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Old Mar 21, 2006, 10:33 PM   #11
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I know it's off topic, but mtngal, I really like that angle for the seagulls, you don't see birds from above too often, very refreshing.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 11:05 PM   #12
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The most important thing to look at is noise, specifically noise at high ISOs.

Why ? Because I will bet that half or more of your pictures will be taken in light challenging conditions, such as indoors, sunsets, dark forests, gyms, etc. The situation is usually the same. You'll have a moving subject, the ambient light won't be enough, the flash isn't powerful enough, you need to close up the aperture to get some depth of field, your lens is a bit on the slow side, etc. And the only solution in these surprizingly common situations is to turn up the sensitivity of the imager. (ISO).

Any 5 MP or more digicam with a half decent lens and metering can take excellent pictures in good light. That isn't a problem. The problem lies when the conditions get unfavorable made by one or more of the factors discussed above. That is what will set the good cameras apart from the lesser cameras. The ones that can crank up the ISO and squeeze off the shot in the less than perfect conditions will reward you again and again.

I used a film SLR for 10 years. I just accepted that a lot of pictures couldn't be taken. I got my D50 today and now I realize I can take indoor pictures without using a flash. I can take action pictures at the dimly lit hockey rink. I could never do that before because my camera had an f/3.5 lens and I usually shot ISO100 film. I'll soon have an f1.8 lens and I can shoot at ISO1600 ! I gained 6 stops over my film SLR !

I think the R1 has really good noise characteristics, but I haven't looked at them closely.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 12:05 AM   #13
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I too have been using a Canon film SLR for many, many years and have loved having the lenses for different situations but never loved carrying them around. In the digital world, if one goes to an SLR, you still have to lug the lenses, light, and extras and therefore, was looking for a camera with less baggage but still capable of good photos. As with all things,sacrifices need to be made - and in this case, the sacrifice to a smaller camera is less capability. I have had an old digitalNikon 3.2mg for about four years. I learned the limits of this camera right away, so I only use it for situations where I know it will take a good photo.I avoid taking photos indoors unless its a closeup where I can use flash. So I do understand the limits of the digital camera. Its definately time to replace the old Nikokn with something better.

If I'm understanding correctly, it seems that the new cameras have added lots of new bells and whistles but the sensors haven't improved that much as they try to keep size down. Is the problem that adding capability to the sensor involves englarging the lenses and therefore the size of the camera? I don't like the really small cameras that one can carry in a pocket...but I don't want to carry a large heavy camera as my SLR anymore. I was waiting to see if Panasonic was going to come out with an FZ40 this year which would perhaps have improved the noise/ISO problem, but reading on the forum, it appears that they won't. So now, I will look at the Sony R1 again.

What's the make of the "D50" camera you've just got that seems to be so capable? It sounds interesting.






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Old Mar 22, 2006, 12:29 AM   #14
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It is a Nikon. But I am NOT advocating a DSLR for everyone. I understand that some people don't want them and that is fine. But the noise issue is still there. If you get a digicam, watch the noise.

It isn't just me saying it. A lot of people are.

This guys says this: "That is one of the main things I wanted a DSLR for: High iso, nonflash, indoor and low light shots." http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17712997 Several people have posted about blurred shots in gyms, at soccer games, etc. *Low light conditions.*

I always wanted a DSLR. But I never realized how much I needed it and how different it is from a film SLR until this week. I thought a DSLR was going to be a film SLR that you could review the shots on and not have to get shots developed. And it is those things.

But... a DSLR also has the ability to go to ISO1600 *cleanly*, something I never saw with film. And it allows you to experiment with metering a lot more so you can get those hard to get shots right because you get feedback immediately. And the "film" is free. You can shoot to your hearts content with no ramifications. I shot 200 images with my D50 today, just testing the metering. I learned more about metering and modes and flash today than I did in the last 10 years. (I am speaking of a DSLR here, but this really applies to all digicams. Well, the versatile ones anyway, with controllable ISO, shutter, aperture, etc.)

So get a digicam with low noise and one that is very controllable.

Now... the DSLR versus digicam argument is pretty interesting these days because most of the good digicams are fairly large. Definitely not shirt pocket material. And the price of DSLRs has fallen, a lot. People are picking up D50s for $400-$450. (Body only.) You can slap on a 50 f/1.8 for another $100 and you've got a good starting camera. You don't have a zoom, but that can be curred when the piggy bank recovers.

FWIW, when I started my purchase research, I was sure I was going to buy an R1. I tried one out and found how slow it was between shots and it all ended there. Next stop: DSLRs.

Good luck in your choice.

One other thing. You can now get a "one lens does it all" for DSLRs. Nikon makes a 18-200 that some people find pretty good.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 2:57 AM   #15
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"If I'm understanding correctly, it seems that the new cameras have added lots of new bells and whistles but the sensors haven't improved that much as they try to keep size down. Is the problem that adding capability to the sensor involves englarging the lenses and therefore the size of the camera?"

On some cameras, this is true. On some cameras the manufacturers got caught up in the MP race. Consumers don't understand noise. They understand big zooms and lots of MPs. So that is what they built. But the images on some cameras aren't very good when you start looking at them closely. On the LCD in the store they look great. Put it on your computer at 400% and... yuck.

