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Old Mar 17, 2004, 9:52 AM   #1
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Default Dust Problem with DSLRs

I don't whether this has been debated in full ... or even whether it is a problem at all but I've been told that dust contamination in the camera chamber created when changing lenses can be a real issue with a digital SLR.

I'm currently trying to make a decision on whether to invest one of the following
Canon 300D + Canon 18-55 & Sigma 55-200
Nikon 8700
Nikon 5700 (not as good as 8700 but 66% of the price. (300 [c.$520] cash difference.

I've previously used a Nikon traditional SLR and was always very happy so I've got a certain brand loyalty.

Also the plastic Canon seems much less robust compared to the Mag alloy Nikon.

But... I can't convince myself that a 'compact' (with a 1.5 teleconvertor when required) will be as good as an SLR

Ultimately the one that will give me the best wildlife (birds) and landscape pictures will be most likely to win!

Hopefully you chaps on the other side of the pond will be able to shed some light on this being as how you seem to be at least 6 months ahead of us over here.


cheers

prm
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Old Mar 17, 2004, 10:09 AM   #2
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The dust issue is WAY overrated. Yes, one must take care when exposing the CCD/CMOS to the elements, but that doesn't mean that you're going to have issues everytime you change lenses. I frequently change my lenses outside and have never had a problem. When I need to change a lens, I have the new lens on the ready with the rear cap removed, hold the camera so that the lens is pointing downwards, remove the existing lens and set it down, then install the new lens. I also don't do it in windy conditions unless I am able to shield it. If dust does adhere to the CCD, there is a relatively easy way to clean it in most cases. I wouldn't let the dust issue deter you away from the advantages of an SLR camera.

Regarding the "plastic" of the DRebel, it's not some flimsy toy. The plastic is a new age polymer that is much more sturdy than the pundits give it credit for. Yes, the mag construction cameras have a more solid feel and are more durable (I would imagine), but they are also heavier. It's a trade off.

I won't issue comment on the Nikon/Canon debate. I've owned both brands and it's a personal choice IMO. You didn't mention the Nikon DSLR in your list, but if you own compatible lenses from Nikon, you might look at their newest entry.

If you've used SLR's before, it is doubtful that you will find a compact up to the challenge, particularly if you're expecting to shoot wildlife (unless you get into digiscoping). The ability to add large glass to a SLR is the biggest advantage in this area.
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Old Mar 17, 2004, 10:23 AM   #3
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Prm,

Quote:
I can't convince myself that a 'compact' (with a 1.5 teleconvertor when required) will be as good as an SLR
It wont be. It may be cheaper but it will not be as good.

Your concern with dust. As a DSLR user with several lenses I've not had a problem (yet) with dust. If (or when) I do I know that my local camera repair shop can clean it if required. Also, you'll come across postings on this and other forums from people who clean their own. I'd say do not let this dust issue put you of the DSLR option.

I'd never used Nikon before I bought their CP4500 in August 2002, and I bought that for digital photography of small birds through a telescope (Digiscoping). You can get some good results that way, but there are limitations in terms of autofocus speed, end image quality and a major issue with regards to tracking a moving subject.

Since buying a D100 in June 2003 for wildlife I've no complaints.

The D100, like many in the DSLR range supports very fast focusing, and clearly that's a real advantage for wildlife. It also gives you the opportunity to develop (or re-use) an appropriate range of lenses for the job in hand. As an existing Nikon SLR user some of your lenses may work with their DSLR offerings, although depending on the age of the lenses not all metering modes will be supported.

Best of luck with your final choice.

Regards,
Graham.

p.s. If you want to try any of your existing Nikon lenses with a D100 let me know. You're not that far away.
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Old Mar 17, 2004, 1:40 PM   #4
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I agree for me the dust problem is overrated but a few caveats.

Some of the people on this board are way to anal they are doing comparisons of pictures by blowing up the shots 400x to find problems in the pictures. If you are one of those people the idea of losing 6-10 pixels will probably destroy you.

It is something to know about. You may want to take a little more care in doing a lense swap than you are used to with the film SLR. Block the wind, don't change in dusty areas, use your bag as a wind blocker.

The DSLRs have a potential of being better than the P/S but remember a cheap lens (in daylight) negates the advantage. The modern high end P/S are pretty good and the optics quality are better than an average SLR lens. So put the cost of the lenses in your equation.
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Old Mar 17, 2004, 5:59 PM   #5
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Reposting again:

This for most people shouldn't be such a paramount issue. All devices need good housekeeping to keep them functioning properly, whether it be a 35mm camera service interval, your cars oil change or your house's heater filters. Nothing in life is ever really "maintenence-free" that isn't disposable. I haven't seen any one brand more susceptible then another for dust on an imager just as no 35mm camera operates perfectly in dirty/dusty environments w/o cleaning and service. The only difference is how long the duty cycle is before you need to tune-up your gear. If anyone is that fearful of dust on an imager their better off with a f828, 5700 or S7000 that will yield moderate results and moderate functionality. If you want a higher plateau of performance and results you have to accept the increased amount of upkeeping and prevention it requires to achieve the results you paid more for.

