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Old Dec 6, 2004, 3:22 PM   #21
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I think I covered most of your issues in my last post, but I missed a couple:

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I thought the reason to shoot in RAW had something to do with better ability to do noise reduction on the computer? If you have to convert to another format first, aren't you missing out on that ability? Perhaps the noise reduction won't be necessary if I'm using a D-SLR anyway?
You can convert from RAW to a 16 bit per channel format before doing the Noise Reduction, versus using an 8 bit JPEG. You're better off doing any kind of editing/enhancements in 16 bit mode to preserve as much dynamic range as possible. You'll still want to use noise reduction for higher ISO speeds if you want the best quality. You may or may not want to go to the trouble of shooting in RAW though. RAW does offer benefits over JPEG. For example, more control of the way the image is processed (since you're bypassing the camera processing for contrast, sharpness, white balance, etc..)with some tricks for increasing Dynamic Range, ability to set white balance after the fact, and more.

Some users insist on shooting in RAW, others use nothing but JPEG. Each user will have different standards for the quality they need, and the final results can require a trained eye to tell the difference at most viewing sizes, if the original JPEG shots were taken with appropriate settings.

RAW does give you better ability to pull out detail though. For example, there are some techniques that can give you better dynamic range if you need it, like saving one photo from RAW exposed for the highlights, anda second photo exposed for the shadows, then blending in with software to produce a final image with more dynamic range).

Quote:
BTW, what's powering an internal motor inside one of these AF-S, USM, or HSM lenses? How does that work? And is it practical to try to change lenses in the middle of a concert in the dark?
The lenses work off of the camera's power via the contacts in the lens mount, and yes, users do change lenses in concert settings.

Quote:
The only reason I was thinking of getting the cheap lenses on the Canon was the nominal cost with the rebates. You mention that a cheap lens with a longer focal distance and no IS gives up the advantage of a D-SLR. What exactly do you mean by that? And what does it mean to say the lens is softer at either end of the aperture settings or focal range?
OK -- suppose you have an f/2.8 lens with IS like the Panasonic's lens, and you are shooting inlight thatallows 1/125 secondatISO 100 with a focal length of 400mm. Thanks to a stabilized lens, this shutter speed would probably not be a problem for most users.

But, if you switched to a DSLR model that stopped down to f/5.6 at 400mm, even using ISO 800 would only get you to around 1/250 second, so you'd need to go ISO 1600 to get shutter speeds fast enough to reduce motion blur from camera shake, using the 1/focal length rule of thumb (since camera shake is magnified greatly as more zoom is used). ISO 1600 on the DSLR is going to be noisy compared to ISO 100 on the Panasonic.

Now, could you use 1/250 and get away with it without a tripod? Probably, and some users can go muchslower than 1/125 second shutter speedshand held at full zoom with the Panasonic, too. But, you're giving up the benefits of a DSLR by buying a slower (not as bright) long zoom lens, unless you are going to use a tripod or won't be shooting in less than optimum lighting.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 5:13 PM   #22
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I might be able to buy the 1G SD and the battery from you for a resonable price. Let me know quick before I get it from some where else. You could also sell everything on ebay and buy the camera that meet your need.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 5:59 PM   #23
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Hokies...I'll probably be able to cancel the order for the 1GB SanDisk Ultra II since I don't think it shipped yet. If not, I could return it unopened and just pay return shipping. That's probably what I'll do. When you say to sell everything on eBay, do you mean the camera and all the accessories? The idea of selling the camera is appealing since I wouldn't have to pay a restocking fee (10%). Some of the other items are so inexpensive (such as a $20 USB 2.0 reader), that I don't know if it would be worth selling. It's a good point though...
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 6:05 PM   #24
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Hokies...I'll probably be able to cancel the order for the 1GB SanDisk Ultra II since I don't think it shipped yet.
You may want to consider keeping it and buying an SD to CompactFlash Adapter if you go with a model requiring CF, depending on your return shipping costs, etc. if you can't cancel the order. Minolta makes one of these, and it sells for around $50.00 from online discounters now.

