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Old Aug 28, 2006, 8:30 AM   #1
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I currently have a HP Photosmart 850 digital camera that I've had since 2003, that I bought based on recommendations from a friend, and also reviews of the camera I saw on this website. This is my second digital (the first was an Olympus from about 1997 or 1998).

I also own a Nikon FE 35mm camera as well.

I use the digital for mostly regular photos, and use the 35mm for specific photos. However, the lack of availability of some 35mm film (in the area I live in there are very few "camera" stores or specialty photography stores, the big box stores have put them all out of business) has pointed out to me that I need something in between the 35mm and the digital.

It's not the bulk of the photography I do, but I occasionally make a number of photographs in nightclubs of some music artists. The 850 is a good camera, but it isn't "adjustable" enough to photograph without a flash in low light. Plus, the autofocus drives me insane, and lots of times by the time it's taken the picture, the photo I wanted isn't "there" any more. Lots of times a photo I have centered ends up being cropped out of the frame just by the person moving around on stage.

The lack of availability of "specialized" film for the 35mm camera (I need 1600 or 1000 speed film, but can't find any - all I have been able to find is 800 speed) - I just took 2 rolls of 800 speed film friday and out of 40 pictures, I have 4 to turn out (by "turn out" I mean in focus and not overexposed), and only one or two of them is a "decent" picture.

I am looking for a digital camera that'll give me the best of both worlds - one where the shutter speed & f-stop can be adjusted to approximate say 1600 speed film and to not overexpose it, and can be either manual or autofocus, be able tomake photos with or without a flash, and still be a decent camera for general use photography.

I don't do enough photography to justify buying a "professional" camera, I am just enough of a hobby photographer to be frustrated by what tools I have.

As a side point, I'd like a camera that I could use some of the old filters and things like that I had for 35mm photography (sepia filters, star filters, haze filters, etc - stuff that in my cameras in the digital world was not available). A definite plus would be if my Nikon lenses (a macro lens and a 70-210 mm zoom lens) could be used. That'd be great, but not an absolute necessity.

One camera I have looked at is a Canon EOS30D that I like. However, it's $1500, and I haven't read any reviews of it. I am somewhat leery of Canons though, because of what I recall of the EOS 35mm's when they first came out years ago and were problematic.

I'm not on any time frame to purchase a camera, but I would appreciate any opinions about the Canon 30D, or any other camera that'd be compatible with the uses I want it for. Being a terrible cheapskate, I would not like to tie up a great deal of money in it though.

Any advice appreciated.

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Old Aug 29, 2006, 2:00 PM   #2
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You'll want to look into the Nikon D70s, and the new D80.

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 11:34 AM   #3
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kenbalbari wrote:
You'll want to look into the Nikon D70s, and the new D80.

Well, if ISO 1600 is a goal - the D70 is a poor choice. The D50 has much better high ISO performance. The D80, of course, is unproven.

So, given the goal of high ISO I would target the D50 BEFORE the D70. But, if there is no time table, why not wait and see how the D80 performs in real world tests before making a decision.

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 12:14 PM   #4
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I have to disagree with all the people that says the Nikon D70s is poor at high ISO performance.

In fact (In my book), it is having one of the best high ISO performance of all. I don't only look for clean images, I look at the noise characteristics and detail retentions as well.

The noise characteristic of the Nikon D70sis mostly monochromic (colorless/film like grain) unlike thechroma/red channelnoises on other dSLRs. (Including the Canon EOS 20/30/300/350D cameras).

As for detail retentions, the Nikon D70s retains plenty of details at high ISOs especially true at the max ISO 1600 level. Impressive. (The camera didn't choose to use excessive NR that can smear outimage details)

Finally, the camera as with the Nikon D50, EOS 350D, and 20D to just name a few; have a fully usable and worry free ISO range including ISO 800 and ISO 1600. (You don't need to worry about noise problems or detail smudging when selecting the ISO 800 and ISO 1600 level.) The D70s also let you select your ISO in 1/3 EV increments.


On a side note:

Noise graphs can be very misleading, they do not tell you the photo quality at high ISOs;so if the camera uses heavy NR to clean the image up, it will score very well in a noise graph. (That is not the type of thing photographers want.)

What I want is good image quality at high ISOs, not just clean images; this implies good detail retentions and good noise characteristics (Such as film like grain).

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Old Sep 11, 2006, 11:20 AM   #5
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What sort of photos could I realisticly expect from 3200 ISO? I am talking like using it indoors, like at a music venue, ranging from small 200-300 seat clubs to indoor 15-20,000 seat arenas. The link below:


would be representative of what type of photos I would want to be able to take.

I would want as little grain in it as possible, but I know that I am going to get some.

[align=left]Ideally what I'm after is a camera that'd do three things well - to be a good, low-light camera that would give me good pictures like at concerts and inside dark clubs; to have a good zoom on it- one that'd give you decent photos at those shows without being up on top of someone, yet do good point-and-shoot photos as well; and third, to be a good indoor & outdoor point-and-shoot camera. I know there are trade-offs with all of those things, but the one thing that isn't important to me is the size of the camera & the weight. I'm hoping that concession will allow me to get one that fits all three.

I've done some looking at the Nikon D80, which I like as well.

Also - a question - I see on the specs for a D80 that it will go to 3200 ISO "with boost" - what does "with boost" mean? Is that something extra I have to purchase or do to the camera to enable it taking at 3200, versus 1600?

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