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Recomendations for a decent digital SLR


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#1 jon lawrence

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 10:58 AM

Hi all, I'm not to savvy with digital cameras. I'm looking to buy a reasonably priced digital slr that allows me to control whit balance, iso, etc so I can take stills to test lighting setups.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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#2 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:07 PM

The new Canon XSi looks pretty nice. Really great specs.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:25 PM

Hi all, I'm not to savvy with digital cameras. I'm looking to buy a reasonably priced digital slr that allows me to control whit balance, iso, etc so I can take stills to test lighting setups.


Hi Jon,
define reasonable. I just bought a Nikon D300 with battery grip for around 1850 Euros. That is within my definition of reasonable, but I use it to earn money. So it might not be in your range. I'm a Nikon user so I'd recommend their bodies. If you start out afresh, do not own any lenses or other stuff you might use you're free to choose a brand. IMO most of the lower range DSLRs are quite comparable (Nikon D40, Canon 400D et al.).

Cheers, Dave
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#4 Jim Layes

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

Hello,

I have a Nikon D50 and it's really great. I bought it for using the pictures in my video projects. I am very happy with this camera.
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#5 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:27 PM

No offense to Nikon users (;)) but Canon is moving so quickly now that Nikon is sort of being left in the dust, IMO.

The XSi, for example, is 12MP (4272 x 2848), 14-bit RAW, DIGIC III, CF+ SD and SDHC Memory cards, 3" Live View LCD, auto sensor cleaning, etc, all for $800 USD. Kind of hard to top that.

And let's not even mention the 1Ds Mark III. :)
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#6 Mike Williamson

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:29 PM

I've got a Canon Digital Rebel XT that I take to set and use for various things in pre-production (locations stills, look tests, lighting tests on actors), it's a good camera and there are newer models of it like the XSi.

When I was deciding what digital camera to get, I did some research and I would recommend looking at the entire camera system you're buying into (Canon, Nikon, etc.) as they all have different lens mounts. You may replace the camera in a couple years, but you're not going to want to replace all your lenses. I bought a Canon for two main reasons, 1) I liked the range of lenses that they offered better than Nikon, 2) at the time, they were the only company making a full-frame digital SLR which I wanted to upgrade to at some point in the foreseeable future.

Also, I put more money into lenses than into the camera (about five times as much) so make sure to include something for good lenses when figuring out your budget.
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#7 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:03 PM

I recently purchased the Canon 400D, Canon has since released the 450D, the Pentax K10D and K20D are very good, and of course, there's Nikon. ;)

All of these DSLR's are in a comparable price range and are all very good.
Any one of these would satisfy your needs, it would just boil down to you picking the one you like best.
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#8 James Baker

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 01:02 AM

No offense to Nikon users (;)) but Canon is moving so quickly now that Nikon is sort of being left in the dust, IMO.

The XSi, for example, is 12MP (4272 x 2848), 14-bit RAW, DIGIC III, CF+ SD and SDHC Memory cards, 3" Live View LCD, auto sensor cleaning, etc, all for $800 USD. Kind of hard to top that.

And let's not even mention the 1Ds Mark III. :)



As both a Nikon (D3) and a Canon (G9) user, I'm not offended.

Anyway, that may well be your personal impression, but it's not reality. Look here: http://www.news.com/...mp;tag=2547-1_3

Both Canon and Nikon make excellent products, with one of the differences being user interface/ergonomics.

Competition is very important in the industry for progress to occur. We should be happy for it.

Edited by James Baker, 09 May 2008 - 01:03 AM.

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#9 Matt Hildreth

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:47 AM

I would recommend Canon, I started off with a 20D which is a classic; I bet you can pick up pretty cheap now. Like people have said spend more on the lens L class are the top end stuff it costs more but well worth every penny for in the long run.

Edited by Matt Hildreth, 09 May 2008 - 04:48 AM.

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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 05:24 AM

I'm a Nikon fan, but only because I have been told (not proven) that nikon doesn't change their lens mount as much as canon does. I'm not expert on this, of course, but I know I can use all my old manual glass on the new nikon DSLRs, which I find quite nice (I hate auto b/s)
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#11 David Auner aac

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 06:23 AM

I'm a Nikon fan, but only because I have been told (not proven) that nikon doesn't change their lens mount as much as canon does.