http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-Minolt...0_950~S-P~OR-0



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Old Dec 7, 2004, 9:31 PM   #25
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Jim et al,

The good thing is that there's really nothing wrong with my Minolta DiMAGE S304. It is a little old and slow and it never gets anything right on automatic modes, but when I go manual on it, it does fairly well. It does very nice shots in macro mode of flowers and it's good for any situation with "normal" lighting. It's even not so bad in low light situations, such as concerts, though it's quite a bit more noisy than I'd like. In any case, it seems to be better in the concert environment than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20! So, I can keep the minolta as my "lightweight" camera and get a D-SLR for when I have more challenging photo opportunities (such as low-light concerts).

BTW, I'm an idiot and I forgot to bring both my cameras to the Pixies show last night in Norfolk. It really sucks too because the show was AWESOME and the lighting was perfect!

Check out the setlist!

1. In Heaven
2. Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
3. Ed Is Dead
4. Mr. Grieves
5. Nimrod's Son
6. Holiday Song
7. Where Is My Mind?
8. Bone Machine
9. I Bleed
10. Crackity Jones
11. This Money's Gone To Heaven
12. Broken Face
13. Caribou
14. I Got Something Against You
15. Isla
16. Velouria
17. Cactus
18. #13 Baby
19. Subbacultcha
20. UMass
21. Gouge Away
22. Dead
23. Debaser
24. Wave of Mutilation
25. Tame
26. Hey!
27. Gigantic
28. --- encore -- (not a track)
29. Here Comes Your Man
30. Vamos

I'm going to see Le Tigre tonight at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill and I'm thinking I will bring both cameras for comparison. I've got an RMA number for the Panasonic and I feel bad about sending it back because I know it's an awesome camera, but I also understand that it won't meet my primary purpose, which was low-light concert photography, and I already have a camera that's fine for the rest of my needs.

As far as lugging around a big camera, I don't think that's going to be a problem in general. At concerts, I anticipate I would probably bring the smallest case possible and one lens that I planned on using. With my Minolta, I'm able to bring it in a case and sling both over my back. I can hang onto the camera and dance when I'm not shooting. I think that will be a little more challening with a D-SLR. If I'm right up against the stage, I can put it on the stage as long as I keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn't walk off.

Do you have any suggestions about a convenient case for a D-SLR that would allow me to jump around and be crazy at a concert for a while when I'm not shooting? I know there are some backpack style cases that might be okay as long as nobody can unzip quick and take it out without me knowing. Also, I need to be able to protect the camera and lens when the crowd gets really tight and there's a lot of pushing. That only really happens at the biggest acts like Radiohead and the Pixies though. I've seen some people with a larger case put it between their feet when not using it at a concert. I'm probably not as comfortable with that because I want to be able to jump around and I don't want anyone stepping on my case and camera.

If I get good really shots with the D-SLR, I might print them or have them printed and framed. Good low light performance without flash is probably only for concerts. For people, I would use a flash. I could try taking pictures of the moon or something or fireworks, I guess. I've done fine with low-light, no-flash stuff on the Minolta as long as the subject is holding still and I have a tripod for a long exposure...say like a bridge with lights on it over a river at night.

As far as the long zoom...I thought the 12x would be really cool for concerts because I could get close-ups of the band even if I can't get physically close. I've been frustrated over the years with the limitations of the 4x zoom on the Minolta... For example, at Coachella Festival, I wanted to take pictures of Beck but he was in the tiniest tent and it was completely packed from all entrances, so I was about 50 feet from the stage. I took a few shots, but they're mostly useless. I think in a case like that the 12x could have worked wonders. Also, the 12x zoom might have been useful for taking a picture of a hawk in a tree behind my house, or a groundhog in my back yard or the deer in my back yard, so the long zoom would be for nature photography too. But the good thing about the D-SLRs, I guess, is that I can always get a longer zoom lens later if I find I need one. My dad gets incredible nature shots with his Canon 10D and a $1500 Canon IS 100-400 f/4.5 lens.

