Ok. Y’all have broken me. I have had a digital camera but I have also stuck by my trusty Nikon F5. You know, for real pictures. But the modern world has worn me down and now I’m looking for a real camera that is also …digital (oh celluloid will you ever forgive me???)
So…what a good camera for someone who is a technophobe. But a serious photographer. Who has up till now prefered Nikons. I guess part of the reason I’m wary of digital is because i can’t even deal with automatic setting on “normal” cameras. I want to be in control. So what’s a good photographers camera?
(God i hate technology, think i’ll just go back to a box with a pin hole in it…)
I love my Canon Digital Rebel, which is an excellent DSLR. Before I bought, I used http://www.dpreview.com/ to do a lot of my research on features, prices, etc. The “pro-sumer” level of DSR is getting more and more affordable, and the quality is really outstanding.
One thing I found to be one of the most important deciding factors for me was noise level at various digital ISOs. Mine has minimal noise level right at 1600 and at settings like 400, it’s as silky as can be, while I’ve seen others that were unacceptably noisy at 400.
Those are just my two cents.
Since I discovered them in photo school, I have sworn by Contax cameras, the best cameras in the world. It’s been my (biased, anecdotal) experience that, myself aside, if you see someone with a Contax he/she is probably a pretty knowledgeable professional. They’re the Rolls Royce of cameras, and their digitals are quickly gaining the same reputation among digitals. Course, I can’t afford one yet, but I do lie awake at night dreaming about one.
Look into them, seriously.
We’re in a golden age. At least five manufacturers have solid entry level DSLRs that can do a fine. I’ve been telling people that are first looking at a DSLR who never had a film SLR to find the one that fits your hands and you almost can’t go wrong. Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Minolta have bodies that take 35mm film camera lenses and Olympus has a DSLR system with an entirely new mount and sensor size. Fujifilm and until recently Kodak have bodies that take Nikkor lenses with Kodak having one model that takes Canon lenses.
Since you have legacy Nikkor glass you may choose to stick with Nikon. I’ve been using a D100 for two years and it has been quite satisfactory side from the fact that when I use manual focus lenses it has no metering. It’s not a professional level camera, more of a wannabe built on an N80 body, but very capable and flexible.
Honesty the only question is how much you want to spend vs how much you want to give up. Nikon’s entry level bodies start at around $650 for the D50. It has dumbed down features but does offer full manual control and a 6mp sensor that has proven itself more than capable of professional work.
Everyone on the message boards is foaming at the mouth over the recently leaked D200 as it seems to give up little to the D2x. Street price is estimated to be $1700 while the D2x is about $5k currently. A few details remain to be seen such as interchangable focusing screens which the lower models lack and metering with AI-S lenses but it has a metal chassis and a new 10mp sensor. Honestsly the only thing you may miss from the F5 is interchangable viewfinders and the only DSLR with that feature was a discontinued Kodak built on an F5 chassis.
I won’t fool you, there is a learning curve to getting the most from a digital camera. The fundimentals of photography remain unchanged but you need to approach things like exposure differently with digital than film. There is also post processing of raw files - the digital negative if you will - but it’s vastly easier than darkroom process once you get the workflow down. When I think of the hours I spent tweaking the color on just one Cibachrome print and compare that to with how little effort it takes to get an outstanding 12x18 print from the kiosk at Costco it’s not a surprise that my film bodies are gathering dust.
I suggest looking at the message boards at http://www.dpreview.com/ though right now everyone on the Nikon boards are still freaking over yesterday’s D200 leak.
Hey, I didn’t even own an autofocus body before I went digital. You want to talk luddite, I preferred my fully mechanical/manual F2A body to the F3. You’re stepping into a brave new world and the journey will be a bit scary at times but fun with much to learn. Your first vocabulary word is “crop factor.” Research that and report back here
The OP is better suited to our IMHO forum, as it’s asking for (informed) opinions.
I"ll move it from GQ for you.
samclem GQ moderator
We love our Panasonic FZ10. It is not a true DSLR, as it doesn’t allow you to swap lenses, but it comes with an excellent Leica lens with a 12x zoom and it can do everything a Canon digital rebel can do.
Plus it is extremely afforable at $550.
I also have a non-DSLR that I would recommend: The Canon PowerShot S70 (or its successor, these things do change rapidly). Very crisp pix, very little “artifacts” even in low-light, impressive color fidelity.
I would swear by the Canon brand. They are the only cameras that have consistantly worked for me. I found this bad boy browsing Steve’s Digicams and am in the process of trying to talk myself out of buying it. It looks like a really great camera, and not HORRIBLY expensive.
If you already have a Nikon system, just get a Nikon D70 or D50. I switched from a N90 to D70 and the D70 felt very natural. Most of the controls work just like on a film camera, so you can ignore the digital fetures and just keep shooting until you fill up the memory card. But I think you’ll learn to appreaciate the instant preview with histogram or over-exposure highlighting (the overexposed patches blink to let you know where they are).
p.s. If you decide on a non-SLR camera, I second the recommendation for Canon. I had the S1 IS (the older version of the one raz mentioned) and loved it. I now have a more compact A510 as a carry-everywhere camera and that too is a great camera. Battery life is fantastic, especially considering it runs on two AA batteries.