digital camera question for camera buff's

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cheryl

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Thinking about upgrading diitial camera's.  Have a good Kodak Easy Shot which takes great photo's but need something better.  Thinking about digital slr.  Any suggestions from the camera buffs in the house.  So many to look at and thought input wouldn't hurt.
Thanks
Cheryl :)
 

joelmyer

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Wow, Easy shot to SLR - that's a leap.

there are some real experts here so I'll be interested in reading the responses you get.  Meanwhile, there's the Digital Camera Resource Page: http://www.dcresource.com/
 

Chet18013

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How serious are you about your photography? If you really want to get in it in a big way then look at the SLR's, but be prepaired to spend $$$ for all the lenses and accessories. And of course there is all the time that the photos will require in PhotoShop to realize the benefits of the SLR.  If you just want to get good photos and not be upset when you missed the extra 5% good ones that an SLR- might- get and the point and shoot misses, then save your money and get something like the new KODAK P-850. See:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/kodakp850/

Having said that, I have 2 SLR's and 5 lenses. I get great photos, but do spend an awful lot of time doing it.

Chet18013
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Cheryl,

There are many cameras out there today with 12X zooms and image stabilization for a reasonable cost. If you just want really good photos one of these might fit the bill. If you really want interchangeable lenses and the ability to really blow up a shot, then a digital SLR could be a better choice. Resolution is the key to image expansion. Without good resolution you will not be able to increase the size of the photos to any degree without losing sharpness.

I have been told to get an equivalent photo to a 35mm camera you need around 12 megapixels in the CCD/CMOS chip. I have a Canon Digital Rebel with 6 megapixels and get pretty decent shots that can be blown up to at least 8X10 and sometimes more. The body of the new Canon with 12 megapixels is only around $3,000! The new Digital Rebel is under $1,000 with a zoom lens.

One thing to keep in mind with interchangeable lenses is the chip will attract dust if you are not careful. You must turn off the camera before trying to change lenses. There are ways to clean the chip but one must be extremely careful when doing it. Even with that I am happy with my DSLR and love my 100-400mm zoom lens. :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Cheryl,
I wonder if you really want/need a digital SLR. That term refers to a fairly specific set of high-end functions that few of us ever employ and they cost in the $1000 and up range.  Buy one of those primarily if you want to use interchangeable lens.  You can get a really nice digital camera with excellent, long zoom lenses and high quality picture capability (5 megapixels or more) for under $400 and it can still be used as a "point & shoot" camera like your Easy Shot. such cameras offer nearly all the same manual fexposure & focus controls that the digital SLRs have, if you want to try your hand at that sort of thing.

The Kodak P850 that Chet suggested is excellent. So is the somewhat less expensive Kodak EZ Share 740, but it does not have image stabilization, which helps immensely with long zoom lens.  I recently opted for a Sony DSC H1, which is similar to the P850. The Panasonic Lumix models are also excellent, as is the Canon Powershot S2.  Any of those cameras would be an excellent choice, in my opinion.
 

Ron

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Why an SLR??  Do you have a printer that is capable of printing pictures without loosing quality available from a 8 megapixel or higher camera?  Like Jim has mentioned there are excellent cameras available that provide 12X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom with image stabilization.  I.E.  the camera I am presently considering is the Panasonic DMC-FZ30.  Lot of nice features and can be bought for as little as $599 - $699 depending where you buy.
 

Ned

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We bought the Kodak P850 last fall for $586 with a 1GB SD card at Walmart.  5MP, 12X optical zoom and image stabilization.
 

