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Old Jan 26, 2008, 8:42 PM   #1
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Hello, I have been looking around the internet now for a while and no camera satisfy all my needs :/ I need help and advice or I will never be able to make a decision.

Here are my requests:
Camera+lens<1000euro
Performing well in dim light and low noise at iso 1600
Fast lens and large sensor, also for poor lighting conditions
Large grip, my hands are huge
Good battery time >600 pictures
Image stabilisation
Anti-Dust


What doesnt really matter to me:
Mp, but preferably 8mp or higher
Flash
Wide lenses, I dont plan to shoot landscapes

Models concidered:
Canon 400d - Good image quality but small grip and no built in IS
Nikon d40 - same as canon and also no built in autofocus
canon 30d - no IS and no anti-dust
nikon d80 - no IS and rather expensive
Olympus e 510 - small sensor and not so good at high ISO
Pentax k10d - short battery life
sony a100 - poor ISO performance, much noise
Fuji S100fs - not arrived but I suspect it will have ISO problems as the other super zooms, but darn the zoom looks nice.

I would like the image performance of canon 400d fit in the body of nikon d80 with built in Image stabilisation and the battery life of olympus e 510 and the attached lens of fuji s100fs, can some1 please build it for me? :?








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Old Jan 27, 2008, 5:52 AM   #2
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The truth is all of the cameras you mention will do a good job. In my opinion, two of your criteria are not all that important...anti dust and is/vr. Yes, both are nice to have, but neither completely fix the problems they address, anti dust especially. Anti dust will not eliminate the need to occassionally clean your sensor, and doesn't actually remove dust from the camera body. VR/Is does not eliminate motion blur from subject movement....it helps for static subjects, but if your subject is moving, you'll still need fast shutter speeds (or flash) to stop it.

You will get many opinions as to which camera you should buy, and you know what they say about opinions. Many of the opinions will be based on what that person uses...most have not actually tried/used all the cameras you mention. I shoot Nikon and am partial to their system, mostly becsause of their excellent flash system. Nikon and canon are the market leaders, and they are there for a reason. They offer a clear upgrade path, and offer a full line of equipment from entry to top end pro level. Many of the pro features get trickled down in some to the consumer bodies. Even VR/IS lenses are becoming very affordable. In reality, the body is the easiest and cheapest decision you will make. When you add up the cost of lenses, tripods, flash units, and other accessories, coupled with the fact that new bodies come out every 18 months with newer, slicker features, bodies are really almost disposable.

Go out and handle the cameras, feel which one fits you the best and that you can find the equipment you need to get the pictures you want.
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 8:39 AM   #3
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Did you mean the K10 or the K100? The K100 is a 6 mp camera and has less noise than the K10.

I happen to have the Pentax K10, and wonder where you got the idea that the battery life was short? I've only once had the K10's battery run out on me, and that was after a month of dragging the camera around with me every day and taking at least some pictures each day (some days more than others) - it lasts so long I had gotten out of the habit of paying any attention to it. I get significantly more than 600 snaps between charges, and I don't have a battery grip (which can add a second battery). It's been so convenient, I haven't quite gotten around to buying a spare one yet (the K10 takes a proprietary battery, unlike the K100 which uses AA and does have less battery life - I have a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries, they aren't expensive; the hybrid versions last longer but still don't equal what I get from the K10).

I don't think the K10's anti-dust system works all that well -and I agree that anti-dust should be about your last priority. I've had a dSLR now for 2 years and haven't yet had a dust problem that a couple of puffs with the Giotto Rocket Air hand blower hasn't taken care of. The best thing to do about dust is to learn how to change lenses - use a two handed method where you have the new lens all ready and lined up with the camera body in one hand. Release and remove the old lens with the other hand as you slip the new lens on the camera. The open camera body is only exposed for a second. The other thing is to have your back to the wind if there's any breeze at all (I domainly landscapes and macros so I'm changing lenses outdoors all the time).

