Oct 31, 2008 at 1:20 am #1231817
In photography bigger is better. With film the larger the negative (35mm,medium format,large format…) the better the result. In the digital realm the film is the sensor, so common wisdom tells us that the bigger the sensor the "better" the result will be. However now the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in.
If you think that only DSLRs can take "good" shots, have a look at the "You've got to be kidding" review at Luminous Landscape.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ ( I really like these two guys)
Whilst you are there, check out their take on the Panasonic LX3 and the Sony W300. With the Canon G10 and the Nikon P6000 (and I would add the Ricoh GX200) there are now several very good compact cameras to choose from. No excuses.
Add the Sigma DP1, make that 6. Oh,wait a minute…Oct 31, 2008 at 1:34 am #1457000
Those compacts are fine when the light is good and you can shoot at 100 or maybe 200 ISO. When the light is lower, or your subject is not stationary, or you don't want everything to infinity to be in focus, then they are a very poor substitute for a dSLR with a decent sized sensor.
A lot of hiking/nature photos are completely motionless and have maximum depth of field, so yes you can get some great shots with these cameras if you can find a suitable 'tripod'.Dec 17, 2008 at 11:28 pm #1465094
@ghost93Locale: Western MD
One thing that has really erked me about the advanced point and shoot is the inabilty to use filters. Even photoshop with all its tech wonders cant reproduce a circular polarizer. I enjoy making the image as good as i can before processing in photoshop anyway, so that means at least a circular polarizer and a grad ND filter, and soild ND filters to boot. I guess thats why Im excited for Oly's micro 4/3 systems.Dec 18, 2008 at 2:43 am #1465103
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> the inabilty to use filters
The Canon A80 – A95 series and beyond can all take supplementary lenses and filters. They sell an attachment to hold them. Works well.
CheersDec 18, 2008 at 6:28 am #1465127
Have a look at http://www.lensmateonline.com/ – they supply well made adaptors for the G9/G10/DP1 and will be doing them for the LX3 soon, which allow filters to be used.Dec 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm #1465268
I too have been frustrated with the lack of ability to use filters with my compact cameras. However, I found a work-around.
I still have a polarizer filter from my old 35mm camera. To use this filter, I hold it closely in front of my compact camera lens and rotate the filter until I visualize the effect I'm after. Then focus and shoot. This works for me and I have not noticed any artifact or deterioration in the final photo.
I just have to be careful not to drop the filter :-).
LVDec 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm #1465279
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Matte boxes were used with lrge format cameras and made it possible to use all kinds of filters with an odd assortment of lens diameters and angles of view.
A matte box is usually a bellows lens hood. Some have a slot to drop a filter into. The ones made for pro movie cameras can cost thousands—- then again, they might be in front of a $30,000 lens!
In the 70's, when film photography was roaring, one company made an inexpensive matte box with a bellows and a plastic mount. What is needed for the Canon G10 and the like is a matte box or filter holder like the Cokin system that mounts to the tripod socket and can be adjusted for lens length and wide angle coverage. Many of the rangefinder style digital cameras could benefit from such an arrangement.
BTW, I got a G10 a couple weeks ago and can't wait to get out in the woods with it. Hehehhe—14mp mud and wet rocks :)Jan 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm #1468145
I posted a comment months ago in an earlier thread about getting a new camera. I ended up taking the advice of one person who made a good suggestion to try concentrating on using a tripod with a 7.0 mg inexpensive compact Canon to get better pics. I did and have found an improvement, but I'd still like to upgrade to get even better pics on trips (mainly landscapes) and for general family use. I am torn between getting a camera like the G10 or LX3 or a bottom end DSLR like Canon EOS (10.0 mg). Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, MikeJan 5, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1468149
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
A DSLR camera is a joy to use, and the pictures are amazing. You still need a tripod to get the full effect of extended night shots (get a remote so you can take star shots), and switch out lenses.
The Nikon D90 is the first DSLR with a built in movie mode and it is AWESOME.
Since it uses one processor, it has stellar HD capabilities with amazing color. Check out test shots on Vimeo to see what I mean:Jan 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm #1468159
@back2basicsLocale: Southeast USA
I think what you're referring to is called a compendium shade. I've seen some with filter holders on the front.Jan 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm #1468173
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I just picked up a Nikon D40 with the same idea in mind. Its but 6 MP, but that's plenty for anything I could imagine printing with it. What I liked about it is its price and size. Its both small enough (relatively speaking) that it won't be a huge extra burden in the pack, and cheap enough (again, relatively speaking) that if an accident befalls it I won't feel as sick.