Though I definitely couldn't afford two cameras right now, I could always get a newer inexpensive super-zoom camera later if I wanted, I guess.

So...about DOF...you're saying that it's a nice effect that you can do with a D-SLR but not so easy with a non-DSLR? I think the Panasonic had something in the manual about how to achieve that effect....so that the subject in the foreground is in focus and the background is blurrry. Are you saying that a D-SLR is better or a prosumer is better when it comes to DOF?

As far as Macro....I can continue to use my Minolta for that....and I guess I could do some with the lenses I've considered for the D-SLRs but if I wanted to do it a lot, I'd need to get a macro lens.

I like the idea that I could get those lenses for the Canon cheap because of the rebates and then sell them for a profit on eBay...that would help defray the whole cost of the D-SLR upgrade. For example, I could get the three lenses (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6, EF 75-300 f/4.0-f/5.6 and Tokina 25-200mm AF f/3.5-f/5.6 AT-X 242F) and then just keep the Tokina lens and sell the other two to defray my upgrade costs. That makes the Canon an very attractive deal. It looks like the EF-S 18-55mm lens would sell on eBay for around $100. And it looks like the EF 75-300 sells on eBay for about $150. So if I spent the $964 for the three lenses and then sold the two cheap ones for $250 total, I'd be looking at $714 total for the Canon EOS-300D Digital Rebel with the single Tokina 25-200mm AF f/3.5-f/5.6 AT-X 242F lens. Not bad, eh? Do you think that Tokina lens is the best buy for the range and for my all-purpose needs at this time? I know what you're saying about trying them out and all. I do think, however, that I'd like a powerful zoom for the situations I mentioned above and if I was just carrying one lens in my case, it might be manageable.


But I'm also just a little concerned that it's the most entry-level D-SLR with a few limitations and I might regret not getting the Nikon D70 instead. Also, at least initially, I'm attracted to a single-lens solution. I guess I could do that with either. Would it be worth $100 more for the Nikon D70?

The 50mm f/1.8 lens is cheap enough that I could get it later if I found that I needed it. It's a good thing it's not part of the whole rebate deal...

About the prosumers...I'm just asking if you think any of them come remotely close to the image quality of a D-SLR in low-light situations? Because if the answer is no, then there's no point in trying any of them because my primary use is low-light concert stuff....

As far as the cheap lenses, I'm hoping that I could get one that's not too expensive now (like the Tokina) and it would give me results that are far better than what I get with the Minolta. I know I could upgrade to a really nice, bright, IS lens later, but I also recognize that the cost is fairly prohibitive unless you're getting paid for your work.

I don't think I would bother with the SD-CF conversion adapter. I was able to cancel the order and I'm sending the other one back, I think with no restocking fee. It's too slow anyway (Kingmax 60x 1GB Platinum SD is really about 1x...the one I got at least is REALLY slow to write).

BTW, Le Tigre cancelled for tonight but the opening bands are playing a free show so I think I'll try with the Panasonic again.

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Old Dec 7, 2004, 11:24 PM   #26
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YourFace wrote:
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Do you have any suggestions about a convenient case for a D-SLR that would allow me to jump around and be crazy at a concert for a while when I'm not shooting?
Not really. You may want to ask this question in the Canon EOS Digital SLR Forum to see if others have found a good case for this purpose.

Quote:
My dad gets incredible nature shots with his Canon 10D...
Well, the Canon Digital Rebel has the same 6MP CMOS sensor asyour Dad's camera, and it will take the same lenses. So, you may be able to talk him into sharing. ;-)

Quote:
So...about DOF...you're saying that it's a nice effect that you can do with a D-SLR but not so easy with a non-DSLR? I think the Panasonic had something in the manual about how to achieve that effect....so that the subject in the foreground is in focus and the background is blurrry. Are you saying that a D-SLR is better or a prosumer is better when it comes to DOF?
It depends on your perspective. A non-DSLR model has greater depth of field (more of the image in focus as your get further away from your focus point), for any given focal length, aperture and focus distance. But, this means that you have problems using larger apertures to blur backgrounds, unless you have a smaller subject filling the frame.

