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Old Oct 28, 2005, 6:06 AM   #1
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I've used many film cameras over the years but finally decided it was time to take the plunge into digital photography.

My main subjects will be family, friends and pets in an indoor environment such as a home or workplace. I'm sure I'll also take outdoor photographs, but it seems the kids are often at their cutest -- or at least manageably photogenic -- indoors. In terms of pets, I like to take a lot of close-ups and have been successful in this with my film cameras. I also like to do a little still life photography. For example, we collect folk art from various cultures, and my mom, who's no longer able to travel, enjoys seeing photos of the different pieces. I'll basically take photos of anything I think my mom would find interesting or humorous -- like my T-shirt collection, or everything in the house that's orange (my better half's favorite color) -- write captions, and send her an album. I'd like to continue to do all of this with a digital camera. Ideally, I'd like to be able to shoot indoors without having to use a flash much, i.e. maybe just some fill flash. I don't think I need much optical zoom capability -- 3-4x seems sufficient, or? My budget is flexible. Mainly I want something that will deliver excellent image quality under the conditions above.

Some more info: At this point, I plan to print only 4" x 6" snapshots. Perhaps a few enlargements of my kids. Some manual controls would be nice. I'm used to using a variety of film cameras, from point & shoots to SLRs.

By the way, if a digital camera proves to be very good for indoor photography, is it automatically good for outdoor photography? (With film cameras, I have a couple I use for my indoor work and another one for outdoor work.)

After reading various threads, it seems the Fuji FinePix F10 is favored for work in low light conditions. Would that be the consensus for my best choice? I see it has no optical viewfinder, though. I think that would be a drawback for me.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

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Old Oct 28, 2005, 8:33 AM   #2
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I was torn between the F10 and the CasioZ750. If you don't use the camera in too dim of light, I'd suggest the Z750. Otherwise the F10. Actually, even if you're in low light conditions you might still want to go with the Z750 and use a small slave flash (I've heard the Z750's flash is poor.) The Z750 has some advantages over the F10, but in the end I wanted the best for low light conditions without using flash.

I can't say how good either is by experience yet as my F10 is 'in the mail' and won't arrive till Monday.

Also, if you live outside the USA, the F11 will be available soon as well asan S2 model which will have more manual controls.

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Old Oct 28, 2005, 8:41 AM   #3
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Minolta 5D + Sigma 18-50mm f2.8.
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Old Oct 28, 2005, 8:46 AM   #4
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Gidday Max

Have been looking for lowlight cam myself and Fuji seems the way to go - maybe have a look at the writeup for the E550 - seems to meet all your needs.

The F10 sounds allright - but no manual control -what more can i say.

Myself - I am looking for more zoom plus lowlight and manual features- i like the sound of the new Ricoh R3 28-200mm (also pocketable like the E550)

A hard job finding all the features you want in one package.

At the moment i have 3 superzoom P&S -Canon S2, Pana FZ5, Oly C770 - but of course not the best indoors without flash

Good hunting

Cheers Dom
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Old Oct 28, 2005, 9:33 AM   #5
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Peripatetic-I'm just about sold on the KM 5D (not the op here). You suggested the Sigma 18-50 mm f2.8 with it. How much better is the sigma than the kit lens with the KM? It's almost $500 for the sigma, right? Trying to decide if kit lens or no.


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Old Oct 28, 2005, 10:07 AM   #6
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MyOnly wrote:
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Peripatetic-I'm just about sold on the KM 5D (not the op here). You suggested the Sigma 18-50 mm f2.8 with it. How much better is the sigma than the kit lens with the KM? It's almost $500 for the sigma, right? Trying to decide if kit lens or no,
Aword of caution... I've seen more than my share of complaints about this lens on a KM DSLR body (7D users). There is even one recent thread ina forum on another web site right now titled "Anyone have a Sigma 18-50 that can focus?". One user even reported trying 3 different copies of this lens,and couldn't get any of them to focus properly. ;-)

Now, the 7D did have some QC issues (a number of cameras required the AF sensors to be recalibrated). So, that could have been a contributing factor.

I don't know if any 5D owners are having problems with it or not. I've got one of these cameras (KM 5D), and it's AF is "spot on" using a Minolta prime (I tested it with both the 50mm f/1.7 and 100mm f/2 to make sureafter I got it). But, I have not tried a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 on it.

Lens compatibility can sometimes be an issue. Sigma doesn't license the lens mount technology from Konica-Minolta (instead, they reverse engineer it). So, it's not uncommon that older Sigma lenses need "rechipping" to focus properly on some cameras.Newer ones should be more compatible (but, this one does seem to generate more than it's share of complaints about focus issues from KM DSLR users).

Now, it may be an outstanding choice for a 5D (if you try it, let us know). ;-)

It would be brighter than most (allowing faster shutter speeds compared to a lens with smaller available apertures) in less than optimum lighting, and it's smaller size and weight are appealing for a lens this bright with this focal range (it's designed specifically for DSLR models with sensors smaller than 35mm film).

The 18-70mm "kit" lens with this camera is not that bright (stops down to a largest available aperture of f/5.6 relatively early in the zoom range).You do have both higher ISO speeds and antishake to help out (but, you willstillwant something brighter for existing light use without a flash indoors).

So, for a better low light choice, a brighter lens (larger available apertures, represented by smaller f/stop numbers) is desired. If you decide to risk getting one of the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 lenses for a KM DSLR, I'd make sure to buy it from a vendor with a no restocking fee return policy (so if it doesn't work to your satisfication when you try it out, you can return it).