Yep, it's been Nikon F all the way from the Nikon F in the 60s. Well, there have been minor changes, but nothing like Canon! They had 3 major changes IIRC (FL, FD and EF/EOS).

As for Nikon being left in the dust by Canon it's rather the other way around. :D Canons lens are nowhere near Nikon quality and IMO their bodies (except the 1D) are much more cheaply made and feel flimsy.

As for taste and personal preference, yeah, that's the major point. You use what you like and what suits you. I for one prefer the cleaner look of Nikon CMOS sensors and the ability to use older lenses as well. And Nikon bodies and their controls seem to suit my style of shooting better.

Best regards, Dave
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#12 Tom Lowe

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 10:15 PM

What camera does Nikon have to compete with the Canon 1Ds Mark III? The D3? Do they have something new coming out?

I know that pixel count is hardly the end all be all of DSLRs, but when Canon is rocking 21MP, and Nikon only 12MP, that's a significant gap.
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#13 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:40 PM

Canon and Nikon both have their niche. But with the latest dSLR's that came out, Nikon seems to have the economic/features nailed. The D300 is a great choice that offers extremely low noise at ISO1200. The D3 is a great full frame dSLR for a great price. The D3 is great as there is little need for conversion in the lens, so you can use it as a semi-director viewfinder. I like the form factor and user interface of the Nikons better.

Before getting a dSLR check out the lenses and accessories. When you buy a dSLR your buying for the system not just the camera. So take do a little research and find what you want to go with.
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#14 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:44 PM

No offense to Nikon users ( ;) ) but Canon is moving so quickly now that Nikon is sort of being left in the dust, IMO.

The XSi, for example, is 12MP (4272 x 2848), 14-bit RAW, DIGIC III, CF+ SD and SDHC Memory cards, 3" Live View LCD, auto sensor cleaning, etc, all for $800 USD. Kind of hard to top that.

And let's not even mention the 1Ds Mark III. :)


I like Canon and Nikon for different reasons. The thing about the XSi is that it isn't a full sized sensor camera, so there is the 1.6x lens factor, and there go your EF wide angle lenses . . . Only the 5D (and up) has a full size sensor, and it will cost ya a pretty penny too. Not that Nikon has a full size sensor at a XSi comparable prize anyway . . .

Definitely, steadfast F-mount lenses are one of Nikon's claim to greatness. Canon telephoto zooms are second to none, though . . .

I hear really good things about Pentax K10, despite its smaller four thirds sensor.

The only cameras that truly compete with Canon 1Ds Mark III are the digital Hasselblads, and they are not cheap.

Unless, of course, you go to the mighty Seitz 6X17. There is nothing like it:

http://www.roundshot...8/d925/f934.cfm

Can you imagine when we can get motion pictures out of that sensor?????

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 09 May 2008 - 11:46 PM.

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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:50 PM

Personally I'd not want to imagine the image-file size of something 21MP!
Maybe I'm a Luddite on this, but I'm happy with my 8MP digital still point n shoot 80% of the time
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#16 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 02:55 AM

Another small but important consideration, once you've researched all of the specs, lenses etc, is how well the camera fits in your hand. I'd narrowed my choices down to three options (online) when I first bought a DSLR, and went in to try them all out in the shop. I ended up going with a Nikon D80, because I found that the other two were either too small and awkward or too heavy to be comfortable in one hand for long periods of shooting, but different cameras will suit different people.
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#17 David Auner aac

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 04:05 AM

What camera does Nikon have to compete with the Canon 1Ds Mark III? The D3? Do they have something new coming out?

I know that pixel count is hardly the end all be all of DSLRs, but when Canon is rocking 21MP, and Nikon only 12MP, that's a significant gap.