So, for creativity (blurring backgrounds to help your subject stand out), a DSLR is better. For some other purposes (where you want more of a scene in focus), a non-DSLR can be better, so that you don't need to use much smaller apertures to get greater depth of field.

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As far as Macro....I can continue to use my Minolta for that....and I guess I could do some with the lenses I've considered for the D-SLRs but if I wanted to do it a lot, I'd need to get a macro lens.
Well, you can get extension tubes to allow you to focus closer with non-Macro lenses. I really depends on how small of a subject you need to fill the frame. A macro lens is a better choice. You may even be able to "kill two birds with one stone" by buying a bright lens that would work for getting a little longer focal lengths than the 50mm f/1.8 would provide, and have macro ability. For example, Sigma has a105mm f/2.8 EX Macro lens out now with 1:1 Macro ability.

Quote:
Do you think that Tokina lens is the best buy for the range and for my all-purpose needs at this time? I know what you're saying about trying them out and all. I do think, however, that I'd like a powerful zoom for the situations I mentioned above and if I was just carrying one lens in my case, it might be manageable.
There are pros and cons to this type of lens. Personally, I'd probably go with something that had a shorter focal range. But, if you don't want to carry more than one lens around, it is a solution (and a much better one than other lenses with a similar focal range, which tend to have poor optical quality). This one rates as average quality, and it's built like a tank. You can find a user review of it here:

http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/r...okina24200.htm

There are some other inexpensive "one lens"solutions around, too. If you can get by with less focal range, Sigma makes an 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC lens that's designed specifically for digital cameras. This one would give you a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 28-200mm on a Digital Rebel, and it's smaller and lighter than the Tokina. Although I have not seen any tests of the Sigma, I suspect that the Tokina is just as good or better from an Optical quality perspective, with a better build quality. But, you'll have a larger and heavier lens with the Tokina.

Quote:
But I'm also just a little concerned that it's the most entry-level D-SLR with a few limitations and I might regret not getting the Nikon D70 instead. Also, at least initially, I'm attracted to a single-lens solution. I guess I could do that with either. Would it be worth $100 more for the Nikon D70?
Well, I'm biased. I've owned multiple Nikon cameras, and I still have a couple (an older Coolpix model, and a 35mm SLR I still use).

But, being as objective as I can be, the Canon will probably have better noise characteristics in low light (even though they test about the same), and you probably won't need the faster speed of the Nikon for most shooting conditions.

Having said that, if it were me, I'd buy the Nikon if budget allowed. IMO,the Canons still don't have the metering down quite aswell as the Nikons -- especially for flash exposure. Although, I can't deny that the Canon is a very good deal, offering a lot of bang for the buck, and would probably work better for your low light concert photos. Of course, I'd immediately install the hacked firmware if I went this route. ;-)

I can't fault the Canon's image quality, which is what is most important in most shooting conditions. It's a lot of camera for the money.

Quote:
The 50mm f/1.8 lens is cheap enough that I could get it later if I found that I needed it.
You'll need it if the lighting is as low is it appears to be (of course, quality is always subjective, and you are getting by with a non-DSLR model now). You may even want to consider the f/1.4 if faster shutter speeds are desired.

Quote:
About the prosumers...I'm just asking if you think any of them come remotely close to the image quality of a D-SLR in low-light situations? Because if the answer is no, then there's no point in trying any of them because my primary use is low-light concert stuff....
Well, I'd try something with the 3MP 1/1.8" CCD. It's pretty good in low light for a non-DSLR camera. Oops, you've already got one of those. :-)

Actually, the Olympus C-3040z may make an even better choice (it's lens is twice as bright as the lens on your Minolta), and it's pretty inexpensive on Ebay.

Another option would be the Olympus C-2100UZ (2 Megapixels, Stabilized zoom Lens). This one is a little harder to find on Ebay (it's a very well liked camera). But, it's lens is not as bright as the Olympus C-3040z.

