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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 4, 2004, 7:54 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Monza76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,095
Default

I would love to have a DSLR however, when I am honest with myself, I realize that a good zoom digicam (even as low as 4MP) with manual control options (especially the "prosumer" models) is more camera than I need.

I already own a very complete first generation Minolta Maxxum system, as long as film is still readily available (years yet I hope) I can use these for those occasions when I want that extra control of DOF, or I want very long exposures. Since my main lenses are two f4.0 zooms they are not well suited for controlling DOF anyway (although they are still far better than the digicams). The 50mm f1.7 is very good however.

I have come to appreciate my little p&s Pentax Optio, and I love my wife's Fuji Finepix 2800z (despite its meager 2MP resolution) for its great lens. I never print larger than 8X10 so my 3.2MP camera is quite adequate and the Fuji will produce passable results if you carfully massage the image. They both produce excellent 4X6 and since my wife and I like to fill albums and thumb through them, both cameras are excellent. Burn the jpegs onto a CD, pop it into a DVD player and you have a slide show on any available TV which is quick and convenient. The problem is control, I do enjoy experimenting and a digicam with a big lens and more control is what I now desire. I am not a professional, I have shot a few weddings for friends but that is it. Maybe in 4 years, when I retire from my present career, I will want a DSLR again.

I guess what all of this means is that how you use a camera is more important than the camera itself. The current crop of prosumer models have many limitations but they are very capable, light weight and well designed. The two majoritems, too me at least, is the noise at high ISOs (so shoot at lower ISOs) and the DOF (learn to be creative about backgrounds), and they are more than made up for by the convenience they offer.

Sorry about rambling.

Ira


Monza76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2004, 9:31 PM   #12
NHL
Senior Member
 
NHL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 39.18776, -77.311353333333
Posts: 11,547
Default

The DOF is actually a mixed blessing: It's bad for defocusing the background, but great for Macro!
I know a lot of folks who actually went back to digicams for Macro or products shots... on a dSLR you really got to close that aperture down and now you have a flash problem for eveness (Oh, and you need a macro lens too which is included for free in the digicams)

The EVF cameras have another benefit: most of them feature a real-time histogram as well as a What You See Is What You Get mode in manual. ie in manual their EVF shows exactly what is going to be recorded to the flash card as one increase/decrease the aperture/shutter. With an optical viewfinder you see the "real" thing, but on review it's not what you get -> need for bracketing and then retries multiple times... Focus is another one in macro where dSLR will have a problem with, a picture always look tack sharp in the viewfinder, until you review it and find out the DOF got you. With an EVF at high magnification one can actually focus on the pixels that are going to be recorded... or overide the camera with the DMF like on the A2
:idea:

I agree with Monza when is the last time anyone finds an ASA 800 film or an enlargement with an ASA 400? I can bet you Cartier Bresson used ISO 800 in his days :-)
NHL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2004, 9:42 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 28
Default

IMHO, the choice boils down to whether you want to ever use manual focus or not. If not, the EVF 8-mp cameras are great. If, on the other hand, you like manual focus, the D-SLR is the only way to go. I've tried focusing manually on LCDs and on EVFs and it really stinks! The resolution isn't great enough to tell when you're really in focus. Happy shopping!
Boomzilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2004, 9:48 PM   #14
NHL
Senior Member
 
NHL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 39.18776, -77.311353333333
Posts: 11,547
Default

Boomzilla wrote:
Quote:
I've tried focusing manually on LCDs and on EVFs and it really stinks!
Have you try it on the A1/A2?
Even on my 3 generation old D7 it works great when the EVF is magnified... I wish I can do the same on my 10D, and I can tell you it's not as easy to focus manually as everyone said it is on a dSLR (with no split-screen/micro-fresnel ring)

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A2/A2A4.HTM
NHL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 12:05 AM   #15
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
So, yes, for a given 35mm equivalent focal length, aperture and focus distance, you'll have more Depth of Field with a DSLR (using a crop factor), versus your 35mm Camera. This is because the actual focal length of the lens will be shorter for the same 35m equivalent focal length.

This problem is far more pronounced in a prosumer model, compared to a DSLR. Take a camera like the DiMAGE A2 as an example. The actual focal length of it's lens is only 7.2-50.8mm (to give you a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28-200mm).

As a result, it will be much more difficult to make your subject stand out from backgrounds.

Of course, this can also be viewed as a plus for a non-DSLR model. If you're trying to shoot scenes where you want more Depth of Field, especially at closer subject distances, a DSLR would be hard pressed to match it -- even stopping down the aperture to any reasonable value.

There are pros and cons to either approach. Some users have both types of cameras -- a prosumer model with great focal range in a lighter, more compact package, as well as a DSLR for conditions more appropriate for one (for example, when higher ISO speeds, or a shallower Depth of Field are needed).
Sorry Jim,
This is one of the few times I will disagree with you. I've used an Olympus C2100UZ, Minolta Dimage 7i, the Canon DLSR D30 & now the Dimage A1. I've never had a problem shooting images with a shallow depth of field with any of those cameras...DSLR or not. It's much more a matter of knowing how to use the tool than thinking the tool is limiting you...for instance, this was taken with my Dimage A1 in manual mode from about 3 feet away (non Macro), without any post processing to "blur" the background.


  Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 1:34 AM   #16
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

It depends on your subject,the percentage of the frame you need it to occupy, and the distance to the background that you want your subject to stand out from.

Let's take a couple of examples...

Suppose you're taking shot of someone, where you need to be 5 feet away at full wide angle on your DiMAGE A1, to get the framing you want (portion of the image occupied by your subject). To get the shallowest Depth of Field, you shoot wide open at f/2.8

In this case, the actual focal length of the lens would be 7.2mm

At this focus distance, aperture and focal length, everything would be acceptably sharp from about 3.1 feet to 14.8 feet.

Now, slap the new Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC lens on your D30, and shoot at 18mm to get the same equivalent focal length of 28mm. Don't even bother to shoot wide open with it. Shoot at f/4 (which would have more depth of field, compared to shooting wide open).

Everything from about 3.69 feet to 7.73 feet would be acceptably sharp.

So, in these two examples, you'dneed to have the background almost 10 feet behind the subject, before it started to become blurry with the A1 at typical viewing sizes. Yet, with the D30, even though you're shooting at f/4 versus f/2.8, your background starts to become blurry after less than 3 feet.

If you used a longer focal length with both cameras, the results would be the same. This is because you'd need to be shooting from further away in order for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the frame.

Let's take some examples of that (depth of field remains the same, as long as the aperture is constant, and the percentage of the frame occupied by your subject is the same). This time, I'll use a 35mm camera for ease of calculations (so I won't have to convert the focal lengths). But, the same thing applies to digital cameras, too

You are shooting with a 50mm lens using an aperture of f/4 at a focus distance of10 feet. In this case, the range of acceptable sharpness would be from around 8.74 to 11.7 feet (almost 3 feet of acceptable sharpness).

Now, you switch to a 100mm lens using the same f/4 aperture. So, in order for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the image, you need to shoot the shot from 20 feet away (versusfrom 10 feet away, as you did with the 50mm lens).

In this case, the range of acceptable sharpness would be from around 18.7 feet to 21.6 feet. (again, almost 3 feet of acceptable sharpness).

So, we try a 200mm lens now using the same f/4 aperture. So, in order for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the frame, you'll need to shoot from 40 feet away (versus from 20 feet, as you didwith the 100mm lens).

In this case, the range of acceptable sharpness would be from around 38.6 feet to 41.5 feet (again almost 3 feet of acceptable sharpness).

So, Depth of Field remains constant, provided the percentage of the frame occupied by your subject is the same, and you are using the same aperture.

Load this Depth of Field Calculator and selecta camera model. Then, plug in theactual focal length ofthe lens, focus distance and aperture to calculate Depth of Field.

http://dfleming.ameranet.com/dofjs.html


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 1:44 AM   #17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

THANK YOU SIR...MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?

Damn Jim...do you have a job?
J/K...I love your posts! It saves me so much time in researching this stuff myself! :O
  Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 3:05 AM   #18
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8
Default

@ T-161 No Problem

But any answer to my question from above would be a help! I`m still not sure if I should get 2 cams (the D70 and a small p&s cam) or instead get only one 8mp (like the C8080 or another).

By the way should I wait for the PHOTOKINA show in september? Anything special to be presented there?

Tobias
JosstheBoss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 4:22 AM   #19
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Kalypso wrote:
Quote:
Damn Jim...do you have a job?
Nope, I'm looking right now (which is why I'm spending so darn much time on these forums).

Of course, if I lived in Alabama, I'd volunteer to be your assistant. Your glamour photos are very nice!They got my attention immediately the first time I saw you post one, and I've appreciated them since. Of course, my wife wouldn't allow it.




JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2004, 7:31 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Chako's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 301
Default

Here is more info that may help you in regards to depth of field.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/dof/

Joss, just remember that the 8 megapixel cameras tend to be fairly noisy for low light photography due to the amount of photo-sensors crammed onto a very small CCD.

As for what you should get...well...only you know your needs. In your shoes, I would get the D70, especially if you already have lenses for it...due to its versatility. However, you will need to do some soul searching. As you already own an SLR, then you will know the negatives that go with that set up...such as heavy bulky back breaking gear hauls, etc.

I would also get a large camera bag, and haul all your kit in it, film and digital. That is what I am planing to do with mine over time. I am planing on selling my Olympus, Ricoh,and Pentax SLRs, in order to consolidate my gear towards Canon. It doesn't make sense to have 5 camera bags of 3 different systems in my house anymore.

Sorry I can't really help you, as your needs are different then mine (I am sure). Just go with what feels the best to you, and I am positive you will not regret it.


Chako 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 4:37 PM.