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Lost in the digital camera world

Hi everybody, the big deal i have to find a digital camera for some work. I never used one. I always take picture with film and F3 or F100 body. Can you help me. One important thing, my budget is quite small…

thanks,

vali

by Vali at 2009-03-02 23:13:53 UTC sivignon , France | Bookmark | | Report spam→

If it is just a temporary situation why don’t you rent a Nikon DSLR? You will be able to use your own lenses.

by Barry Milyovsky | 02 Mar 2009 23:03 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
Yep…Try to find a used Nikon D200…should be well under $1000 (US)and as Barry says use your existing lenses. Don’t forget the 1.5 magnification factor. If you can afford it, go for the D300. These recommendations assume that once you get your digi feet wet you’ll be hooked on an “alternative” way of working. Then there is the world of digital work flow …HA! Good luck.

by Gregory Sharko | 03 Mar 2009 00:03 (ed. Mar 3 2009) | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
walk towards the light…

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 00:03 | | Report spam→
…….straight into the concrete wall

by Imants | 03 Mar 2009 01:03 | "The Boneyard 017º", Australia | | Report spam→
“Now I have traded the wrong for the right, praise the Lord I saw the light.” —Hank Williams

by Barry Milyovsky | 03 Mar 2009 01:03 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
Sorry, Gregory, but based on awful experience both personal and collective, do NOT, under any circumstances, buy a D200 camera. This is by far Nikon’s worst sensor in terms of noise and poor performance. The newer D90 body is $900 is will be far, far better in terms of image quality.

better yet, if it’s just for an assignment, rent or borrow a D700 or D3 or D3x. These are the ONLY full-frame Nikon digital cameras, and you will notice very little difference in shooting experience from the F100 film body. They are very expensive to buy, ($2300 for the D700), so rent or borrow for now.

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 06:03 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Alan, I totally disagree on the D200. You sound like Ken Rockwell…there are no gray areas.

The D200 was a perfectly good camera for its technological cycle. I know pros who still use it regularly. As you know it was used by a lot of guys in Iraq who loved it because it was well-sealed. And given what it sells for used, it is a perfectly good option for the right person.

Having said that, I totally agree with you that the better solution for this person who is used to shooting with an F-3 or f100 would be a rented D-700, D3 or D3x. Be aware that the latter creates massive files, so better have a good computer to handle the workflow.

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 10:03 (ed. Mar 3 2009) | Hanoi, Vietnam | | Report spam→
Neal, I’m with you on both points… my best (serious) advice is to rent from some place that can walk you through the basics for a few times and get the feel for what you like, and what the camera can do, and what you can do with the files.

The full-frame chips are great, in terms of transitioning, and the D700 might be a good place to start, but don’t underestimate what the cheaper cameras can do in terms of file quality. I’ve seen some really incredible work from cameras under $1000. Not huge files, really workable cameras, and good backups later on.

But whatever you shoot, shoot RAW, baby!

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 11:03 (ed. Mar 3 2009) | | Report spam→
Neal, I had the D200 for over a year. I was initially impressed with it because it is, as you say, built well and well-sealed, and it’s fast, 5 frames-per-second, and it has the metering pin for manual-focus AI lenses, and I thought, great. But then I started looking at those images — and I don’t mean 1600 or even 800. I mean images shot as RAW files at 400 or 640, and honestly, they did NOT look as good as the smaller-megapixel JPG files from my old D70 and D100. The earlier cameras were more modest in their aspirations, but as such produced pleasing results. With a combination of interpolating and adding film-like grain, I’m able to get 20×24 prints that look more-than-adequate out of those old JPGs, but I’m hard pressed to get even a decent looking file onscreen from the D200, if it was shot in any kind of poor or low light. This is scandalous, frustrating, and disappointing in the extreme.

and yes, i did take the strictly “amateur” D70 and D100 to Iraq for a total of six months and many tens of thousands of frames in ’03 and ’05. This whole “well-sealed” stuff is kind of absurd, gotta have that Leica in your bag for when all the digital stuff fries anyway.

I sold the camera and got a Canon 5D for not much more money at the time, and it was like night and day. The Canon may feel chintzy in the hand, have a worse meter and auto-focus and be less well made than the Nikon, but it’s full-frame and makes beautiful files. Nikon’s D700 has done a lot to finally catch them up, those files look great. So I’m not on a rant against Nikon. Only against the D200 specifically. I want to warn people against using it. This is not a “your mileage may vary” situation. It is pretty absolute that the D200 has an inferior sensor. For approximately the same money now you can get a new D90 which is going to be much, much better, as Ted points out.

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 14:03 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Alan..I’ve owned a D200 for a few years now and its been fine but yes, as you say, the noise is disappointing in low light. Saving up for the D700. Now I have to console my D200…I hear sobbing in the next room. :(

by Gregory Sharko | 03 Mar 2009 15:03 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
you heartless bastard

by [former member] | 03 Mar 2009 17:03 | | Report spam→
Since I use Canon and Leica digital I’d vote for the D90. (Disclaimer: I have two F’s, an F2, 2 F3s, N90 & F5).

