting issues overall. Low light conditions are the most difficult for me with my Nikon D70. I can run the ISO up and adjust the aperture, but the photos begin to have more noise the higher the ISO. If you purchase something like the D300 or better from Nikon or equivalent from Canon (or other manufacturers) you can reduce this problem, but am SB flash is always a good investment if you have the funds.

    Neo, I am curious. When I was reading the reviews on your a700, they gave some examples of low light conditions they had shot and I was wondering about your personal experience with low lighting on the Sony/Minolta? I am also curious if Boone or IB can give me their experience in low-light with the Rebel XTi since it is about the equivalent to my D70.
    Last edited by Elephant; 03-10-10 at 12:44 PM.
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    El,

    Here are a couple of examples I have shot in low light.


    Click photo to see larger version on my gallery site.


    Click photo to see larger version on my gallery site.

    Both shots were ISO3200, f2.2 at a 1/4s with my 50/1.4 lens. I did a little clean up with NoiseWare Pro but not a lot. Both photos look best on a calibrated monitor too. Otherwise the shadow detail usually goes black.

    The A700 is not as good at higher ISO settings than either Nikon or Canon but from what I read from some impartial testers, that has to do with the Minolta/Sony emphasis on color reproduction. There is apparently a trade off in the firmware between the two things.
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    Thanks all.. I think I have a good idea of what I'm looking for now. I appreciate all the input.
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    Neo...

    Didn't see one important question of yours... as the "official" photographer, I am allowed to use a flash at the convention and low light events at the convention.

    Again, thanks for the input. Am looking at the site mentioned and doing research.
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    DocSandy

  20. #20
    BGObsessed
    Join Date
    08-02-09
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    Wheeling, WV
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    Here's what I ended up with...

    The Canon Rebel T2i 18 megapixel with 18-55 lens. Also purchased a 55-250 telephoto lens with it.

    I went to a few places and one place actually talked me out of a camera twice the price because they felt this was one that was more suited to what I wanted.

    Thanks all for your help. I can't wait to play with it I came home and ordered it online because I got a better deal and financing with it.
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    HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!
    DocSandy

 

 

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