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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 25 Aug 2008 (Monday) 14:25
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I need to UPGRADE my camera: Your suggestions Please

 
Maxxum5
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Aug 25, 2008 14:25 |  #1

All -

As you may know, I have a Minolta Maxxum 5 with the stock lenses (18-70mm and a 70-300mm) and a newer (but used) 50mm f/1.7. This weekend, I volunteered to be a second set of trigger happiness for a co-workers wedding. I was all prepared, but obviously nervous. However, from the get-go, I was uncomfortable with my "over the shoulder" type involvement for the Dad who paid approx $2500 for a photographer to come in and do the wedding. It just felt awkward taking additional shots where he was PAID for this. I was doing it FREE for experience and because he was a long time co-worker of 14 years now.

Anyways - I realized within minutes that my equipment is just outdated and had a very difficult time keeping up with the Jones'es. The photographer was blasting away with his Nikon D300 like a hot knife melts butter. His continuous and rapid photos were making me feel quite inadequate to be in the same zip code. For each of his burst of about 10, I was getting 1 to 2 images. Mostly in part due to my flash re-energizing and spooling up, as well as the lack-luster autofocus system during tricky backlighting. The bottom line is I have one or two options.

Buy professional lenses and flash for my Maxxum 5 which would still be on dated equipment, or invest wisely into a new up to date camera with the bells/whistles, and a bag of chips.

I have done some reading and although there is some negative comments or opinions, I would still like to open this thread to YOU, as more experienced enthusiasts and experts.....

Please tell me what camera is an overall GREAT place to start and grow INTO.

I had these in mind:

Nikon D300 (Which is what the photographer had)
Nikon D700 (What are the major differences from the 300?)

Sony Alpha 350 (will these accept my Minolta Maxxum 5 lenses?)
Sony Alpha 700

Canon EOS 40D
Or wait for the Canon EOS 50D

After seeing him continuously blast away even in the worst lighting conditions with his flash firing faster than I can switch my low beams to high beams on my car, I was thinking THIS is a good camera system! I have done some looking around for online deals for a Nikon D300 with the 18-200 f3.5/5.6, SB-900 Flash $440), MB-10 Battery Grip ($130), 4 Pack 1800 mAh battery special ($40.00), and a few other goodies. But I don't want to get caught short if this is "All Hype" or is it REALLY a good camera and it is being criticized just because we are on a Canon forum. I look at it like this...We are all enthusiasts and we all have a preference, but I would really like unbiased opinions. Sounds hard being on a Canon forum.....

I was leaning towards the Canon EOS 40D, but if that is a somewhat a dated camera, I don't want to step up to "dated equipment". And I am not so sure I want to wait out several months for a EOS 50D, let alone not even knowing the performance it will provide. But with many of the newer digital cameras at 12 mp or even 14, I think I am not interested in going down to a 10 mp selection.

Please guide me in a good direction.




  
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TheHoff
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Aug 25, 2008 14:31 |  #2

Don't forget that flash recycling speed is often based on the aperture you're shooting at. If you're at 5.6 rather than 2.8, you're requiring your flash to put out four times more light per shot. So rather than considering what flash unit or camera will get you to a faster shot rate, realize that a faster lens will put much less strain on your batteries because you'll need to add less light.

I won't recommend a camera since they all have good points and I've not tried any of those listed, but it is hard to go wrong with the latest model from any of the major manufacturers. You're investing more in the lens systems as body technology changes rapidly and is generally similar assuming recent release dates, so it is wise to pick on the lens that you want to use and the lens range you see as being more useful to you in the future.


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_aravena
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Aug 25, 2008 14:38 |  #3

I'm thinking you need to read around here a bit on people and not just go spending money on something that screams money meaning you're going to be great.

Dated equipment means ever so little in the world of photography. Check out the photos from two of the cheapest lenses and Canon DSLR's in the archives and see what can be done with skill.


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Maxxum5
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Aug 25, 2008 14:54 as a reply to  @ TheHoff's post |  #4

Thanks Mr HOFF. I was thinking the same, to look into more professional series lenses that are in the f/2.8 range. But, to spend as much as I think these lenses will cost, is it a wise decision to consider purchasing better lenses for an outdated body? Meaning, I should just accept the fact that the Maxxum 5 is no longer a "good" camera. I do get (in my opinion) excellent day time shots. And the camera can still be a day time travel camera....Its just the low light conditions that disappoint me with the lenses I have. At the time, I didn't know what f/2.8 was compared to f/5.6.