I've had it for about 3 weeks and have extremely pleased with it. Its extremely easy to use, especially if you are coming from a P&S and have a handle on the basics of photography.
I'm far from an expert in the area in the area though. I just found a camera that felt good in my hand and read lots of reviews from places like DPReview and Camera Labs.
AdamJan 7, 2009 at 12:29 pm #1468514
Hey Nate and Adam, thanks for your responses.
I've been going back and forth on the idea of upgrading my compact or taking the DSLR plunge. Checked out the following:
Nikon D40 (6.1 megapixel) w/ 18-55 mm lens. $450.00
Nikon D60 (10.2 mega) w/ 18-55 mm lens. $550.00
Nikon D60 (10.2 mega) w/ 18-55 mm ANd 55-200 VR lenses. $750.00
Canon EOS Rebel (10 mega) w/ 18-55 mm IS lens AND 75-300 III lens. $500.00
I don't really want to spend much more than approx. $500.00 for this first DSLR purchase.
Adam, why did you decide to go with Nikon? The Canon EOS Rebel seems like a better deal but I know very little about cameras and models.
Would appreciate advice from anyone else too.
MikeJan 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm #1468587
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I don't own either brand so as a neutral observer in the Can/ikon wars I prefer Nikon's user interface and general approach to body design and control layout. I mostly find them both to be too bloody big (at least the more advanced models).
I also prefer Nikon's lens lineup for landscape photography and would tilt towards Canon for wildlife and sports. Nikon is generally acknowledged as having the best flash system.
Buying into an slr system is a slippery slope of adding lenses and accessories and upgrading bodies over time, so being cautious at the initial purchase is a really good idea. They can all take good pictures at this point (although some kit lenses aren't worth much) so fulfilling your precise requirement set is the most important thing. Which camera do you want to shoot one-handed, wearing gloves, aiming at a plant growing from a rock face?
RickJan 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm #1468597
For many of the compacts filters are easily obtainable. I know the powershot series for Cannons have quite the aftermarket options. I've got an adapter that lets me us polarizing filters, adapt a telephoto or wide angle lens and you can use standard drop in color filters since the adapters bring the lens up to a standard size. Neutral density is handy for longer exposure water shots and I always pack a circular polarizing filter on my point and shoot.Jan 7, 2009 at 5:19 pm #1468600
Michael – I've got the D60 kit with the VR 18-55 + 55-200mm lenses. It's an amazing camera and is a perfect entry level SLR in my opinion. I've had dozens of photos published from it already. I've got some amazing poster sized prints in my office from my excursions and I don't have a film camera that can shoot that clear when blown up.
The higher up models of course offer more frames per second and ridiculous levels of control, but for most entry SLR users the lesser used options can slow down the learning curve.
Budget wise, keep in mind you'll want a handful of 8gb cards (amazon.com has them cheapest), extra batteries and chargers, a padded case and a few filters (UV to protect lens + circular polarizing filters). You'll may also find that for certain shots you'll want other lenses such as a macro or a 300 or 500mm lens. That will be true for whatever SLR you buy.
On the plus side, once you buy an SLR and get your basic kit down, you can reuse lenses and you'll swap bodies far less than you'll have to upgrade compact cameras. Of course, you do get married to a brand with lenses but canon or nikon both aren't going anywhere anytime soon.Jan 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm #1468629
I use a Canon g9 now called a g10. It takes filters is light battery lasts forever and is great in low light. It also has a waterproof housing to about 150 feet and its dirt cheap compared to my pro digital slrs. I regularly publish photos from this camera and have it with me 24 hrs a day. Im also using it to shoot profesional films. I love this cameraJan 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1468635
Just another suggestion. The Nikon D50 came out just before the D40 models. It's a 6mp SLR, just a little bigger and sturdier than the D40 model. It was my first SLR and I've seen no need to upgrade two years later. If you just wanted to see if an SLR is for you, you can find new and used D50s floating around on Ebay for much less than $500 since it has been discontinued.Jan 7, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1468637
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Mike, when it came down to it I preferred the feel of the Nikon over the Canon (I was looking at the XS, but the XSi is pretty similar in feel).
My fiancee also liked the feel of the Nikon she tried (D80 in her case) and decided that the economical route would be for us to both go for the same brand so we could share lenses, flashes, etc.
I got my D40 on sale from Amazon for about $400 and then added a 55-200mm VR for another $200. Sure, its more expensive than the comparable Canon XS kit, but the feel and interface of the Nikons was more appealing to me.
I would encourage you to, at the least, get to your closest big-box electronics store and hold the cameras you are considering in your hand and get a feel for the menus and controls.
