Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 10, 2006, 4:12 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Default

I am seeking to purchase a digital SLR. I have read many reviewsfor the past 3 months, but don't understand all the terminology, and don't see my specific needs listed. These are important aspects I seek:

1. Ease of use, so I don't have to fuss with different settings, etc. I want to take accurate pictures as quickly as possible.
2. I will be taking the photos in similarly lit rooms. However, my overhead flurescent canned lights cause my hand and camera to cause shadows when I take photos now, so I might need a flash. My current camera, an old digitial Nikon Coolpix 5mp, when used with a flash, causes the photos to be too light and over exposed.
3. I want to be ableo to photograph very fine to tiny creases, such as around the eyes and face. I am concerned that a flash will make fine creases less noticeable. I need my "before/after" laser resurfacing photos to be as accurate as possible. I will rarely be taking photos larger than a face, but I will be taking close-ups of crow's feel, forehead creases, etc.
4. I am not well versed in post-photo editing, so I would like the colors to be as close to accurate flesh colors as possible, with no retouching necessary.
5. I would like the camera to be flexible and accept different lenses, so I can use the camera on vacations, or for other important events. (Being a solo MD, vacations are quite rare). For example, I looked at the reviews of the Nikon D40, but was concerned that only lenses with built-in focus motors could be used.
6. Most of the medical derm photos will be used on my website, but some may be used in publications also. I don't expect any medical photos to need to be more than 5x7. But I would like the ability to take the camera on vacation, so larger photos could be an option.

I looked at the reviews of the Cannon EOS 400D, Nikon D80, and the Pentax's K100D, and thought the k100d would be a good choice, but really just based a couple of reviews. I don't need must customization of photos, once I get the right settings for my office. I worry about the shadows my over head lights produce, but don't see much information on flashes for these cameras.

I have gone to photo shops to feel the cameras, but with my limited experience, and lack of understanding of each new camera presented to me, this has been unproductive.

Lastly, I would like to be as economical as possible with choosing my first digitial SLR, as I know, that in the future, there will be better cameras that are easier to use. But I also want to choose a brand that will allow me to use whatever lenses I buy now, on cameras in the future. I do not object to paying more for a camera that meets my needs, but the more expenive cameras seem to have features that only a true photographer can benefit from.

I apologize for the length of this letter, but I am not photographically inclined, just medically inclined. Thank you, in advance, for your assistance.
dermatologist is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 10, 2006, 12:57 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

You aren't being ignored. I think the flash lighting hiding wrinkles is throwing us for a loop. You are probably going to do best with external lighting. You don't need studio lights – that would probably defeat the purpose. Maybe a little high intensity light on a stand that you could position to shadow the wrinkles with a custom WB set for the combined light from the overheads and the high intensity lamp. You might need another light further away so shadows from noses etc didn't come out black. The shots wouldn't be flattering but would show the wrinkles.

If you want to use flash I would say a small external flash – maybe on a bracket - would be your best bet. The built-in flash is close enough to the lens that it might fill the wrinkles. Once you get it set up for the conditions you could do fine with an inexpensive auto unit. But a dedicated flash would be better for your general photography.

Any current DSLR would be fine for the office, the lens choice being the more important factor. The 70 – 90mm equivalent focal length is considered the best for portraits. Many standard zooms cover that range but a dedicated prime will give you better aperture if you aren't planning on using flash.

You will get plenty of opinions for a vacation choice. I don't think you would go wrong choosing on size and weight plus how it felt in your hands as long as the reviews were positive. Available lenses are also a factor but there is a pretty wide choice. Having handled the cameras you are probably in a pretty good position to make your own decision after reading reviews. But some of the members will likely add some points to consider and share their preferences.

slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 2:01 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Slipes post is excellent-

However, you might be able to accomplish the same thing with the camera's built-in flashcombined witha slave flash tilted to the bounce position. In any case, it will take some expermentation.

I would suggest the Pentax K100D because it has the built around the imager IS, (Pentax calls it Shake Reduction) and that feature will give you the benefit of IS with any lens you choose to utilize on the K100D. That would save considerably with extra lens costs.

MT/Sarah
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 4:35 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Default

Dear Slipe and Sarah,

Thank you so much for your suggestions. Your help raised some follow-up questions.

It sounds like an mounted flash would be best, as a separate external light on a stand would prevent the mobility I would need from taking photos in different exam rooms.

