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Old Jun 15, 2006, 11:39 AM   #1
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Hi,

So I am looking to get into the Enthusiast Digital SLR camp. I
like to shoot outdoors, nature, birds, animals and guess I would
be considered mostly a telephoto person, though I do like to do
wide angle from time to time.

I currently have a Panasonic FZ-30, which is great, but I keep
finding myself bumping up against the noisy sensor and think it
is time to upgrade. However I'm having a hard time trying to
decide what to get. I guess I feel like I tend to understand the
options available, but none of them is what I really want (which
would be a canon sensor strapped inside a image stabilized body
with anti-dust and a rotating LCD that does live preview. or
would be in my budget. I'm willing to spend a couple thousand
dollars, and possibly a bit more if I had to, which seems like I
should be able to get some kind of decent setup for telephoto
work.

Anyway I'm looking at the EOS 30D, and the upcoming Sony A100.
Since there haven't been a ton of shots for the A100 I've been
looking at the Nikon D200 as reference for noise since people
seem to think they have the same or very similar sensor. I
pretty much love the canon sensor, and am less enthused about the
D200 at high ISO. I found the images listed at the end (which
are huge watch out) which compare the two cameras in similar high
ISO situations. The little people shots don't seem _too_ horribly different
at 1600, but I just like the look of the canon a little more.

Of course high ISO isn't everything and things like image
stabilization and good lenses can mitigate the need to even use
the high ISO much. As a consumer I don't really like the canon
strategy of having to pay for IS in each lens vs the Sony which
was it built into the camera. It seems like I could get the sony
and put the extra money into better lenses and come out
ahead. (Though probably not the Sony lenses given how over priced
they seem, but more along the lines of a sigma lens/tele.)

But I really do like that canon sensor, and I know the canons
seem to have been going the incremental route lately, so are
there any new versions coming out soon that I should be aware of?
Sadly I don't like the canon price by the time i get all the lenses.
That's the dilema I guess. Anyone have any words of wisdom about
this kind of choice?

Also I know either of these cameras will be great compared to the
FZ-30 which tended to get pretty noisy even at ISO 400, are there
other models I should be looking seriously at?

And finally as an added bonus, any lens recommendations in the
zoom to 300 or 400mm combination that are known to work well with
a teleconverter? I had planned to try and work out what body I
wanted before getting to into the crazy world of lenses, but I
have been looking around enough to see the super expense of IS
canon telephoto.

If anyone from dpreview.com is reading this, (and made it this far) your forums
seem to have lost the ability to send registration email. Which might be a good
thing as other wise I would be cross posting this there as well.

-eric

EOS 30D
3200 Green Car
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/IMG_8457.JPG

1600 Gray Car
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/IMG_8406.JPG

1600 Yellow Car
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/IMG_8337.JPG

1600 Little People
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/IMG_8673.JPG

Nikon

+1 over 1600 Yellow Car + NR
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/DSC_3490.JPG

1600 NR off Little People
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...s/DSC_0576.JPG

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Old Jun 15, 2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Be careful when comparing noise when camera settings are different. Metering systems between camera models can be very different (for example, some cameras tend to lean towards protecting the highlights more, at the expense of the shadows, and vice-versa.

That's where Exposure Compensation comes in (so you can expose brighter or darker than a camera's metering would normally expose a scene). It takes time to get used to any camera's metering behavior.

For instance, the yellow car photo with the Canon was exposed more than a stop brighter compared to the Nikon (1/250 second at f/2.8 for the Canon and 1/100 second at f/7.1 for the Nikon). If you underexpose an image, you can expect more noise (just as if you used an even higher ISO speed).

I'm not trying to tell you the Nikon has lower noise. It doesn't based on tests I've seen. But, don't judge it by an underexposed sample.

Also, you only need to worry about noise, if it's a problem at the viewing and print sizes you'll need. Most users are not going to be making large prints from underexposed ISO 1600 images. ;-)

From your description, it sounds like you'd probably appreciate the anti-shake of the new Sony Alpha more (or should I say "super steady shot" more) to help out with camera shake using longer lenses.

Quote:
I like to shoot outdoors, nature, birds, animals and guess I would be considered mostly a telephoto person, though I do like to do wide angle from time to time.
Note that I'm biased since I'm currently shooting with a KM 5D. There are pros and cons to any camera.


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Old Jun 15, 2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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Upon closer inspection, that was an ISO 3200 shot from the Nikon (pushed a stop from ISO 1600 in Post Processing). But, it's still underexposed, and noise will be worse with an underexposed image, especially one that's been pushed a stop to simulate higher ISO speeds. So, for all practical purposes, it's an underexposed ISO 3200 photo.



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Old Jun 15, 2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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Wow, it must be 'one of those days' for me to not catch the exposure settings on those sample images. Of course this morning I did grab the water jug and poor it onto my cereal instead of milk so maybe this isn't so surprising.

Are there any standardized images comparing those two sensors at high iso? Ie the same shot in the same light?

JimC wrote:
Quote:
Be careful when comparing noise when camera settings are different. Metering systems between camera models can be very different (for example, some cameras tend to lean towards protecting the highlights more, at the expense of the shadows, and vice-versa.

