On the subject of cameras...

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SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I'm currently using a 1.2 megapixel camera that has zoom and macro capabilities. However, I have little control over the focus and that is a serious limitation. Let's face it the camera is 4-5 year-old technology. I did a little photography back in the SLR days. I had a job taking pictures of installations of custom furniture.

So I'm wondering how I can get a camera that will take the shots like some of the ones I see here. A thousand dollar camera is out of my league for the time being, but I miss being able to set exposure and f-stops. What is the state of the art as far as digital goes? What would be a good compromise at a used camera or next step down.

Frankly, I have not been following the technology. What would you look for?

Lots of room for discussion here.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Frankly, not being an expert with digital cameras, I would simply get the highest Megapixel I could afford, with a zoom or macro ability, to take some clearer closeups. I too miss the "old days" with my pentax but I'll take the convienence of a digital for general railfanning and layout shots.
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
By the time you get a state of the art electronic anything these days, it is already obsolete!

There are quite a few decent point and shoot digitals out there that do allow manual selection of focus, aperture and shutter speeds. I can't recall which ones, as I often just look at them to see what they can do, and I don't need another one - right now anyway! Most are 5 or more megapixels, and should do the job just fine.

A friend just last week upgraded from his 3-4 year old Kodak 2 MP camera to one of their newer ones with 5MP, it has all the goodies. Can't recall the model number as they have so many of them. It has the larger lens with a 10X zoom capabilty. This might be a place to start. He paid around $350.00 for it here in Canada, so it will be quite a bit cheaper in the US of A.

Good luck!
 

dgwinup

Member
I, too, am digitally challenged. I'd like to have a digital SLR, and prices seem to be dropping steadily. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use my old Nikon lenses. I've looked on-line at Nikons, some of which I can afford. What I can't find out is if the digital cameras will work with the old Nikon non-AI lenses.

Anybody know about Nikon digitals?

Darrell, questioningly quiet...for now
 

mushroom2

Non Rivet Counter
dgwinup said:
I, too, am digitally challenged. I'd like to have a digital SLR, and prices seem to be dropping steadily. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use my old Nikon lenses. I've looked on-line at Nikons, some of which I can afford. What I can't find out is if the digital cameras will work with the old Nikon non-AI lenses.

Anybody know about Nikon digitals?

Darrell, questioningly quiet...for now
Best bet is to go to www.nikonusa.com and look up the DSLR you're interested in. The tech specs give you the compatibility of lenses. The non CPU lenses seem to pretty much cripple the camera though.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
State of the art is digital SLRs. But, some of the smaller point and shoots are good values as well. Most P&S don't have exposure or F-stop settings, they're almost fully automatic except for perhaps a dial setting for night, etc. And all that does is to enable the flash and set the exposure settings accordingly.

You could spend about $400 or so for a decent P&S. You may not get the manual settings, but you can get up to 6MP. If you want a recommendation for an inexpensive DSLR, I'd look at the low end Canon Digital Rebels.

But, here's a tip to try when you take a picture of your locos. First, get some really good lighting on the subject. Then, don't try to get real close; take a few steps back and use your OPTICAL zoom to get close up. Let the camera do the focussing; when you're outside doing this, it focusses automatically and sets the exposure. When you step back inside, with good lighting, the camera should do the same. Tripod would be useful. Compose, and if you're shakey (even with tripod), use the timer feature.

You might be surprised at how well your picture will come out.

Kennedy
 

dgwinup

Member
mushroom2 said:
Best bet is to go to www.nikonusa.com and look up the DSLR you're interested in. The tech specs give you the compatibility of lenses. The non CPU lenses seem to pretty much cripple the camera though.
Thanks. I went to that site, but couldn't find a definitive answer. The digital cameras use the Nikon F-mount, which is what the old lenses have, but the old lenses don't have any of the auto-focus, auto-zoom electrical connections.

I went to Best Buy today and talked to a floor clerk. She was pretty sure that the old lenses won't work on the digitals because of the electrics.

I may still buy a Nikon. I like the cameras and I can always experiment with the old lenses. Unless there is a fail-safe switch to prevent the camera from operating without the correct lens, it still may be possible to use the old lenses.