I partly disagree with rjseeney about IS. It's true that it does nothing for motion blur (I have a lovely shot I handheld of city lights that got spoiled by a taxi whipping around a corner right in front of me. The lights were sharp but not the taxi). However, its important to me since most of my subjects in low light are relatively stationary and I'm not the steadiest person any more. Whether it would be important to you or not depends on your personal needs (how steady you are and if your subject is moving). There's a big difference between taking pictures in a museum (IS important)and taking pictures of a rock concert (IS not so important).

Lenses are important to your overall equation, but I don't think raw quantity numbers tell the whole story. One of the statistics that is brought out about Canon (and Nikon to a lesser extent) is the sheer number of lenses that are available. There are a whole lot more lenses available in these mounts, no question. They offer IS and non IS versions of the same lens, and similar lenses with and without focus motors in them. The biggest thing is whether there's a lens that suits your needs available in the camera mount you are looking at, not how many different ones there are.

The only camera I would probably cross off your list based on your low-light criteriais the Nikon d40. It is good at high ISOs but you will be most likely buying a fast prime lens for your low lighting conditions and at the moment they don't have one that would AF with it. The d80 would be a much better choice for you if you go Nikon.

The biggest thing is how comfortable the camera feels in your hands. If you aren't comfortable with it, then it doesn't matter how good the camera is because you won't want to use it. If the Canon cameras don't feel comfortable to you then look elsewhere.
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 9:04 AM   #4
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You are missing the most important criteria of a camera, ergonomics! If it doesn't feel right in your hand and to your eye you won't like it no matter how good the specifications are. If the camera feels too small or too large in your hand you won't feel comfortable during a long day of shooting.

The buttons and menus have to feel intuitive and in the right place for you. Are the basic settings easy and quick to change? Or are the critical ones buried in menus? Do you have to painfully twist your hand to change certain settings? There is nothing worse than fumbling with the camera just to change a basic setting while the photo opportunity slips away.

The quality bar for DSLRs is about the same so it all boils down to system availability, does that brand have the tools you will need, and ergonomics, does it feel right.
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 10:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. You might be right about the anti-dust system, just shaking the sensor is not a full time sollution. What do you guys think about the new fuji s100fs, then I wouldnt have to worry about dust at all. Even though its a 2/3 sensor fujis digicams are good at high iso, but maybe it cant compare with full size sensors? Anyways I think I can rule out anti-dust as a criteria.

But I really want the IS function, at least for zoom lenses. I could get a short range non IS and a zoom lens with IS but that would be very expensive. I dont want to carry with me a tripod and would like to take some handheld 6-8x zoom pictures in dim conditions. You are right the IS wont help me take pictures of moving targets but I would like to rule out the shaking hands factor.

That's another problem by the way. I would like to take photos of moving targets so IS wont be enough. Most of the pictures I am interested in taking is of people 10-20 meters away during nighttime. I have a fascination for odd behavior and have found out that most interesting events take place during night, hence the request for good ISO performance.

The Image quality comparison is based on the sample comparison from imaging-resoruce.com. The models I found to be most effective at ISO 1600 based on those pictures are nikon 80d, canon 400d and canon 30d. k10d is descent. Also the new sony a200 performs similiar to k10d. By the way mtngal were right about k10ds battery performance, it is just a bit below average, for example the canon 400d has worse battery time.

The only models I had the chance to feel is nikon d80, canon 400d and nikon d40 and from that comparison nikon d80 was the only one who felt ergonomical to hold. So far it is the most compelling model to me, but it is a little expensive and I dont think I will find a good lens for it within my price range, but tips are welcome.

I have also found a used nikon d70 for 500 euro. Is it a big difference between the nikon d80 and the d70?

Edit: found another used d70 for 350 euros so I would really like to know more about this model.
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 7:33 PM   #6
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kapten wrote:
Quote:
That's another problem by the way. I would like to take photos of moving targets so IS wont be enough. Most of the pictures I am interested in taking is of people 10-20 meters away during nighttime. I have a fascination for odd behavior and have found out that most interesting events take place during night, hence the request for good ISO performance.
Well, I'm sorry to have to break this to you so harshly, but what you're asking for is simply not possible with a DSLR and lens under 1000$
Camera manufacturers have to obey the laws of physics too

If you want to use a tele lens (10-20 meters away) at night (!), you're pushing the limits of any camera.

