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Old May 6, 2004, 12:21 AM   #1
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I'm currently just getting back into photography, and am trying to figure out which way to go for a digital SLR... I don't have the money to spend on something like a D70, but is it worth saving up for, or is the 5700, for example, going to meet my needs more or less. What are the main differences between the 2?
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Old May 6, 2004, 9:53 AM   #2
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Pros and Cons == Prosumer versus Digital SLR:

There are pros and cons to a Digital SLR.

LCD Framing: unlike a consumer (or "prosumer") camera like the CP 5700, the LCD can't be used for framing on a DSLR.

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a consumer level (non-DSLR) camera, you often have to spend much more money, especially to get lenses that are as "fast" (widest apertures available at wide angle and zoom). To get all the features (macro performance, zoom range, etc.), you must often purchase more than one lens, too.

Camera Size/Weight: Because of the larger sensors used in most Digital SLR cameras, the lenses also have to be larger and heavier for the same focal ranges/light gathering ability.

Sensor Cleaning: When you swap lenses, you risk dust getting into the the sensor.

Features: you often don't get the "bells, whistles and buzzers" found on a consumer model in a DSLR (i.e., sound recording, panaroma modes, movie modes, etc.).

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens Optical Viewfinder"

Much Better Dynamic Range -- again, this is mostly due to the much larger sensor being used.

Ability to Shoot at Higher ISO speeds with lower noise. Most Prosumer models have fairly high noise levels at higher ISO speeds (again, mostly due to pixel density of the smaller sensors). The DSLR's have much larger sensors, and much better signal to noise ratios.

For low light photography (or sports photography), many users find that consumer grade cameras can be virtually useless in many situations, due to extremely high noise --- especially at ISO 400. Settings above ISO 400 are usually not even available on many Consumer Grade Cameras (because the images would be virtually unusable due to noise). Many users find noise levels to be too high even at ISO 100 or 200, compared to a Digital SLR in some lighting conditions.

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLR's use a Phase Detection Focus System which is extremely fast. Most Consumer Grade Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System which can be slow (and often unreliable) in lower light.

Ability to Control Depth of Field - The smaller sensors used in a Consumer Grade Camera limit your ability to control Depth of Field (blur backgrounds by using wider apertures). This is because Depth of Field is based on the Actual (versus 35mm) equivalent focal length of the lens (and a much shorter focal length lens can be used on a consumer model, to get the same equivalent focal length in a DSLR).

[Added]Of course, some users may not care about blurring backgrounds for effect, and may like the greater DOFa non-DSLR camera would have at a given 35mm equivalent focal length/aperture/focus distance, too. So, depending on your perspective, this could be looked at as an advantage, or a disadvantage to a DSLR.

Lenses become an investment - With a Digital SLR, when you upgrade your camera body later, you can take your lenses with you within the same manufacturer. With a consumer grade camera, the lenses are permanently attached.

Speed of Writes - The processors used in most Digital SLR's are dramatically faster than the processors used in consumer grade cameras. As a result the camera's overall operation is usually much faster.

A few other comments:

Both types of cameras can be great for many users. Some users have both (a compact consumer model good for most shooting situations, that is much easier to carry); as well as a Digital SLR (with multiple lenses) for special purpose applications.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

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Old May 6, 2004, 11:16 AM   #3
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Is the D70 woth saving up for? In my opinion, absolutely yes!I bought a D70 a short time ago. Ilove my camera; it is capable of takingpictures of awesome quality. The camera is definitely not for everyone though. It all depends on what you plan to do with your camera, how much you'll use it, skill level, personal tastes, etc. Here are some of my reasons why I decided to buy the D70 and perhap this will help you decide if you would like to save for it or stick with something a bit cheaper in price:

  1. No shutter lag in the D70. Turn it on , press the shutter button and the picture is taken. With most digicams you have to wait 3 to 5 secs for startup and then maybe as long as another second for the camera to focus and take the shot. [/*]
  2. Abiltilty to swap out lenes. If I want wide, put on a wide. If I want zoom, put on a zoom. I'm not stuck with what came with the camera and the lens is an investment I can use on numerous other bodies I might buy down the road. [/*]
  3. Low picture noise. Because the sensor is bigger, I can take pictures at higher iso with less noise than a digicam. [/*]
  4. Better depth of field control [/*]
  5. Abilty to take pictures in raw. Many high end digi's offer this as well though. [/*]
  6. Excellent buffer. With the write speeds and buffer I am able to take pictures back to back at a descent speed. [/*]
  7. The camera feels more like a traditional camera. I am able to change many features just by pressing a button and rotating a dial while looking through the viewfinder or at the lcd. Many digicams require that you go into long menus to get equivalent functionality if you can even get it. [/*]
  8. Extemely long battery life
Ok, cons tothe D70:
  1. Heavier and bigger then most digicams [/*]
  2. Dust can get on the sensor. It typically isn't noticable but in outside shots and can be cloned out, but if you get a lot of dust .... that's a lot of editing. Eventually you have to get your sensor cleaned. [/*]
  3. Since the D70 cannot show you the live feed, you can not use the LCD to compose your shot ....I don't care, but many do. [/*]
  4. Price obviously. While it one of the lowest costing DSLR's, you can get a digi much cheaper.
Good luck on your decision. I would try to take pictures with both prior to making a decision to evaluate what is important to you, how they feel in your hands, etc. Something else to consider, if you've been out of photography for a long time and you've never owned a digital, then you may want to go cheap on your first camera for 2 reasons:
  1. It'll help you see if you'll use your camera much, how you'll use it, etc, without a spending a large sum of money. I have bought many things thinking I'd use it and ended up just wasting money because it sat on my shelf. [/*]
  2. It'll help you decide what features are important to you. When I bought my first digital I did a good bit of research and thought I determined what I needed in a camera. My first digital was a Nikon 4300 and I liked it very much, but through using it, I learned that I had not put enoughconsideration on features such as DOF and shutter lag.[/*]
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Old May 6, 2004, 3:38 PM   #4
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I would also save your money for the D70. That is only if you are willing to spend about $2,000 after getting a case, extra battery, memory cards and tax. The 5700 for me was $780 after getting all the above items, and getting my $150 rebate. I would said the 5700 takes just as good photos, but like they mentioned above, there is no delay in shots, and action shots are not even an issue. :-)

I have gotten passed some of the problems by getting a 40 x speed Lexar card, using quick mode all the time, and shooting in high jpeg most of the time. In low light, keep the auto focus on continous to get shots faster as well. My shots are just as good if not better than my Canon Elan. The colors are a little more alive and the zoom is just amazing.

On the flip side, if you are interestedspending even more money for zoom lenses and another bag, the D70 is the way to go. For my budget though, and the shots I take, it is not warranted. I am going to a baseball game on Saturday and we are suppose to have showers. I will throw the balance from auto to cloudy setting and shoot away. Last time it was cloudy at the zoo, my pictures came out fantastic.

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