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Old Aug 21, 2003, 12:16 PM   #1
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Default Digicam Convert’s Thoughts and Dilemma

This spring, after thirty years of shooting Canon SLRs, I purchased a Coolpix 5000. Now with almost six months of digital shooting under my belt, I’m hooked – good and proper. I can’t imagine ever going back to film, but I suppose like many of you, I’m struggling with what to do next.

I’m a relatively good amateur photographer—not great. No delusions there, but fairly decent. I got hooked on SLR’s back in the early 70’s with a used Canon FTB and two or three lenses—I still look at the photos from those years with great fondness. Then in the early 80’s a thief did me a favor when he helped himself to all my camera gear from the trunk of my car. I made the one and only insurance claim in my life, and ended up with a whole new system—EOS-650, a half-dozen EF lens, flash, filter sets, tripod, carry-case—everything. Gawd, I couldn’t believe how wonderful it all was.

A couple of years ago, my company gave me a cheap Kodak digital of some kind, for road trips. I took it begrudgingly. I’ve used CorelDraw and PhotoPaint for years, and as I worked with these mediocre field shots, I began to appreciate the potential of digital images. This spring, after considerable research, I bought the Coolpix 5000.

I am now totally hooked on digital photography. SWMBO and I are just back from two weeks in Maui. Being Scottish by descent and by nature, this ability to take many hundreds of photos appeals to me greatly. I took close to a thousand photos (culled down to around 175), where with film, I might have taken a hundred. And when done, I made them up into an annotated PowerPoint show. We can sit someone down in front of the PC or laptop, and they can go through the slides at their own speed, without someone sitting beside them saying, “Now, what happened here was…”, etc, etc, etc. People invariably rave about the slides and the presentation style. I love it.

I am impressed with many of the shots taken with the Coolpix, but after six months, I’ve concluded “it ain’t cuttin’ the mustard”. It’s tiny little lens is pretty good, but on maximum zoom, even with a tripod, the quality is so-so. It is a constant struggle to keep the exposure correct—I’m always tweaking the Exposure Compensation. The tiny little LCD screen is virtually useless on bright sunny days.

Referring to my “dilemma” in the subject line, the camera I really wanted was the Canon EOS-10D, but (again, thanks to that Scottish heritage) couldn’t quite justify the cost. Now I’m leaning towards it again. But I read about all the other cameras with their high-tech “bells and whistles”, and struggle with what to get next. Selling the Coolpix now (with the recent release of the Coolpix 5400) will result in a 50 – 75% “bath”, from the original purchase price. It’s kinda like PC’s and cars—they lose 50% of their value within weeks of purchase.

Yesterday, I went into the camera shop with all my EF lenses and got my hands on an EOS-10D. They are big cameras. Let me say that again—they are BIIIIIIIIGGGGGG cameras. It’s considerably bigger than my EOS-650. I know that if I got this thing, I’d soon be pining away for the Coolpix, that fit nicely in a waist pack. And with having to multiply all my EF lens optics by 1.6, my favourite wide-angle zoom is pretty much useless. What to do? What to do?

The IT industry has trained us to upgrade our PC’s every couple of years, as processor speed and software capabilities (and required storage space) have skyrocketed. It seems that the camera industry is taking us down the same road with digital camera technology.

I guess I’ll stick with the Coolpix for a while longer and watch as new technology comes out of the woodwork on an almost daily basis. While digital is wonderful, it sure it complicated….!

Thanks for putting up with my whining…!

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Old Aug 21, 2003, 1:12 PM   #2
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I've been thinking the same thing. I've been using ny Fuji 602 for nearly a year and really appreciate the manual controls. But as you say, some things niggle, e.g loss of real wide angle with minimal distortion, less DOF, focussing, lenses which take filters and hoods, RAW mode and other things.

Then I saw some excitement about a new Canon dslr (I think it was a 300 something). That's when I began thinking that prosumer cam is OK for most things, but to get more you need to access a range of decent lenses. At the mo. DSLR is out of my pocket, but the word is this Canon with lenses will give the competition (even best prosumer) a run for its money. It's apparently a real 6Mpix and that wouln't be a limitation for me, but 12Mpix would be nice. VOX
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Old Aug 21, 2003, 1:52 PM   #3
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Look carefully at the 300D before buying. It has some user interface issues which won't bother its intended market (the Rebel using, middle amature market) but if you want to do serious work with it you might find it lacking.

I have a friend who makes money at photography and has been doing it for 40 years. He has a Fuji S2 (upgrade from a D100 he gave away)... and a CP5000. And he uses them both. He always carries the 5000 everywhere. The S2 comes out for serious work. Hiking/photography afternoons and paid jobs.

Except for the money issue, I would keep both. One for when you want the higher quality and flexability more than you want small. And the 5000 you carry around when small and convient is what you want.

The 10D is a very good camera. I easily and highly recommend it. But that doesn't mean you should get it.

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Old Aug 21, 2003, 3:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by eric s
He has a Fuji S2 (upgrade from a D100 he gave away)... Eric
When your friend decides to give away his S2, I'll be happy to send him a prepaid box to ship it in, and arrange for pickup of it at his convenience (I don't want him to go to any extra trouble trying to get rid of it).

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Old Aug 21, 2003, 5:36 PM   #5
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Loved your post - well written, honest, insightful and pretty much sums up my feelings about digital photography.

I didn't realize the extent the cost of film and hassle of processing inhibited my photography. I'd use 3-5 rolls of 36 exposure film and cull a vacation down to 30 mediocre pictures and a handful of nice ones. Now I can take many hundreds of shots, experiment to my heart's delight, cull them with a vengence, and end up with 30 very good pictures.

I've pretty much abandoned film photography though I fondly remember the Pentax Spotmatic and Nikon F of my youth, with which I took razor sharp, but artistically challenged photos. Last week I gave away my Pentax SF1n to my niece, a photography student. I kept my Canon PS camera but expect to use it only as a backup.

My Nikon 5400 is a bit disappointing. My Canon 3.2 mp S230 has better color and sharpness, but I need the 28mm equivalent of the Nikon so I'm stuck unless Canon produces a "G6" with a 28mm equivalent or better yet, a 24mm equivalent. BTW add-on lenses don't work for me, they're half the size of the camera and a pain to carry and constantly attach/detach while picture taking.

Digital SLR's. I agree, they're too big (for my needs). If they got them down to the size of the Olympus OM-1 or Pentax MX/ME (for you younger folks, these were very compact 1970's cameras), I'd consider it.

My ideal camera would be 6mp to 8mp, a 24mm to 100mm equivalent zoom, have the convenience and manual features of the Nikon 5400, the size of the Canon S230/S400, and though I'm not Scottish, I'd like it to cost under $300.

The ability to conveniently post-process digital photos is the final nail in film photography's coffin, IMHO. I tried printing color years ago. It took 20 minutes of sloshing around with toxic chemicals in the dark to create a print, and it wasn't even dry yet. If it took 5 tries to get the best exposure and best dodging/burning combination, it was already time for bed. Don't get me started on the time required for setup or clean up. And the cost of five sheets of color paper for each good print...you don't have to be Scottish to cringe at that!
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