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Old Mar 22, 2005, 3:56 PM   #1
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... cause a dSLR body is way out of my price range and a p&s digital is a pOs for taking indoor images without flash.

Basically, I'd like at least 2 or 3 stops faster shutter speeds all around than my S1 IS is capable of, with somewhat less noise (assuming the same resolution). I looked at the prices of some of the zoom lenses (for example 70-200mm and 100-300mm) and even the F/4.5-5.6 lenses are a bit steep. I do at least want the equivalent "figure of merit" at "full telephoto" that my S1 IS has, preferably more like the Panasonic FZ-20 though.

Some pics I'd be taking are:
telephoto pics in moderate daylight (i.e. equivalent to full zoom to full digital zoom on my S1 IS (I'd be willing to crop in post-processing).)
standard focal length (50mm to 100mm) indoor low-light fast-shutter no-flash pics. (my S1 at 54mm can do F/2.8 at ISO 400 - I'd like something at least 2 or 3 stops faster.)
wide angle (15-30mm) indoor pics (so I don't have to point the lens at the subject being photographed, assuming she's not > 20 feet from the camera), then crop to get just her. (also would use this outdoors).
I'd prefer to get as few lenses as possible, for example a wide-zoom that's moderately fast, a standard/medium tele that's super fast (but not too expensive) and a zoom tele that's either semi-slow with IS or fairly fast without IS.
If I get a flash, it will probably be a long time (unless I find a good deal on an "invisible" (infra-red - Sony NightShot anyone?) flash) before I do. I very rarely plan on using a flash, but I wouldn't mind having an on-board popup flash for when I need it and don't have an external yet.

What are some suggestions? Right now I don't have a specific budget in mind, but I'm looking into going into a film SLR not just to make room in my budget for better lenses, but because my budget is quite limited, and a dSLR body alone would exceed my budget.

Also what are the typical results of fast film speeds, like ISO 800 to ISO 6400?
And what does it cost (including the cost of film) to get pictures "developed" onto CD or DVD? (btw I want full resolution on the CD/DVD, not scaled down. If this means requiring multiple dual-layer DVDs for a single roll of film, that's OK so long as the developing costs aren't too high). BTW, if I take 1,500 pictures and get NONE printed (all displayed on my computer (btw maybe I might decide to print a few, but for purposes of this calulation we'll assume no prints)), would it be cheaper to get an EOS-3 and have the photo lab put them on CD/DVD instead of printing them (would have to pay for cost of developing plus cost of camera), or get an EOS-20D and just download to computer (would only have to pay for 20D)?

Also is there any inexpensive film SLR that will allow me to change film mid-roll so I can "change the ISO on the fly"?

I wonder if, considering how limited my budget is, I should start off with a film Rebel, ISO 800 (or 1600) film, and a 50mm F/1.8 lens?
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 10:13 PM   #2
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You want so much and want to pay nothing for it. :-)

I do have some thoughts though. You may not have to buy as much of a zoom as you think. By shooting a dSLR at higher MP's, you can effectively double the range of your zoom. For example, a 100mm lens shot at 6MP will give you the same info if you were to crop as if you were shooting a 200mm lens at 3MP like your S1. Almost any dSLR will have MUCH less noise at higher ISO's than the S1. I had one and sold it.

Now that the Rebel XT is out you can pick up the old Rebel pretty cheap. Have you considered that or is that out of your budget? Sell the S1 and buy the rebel. Pick up a Sigma 18-125 lens and a 55-200 and you'd be set except for a pretty fast lens. Pick up a 50mm 1.8 for about $70 and you are set.

You can shoot the Rebel at ISO 800 and have less noise than the S1 at ISO 100/200. If you shop carefull you can pick up some decent deals on lenses in the sizes you are looking for. If you are looking at shooting as many shots as you say, then digital is the way to go if you are NOT going to be wanting to pring a lot of them out. With my digital I shoot a lot more than my SLR because I am not worried about wasting "digital film" so I am willing to experiment more and do more bracketing to get JUST the shot I wanted. Film would make it too expensive to do what I want.

As you have already seen the problem with the small digicams is noise. That is why I bought the dSLR. I got tired of having to remove noise from almost every shot that wasn't in bright daylight!
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 10:51 PM   #3
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You don't need an expensive camera to change film on the fly. Almost any SLR allows you to do that. The pain is keeping notes on the rolls & re-feeding the film back in later and going far enough that you don't overlap the last image you shot, but not too far where you loose exposures.

You'll spend $200 or so for a lower level film SLR like the Rebel T2. A few fundred more (depending on the quality) for a set of lenses, then anywhere from $2-$3 per roll for ISO 100 print film to $7-$9 or more for high speed film or slide film, then, depending again on where you get it processed, anywhere from $5 at Walmart for a 36 exposure roll, to as much as over $20 a roll if you go to a nice, pro lab that will really give you good quality work- and extra at either place for photo CD's.

Film results at ISO 800 and above are not as good as you can get with a digital SLR, but are better than you'd see with most digicams at ISO 400 settings. Most "high speed" films are really no more than ISO 1000 speed. To use it at ISO 3200 means a significant loss in shadow details with lots of grain, and you DON'T get good results with the cheap processors with that type film. Images I take at ISO 800 with either my Digital Rebel or 10D are cleaner and nicer looking than I ever was able to obtain with a film SLR loaded with Fuji Press 800 film, and processed (at $30 a roll, which included a photo CD) at the local pro lab. Do the math on that- processing 24 rolls at that cost buys a new Digital Rebel. Back in 2003 I spent 13 days in Vancouver, BC. Shot 13 rolls of film with my Nikon F2 and spent over $300 processing those rolls at the local pro lab so I'd have first class images from a once-in-a-lifetime trip. A few months later I bought my first digital SLR.