Seriously, you'll need to make that call.I'mnot really that impressed with the image quality from the S304. But, you'll probablyneed to post process using software to get the same sharpness with a newer model (this has to do with the way the images are being sharpened in camera, which is an optical illusion).

Also, from what you're telling us, you may have a problem getting a removable lens model into some venues. So, a non-DSLR model like one of the prosumers we've discussed is better than a model with no image quality (if you can't bring a DSLR in to get the photos at some concerts).

So, you may want to give a prosumer model a try. You should be able to find a local vendor with liberal return policies (i.e., Ritz, etc.). It would be smaller and lighter, without the lens selection problem you'd have with a DSLR. However, it may or may not work well enough in low light to meet your expectations of quality. Even a DSLR can have a very tough time in light as low as your concerts appear to be in.

Overall, to me (based on this thread so far), it sounds like the Canon would probably be abetter choice for you, if you don't mind the extra size and weight.

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Old Dec 8, 2004, 12:48 AM   #27
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I just got back from the Cat's Cradle. As I mentioned, the Le Tigre show was cancelled and the two opening bands were putting on a free show instead. I missed the first band, "Measles, Mumps, Rubella", but I got there in time to see "Lesbians on Ecstasy". This band is from Canada. They put on a good show but it's not really my kind of music. It was very energetic with a lot of drum pad and electronic stuff. I mostly just went to try out the Panasonic DMC-FZ20 again and compare it to the Minolta DiMAGE S304 that I've been using for years. I confirmed that both cameras are unable to take decent photos in low-light concert environments without a flash and the Panasonic DMC-FZ20 is far worse than the Minolta for this purpose. I took a few photos without flash but I ended up using flash with both cameras. You should be able to clearly tell the difference. The photos are labeled either FZ20 for the Panasonic or S304 for the Minolta.

You can view them here:

http://www.dotphoto.com/GuestViewAlbum.asp?AID=2019578

User Name: jesse_safir
Password: furr

It looks like that Sigma Telephoto 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Autofocus lens is $344. That's a little high for me right now but I would keep it in mind if I needed a good Macro lens.

The Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras is only about $240 so that's as affordable as the Tokina 25-200mm AF f/3.5-f/5.6 AT-X 242F lens we talked about.

The message about the Canon vs. Nikon choice isn't clear, but I understand there are advantages to both. It sounds like the Canon is really a better deal for me at this time, especially if I got the $230 in rebates and sold those two lenses on eBay. Also, a few other people have told me that Canon has the best image quality and they're the best in low-light concert settings. I would probably go ahead and install the hacked firmware too.

I talked to a guy at the concert tonight who had a Canon 10D and he saidthat Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is a real steal and he wants one but they're always sold out. He says that lens is awesome for concert photography as long as you're up front. I guess for $70 you can't go wrong with an f/1.8 50mm lens. I don't think I could jump up from $70 to $250 for the f/1.4 version at this time.

A friend of mine who shoots a lot of concerts says not to worry about not being able to bring an SLR camera into venues. She says that only the biggest acts (like Radiohead and the Pixies) will have a policy against it and many will let you do it as long as you ask nicely. I know for sure I could have taken one to the Pixies show last night because I asked and they said any camera is fine as long as you don't use flash. Also, if I was really serious about a concert, I'd see if there were some way for me to get a press pass so I could bring it anyway. And in the worst case scenario, I'd just use the Minolta as I have been doing for years.

At this point, I'm thinking I will go ahead and send back the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and order the Canon EOS-300D Digital Rebel with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 kit lens, plus the EF 75-300 f/4.0-f/5.6 lens (for the additional $130 rebate), and probably that 50mm f/1.8 lens too. I guess I can hold off on getting a versatile Tokina or Sigma lens for now. This guy I met tonight said, I think, that you can get the Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM f/3.5-5.6 lens used for a good price. I see it used on Amazon Marketplace for $329. I see it new for as little as $364 but that's from a shady vendor. Isn't that the 35mm equivalent of a 216mm zoom? That's about a 6x optical zoom, right?

