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slr - some help please!

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by bek, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. bek

    bek New Member

    hi, was hoping someone may be able to offer me some advice on buying a digital slr.
    i've studied photography at a pretty basic level for 3 yeras and am now going on to study fashion photography at degree level and my kit desperately needs upgrading. i have been getting by on a borrowed nikon d70 and have been told the canon 350d is also good but am worried that both seem a little "basic" for my requirements, i dont want to fork out a lot of money on one of these if the next model up in either range is far superior?
    i know this seems a little muddled but film slr wise i am pretty sound so confident when i have my own digital slr i will grasp it quickly and dont want to outgrow it quickly if you know what i mean?
    any help would be hugely appreciated, thank you!!!
  2. dave_h

    dave_h Well-Known Member

    Do you own any lenses already, bek? That could be the deciding factor, unless you're prepared to ditch everything and start over.

    If you want a Canon and don't mind spending a bit more then the 20D is a superb camera. I've personally got the Konica Minolta 7D and I love it, so far - all the controls are where you need them and you barely touch the menu screens in use. The images are really good. But then the D70 is a fine camera and so are the Pentax SLRs!

    Then the Fuji s3 pro has really good colours, but is based on an old Nikon body (F80) and the handling suffers as a result. Olympus have the e300 but it gets bad reviews for noisy images. Not seen much from it to comment on really.

    The next camera up in Nikon's range is the D100 but it's an old model now - still good but surpassed by the D70 in terms of image quality.

    The D70, 7D (and 5D) and Pentaxes all use the same sensor anyway but have slightly different processing and handling. The K-Ms and pentaxes have particularly low image noise, as does the Canon 20D - which may be an important issue if you have to shoot fashion without a flashgun.

    To help everyone to help you, what is your budget and what features do you think you really need? That should help people to point you in the right direction.
  3. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Morning B_E_K,

    Firstly, get good glass and that will put well ahead of the game and there
    is still that old adage about "the person pushing the shutter button" :).

    I say this because there are folks out there with some (rather) outdated DSLR's
    but with good glass and/or good skills coming up with some brilliant images.

    Hope this helps somewhat and, out of curiousity, what do you plan on shooting?


  4. bek

    bek New Member

    hi, cheers guys, to answer your questions -
    my budget is around £1000 (student loans and a very hard summer working!)
    i dont really have much kit to base my choice on, my personal slr is a konica minolta but worked a lot with borrowed canons and nikons from college.
    i shoot mainly art/fashion type images, very little studio work, more often than not my work seems to go in a lowlight/available light direction and often in some bizarre locations so need something that's easy to lug around with me. obviously as i'm still learning i dont want to limit myself to one style, thats just so far! hope that helps you help me, thank you!!
  5. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I would certainly consider used kit on that budget, particularly if you need lenses to go with it.

    In used terms Canon ESO10D and D60 models go for £400-700, Nikon D100's are around £500-600 (BTW warehouseexpress.com have new ones at £699, body only) and Fuji S2 is about the same (you might even find an S1Pro for less than that). These are generally well spec'd being semi pro models and capable of quality pictures and would leave budget left over for lenses. Currently I wouldn't expect to find much in the way of Minolta or Pentax kit used as they are late entrants into the dSLR market.

    I use a Canon D30 which I picked up last year for under £300. Click on my gallery title below for examples of what it can do..... It's pretty good for an antiquated (in digital terms) 3.2Mp digibox. With a bit of care I can get decent near A4 prints too.


  6. seanb

    seanb Well-Known Member

    A lot depends on how many lenses and what types. With DLSR + standard zoom packages starting from around the £500 mark, switching systems isn't prohibitive unless you have a lot of investment in glass.

    Add in the fact that lenses designed for digital sensors ought to give better results than older lenses, especially zooms, and it makes switching very viable. On the other hand, lenses designed for APS sensors won't be any good if full frame sensors ever become the norm, which is the direction Canon seem to be taking with their new camera.

    I would consider the Olympus E1; now that it's older, the price has come down, and although it's "only" 5MP, it did rate highly in the recent DSLR comparison test in AP (better than the E300 for noise, with great build quality).
  7. robertj

    robertj Well-Known Member

    Along with the obvious choices here mentioned (Canon EOS 10D, 20D; Nikon D100; Fuji S2, S3 would be ideal, I think) you might consider going (what most people would not recommend) for second hand Olympus E-1 with 14-54mm Olympus Zuiko Digital lens (about £600ish) and some other second hand (or even new) lens (for the rest of £400). Please beware that Olympus E-1 is so called FourThirds system camera body (the only other one on the market at this moment is newer and in my opinion inferior Olympus E-300) and it is yet unclear if the standard (system is not the Olympus propriety, although invented by Olympus) will take off. Advantages are: smaller and lighter (relatively) high-quality and digitally optimised lenses, excellent 5 megapixel CCD, professional built robust body; disadvantages: smaller sensor size (factor 2, most others have factors of 1.6 and 1.5, and a few a factor of 1, i.e. full frame, the same size of 35mm film) which may inflict poor picture quality (the bigger the sensor the better), (relatively) expensive and few (to choose) lenses, not a main stream camera.

    If the money is not the issue, sure, a tempting solution would be a new Canon EOS 5D with 12 megapixels full frame sensor for around £2500 for the body. The release of Canon EOS 5D is mentioned in the AP of the 3rd of September 2005 (almost two pages).

    Please note that in the AP of the 23rd of July 2005 it is said that Canon EOS 20D scored 91% in their test (which in my opinion is high), in particular (verdict by Mr Damien Demolder in the 16 October 2004 issue)...