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 03 Mar 2009 19:03 | Spring Lake, Michigan, United States | | Report spam→
Alan, my wife has a D90 and it is an extremely good camera, I agree.

But D200s are selling used for a lot less than the $1,000 the D90 fetches, so I am not sure the comparison holds. If you can find a buyer for my D200 who will fork over $1K, I will sell it (had not planned to yet) and pay you a generous commission!

by [former member] | 04 Mar 2009 01:03 (ed. Mar 4 2009) | Hanoi, Vietnam | | Report spam→
Hello, Ms.Vali…still there?

by Gregory Sharko | 04 Mar 2009 01:03 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
Perhaps, Greg, Ms Vali saw the light.

by Barry Milyovsky | 04 Mar 2009 02:03 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
OK, some confusion:

D700 is $2600.00 not $2300.00. NEW
D90 is $900.00, NEW
D200 USED is $600-$700.00
D300 is $1700.00 NEW, $1200+ USED

Looking at this, the D200 and even the D300 are NOT good values. What does the D300, a cropped-sensor camera, do that the D90 doesn’t? It may be better made and sealed and all that, but I think such issues are fairly irrelevant for digital cameras due to short lifespan/obsolescence. The D70 in its day was a better camera than the D100 which it was supposed to be inferior to, and better in the field than the monstrous D1x cameras that were supposed to be “professional.”

(My comments are oriented towards the documentary photography / field photojournalist, for whom the cost/weight/image-quality equation is the one that matters, not frames-per-second (sports or fashion) or issues like flash-sync or remote control.)

Keep in mind that the D700 is the only reasonable Nikon FULL-FRAME camera (D3 and D3x being too big and expensive). Canon 5Ds can be found for as cheap as $1000-1200 and even throwing in a couple of cheap, good prime lenses (28mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4) will still get you in, full-frame, at cheaper than the D700 body alone.

So Neal, based on this Ken Rockwell-like analysis of mine, sell your D200 as fast as you can on your local Craigslist or on eBay, and either buy a D90 with the addition of a couple hundred dollars more or save towards a D700. Alternately, do that, and go to the dark side by exploring Canon. Do not sell any lenses in any mount. Going forward we have to accept that the camera bodies become obsolete; the lenses do not. So slowly over a period of years getting lenses for BOTH Nikon and Canon is the way to go.

by [former member] | 04 Mar 2009 13:03 (ed. Mar 4 2009) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks to everybody for your advices. But I didn’t see yet the light!
I have no intention to rent a body. What is the best Canon or Nikon? The fact is i have very good Nikon lenses.
About the D700, can i pretend to do exhibitions too with the files size it produces?
My partner uses Canon and Leica (film cameras) and has the same question for the same issue…

Alan : why did you shift for Canon?

thanks

by Vali | 04 Mar 2009 13:03 | sivignon, France | | Report spam→
i shifted because at the time Canon 5D was the only affordable Full-Frame digital camera. For me, the full-frame issue is pretty much the most important. I was sick of looking through the tiny viewfinders of crop-sensor cameras and not having real, fast wide-angle lenses. Now that Nikon has the D700, I will get one of those once they come down in price. But at the moment the Canon is serving my digital needs adequately. It’s not by accident that pretty much everybody in the documentary/photojournalism field uses the 5D, and now its replacement the 5D Mk II. The Canons take some getting used to when you have always used Nikons. But those files are so easy to work with, I had exhibition prints up yo 42 inches wide made recently, and they look beautiful.

Exhibition prints with the D700, especially RAW files, will also be no problem. Traditional digital flaws like fringing, noise, and strange artifacts are mostly getting solved in this new generation of cameras. If you are absolutely insistent on a higher native megapixel count, though, the Canon 5D Mk II is a step ahead of the D700. The best Canon cameras, then, are the 5D Mk II and still the original 5D.

But even for large prints up to 30×40 inches, the D700 should be fine, more than fine. By the same token the very best Nikon for image-quality is the D3x. But it is $7000+ (!) and big and heavy. So the D700 is the real-world best Nikon choice.

All this being said nothing replaces the Leicas for black+white and medium format for subtle qualities of depth and smoothness.

by [former member] | 04 Mar 2009 14:03 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
What I do is put black tape over the brand name of my camera.

by Barry Milyovsky | 04 Mar 2009 15:03 (ed. Mar 4 2009) | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
thanks a lot Alan for your support and your help.
I like so much work with my reflex. I have been coming back from Pakistan for 3 weeks and i’m still working on the pics. If i have used a digital camera maybe the work will be done. But will see in the future. Thanks again and i known your exhibition in NY is still going on. Good luck. By the way, i’m just starting on this wonderful job. I’m looking for editors, magazine to sell my report about the IDPS. Could you advise me? I could read you get a hudge background in this field!

by Vali | 04 Mar 2009 21:03 | sivignon, France | | Report spam→
I’ve got some extra black tape should anyone have a need for it.

by Barry Milyovsky | 05 Mar 2009 13:03 (ed. Mar 5 2009) | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
barry, is it black DUCK tape or black ELECTRICAL tape, and which is better?

by [former member] | 05 Mar 2009 14:03 | | Report spam→
Ted, duct tape is always good to have at hand for all sorts of repairs, etc. I would even consider using it on Nikon and Canon DSLR bodies that have cropped frame sensors. But, for bodies with full frame sensors and certainly for all Leica bodies (especially if you want to look like Cartier-Bresson) I would only use electrical tape.

by Barry Milyovsky | 05 Mar 2009 15:03 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
I can see that none of you have read The Lord Ken’s latest Pronouncement that “digital’s decade is drawing to a close”!!

