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35mm vs Digital

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Geordie Jester, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    Hi there,

    Just wanted to ask people's opinion on buying a camera. I have been using a digital camera for around three years (2.1Mpixels) and have recently become more interested in taking better shots. I have dug out an old SLR 35mm camera to play around with but it is very basic and does not have any metering.

    I really fancy buying something nice but Im in two minds about what to go for. The thing that I don't like about my current digital is that there are not many manual settings and so I don't have control over everything I would like. Also, the quality of lens is not great and doesnt allow use of filters etc. I would stay with digital except for the cost. To get up to something that has good lenses and full control is going to be pretty expensive.

    So that leaves buying a 35mm SLR. Probably something like the Nikon F75 or Canon EOS 300V fall into the sort of money I would want to spend.

    What are people's thoughts about it being a "step-back"?! I know its not really, but Im not sure how well I would cope with the lack of immediacy (sp?) of film cameras.

    So would people recommend saving up to buy an all-singing all-dancing digital SLR or should I go for a lower cost 35mm ?

    Actually.....the more I think about it....the more I should probably shoot off a few rolls of film on the "old camera" I have, see how I get on and then decide. ?

    hmmm..... food for thought !

    Anybody have any view about the two SLR's I mention above? Does either have a particular feature that makes it a better buy ? They seem very similar


    cheers
     
  2. seany

    seany
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  3. SanPedro

    SanPedro
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    I've only just recently got into digital photography and am now a big fan.

    The basic advantage of digital is that you can concentrate on being a photographer without having to worry about the costs of film, prints etc. So if you want to hone your skills as a photographer then go digital - you can take an infinite number of images that would be just too expensive with a film camera.

    To me, photography is about the image - the composition and the ideas and emotions that photography can evoke. A very good friend of mine is well known in photography circles (He has work in the national museum in Bradford, won various national competitions, produced several books etc.) and has been doing it for over 30 years now. Until recently the only camera he ever used was a Leica 35mm fixed lens camera - no fancy zooms, electronic metering, gadgets, gizmos or whatever.

    I just bought a Minolta Dimage 7i (2nd hand £300). It has full manual control, a decent 5mp resolution to give you A3 images and a 28 - 200mm manual zoom. Personally i think it's an ideal hobbyist camera and a good first rung on the ladder to being a proper photographer (as opposed to a user of very expensive equipment ;) )

    A digital camera can help you become a better photographer (practice makes perfect and all that). From a cost point of view it's a no-brainer for me, 36 photos printed for £6 - £7 or 1000's of pics for the price of a few rechargeable batteries.

    Chris
     
  4. rhoamish

    rhoamish
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    I bought a cheap SLR a couple of years ago, and then recently bought a digital camera (Canon A80). The digital camera seems pretty good, but I still prefer using a 35mm SLR.

    I prefer the viewfinder, the decent metering, quality and adaptability of the lenses, and the amount of kit there is to be had for a good price.

    Digital cameras are great if you don't want to lug a lot of stuff about, but I'm more of a fan of 35mm. I guess if I was you, I'd buy a 35mm SLR (I like Nikon, plenty of second-hand lenses kicking around!) and use your digital camera to fall back on.

    One day, when digital SLRs become cheaper, I'll think about an upgrade, but they're scary money at the moment!
     
  5. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    Thanks for the comments guys. So have you had any experience of the Nikon F75 Rhoamish ? Would you think it was a good piece of kit ?
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Or you could get something decent and buy a Canon... ;)

    I've just sold all of my SLR gear (about £5k worth) as since I stopped travelling, it was getting very little use.
    I looked at digitals as a replacement but they're still not able to equal high-end SLRs, unless you're prepared to spend a lot more than for the equivalent spec' in a film camera set-up.

    First of all you need to think about what kind of pictures you will mainly be taking; landscape, architecture, still shots, portraits, indoors or outdoors, high speed, sport, etc, as this will be the main criteria in determining which features you need.
    For example, most cheaper digitals are not ideally suited to high speed or sport photgraphy as there is a delay between pressing the shutter release button and the image being captured, by which time the object has passed through the frame.
    On the other hand, if you intend to take a lot of shots in low light conditions then you will need a fast lens (e.g. 2.8) and/or a decent flash.