    Specification: 28/30
    Build : 18/20
    Handling : 18/20
    Performance : 27/30

    with comparison to Olympus E-1 (a £670 body) which has scored 95% percent (the same score as Canon EOS 1DS Mark II, and as far as I know 95% is the highest score given to any DSLR in AP), in particular (verdict by Mr Chris Gatcum in the 8 November 2003 issue)...

    Specification: 28/30
    Build : 20/20
    Handling : 19/20
    Performance : 28/30

    E-1 body is said to be weatherproof, which I think means that it can sustain some rain and dust (say sand on a sandy beach), and therefore all joints are tight with rubber seals, including moving parts.

    The most expensive lens for E-1 costs (at the time of writing) about £3,800, I think.
  8. dave_h

    dave_h Well-Known Member


    I hope you're not saying the E1 is as good as a 1DS MKII? :eek:

    It scored 95% at the time it was reviewed but you have to remember that was quite a while ago now and most of the current crop of cameras surpass it's abilities.

    That recent comparison in AP was of the ORIGINAL reviews, condensed. The 20D and Nikon D70 are both better buys than the E1.

    Don't think i'm trying to rubbish the E1. I'm not saying it's a bad camera - it's still a very good DSLR, but it's not the one to buy any more. Also the lenses are VERY expensive and bek has a budget of £1000.

    Bek: If the current gear is K-M stuff then it's worth looking at the K-M 5D. You can get it with the 18-70 (i think) kit lens for around £600 (an 18-something is needed if you're moving from film to digital to get the wide angle range back!). It's well featured, has anti-shake built in so you can get sharper pictures at low shutter speeds (subject movement apart, of course) and has good image quality all the way up to ISO800 (still pretty good at 1600). The AF is quick and pretty accurate too. K-M AF film lenses are almost all (about 98% of them) compatible with the DSLRs.

    If the budget permits then the 7D is great but then I would say that! :)

    If you were really lucky and found a cheap Canon 20D then that would be an excellent buy. I reckon that's one of the best around in the sub £1500 bracket.
  9. robertj

    robertj Well-Known Member

    No, no, certainly not.

    Not so sure about Nikon D70, though.
  10. dave_h

    dave_h Well-Known Member

    yeah, fair 'nuf on the D70. I guess there's not much in it there.

    I have seen some really good pics from the E1 - did you see the guy who shoots cars, in WDC magazine the other month? Nice stuff....
  11. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    I would love to hear of your hands on experience with the D70 Robert. Perhaps I could learn something.
  12. robertj

    robertj Well-Known Member

    Hello Brian, are you saying that it is obvious that Nikon D70 is better than Olympus E-1? My colleague at work has D70, I have never handled it (hold it in my hands though), but seen some printed photos. Maybe it is not fair to speak about bodies only here, as the quality of the final image certainly depends on the quality of the lenses too. My impression was that bek wanted to go with better lenses and then Nikon D70 does not look to be a perfect match. Let's face it, Nikon D70 is not a professional body, Olympus E-1 is. Besides, with his budget of £1,000 he can buy a new Olympus E-1 with 14-54mm Olympus Zuiko Digital lens, and a good UV filter, an entry level professional option. I do not know, maybe Canon 20D with a good lens would be a better option but not sure how much would it cost. I do not know if you heard what kind of problems grenadier had with his Canon 20D (on his short list was E-1). Ok, both, Canon and Nikon have APS sensor size, which is better than smaller E-1 CCD, but E-1's picture quality was praised in many reviews (at least for ISO 100, 200 and maybe 400) as the size of the sensor is not the only factor which affects the quality of the sensor image (microlensing, quality of the sensor itself, etc.). Moreover, Zuiko Digital lenses are designed for FourThirds system (i.e. digital), while most Canon's and Nikon's are not designed for digital (even for full frame you have no perpendicular light rays). E-1 body is weather proof (can sustain dust and light rain) like some of the (more expensive) professional Zuiko Digital lenses, and according to grenadier you can see through the D20 casing. ;)
  13. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    My suggestion would be to look for a Nikon D1X they are now available below £1000 but maybe not by much. The D70 isn't a "Pro" spec camera but picture quality is surely the main criterion here.

    From what I have read the Olympus E1 is an acquired taste so try one but do compare it with Nikon and Canon bodies too, don't buy the E1 just because it claims a Pro spec if you aren't happy with the handling, viewfinder etc.

    Robert could be ever so slightly biased in favour of the Olympus.
  14. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Unlike you Robert I would not presume to pass judgement on the whatever E1. And quite honestly if you are suggesting that Nikon lenses are in any way inferior then you are living in cloud Cuckoo land.

    I will willingly comment on cameras which I have had hands on experience of, or those which I have had access to an original Raw file. I would also suggest that any camera is only as good as the person using it and what that person can do with file which it produces.
  15. robertj

    robertj Well-Known Member

    True, so beware bek.
  16. robertj

    robertj Well-Known Member

    That was just my personal opinion, which of course can be very wrong. I'll let more experienced people to give bek the advice.
  17. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Isn't (almost) everybody swayed by their favourite marque though? :)
  18. Aliera

    Aliera Well-Known Member

    ........would you like me to show you............?? ;)
    (Mind you, my beloved film point and shoot, the one that started the photographic madness is an Olympus Superzoom...... Cracking little camra).
  19. Aliera

    Aliera Well-Known Member

    It's going to sound like I am having a go at you - I am not. How can you judge a camera performance from somebody else's prints????
    Ever considered that maybe your friend is *not* so good at taking pictures??

    .......somebody please stop me....................... :D :D :D
  20. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Quite right Tim but most, including Robert, of us will acknowledge that other makes are equally good but we (I anyway) chose what we did for a good reason that might not apply to someone else, like the person posing the question.

    Robert is totally open about his preference for Olympus, and why not.

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