Author Topic: Time for a new camera...  (Read 1471 times)

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Time for a new camera...
« on: September 15, 2010, 11:50:00 AM »
or am I just itching for a new gadget fix?  :D

I have had my current camera for 5 months now and I really like it. It's definitely the best camera I have owned.
Canon has introduced it's replacement this week. They have crammed 2 more megapixels on the ccd and increased the lens from 20x to 35x zoom. 4.3mm-150.5mm from 5mm to 100mm. 35mm equivalent = 24mm - 840mm.

I'm sure I'd like the extra reach on this new camera but it's really the only improvement. There are a few things I don't like about my camera and I don't think this is going to address those problems.
 
It doesn't do well in low light. Frame rate at best is 1/second and its hard to track moving objects because the display goes black while it's writing to the card.. Autofocus misses a lot and it's pretty slow. "Manual focus" is pretty much useless. Many pictures are often a little soft, especially at 100mm and 5mm.

I think I want a dslr but can't make up my mind. The reason I didn't get one 5 months ago is because I was afraid of an endless cycle of lens envy. The main problem is I know I won't be getting any where close to 840mm in a dslr but I know I can work around that simply by getting closer. I just need to make an effort to go out into the woods specificly to get pics of wildlife rather than catching them from the back porch when they happen to come in to view.

I was first looking at the entry level dslr cameras because I know I could get one without putting much of a dent in the budget. I don't think I would be happy with a $500 kit though. I'm not sure I would be gaining a lot over my point and shoot. To make my decision more dificult, one of my favorite electronics e-tailers sent me an email last week promoting their 0% for 12 months financing plan on all cameras. Out of curiosity I filled out the application. I could in theory jump up to a full frame pro camera but there's no way I could enjoy it knowing I had to make those payments and I still wouldn't have lenses to do it justice.

Right now my top choices are the newly announced Nikon D7000, Canon 60D, Canon 7D and Nikon D3100. I have no real preference to brand. I'm sure the Canon dslr's will be different than my p&s so there will be a learning curve for either.

All of them will be faster than my current camera and will perform better in low light.

I'm sure the picture quality will improve just by getting a better camera. I still just point and shoot much of the time but when I do take the time to get something good I'm often disappointed. I just don't know how much of my current problems are due to the camera or due to my lack of skill.

Sorry for rambling. Any input is appreciated.

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 12:29:29 PM »
Maybe I just need to stop looking at photography websites.  :D

keithsnell

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 02:24:24 PM »
Hi Chris,

I'm shooting with a Nikon D3 and 500mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter, and I still don't feel like I have the optimum combination for shooting wildlife. :)  There's definitely an advantage to shooting with a smaller sensor camera when it comes to getting the best magnification from our lenses.  If I could get the new Nikon D7000 before my upcoming trip to Yellowstone, I would buy one in a heartbeat.  But, it won't be on the store shelves until Mid October, which will be after my trip.  So, I'm even considering the Nikon D3100.  It would be a "dual purpose" camera, since it could replace my point and shoot, which I carry when I don't want to haul around the D3.

Based on your comments, I don't think you would be happy with the upgrade to your current camera.  I think most point and shoot cameras have reached a point of diminishing returns with respect to megapixels.  (This is true even of the APS-C size dSLRs.)  I think you are smart in recognizing that the shortfalls that you listed with your current camera (poor low-light shooting, slow frame rate, difficulty tracking moving objects, and poor autofocus) would be best addressed by upgrading to a dSLR.  I'm amazed at how good the entry level dSLRs are these days.  The D3100 is much better in low-light than my D2X I paid $5,000 for several years ago, and the D7000 is arguably a better all around camera than the D2X, at 20% of the price.  Based on that, I wouldn't recommend anybody spend the money for a "pro" level camera unless photography is their profession.  Most of the current competition in the market is at the D3100 and D7000 level, and that's where you will get the most "bang for your buck."

