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Old Aug 11, 2006, 1:31 PM   #1
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I have been researching what camera to buy to death. Literally to death and then some. My girlfriend is so sick of it heh. Anyway I plan on doing a lot of indoor shoots, but also I like to hike and take nature trails as well. Anyhow my researching led me to cameras with image stabilization. Their ISO wasnt so hot but the IS really helps apparently and allows you to get better shots w/o a tripod, which is important to me as I have no intentions of using a tripod - too much extra weight and prep time.

So I had finally narrowed my list to a KM5 or a K100D, but they were both a bit more than I wanted to spend so I was checking ebay religiously for a deal.

Well one happened and I ended up getting a Nikon D50. WTH right? Well it was a good deal, and for some reason my halfhearted bid wasn't beaten, so I now have a D50 on the way.

My question is, how do I get around lack of IS? I like how the D50 has the best ISO performance of any of the affordable cameras, putting it way ahead of the other guys. I know I can spend 800 or so to get the new badass end-all be-all 18-200VR lens, but I cant afford that, which is why i was looking for a deal in the first spot.

So I started searching for methods of shooting pics w/o IS in low light, but my search terms aren't really bringing in results as I am probably asking google the wrong questions.

So to sum up, what are the settings I need to research and utilize to try to gain the performance of IS? I'm guessing ramp up the ISO setting right? I hear the D50 is "silky smoothe" at 800 and still really nice at 1600. Should i just set it to 800?

Well, TYIA for your time and answers, I truly appreciate it.

edit to add: money really is an issue for me and is very tight. I can afford one big purchase a year or so, and this one was it. If I really get into picture taking next year I will upgrade to the Nikkor 18-200VR, but please help me in the meantime
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Old Aug 11, 2006, 10:42 PM   #2
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I would highly recommend getting a hiking pole/monopod. I agree, for many situations a tripod is just too much hassel, either too heavy (like for hiking) or takes up too much room (i.e. when you're standing in a crowd). A monopod gives you some extra stability, and many double as hiking poles which would be well suited for you. I think that for your indoor shots, a tripod will probably be best because you really don't have to worry about weight or bulkiness so much, but I suppose that depends on your preferences.

Another VERY hand-y (pardon the pun) thing about a monopod, you can take pics that you may not normally be able to just as a matter of reach. My monopod allowed me to raise my camera well above the heads of other people at a concert, and having one hand on the shutter and the other on the stick was quite a bit more stable than taking the pic with just one hand raised up, like I normally would have to do. I also found a neat boulder that I took some pics of, and managed to lean over the edge and take a nice pic. Using the monopod allowed me to reach a little further, and keep my center of gravity further back so I wouldn't fall over.

A good thing with the current dSLRs is that you can use the very high ISO speeds without getting tons of noise; point-and-shoot models usually can't go above ISO 200 without unacceptable noise levels.

As far as settings, the best I've been able to do w/ my kodak P880 (non-SLR) is set the apeture to it's widest and panned out (as much as I could stand the pic to be, at least), and ISO 200. At times I will still have to take pics as long as 1/2 sec freehand, which usually results in blurriness, depending on how steady I can make myself. On that note, just study some body-stabilization techniques, refer to a sharpshooting guide, the concepts are very similar! Lean on anything you can, keep the camera as close to your body as you can, use your face on the viewfinder as a 3rd contact point (remember, 3 points determine a plane... good ol' geometry), sit or kneel when possible... things like that!

Hope all this rambling helps you out!
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 6:07 AM   #3
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Wizbummer hit the nail right on the head with the suggestion of a monopod. I took one on a hike into the Grand Canyon last month and it worked like a charm. While most shots didn't really need it, even then, having a little extra stability was a big help. It really came in handy in low-light stuations, like at sunset or in deep shadows, or when shooting at long focal lengthe. I made it out of an old aluminum tripod leg and amini portable tripod with a ball head. I had to drill and tap a couple of holes in the body of the mini for set screws to attach to the monopod, butI could remove it and use the mini as a stand-alone tripod to take self-portraits or very long exposure shots. It has the added advantage of being collapsible/adjustable. Because photo ops were so frequent, I wound up leaving the camera attached to it and carried the whole rig. The weight of the camera offset the weight of the monopodmaking it very easy to tote around, and with a quick adjustment in length, was ready to go in seconds.
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 7:24 AM   #4
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The general rule of thumb to avoid camera shake it to use a shutter speed equal to or faster than the reciprocal of the lens focal length. So if you are using a 200mm lens you would need a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec. You also have to concider the crop factor of your camera. So if that crop factor is 1.5 that 200mm lens then becomes in effect a 300mm lens and you will need a shutter speed of 1/320 sec. Also I would recommend a good hot shoe flash. They are much better than the built in flash, for one thing they get the flash farther away from the lens which pretty much eliminates any red eye worries. Also if you get one that has a tilt and swivel head you can bounce the flash off of ceilings and walls for a much softer light.
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 11:34 PM   #5
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Look my solution. I'm sure that you will like it!



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Old Sep 1, 2006, 11:54 AM   #6
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That's Brilliant! I have an el-cheapo mini tripod that I will try that with.
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 5:22 PM   #7
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Yes...and works well also!!!

Best wishes,

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Old Sep 16, 2006, 6:26 PM   #8
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You could also take along a StringPod. Find a 1/4inch bolt to screw into the tripod mount and attach a piece of string to it. Position the camera ready for shooting, put your foot on the string, then pull the camera upwards to tension the string. Our muscles are much steadier when exerting some force.

Image stabilising makes a BIG difference - I have a KM A200 and I can shot at 200mm with 1/10sec shutter if I can steady my body against something.

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