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Old Jun 27, 2006, 2:38 PM   #21
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nhmom wrote:
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JimC - You mentioned the KM 7D at Walmart. I'm assuming with the higher number it is better than the 5D.
It's a higher end body, targeted at a different market niche. It's larger and heavier compared to the 5D.

The 7D has better build quality, ergonomics, viewfinder and control layout. Not everyone cares about those things, and the 5D is smaller and lighter (which is one reason I went with a 5D).

The 5D is plenty good enough for me as far as build quality, ergonomics and control layout (some of the competing models feel like toys in comparison). But, if you're using a camera heavily with larger lenses, you may appreciate the 7D more, since it would be better balanced with heavier lenses.

The 7D also has a PC Sync Port if you want to use PC Cord Attached Strobes (but, you can get an adapter to serve the same purpose for the 5D). The 7D also has a larger buffer (more photos in a row before the camera slows down). To me, this wouldn't make much difference (especially since the 5D is actually a bit faster writing to media). To others, it might.

The 7D's LCD is also higher resolution compared to the 5D's. Again, not a big deal to me (as it's only used for playback, and I can see the menu choices just fine on the 5D LCD).

The 5D also has some advantages (for example, the ability to magnify raw files during playback on the camera's LCD). If you shoot raw + jpeg, then it's a non issue with a 7D (and when I shoot raw, I do tend to use raw+jpeg so I've got a ready to use jpeg image, as well as a raw file thatI can convert and tweak later). The 5D has more white balance customization available, too.

The 7D allows you to store some custom settings (3 positions are dedicated to them on the mode dial). The 5D has scene modes in those mode dial positions. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Personally, I'd rather have the custom settings if given a choice. But, someone new to using a DSLR may appreciate the 5D scene modes more. The 7D also allows you to use manual power settings with the built in flash. The 5D doesn't. The 7D also has an optional vertical battery grip (not available for the 5D).

The 5D probably has a slight advantage from a noise perspective at higher ISO speeds. But, it's not ahuge difference. You begin to get into "splitting hairs" comparing image quality.

I think the metering is a little bit different between the models. The 7D tends to lean towards protecting the highlights more compared to the 5D. That means that the 7D images tend to lean towards underexposure more. That's a good thing if you don't mind a little post processing to get the best out of them (or you can simply use Exposure Compensation to capture them a bit brighter if you don't mind blowing some highlights). There are Pros and Cons to both approaches, and you'll need to learn the metering behavior for any new camera you use.

For me, the biggest advantage to the 7D would be the larger viewfinder with better eye relief, since I wear eyeglasses. I compared both models very carefully before deciding that I could live with the 5D viewfinder.

In the end, the smaller and lighter body of the 5D, combined with slightly better performance at higher ISO speeds (at least shooting in JPEG), swayed my decision towards the 5D. I like shooting in low light restaurants in my area with live music, and the smaller 5D is less likely to draw attention, since cameras are sometimes objected to. The 5D wearing a small prime (for example, a 28mm f/2) is not too intimidating compared to a larger camera.

But, if a deal like the ones I'm seeing now on a 7D was available when I got my 5D, I'd most likely have gone with a 7D instead. You never know though (I had a very tough time deciding between them, even though I had an opportuntity to use both cameras).

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Anything I should be aware of with it? From what you are saying it sounds like a great buy. I went to the KM web page and am printing out the specs on both. I noticed that the 7d is a 2004 model. Any reason not to buy a 2 year old model?
Well... from a warranty perspective, Sony will be providing service. But, I've already seen a few stories about them offering buybacks because of parts delays. That may not be a bad thing, though (if it breaks, you may be able to buy a newer model for less later). lol

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Just trying to make sure I'm not going to be wanting another one in a few more years.
Well, you may want a newer one next month. lol Digital Cameras are sort of like computers. There will always be a new model coming out that's faster, smarter, etc.. Even if the old one is still working fine, users tend to upgrade to get the "latest and greatest" from time to time. But, the newest models usually demand a premium, too. So, your best "bang for the buck" tends to be buying one that's been replaced at closeout prices.

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Will try to go to Ritz tomorrow to see how they all feel. I know that will be a huge factor in what I finally decide.
Good Idea.

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You said you were surprised Ritz still had the 5D. I'm assuming they still did. The lady told me that the guy that had just been in was making his final decision on that one soon because of the buyout. So, I don't really know that they had more.
They've been gone from the Ritz/Wolf web sites for a while now. If local stores still have some of them, great. The major distributors have been out of stock for a couple of months now.

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Old Jun 27, 2006, 6:53 PM   #22
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Wow! I come back tonight to find quite a few postings.

Hate to add to the length of this, but I'll be able to sort through my thoughts easier if I respond in pieces.

I did make it to Ritz today at lunch. Although, was short on time and the girl wasn't a ton of help. I asked to look at the KM's and they only had a 7D with no lens for it. So, except for holding (and that wasn't even useful) I got no "feel" for it. They didn't have any 5D's, but she said she thought she could order one for me if I wanted.