Slipe states: Many standard zooms cover that range but a dedicated prime will give you better aperture if you aren't planning on using flash.

My question: What is a dedicated prime?

MtClimber states: I would suggest the Pentax K100D because it has the built around the imager IS and that feature will give you the benefit of IS with any lens you choose to utilize on the K100D. That would save considerably with extra lens costs.

My question: I had read reviews of the Pentax K10D. Would this be a better choice than the K100D? And does this limit me to Pentax lenses in general, or could I use other lenses? For example, the reviews of the Nikon D40 stated that I would have to use very specific Nikon lenses on that camera, and not all Nikon lenes would work, since the lens would need its own motor for auto-focus.

In summary, would the Pentax K10D give me good close-ups (such as just details of creases around the eyes), lense flexiblity, good color, and most of all, ease of use?

Again, thank you for all your suggestions.
dermatologist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 6:01 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

dermatologist-

Thanks for the post and we welcome your questions.

A dedicated prime (slipe's suggestion) is a single focal length lens, not a zoom lens. Prime lenses tend to be sharper and have less depth of field (also abreviated as DOF).

I suggested the K100D at 6mp for a very good reason. As the mp count increases, so does the visible noise seen in your photos. You would get sharper, clearer photos with the K100D rather than the K10D with your experience and with the suggested lighting arrangement that I suggested (using the slave flash in the bounce position in combination with the camera's built-in flash.

I see a strong desire to handhold the camera, rather than use a tripod. Dr. Douglas Ousterhout MD uses this system (Doug is a very prominent Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, and I helped him set up his system). Using that system, you can remain mobile, moving from exam room to exam room, with ease. However, it does take some photographic skill and learning of the technique. Are you willing to do that?

I think we are moving in the correct direction, and I welcome your additional questions. This is an area where I have some hands-on experience.

MT/Sarah

Please just call me Sarah, it become much simpler that way.
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 6:35 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Default

Dear Sarah,

Thank you again for your comments.

Your and Slipe's suggestion of a lens of fixed focal length:
1. With a fixed focal length lens, does that mean that you cannot adjust the focus by turning the lens, and you must move the camera forward and backward?

2. Is this a lens that would be purchased in addition to whatever lens comes with the camera?

3. I understand that a 70 - 90mm equivalent focal length is considered the best for portraits, and a dedicated prime will give better aperture if I am not using a flash. But I still have shadows from the overhead florescent lights, and may need a flash. Would a dedicated prime still be the best option?

4. I understand that the K100D does not have a white balance control. Since most of my photos will be in a constant setting, is having a white balance control important?

5. If I am using the slave flash in the bounce position in combination with the camera's built-in flash, and I have paintings, art, etc on the wall, will bouncing the flash off the wall pose a problem? Would it be better to have only white walls? Or could I use a bracket to aim the external flash at an angle toward the patient.

6. Do you think not having a tripod is a big disadvantage? I know it is always best to have one corner that has fixed conditions as far as lighting, etc. I will try to do that for one of my exam rooms, but I do need the flexiblity of being able to go from room to room, since the exam room with the "photo corner" may already be occupied, when I need to use it

My goal is to show as much improvement in fine wrinkes, following different procedures. Skin detail is what I am seeking.

What other lenses and / or flash would you purchase with the camera?
As always, much thanks and appreciation.
dermatologist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 6:57 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,052
Default

My suggestion would be to get the K100D over the K10D.

Since many of your pictures are going to be reduced for web use, you don't need the extra mp of the K10. If you take two pictures, one from the K10 and one from the K100, resize them to fit on the web there will be little difference between them (assuming the same lens, exposure etc.).

Another (and probably the biggest reason) that I would recommend the K100 over the K10 for you is that the K10 is a much more complicated camera - it takes reading the manual a couple of times to figure out what all the controls are for.

P.S. - I own both cameras and will continue to use the K100 as a second body and back-up camera.

mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 7:19 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

dermatologist-

1. A fixed focal length (also called a Prime Lens) can focus perfectly. The only properties that are unique to this type of lens is that it does not zoom between different focal lengths.

2. Yes, whether it be a Prime Lens (and it does NOt have to be a Prime Lens) you will most probably need a second lens because (in the case of the Pentax K100D) the so called "kit lens" is a Pentax 18-55mm lens. It is quite a good lens but it is only satisfactory for close-up photos, and normal (50mm ish) range photos. It is NOT a lens that is typically used for portraiture.

