Buying New DIGITAL CAMERA

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by Romans922, Jun 22, 2009.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Lane,

    I'm probably going to ask more questions, but one thing before I look again at my information...

    I am NOT seeking a wide-angle lens right now (maybe later), I am wanting to ensure that the lens that comes with the camera will enable us to take "normal" (non wide-angle) pictures. Am I understanding you that the lens that will come with the D40x will NOT be a wide angle lens, just a regular (if indeed it comes with a lens at all)?
     
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Right. The most common lens package is the normal 18-55mm VR lens. This is not a wide-angle, but a normal lens, although 18mm is close to wide (as you can see, it overlaps some with the 12-24mm lens). For most portraits and nature scenes, this will be the lens of choice. Make sure you get the VR lens, if you go this route, though! The extra money spent on the VR is well worth it.

    I should add that there are many different packages out there with many different lenses. The 18-55 VR is the most common. I bought mine from Cameta, and I would recommend them as having good service, and a fair price (definitely the best price for the D40x).
     
  3. Berean

    Berean Puritan Board Doctor

    Lane, slightly OT, but what about Minolta? Do they not make digital SLR's anymore? Will the lenses for the "old" Minolta SLR film cameras (MAXXUM 430si RZ) work with full functionality on any new digital bodies? Thanks.
     
  4. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I have zero experience with Minolta. I do know, however, that lenses are specific to the camera. Canon and Nikon lenses, for instance, are definitely not compatible. The experts out there agree, however, that Canon and Nikon are definitely the best digital SLR manufacturers out there.
     
  5. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    You have a bank?
    We don't have sidewalks or a downtown. But we do have two bars (the only public businesses in town).
     
  6. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The 18-55mm kit lens is technically considered a wide angle zoom lens but it takes "normal" shots. It is not super wide angle or fisheye and will not distort the picture.
     
  7. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    BTW, there are over 100 lenses that will fit a Nikon D40x: SLR Lenses for Nikon Cameras | B&H Photo Video

    There are some lenses that are made specifically for the Nikon DSLR that focus the image directly on the sensor while the full frame lenses still work fine but overlap the sensor a bit.

    If you're buying a Digital Camera then stick with Canon or Nikon. Minolta is way behind.
     
  8. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    If you're getting an SLR...you really need only two other lenses besides the standard...a zoom lens, and a macro lens. Wide-angle lenses actually distort images, creating a somewhat warped effect....mainly used for magazines, and photographing architecture and other structures. But for the average person....there is no need for a wide-angle lens. You can also buy filters that attach to the lenses themselves, that will give you a variety of options, rather than buying a dozen lenses. I would still highly suggest a Canon over a Nikon, just my :2cents:
     
  9. asc

    asc Puritan Board Sophomore

    in my opinion, don't go SLR unless you're really interested in photography.

    it has the potential to take much better pictures than point and shoot cameras, but only if you spend the time learning at least the basics of photography and digital photography (post-processing the image is often necessary). other big downsides include expense (filters, lenses, flashes, bags, batteries, tripods, remotes, etc) and size (the cameras are much bulkier to carry around than a point and shoot camera which you can often slip into your pocket).
     
  10. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Thanks for everyone's help, I hope someone (like my wife and I) learned something. We just bought our camera. My wife, who did not want the SLR at first, has came around having been convinced that she will like this camera better because like me, she is a camera enthusiast (just haven't had much time to be enthused by it since being married, seminary, and now having a child). But we are going to work at being enthused again.

    So we just bought the: Nikon D40x Digital SLR with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Nikkor Lens.
     
  11. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Hmm... maybe I should get a nicer camera.
     
  12. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This is not true. All the new SLR's come with Automatic modes that allow you to "point and shoot" as easily as any point and shoot. They obviously support RAW photos but I rarely, if ever, do any post-processing of shots even when I'm doing portraiture for semi-pro work.

    You need one filter and one lens if you want to equate the expense to a point and shoot. As I noted, if that one lens gets broken or scratched with an SLR it's the cost of a lens whereas, for a point and shoot, it's practically the cost of a whole new camera. You only need an external flash if you're interested in taking good pictures, which, if you are not then point and shoot with onboard flash is mox nix.
    This is one advantage but I've found it's really not a practical advantage. I have a handheld and I never bring it with me because I find I want good shots when I'm at zoos or parks and the like and it just takes crummy photos.
     
  13. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    Buy a canon. its the best
     
  14. asc

    asc Puritan Board Sophomore

    Again, it's just my opinion but if one is just going to buy a digitial SLR with a kit lens and use the automatic mode; you're better off buying a high end point and shoot for a much cheaper price with more automatic functionality. I'm not saying you can't use the SLR if you don't know anything, but I'm not sure that you'll get much benefit from it without learning some photography (at least the basics).

    my point was just that the cost can really add up if one is going to try and take advantage of what the SLR really has to offer (over the point and shoot camera): external flashes, polarizing filters, high quality lenses, etc.

    i own a SLR and my wife owns a compact point and shoot. again, it's just personal perference, but there are many times when i find it uncomfortable to carry around a backpack with a bunch of equipment (especially with a toddler, whom i'm often carrying around, too).
     
