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Old Feb 27, 2007, 9:44 AM   #11
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JohnG wrote:
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So, let me throw this out - I think you'll agree. anti-shake is a nice feature to have IF you already have good high ISO performance AND the fast prime lens. Both of those being more important in this situation where there is motion. Andi-shake is nice on top of the other two but not a replacement for the other two.
Since Shutter Speed, F-Stop and ISO setting are all elements of proper exposure, and AS allows the operator to use lower shutter speeds without blurring the image because of unintentional camera movement, I think it would be a good choice for AngieG. Granted, it won't do anything for blur as a result of subject movement, but if it would let her use a slower shutter speed or a larger aperature, then I think it would allow her to use a lower ISO setting as well.

But of course, the best choice would be to have the greatest flexibility will all the exposure settings.

My $1/50.
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 10:54 AM   #12
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Jim & Tcav,

Don't get me wrong - I don't mean to dismiss anti-shake. I think it can be extremely useful in certain situatuations. But for the example in question - concert photography - if forced to choose between f5.6 and anti shake or f2 and no anti-shake and we're talking 85mm or less lens I would absolutely choose the f2 option - because it could get me better shutter speeds. And clean high-ISO is a must in both cases.

So any camera that allows you to use bright primes, has good ISO 1600 performance I think is the starting point FOR THIS NEED. By that thought process I would eliminate Nikon D200 (noise), D40 (no AF with primes), Sony alpha & olympus (noise).

That leaves entry level cameras:

Nikon D50, Canon 350D or 400D, Pentax K100 as probably the best choices.

All I'm saying now is - if you choose the pentax route for anti-shake you still want a fast prime with the kit. That fast prime and ISO 1600 will be of greater benefit than using an f4 or f5.6 lens and relying on anti-shake alone.

As for this being different than sports - not really - it's very similar - you have to figure out what is the minimum acceptable shutter speed to use. That's the same in sports - the only difference here is the answer. I think 1/60 is a very usable shutter speed for something like this (as opposed to 1/400 or 1/1000 or 1/2000 for sports)unless you're dealing with very energenic performers. So I think this requirement COULD be approached in the same manner a sport is approached
  1. What are my DOF requirements (for this type of shot you don't particularyly have one - you can achieve it with relatively shallow DOF or deep DOF so DOF isn't an issue)[/*]
  2. What shutter speeds am I going to need to stop the major action I WANT to stop[/*]
  3. What exposure settings (ISO/APERTURE) are necessary to achieve that shutter speed[/*]
    1. this is a combination thing. If you have acceptable ISO 3200 you may decide to use that and 2.8 lens (if the combo gets you the shutter speed you need) - If acceptable ISO is only 800 then in the same setting you would need a 1.4 lens.
    [/*]
  4. Can I accomplish those exposure settings? If so, I'm done. If not - what are my alternatives:[/*]
    1. Flash? Is it allowed and do I want to use it?[/*]
    2. slower shutter speed and reduced shot selection - which is where anti-shake can come into play
[/*]
So IMO, anti-shake only benefits you if you have to go into backup-plan mode meaning there is no reasonable ISO/aperture solution that will get you the shutter speeds you need.
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 12:30 PM   #13
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So much to consider and so much good advice. THANK YOU ALL. I love this forum.

Angie
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 12:51 PM   #14
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Without question, Anti-Shake only directly affects shutter speed. It allows you to use a lower shutter speed in instances where your ability to hold the camera still (or pan smoothly) is the limiting factor. While it would allow someone to use a slower shutter speed in a low light situation, Anti-Shake is not a substitute for a couple f-stops of aperature, or a couple of notches on the ISO dial.

But what it will do is allow you to take a good, sharp, slightly underexposed shot that can be pushed in post processing. However you want to take advantage of that capability is up to you, whether it be closing the lens in order to get a greater DoF, or choosing a lower ISO to get less noise.

AS is a tool. If you have it, you can use it or not; if you don't have it, you can't ever use it.
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 1:09 PM   #15
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I don't disagree with you John (which was first sentence in my last post in this thread). For the types of shooting the OP would probably be doing based on the lighting in the example in the first post, AS would be of limited benefit.

I'm not sure which way I'd go if I were on a tight budget. I wouldn't buy a Nikon (even though my film gear was mostly Nikon and I've still got one body left), based on principal alone, since Nikon encrypts metadata related to White Balance in most newer models, including the D50. It's my way of protesting it. If others won't to overlook it, fine.

For all practical purposes, it doesn't make any difference in real world use, since Eric Hyman (author of Bibble) cracked the encryption, as did Dave Coffin (author of dcraw.c). Dave published his code, so that allowed other raw converter developers to decrypt it also. After a compromise was reached with Nikon (since Adobe refused to support the as shot white balance in some Nikon DSLR models originally because of the encryption), Adobe got a Software Developers kit from Nikon to decrypt the White Balance. So, it's not going to impact users that want to shoot in raw. The data is still encrypted, and for that reason, I won't buy Nikon (based on principal alone). In addition, the D50 doesn't offer ISO 3200 (although you could push ISO 1600 in a pinch).