Thanks for your suggestion.

Darrell, quiet...for now
 

jacon12

Member
dgwinup said:
I, too, am digitally challenged. I'd like to have a digital SLR, and prices seem to be dropping steadily. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use my old Nikon lenses. I've looked on-line at Nikons, some of which I can afford. What I can't find out is if the digital cameras will work with the old Nikon non-AI lenses.

Anybody know about Nikon digitals?

Darrell, questioningly quiet...for now
Darrell,
I posted your question on NikonCafe.com and you should get an answer within the hour..
Look for the post Older lenses on newer bodies posted by Jarrell.
http://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=93

I'm not up on the older lenses so I can't help you directly.
Jarrell
 

dgwinup

Member
Thanks, Jarrell. I didn't think about looking for a camera forum. DUH!

I'd be happy if I could use the old lenses, as I have a few that I really like. I don't care if I would have to do everything manually, I'm used to it anyway!

I'm about ready to upgrade. I have 2 little P & S digitals, one is easier than the other to use and has better features, but I'd like to be able to exercise more control over exposure and have a better digital image than my little ones give me. Nikons were always top-of-the-line IMHO, so I'd like to stay with the brand. I'm really too cheap to have to buy new lenses, so it would be great if I could get the old lenses to work on a digital.

Thanks again. I'll be looking for the reply.

Darrell, quiet...for now
 

jacon12

Member
The problem with the digital slr cameras, no matter the brand, is the price of lenses. Most of them come with a 'kit' lens that will do for most general photography. Good cameras in the low price range are the Canon Rebel and the Nikon D50. It's when you get into the other lenses, good lenses, that things can start to add up in a hurry.
A top notch flash unit is also a must. One that can be used in a bounce mode is great and it needs to be pretty powerful. A good flash unit can easily run $300 and up. I usually use powerful studio strobes when I take pictures like this..
52280849.jpg

and even though it's a simulated night shot, you still need a lot of light so that you can use the small fstops i.e. f/22, for maximum depth of field (area in focus). One of my favorite lenses for this type photography is Sigmas 15-30mm zoom which focuses in close but allows for that wide range and max dof. But that one lens, if I remember correctly, was about $600 and that's considered fairly inexpensive in the upper class lens world.
Chip, I don't think you're wanting to get into all that.. :) , so like the others I would check into the Point n Shoot line of Canon and Nikon. I use Nikon but in the PS line right now I believe Canon as the better selection. Most of the PS models don't have provision for attaching flash units to them but as I said, I don't think you want to go that route anyway. The PS, if you get enough light on the model will do just fine. They get plenty close enough. I took this with a Nikon Point and Shoot model 5700..
17358259.jpg

I almost got too close.
One in the range of 5 megapixels would be great but you can really get by with a little less. A tripod mount is a big plus. It would be great to get one with manual focus also, a rare thing in the Nikon line of point and shooters.
Some of the older models like the Nikon Coolpix 990, 995, 4500 with the twist bodies are great little cameras and can be found a pretty good prices. I took this of a Native American in natural window light with a 3 mp 5 year old 990
35058172.jpg

I can ask around on DPReview.com where all the 'experts' hang out, if you like. Just let me know.
You CAN take top notch digital shots WITHOUT an extra flash, just using room light and a steady tripod or table top.
Jarrell
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Jarrell that's interesting information. I doubt that I could justify the cost of that equipment so I'll have to be satisfied with my Cannon PS A40. With a tripod it takes an acceptable photo for my purposes, but it would be nice to be able to do something like in that first photo of yours.
Wow! that Bee unit (2nd photo) is spectacular :D

Willis
 

jacon12

Member
CBCNSfan said:
Hi Jarrell that's interesting information. I doubt that I could justify the cost of that equipment so I'll have to be satisfied with my Cannon PS A40. With a tripod it takes an acceptable photo for my purposes, but it would be nice to be able to do something like in that first photo of yours.
Wow! that Bee unit (2nd photo) is spectacular :D

