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Moving to DSLR

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Dreadpiratesteve, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    I've been using a Fujifilm S9400w for the past 3 or so years mostly using it for airshows with some family portraits and landscape shots and now looking to upgrading to a DSLR.

    Whilst my budget is around the £450 - 500 mark, I've been looking at the Canon 1300D and the Nikon D3400, mainly for the option of the Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth connectivity. However, I am open to suggestions such as refurbished (if they are recommended) models from stores such as Wex or Park (Avoiding the grey imports that may arise from Amazon or Ebay!)

    Your opinions are greatly appreciated!
  2. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    The first thing to keep in mind is that to get the same focal length on your new DSLR as you have on the Fuji (24-1200mm) will probably cost you in excess of £10k (used) and need several different lenses to achieve it.

    DSLRs are great, but what they don't have going for them is reach at the price and scale of cameras with smaller sensors.

    So for family and landscape, you're fine. Either of those cameras is perfectly fine at that. For airshows, you'll need to start investing in additional lenses. As long as you're ready for that, no problem, but keep it in mind.

    You're not just buying a camera, you're buying into a camera and lens system.
    RogerMac likes this.
  3. Thanks Tony,

    My main reason for moving on is that firstly the focus on the Fuji is slow, which when trying to focus on moving jets can be frustrating. I am aware that along with the camera, there are lenses for various types of photo and am thinking of purchasing a 300mm lens as a start to go with which ever camera I buy.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Focussing on fast moving jets is always going to be frustrating. It's not something I do so I can't properly advise but be aware that cameras are not all equal in their AF performance and the lens makes a difference too. A basic body and a budget zoom lens extending, say, 70-300 mm, might not be as big an improvement as you are expecting. A 300 mm prime lens will focus faster and give better results with a budget body but will be expensive, even s/h. The Canon 300 F4 L IS is about £1250 new - maybe 2/3 of that used.
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I suspect that you will find this combination still does not give you the 'frame filling' shots you want, unless you have a camera body with a high resolution sensor that will allow you to crop half the image and still have a large enough file to get a decent print.

    Once you get up to 400 mm lenses, a decent secondhand one will probably cost more than the camera body.

    re. buying secondhand - look at the websites for the regular advertisers in AP (I have purchased secondhand lenses from London Camera Exchange and Ffordes, and if looking for a camera body now would buy that from them too). It is unlikely that you will have any problems with any of them.

    Don't just buy from reviews: try to go the the shop (LCE have many branches) and have some 'hands on' time with some of the hardware before you make an expensive mistake. Before you spend any money, go to a retailer and try an APS-C DSLR body with a 300 mm lens and try to focus on something about the size of what you want to photograph, at the distance you will have to use at air shows. Holding and using a DSLR plus long lens is completely different to what you have used before, and the combination may be so large and heavy that you soon get fed up with it. Or you may fall in love...

    Extra warning - if you read AP articles about long lenses, notice that the air show pictures often involve very expensive image-stabilised lenses and very expensive 'state of the art' camera bodies with autofocus systems capable of tracking fast-moving objects. Note the repeated use of 'expensive'.
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Having said that all. I moved from a bridge to a DSLR and I'm pleased I did.

    Nikon or Canon is not an importance choice beyond do you find them comfortable, and do you like the menu system. There are other brands which include in-body stabilisation (Pentax I want to say?) which makes the lenses cheaper, but the lens line-up isn't as good (I think). Don't discount a mirrorless, but I don't think there are any in your price range that will do the jobs you want (yet).

    I chose Canon because I had a friend who had a load of lenses I could play with.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The compact system cameras, in the last couple of years, have been catching with with DSLRs in their ability to fast- focus. The micro four third cameras use a sensor 1/4 the size of a 35 mm film frame which means that the field of view for a given focal length is less by a factor 2. So a 300 mm lens gives an image size that a 600 mm lens would do on 35 mm. Many people seem to be moving toward them as lighter options to DSLRs. I have no idea about their use for airshows.

    Other CSC are based on the same sized sensor as most DSLRs. They are lighter but the lenses must be the same size.
  8. Thanks for the input.

    I've had a look online at what the mirrorless have to offer and I'm not sure they quite suit my needs in terms of airshow photography.

    Whilst I'm looking at entry level, I am aware that to get the professional shots often seen I'd be looking at some serious money (lottery win?). I do believe that a DSLR with a larger sensor than my current Fuji is the right first step.

    Park have a refurbished D5300 which looks quite tempting too. Guess it's off to the shops to see how each feel in my hand etc.
  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Didn't mean to put you off! Having "the gear" doesn't guarantee good results, that depends on skill and experience, but imaging something distant and moving in order to represent it as close and detailed does make demands on equipment. You will undoubtedly get better results with a bigger sensor and dedicated glass compared to your bridge camera. It has to be said though that some of the latest bridge cameras with 1" sensors are very good.