A goodinexpensive way to get a bright lens for low lightuse is to go with something like a 50mm f/1.7 prime (non zoom) for this purpose (more than twice as bright as an f/2.8 zoom lens). They are under $100 brand new (and even less expensive used).

If you don't use the wide end quite as much, the KonicaMinolta 28-75mm f/2.8 lens is a very well liked choice (as is the comparable Tamron28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di).

The 18-70mm kit lens isn't too bad either (for only about $100 more to the kit price, it's a very good walk around lens with good focal range in a small and light package). It's just not ideal for existing light indoors (not bright enough).

This lensis selling separately for about $149 and up from vendors I've seen stocking them outside of the 5D kit.You could probably get about what you paid for it in a kitby selling it used on Ebay if it doesn'tsuit your shooting style. So,you could use it for a while to get a better understanding of what your needs are before spending a lot of money on other lenses (although I'd suggest picking up a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7 lens regardless of the zoom you choose for when light is very low, and/or you need a sharper lens thanmost zooms can provide). ;-)


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Old Oct 28, 2005, 10:41 AM   #7
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its too bad there are issues with that combination as, on paper at least, seems to be the best available light combo you could want for that price.. fast 2.8 aperture, plus image stabilization and a useful focal range..
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Old Oct 28, 2005, 10:56 AM   #8
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Hards80 wrote:
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its too bad there are issues with that combination as, on paper at least, seems to be the best available light combo you could want for that price.. fast 2.8 aperture, plus image stabilization and a useful focal range..
I'll look through some of the reports and see if I can find any 5D users with it. It does seem to be a very popular choice for other camera models they have this lens available for.


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Old Oct 28, 2005, 11:19 AM   #9
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JimC wrote:
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Hards80 wrote:
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its too bad there are issues with that combination as, on paper at least, seems to be the best available light combo you could want for that price.. fast 2.8 aperture, plus image stabilization and a useful focal range..
I'll look through some of the reports and see if I can find any 5D users with it. It does seem to be a very popular choice for other camera models they have this lens available for.


I personally wouldn't risk it (unless the vendor was one that was very easy to work with getting a refund). The latest thread on the issue was started by a 5D owner (tried 3 copies of the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 ). Apparently, it backfocuses at 18mm using the center focus point (when all Minolta lenses this owner tested work fine).

I see a few other KM DSLR users posting to this thread that tried multiple copies of it, too (similar results). This is not the first thread I've seen on it, either (it's hadit's share of reported AF problems on KM DSLR bodies from what I've seen invarious forums).

The Sigma 18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens seems to suffer from the same symptoms (backfocus on the wide end on a KM DSLR), based on reports of users that tried multiple copies of it.

I've got a feeling that Sigma probably knows about it (and may have already solved the problem with newer production lenses), and perhaps they've got a way to calibratethem (perhaps by rechipping). But, this is speculation on my part, based on focus problems I've seen users report fixed with older Sigma lenses onMinolta bodiesby having them rechipped.

P.S.

FWIW, I've got a Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 (discontinued lens) that seems to focus fine on a 5D when I do my job with it (only losing a half stop compared to an f/2.8 lens on it's long end). It can maintain f/2.8 through about 28mm, gradually dropping off to f/3.5 at the long end after that.

But, I haven't used it enough yet to form an opinion on image quality (pretty much indoor or night use only with it so far), and I have seen some users complain aboutit in the past on some of the user opinion surveys (MTF tests seem to give it much higher ratings than users, as this lenstests better than some ofthe wideprimes at f/2.8 ). It happens to be the sharpest wide zoom photodo.com has ever tested available in Minolta AF mount (but, user opinions don't seem to rate it as high).

I've also got a Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 (but, I have not been very pleased trying to use this one wide openso far, even though it tests *much* better than the newer Tamron 28-105mm f/2.8 on MTFcharts ). The jury is still out on it (for now). But, I'm leaning towards getting rid of it.

I've got a feeeling that I'll probably just get a Tamron or Minolta 28-75mm f2.8 before it's all "said and done with" for a low light zoom (even though it won't start out as wide). I findthe Tamron's (20-40mm)40mm long end to be a bit short for my needs. But, I'll probably use a prime more often than not indoors without a flash anyway (brighter and sharper). I've got the Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 for this purpose (and they all focus fine with the KM 5D).

Heck, I'll probably end up using the cheapest lens ofthe bunch more often indoors (the 50mm f/1.7, since it's focal length seems to be a better fit for my shooting indoors). I paid all of $49 for this lens on Ebay in a package (and that included a working Maxxum 700035mm SLR with a Minolta 1800AF flash). LOL

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Old Oct 28, 2005, 1:20 PM   #10
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FWIW, my first choice for a low light lens for indoor use on a KM 5D would have been the Minolta 35mm f/2 (and they also have a 35mmf/1.4).

When shooting film, I use a 50mm f/1.8 on Nikon 35mm SLR more often than not indoors in low light, or an 85mm if that's too short for what I'm shooting.

So,35mm and 50mm lenses on aDSLR like the 5D would be about the same for most purposes after a 1.5x multiplier for angle of view differences compared to a 35mm camera (about the same angle of view that you'd have with 53mm and 75mm lenses on a 35mm model, and I've got a 100mm f/2 if something longer is needed).

But, I was unable to find a Minolta 35mm f/2 at a decent price. So, I went with a 28mm f/2 instead (which is a very sharp lens).


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