Do you know about any other inexpensive IS lenses that might be good? At what focal distance do you really need an IS lens if you're doing hand-held?

I just looked at that Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM f/3.5-f/5.6 lens and it's in the rebate dealtoo. So if I got it,with theDigital Rebel and the EF 75-300 f/4.0-f/5.6 lens, I would get another $100 off the Digital Rebel, another $45 off the lens, and another $15 off the 1st lens...so the net cost of that lenswould be $230! That sounds like a winner! What do you think?

So... now I'd be looking at

$ 782 - Canon EOS-300D Digital Rebel with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6
$ 390 - Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens
$ 150 - Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 lens
---------
$1322 - total
-390 - rebates ($300 + 45 + 45)
---------
$ 932 - total after rebates
-250 - Sell EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 and 75-300 f/4.5-f/5.6 lenses on eBay
---------
$ 682 - total for Digital Rebel with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens
+64 - Canon EF f/1.8 50mm lens
---------
$ 746 - final total forcamera w/ EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens and f/1.8 50mm

Of course, I haven't included shipping and higher prices to buy the camera and 3 lenses from one vendor. Also, it might take some time to sell those other two lenses. That $390 in rebates will be nice if I go that way!


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Old Dec 8, 2004, 2:03 AM   #28
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I just figured out that I was wrong about the rebates...it's not the inexpensive EF 75-300mm lens that's included on the rebates. Rather, it's the IS version:

$394 - 2570A003AA - EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM
$159 - 6472A002AA - EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 III USM
$137 - 6473A003AA - EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6

So...that changes things a little.

In that case, I guess I could do this:

$ 782 - Canon EOS-300D Digital Rebel with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6
$ 390 - Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens
---------
$1172 - total
-230 - rebates ($200 +30)
---------
$ 942 - total after rebates
-100 - Sell EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 lens on eBay
---------
$842 - total for Digital Rebel with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens
+64 - Canon EF f/1.8 50mm lens
---------
$906 - camera w/ EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens and f/1.8 50mm

OR, I could get the f/1.4 lens instead (which qualifies for the rebate):

$ 782 - Canon EOS-300D Digital Rebel with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6
$ 390 - Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens
$296 - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens
---------
$1468 - total
-390 - rebates ($300 +45 + 45)
---------
$1078 - total after rebates
-100 - Sell EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 lens on eBay
---------
$978 -camera w/EF 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens and EF 50mm f/1.4 lens

Do you think it's worth $72 to have the f/1.4 50mm instead of the f/1.8 50mm?


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Old Dec 8, 2004, 12:30 PM   #29
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YourFace wrote:
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Do you know about any other inexpensive IS lenses that might be good? At what focal distance do you really need an IS lens if you're doing hand-held?

I just looked at that Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM f/3.5-f/5.6 lens and it's in the rebate dealtoo. So if I got it,with theDigital Rebel and the EF 75-300 f/4.0-f/5.6 lens, I would get another $100 off the Digital Rebel, another $45 off the lens, and another $15 off the 1st lens...so the net cost of that lenswould be $230! That sounds like a winner! What do you think?

Look, if you're only getting shutter speeds of 1/10 - 1/13 second at ISO 400 at f/2.8 now (which are producing unacceptable results, even with IS), you need a brighter lens with a DSLR, too.

I'd forget trying to use an f/3.5-5.6 lensindoors at concerts, IS or not. Shutter speeds will be too slow.

At longer focal lengths, the lens you're looking at will require shutter speeds 4 times as long as an f/2.8 lens at any given ISO speed and lighting level. So, even at ISO 1600, you wouldn't be able to get shutter speeds any faster than you're getting with the Panasonic (unless you're somewhere with better lighting).

Also, this is far too slow to prevent motion blur from camera shake, much less subject movement.

