Digital Camera Recommendation Wanted

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charbear1

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Hi. Great website and forums. I am an old 35mm SLR guy. I mostly shoot landscapes, primarily waterfalls. I enjoy manually manipulating the shot by varying the exposure time primarily. I use a 28mm-70mm and 70mm-200mm Zoom.

I want to try Digital and would like recommendations under $500 for this first purchase....unless a DSLR would be sooooo much better for a little bit more.

Other question is on "zoom". With the type of shots mentioned, should I go for a 12x optical Zoom as opposed to a 3x optical with 4x digital or is there little difference?

Thank you!
 
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Which SLR do you use now? There's probably a DSLR body you can buy so you can use the same lenses you have now.
 
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charbear1 said:
Other question is on "zoom". With the type of shots mentioned, should I go for a 12x optical Zoom as opposed to a 3x optical with 4x digital or is there little difference?
Thank you!
Definitely 12 optical over digital zoom.
Digital zoom is for all practical purposes a waste of time. Anything digital zoom does, you can do on your computer.
In saying that, with your experience with slrs I think you might be happiest with an slr.
There are also some very good non slrs about. There have been a few good threads on them recently.
 
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As Zero said, if you have a decent collection of lenses, then there is no comparison between a DSLR and a prosumer point and shoot. As a landscape guy, you should understand that even if you went with a DSLR, you would have an issue with wide angle lenses. For instance, my Canon 10D requires that you multiply the length of your lense by 1.6. So a 35mm lens is actually a 56mm lens. You would have to pay a ton of money to get a DSLR that doesn't do th is. If you dont own any lenses, and you are looking for a camera in the 500 dollar range, take a look at the CAnon powershot G6, the Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20.
 
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Other question is on "zoom". With the type of shots mentioned, should I go for a 12x optical Zoom as opposed to a 3x optical with 4x digital or is there little difference?
There is a BIG difference. An 8Mp camera at 2X digital gives 2mp of digital information. At 4X digital you get 0.5 Mp of information. Some cameras resample back up to 8Mp, but that makes little difference.

This is a comparison of a 5Mp shot taken at 3X optical and digitally zoomed to 12X (4X digital plus 3X optical) and the 3X optical image cropped to give 12X. That is compared to a 4Mp camera with a 12X optical zoom for the same crop area.

5Mp camera at 3X optical and 4X digital zoom:


5Mp camera at 3X optical and cropped:


12X optical on 4Mp camera:


3X optical shot to give idea of crop area:


A DSLR with a decent lens is your best bet, but I would recommend you look at the Konica Minolta A200. The A2 is a better camera if you can still find one at a decent price.

For landscapes I often just grab several shots with the camera held with the longest side vertical. When stitched you get a 4:3 ratio shot of about 27mm from a 38mm lens. You get the added advantage of extra pixels for a large print as the composite is close to 11Mp from 7Mp images. It is almost as quick to take the panorama as it is to grab a single shot. It doesn’t work for water with large waves as the waves don’t line up and you get a line. It doesn’t work with scenes of people moving around as the same person can show up twice or you can have problems stitching. But it works in probably 90% of situations. That lets you get a long zoom with stabilization for nature shots and still have wide capability. The Panasonic FZ20 & 30, Canon S2IS and Sony H1 might be worth looking at.

I just went out in the back yard and grabbed these shots.

38mm shot:


Composite from 3 shots grabbed in continuous mode with camera held vertically. You can see a line in the water where the waves from a passing boat are fairly large. It isn’t usually a problem:
 

charbear1

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Dec 27, 2005
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Wow! Thanks for the replies. A special thanks to Slipe for the education and the examples.

Sorry it took me a while to respond but it's a hectic week. I have a 3/4 scale Konica TC and a Konica FT-1 Auto, 28mm-70mm, 70mm-200mm, several fixed lenses, macro's, filters, flash, etc.

