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Old Oct 12, 2011, 3:20 AM   #1
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Hello Everyone!

I'm new to this forum but been lurking and reading for awhile. I just wanted to say I appreciate all the info you guys provided helping others (which helps lurkers too!).

Now I need help purchasing a new DSLR. After a long break from photography I decided to come back and give it another try. I have a small project for a website taking shots of Portraits only. We were going to go with Sony DSC 350 camera but then I was thinking of asking if there's a better DSLR option for our needs and what better place to ask for help than here.

My requirements:

1. Taking indoor pictures (mostly at night under room lights). No Flash.
2. Portrait shots of a model doing various poses.
3. Wifi built in the camera is a big plus for fast image transfer to my computer
4. Sharp pictures
5. Less Noise.. the less the better!

What I don't need:

1. I don't need a camera body which can take a lot of lenses because I want to focus on Portraits (50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 lenses what I have in mind)
2. I don't need a lot of extra features. If the camera can shoot single shots of extra sharp pictures under low light and high ISO then that's good enough for me.

My budget is open but the hard part is what's the best "Value" for me. I don't want to fork extra money for redundant features/performance (for instance, I don't care if the camera can take 398983 shots per nano second.. am not shooting aliens in Area 51!).

My job is simple but I want good results (not extra ordinary). Should I stick with Sony DSC 350 or should I go with a DSLR knowing they would perform way better than a point n' shoot (I love to be able to focus and set my Aperture).

I previously owned a D70s (don't have it) but this camera had a lot of noise problems (old sensor maybe?).

Thank you!
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:37 AM   #2
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For portraits in low light, you're much better off with the light gathering ability of a large apertrue lens on a dSLR than you would be with any P&S.

The Rule of Thumb in the days of 35mm film was to use a lens with a focal length of from 85mm to 135mm. That range allows you to get close enough without being so close that you get perspective distortion. With an APS-C dSLR, focal lengths which give the same perspective are from 57mm to 92mm. There are a number of excellent lenses in that range, with large enough apertures to isolate the subject from foreground and background elements.

But if what you're after is "shots of a model doing various poses", you could also use something shorter. 50mm and 85mm are common focal lengths for what you want to do, but I've also seen some excellent results from 28-75mm and 24-70mm large aperture zooms.

These types of lenses are available for any brand of dSLR. As far as noise and dynamic range are concerned, I'd suggest either the Sony A580 or the Nikon D7000 or D5100. They all use the same Sony 16MP sensor, so the image quality is about the same. The selection of appropriate lenses is a little better for the Nikons than for the Sony. The D7000 is more expensive, but it allows you to use some older lenses that don't have their own AF motors. The D5100 is less expensive, but it can only AF with newer motorized lenses.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
For portraits in low light, you're much better off with the light gathering ability of a large apertrue lens on a dSLR than you would be with any P&S.

The Rule of Thumb in the days of 35mm film was to use a lens with a focal length of from 85mm to 135mm. That range allows you to get close enough without being so close that you get perspective distortion. With an APS-C dSLR, focal lengths which give the same perspective are from 57mm to 92mm. There are a number of excellent lenses in that range, with large enough apertures to isolate the subject from foreground and background elements.

But if what you're after is "shots of a model doing various poses", you could also use something shorter. 50mm and 85mm are common focal lengths for what you want to do, but I've also seen some excellent results from 28-75mm and 24-70mm large aperture zooms.

These types of lenses are available for any brand of dSLR. As far as noise and dynamic range are concerned, I'd suggest either the Sony A580 or the Nikon D7000 or D5100. They all use the same Sony 16MP sensor, so the image quality is about the same. The selection of appropriate lenses is a little better for the Nikons than for the Sony. The D7000 is more expensive, but it allows you to use some older lenses that don't have their own AF motors. The D5100 is less expensive, but it can only AF with newer motorized lenses.
Thank you TCav for your feedback.

I was also leaning towards D7000 and D5100 since I am familiar with Nikon. So, it all goes down to what kind of Lens I am going to use? I will use the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 (the cheap one which I believe goes for $100) and later I want that 85mm Nikkor 1.8 (or 1.4 one). Do these require D7000 to work?