I am just disappointed in the majority of my photos from the wedding. The internal pop-up flash was over bearing and plenty of photos had red-eye, even if the people were NOT looking dirrectly at the camera, but some even looking away a 45 degree angles! The external flash unit I bought was useless. It was a BOWER TTL. One of them $45.00 E bay purchases, but at the time, I thought this was good. The initial flash was so damn bright, it over-exposed my entire livingroom with no lights. It was THAT bright! At the wedding? I had to remove it because it was too powerful. No diffuser. I have read several books, and I just can't find that happy medium where I am doing things "right". So, it may help if I had a newer camera that could help me where I am making mistakes. I have also seen a difference by removing my polarizing filter and using the 50mm lens that goes as high as f/1.7. The focus was faster, the images were sharper and it seemed easier to use the camera. So, with that said, I would think I need great lenses that are capable of f/2.8, but would like to have that coupled with a newer camera system.




  
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Maxxum5
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Aug 25, 2008 14:58 as a reply to  @ Maxxum5's post |  #5

Ok - if I was to keep my Konica Minolta 6MP wonder..... What lenses do you strongly suggest? I can keep and use my stock lenses for daytime, but what is the best low light condition lenses that you recommend?

And, how do I know if they will fit my camera body?

What lenses are good, better, best?

I seen various lenses, but not sure which are great.

Thanks all




  
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_aravena
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Aug 25, 2008 15:04 |  #6

I wouldn't venture into Sony territory. I was a Minolta user as well, I just think you need to go out and get the latest and greatest camera body.

Are you doing this all at once? DO you need to learn? What do you really expect from the D300 when just taking snapshots?


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TheHoff
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Aug 25, 2008 15:27 |  #7

Right, I would say judicious use of your flash power by taking the shots when the moment is right, and not machine gunning, would be a better approach than trying to achieve 5 fps with batteries.

Anyway, don't let me dissuade you from a new camera. If you want a new body and lens system, go for it! You will undoubtedly get better simply from the fact that you can fire off and practice and look back on your shots instantly, whenever you want, at almost no cost. So by practicing indoors on your family you can be ready when you end up at a fast moving event. Digital makes this so much easier.

For lenses, I would look at getting at least f/2.8 lenses if you like to shoot indoors. Even better, get a fast wide prime, 24 to 35, and then you have the choice to use the flash or not, use it for fill, or use it as your main light. You don't get that choice with slower zooms. Telling you which one to pick or which one is better than another is the subject of an entire forum here and those things go on for pages. There are just too many choices to say "this is right for you" when I've never seen your work.

I think any of the systems you're looking at would be fine. Canon is the only one that makes you buy a separate piece (ST-E2 transmitter) to use the flash off camera, wirelessly, with ETTL metering, but it works fine with that in place... and that may change with the next generation of bodies. My point with the lens discussion was choose based on that rather than what body you think will fire the fastest frame rate. See if you can hold each one in your hands and play with the buttons and menus as often you will have a quick preference between them; Canon and Nikon have very different approaches to interface design. I've not seen a Sony in person.


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_aravena
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Aug 25, 2008 15:42 |  #8

^Thank goodness you haven't.


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JeffreyG
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Aug 25, 2008 20:58 |  #9

At this point I would not get a Sony. Lens line is incomplete, and professional lenses are more expensive than C or N comparables.

Get either a Canon or a Nikon.

Canon - 40D (until tomorrow) is current 1.6X smaller format, 5D is (until soon maybe) current FF format.

Nikon - D300 is 40D equivalent, maybe a little nicer but more $$$. The D700 is the 5D equivalent though it is much more recent, has more features and is more $$$.

To decide between C or N, forget bodies. Bodies change all the time. Look at the lens lines and identify what lenses you will want. Keep in mind that FF or 1.6X will change what lenses you need. In any case, pick the lenses, see which line has the best ones for the best prices and go that way.


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I need to UPGRADE my camera: Your suggestions Please
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