Otherwise you would all be out buying film again…….

Seriously – I took a D200 to Canada on a wildlife shoot and it functioned very well in -42 C temperatures for a week, being snowed on etc etc. The images are actually good – better even than some I have seen from my D3 – so perhaps there are sensor sample variations as there are with film batches?

I will be getting rid of mine soon – especially if the D700 ever comes down in price (it has gone up twice already since launch in NZ!), mainly because the controls and so on are all slightly different from the D3 and so I sometimes loose precious seconds fiddling between the two bodies trying to remember how to change settings etc.

The D90 probably is better now though. JMO of course!

by Marcus Adams | 05 Mar 2009 19:03 | Christchurch, New Zealand | | Report spam→
ah, I remember the days of black scotchguard tape and roses…

by [former member] | 05 Mar 2009 20:03 | | Report spam→
no, no, y’all have it all wrong. Duct and electrical tape will turn your camera into a gooey mess. must use — GAFFER’S tape — this is more expensive but it’s the only kind that works.

And for sure, digital is so OVER! As one of the resident Luddites around here, who hasn’t even used my digital camera at all in months, and have been happily shooting black+white film (and processing it in motel rooms), I shouldn’t even have contributed to this thread, except that I do understand the perspective of someone coming from film to digital and wanting to get the most out of it with the least money.

Vali, if you’re in France you definitely need to make the rounds in Paris with all the magazines, although with the economy being what it is I doubt anybody is commissioning anything. And it seems like you have a good MSF connection already…the NGOs and not-for-profit agencies are definitely the way to go. There’s also the French NGO for Afghanistan, ACTED? You have been traveling in places where most people don’t go these days, so maybe you could market that…the ability to work in Pakistan NWFP and Peshawar is no mean feat these days.

But also don’t think that digital workflow takes that much less time than film, necessarily. With a good scanner like the Nikon LS-4000 or 5000, you can have 20-30 images ready in an evening…whereas with digital sometimes I spend hours just wading through reams of bad frames trying to edit, and then Photoshopping the selected ones takes just as long as it does to deal with scans.

Thank you also for the kind words; yes, the exhibit of mine is still up at the Sasha Wolf Gallery through this weekend, so anyone in NY who hasn’t seen it yet can still drop by…and to self-promote a little bit, we did get a nice little review in The New Yorker…

by [former member] | 05 Mar 2009 21:03 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
ok, fair game, you brought it up. workflow.

buy my book.

from the resident geek to the resident luddite… LOL

by [former member] | 05 Mar 2009 21:03 | | Report spam→
Alan, I got the D700 on the time payment plan before this gig and still am using the D3 for more shots than the D700. And yes it is GAFFER’S tape!

by [former member] | 06 Mar 2009 10:03 (ed. Mar 6 2009) | Hanoi, Vietnam | | Report spam→
see, you ex-lawyers make the big bucks and can afford that fancy duck tape. (gaffer… hmm. i’m still trying to figure out what the key grip does). us poor starving photographer/authors settle for scotchguard off the shelf at CVS.

so buy my book so i can afford gaffer tape.

by [former member] | 06 Mar 2009 11:03 (ed. Mar 6 2009) | | Report spam→
i am working on two black and white features at the moment, but the other day i ditched the digital for a m6 while on a colour shoot and was blown away by the colour and moment. as there is no way of rewiewing images i found that my concentration levels was back up and the resulting images were wonderful. there something about having to just get it right on the day…

oh if you must, use gaffer tape on a m6 j.

by John Robinson | 06 Mar 2009 12:03 (ed. Mar 6 2009) | pietermaritzburg, South Africa | | Report spam→
John, those of us with less self discipline can benefit by putting tape over the monitor. In this case you probably should probably use the gaffer tape mentioned above. Definitely, do not use Imant’s method by coloring it over with a black permanent marking pen.

by Barry Milyovsky | 06 Mar 2009 13:03 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Vali, Photographer/reporter/art Vali
Photographer/reporter/art
Paris , France
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
Gregory Sharko, photographer Gregory Sharko
photographer
Brooklyn, New York , United States ( JFK )
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Photographs
Spring Lake, Michigan , United States
Marcus Adams, Photographer & Guide Marcus Adams
Photographer & Guide
(Guide, Photographer & Fixer)
Singapore , Singapore
John Robinson, Photographer John Robinson
Photographer
(works with light)
Jika Joe , South Africa


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