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Any Digital SLR Camera owners out there?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by drewmo, Dec 15, 2007.

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  1. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    I'm thinking of getting a Nikon D80. Reviews seem good, the price is a bit high for our budget, but anything less I think will be a waste of money. I know my way around SLRs and really enjoy good photography. Any thoughts on this camera or an equivalent for an ameteur?

    A related question, we'll be new parents in late-January. I've been debating whether we should put our money on a video camera instead of a still. We already have a point & shoot digital camera, which also takes video. I'm thinking we'll get more enjoyment out of a still camera - photos to frame for the home and share online with friends & family, plus ease of viewing. But I could be wrong. Am I?

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The D80 is a nice camera, but the D40 has more features than your average hobbyist would use. I have a D50 and it will do anything I need, plus a whole lot more.

    You can read some of the extensive reviews at various places online to get a good idea of which features you need, and which ones you don't. I would highly recommend a D50, but I believe it has been replaced by the 40.

    As you probably know, you can't shoot video with a digital SLR.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    My son wanted digital SLR, but then he started thinking about it. If you are not going to use a lens collection, then exactly what are the true advantages. I talked him into accepting (an xmas gift) a Canon IS, a newer version of what DonCt uses....check out these (very reduced) pics:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/8198/#94902

    I told him if this does not do the job for him, at least he is only out a hundred or two (can sell it)...

    But the fact is that these newer non-slrs have full manual controls and many other features.

    There are even some non-slrs that have lenses that you cannot start to buy (according to the reviews) for less than many thousand dollars.
    Example:
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/r1.html

    "the Sony DSC-R1 defines a new category in the prosumer digital camera market and offers a compelling alternative to enthusiasts who might otherwise consider a dSLR. Thanks to its high quality lens and large image sensor, the R1 sets a new standard for image quality among prosumer cameras, especially at high ISO settings."

    Other sites also say the optics on that camera alone are worth more than the total camera price.


    So do your full research and get something tailored to your actual use.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Note: for a slightly better technical review, see:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscr1/
    Scroll down the page and notice that it uses a BIG chip, which allows for better imaging -

    The verdict:
    "I'll start as I shall no doubt finish this little piece of editorial, the lens is worth the price of the DSC-R1 alone. That fact is not to be underestimated, it's a great lens which provides you with a very useful 24 - 120 mm zoom range (which will be sufficient for the majority of users). Doing the math it's pretty clear that you have to spend a fairly considerable sum on lenses for a D-SLR to get close to this range and the quality of the DSC-R1's lens.
    If you're an absolute perfectionist who doesn't mind spending more on lenses and shoots a lot at ISO 1600 you may wish to consider something else, for everyone else I have no hesitation in Highly Recommending the DSC-R1."

    If I didn't love my old giant sony (F707) so much (how many digital cameras are still really useful after 6-7 years?), I'd probably look hard at the R1.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I had a Fuji Finepix big-lens digi for years and it took great shots. However, I never got the shots I wanted, because you're not looking through the lens--you're looking through an electronic viewfinder and more often than not the picture you think you're getting, isn't the picture that is on the card. That's the main difference I see. If you have a collection of Nikkor lenses, they'll all fit on a Nikon D-SLR, which is another plus for many people, since there are about a zillion Nikon lenses floating around.
  6. kenora

    kenora Member

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    I'm looking for a decent digital SLR as well but can tell you from many years experience with a video camera (on my 3rd Sony) THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VIDEO when it comes to HEARING your kids or WATCHING THEM ON CHRISTMAS MORNING etc etc....get the SLR (I know I will too) but particularly if you are going to have kids you will treasure the video a decade (or 2) after you took it. I had forgotten how my daughter's voice use to sound like Minnie Mouse when she was about 3...and laugh my azz off when I see the goofieness when she was 8 or 9...all good ammo for a video/picture montage/presentation at her wedding one day!
  7. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    I've used a N70 since 1999. We finally went digital this year with the D80. I can't say enough good things about this camera. I still use my old lens collection, but I did buy the camera with a 18-135 which covers most of our needs. With building our new home I haven't had a chance to explore many of the features yet! Hobbies are for folks without lots of little kids I guess. Shop around; the prices have come down quite a bit and you'll likely spot a Christmas special somewhere. Regarding the amateur status...I think the D80 is smart enough that it takes better pictures when I don't meddle with the settings!
  8. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    We're buying a D80. It has the fastest shot to shot. I believe the D40X has next fastest. I think if we buy anything less we will aways say "we should have bought the 80"...Check out Woodbutchers post with his FIRST pic taken with his new D80. One look and I was sold: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/10015/
  9. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    The benchmark for digital SLRs is Canon - they cover everything from entry models like the digital rebel up to multi-thousand dollar full frame cameras which have no real competition on the market. As a result, there are far more high quality lenses and accessories available for Canon than any other make. Most serious photographers and professionals using SLR are on the Canon platform for that reason.