Folks that buy Ferrari's pay 5K for service because their high end car requires high end maintenence to maintain tighter tolerences and technicians that are skilled in technology that surpasses the norm. If you buy a 13K civic with a 50,000 mile warranty your maintenence is thrown in or is significantly cheaper because the equipment is simpler, cheaper and easier to maintain.
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Old Mar 17, 2004, 9:47 PM   #6
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As the proud owner of a DSLR I was worried at one point about the dust issue. However, I found a wonderful way of easily cleaning the sensor, and now there is no issue.
Check this out: http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning
Hope that helps!
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 4:04 PM   #7
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All

thanks very much for your responses they've all been very helpful... it looks like it will be the canon for me!

cheers

prm
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Old May 10, 2006, 7:51 AM   #8
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This is my first post on this forum .... i was looking for sensor cleaning posts and i found yours about what camera to go for.* Just wanted to give you my input since i went from a Nikon N80 to a Nikon 8700 to a Canon 20-D .....**I loved my Nikon cameras, I like Nikon imaging in general, their glass is flawless.* But with the budget i was on (ie., pro bodies out of my league) my needs were shutter speed and low light with less noise ..... at that time, 9 months ago, it was the 20-D handsdown.**The 8700 was a great little camera, the cream of the point'n'shoot crop, but it didn't cut the mustard when it came to my needs ..... which was a growing opportunity to get into ski photography, and then as it happened, school sports, which were often at night.* *Your bird photography comes into those two categories ... low light (if in woods), and shutter speed/frames per second.* It's been 2 months since your post, and i see you might have already chosen a Canon ..... you should be having no buyers remorse!**
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Old May 13, 2006, 5:17 AM   #9
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old_blighty wrote:
Quote:
I don't whether this has been debated in full ... or even whether it is a problem at all but I've been told that dust contamination in the camera chamber created when changing lenses can be a real issue with a digital SLR.

I'm currently trying to make a decision on whether to invest one of the following
Canon 300D + Canon 18-55 & Sigma 55-200
Nikon 8700
Nikon 5700 (not as good as 8700 but 66% of the price. (?300 [c.$520] cash difference.

I've previously used a Nikon traditional SLR and was always very happy so I've got a certain brand loyalty.

Also the plastic Canon seems much less robust compared to the Mag alloy Nikon.

But... I can't convince myself that a 'compact' (with a 1.5 teleconvertor when required) will be as good as an SLR

Ultimately the one that will give me the best wildlife (birds) and landscape pictures will be most likely to win!

Hopefully you chaps on the other side of the pond will be able to shed some light on this being as how you seem to be at least 6 months ahead of us over here.


cheers

prm
If you intend to use it for wild birds get a DSLR. All the so called mega-zoom digital cameras have too small ccd which will make the camera unsuitable above ISO 100. You should be able to go to as much as ISO 400 to ISO 800 for wild birds.

Look for a DSLR with spot metering and spot focusing for wild birds. I think Canon 300D does not have the functions. Canon 30D is the lowest priced Canon with spot metering and spot focusing. I may be wrong, check it before you buy.

If you already have Nikon SLR lenses they can all be used with a new Nikon DSLR. I use Nikon D50 and D200 for birds. The D50 is a very good birding camera, the D200 is superb for birding.

I seldom switches lenses. I have Nikon 80-400VR attached to D200 for birds and MicroNikkor 60mm attached to D50 for insects and butterflies. I have no problem with sensor dust.
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Old May 13, 2006, 5:17 AM   #10
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old_blighty wrote:
Quote:
I don't whether this has been debated in full ... or even whether it is a problem at all but I've been told that dust contamination in the camera chamber created when changing lenses can be a real issue with a digital SLR.

I'm currently trying to make a decision on whether to invest one of the following
Canon 300D + Canon 18-55 & Sigma 55-200
Nikon 8700
Nikon 5700 (not as good as 8700 but 66% of the price. (?300 [c.$520] cash difference.

I've previously used a Nikon traditional SLR and was always very happy so I've got a certain brand loyalty.

Also the plastic Canon seems much less robust compared to the Mag alloy Nikon.

But... I can't convince myself that a 'compact' (with a 1.5 teleconvertor when required) will be as good as an SLR

Ultimately the one that will give me the best wildlife (birds) and landscape pictures will be most likely to win!

Hopefully you chaps on the other side of the pond will be able to shed some light on this being as how you seem to be at least 6 months ahead of us over here.


cheers

prm
If you intend to use it for wild birds get a DSLR. All the so called mega-zoom digital cameras have too small ccd which will make the camera unsuitable above ISO 100. You should be able to go to as much as ISO 400 to ISO 800 for wild birds.

Look for a DSLR with spot metering and spot focusing for wild birds. I think Canon 300D does not have the functions. Canon 30D is the lowest priced Canon with spot metering and spot focusing. I may be wrong, check it before you buy.

If you already have Nikon SLR lenses they can all be used with a new Nikon DSLR. I use Nikon D50 and D200 for birds. The D50 is a very good birding camera, the D200 is superb for birding.

I seldom switches lenses. I have Nikon 80-400VR attached to D200 for birds and MicroNikkor 60mm attached to D50 for insects and butterflies. I have no problem with sensor dust.
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