JerArdra

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Cheryl,

Go look at the review on the newest Panasonic FZ30 at  http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/fz30.html

JerryF
 

cheryl

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thanks for the information thus far.  Guess I should have mentioned that I am not brand new to slr camera's, just looking for sugggestions as to what some of the forum folks use. Have looked at several suggested and will look at last two suggested.  Looking at the Sony Cyber DSC-R1.  Again thanks for all the great input.
C
 

Jim Dick

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Cheryl,

If you already own a 35mm SLR then perhaps there is a digital body that will accept your current lenses. This would ease the pain of purchase quite a bit. ;D
 

ronstan

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I am the state photographer for the Indiana State Association for FCRV. I had used an Olympus for about 3 yrs. It was a 3.0 mp. I bought a Nikon d50 this last fall with the standard lens and then a zoom of 55 to 200. Also Nikon 600 flash. It really does a nice job and the pictures seem to print out real well in our newsletter. If you want to see some of the pictures email me and I will send you the link or you can go to WWW.FCRV.ORG and click on contacts and website and look for the photo link. Click on rons pictures. Lots of them there.
The ones since 1Oct. are taken with the d50
 

cheryl

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It would solve a lot of issues on the dollar side if we still have the old slr camera however after five years on a boat and pairing down for that wegave all that to family, friends etc.  Think after reading will go with the slr like camera and hope to find one that has a good wide and zoom lens.  Changing camera only to get all those great pictures of all the animals we will see on our thrip to Alaska ::).
Just need a little better than what we have now.
Again thanks for the information.
Cheryl
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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A video camera is a big plus on an Alaska tour - you cannot do justice to a lot of the scenery without capturing the awesome panorama.  And sometimes for wildlife too, e.g. a still of salmon swimming up a rapids just doesn't get the essence.  We used both video and stills extensively when we spent the summer there a few years back.  The videos edited down (digitally, at home) to a pair of a great 25 minute DVD movies.    You will also want a long zoom on both still and video cameras.

You can add a wide angle or a 2x tele-converter to fixed lens zoom cameras like the Sony R1 or H1, giving you a really nice wide angle and 20-24x telephoto too.

 

Howard R

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Cheryl,

I've recently upgraded from a Kodak DX6490, a 4 MP, 10X Optical zoom camera to a Nikon D50 DSLR.  My daughter and I went together on the Kodak a couple of years ago and overall was quite satisfied with it.  I was looking for something with higher resolution, considering Kodak P850 or the DMC-FZ30 that Ron mentioned. 

I wanted/needed the long lens capability (lots of Oshkosh aircraft shots) and with the DX6490 did not always have the resolution I needed with the long shots there.  The P850, FZ30 both give you 12X optical zoom, optical being the only one that counts ... with the image stabilization a big plus.  Also the video capability was nice, something I originally didn't think I would use, but found it quite useful.  Not near the quality of a regular video camera, but handy non the less.

The downside of the DX6490 was shutter lag, and relatively slow focusing and only 4 mp compared to 6 or 8 mp available now for about the same price as the 6490 originally.

While I was originally looking for a similar replacement it was suggested I look at a DSLR.

Advantages of the D50 is almost instant on, much faster auto focus, manual zoom, manual focus available, 6.1 mp, and much less shutter lag, 2.5 frames per second (try to time those ribbon cutting shots at Oshkosh with the built in shutter lag  :(        )  .  Has basically the same mode options as the Kodak, etc ... from point and shoot to full manual ... but lose the video option.

Anyhow, Ritz camera had a sale going mid December and I ended up with the D50 body with the 28-80mm kit lens for $649 after rebates.  Added the 70-300mm Nikor lens to that, another $175 or so.

I'm still learning to use all the modes, many years since I was into this seriously (old Mamiyaflex 2 1/4 square from the 60's) but am happy so far.  As always faster lens would be better, that hasn't changed since the 60's :)

Here is a D50 review site

<http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/d50-review/index.shtml>

The D50 is considered an entry level DSLR, either way D50 or P850 etc I think you would be quite happy.

FWIW ....