  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    At about $600, the DSLR offerings from Canon and Nikon are comparable (or less) than a decent point and shoot. If one finds post-processing complicated then neither a DSLR or a point and shoot make a difference because even the decent point and shoot have many features that the average user never uses.

    The only advantage of a point and shoot is size - not image quality or ease of use. In fact, the DSLR is much preferred if you have small kids because point and shoots take far too long to focus on the subject and moments are lost very quickly with young children.
     
  16. asc

    asc Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hmm, i think you can get a decent point and shoot for $400 or less. If you gave a person who knows nothing about photography a $600 dSLR and a $400 point and shoot, will they notice any significance difference in the pictures? I don't think they will. Come to think of it, even if you gave them a bunch of expensive dSLR equipment, would it make a big difference (other than pixel count)?

    I'm not trying to discourage anyone from getting a SLR, but i just think it's a waste to use it like a point and shoot camera. If one likes photography as a hobby or needs a feature you can't get on point and shoot cameras (shallow depth of field, macro, telephoto, etc) then it makes a lot of sense. But i'm not sure it's for everyone.
     
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This is untrue. I would encourage you to do more research about the quality of the sensors and the lenses that make a significant difference in image quality.

    If somebody doesn't care about quality in the least then I have a Fisher Price Digital Camera I can recommend that my 3 year old daughter uses that takes pictures.

    But, people who might otherwise not seem to care about image quality do when they take a picture indoors and the image is blurry or is too dark or, with a flash, the red eye is severe. You don't have to be intelligent to care about such things.

    You keep shifting the issue at hand, anyhow. First, you discourage the purchase because post-processing was a must for DSLR (not true). Then you say the DSLR will have so many more features than a point and shoot that the extra features are a waste of money (not true).

    Stick to the real issues if you want to discourage somebody: it might be a bit more expensive and it will be bulkier. That's it. Don't try to make the issue more than it is.

    With that, however, you need to honestly help somebody assess if this will be their only digital camera. If so, then I would always recommend a person get a DSLR that they can grow their lens collection over time. Why recommend a point and shoot to parents with little kids who will want pictures of their kids growing over the years in many settings (indoors and out) where, with a minor investment, two lenses will make all the difference in the world in the quality of those pictures?

    Rather, for the potential savings of a couple of hundred dollars (for a non apples to apples comparison on image quality) the person has a platform for taking pictures that it limited to snapshots and will never have capacity to grow beyond that point. And, as I have repeatedly noted, if the built-in lens on that point and shoot is ever damaged then the person needs a brand new camera.

    I default to recommending DSLR for a family because point and shoot only offers a couple of advantages and every other disadvantage makes it a bad investment as the only camera that a family purchases.
     
  18. asc

    asc Puritan Board Sophomore

    Is the comment about a child's camera really helpful? Does it really compare to a $400 point and shoot?

    Obviously you don't think much of my opinion. That's fine; I never claimed to be an expert.
     
  19. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually ,Alex, I think you have a valid point! It used to be the case that point and shoot cameras had poor quality compared to SLR's, but today's technology has narrowed that gap considerably! I agree with you.....in that the average person is not very knowledgeable when it comes to photography and cameras. For those individuals it would be a waste of money to buy an SLR, because they never utilize its full capacity. Unless someone really invests their time and energy into learning how to use the camera properly, it would be a waste of time and money. In fact, some people I know eventually end up buying a point and shoot because of its size and simplicity! It takes someone that is really committed to photography to stick with an SLR.

    Personally, I tend to use my point and shoot more often simply because of its size! (And my camera doesn't take crummy photo's :)) As far as indoor photography....my point and shoot does have manual settings; I can turn off the flash and adjust the ISO as I see fit. And as far as the cost of replacing a lens; a point and shoot it is still cheaper than replacing a lens on an SLR. I would agree that the quality of SLR images are a bit better.....but personally, I think the only real advantage is speed!
     
  20. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I apologize for losing patience last night. Your reaction, however, is sort of my point. Your comment about a point and shoot is not really helpful because a $400 point and shoot does not really compare to a $600 DSLR.

    I have a point and shoot camera but I'm trying to provide a broad recommendation because when somebody asks for advice for a type of camera to buy I don't want to assume they don't really care about how the image looks.

    It doesn't take much training or effort to develop a few skills on how to do good flash photography. Also using a lens that will take good indoor shots is key.

    I've taken about 40,000 pictures over the last 10 years of owning digital cameras and have owned the gamut of camera types. I was initially satisfied with the snapshot look on pics but then realized that I could, with a meager investment, dramatically improve pictures if I just got an off camera flash.

    My desire to learn a little more about how to take pictures was born out of a desire to get good shots of my kids. I've never bothered to become a bona fide expert nor do I study photography much but I've learned a few basics that are repeatable.

