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Old 01-20-09, 12:41 PM   #1
Suttree
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digital SLR

I kinda want one--I have a somewhat janky Nikon coolpix camera that
has a long lag time between when you pull the trigger and when it takes
a pic. I'm not a camera person so I have only this vague idea that an SLR
is better because you are looking through the same aperture through which
the picture is taken so "what you see is what you get"--but I also want
a camera that has a fast shutter speed to cut down on blurring etc.
Any thoughts?
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Old 01-20-09, 12:44 PM   #2
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more is more, and less is less.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:46 PM   #3
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I think you are on the right track.

I have a Sony Alpha 200 and I have done little with it yet except to use it as a high end point & shoot, and the difference in picture quality is amazing.

The difference between the optics and the better electronics is amazing. And mine is definitely entry level. I have 2 lenses, and still need to get an external flash, but even without it, I am much happier than I was with my previous two point & shoot cameras I had before (which were a couple of Olympus Stylus cameras).

The only down side is that they are a little less portable.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:51 PM   #4
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I hate lag time and trying to compose an image on a tiny LCD screen. I know your frustration.
Flip a coin and pick Canon or Nikon, then go look at their entry level SLRs.
KEH.com has good used cameras.

And if you can get over zoom fever that all new SLR owners have, pick up a 50mm prime lens. They are tack sharp and cheep. It and the kit lens will take you far.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:53 PM   #5
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Entry level Nikons were to be had for a song before xmas. Not sure if that's still the case.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiju-velo View Post
...I have only this vague idea that an SLR
is better because you are looking through the same aperture through which
the picture is taken so "what you see is what you get"...
No, you are looking through the lens wide open, you have to press a button on the side to see it with the aperture stopped down.
But you are looking through the lens, not through a view finder or LCD screen and that make all the difference.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:41 PM   #7
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I went from a Coolpix 885 to a D60. Huge, huge difference. Instant shutter, for example. Much better picture quality, and just a more versatile camera in general.

The 885's lag time drove me frakking batty. I don't know why I put up with it as long as I did.
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Old 01-20-09, 03:36 PM   #8
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I went from a Coolpix 885 to a D60. Huge, huge difference. Instant shutter, for example. Much better picture quality, and just a more versatile camera in general.

The 885's lag time drove me frakking batty. I don't know why I put up with it as long as I did.
things have moved along quite a bit since the summer of 2001.
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Old 01-20-09, 04:44 PM   #9
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First things first if shutter lag is your biggest issue: most cameras, SLR or point-and-shoot have a two stage shutter release. Pressing it halfway activates the auto-focus. Pressing it all the way releases the shutter. If the camera is out of focus, even for most SLR's, it won't take the picture until it's in focus.

Even on a point-and-shoot, if you frame and focus properly beforehand, the shutter lag after you fully depress the shutter release is generally a fraction of a second. An SLR will offer a minor improvement in this regards, not night and day difference.

The same goes for shutter speed and related blur. SLR's have the same shutter speed if all other settings are equal. The difference is that SLR's do better at increasing the ISO and thereby getting away with faster shutter speeds in low light without getting a grainy-looking picture.

That said, SLR's are generally way more pleasant to use in almost every aspect, assuming you're willing to carry around the extra bulk. If the size is acceptable to you, then start looking at the other aspects like low light performance, shutter lag, sharpness, etc.
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Old 01-20-09, 05:07 PM   #10
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Something that caught my attention is the release of the "micro four thirds" camera. It's a new take on an traditional idea. The Panasonic released the G1 bases on this system and dpreview seems to like it:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0901/09...icg1review.asp

I'm intrigued to say the least. I read about as much as I could but didn't see anything about shutter noise. Seems with the mirror change, shutter noise might be much less. Anyone know? I've been to a couple events that were arguably appropriate for picture taking. Those damn slr's though, with the burst mode and noisy shutters got on my nerves REAL quick. That's definitely when the p&s rules.
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Old 01-20-09, 05:50 PM   #11
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I'm impressed with the Canon Rebel I got a year ago, they just re-designed the camera in 2009 and made it even better. 90% of what you'd get with a $3K pro SLR, gives up something in virtual ISO, but that really impacts low light chip sensitivity/grain more than anything else. Takes pictures like this:



I really like the ergonomics and software. Easy to adjust shutter speed/F stop/light balance/ISO, etc. You really note the difference in product shots we do for drawing reference, the point and shoot can't match the SLR. I like it so much I'm thinking about upgrading to the newest model.
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Old 01-20-09, 07:36 PM   #12
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I've got a Rebel XSi and an Olympus Stylus 850SW. The Rebel does shoot remarkably better but the Stylus is still fantastic. The main selling points on my 850 were the shock resistance (resists five foot drops), waterproofing (Up to 10 feet), and it's small enough to fit well in my pocket, or tankbag, or whatever.
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Old 01-20-09, 07:44 PM   #13
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I've got a Rebel XSi and an Olympus Stylus 850SW. The Rebel does shoot remarkably better but the Stylus is still fantastic. The main selling points on my 850 were the shock resistance (resists five foot drops), waterproofing (Up to 10 feet), and it's small enough to fit well in my pocket, or tankbag, or whatever.
The main drawback to an SLR system, you over develop your shoulders 'cause you end up carrying a ton of crap.