I've shot both Canon and Nikon film and digital SLRs, and I agree that they are both very good.  I think the Nikon user interface is a bit more intuitive than Canon's, with a lot of emphasis on having the appropriate shooting controls fall readily to hand.  I think Nikon also has slightly better metering, with more flexible metering options, and has better flash metering.  Canon has been a bit ahead in the "megapixel race" but I think that is mainly a marketing thing, and that most people reach a point of diminishing returns once they're shooting with 12 megapixels or more.  It takes tremendous discipline and very, very good lenses to extract more detail from any APS-C size sensor that has more than 12 megapixels.   Canon is also ahead with the implementation of video in their dSLRs, but again I think that is playing to a niche market, which will soon disappear with the emergence of "real" video cameras that use full frame sensors and don't have the limitations of the dSLRs.

So, to get to the point, I'd recommend against simply going with the upgrade to your current camera, and would recommend upgrading to an entry level or "enthusiast" dSLR.  If you're truly interested in video then you might want to go with Canon, otherwise I think the Nikon D3100 and D7000 are both fantastic cameras for the price.  As far as choosing between the two, I'd say that if you don't mind the extra weight, size and cost of the D7000, then it will provide a much more satisfying shooting experience, with much improved AF, better low-light capability, and more intuitive controls. I'd recommend playing with both of them in a camera store before you make your final decision.  (There, that should help you stave off the new camera bug at least for the next month.  :) )

Don't go for the "pro" level cameras.  Save the price difference for a few good quality lenses instead.

Hope this helps.  :)

Keith



  
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 02:30:40 PM by keithsnell »

Lars

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 02:53:05 PM »
Keith
The new Nikon D7000 has full HD video facilties or am I wrong ?

Lars

keithsnell

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 03:13:29 PM »
Hi Lars,

Yes, you are right.  One thing missing from the D7000 is the ability to record in 1920 x 1080 at multiple frame rates (29.97/25/23.976 fps), and to record in 1280 x 720 at 59.94/50 fps.  The D7000 can only record in 24 fps at 1920 x 1080 and up to 30 fps at 1280 x 720.  Some video aficionados would consider those frame rates inadequate.  (Personally, I'd want the 60 fps rate at 1280 x 720.)

From the specifications the D7000 should be an awesome still camera though, and has better video capabilities than any Nikon camera to date (however, Canon has managed to stay one step ahead, at least when it comes to video specifications).  I suspect we'll see higher video frame rates in the "pro level" Nikon cameras in the near future.

Keith
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 03:21:23 PM by keithsnell »

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 04:33:49 PM »
Thanks. Video is a nice to have but not a major factor for me. I think I can safely take the 7D off the list. For the price of the 7D body I can get the D7000 and a $500 lens. I will definitely wait until these are on the shelves.

bhphotovideo.com shows the D7000 as a kit with a NIKKOR 18-105mm DX VR Lens. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/735300-REG/Nikon_25474_D7000_DSLR_Camera_Kit.html
Do you know if this is a good lens or should I look at something else. I'm guessing it's better than the 18-55 that comes with D3100.

One lens I know I'm interested is a 50mm 1.4. Is the Nikon the best choice or should I look at other brands?
One of the Nikon 70-300 might be an early option too.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 04:37:42 PM by Chris »

keithsnell

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 05:05:26 PM »
Thanks. Video is a nice to have but not a major factor for me. I think I can safely take the 7D off the list. For the price of the 7D body I can get the D7000 and a $500 lens. I will definitely wait until these are on the shelves.

bhphotovideo.com shows the D7000 as a kit with a NIKKOR 18-105mm DX VR Lens. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/735300-REG/Nikon_25474_D7000_DSLR_Camera_Kit.html
Do you know if this is a good lens or should I look at something else. I'm guessing it's better than the 18-55 that comes with D3100.

One lens I know I'm interested is a 50mm 1.4. Is the Nikon the best choice or should I look at other brands?
One of the Nikon 70-300 might be an early option too.