3. A short zoom or a Prime Lens can be used for portrait type photos. In as much as your overhead flouescent lights will not be the primary source of light for your photos (I am here assuming your desire to use some degree or combination of flash lighting for your photos)they will not require a WB adjustment to compensate for those overhead flourescent lights, as they will NOT be the primary source of lighting for your photo. Again,to be absolutely certain as to the optiminal lens to use for this environment will take some experimentation. However, I would guess that either a short zoom or a Prime Lens could be used in this application.

4. Both the K100D and the K10D have full and complete WB control.

5.The bounce flash will be bouncing off the ceiling in most cases, so I do not see art work as an impediment at all.

6.Generally speaking if you are very acustomed to using DSLR cameras, you will be able to carefully take excellent handheld shot with some experience. Yes, it is always very wise indeed to have one specific "photo corner" that is perfectly equipped with the 100% correct reflectivity and a good tripod.

With some experience, and some camera practice, and solid learning, you will be able to get exactly the photos that you desire. Please, just keep in mind that this will not happen with the purchase of a good camera, or the snap of your fingers, this will take a measureable amount of time and experience.

MT/Sarah
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 9:16 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

18 – 55 mm is an odd normal kit lens unless there is a multiplier. With a multiplier it would take the 55mm into the portrait range.

My suggestion to use a prime was only if you don't find a flash appropriate after you try it and use ambient light or something simple like a high intensity lamp. In that case only, you might find the better aperture on the prime to be an advantage.

The closer the flash to the lens the more it will fill the wrinkles and make them less visible. I think you want the light from an angle rather than directly from the camera itself. You could determine easily for yourself whether or not the built-in flash would be appropriate.

Once you get the camera set up an inexpensive automatic flash attachment is easy to use and very inexpensive. Your objectives wouldn't seem to be for beauty shots but for a small light source to make shadows. A direct flash on a bracket might accomplish that. Bounce flash might be softer than you want, but inexpensive automatic units have bounce capability.

Stabilization is a big plus if you end up using something other than flash and don't want to carry a tripod around. I see no need for a tripod with flash unless someone besides you will be taking the photos and you want to preset the conditions.

slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 2006, 11:40 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Default

Dear Sarah and Slipe,

1. Sarah recommended that the "kit lens", a Pentax 18-55mm lens, is only satisfactory for close-up photos, and normal (50mm ish) range photos. It is NOT a lens that is typically used for portraiture.

My question: If I am taking photos of faces, or closer (such as eye area), wouldn't that count as close-up? I guess I am confused by close up vs. portraiture.

2. Sarah recommended that the optiminal lens to use for this environment will take some experimentation. However, either a short zoom or a Prime Lens could be used in this application.

My question: Without having different lenses to try, how could I experiement. If I am looking to stand in front of my patient, and take a photo of a face or closer, which short zoom or fixed focal length lens would you recommed?

3. Slipe recommended that a multiplier can take the 55mm into the portrait range.

My question: Which would be better, a fixed focal length, a short zoom, or a multiplier. I am guessing the fixed focal length or a short zoom from everyone's helpful suggestions, but I do not know which one would be best.

4. Slipe's suggestion to use a prime was only if I don't a flash appropriate, and use ambient light or high intensity lamp. In that case only Slipe suggested, I might find the better aperture on the prime to be an advantage.

My question: I am thinking that in order to concentrate on creases, an external flash, either bracketed on to the camera to angle the light, or bouncing the light off the ceileing, would be bettter. In that case, I will find the flash to be appropriate. If that is the case, would a prime still be my best choice?

5. Now for the nitty gritty.
A. Is there a difference between buying online, and using price grabber, etc., or going to a store? Is there a difference between the warranties?

B. Would you recommend the Pentax brand prime lens (any specific model suggestions?) Would you buy the Pentax brand flash (model suggestions would be very helpful) Would buying Pentax accessories make the photo taking more efficient? In other words, do they work together better, than mixed brand products? I know the lenses work best if they match the body. What about the flashes?

C. Are there any other lenses you would recommend, since I do plan on taking a vacation eventually? (Suggestions here are always welcome, lol)

Slipe, Sarah, and Mtngal - I cannot thank you enought for all your suggestions. In just 24 hours, I have gone from being totally clueless, to feeling really good about buying a camera.
dermatologist is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:25 PM.