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Old 30 Sep 2003, 13:08 (Ref:735238)   #1
Muzza
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Digital SLR - your recommendations

Fellows,

My (optical SRL) Minolta Dynax 700si broke down during the United States Grand Prix Saturday practice (see PS note) and I am comparing digital SLR models prior to purchasing one.

What are your comments and recommendations on this concern? Of course "more is better" (more resolution, higher speeds, bigger buffers) in such a case, but comes at a cost.

So, dividing the playing field in three price ranges for chassis only (lenses, flash, memory cards and other not included), as below...

- class 1: up to USD 2,000
- class 2: from USD 2,000 to 3,500
- class 3: higher than USD 3,500

How would you rate the currently available digital SLRs? What is a must, what is necessary, what is nice-to-have and what is just gizmo-caca-for-tech-freaks?

Thanks,


Muzza

P.S.: a note on Minolta optical SLRs. I have been shooting with Minoltas for at least ten years, and the 700si is my third one. In a world where Canon and Nikon and fancied over, I really enjoyed my relationship with Minolta (maybe because they used to sponsor the Toyota group C cars?). However, their cameras - although very resourceful - are quite fragile. I spent throusands of dollars in repairs, prism re-alignments and similar things.
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Old 30 Sep 2003, 13:55 (Ref:735284)   #2
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A lot depends on what you plan for your images. My 2.1 mpixel Olympus shoots fine for publication in newspapers and low resolution monthlies. The SHQ format image is 1600 x 1200 and can print to almost 11 x 17 without interpolation. However, I am considering the new Canon Digital rebel body since I already own lenses for a Rebel in 35mm. It offers 6.3 mpixel (I think).

If you are looking for publication in glossy color publications, then I would suggest any of the latest crop of 6.0 mpixel SLRs. Nikon has a model especially made for sports shooters. It gives up some image size for being able to shoot continuously for 28 frames.

I did hear some complaints this weekend about the Canon D30 and its autofocus. One of Motorsport Media Groups shooters was complaining that even with centerweighted focus the camera was focusing on the background instead of the race boats he was shooting. This could be down to operator error because I know the D30 is popular among sports shooters and journalists.

What about the DiMage line from Minolta? I don't know that much about them, but I understand they are nice cameras.
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Old 30 Sep 2003, 15:28 (Ref:735402)   #3
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Muzza, my friend purchased the Canon EOS 10D prior to the Vancouver race. It is a 6 mp and is solidly built. He is very happy with it except he has to deal with the lag time that some digital cameras have. you see some sample images in the champweb gallery. In Canada the prices have dropped a couple hundred since this camera was first introduced and I assume the prices are lower in the US too.

My other friend upgraded to the EOS 1D from a D30. This camera is fast and he can really tell the difference from his older camera. It is leess mega pixels than the 10D but most sports photographers like it for it's speed. But then again it cost more.

I think you answered your own question about the Minolta line. Having to spend more to fix a camera over the years would be better spent on a higher end Canon or Nikon.

Last edited by MolsonBoy; 30 Sep 2003 at 15:29.
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Old 30 Sep 2003, 16:31 (Ref:735488)   #4
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Wait for the new Nikon D2h to hit the market this fall. It will be only 4mp (same as Canon 1D) but that is good enough for easy 11x14s and higher, I do that now from my 2.74 D1h. Plus you will get 8 fps for 40 frames, more than any DSLR out there, its a new sensor that is supposed to be super low noise, has a new ambient white balance sensor, will have wireless capability, a new faster 11 point af system, built on a pro body with seals and durability of pro bodys, new LiIon batteries, vertical grip and shutter built into pro body, and the best part, will retail for around $3200 usd. A ton of camera for the money. I will be picking up a couple over the winter for next season.
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Old 30 Sep 2003, 18:52 (Ref:735626)   #5
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The Nikon is the one I was referring to. I couldn't remember the model name.
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Old 30 Sep 2003, 19:00 (Ref:735637)   #6
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redshoes should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridredshoes should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridredshoes should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
MolsonBoy, I had the same problem with lag when I first got my D60 but it's something you soon get used to.