A Pentax solution is harder to do if you want AF lenses (since I could more easily find good used f/2.8 AF lenses for Canon or Nikon). That may change later (there is more supply than demand right now.

I would strongly consider the K100D, though. Some concern there would be AF reliability in very low light (i.e., -1EV if needed to shoot that way). But, most peoiple wouldn't care about trying to get away with it in that kind of light (or lack thereof).

The KM 5D and 7D are no longer being manufactured, and there are a few "quirks" with the shutter mechanism design that have come up along the way (that Sony has been fixing at no charge). Mine is working just fine, and I would personally buy a used body (KM 5D or 7D). But, I'm not sure I'd recommend going used to someone else wanting KM DSLR because of it.

Lens prices have also increased significantly since I bought my Maxxum 5D (although you can still find 50mm f/1.7 AF primes all day long for around $100 used the last time I looked, and keh.com usually has them in stock.

A quick check shows a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens in bargain condition for $79, one in excellent condition for $99, one in excellent condition that's an original 50mm f/1.7 XX AF lens for $115.00 with caps, and a newer Minolta 50mm f1.7 AF lens with caps for $126.00

That's more expensive than they used to be. But, still not so bad for a high quality 50mm f/1.7 AF lens that's only about a half stop down from a more expensive f/1.4

If you go Ebay, just look for the camera kits. You can usually find a Maxxum 35mm SLR with a 50mm lens at a great price. I only paid $49 for a Minolta Maxxum 7000 with a 50mm f/1.7 AF lens and a Minolta 1800AF flash, including cases and manuals. :-)

They're a bit more now, but if you're a good shopper, you can spot and snatch up the real good bargains before others do.

Anyway, if I were going with a current solution for shooting in that lighting only with a $1,500 budget, leaving Nikon out of the mix as a personal choice, that would leave Canon as my most likely choice

I'd want a model I could afford with the best higher ISO performance, AF and AF lens availability, and with a the OP's desired budget, I'd probably be inclined to go with a 20D or 30D (ISO 3200 if you need it), a 50mm f/1.8 and Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 as a starting kit, used if I had to.

I'd probably still keep the option of the K100D on the table, if I were sure I could find a 77mm f/1.7 Limited, and a decent third party 28-70ish f/2.8 AF zoom, if I were not going to shoot in light that was too low to get some keepers (and if they always have stage lighting like that, using that camera/lens combination shouldn't be a problem in smaller venues where you get can relatively close to the stage.

I like my KM 5D's stabilization for the shooting that I like to do, and I probably won't buy another camera without it anytime soon.

If nothing else, the anti-shake probably helps with the elbowing when you're trying to shoot from a crowd. :-)

See the hands at the bottom of this image I shot at the Mother's Finest Concert from the front of the crowd? There was a lot of pushing and elbowing while I was trying to get my lens through the heads and hands in the crowd up front to get any keepers. So, I've started calling it Anti-Shove mode from time to time. Camera shake and vibration can come from other sources and I'm not sure the normal rule of thumb for camera shake still applies in these conditions. LOL

I caught a light with this one, so I could get a faster 1/160 second at ISO 800 using my $79 Vivitar zoom lens at 85mm and f/4 (shooting in manual exposure and dialing the shutter speed as needed with the light changing all the time. But, with all of the shoving, the AS probably still helped out. LOL I took most of them in light almost 2 stops lower (most were at around 1/125 second and ISO 1600 at f/4).




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Old Feb 27, 2007, 2:24 PM   #16
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I've read through the info. Seems to be some debate about AS. That's okay.

My film SLR lenses are not usable on dSLR's because my lenses were totally manual. And I LOVED it that way. I never had to wonder what the camera was going to try to make adjustments on.

When I said my digital non-slr was not small enough to fit in my purse, the real answer was, I should have bought a small point-and-shoot for that purpose and a good dSLR for when I want more power and versatility.

I keep seeing mention of "a good prime lens". What does that mean?

My favorite lens on my film SLR was a 70-200 (I think) macro zoom lens. It was wonderful. I took most of my photos with this lens.

Angie
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 2:36 PM   #17
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AngieG wrote:
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I keep seeing mention of "a good prime lens". What does that mean?

My favorite lens on my film SLR was a 70-200 (I think) macro zoom lens. It was wonderful. I took most of my photos with this lens.

Angie
Angie - I think we all got focused (no pun intended) on the concert shot. The problem is lighting for shots like this is poor - often very poor. So the issue becomes getting a proper exposure and still having a decent shutter speed to either stop motion or at least be able to hand-hold (with or without AS). The problem is most zoom lenses are 2.8 at best. And in low light situations a 2.8 aperture may not be fast enough to get you the necessary shutter speeds. You may need 2.0, 1.8 or even 1.4 to get the shutter speeds you want/need. Those types of apertures are only available on prime lenses (I believe olympus has some 2.0 zooms but their poor ISO performance cancels out that benefit for this purpose). So, to guarantee the fastest shutter speeds it is often better to rely on a prime lens for these situations.