    My advice would be to join a couple of photography forums and do a lot of reading before you buy, otherwise you will just end up buying the wrong gear (like a Nikon ;) ).
    If you're going for an SLR, you need to familiarise yourself with things like aperture, shutter speed, focal length, minimum focusing distance, etc to make sure you buy the correct body and lens for your needs.
     
  7. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    Thanks for the advice Brogan. Any forums you can recommend ? There is almost too much info on the net !

    I currently (and plan) to use the camera mainly outdoors on landscape/buildings/sites. Not too bothered about speed (for sports) or indoors. For indoor snaps I am happy with just the digital I have. I think my main interest is messing around with things like various filters outdoors.

    Maybe I will look closer at the Canon's now then ;-)
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I don't actually know of any :blush:
    I never bothered with them as I already knew what I needed to know.

    In that case, speed won't be so important as there should be enough light most of the time.
    Having said that though, filters will add additional stops so a 2.8 with a couple of filters on will step down at least 2 stops making it a slower lens.
    Also, if it's really overcast this will also affect the aperture/shutter speed.
    You will probably therefore want to get a fast lens to compensate for the filters you plan to use.
    This site should give you an idea of what I'm talking about: http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm

    Good man.
    Get yourself a nice Canon, a decent lens or 2 and a sturdy tripod (essential for taking blur free shots if the focal length exceeds the shutter speed).
    You will also need to decide if you want fixed focal length or zoom lenses and if zoom, whether it has a fixed or variable aperture.
    For landscape you will need something at least as wide as a 28, if not wider.
    Sigma do a nice range of (F2.8) lenses which are usually many hundreds of pounds cheaper than the Canon equivalents: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/html/lenschart.htm

    Good luck!
     
  9. seany

    seany
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    http://www.pbase.com/cameras

    Here you can see pictures taken by people like us. There is every model and make of camera you can think of (digital)
     
  10. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    wow. cool site Keanyboy. will take a closer look
     
  11. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Just found another very good site in my archived URLs

    http://www.photozone.de/

    One of the best sources of technical information as well as a very well populated forum.
     
  12. rhoamish

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    There's not really a lot to choose between Nikon and Canon. I bought a Canon digital, because I liked the feel of it. I just happened to prefer the feel of the Nikon SLR, though.

    If you like the Nikon F75, then you won't go far wrong. I bought an F55, which I later discovered had been slagged off all over the place. I still really like it, but given the choice again, I might go for an F65. Modern plastics have made SLRs really light, and they have an amazing array of programmes built into them.

    Try a few, and see which feels right to you!

    Prague is a great place to go for cheap lenses, by the way.
     
  13. Johndm

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    Good Canon Forum here http://photography-on-the.net/forum/index.php

    Some of my Canon 300D shots here http://www.airliners.net/search/pho...rnet.com&sort_order=views&distinct_entry=true

    Regards
     
  14. Garrett

    Garrett
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    I got in to digital because I was too was fed up of lugging a heavy camera and telephoto lens round with me. I also was very picky about what I took. I ended up with having a film in a camera that was at its use by date.
    I had some relations over and they took some of the family with their digital and I to some with my Canon AE1 and his turned out sharper.
    Since I got my camera 6 week ago I have probably taken half as many pictures as I did the whole time I did with the 35mm. What’s more I can pick and choose what I want printed and what I want to archive or delete.
    As the size is not too big I take it more or less every time I go for a walk and nearly always find something to take a picture of. Today I have taken 48 shoots.
    I have a 4 megapixel camera and it more than blows good sharp pictures up over A3.
    If going the way of digital I would recommend you got one that zoomed through the eyepiece as well as the LCD.
    The only problem I found is camera lag from clicking the button to the shoot been taken and re-shooting time.

    Just remembered on the Gadget Show they said all the pro photographers at a shoot they were doing, they were all using digital cameras.
     
  15. HardBoiledEgg

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  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Wimp :D ;)

    I know what you mean though Garrett.
    You have to take everything as you never know when you're going to need a particular lens or a tripod, etc.
    I used to carry my EOS3 body, 4 lenses, tele-converter, flash, film, batteries, binoculars, tripod and mounts, cleaning gear, pad and pencil, torch, etc.
    The wife couldn't understand why I was so exhausted when we came back home after spending a few hours walking around... :rolleyes:
     
  17. Zone

    Zone
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    What camera is it? Have you thought of picking up a cheap Jessops light meter, IIRC I found mine for about £10, in side by side tests with whatever camera I was using it produced significanly better/more consistent shots than the cameras light meter.