Best piece of advice I saw when I was looking: Any dSLR is going to be capable of taking great pictures so don't let that be your main concern.
Once I started taking pictures with mine I completely forgot any doubts I had about my decision.
AdamJan 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm #1468751
Thanks everyone for your advice and opinions and suggestions on where to buy. Thought I was narrowing down to a Nikon DSLR but Ali's beautiful pic from the G10 has got me rethinking again! Ali, how good is the battery life? Also, almost everyone else says this and similar cameras are not great in low-light situations. So many decisions. Think I'll think about it a bit more and go to a shop to see what they are like in my hands. I know the G10 feels solid. –MikeJan 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm #1468794
Mike, here are a few things to consider
First that picture was dumbed town about a thousand times so I could upload it.
Second in my opinion it is a terrible example of what the G9 in capable of.
This being said I prefer a DSLR hands down when compared to a point and shoot. The DSLR is fast and easy to use once you get familiar with it the d40 is a fine camera and completely capable of producing great images. You would be surprised how many National Geographic Pros are using ten year old 6meg cameras. 90 % of great photography has to do with the photographer not the equiptment. The low light issue is more of a lense issue than a camera issue. If you buy a 10k pro camera and add a lense that is 4.5 – 5.6 you will suffer the same issues as most point and shoot. I use a tripod if the light is too poor to hand hold but in the end it takes much trial and error to learn what your camera is capeable of. Also when you use the zoom on the point and shoot you will start to loose clarity. My primary reason for using the g9 is that it is light and I can take it everywhere I go. I tend to leave the big guns home more often than not. The battery seems to last forever and they are so light you can take a second. The main killer of battery power is the cold. Keep em close to your body when its cold out. I saw some posts here for the new luminx or whatever which seems like a great camera but I have heard that they are very power hungry. If you learn to use the light to your advantage you will love any camera you choose. Remember golden time, sunrise and sunset, this is when you usually get the best light. The g9 also supports raw format AliJan 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm #1468811
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
For me an important criterion is the ability to take AA batteries, especially the e2 lithiums. The special custom lithiums battery packs you get in the small compacts are extremely expensive, and how do I recharge one on a long trip?
Anyhow: my old Canon A95 does all my photography these days.
Greenhood orchid Pterostylis abrupta, Barrington Tops, AustraliaJan 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm #1468832
I disagree about the custom battery packs being prohibitively expensive. They are often very cheap, at least the ones for my Canon SD800. The Lenmar brand battery for my camera is currently selling for less than $7 including shipping.
I believe that the custom battery has greater battery life and they are only a tiny bit heavier (still less than an ounce). If I know that one battery will not be enough to last me a whole trip, a just bring an extra one. These proprietary batteries are also more powerful and have a longer battery life than the AA lithium e2's. I know that the flash recharge time is less with my camera that runs on custom batteries than a similar Canon p&s that runs on AA batteries.
However, I can certainly see the disadvantage of these if you are taking a very long trip (such as a thru-hike) where you will not have the opportunity to recharge them (though they are very quick to recharge). With AA batteries, you could just buy replacements anywhere. The only other disadvantage of these custom batteries is that they are single use – meaning they cannot be used with any other device.Jan 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm #1468833
Great point roger, the recharge is a huge issue. I turn off the lcd screen and just use the view finder. I rarely go over 8-10 days between civilization I can always find a place there to recharge. When I come into a town I usually roll a spliff plug in the charger and go to the laundry. By the time all that is done I'm recharged for another 10-12 days and really hungy.Jan 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm #1468851
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Christopher Holden wrote: "Dale,
I think what you're referring to is called a compendium shade. I've seen some with filter holders on the front."
Yes, compendium hood or shade is the right term. Usually filters would go closest to the lens and special effects items would go on the outer end.
It gets to quickly be a compromise– the weight goes exponential. I had a nice little 45 pound rig on an external frame for my 4×5 camera– monster camera, tripod, film holders and a light meter about the same size as a compact digital camera.
Digital photography is the most liberating thing in years. Teaching photography would be so much more fun now.Jan 10, 2009 at 10:48 am #1469149
More great info and insights. Yes, battery life is an important consideration. How long is typical battery life with a DSLR? How does one recharge? Just a cable from the camera to the power source? Ali, how do you recharge the G9? Just a cable or do you need a battery recharger? I think the best bet is to have a good compact for longer trips and a DSLR for everyday photography and perhaps day hikes and very short trips. Sorry for all the very basic questions. Hopefully one day I can add some useful info too. –Mike
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.