Thom Hogan, a photographer I respect, likes the 18 - 105 option the best of all the 18 - XXX zooms that Nikon makes.  You can read his review of the lens here:  http://bythom.com/Nikkor18-105lensreview.htm  And yes, he considers it better than the 18-55.

Yes, I'd go with the Nikon 50mm 1.4G lens.  You should recognize that because of the focal length multiplier of 1.5x for an APS-C size sensor, that this lens wouldn't be a "normal" lens on the D3100 or D7000, but would make a great portrait lens.

The 70-300 lenses are a very good option if you are looking for something with more reach.  Rumor is that Nikon will be updating the 80-400 soon, and that would be another consideration, although the current 80-400mm is quite a bit larger than the 300mm zooms.

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 10:18:47 PM »

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 04:47:13 PM »
Here are some examples of what I dont like about my camera. Looking at the OCD these bees looked great. When I get them on the PC they don't look so great anymore.

keithsnell

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 05:25:26 PM »
Those are good examples Chris, and remind me that one of the other advantages of a dSLR over a point and shoot camera is the increased dynamic range, not to mention the increased acuity (slightly different definition than "resolution").  I also find it much easer to judge focus and composition using a good dSLR viewfinder vs the LCD on a point and shoot.

It sounds to me that you have just about convinced yourself to upgrade to a dSLR.  Now the decision is which one, D3100, D7000 or D60?  As I mentioned before, I wouldn't let megapixels be the determining factor.  The chances of seeing any differences in real resolution between 14, 16 and 18 megapixels, especially using consumer lenses is pretty slim.  You would have to be shooting with a high resolution prime lens at an aperture of f4 or f5.6, using a very sturdy tripod, remote shutter release and mirror lockup, and have a very still subject in order to see any real differences.  Given the choice of better ISO performance or 2 more mexapixels (16 vs 18) I'd go with the better ISO performance every time.  I imagine everyone will be following the dpreview and Imaging Resource reviews closely for the D7000 vs D60 comparisons.

Our current point-and-shoot camera (Canon S3), appears to be on its last legs (random low battery warnings, etc.) and I'm looking for a replacement.  I'm actually leaning towards the D3100 as a replacement, since it is only slightly larger than our current point-and-shoot, and could act as a backup camera to the D3 and D2x we currently use for weddings/event photography.  In fact, the D3100 or D7000 would perform much better at higher ISOs than the D2X.  Then again, I'd really miss the "reach" of the long lens on the S3, and so the Panasonic G2 and similar 4/3 cameras start to look like a viable compromise.  Decisions, decisions...

Keith
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 05:27:04 PM by keithsnell »

Chris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 05:50:03 PM »
I understand the thing about megapixels. My first digital camera was a fairly expensive 3mp Olympus p&s that I liked as much as I like this Canon. It took great pictures at the time. Several years later my grandfather bought an inexpensive 5mp camera and it was not nearly as good.

I think I'm sold on the D7000 with kit lens right now. Can't wait to try one out. I'll need to make up my mind on a second lens. I'm considering the 50mm 1.4 and/or the 35mm 1.8 or 35mm f2. My thought is the wider aperture combined with the high iso of the D7000 will allow for some good low light pictures. I don't know if I want to strech the budget for a 70-300 right off the bat but I know I'll have to wait on the 80-400. Maybe I'll skip the 70-300 and just save up for the 80-400. Do you know if the 80-400 will work with a teleconverter?

keithsnell

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: Time for a new camera...
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 06:35:50 PM »
Hi Chris,

The 80-400 will work with a 1.4x teleconverter in good light, but I'm not sure I would be willing to accept the loss of resolution, smaller apertures (lower shutter speeds), and much slower AF.  The 80-400 starts to get a bit soft when fully extended to 400, and the slight loss of resolution with the TC would tend to drop the resolution below what I would consider acceptable.  The new 80-400 that everyone is expecting will hopefully be sharper at the long end...

Keith