Well, point is that you can really go any larger with Canons files froma 1Ds MarkIII. But you can take a RAW file from the D3 and scale it up to about the same pixel count and it will hold. And most Canon lenses do not delvier the quality needed by their 21MP sensor. Canons pixels are much smaller, more prone to noise and thier color rendition isn't as good as the D3s. Some did a comparison here recently of which I have seen the results. It was really amazing. I'll have a look and see whether there's anything to be found online from that test.

Nikon is planning to release something by the end of that year, estimates say it's going to be either 16 or 18MP, slower and less sensitive to light due to the samller pixels that will result from this. After all, you can't increase pixel counts at no cost. More pixels means smaller pixel unless you enlarge the sensor which you can't in a 35mm size camera!

Cheers, Dave
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#18 Mihai Bodea

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 04:17 AM

I also own a DSLR. I found out it is invaluable for everything on the set.
there are two considerations that I had in mind when purchasing, the so called D-range (aka f-stop latitude) and the possibilities to post process the image. I knew only a DSLR would have f-stops close to film. being used to darkroom processing I found it to work very similar to a good reversal stock, meaning that details washed in the overexposure are lost. I also found the Nikon cameras deal much better with the grain structure, leaving the graininess where it belongs as opposed to other manufacturers that digitally filter the noise, for a washed, flat image.
a very important aspect of this is the software available for the camera. it was very important for me that it would be compatible to the KLMS software, by Kodak, that emulates the look of the film. do not take it as a joke, the images processed this way are really something! in this respect there are only to brands, besides Kodak, to comply, Canon and Nikon.
in my opinion the best deal now is the Nikon D80, much better equipped than others in this price range. it is light and small enough, has the features of the next price tag, it comes in good all purpose kits, but it is not dust and water proof, which I find to be rather inconvenient. the prices for this camera are dropping as the next generation is raising, so it could be a good deal.
misu
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#19 Bruce Greene

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 05:07 AM

Hi all, I'm not to savvy with digital cameras. I'm looking to buy a reasonably priced digital slr that allows me to control whit balance, iso, etc so I can take stills to test lighting setups.

Any help would be much appreciated.


I recently purchased a DSLR for similar reasons. I'm shooting a film on location and dailies take at least a week to return to set so I thought I'd take stills as a substitute.

I chose a Canon 5d for two reasons. 1, it has a full frame sensor. 2, there are many small sized prime lenses available for it at reasonable cost. The Nikon D3 was hard to find, was too expensive, and prime lenses were hard to find as well. I chose the primes because I don't like holding a big heavy lens and camera and I wanted the f2.0 stop.

Here's what I've experienced: The stills are invaluable as dailies because the lab in Turkey makes really awful dailies. Worst I've ever seen, even though they are HD. The last set of dailies were ok until the scene with the red walls. Then all scenes since are cyan to make up for the red...but I can stay confident after looking at the stills.

The LCD on the back of the camera is pretty useless for previewing lighting. It just never looks right and will fool you almost 100% of the time. Also I'm not sure the iris on my lenses is consistent from lens to lens and that can throw off exposure a little.

All in all I've been very happy with the purchase with the exception of the 50mm 1.4 lens which has sticky focus and must be returned when I get home. I've also noticed that the lenses are much sharper than the 13mp sensor in the camera can record and would really have liked 22mp if it were available in an affordable and similar sized camera. Maybe in a couple years.

As for Nikon vs. Canon, the line producer here shoots with a Nikon and says the files from my 5d look a little better, but I think the handling of the Nikon is a little nicer. I will say that the full sized viewfinder of the 5d makes manual focus a bit easier than the cropped camera viewfinders. If you get one of the cheaper cameras, the images are great, but the viewfinders fall short.

That's about it, good luck.

-bruce
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#20 Mihai Bodea

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 05:46 AM

the viewfinder of the nikon d80 camera is similar to a film camera's viewfinder (pentaprism), so no problem with focus. the great thing about APS DSLR format is that it is similar to the Super35 mm format, so you'll get a similar framing, allowing for a quick judge of lens. this is not the case with the full size DSLR's (24x36mm).
as a bonus the nikon cameras allow the user to configure a viewfinder raster consisting of guidelines making easier the framing for different aspect ratios.
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