Take the lens for example. For a subject that far away you need at least 85mm, give or take.
Since zooms don't go faster than f2.8, you'll be needing a prime.

Then the camera: If you're shooting moving subjects at night, even with a fast lens you'd be using iso 1600 or above. And the simple truth is: no camera is noiseless at that level, especially the entry models.

---

To do what you're asking, an ideal combo would be a D3 with a Nikkor 85mm f1.4, but then you're way over 1000$

An 85mm f1.8 will cost you roughly 400$. An 85mm 1.4 or 1.2 is over your budget already, lens alone.
A 50mm f1.8 will be about 3 times cheaper, and great value for money, but it might be on the short side for what you're asking.

Since you have big hands, I'd advise Nikon. I've experienced that they've got the chunkiest grips (I like those too)

The D70 is a good camera, but it will be noisy at iso1600.
Maybe you could find yourself a used Fuji S3 Pro, the noise levels will be better.
Together with a fast lens you'll probably go a little over your budget, but it might be worth it.

---

Another option is a Pentax K100D Super.

That one does have the stabilization and dust reduction.

+ it has a 6mp sensor, which I know first hand deals with noise pretty well. (I have the *ist DL, same sensor)
It's definitly not noiseless, but iso800 is very nice and 1600 is usable, especially when properly exposed and with noise reduction.

Pentax doesn't make a cheap AF 50mm f1.8 like Nikon, instead it offers a 50mm f1.4 for about 300$
You'd still be under your budget with this combo.

An 85mm AF lens will be a nightmare to find though, and will cost you a fortune.

Also, the grip is a little smaller than Nikons, although larger than Canons.

---

Hope you find what you're looking for

Tom
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 7:33 PM   #7
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The D70 (earlier model) and D70s (later model) are still capable of excellent results in the right hands even though they are obsolete. The only concern I would have is getting a damaged copy from eBay.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...nikon_d70.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...ikon_d70s.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...nikon_d80.html

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec.../nikon_d70.asp
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec.../nikon_d80.asp


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Old Jan 28, 2008, 8:03 AM   #8
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Since there are no good photostores in this town, I will try to go on a field trip today to feeel up some models. Will be back later with comments.

Right now Im thinking of a new eos 30d for 600 euro and a 85 mm 1,8 lens for 350 euro, but lets see how the different models feel first.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 9:25 AM   #9
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kapten wrote:
Quote:
...
sony a100 - poor ISO performance, much noise
...
I really think the problem with noise at high ISO settings in the Sony A100 is being exaggerated. The A100 and the Pentax K10D use the same image sensor; Sony tunes it for detail at the expense of noise, while Pentax tunes it for noise at the expense of detail. ... at the default settings! Both the Sony A100 and the Pentax K10D have other settings that can correct the problems (more or less).

And the new Sony A200 has default settings that reduce the noise.

And it's cheaper!

I don't know how long a lens you need, but Tamron is about to introduce a 70-200/2.8 that costs less than the Sigma, will be available for Sony and Pentax as well as Canon and Nikon, and it is rumored that there will be a version wearing a Sony nameplate . Considering how much better Sony's version of the 18-250 is than Tamron's, I'm looking forward to Sony's version of the 70-200 as well.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 3:21 PM   #10
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Back from the store with report. There where 3 models that felt compelling to play around with. The Nikon D80, Sony A200 and Canon 40D. I also had the opportunity to try out the range of the 85mm lens (thanks for the tip) and I think the range is enough for me so I stick with something similiar. I think the choice now is between nikon d80, sony a200 and canon 3d. As I mentioned I really have a good price on the 30d, but ergonomically I slightly preferred the other models since it was a bit bulky, a really large camera.

From the ISO comparisons I have seen the 30d is slightly better than the Nikon and not far behind is Sony A200. But the Canon only has 8 mp, so maybe the other models catch up with the higher pixel count. Someone got more ISO comparisons of these models please post a link.

So hard to choose, but I will keep my eyes open for good offers and think all 3 cameras are quite good.

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