IS is designed to give you 2 to 3 stops. But, in the lighting levels you've got, that would only translate to the equivalent of shooting at around 1/40 - 1/80 second at longer focal lengths (since you'd really be shooting at around 1/10 second at ISO 1600 when stopped down to f/5.6, which will be noisy).

You'd want to be shooting at shutter speedsmuch faster to prevent blur from camera shake using a lot ofzoom, even with IS. Also, even if you were using a tripod with a non-IS lens, you'd need faster shutter speeds than that to reduce motion blur from subject movement to an acceptable level.

In other words, that little 50mm f/1.8 is your best bet for when you can get closer to the stage, using your feet for zoom.

At longer distances, you'll want to find the brightest lens you can. If you go with a lens that doesn't have IS, I'd use a monopod to help reduce blur from camera shake. You maybe able to find a some bright prime lenses on the used market to save you a few bucks, and get faster shutter speeds than you'll get with one of the zooms that only have f/2.8.

For example, Canon makes an 85mm f/1.8 that would give you a 35mm equivalent focal length of 153mm on the Rebel. You'll also see an 85mm f/1.4L, 100mm f/2, and a 135mm f/2L.

If I were you, I wouldn't spend a dime more than I had to, until I had a better idea of what to expect in the lighting conditions you'll have with a DSLR. The 50mm f/1.8 is cheap enough that this would give you an idea of what kind of shutter speeds to expect. You could also shoot some concerts at at f/2.0, f/2.8, etc., at various ISO speeds with it, to help make some judgement calls on what you think is an acceptable noise level, and acceptable number of keepers without too much blur from subject movement.

Then, you'd know if it's worth it to go with an f/2.8 zoom, or if you're better off investing in even brighter primes (for example, f/2.0 will allow shutter speeds twice as fast as f/2.8 for the same lighting and ISO speeds).

Again, you'll need to worry about motion blur from camera shake too at longer focal lengths. The "rule of thumb" for a non-stabilized lens is 1/focal length or faster. So, if you're shooting at a 35mm equivalent focal length of 153mm (as with an 85mm prime on a Digital Rebel), you'd want shutter speeds of 1/153 second or faster. It's not going to happen, based on what you're telling me about the shutter speeds you're getting it f/2.8 and ISO 400 now, even going to ISO 1600.

So, you'llprobably need to use a monopod or tripod for better results at longer distances, and brighter the lens the better.

Personally, I'd buy the least I could to start with (unless you can do better with the rebates, selling the lenses that don't work for you), and buyfrom a vendor with a no restocking fee policy. That way, based on your results, you'll havea better idea of what you'll need for other venues.

How were your shutter speeds at the concerts last night? Any better than the first outing? If so, perhaps they could help you better judge requirements.

Now, I suspect that the lighting at larger events will bemuch better than you're getting in these dimly lit clubs (I see too many photosof concerts on the web from users gettingfaster shutter speeds). But, I'd air on the side of caution before spending a lot on lenses that may not work well for you.

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Old Dec 8, 2004, 10:51 PM   #30
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Okay...I just typed up a whole big reply and then I accidentally hit the "Back" web navigation key on my keyboard and it was all gone. I clicked the "Forward" web navigation key and it was still gone. That's something I really hate about this ThinkPad R40 (the web navigation keys are easily bumped). Oh well...

So...where was I? I was saying that I looked through the concert photos from the last year and the Minolta DiMAGE S304 is actually not bad! Of course, you have to set everything manually but I guess it's that relatively big CCD for a "prosumer" camera that does a decent job. I'd still like to "upgrade" to something that gives me more zoom and less noisy pictures, of course.

What I discovered is these are the settings I've been using:

Daylight concerts (Coachella, Austin City Limits):
ISO100 and ISO200. f/3.6. 1x to 4x zoom and sometimes 2x digital zoom (8x total). Shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/500. I think most shots are about 1/125.

Night or indoor concerts without flash:
ISO400 and ISO800. When lighting allows, I use ISO400 because it's far less noisy. f/3.6. 1x to 4x zoom and sometimes 2x digital zoom (8x total). Shutter speeds from 1/15 to 1/500. Most shots are around 1/30 to 1/60. In bright concerts, like Radiohead, I've been able to do a lot of shotsbetween 1/125and 1/250 without flash.