Howard

 

cheryl

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Thanks Howard for the good information.  We never got to go to Oshkosh however my husband went with the guy he sold his plane to and they fly over.  We are going to the air show in March south texas in March and would like to get the camera by then so I can practice.  Used the small Kodak last year and still was able to get some pretty great shots.  Again thats and will look at the reviews
Cheryl
 

Howard R

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Cheryl,

One other thing I forgot is related to how long the camera takes to save the shot to the card.  With the Kodak you basically only get one shot on a pass, because by the time the camera writes and is back up for another shot the aircraft is usually on it's way by.  With the Nikon I will be able to keep shooting all the way down the line and past ... as fast as I click the shutter.  It will also do a burst mode (3 shots) as would the Kodak, plus the almost continuous 2 1/2 frames a second.  On the LCD display on top it tells you how many shots it will take before it has to write to the card ... I usually see something line 9.  If you go with the continuous mode it will slow just slightly to write, but you don't miss much at all.  I haven't used it for an airshow yet, but from what I see messing around with it there shouldn't be as much of a challenge getting a ribbon cutting as before.  :)

Now having said all that, if you are not shooting some type of action, be it race cars, airplanes or basketball it would not be a significant problem.

And by the way the D50 saves files in one of 3 levels of JPEG or RAW format, with option for RAW and a small JPEG.  I haven't gotten into the RAW format yet, that looks like another whole kettle of fish.  ;D

Howard
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Howard,

You might want to think about shooting in RAW. I do that with my Digital Rebel. It also saves a jpeg copy which can then be extracted for mulitple uses. The RAW format will give you everything the camera sees with no loss of information. It does take more memory but I think it's worth it.
 

Howard R

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Jim Dick said:
You might want to think about shooting in RAW. I do that with my Digital Rebel. It also saves a jpeg copy which can then be extracted for mulitple uses. The RAW format will give you everything the camera sees with no loss of information. It does take more memory but I think it's worth it.

HI Jim,

I've been thinking about it  ;D    just haven't got there yet.  :)

How much of a hassle is it to process the RAW files?  My very limited understanding is you have to process each file to use?  What software do you use for that?  The camera came with a trial version of Nikon Capture 4.2 but I haven't loaded it yet ... actually think I'll go and do that now.

I'll give it a try,

thanks,

Howard
 

Jim Dick

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Howard Rawley said:
HI Jim,

I've been thinking about it  ;D    just haven't got there yet.  :)

How much of a hassle is it to process the RAW files?  My very limited understanding is you have to process each file to use?  What software do you use for that?  The camera came with a trial version of Nikon Capture 4.2 but I haven't loaded it yet ... actually think I'll go and do that now.

I'll give it a try,

thanks,

Howard

Hi Howard,

My camera came with two sofware programs. One d/l the photos from the camera and does a lot of other stuff I haven't used. The other will process the RAW files. It's really no hassle. What I usually do when I want to work with a particular file/s is extract the jpeg from the RAW file. I haven't gotten into all that can be done with RAW files but feel it's much better to have that info available should I ever need it. With jpeg you already lost some of it even though the large files are decent for a lot of what you need.

I have been using Thumbs Plus for organizing the folders and it has a plug-in for viewing RAW files so I don't have to convert until I want to process the photo. I'm sure other programs will be able to utilize RAW now as it has become very popular.
 

Howard R

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Jim Dick said:
What I usually do when I want to work with a particular file/s is extract the jpeg from the RAW file. I haven't gotten into all that can be done with RAW files but feel it's much better to have that info available should I ever need it. With jpeg you already lost some of it even though the large files are decent for a lot of what you need.

I have been using Thumbs Plus for organizing the folders and it has a plug-in for viewing RAW files so I don't have to convert until I want to process the photo.

Jim,

I very much agree with you on the JPEG loss.  Of the various programs I have been trying out have found Picassa to be the easiest, quickest to select, process, crop, etc  and then export to a "Finished" folder.  However it does so by creating another JPEG, therefore another slight loss. 

You did get me to thinking though ... the D50 (maybe yours and others) has the option to save the RAW file and also a small JPEG.  That should be ok for computer viewing with the full capabilities of the RAW file available. 

I have Thumbs +, ver 6 I think, so may need to upgrade ... the plug in for the RAW files would solve the problem of viewing the RAW file only.

After loading the Nikon program last night, skimming through the 157 page manual was giving me a headache  ;D    I took a shot yesterday in the large/fine JPEG format that I can easily duplicate in RAW and go from there. 

Thanks for your comments ... gets me started.  :)

Howard
 
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