    However, Canon knows this - and they charge accordingly. And if you're not prepared to spend hundreds on the lens on top of the camera, then you would likely be happier with something cheaper. Exception would be if you can live with a prime lens that has no zoom optics - the 50mm/f1.8 for ~$90 is a legendary value. Among zooms, the 17-40/f4 L-series for $600 is well regarded as an "entry" level zoom that keeps up with the camera's potential. There are also some good choices for "crop sensors" designed especially for reduced size sensors as most digital SLRs less use. Most any lens shipped in a camera "kit" you buy at the big box stores will be junk compared to any of these lenses.

    I was really glad I finally made the transition from point and shoot digital to SLR digital, but I didn't do it until I could afford a couple high quality weather-sealed lenses for travel photography. And many would still consider what I'm using as "basic." The nice thing with Canon is I can sell them on e-bay for 80% of what I paid, and upgrade to any level of quality I'd ever want in the future.

    If my objective was simply better shutter performance and a few extra manual controls but no real interest in improved image quality or access to a broad line of lens capability and quality (which many people could care less about) then I'd go with one of the cheaper entry-level digital SLRs on the market over a Canon or Nikon - they'll meet those objectives just fine and will save you some cash.

    -Colin
  10. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    ps - I see you're expecting kids - my brother was blown away with the pictures of my 1-year old nephew taken using that 50mm/f1.8 prime lens that showed up via mail-order one day when they were over. Right out of the box, the lens yielded results that you simply cannot get with a cheaper point-and-shoot, yet didn't break the bank. If you like photography, you'll be happy with access to such a huge range of lenses. Check out www.photo.net for more info - I found it really helpful when evaluating SLRs.

    -Colin
  11. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    So, I bit the bullet and ordered the Nikon D80 with 18-135mm lens. The package included a 2GB card. It's being shipped to the mother-in-law, who will bring it from the States to France (same camera here costs about 1/2 more!). I believe I will have everything I need to begin taking photos once the battery is charged. Aside from accessories, is there anything else I'm going to need that doesn't come in the box in order to start taking photos?
  12. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Just charge the batteries and you'll be ready to rock and roll. You may want to get a tripod for those self-timed family shots on holidays :p. Be sure to let me know how you like the camera.
  13. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    You should consider getting a "prime" lens - something around 35-50 mm focal length.

    The zoom lenses that come in the "kits" are generally junk designed to sell cameras to the mass market where zoom matters and aperture limits/optical quality don't. But if you dig into things, you'll find there are myriad compromises made to have a one-size-fits-all lens. A prime lens won't zoom, but it'll provide amazing optical quality. It's far easier/cheaper to build a really good prime lens - a zoom that matches a $100 prime lens could easily run you $1000. A prime will also capture a lot more light which means less need to use flash - particularly valuable indoors.

    Canon has a 50mm prime for $80 that lets you run f/1.8. This enables very good photos in low light without having to go to higher ISO settings that introduce noise. You have a nice camera - the extra $100 on a prime lens that will truly take advantage of it may be well worth it.

    Check out www.photo.net for more info/ideas now that you have such a capable camera body!

    -Colin
  14. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    So, the D80 has arrived. I love it. Haven't had much time to play with it yet, but what photos I and others have taken with it look great. The camera feels good in my hands. Still lots to figure out on the camera. Most of my use with it so far has been indoors under low light. I think the built-in flash serves it's purpose, but I wouldn't mind getting a better flash for the shoe. Can't wait to get outside into natural light. Below is the reason why I haven't had much time. He's our first and is just 6 days old today. Can't think of anything better than sitting by the fire with my little man - and taking lots of photos of him!

    [​IMG]
  15. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Drewmo, Congratulations on the arrival of your camera and more importantly - your son! He's beautiful! Take lots of pictures as they grow so fast - trust me you won't believe it.
  16. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    Nice pic! I think you'll enjoy your new slr! Try not to get bit too hard by the lens buying bug!
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