    No Powershot A75 I notice though :(

    Good site for reviews/forums/info at DPREVIEW where you'll find a lot of knowledgeable people.

    Still have a Canon and a very old Chinon SLR, used to have an even older Asahi Pentax Spotmatic up to a few years ago prior to some scumbad knicking it, but thats another story; thing is I still use them(35mm) as much if not more than the digital, i simply love the film media, however the digi has the benefit of seeing what you shot immediately so using both formats simultaneously has major benefits, downside is SLR's are a bugger to carry with you all the time; a compact digi simply slips in the pocket.
     
  18. Yandros

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    I moved over to digital from an aged 35mm SLR a couple of years ago, and never looked back. I've taken 10 times more photos than I ever did with 35mm film.

    At the time I would've liked a digital SLR, but the price for the whole package including decent telephoto and macro lenses would've been prohibitive. In the end I went for one of the "prosumer" models, the Nikon 5700, (5 megapixel, 35-280 equivalent lens, lcd viewfinder as well as rear LCD, and a decent macro mode). The only things I'd complain about is the tendency to blow out whites unless you're careful with the exposure, and an occasionally flakey autofocus (coupled with a stupid manual focus system)

    The prosumer compacts offer amazing value and flexibility, and are very lightweight if you're wanting something portable. This high end compacts like the Nikon 5700 (now it's a 5800) and competitors give SLR-like control (mine has all the usual program modes - A,S,P,P*,Manual, 3 custom user modes, bracketing, manual exposure adjustment, 3 metering modes, 5 user selected AF zones, white balance,...you name it!)

    Having said all that, I'd still quite fancy a digital SLR (something like an EOS 10D), but mainly for the faster and more reliable AF to be honest. However, I had a look at my bosses EOS 10D, and I'd forgotten how big and heavy those high end SLRs are! If you're wanting something you're not afraid to carry around everyone and doesn't weigh a ton, I'd still be tempted to recommend the very top end of the prosumer digitals to anyone unless they have very specialist needs.

    btw, I'll second that recommendation of www.dpreview.com
     
  19. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    Thanks again, guys.

    Picking up a light meter might be a good idea Zone.

    The camera by the way is a c1970-75 Practica-L
    http://www.praktica-users.com/cams/l/l.html

    Maybe I should take a few rolls with it and see how I get on

    regards
     
  20. SanPedro

    SanPedro
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    Echoes my sentiments exactly. I've taken more pics in the last 2 months with my digital than in 2 years with a film camera. If you want to improve your eye as a photographer then you can't beat digital (from a cost point of view).

    Digital is the way forward. I hardly know any professional photographers (and that's quite a lot) that don't use digital. Even my Leica owning mate Ian Beesley has warmed to digital - especially in terms of cost and flexibility. He has a borrowed Nikon D1 at the moment.

    CL
     
  21. Yandros

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    Hiya Geordie,

    If you need some further convincing of the merits of going digital, and the flexibility of the new compacts, here are a few pics that I've got hanging around on our server still. This is (now) about a £500 camera,

    This one is 1.5MB, and is "fine" quality (one down from highest) - tripod mounted in macro mode, though nowhere near minimum focal length.

    http://www2.gamma.uk.com/nwn/photos/cactus.jpg

    This is just a regular snap, size reduced for the web

    http://www2.gamma.uk.com/nwn/photos/holiday5s.jpg

    Tripod mounted, very slow shutter speed, flash disabled, and the exposure tweaked (also small size for the web)

    http://www2.gamma.uk.com/nwn/photos/dscn0635s.jpg

    Goldfinch at maximum optical zoom (280mm equivalent) size reduced. Image probably over sharpened in psp, but I was correcting for fuzziness due to shooting though glass.

    http://www2.gamma.uk.com/nwn/photos/holiday1s.jpg

    Incidentally, a 50 quid copy of Paint Shop Pro makes almost all filters totally redundant these days (obviouly things like polarizers etc)
     
  22. Brogan

    Brogan
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    There's one thing a digital can't do though and that's take images of an eclipse; the sun will burn out the CCD.
    I would never have been able to capture the images I did in August 2000 with a digital camera.
     
  23. F1Boy

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    Hi there,

    I use http://www.dpreview.com/ .

    Phil Askey (owner/editor) is very objective with any reviews he does and the forums are superb :thumbsup:

    Good Luck.

    (By the way I use the Sony F828)

    Matt
     

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