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Old Jan 2, 2008, 9:47 PM   #1
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Hello,

I would just like to say that I am a long time 35 mm and have always loved it. This past October I was on my honeymoon with it and it has finally broken on me. Thankfully, it was the last day, so it didn't matter all that much. Rather than repairing it, I have decided to leap into the future and look into digital cameras. I am far from professional, but I have a decent eye for things and have an idea as to what I'm talking about when it comes to cameras.

The past couple of days, I have been looking at both the Nikon D200 and the Nikon D80. I wanted to get opinions on the camera and whether or not people feel this would be a good leap. If not, could someone offer up another suggestion? I am not looking for a super expensive camera, but the Nikon D200 is probably about my high point. What about some "necessary" accessories?

I am also not new to digital cameras. I have had some experience with a few over the years just in testing or using other people's cameras. I know that digital cameras use a preflash in order to eliminate red eye. However, my eyes are extremely sensitive to light and the preflash usually make my eyes squint during the actual picture taking. This ends up making me look drunk in the pictures. Is there an external flash that will not do this? Or maybe a camera, whether it's one of the ones I mentioned or a different one. I realize this would probably be a question for the flash topic and I am sorry if I offend anyone with my question. However, I felt this could be a relevant question/comment in helping me select a camera.

Also, with previous digital cameras, I always had trouble with getting blurry images. I believe it was because the shutters were so slow and my hands are not exactly the steadyest things around. Is this an issue I will have with the more expensive digital slr cameras? Or is this something where I would need to look into image stabalization cameras?

I realize this is complicated and probably encompasses a lot, but I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read and/or answer this with useful comments. I would just like to thank you in advance.

Thank you.
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Old Jan 2, 2008, 11:49 PM   #2
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Just about any of the dSLR cameras on the market are capable of taking outstanding pictures. Some have more features than others, and some are better than others at certain things.

My first question is what type of 35mm camera do you have? Some of the dSLR cameras have backwards capability with older lenses (Pentax has the best backward capability and I'm now using a couple of lenses that I purchased new in 1980). You might be able to save some money if you can use your old lenses.

I'm not the steadiest person in the world any more, either, so I really wanted image stabilization. You have two options here - Nikon and Canon put stabilization in their lenses, so if you want it, you have to buy their more expensive lenses. Pentax, Sony and now Olympus offer stabilization in-camera so every lens you use will be stabilized.

There's quite a bit of difference in size and weight, and that might make a difference to you (I'm small so I know I would never buy a D200 - too heavy for me, while other people with large hands find the Canon xti too small for their hands).

You can compensate for slow shutter speeds by buying faster lenses or by buying external flashes. I just bought an external flash that can swivel and tilt (and can also operate off-camera wirelessly) which helps deal with red-eye.

As far as "necessary" accessories - extra battery, memory, and camera case come to mind. There are all kinds of other accessories you might want, but it will partly depend on what you already have.
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Old Jan 3, 2008, 6:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting a response and all of your information.

As for my 35mm equipment, I don't have any of it anymore. I didn't realize it would be useful so I sold it off or gave it to friends.

Where you talk about the shutter speeds and everything...do all of the flashes only flash once? Or are they still doing a preflash followed by a flash?

Again, thank you for your response.
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Old Jan 3, 2008, 11:23 AM   #4
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Digital cameras have one or more pre-flashes as part of the red-eye reduction mode. A major advantage of an add-on flash is that it can be tilted to bounce the flash light off another surface, usually the ceiling. Although there is a pre-flash on my Nikon DSLR add-on flash, it is not directed at the subject and is generally much less noticeable. The pre-flash enables the camera to make an assessment of the background lighting with flash, and adjust the exposure and ISO (I use auto ISO). I have never seen red-eye or closed eyes in my images with this method, and the technique gives natural looking pictures, particularly when background light is natural or very low artificial lighting. A fast lens is an alternative to flash, but limited depth of field is a problem for multiple subjects, and image stabilisation will not help with subject movement if shutter speeds are too slow to freeze action. Image stabilisation is a great benefit though with long reach lenses to help negate the blurring effects of hand held camera shake.

Bounced add-on flash snapshot at a wedding:


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Old Jan 3, 2008, 1:27 PM   #5
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Recommended reading:

http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/phscs2ip_filmtodig.pdf

There are a couple of things you haven't mentioned:

1. Budget. This matters quite a bit obviously.
2. As a long-time SLR user you must have a pretty good idea of the focal lengths of the lenses you used to use. Were you a zoom user or prime? Before choosing a camera it might be a better idea to try to think about lenses because where there is actually not a great deal of difference between cameras the different manufacturers' lenses are more variable.

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Old Jan 3, 2008, 8:19 PM   #6
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1eyedeer:

Thank you for the information about the flash. I had someone use an external flash when photographing me and I should of gotten more information on it. She had an external flash that bent on an angle but also had this white cover or something over it, so it dulled the flash some. Anyone know what is?

peripatetic:

Thank you for the information and that PDF was very interesting. My preference is a zoom lens. As for budget I'm probably looking at about 1000 or so, but at the same time I've been looking at some cheaper cameras.
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Old Jan 4, 2008, 8:24 AM   #7
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chickensaur-

I agree completely with the posts from 1eye deer and peripathetic. The plastic cover that attaches to the flash head is called a diffusser. I have found the diffusser to be useful whenwhen shooting with the flash head of the external flash in the 90 degree position where it lies parrellel to the lens angle.

I use the 15 to 20 degree bounce angle on the flash head just as 1eyedeer does with rather pleasing results. I have attached a sample photo.

Peripethetic's post regarding the lens selection is right on target. The lenses will be the more expensive investment that you make.

Note to Peripatetic: The attached photo was resized with FastStone Image Viewer, so perhaps it will be a bit better.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 4, 2008, 10:23 AM   #8
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Sarah, that is SOOO much better!!
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Old Jan 4, 2008, 2:26 PM   #9
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Many thanks, Peripathetic-

I appreciate the feedback. It is nice to know it looks better. Happy New Year!

Sarah Joyce
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