    When I compare "decent" point and shoot, then, I'm thinking of the types of cameras that would have hot shoe support at which point these "prosumer" cameras are comparably priced to DSLR's. Without the hot shoe, a person is perpetually stuck in "snapshot mode" where they have to rely on the on camera flash with all the harshness that direct flash brings to a photograph. People become so accustomed to this snapshot look that they don't think anything of it until they learn that it's not too hard to get really decent pictures with little effort.

    In fact, as I noted previously, good pics are all about lighting and optics. If you have crummy lighting then a $100 digicam is no worse than a $4000 DSLR using direct flash. But, with a few basics, it makes all the difference in the world.

    Here's an example of the results with bounce flash:

    [​IMG]

    and without:

    [​IMG]

    The second picture is good but you can see that you could never really use the output of an indoor pic like that to hang on a wall.

    Here is the same camera now with a lighting kit setup:

    [​IMG]

    This picture was right out of the camera with only cropping and no other post-processing.

    I got into lighting because I got tired of spending over $100 every time I got a picture of my kids at the Picture People so I spent the equivalent of 3-5 visits to a photo studio to buy my own lighting kit. I didn't have to buy a new digital camera because my DLSR works with the lighting kit.

    In the final analysis, I'm trying to recommend what I think a family might expand into if they're interested in rather than tie them down to a point and shoot that will only give them snapshot capability. If I know, up front, that a person is never interested in getting good indoor pics and is satisfied with snapshot direct flash of their kids then I'd recommend the cheapest point and shoot on the market that has acceptable results.
    SLR Lenses for Canon Cameras | B&H Photo Video

    For my Canon, I count 48 lenses that are < $250 and another 50 that are < $400.
     
  21. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I was thinking about getting the D40 with the VR lens. Where did you end up getting it from?
     
  22. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    The great land of Ebay. Brand new, was the cheapest I could find it. If you are patient and make sure it is the VR Lens. You can get it.
     
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Just received the camera via UPS from Cameta Camera. Waiting for battery to charge and will hopefully take a few pics of my son Oliver. :) And a snake that I just killed so someone can tell me what kind it is.
     
  24. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    When are you going to pot the snake pic? That should be interesting.
     
  25. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I've posted snake pics before because I am not good at IDing snakes. So I kill them and then post them on here (I've done it once with 2 snakes).

    But here are some pics with the new camera (if this picasa to PB thing works, it didn't two days ago very well). NOTE: this is without reading the directions just playing around.

    I think they look pretty good.


    This is my dog Bruce (after Bruce Wayne):

    [​IMG]
    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_wiYJpGliM-0/Sk5WYzy6j4I/AAAAAAAAAb8/tvsLITYVk9o/s576/DSC_0001.JPG
    [​IMG]http://lh6.ggpht.com/_wiYJpGliM-0/Sk5WZBKXKaI/AAAAAAAAAcA/trcMaamghOE/s576/DSC_0003.JPG

    And then here is the snake. The head looked too rounded, didn't look poisonous. Any help on this one? WARNING: THIRD PICTURE IS GROSS (for all those ladies out there).


    [​IMG]
    http://lh3.ggpht.com/_wiYJpGliM-0/Sk5Yg_jRmWI/AAAAAAAAAcI/1jTWggqI5_s/s576/DSC_0004.JPG

    [​IMG]
    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_wiYJpGliM-0/Sk5YhscNouI/AAAAAAAAAcQ/DvYSUIsDJ2g/s576/DSC_0007.JPG

    [​IMG]
    http://lh3.ggpht.com/_wiYJpGliM-0/Sk5YhN1MzFI/AAAAAAAAAcM/BNInL9J7T04/s576/DSC_0005.JPG

    Can anyone tell I don't like snakes. I have to pulverize them with my garden hoe before I believe they are dead.

    -----Added 7/3/2009 at 03:22:47 EST-----

    NOTE: also, as Lane was talking about and as you can see with Rich's pictures above, the bounce flash makes a big difference, see Rich's photos compared to my built in flash on my camera, pointed directly at my dog bruce. I have to wait to get my flash (when I have money for it).
     
  26. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Andrew, try taking a pic of the dog inside with no flash whatsoever. On the mode dial simply put it to the flash sign crossed out.
     
  27. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

  28. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I don't generally use flash at all inside if there is even a hint of ambient light, and you can see why in these pics. The only time I use a flash inside is if there is no sunlight, or the light itself inside the room is just too low. Ironically, it is outside in direct sunlight that you need to use the flash, because the flash outside will not make the background go dark, but it will get rid of the shadows on people's faces.
     
  29. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Interesting, but sounds logical to me.
     
  30. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    If you want to take pics inside with no flash and there is little available light then increase the ISO setting on the camera and you'll be able to take some shots that won't require that you hold the camera really still.

    Also, consider saving up for an external flash in the future so you can use bounce flash as above.
     
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