I knew the Pentax hadn't shipped yet, but when I mentioned it coming out soon, she didn't seem to even know anything about it. I'll go when someone else is there or to another one.

She was gung ho about showing me the Nikon's. I told her I was looking for an entry level DSLR. She said she had the D70 and loved it. Showed me it with the 18-50mm (I think) lens for $1000. Said it was a great camera. I did look at it and took a few shots with it. She said that she thought going with Nikon would be better because it would be easier to learn how to use it. The others were confusing. But, I'm also chocking that up to she has a Nikon so of course she knows it.

Told her I'd been told Canon had the IS in the lens and asked about the Nikon. She didn't know the answer to that. (But, she did give me a copy of a comparison sheet of Nikon D50 and D70S, Canon EOS 5D, EOS Rebel, EOS Rebel XT, EOS 20D, KM 5D and 7D and Pentax iST DL.)

This was my first time holding a DSLR. I was amazed at how heavy it was. So, will definitely be looking at the Pentax. It wasn't so heavy I wouldn't buy one. But, it was something I noticed when I picked it up.

Nikon/Canon - I think I'm not that great of a photographer to warrant spending more money on a camera than I have to. I did like the feel of the D70. Except for the weight (and it was actually the only camera I held with a lens) it felt right and the knobs seemed easy to get to and control. But, I'm not a person that needs a BMW if a Nissan will get me back and forth to work. Maybe some day I can swing one. But, if I can get a decent camera for $600-700,I don't need to spend $1000.

Someone mentioned the Panasonic FZ20 and the light problem. That is one problem I've had with my film Canon EOS 300D. Low light (indoors, dusk, etc) I get very grainy, blurryshots. Now that I know how to use the manual settings, I could probably improve some of those, but even the shots I took indoors for my class I had to have the shutter speed set so slow that I couldn't hold the camera steady enough. (I think I'm explaining that right. I'm still a newbie to all this and took the class two years ago.) We had to shoot a roll of film a week and I took the class in winter in New England. So, either the weekends were it (and I only had Monday during the day to get the slides developed) or it was indoor shots at night for my homework. I did buy a flash for it, but I'm not a pro at using it either. I really need to take more classes and/or take more photos. :-)

Another question - someone mentioned TTL flash capability. What is that? I don't always use my extra flash as it takes me even longer to take a photo. My husband is always "alright, already, take the shot". But, then he always picks apart my photos. Something is always wrong with them. But, I always get compliments from others about how interesting and great my shots are. Is the KM or Pentax going to be good enough most of the time not to need a flash? I know, that depends on what I'm shooting and the conditions. Dumb question!

Will have to read through the other comments more thoroughly in a little while and respond to them. I know when I rquickly read them all there were some good points and I had more questions.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 11:18 AM   #23
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To be honest i used to use superzooms and high end prosumer cams for quite some time, and i used to kid myself that they were equal to or better than DSLRs.

It was not until i plumped for an old Canon D60 that i realised how superior in most aspects the SLR actually was. Yes the weight does come as a bit of a shock, but in this day and age with High quality digital SLRs starting under £350 and decent glass available cheaply too, even the best superzoom/prosumer models are a false economy whose limitations are all too quickly discovered.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 11:26 AM   #24
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mweb wrote:
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To be honest i used to use superzooms and high end prosumer cams for quite some time, and i used to kid myself that they were equal to or better than DSLRs.

It was not until i plumped for an old Canon D60 that i realised how superior in most aspects the SLR actually was. Yes the weight does come as a bit of a shock, but in this day and age with High quality digital SLRs starting under £350 and decent glass available cheaply too, even the best superzoom/prosumer models are a false economy whose limitations are all too quickly discovered.
I agree but you need to spend a lot of money to get same range as some of the superzooms. For example my FZ5 has 420mm equivalent and only cost $300. My 30D and 100-400L cost me more than $3000. So there is a 10 times cost difference.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 12:46 PM   #25
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nhmom wrote:
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Another question - someone mentioned TTL flash capability. What is that?

TTL == Through The Lens. This kind of flash meters the light from the flash in real time and shuts the flash off when the image is properly exposed. Also, AFAIK, all TTL systems support both "front porch" and "back porch" settings using slow synch. This is a setting that keeps the shutter open longer than the flash is on, which among other things allows you to make those artsy night shots that have a still picture seeming to be imposed on a streaky backgound.

With "front porch," the shutter opens at the same time that the flash goes off, and continues after the flash is over. If you take a picture of a moving car at night, the streaky presence of the car would appear to be in front of the still picture of the car. In "back porch," you open the shutter first, and then fire the flash just before the shutter will be closing. For the car image, it would appear that the car was streaking along up to the still image. I hope that is intelligible (and I hope it's right!) My FZ20 only allows a front porch slow synch.