Also, any of these DSLRs have wifi feature? (I am too lazy to connect wires to my computer!).
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 7:54 AM   #4
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If you don't have to buy right now, the Sony SLT-A77 with a new and very anxiously awaited new sensor chip is due out at the end of ths month. The early images from this camera blow the doors off the current generation Sony sensor in low light to my eye. As to WiFi, you can get an Eye-Fi SD card for any of the cameras, so I wouldn't take that into account in my camera evaluation. FWIW

Last edited by tclune; Oct 12, 2011 at 7:57 AM.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 9:48 AM   #5
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What I would do is get a short list then go and try them if feels right then you are well on your way. dont settle for i will get used to it. when you buy a DSLR you buy into system so make sure its the right one
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 9:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunes View Post
... I will use the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 (the cheap one which I believe goes for $100) and later I want that 85mm Nikkor 1.8 (or 1.4 one). Do these require D7000 to work?
Yes. Only Nikon's AF-S lenses will AF on the D5100.

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Also, any of these DSLRs have wifi feature? (I am too lazy to connect wires to my computer!).
No current dSLR comes with WiFi, but as tclune mentioned, an Eye-Fi SD Card can add WiFi to most modern cameras.

And yes, as tclune mentioned, Sony has announced the new A77, which should be available in the US RSN, and it does have a new 24MP image sensor. But test results show that its noise and dynamic range aren't quite as good as the cameras I mentioned. Also, since you'll be using your images on a website, you'll be downsampling your images, so the extra resolution will be wasted.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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Fuji will be releasing a mirrorless,interchangeable lens compact camera system early next year- and if it has an appropriate lens- and IF it has the X-100 sensor/processor,then that will have the low noise your after...
Look at these iso test shots here on Steve's review of the X-100..!!
http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...hotos-147.html
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Old Oct 13, 2011, 1:56 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your input.

So, the new Sony A77 is going to be released soon with a new sensor. The question is does this sensor provide less noise? does it perform better at low light with high ISO? How much would I be saving from the D7000. I don't want an expensive camera body!

I don't care for bigger resolution.. actually 6mp is even too much for my work. I'm not going to print anything.

So, if the Nikon D5100 is not going to be able to auto focus the 85mm 1.8 Nikkor lens I guess Nikon D7000 is my only choice? What about D90? (cheaper?)

Glad to know about the Eye-Fi so I don't have to worry about transferring my pictures.

The Fuji camera sounds great but I can't wait for next year.

Thank you all for your help I still want to know if I have cheaper options for a camera which performs well in-doors at night.
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Old Oct 13, 2011, 5:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunes View Post
So, the new Sony A77 is going to be released soon with a new sensor. The question is does this sensor provide less noise? does it perform better at low light with high ISO? How much would I be saving from the D7000.
Yes, the A77 will be available soon (Sony Canada is already filling its pre-orders.) At this level, the differences are not very significant, but the A77 has more noise, less dynamic range and costs more than the Nikons. I don't think it would be a good choice for what you want to do. If you're interested in a Sony, I think the A580 would be a better choice. but as I mentioned in an earlier post, the selection of appropriate lenses is a little better for the Nikons than for the Sony, and while the Sony does have some great Zeiss lenses, they are very expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunes View Post
So, if the Nikon D5100 is not going to be able to auto focus the 85mm 1.8 Nikkor lens I guess Nikon D7000 is my only choice? What about D90? (cheaper?)
Yes, the Nikon D90 has its own AF motor (like the D700 and unlike the D5100) so it will work with the lenses you're talking about. It doesn't have many of the higher end features that the D7000 has, and it has a 12MP sensor instead of the 16MP sensor in the D7000, but it is very good and it's cheaper.
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Old Oct 13, 2011, 10:20 AM   #10
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BTW, if you're up for the D90 and are tight for cash, you can save about $150 by getting a refurbished camera instead of a new one. It comes with a 90 day factory warranty instead of a 1 year warranty, but that's $150 you can put toward lenses and accessories.
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