Willis
You're right, most people will not spend that kind of money on camera equipment unless they're IN to photography. Like when I tell people what a nicely detailed BLI locomotive with sound costs they look at me like I just grew a horn in my forehead. They just don't understand whats important in life... :D
Beside, most of us have to eat too!
Jarrell
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
most of us have to eat too!
Well eating's not that important, I can always bum some food, but GEE! I have to get along with my wife, now that's important, and most women don't understand the real important things in life :D

Willis
 

jacon12

Member
Chip, I found my older digital point and shoot (my wife has claimed it now) Nikon 990. This camera was around a thousand dollars 5 or 6 years ago, back in stoneage times in the digital world. Its just a 3 megapixel. Anyway I shot a couple of quick shots with it, nothing special.. no extra lights just what was in the room, set it on self timer to eliminate movement etc.
52403247.gif

then moved in closer..
52403249.gif

all on automatic. So keep your eye out for one of these, you can get them fairly cheap.
The biggest thing wrong with pictures I see posted here is people trying to hand hold their cameras when using room light. That's almost guaranteed to produce blurry pictures. If they would put the camera on the benchwork, or better yet a tripod, the pictures would improve ten fold. The other thing is they neglect to apply a little sharpening to the image AFTER it has been resized for the web. Pictures should be sharpened when they're at their full size (after cropping), then resized down to 72 ppi for the web and then sharpened a tiny bit again. It makes a big difference.
I hope this helps a little. I hope the images show, they're not wanting to in the preview mode even though everything is correct.
Jarrell
 

jacon12

Member
dgwinup said:
Thanks, Jarrell. I didn't think about looking for a camera forum. DUH!

I'd be happy if I could use the old lenses, as I have a few that I really like. I don't care if I would have to do everything manually, I'm used to it anyway!

I'm about ready to upgrade. I have 2 little P & S digitals, one is easier than the other to use and has better features, but I'd like to be able to exercise more control over exposure and have a better digital image than my little ones give me. Nikons were always top-of-the-line IMHO, so I'd like to stay with the brand. I'm really too cheap to have to buy new lenses, so it would be great if I could get the old lenses to work on a digital.

Thanks again. I'll be looking for the reply.

Darrell, quiet...for now
Darrell, this is Jarrell. You seen Harrell? :D
I just had to do that!
I see one of the guys over there directed us to a website with a complete listing. It looks like a lot of them will fit ok, just may lose features like autofocus and sometimes metering capability..
http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/nikon_articles/other/compatibility.html
Jarrell, quiet for now.. :)
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Thanks for the info, guys. I'm interested in a decent camera myself. I want a Canon Digital Rebel XT, but can't really justify the $$$ for one. My current P&S Sony takes ok pics, but lacks depth of field. It does have some decent settings for lighting (white balance), a timer, is 4MP and has some other nice features. It was only $150 at Wally World. Almost all my pics are "raw" or unaltered except some are cropped. I understand the Canon comes with some cool software to alter pics. Is that right? If so, that would be a big plus.
 

mushroom2

Non Rivet Counter
dgwinup said:
Thanks. I went to that site, but couldn't find a definitive answer. The digital cameras use the Nikon F-mount, which is what the old lenses have, but the old lenses don't have any of the auto-focus, auto-zoom electrical connections.

I went to Best Buy today and talked to a floor clerk. She was pretty sure that the old lenses won't work on the digitals because of the electrics.

I may still buy a Nikon. I like the cameras and I can always experiment with the old lenses. Unless there is a fail-safe switch to prevent the camera from operating without the correct lens, it still may be possible to use the old lenses.

Thanks for your suggestion.

Darrell, quiet...for now
The info I got was that the lenses will work on manual mode, but along with the autofocus and whatever, the light meter won't work, which pretty much screws you over for even using manual mode. Now that was on the D50, I didn't look at the 70 or 70s (and I figured the D2x is out of your budget :D)
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I have two tripods, a floor model and a table model. My problem with focus is not movement. When you shoot the picture, the camera takes about two seconds to focus automatically. Sometimes it wants to focus where it wants rather than where I want. It can drive me batty.
 




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