Will these old lenses work well with a DSLR? I shoot a lot of waterfalls, especially at 28mm - about 35mm. From what I understand, this would be a problem with the multiplication factor. Meaning I might have to stitch almost any short I formerly did at 28mm?

Do you need more info? Any articles/posts you recommend I read?

Thank you once again!
 
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You can stitch a waterfall as long as you don’t make the stitch in the water – you will get a line where the water doesn’t line up.

If you use your old flash on a digital camera make sure to check the trigger voltage. You can damage the camera if the trigger voltage of your old flash exceeds the specs: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

Minolta uses a proprietary hot shoe, so you probably couldn’t use your old flash without some sort of adapter on an A2 or A200 even if the trigger voltage is OK.

Because of the higher sensor density in non-DSLR cameras you don’t get quite as good dynamic range and nowhere near the high ISO capability with acceptable noise as you would with a DSLR. But you do get a lot of versatility with a camera like the Fuji S9000 with a 28-380mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens. You can see from raw images without processing that the S9000 sensor is very noisy even at ISO400, but Fuji has excellent in-camera noise reduction and you can shoot at higher ISO than most other digitals.

For someone accustomed to a SLR viewfinder you will think you died and went to the underworld the first time you look through an electronic viewfinder. The A2 has the best EVF on the market, but they are getting hard to find at a decent price and the viewfinder still doesn’t compare to a DSLR. There are some advantages to an EVF though. You are not only seeing the image after it has gone through the lens, but also after some processing. There is also more information available in the viewfinder.

You will probably lose most of your automatic features using old Konica lenses on a DSLR. I’m not familiar with the mount and what brands they would fit. And as has been pointed out you will pay big bucks for a true wide angle unless you pay really big bucks for a DSLR with a 35mm sized sensor.
 

buck52

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No question in my mind... DSLR all the way

It does not sound like you are looking for a small/medium point and shoot

Buy a Nikon D50 with the DX kit 18-55 lens or
a used Nikon D70 with it's kit lens 18-70... I had one of these and it was very good

18mm on the wide end with the 1.5 mutiplier is... you guessed it 27mm...just what you have now... you don't have to step forward or backward more than an inch... :)

I'm sure there is a comparible Canon setup... I'm just not a Canon guy... linskyjack is, and can help I'm sure

As slipe illustrated stay far away from digital zoom

buck
 
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buck52 said:
I'm sure there is a comparible Canon setup... I'm just not a Canon guy... linskyjack is, and can help I'm sure
I'm a Canon guy as well but it became obvious recently that besides needing new glass I need a new brain to be able to re-learn everything I lost. :confused: Because of that I'm a gunna keep the trap shut.:D
 
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I'm a Canon guy too.. fairly new to it.. There's a comparable kit made by Canon that matches the Nikon kit that was mentioned. Canon 350D (XT) and the 18-55mm kit lens or (if you can find it) with a 17-85mm IS. The XT has a 1.6 crop factor - meaning that 18mm is roughly equal to 29mm. I don't know what the cost difference is though.

If there's a good DSLR that will take your existing lens, I'd look into getting that so you won't have to start a new lens collection. If you don't care about that, then either Nikon or Canon are great DSLR starters.

Maybe slipe has other DSLR recommendations as well. It looks as though he has a thorough knowlege on many different brands of camera equipment. I wonder if he has a camera store in his den... :D
 
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I think the big question for you is whether or not your 20 plus year old lense collection will work with any of the current DSLRs---I dont think they will but don't quote me. My understanding is that when Konica bought out Minolta, they were suppose to support Konica lenses, but didn't follow through and you can't use the hexanon lenses with them. It might be the time to start new, and both Zero and Buck made excellent recommendations. Unfortunately, you are looking at more then 500 dollars for a DSLR and thus, you have to consider that also. I hear that there is still a market for the bodies and the lenses and maybe the thing to do would be to sell them, to finance your launch into digital photography.
 
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