Even if you just want to carry the body and one lens, you sorta need a camera bag. And so long as you have the bag you may as well bring some filters, and why not bring another lens (that's why you got an SLR, right), and the flash would be good for fill light, and the kitchen sink will be useful for processing film on site...
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Old 01-20-09, 07:45 PM   #14
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I've had a couple of digital SLR's for years. The cheaper rebel is considerably better than the previous semi-pro digital Canons that preceded it. All that high zoot technology has really trickled down to the lower line more consumer oriented SLR models. I mostly use mine in my work, which is all in my office studio at home, but I'm impressed at how well the Rebel comports itself and holds up when I drag it out into the field.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:25 PM   #15
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Shutter lag is frustrating. Canon's line of cameras have nearly eliminated it, for the most part, even on the lower end.

I have a Rebel XT and a Powershot A570IS. Each is a few generations old, but excellent cameras nonetheless.

Quote:
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Even if you just want to carry the body and one lens, you sorta need a camera bag. And so long as you have the bag you may as well bring some filters, and why not bring another lens (that's why you got an SLR, right), and the flash would be good for fill light, and the kitchen sink will be useful for processing film on site...
Heh. I outgrew the smallish bag I got with my camera, and recently picked up a rather large Pelican bag. I like it a lot. It holds a ton.

Problem is, I left the camera at home a lot before because it was bulky, now it's even more so. Last trip I took, I ended up taking nothing but the body, the 50mm f/1.8 lens, two batteries, and a memory card. It was nice.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:36 PM   #16
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I have a great digital SLR.

I use it less and less. My last vacation, I didn't even take it -- I took my Panasonic compact camera and I was very happy with the photos I got.

Point-and-shoot compact digital cameras have gotten so much better over the past few years that you should consider whether you really want/need a camera as large as an SLR, or whether you just need to update your compact.

The *best* pictures are the ones you actually take, and if you have a camera that is too large to carry around with you all the time you won't get the photo anyway.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:38 PM   #17
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Today, almost any camera, even relatively small/cheap P&S's, can take superb pictures. What you're buying with a larger/more-expensive cameras is the ability to deal with more challenging situations: low light, fast action, wide-angle and telephoto, flash, etc.

And the line between a true DSLR and very capable high-end P&S continues to be blurred. There are some very capable cameras just below the true SLRs that do everything the DSLR does except swap lenses. And the DSLRs are starting to have the feature that you can see the image in the LCD screen as well as the viewfinder.

For someone intending to use a camera for bicycling/traveling activities, my advice is to first make sure you have a good, current-technology small P&S with good manual overrides (like the Canon A-series) and know how to use it quickly and effortlessly. Keep it with you all the time, and take a lot of pictures. If you can only have a single camera with you on a trip, you'll want the P&S because you'll take a lot of great pictures during the time when you would be hauling the big DSLR out of your luggage. I travel with groups and the folks lugging the fancy camera equipment never bother to take pictures - they're too worried about damaging their equipment and it's too much trouble to unpack. Even if you do haul a bigger camera, keep the P&S around and ready to go.

If you need more camera for the versatility and more demanding situations I mentioned above, then get the DSLR if you are going to buy, pack, and use all the extra lenses and accessories that only the DSLR can use: wide-angles, telephotos, speedlites, filters, etc. (On a bicycle, this approaches infeasibility - even a basic DSLR setup with a few lenses, speedlite, filters, etc. is going to weigh 20+ lbs.) But if you're not going to do this and just want to shoot better pictures with the basic camera, go with one of the more advanced non-DSLR cameras like the Canon G10.

98% of good pictures is the photographer, not the camera.

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Old 01-20-09, 08:39 PM   #18
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Yep. The best pics are the ones you take. My Canon compact gets a whole lot of use, that's the one I put in my back jersey pocket when I take pics on my bike like this one from Greece last summer.

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Old 01-20-09, 08:45 PM   #19
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Shutter lag is frustrating. Canon's line of cameras have nearly eliminated it, for the most part, even on the lower end.

I have a Rebel XT and a Powershot A570IS. Each is a few generations old, but excellent cameras nonetheless.

Heh. I outgrew the smallish bag I got with my camera, and recently picked up a rather large Pelican bag. I like it a lot. It holds a ton.

Problem is, I left the camera at home a lot before because it was bulky, now it's even more so. Last trip I took, I ended up taking nothing but the body, the 50mm f/1.8 lens, two batteries, and a memory card. It was nice.
I love a fifty.

I've gotten to where I'll pick a lens for the day and roll with it.
I keep all my equipment in a big Pelican box (god I love their ****) and pluck a few things from it to a small day bag.

While traveling that 24mm T/S, a small flash, charger, and an iPod for a memory dump, and I'm happy.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:56 PM   #20
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I love a fifty.
It's such a nice lens. Can't beat the price, either. It's a bit more difficult with the Rebel line's 1.6x crop making it an 80mm, but the 17-40 F/4L fills in the shorter end of the spectrum well enough to have kept me from shelling out for a 28mm.

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and an iPod for a memory dump
Howzat work? Not that I've ever run out of room between a pair of 2GB cards, but that'd be a pretty neat way to back things up.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:01 PM   #21
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Howzat work? Not that I've ever run out of room between a pair of 2GB cards, but that'd be a pretty neat way to back things up.
http://store.apple.com/us/product/M9861G/C
^^^
That little gizmo.

Uses the camera's usb port.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:04 PM   #22
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http://store.apple.com/us/product/M9861G/C
^^^
That little gizmo.

Uses the camera's usb port.
Huh, nifty. Whoda thunk.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:07 PM   #23
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Huh, nifty. Whoda thunk.
I love it. Leave the laptop at home.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:21 PM   #24
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this is a wealth of info!
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Old 01-20-09, 10:36 PM   #25
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To get that shot of me cycling I set up my tiny Canon digital elph on a rock and fired off the self timer while I rode past a few times.
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