But not all cameras. The R1 and others are supposed to have very good images. They have moved ahead technologically. But they are neither cheap nor small. Ironically in this day and age of miniturization, size still matters in cameras. Sensors/pixels need to be a certain size to capture light without a lot of noise and that sets the size for the shutterbox, lenses, etc. Not to mention that if you want a hand operated zoom lens (which I highly recommend) the lens has to be large enough to grab with your hand. They can only make DSLRs so small before they become difficult to operate.

AFAIAC, once you get to the R1 you should be considering a DSLR, because the size and price are nearly the same.

"I don't like the really small cameras that one can carry in a pocket..."

Something that nobody talks about with those things is that they frequently get dropped because they are too small. I've seen it a number of times. And they aren't very robust.

"but I don't want to carry a large heavy camera as my SLR anymore."

My D50 with 18-70 is a bit smaller than our Canon EOS, but also a bit heavier. I will only take the 18-70 lens for "walking around", although I will own more lenses.

"I was waiting to see if Panasonic was going to come out with an FZ40 this year which would perhaps have improved the noise/ISO problem, but reading on the forum, it appears that they won't. So now, I will look at the Sony R1 again."

There isn't too much difference between the R1 and D50 in size and weight. There is a bit, but is it significant ? (My 18-70 covers nearly the range of the R1 zoom.)

Here is a test for you. Find an R1 in a store. Have a friend walk towards you at a reasonable speed. Take pictures as they walk. How many do you get ? I like taking pictures of excited people acting normal, not posed people.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 3:03 AM   #16
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Here is another comment about noise.

"I pump my D50 ISO to 1600 and just shoot away. What people said about D50 SIO 1600 is all true. From middle gray and up, noise is not much different than ISO 200. That's a very big, and true statement."

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17714320

I think that people are just waking up to the fact that good cameras allow a lot more photography in conditions that didn't used to support it. The D50 has been out nearly a year and just now people (myself included) figured out that the extra sensitivity is a big deal.

Another thing I learned tonight: I love shooting in raw. Unsharp is your friend. (I couldn't believe how much I improved an image by adjusting white balance and sharpening it. Wow.)

I think the big improvement in cameras will be sensitivity and high ISO noise reduction. Fuji announced a new sensor technology yesterday. ISO 12,800 would be outstanding. It would revolutionize photography.

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Old Mar 22, 2006, 3:31 AM   #17
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Here is another thread.
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...491281#p491281

A guy wants to shoot basketball games. Slow lens, dim light, no flash, motion. Look at the restaurant pictures too. Same thing, although you might get a flash to work in that scenario. Dawn. Dusk. Recital. Rainy day. Foggy day. Indoors. The world doesn't have enough light !

Here are pictures shot at ISO1600

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17714384


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Old Mar 23, 2006, 7:17 PM   #18
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Me2-

Obviously, the larger CMOS imager on the dSLR camerassuch asthe Nikon D-50 provides more than a little defense against excessive noise in your photos. Given the D-50's better noise profile, what lenses, Me2, would you select for the D-50 in a low light level shooting situation, prime or zoom?

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Old Mar 23, 2006, 7:38 PM   #19
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For low light photography, sans flash, I'll be using a 50f1.8 and an 85f1.8. Both primes. I won't run a filter on them either. (Lose 1/2 a stop ?) If I need longer, I might get a 105 f1.8. This setup would be for poor light work. Overkill ? Maybe. I've got albums of poor pictures taken in dark conditions. I want to fix that from here on in.

If you are looking at zooms, the 80-200 f2.8 is about as good as it gets, stabilized or no. (There are three versions of this lens out there.) It is reasonably, though not cheaply, priced used, especially for what you get. (Outstanding images.) It is supposedly a beast in size and weight. This is one advantage that primes have. I've never used this lens or a stabilized lens. Theoretically, stabilization should buy a stop or two stops as well.

I've got the 18-70 right now. (50f1.8 on the way.) It is too slow (aperture wise) to do anything in low light. f/3.5 doesn't sound too bad, but as soon as you are over 25ishmm you are at f/4 above above. No good.

I think the other piece of arsenal in the low light kit needs to be a good flash. I've never owned one, but I read about people doing difused and bounce flash with SB600s and SB800s in iTTL modes and I drool.

But flashes have their problems too. First of all people get sick of them going off and it wrecks the mood and temporarily blinds them. But on the Nikons, with 1/500th second sync speed, it allows high speed photography not capable by 90% of the other cameras out there.

And of course Nikon's flashes are wirelessly linked. So two soft flashes are not out of the question.

I'm just tired of the red eyes and the harsh shadows and the blurry pictures. I always thought it HAD TO be that way. Now I think otherwise. I'm new to this all too. But I can already see a huge change in the quality of my pictures with my D50.

If the preceeding sounds like a lot of equipment, it is. I won't take it everywhere. I am going to go piece by piece and see how much utility I get from each versus the cost, trouble and hassle factors. The 50 f/1.8 is a no brainer. Less than $100, bright, sharp, fast, light. Done deal.

For the rest, I'll report as I learn. Stay tuned.
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Old Mar 24, 2006, 12:40 AM   #20
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Here is why I own a low noise DSLR and why I have a 50f/1.8 on the way as we speak.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17742949

Shot without a flash. You just can't beat a 50 f/1.8 prime for low light work. Maybe a 50 f/1.4... 15 years ago I had a 50 f/1.8 on a Pentax ME Super. That camera took really sharp pictures. Better than the Canon EOS did that we replaced it with.
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