Night or indoor concerts WITH flash:
ISO200 mostly. f/3.6. 1x to 4x with some 8x (digital). Shutter speeds from 1/60 to 1/1000. Most shots around 1/200.

Given the experience I stated above with the Minolta DiMAGE S304, would you reconsider the feasibility of my using the f/3.5-5.6 IS lens at concerts?

I'm thinking for really crappy lighting like at these small local clubs I'd need to use that 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens. And the IS zoom lens would be better for brighter and bigger concerts (like Radiohead and Pixies).

I agree that the f/5.6 aperture in the long range of the IS lens probably wouldn't work for me. Can I get a fixed aperture f/2.8 or f/3.5 lens with some range on it for an affordable price?

Are you suggesting I could find a longer prime that's brighter than f/2.8 for a reasonable price? I thought all the bright telephoto lenses are extremely expensive? The guy I talked to at the concert last night said that concert photography is all about primes.

$319 - Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM EF lens
$669 - Minolta 85mm f/1.4 AF D lens
$369 - Canon 100mm f/2.0 USM EF lens
$850 - Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM AF lens

I see a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX AF lens for $365. I guess that's a fixed aperture? I'd like more range than that. What mm lens would I need to have a 1x-8x range on the Digital Rebel? Is that like 36-288mm in a 35mm range? Would that mean I'd need a 24-180mm lens (1.6x multiplier)?

The thing about how much to spend initially is that with the Canon I have an opportunity to get $390 back in rebates if I buy two qualifying lenses with the camera. I could get the kit lens with two other lenses and probably sell them all at a profit on eBay, right? But I might find that they're worth a lot to me and I should keep them. That's why I was thinking it would be best to get the 50mm f/1.4 and the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. I thought the IS lens would be great all around and the f/1.4 would be great for concerts. If I didn't need that bright of a lens, I could certainly sell it on eBay and get the cheaper f/1.8 version. But I feel like I should take advantage of the one-time rebate opportunities, right?

I see what you're saying about just starting with the bare minimum of what I need and then adding. I like the idea of using the 50mm lens to test out different scenarios and plan for more lenses. But I wouldn't want to miss out on the $390 in rebates, right? I mean the worst case scenario is that I'd sell those other lenses at a profit, right?

In my experience with the Minolta and the Panasonic, I would say that the biggest problem isn't motion and blurriness but rather with just not enough light. You can't see the musicians and the pictures are really noisy, especially with the Panasonic. The Canon 100mm f/2.0 prime might be possible. It's nearly the price of a good prosumer camera alone but it's not horrifically expensive either.

As far as the concert last night, the lighting was SO horrible that nothing was possible without a flash. It wasn't a good test. I think I could have gotten some VERY nice shots at the Pixies concert on Monday, at least with the Minolta. I don't know if I could have gotten anything decent with the Panasonic.

I'm now trying to decide if I should send everything back tomorrow and risk a 10% restocking fee on the camera (about $50) or just try to seel it all together as a package deal on eBay with a single shipping cost. The retail cost of the items is about $820 but I found deals and got it all for about $680 (including shipping). I'll have to eat the shipping either way. If I don't have to pay a restocking fee, I could potentially get $630 back. If I have to pay the restocking fee, I'll only get like $580 back. I was thinking I could put the whole package on eBay for a minimum of $580 and a buy now price of $630 and just a one day or two day auction. That would include the camera and all it's accessories, a nice Tamrak case, a 72mm multi-coated UV filter, a KingMax 60x 1GB SD card, a Bonzai USB 2.0 SD reader, and a MACK 5-year extended warranty (unopened, of course). Do you think anyone will go for it or should I just send it back and risk the restocking fee? They sales rep said he might be able to waive the restocking fee but he'd have to get the package back first and look at it. I'm thinking it might make a difference if I purchase the Digital Rebel from him but I haven't gotten a committment.


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