That's where Exposure Compensation comes in (so you can expose brighter or darker than a camera's metering would normally expose a scene). It takes time to get used to any camera's metering behavior.

For instance, the yellow car photo with the Canon was exposed more than a stop brighter compared to the Nikon (1/250 second at f/2.8 for the Canon and 1/100 second at f/7.1 for the Nikon). If you underexpose an image, you can expect more noise (just as if you used an even higher ISO speed).
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 12:20 PM   #5
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It looks like they were shot at approximately the same time from looking at the EXIF.

But, you had two different lenses being used.

The Canon was using a very nice 70-200mm f/2.8L for that yellow car shot. lol

The Nikon was using an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.

You can't expect a zoom that dim to be very useful for low lght action shots. Keep in mind that f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as f/5.6. A lens like an 18-200mm would be my very last choice for those kinds of photos.

Although not in strictly controlled conditions using identical camera settings, the low light scene with models is probably a better way to compare them.

However, it looks like the D200 had an advantage for that series. It exposed brighter compared to the images from Canon due to metering differences between them. If you pushed the Canon's shot using software to brighten it a bit, it would probably show more noise (but, that would be unfair since the Nikon exposed it brighter to begin with).

Again, the Canon probably has lower noise. But, don't go by samples using different lenses and camera settings to compare them.



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Old Jun 15, 2006, 12:31 PM   #6
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
You can't expect a zoom that dim to be very useful for low lght action shots. Keep in mind that f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as f/5.6. A lens like an 18-200mm would be my very last choice for those kinds of photos.

Heh, that is very true, that is a nice lens on the canon! Given my massive spaciness this morning you have totally given me something positive to think about with regards to the A100 sensor and lenses and such! I know the D200 has great reviews and people love it but looking at some of those images vs the canon I was getting a bit confused about why! I'll have to think about this some more when I'm a bit more awake, but the Sony A100 seems to be were I'm currently leaning - think of the better lenses I could buy with the 500 dollars in savings over the 30d!

-eric

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Old Jun 15, 2006, 1:32 PM   #7
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Dont forget you can still get a minolta 7d, which should have better noise performance.

"I had planned to try and work out what body I wanted before getting to into the crazy world of lenses, but I have been looking around enough to see the super expense of IS canon telephoto."

I might do that the other way around.

Minolta telephoto lenses seem to be a bit scarce at the moment, aside from the 70-210 f/4. Sigma zooms are plentiful though, like the 70-200 f/2.8 or the bigma 50-500. The primes get horribly expensive, as do IS lenses. It could be enough that one lens makes that sony body a 'freebie'.

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Old Jun 15, 2006, 4:17 PM   #8
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Here's some preview shots with Sony A100
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0606/06...100samples.asp
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Old Jun 16, 2006, 6:07 AM   #9
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Sony 10 Mpix and 1,5x crop = better choice for wide angle and landscape photography

Canon's fast AF USM lenses and superior high ISO performance = better choice for tele photography on moving subjects
Canon's 8MPix are very close to Sony's 10MPix, and the difference even less when working with telezooms (because of the 1,6x crop factor)

If going the Canon route, you may consider getting a discounted 20D and spending the extra $ on lenses (perhaps IS or fast f4?)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...00_4/index.htm

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...6_is/index.htm



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Old Jun 19, 2006, 5:51 PM   #10
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The nice canon lenses and high iso performance would probably be the best choice for quality, but even with the 20D body I'm looking at a lot more money than the sony with a 170-500mm sigma lense (for example.) I've spent the last few days looking at lenses, reviews, prices and so one and so forth and I just don't think I can afford the canon setup and will get a better value out of the sony - at least for me. Though if I'm missing something and canon telephoto setups can be had 'on the cheap' in someway I don't know about, please feel free to let me know!

I agree that the 10 vs 8 MP doesn't matter with the telephoto given the crop differences. (And noise differences for that matter)

Looking at the sample images for the A100
(http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/sonya100_preview/) with the high iso all the way to the right, the 800 seems fine and the 1600 seems noisy but in an acceptable way. Given the fz30 is unusable at 400 I think I'll probably be pretty happy with anything in the dSLR catagory.

For example:
I was trying to shoot baby egrets at 420mm on the FZ30 in full sun on a tripod and just could not get a decent picture out of the camera. Fairly high contrast with white egret, green trees and I was getting very unsharp pictures, white bleeding, etc. I tried handheld in case it was the IS acting funky on the tripod but the same problem. I did better cranking the ISO to 200 and 400 and shooting really fast 1/1000 but the images look super noisey at higher isos. Oye! I wish I had a dslr then I'll tell you what! And for anyone in the CA bay area the Audubon Caynon Ranch is open through midjuly and the egrets are really cute!


jnrob wrote:
Quote:
Sony 10 Mpix and 1,5x crop = better choice for wide angle and landscape photography

Canon's fast AF USM lenses and superior high ISO performance = better choice for tele photography on moving subjects
Canon's 8MPix are very close to Sony's 10MPix, and the difference even less when working with telezooms (because of the 1,6x crop factor)

If going the Canon route, you may consider getting a discounted 20D and spending the extra $ on lenses (perhaps IS or fast f4?)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...00_4/index.htm

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...6_is/index.htm


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