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Old May 6, 2004, 11:04 AM   #1
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My wife is a window covering dealer and creates many custom drapery designs. These are photographed for use in her gallery of ideas, both with printed 4 x 6 prints and on the internet.

She has been using a point and shoot film camera with mediocre to poor results and we are ready to move to digital.

The major issue is shooting window treatments against the outdoor light. Having had Nikons for 35 years(don't own any AF lenses), I naturally look to Nikon. I am thinking of the D70 kit with an SB-800 strobe to provide enough light to balance with the outdoor sunlight. I realize it will take some experimentation to get the balance right for a pleasing result.

I moved toward SLR in my quest, thinking it will be easier to compose against a strong backlight given the fact that digital will wash out on the LCD screen.

In addition to her work use, I will use the camera for general purpose family photography.

Here's a link to some of the photos that have been taken with the point and shoot film camera, then heavily cleaned up in Photoshop to try to overcome the lack of flash coverage and other issues.

http://www.pbase.com/kathiej

Anyone have any recommendations that might seem a better approach than the D70/SB-800. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Deane
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Old May 6, 2004, 11:44 AM   #2
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Please don't let my wife find your gallery:!:

We are in the process of moving into a another home and she already wants new carpet. If she sees your gallery....well, there goes the budget. :-)

I don't see anything mediocre about the pics, and your wife does great work.

Hopefully, you'll get some responses from Nikon users on the desired camera/flash combo for your purposes (I suspect that it will make a wonderful choice, for what you are trying to capture).


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Old May 7, 2004, 12:01 AM   #3
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Iexpect the Canonites to come in defence, but the D70 as with other Nikon dSLRs, has a peculiar "feature" of underexposing (when in auto) to prevent blowing out highlights - which in this case could be the very feature that swings you towards a Nikon purchase.


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Old May 7, 2004, 6:34 AM   #4
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Going by the published specs, the flash for distance feature looks useful. Just guessing how it might work, if the camera focuses on the window treatment and sets the flash for that distance, ignoring the light coming in the window in it's deliberations, a useable exposure should occur. At least that's how I am hoping it might work.
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Old May 7, 2004, 7:36 PM   #5
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Deane:

Having given your use some thought, I think you probably ought to avoid the D70.For most people, it's probably fine, but for you I don't think it would work well.

Why? Nikon decided to use a weaker anti-aliasing filter on the D70. This improves sharpness, butcan introduce moiré (odd stripes or colors) , which is causedwhen a fine pattern in the subject (such as the weave in a fabric or very close, parallel lines in architecture) matches the pattern of the imaging chip.

Since almost all your photographs will have fabrics,thismightcause an unacceptable percentage ofphotos to have the problem.

Note Steve's comments on it in his D70 review conclusion:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...n_d70_pg8.html

He's also gotsome sample photoswith theproblem, along with the results of using different methods of reducing it:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/nikon_d70_samples.html

Basically, if you already have an investment in Nikon compatible lenses, you may want to take a look at the D100 instead.

If not, then Canon has some competing products, the EOS-300D (Digital Rebel), and the EOS-10D, that you may also want to take a look at.
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Old May 7, 2004, 9:09 PM   #6
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Deane:

If you are sure you'll be sticking to smaller print and viewing sizes, it may not be visible when it occurs.

One other concern - you mentioned that none of your lenses were AF lenses. You may want to take a look at the Specifications in the D70 review here. It goes into the cameras feature set with different lens types, to make sure you are aware of what functionality you'll have:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...nikon_d70.html

BTW,you may be able to get by on a far lower budget (especially for smaller prints and viewing sizes), by going with a non-DSLR model. Most of the higher end non-DSLR models offer the ability to use an external flash, and these are typically lower priced cameras compared to the newer DSLR's on the market.

If you have other uses for the camera, then a DSLR is definitely a great choice, though.
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Old May 8, 2004, 5:41 AM   #7
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Jim, thanks for your thoughts. You certainly raise an interesting question with the moire issue, and it has caused me to examine the problem carefully.

In looking through the 75 or so photos I have scanned and placed on pBase, I don't seen any fabric in any of those that would appear to cause moire. Most are solids, flowered patterns, geometrics etc, but no stripes (styles could chance, of course). There are almost no closeups, but that is a relative observation. An occassional problem is workable.

I did notice several photos with wood slated blinds on the windows that could possibly create a moire problem. Only time would tell.

I believe the D70 has one unique feature with the SB800 strobe that might outweigh other issues in making a choice. It appears to have an exposure mode with the SB800 wherein the flash power is determned by the focused distance rather than existing light. This could proved invaluable when shooting against bright backlight such as windows. This feature might override all other considerations.

Prints will never be larger than 4X6, and internet posting will be around 700 pixels wide. With the photos being overall room shots, for the most part, I'm thinking any problem of moire that occassionaly may show up would end up being relatively minimal. I anticipate a number of photos of any treatment for the purpose of obtaining one usable. There are so many issues, suce as flash reflections, that make shooting into windows a challenge. These photos do not need to be perfect, just usable in general. You should see the dogs produced by the point and shoot film camera used until now, which have now been cleaned up with Photoshop.

By the way, my old Nikon lenses are not an issue. I'm retiring all of them, along with my Nikon FA and an FE.

The 300D first caught my eye, until the D70 was introduced. I just couldn't get over the chrome finish on such a high performing camera. The 10D is starting to get a little rich for the budget for this project.

Film cameras were much easier to choose.:?
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