    There has been another thread recently on shooting air shows. I cannot remember the title. AP ran an article on shooting aircraft about 4 - 6 weeks ago which was quite good, although all the illustrations were taken with a 500 mm F4 + x1.4 converter. The thread started a week or so before the article. AP sometimes reproduces articles on the web-site under technique. I haven't looked to see if it has appeared.
  10. Thanks again for the advice.

    I've been looking at the pictures I've taken over the years and have found that the better ones I've taken (airshow wise) seems to have been around the 50 - 80mm focal length, which if I'm reading the gauge right on my lens works out about 200 -300mm equivalent so a similar lens with DSLR would be a step in the right direction. Am I reading this right?
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The crop factor is about 6 to full frame so that is about 300 - 480 mm FF. A typical CSC or DSLR has a crop factor of about 1.5. so to get that angle of view needs 200 - 300(+) as you say. I would have guessed at 300 mm for general images. It all depends of course on how far you are away.
  12. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    Possibly... Given that this actually is the focal length. I think you will gain from a dslr over brige camera in shutter lag, well the lack of it in the dslr. Lenses are expensive but something like the SP 70-300 VC USD from Tamron should get you started at an exelent quality/value.
    Testing different models is a must to find something that you feel is right for you.
    As for your first intrests I beleve the D3400 is in many ways a downgrade from the D3300... So you could save few £ going for he older and better model.
  13. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    the 70-300 is 105-450 on the nikon and 112-480 on the Canon due to slight sensor size difference.
  14. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Depends on the size of the sensor in your current camera.

    I have looked up your camera:
    The numbers on the front of the lens barrel say 'f 4.3-215' (lens focal length at either end of zoom) and Fuji claim this is equivalent to 24-1200 mm on a full frame camera. So the multiplication factor compared to a full-frame camera is 24/4.3, or 1200/215, which is 5.58. For comparison, the APS-C DSLRs you have been considering will have a factor or 1.5 or 1.6 depending on the make.

    Have a look at this (or perhaps you've found it already): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APS-C
    The effect of sensor size is explained here - it has a chart of sensor sizes. Your camera has one of the smallest sensors on the chart (1/2.3-inch), which is why a zoom lens with a 50:1 range can be so compact.

    So 50-80 mm focal length on your current camera will be equivalent to 279 - 446 on a full frame camera body (50 x 5.58 and 80 x 5.58). To get the same image on an APS-C camera body you would need 186 - 298 (very close to you suggestion of 200 - 300).

    I looked up what you might find secondhand on the LCE website to use with A Canon DLR body.
    www.lcegroup.co.uk/Secondhand-Search/? Order=Latest&View=Grid&SHMake=Canon&SHModel=300&SHType=Lenses&Location=&Results=12&showfit=1

    Note that your current camera has some image stabilisation built into the lens - you won't find this on the less expensive secondhand lenses for a DSLR. It might be worth further research to find out if you need (as apart from want) this - people managed to photograph aircraft without it before it was available.

    Finally, I bet you will find that 300 mm at the long end of the zoom isn't really long enough and you want a 400 mm... best to look at some in a shop and decide before making an expensive mistake. For example, this is one that is a reasonable price because it's an old model without image stabilisation, and will be relatively compact because its maximum aperture is F5.6 rather than F4 or even larger. www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Tamron-200-400mm-f/5.6-AF-LD-Canon-EF-Fit_209308.html
  15. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    For your budget I would recommend buying used from the the sellers mentioned above. You get a 6/12 m warranty and they are usually good at describing the condition. Try before you buy but a quick test may be of little use if you have never used a DSLR before. Perhaps a friend or relative has one they can let you use for a while?

    At some airshows with vintage aircraft you get close to the flight path, so 300mm or even 200mm on cropped sensor is fine. However, at the large shows you are much further away so you need a much longer lens. You will need another lens or two for landscapes/family but fortunately some decent lenses for these uses are relatively cheap.

    Technique is very important for fast moving subjects. Panning takes practice and sometimes it is better with image stablisation off.

    Where are you based?
  16. Thanks again, all invaluable and good to see that my understanding is about right. I will probably start with a 300mm lens to start before working my way to bigger and better!

    I'm going to see if I can get "hands on" with my selection this weekend before making a choice.

    I'm based in Hastings.
  17. Having had a "play" with the models I had in mind, and the usual weighing up of price and options and other factors, I've got myself a Nikon D3400 with the 18-55 VR lens and a used tamron 70-300mm, hopefully should arrive tomorrow in time for me to test it on Saturday with the RAF event at Hastings.

    Thanks for your advice and I'm sure I'll pop back for more advice to fine tune my skills.
  18. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    dSLR are on the way out mirrorless is now firmly on the rise. :)

    You might consider MFT camera from Olympus or Panasonic. :)

    I been using EVFs now for well over 16 years and never looked back.

    Very useful to help with review shots in bright light plus manual focus aid are good.

    You also see what the sensor sees not your own eyes.
  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Too late he’s bought an SLR.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    NEVER believe your own eyes!

    (Sorry, couldn't resist)



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