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Thread: New Digital SLR

  1. #1

    Default First Digital SLR

    HI,
    You said to Sallyann previous thread that you would need 2000 for a good Pro set up
    i am looking to spend 1500 (might push that) what would you reccomend as reading all your magazines makes it more confusing to me.
    Most cameras now come with movie mode as well, is it worth having.
    At the moment i have not gone digital and i have a Canon A1 but its getting old and i am reluctant to spend money on it (been a brilliant camera).
    I am going to New Zealand soon and will be taking landscape and a few sports photos.
    Hope you can help Thanks Robbat
    Last edited by Robbat; 02-01-10 at 02:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Robbat.

    A 'pro' setup could cost any amount of money depending on what you intend to use it for (flash guns, lighting, etc, etc). If you're happy with your current camera's capabilities and are looking for a replacement then a wide majority of DSLR cameras on the market will offer an equivalent step-up from the A1.

    A couple of things though: A film DSLR such as the A1 will have a 100% of view through the viewfinder - that is, what you see in framing is what you get. Some DSLR cameras have 95% field of view or thereabouts, meaning you 'lose' 5% of the frame when composing. As such you'll be wanting a 100% viewfinder for like-for-like use.

    Secondly, there's sensor size. A 35mm frame is 34.6x24mm approx, whereas DSLRs have various different sensor sizes. You'll hear people refer to APS-C sized sensors, which are smaller than 35mm frames and introduce a 'crop factor'. This means a 31mm lens designed to cover an APS-C sensor would be multiplied out by 1.6x and work out as a 35mm equivalent of 50mm for example. However a 50mm FD lens with a larger image circle would produce an image outside the APS-C sensor's reach and would give an 80mm equivalent. APS-C sensors won't have quite the same pronounced ability to produce the same depth of field control you have with your 35mm camera, though not a million miles from it. If that's your goal then you'll want a full-frame camera.
    Beyond APS-C sized sensors are full-frame sensors - these are exactly the same size as traditional 35mm film planes, and so all values are the same. 50mm is still 50mm. However, you have to make sure your lenses produce the correct coverage - there's no point in owning a full-frame Canon body if your lenses are all designed to cover APS-C sensors. That'd be like using a 35mm camera's lens on a medium format body.
    And, just to confuse matters a little bit more, there's a Canon 'inbetween size' that's 1.3x smaller than a normal 35mm frame - this is used in the 1D series (The 1Ds series, however, is full frame... the all important 's').
    The benefit of a larger sensor is that the sensor nodes are larger and have access to more light which in turn has the potential for a 'cleaner' signal, thus lower-grain/noise images at higher ISO settings and good white-black gradients. Also, as mentioned before, depth of field control on a full-frame sensor is like that of a 35mm camera, whereas a smaller sensor 'suffers' from shallow depth of field being 'less shallow' at the same aperture setting. It's all to do with the physics.

    You also ask if video modes are worth having. Well, they are, if you intend to shoot video. If you don't then, frankly, they're not. Harmless to have if they don't tag extra expense onto your purchase of course.

    For your prospective purchase, I assume you have a number of Canon FD lenses, which will fit to current Canon EF-bodies via an adaptor that you can buy on eBay. If your lenses are any good it may very well be worth keeping these - particularly useful for manual focusing landscape shots. Which is where Live View may come in handy. If you've ever used a large format/medium format set up with a glass display, then live view is the DLSR photographer's equivalent - it shows a live preview on the LCD screen when composing. Great for still life and landscape work, plus you can 'zoom in' on the image to act as a loupe and make sure all's pin sharp.

    Sport photography demands fast lenses, fast autofocus and a camera body with rapid burst rate. Upwards of 3 frames per second shooting is ideal, plus you'll want a body that can capture 1/8000th second where possible. Good for rally shots and the like, but often doesn't feature on lower-spec models. The fast, mid-tele lens is the part that's really going to cost you though, especially if you want a fixed f/2.8 aperture. Check out Canon's site to see what's on offer here, or look to buy a good second hand model.

    All that wrapped up, and with that decent budget of 1500, take a look at the Canon EOS 5D mkII. The 1Ds mkIII (though this may be due for a replacement, I'd wager this year) is the sport photographer's camera, but it's outside your budget. If you don't mind not hitting the full-frame market, then the 7D and 1D mkIV will also be great options. Any questions, just pop them in here.

  3. #3

    Default

    HI Mike,
    Thanks for your brill in depth reply.
    I realise my A1 as 100% view and thats the picture you get must admit it is good. The 2 cameras you mention are what i am thinking about Canon 7D - EOS 5D mkII plus the Nikon D300s. I never though of useing my old lenses(fd) but maybe i need better ones than i have
    ( Zoom 70-210mm f4 - Wide Angle 28mm f2.8 + standard 50mm) At the moment i am leaning towards the 7D.
    The EOS 5D mkII as 21 megapixels 7D as18 i think that is ok, 7D as 8fps to 3.9fps shooting mode and a flash, i know its not as good as a seperate speedlite but will help in certain situations. Apart from 100% view (it is good) i can't see why i should pay more for the EOS 5D mkII maybe i am missing something. The EOS 5D mkII image quality will most likely be better but probably not enough to notice generally unless you enlarge your photo's a lot.
    I am thinking if i buy the 7D i can buy a better lense as your camera is only as good as your lense (i think). I have also read you need top class lenses to go with the EOS 5D mkII which are very expensive. The video is always handy to have but i would not use it a lot.
    Thanks Robert
    Last edited by Robbat; 13-01-10 at 01:40 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lowe View Post
    Hi Robbat.


    For your prospective purchase, I assume you have a number of Canon FD lenses, which will fit to current Canon EF-bodies via an adaptor that you can buy on eBay. If your lenses are any good it may very well be worth keeping these - particularly useful for manual focusing landscape shots.
    .
    Please correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that to connect Canon FD lenses to an EF body you need an adaptor with its own lens built in and all the ones available are poor optically. I believe that there is a Russian adaptor that allows "new FD" lenses, but not the old breech block lenses, to be fitted to the Olympus E series cameras but you do have to modify the FD lens

    Because of the smaller flange to sensor distance in the micro four thirds specification (both Panasonic and Olympus) FD lenses can be easily fitted to these cameras - and this is the one of the resons that I am looking at mFT cameras now

    Roger

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerMac View Post
    Please correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that to connect Canon FD lenses to an EF body you need an adaptor with its own lens built in and all the ones available are poor optically. I believe that there is a Russian adaptor that allows "new FD" lenses, but not the old breech block lenses, to be fitted to the Olympus E series cameras but you do have to modify the FD lens

    Because of the smaller flange to sensor distance in the micro four thirds specification (both Panasonic and Olympus) FD lenses can be easily fitted to these cameras - and this is the one of the resons that I am looking at mFT cameras now

    Roger
    The Pixco one we have here is pretty good and was about 25 from Hong Kong. Quality will diminish with whatever you're using, but it's entirely possible that some well-made FD lenses will be optically fantastic anyway. Worth considering as an option anyway.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerMac View Post

    Because of the smaller flange to sensor distance in the micro four thirds specification (both Panasonic and Olympus) FD lenses can be easily fitted to these cameras - and this is the one of the resons that I am looking at mFT cameras now

    Roger
    [OT] We'll be group testing six MFT lenses in our April issue to see how they fare - keep an eye out for that.

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