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Old Jun 28, 2006, 1:02 PM   #26
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tclune wrote:
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TTL == Through The Lens. This kind of flash meters the light from the flash in real time and shuts the flash off when the image is properly exposed.
Flash systems advanced to the point with 35mm cameras so that OTF (off the film) flash metering was used, and worked as you described.

But, with digital cameras, the sensors are too reflective to meter from during the flash exposure.

So, with most models, a preflash (or sometimes a series of preflashes) is used instead. Based on how much reflected light the camera sees from a very short preflash, it determines the length of the main flash burst that's needed for proper exposure. Metering is not done during the exposure.

Your Panasonic also falls into this category (it's built in flash will always use a preflash). This is different than a redeye reduction preflash. It's a metering preflash.

Typically, this preflash occurs around 100ms prior to the main flash. So, most people don't even realize that it's there (although a small percentage of the population will sometimes blink with a preflash).

But, if you tried to use an older slave flash (or optical slave trigger) with your Panasonic, it would fire too soon (it would trigger on the preflash versus the main flash), and wouldn't contribute anything to the exposure. Many modern slaves are now designed to ignore preflashes. Wein also makes a "digital" peanut slave trigger that is designed to ignore preflashes.


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Old Jun 28, 2006, 3:18 PM   #27
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Live and learn. Thanks for bringing me into this decade.


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Old Jun 28, 2006, 3:39 PM   #28
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Lack of metering during the flash exposure is one reason you see lenses that report accurate focus distance information to DSLR models from major manufacturers. Most manufacturers use a D designation in the product description for lenses designed this way (most newer lenses report focus distance).

The cameras try to use the amount of reflected light returned from the preflash, combined with focal length, focus distance, metering mode, and even focus point to try and determine the most accurate flash burst length needed during the flash exposure.

Personally, I do it the easy way.... Rather than buying fancy lenses and strobes, I use an old Auto Thyristor type flash with a built in sensor that measures reflected light during the exposure with my Maxxum 5D. I spent a whopping $25 for a Sunpak 333 Auto in 10 condition (as new in the box) from the used deparment at B&H and spent $16 on an adapter to give it an ISO standard hotshoe.

I just use manual exposure, set the camera to match the aperture shown on the flash for the aperture range selected, and let the flash control it's own output based on how much reflected light it sees during the exposure with it's built in sensor.

There are some downsides to this approach (flash is not aware of camera settings so you need to use manual exposure, sync speed limitations, flash not aware of focus distance, etc.). But, I think the results in most conditions are just as good or better using this type of solution, versus a camera trying to "guess" the length of a flash burst needed based on a short preflash using sophisticated algorithms (and an old Auto Thryistor solution is a lot cheaper, too). :-)


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Old Jun 28, 2006, 5:45 PM   #29
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nhmom wrote:
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Is the KM or Pentax going to be good enough most of the time not to need a flash? I know, that depends on what I'm shooting and the conditions. Dumb question!
I know that there are a number of really fast Pentax lenses out there. I have an old (manual) 50mm f1.4 lens - a very fast lens (the smaller the f: number, the more light it will let in and the faster the shutter speed can be to give you the correct exposure). There are trade-offs because the wider open the lens is, the smaller the DOF. I would guess that KM have similar lenses available also, so either make would be capable of giving you excellent shots in low light.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 6:04 PM   #30
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mtngal wrote:
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nhmom wrote:
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Is the KM or Pentax going to be good enough most of the time not to need a flash? I know, that depends on what I'm shooting and the conditions. Dumb question!
I know that there are a number of really fast Pentax lenses out there. I have an old (manual) 50mm f1.4 lens - a very fast lens (the smaller the f: number, the more light it will let in and the faster the shutter speed can be to give you the correct exposure). There are trade-offs because the wider open the lens is, the smaller the DOF. I would guess that KM have similar lenses available also, so either make would be capable of giving you excellent shots in low light.
Yes, you can get a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Autofocus lens for under $100 used, or a 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens for about twice as much (and I see them for less from time to time, too). I only spent $49 for a used Maxxum 7000 35mm SLR in great shape including a 50mm f/1.7 Autofocus lens (it was just as cheap to buy the camera package as it was to buy a used 50mm lens separately). lol

My most frequently used lens indoors without a flash is a Minolta 28mm f/2, as sometimes a 50mm is a bit too long in closer quarters.

I've also got a 50mm f/1.7 and 100mm f/2 for low light use indoors when a little bit longer lens is needed (as well as some brighter zooms, including an old Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 Autofocus lens that I only paid $119 for from keh.com).

But, I'm thinking about replacing my Minolta 28mm f/2 with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC lens (because sometimes the extra stop can come in handy, and f/1.4 is twice as bright as f/2). This Sigma lens is available for Konica Minolta, Pentax, Canon, Olympus, Nikon and Sigma DSLR models.


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