If you are going to give film a try, your last statement is the way to go to start out. The Rebel T2 and a 50mm f1.8 lens is a perfect way to get your feet wet and try a wide assortment of films- the difference in price between that combo and an EOS 3 body only buys a lot of film and processing! Besides, if you can afford an EOS 3 then a Digital Rebel is not out of your budget. One of the first hurdles you face with film is finding a good lab. There's lots of cheap places out there being run by not-so-good lab attendants, and it can be totally frustrating, especially with print film where the lab basically makes or breaks your shots.
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 11:41 PM   #4
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Is it possible to get the film developed directly to CD without getting prints, then later I decide if I want prints?
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 12:01 AM   #5
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Yes, but prints are usually cheapest if purchased at the time of processing. At the local pro lab here in Dallas, a photo CD, when bought with processing and prints costs $7.50 extra over and above the cost of processing and prints. If you don't have prints made, they charge you $14.50 for the Photo CD! Go back later for prints and the price of a 4x6 print after processing is much more expensive than having it printed at the time the film is processed.

Places like Walmart are cheaper, but for the most part the same rule applies- processing+printing together costs less than processing alone then going back later for prints unless you only have 8-10 keepers in your roll that you want printed, but then you have to make another round trip to the lab to have them printed, and gas isn't cheap today!
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 2:14 AM   #6
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Another thing I should ask is how much approximately can you crop a 35mm scan? (I'm hoping I don't have to spend huge bucks on a > 300mm lens.) For example let's say I take a shot with a 200mm lens, then crop it and have it converted to digital with the same "resolution" as if I had taken it with a Panasonic FZ-20. Also, I would be using a fast film - 800 or 1600, for example. (btw what's the difference in grain quality / lack thereof between 800 or 1600 color film vs 3200 or 6400 b&w film?)
If I could get a 16mp image with a 4x crop from a 200mm lens, that would be nice. At what point, though, would the grain get in the way too much? My target maximum grain level is about what a Panasonic FZ-series camera or Canon G6 would have at ISO 200 (like I said I'd be using film a few stops faster).

Is there a website where I can see example shots comparing various aspects of this?


Another thing I just thought of...
let's say I decide to consider pinhole/homemade camera.
In that case, what do I need to do to get a 50mm focal length (in 35mm equivalent terms) at F/1.0 or F/1.4 (or even F/2.0)? Also how do I get ISO 800 or ISO 1600 with it?
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 8:10 AM   #7
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Pinhole? Now that's going in the completely opposite direction....

You'll need to google on that one. I'm not a pinhole fan, but I do know alot of the "focal length" is derived from the size of the holeand the distance from the hole to the film plane.

As far as cropping and how much you can a scanned negative, alot of that will depend on what resolution your negative is scannedat. Most times you are just better off printing from the negative. What size scan isprovided isone of the first questions you need to ask your lab, as many photo CD's are not scanned at a size to allow you to make big prints- they arecertainly not big enoughtoallow forsignificant cropping. Larger scans cost more, and most "cheap" processors will only provide scansup toa certain size, meaning if you want big scans you'll be visiting the local pro (more expensive) lab more often than not, assuming there is one in your area.
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 12:32 PM   #8
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Is there a film scanner that I could get in which I could load the exposed (but undeveloped film) in it, and scan each frame at, say, 3000 or 4000 or even 6000dpi? (then if the grain was bad when the image got to the screen, I would resize the pic down in PS to make it more acceptable and make a note of what dpi to scan at in the future for that speed film.)
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 1:45 PM   #9
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What about an option like this:
sell my S1, and my 1GB, 512MB, 256MB, 128MB, and 64MB CF cards (no high-speed cards)

get a film Rebel or similar camera
get a 50mm F/1.8 or 1.4 lens
get an up to 200 or 300mm zoom lens that's either "fast" without IS or "slow" with IS (prefer fast without IS)
get a wide angle (35mm or wider) F/2.8 or faster lens

for when I want a compact digital for spur-of-the-moment snapshots, get a camera with 3x to 4x optical zoom, about Canon A-series size up to Sony V1 size, preferably no slower than F/4.0 at full zoom and at least F/2.8 at wideangle and preferably no more than 2mp on 1/2" sensor or 3mp on 1/1.8" sensor (don't know of any 2/3" sensor cameras that are small enough though) - exceptions to which I've seen good results, though, are Canon S30 which has "useable?" ISO 800 but F/4.x at zoom, and Sony V1 which also has ISO 800, F/4.0 at full zoom, and has nightshot mode (but uses memory stick and proprietary battery)

Any suggestions? Prefer that the selling price of current equipment and purchase price of "new" equipment match or imbalance in favor of selling price.
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Old Mar 23, 2005, 4:17 PM   #10
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I have the FZ20, really nice camera. You can get a used rebel and used 75-300 IS for about 800-900. Choices choices.... If you settle for something you MIGHT think will like work for you, you will regret it. Save your money and wait and get something you know you will be pleased with.
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