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louetta12001 Mar 19, 2003 4:41 PM

Replacing My Current Equipment With Digital Gear
I currently have a Minolta 800SI which I use for sports oriented photography. Indoors I use a 200mm straight F2.8, sometimes with a 1.4 extender. Outdoors I use a 500mm zoom which is about F6.7 at the long end.

I've thought about going digital but I'd like to be able to at least duplicate the results I'm getting now. That means being able to shoot indoors without flash and get as "close up" as I can with my 200mm lense. It also means being able to shoot outdoors and get as close as I can now with my 500mm lense.

But I don't know how to translate what I have to the digital world. I keep seeing terms like 3X. How do I know how this compares to what I've got?

matt81 Mar 19, 2003 5:37 PM
check this topic and link in it difference form 0 optical to 3 optical to 10 optical also check out the specic on the cameras says like 60mm and stuff not a camera expert but tring to help
this camera specs says it does telezoom 200mm that is without the extra lens u have check cameras that you can use your already obtained lens and filters

matt81 Mar 19, 2003 5:49 PM

thought that minolta
is list as high high end at about $1200 US
105 mm (3 xoptical or there abouts depends on maunfature)

At about the same price this one does 280mm

Hyun Mar 19, 2003 5:59 PM

I hope you are rich!

You can replicate what you have in film gear with digital equipment, but it'll be a costly venture.

For what you want to do, you want a DSLR--a digital SLR camera body. Think of the benefit of having a body with interchangeable lenses AND the flexibility of immediate feedback and no-cost shooting of digital media!

Unfortunately, an entry-level DSLR starts at around $1,500 and goes up, up, and way up. PLUS lenses and flashes. I don't know if Minolta has a DSLR body out--if so, you could use your existing lenses (assuming the Minolta designs are compatible). Otherwise, purchasing lenses would add extra cost to the rig.

When you read digital camera ads, you'll see 3x, 4x, 5x optical zoom lenses (digital zooms are worthless, IMHO). What those numbers mean is that the lens is capable of telephoto zooming three (or four or five) times as much its widest angle. Usually digital camera manufacturers will also give the zoom range in 35mm equivalents--for example, my Olympus C-4000 has 3x optical zoom. The wide angle is at 32mm, and the zoom maxes out at 96mm (32 x 3 = 96) in 35mm equivalents.

There are digital cameras that have 10x optical zoom (35-350mm in 35mm equivalents or something like that), and there are those that do superb close-up photos (the C-4000 can focus as close as 2cm or 0.78 inch). There are those that can accept external lens adapters and telephoto converters or wide angle converters. But none of the consumer level digital cameras are going to give you the flexibiliy and responsiveness that you are used with a film SLR camera--only a digital SLR will do that.

In my humble opinion, of course. :lol:

After my 3rd digital camera, I bought my first film SLR camera. It's funny--when we talk about the digital cameras, we talk about megapixels and how much zoom; with SLR cameras, it's all about the glass--the lenses.

sjms Mar 19, 2003 6:06 PM

currently i can't think of a digicam that will come anywhere close to the performance of your current rig and give as quick or as sharp an image as you get now. there will be many that will disagree.

- speed: most good digicams have 32-64MB buffers before they will fill and stop shooting until some buffer opens up. now depending on the file size you would feel comfortable with which also is your image quality you can get up to 30 images at varying rates (mostly at 2-3 fps) depending on your camera and memory card size.

-lenses: digicams have fixed lenses and then most have aux lenses to increase their focal lengths. this of course cuts the amount of light and reduces the image quality to what some would feel to less then reasonable quality.

now you have the Dslr. these are showing promise. the ability to use interchangable lenses and on most the magnification factor from a reduced imager surface area makes them the popular tool of the sports photographer.

your lenses are unfortunately not one of the ones that fit the current crop of bodies. nikon and canon are the 2 of the main competitors in the sports end. depending on what you want need and are willing to settle for the prices for the bodies start at $1500. lenses, strobes, memory cards, and other assorted sundry items and your in for a fairly large reinvestment.

i'm in the process of slowly moving to digital too. i'm leading in more for outdoor imaging where speed is not the highest priority. image quality and the ability to blow up above 11x14 with consistant quality. also it seems whatever you by this month will be well overshadowed in about 6. tech moves so fast

Hyun Mar 19, 2003 7:00 PM

I should add that my move to the film SLR (to complement the digital cameras I have) probably wouldn't have occured if I couldn't use the majority of the gear (most of all, the lenses, but also the flashes and tripods and such) with the Canon EOS line of digital cameras. But, still a loooong wait until the DSLRs come down in price to a point where I can justify buying one.

lg Mar 19, 2003 7:20 PM

You might consider the Olympus C-2100. It's only 2MP, but it has a 38-380 stabilized zoom, f2.8-3.5. Find a B-300 1.7x teleconverter, and you'll have the capability of getting crystal sharp pics at 646mm at f3.5. Both are discontinued items, but very highly sought after on eBay and the camera can still be purchased refurbished directly from Olympus.

sjms Mar 19, 2003 9:40 PM

that all depends on what your definition of crystal sharp is. mine is fairly strict.

hyun has 50% of the equation correct as i suspect you already know glass does make a difference. their are substantial differences in the imagers too that might make a difference to you.

eric s Mar 19, 2003 10:23 PM


If you really take advantage of that F2.8 at 200mm, I doubt you have much choice but to go with a Digital SLR. I don't know of any consumer grade cameras which can do that (Someone? I'm interested in hearing if there is!) The digiimage 7hi does come close (as said above) and the Nikon Coolpix 5700 is only f4.2.

The other problem is going to be taking pictures of fast moving targets. I don't know that Minolta body, but I assume it has fast auto focus and good focus tracking. I bet you will loose those unless you go with a pro or prosumer D-SLR.

The comment about burst photography is a very good point. Even with jpg (lower quality, less data) you still wont take more than 3 pics a second. The Nikon D1h can do 5 a sec, but it's a $3,000+ camera. So if you really value "motor driven" speed, your choices are very limited.... to non-existant.

I haven't compared consumer digitals, but I doubt many focus as fast as a Canon USM or a Nikon AF-S lens. And if they do, that probably comes with a tradeoff in some other area. Anything to keep the cost down. A good quality 200mm lens that is F2.8 and USM costs over $600. As much as many consumer digital cameras!

All the prices quoted above are correct (the Nikon D100 will drop soon to around $1,500 and its compition, the Canon 10D, is already there.) I'm in the process of choosing between them right now.

Since I will be taking pictures of fast moving small objects (birds) my needs partially overlap with yours.

voxmagna Mar 20, 2003 8:46 AM

Why not experiment with a cheaper option of high quality scanning of film first with the slr kit you have? At least it gets you into comparing the kind of quality you're used to, and what a digicam has to deliver, the post processing issues of having the kit to handle big files and the file to print quality you can achieve. Just a thought.

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