Pretty much all the motorsports photographers I know use a Canon of some sort, D60 and 10D being the most popular. Only know of one photographer using a Nikon and she's had no end of problems with it - now on it's second or third shutter mechanism. Seems like every time I speak to her it's either just come back from Nikon service centre or is just about to go back. Admittedly all under warranty but still a major inconvenience.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 10:15 (Ref:736366)   #7
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where exactly is the lag ?
Ive heard reviews mention shutter lag but Im not sure what that means.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 14:05 (Ref:736653)   #8
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Many digitals do not react to the button being pressed as quickly as a 35mm camera do. For the sports shooter this can be critical as you can easily miss part of the action. The closer you get to a Digital SLR the less this lag time exists between when the shooter presses the button and when the CCD gets exposed.

There are some things you can do to assist your pro-sumer level digital to speed up the process. Most digitals have some nice features. Pretty quick autofocus, image stabilization, white balance auto correction, automatic fstop correction, etc. All of these things take a little time to do as the camera analyzes what you are doing and tries to make the best of the scene you are trying to capture. Turn off your autofocus and pre-focus. Set you white balance and lock it in. Make some test shots to find the correct exposure and lock it in. I do most of my shooting in manual mode so I can reduce the shutter lag by at least 1/2. Its still about 1/3rd of second slower than my Canon Rebel, but I have learned to work around it.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 14:50 (Ref:736708)   #9
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I'm slightly unhappy about this lag, especially with cameras at this level (1000+) even if you can get used to it.
Anyone with a Canon D10 got any comments about the lag ?
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 17:15 (Ref:736864)   #10
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The lag is almost non existent on dslrs, even the slow ones. IN using dslrs, i have found the only time i have significant lag is if the camera goes to sleep, then i try to quickly take a shot.

To get around this if i think somthing is coming up to shoot, i always give the shutter a quick tap to wake up the camera, then its basically instantaneous.

At least thats how it works with my Nikon. If you look at the Nikon lines, shutter response is in the milliseconds and right in line with film cameras. The new D2h is supposed to have the shortest response time of any camera.

The times i run into this the most is when i am using manual focus, because i will folllow the subject and hit the shutter and it takes a second for it to wake up. When using AF its not as big a deal because I am hitting the shutter to lock on focus, so when I hit the shutter to shoot the cameara just responds as its already awake. BUt when using manual I sometimes forget to wake it up and get the little bit of lag. It is also pretty much documented that the Nikon cameras wake up much faster than the Canons. Its possible your shutter lag is really the camera just waking up.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 18:04 (Ref:736903)   #11
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thanks for the info, I dont have a dslr yet but I am considering the D10 which will fit my Canon lens.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 18:09 (Ref:736908)   #12
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I have a Nikon D100, it does not suffer from shutter lag. The only problem with it that I can find is that when shooting large format, fine pictures on continuous shooting mode it stops to think about life, the universe and everything after about 4 to 6 shots.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 18:38 (Ref:736941)   #13
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Originally posted by vwpilot
The lag is almost non existent on dslrs, even the slow ones. IN using dslrs, i have found the only time i have significant lag is if the camera goes to sleep, then i try to quickly take a shot.
That's one of the things I miss most about my film camera. I can pick it up and snap away almost immediately. With a digital if you haven't used it for a few mins it goes into power-save mode and takes a few seconds to spring back into life. You can turn this feature off or increase the time before it powers down but there's always a trade off with battery life.

Every auto SLR has some sort of lag while it sorts out focus and exposure, DSLR's tend to be more obvious. The first time you use a DSLR you WILL notice it, but it's not something to get concerned about - we're talking about a tiny fraction of a second. Give it half a day and I doubt you'll realise it's there.
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Old 1 Oct 2003, 19:14 (Ref:736984)   #14
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ok thats reassuring, i guess I wont worry about the lag.
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Old 2 Oct 2003, 08:59 (Ref:737613)   #15
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Don't buy a Sigma SD9
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