Now the cheapest 70-200 2.8 lens is Sigma's (which they make in Canon and Nikon mount and in theory pentax mount but its not readily available). That lens goes for around $850. You can get 24-70 2.8 lenses from Tamron or Sigma - asJim mentioned. But there's a big risk with going the 2.8 route - that being 2.8 might not be fast enough. There is no real rule though - lighting is going to be all over the board based upon the venue. So no one can say for sure that 2.8 is always enough or never enough. I agree with Jim - the best approach is to have BOTH - a 2.8 zoom for flexibility when light allows and at least 1 fast (2.0 or better) prime lens.

Now, Canon has a very inexpensive 50mm 1.8 lens which goes for $75 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8 and Pentax 50mm 1.7 both go for around $120 so they're fairly inexpensive. I know Nikon and Canon have 85mm 1.8 lenses for around $370. When you get into 1.4 territory you're looking at $360 for a 50mm 1.4. There are other options but these are the most common inexpensive (relatively) prime lenses with 2.0 or faster aperture.
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 2:45 PM   #18
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oops...I think it was an 18-70 macro zoom lens. I had a 70-200 that I rarely used.
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Old Feb 27, 2007, 2:45 PM   #19
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A prime is a fixed focal length lens (it doesn't zoom).

You just buy the lens that best fits the conditions you want to use it in, and use your feet for zoom, shooting from closer or further away for any change in framing.

That approach allows you to get a brighter lens than you can in a zoom, usually at a lower size and weight for a given focal length, too.

The brightest zoom you're going to find for a Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Konica Minolta or Sony DSLR model has a widest available aperture (represented by the smallest f/stop number available) of f/2.8

The prime (non-zoom) lenses we're discussing are more than twice as bright, allowing shutter speeds more than twice as fast for any given lighting and ISO speed versus any zoom lens you can buy for these models.

f/2 is twice as bright as f/2.8 and f/1.4 is 4 times as bright as f/2.8

So, using a brighter prime versus a zoom lens has it's advantages. Even if you don't want to use a prime lens wide open (smallest f/stop setting which opens up the iris to let the most light in), they are usually sharper than a zoom lens for any given aperture. With exceptions, a brighter prime lens usually focuses faster and is able to focus in lower light versus a zoom lens, too.

BTW, when deciding on focal length for an entry level DSLR model, you have to take the sensor size into consideration.

You'll have more apparent magnification for any given focal length on an entry level DLSR than you will with a 35mm camera.

On a KM, Sony, Nikon or Pentax DSLR model (which are all using the same size Sony sensors), you need to multiply the focal length of the lens by 1.5x to see how the angle of view compares to the same lens used on a 35mm camera.

So, a 70-210mm lens used on an entry level model like these would behave more like a 105-315mm lens.

With a Canon DSLR model like the EOS-20D or EOS-30D, you need to multiply the focal length by 1.6x to determine what focal length lens would give you the same angle of view range (apparent magnfication) on a 35mm camera.

So, a 50mm lens on a DSLR using a Sony sensor (KM, Nikon, Pentax, or Sony DSLR models) would be like having a lens of around 75mm on a 35mm camera (50 x 1.5 = 75). It would appear to be 1.5x longer on a DSLR from these manufacturers. Slightly longer (multiply by 1.6x) on a Canon model like the 20D or 30D.

A 28-70mm zoom lens on an entry level DSLR with a model using Sony sensor would give you roughly the same angle of view range that you'd have using a 42-105mm lens on a 35mm camera.

A lens like that Pentax 77mm Limited mentioned would give you roughly the same angle of view you'd have using a 115mm lens on a 35mm camera, with shutter speeds close to 3 times as fast for any given lighting and ISO speed compared to an f/2.8 zoom if you wanted to shoot it with the aperture wide open at f/1.7

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Old Feb 27, 2007, 9:45 PM   #20
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"My film SLR lenses are not usable on dSLR's because my lenses were totally manual. And I LOVED it that way. I never had to wonder what the camera was going to try to make adjustments on."

You usually CAN use manual focus lenses on a dSLR. They just won't autofocus. But if you don't want to autofocus anyway, that's not really a problem, is it?

That said, some of the viewfinders might not be as bright, and in low light especially, manual focusing might be difficult. But, if you like to manually focus generally, there's no reason you might not be able to use an old film lens if it was a good lens.

Newer lenses designed for digital do tend to be better. For one thing, because of the smaller sensor area, you need a bit more resolution than you did with film. Also, good optical coatings tend to be more important, and modern lenses tend to have coatings optimized for digital.

But better film lenses are often sharp enough and often had good multi-coatings. Some will still do very well. But this will be true more often of fixed focal length (prime) lenses than zooms.

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