Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Camera stuff

My camera is starting to act up. I want to replace it but can't decide what I want/need.

The camera I have now is a Sony Mavica CD-1000, bought about 7 years ago. It's not an SLR but was touted as "SLR-like". (You can change the aperature and shutter speed.) My camera before that was a film camera, a Nikon 6006.

The new cameras I'm considering are:
Nikon D80 or D200
Canon XTi or 30D

I'm leaning towards the D200 because I think it will use (and meter and AF) my old Nikon lenses, which would be a big plus. I would love to get the VR/IS lenses at a later date but they are fairly pricy.

If anyone has any ideas/thoughts on these cameras (or others) please add a comment or email me. I want this to be a camera that I can be happy with for a long time.

Things I have loved about my current camera:
The built-in zoom lens, a 37 - 370mm.
Image stabilization
Built-in 3cm macro
Spot metering
It uses small CDs as storage media. (About 250 pics each at $1 per disk.)
Can compose picture through the LCD screen
Will take short movies

What I haven't liked about my current camera:
Only 2 megapixels
Slow to power up, slow to store pictures, slow between pictures
Lag between click and shutter
No spot focus mode and poor autofocus capabilities at close range
Uses battery power very quickly


Xris said...

I have the Nikon D70s, which came out the year before the D80. I'm very happy with it, except that the built-in flash has stopped working (possibly from one too many drops of the camera!). Both the D80 and D200 should work just as well with your existing lenses.

Whether you'll be happy using your old Nikon lenses depends on how "old" they are. I ended up buying new lenses, because my old lenses didn't have the the G-type CPU lens connections which use the built-in camera settings. I haven't been able to figure out how to use the plain old P/S/A/M settings with my old lenses. And many of my old lenses are really old and the AF doesn't work with them at all.

This is not specific to Nikon. All the digital SLR makers present the same dilemma.

I would place little CDs in the "hate" column. The D70s uses a compact flash (CF) card. These are very rugged and very fast. And completely reusable. There are no media to store and keep track of. If you like the CD format, you can always burn one with your favorite photos.

CF can provide massive storage. I have a 4GB CF card in my camera. It will hold over 640 8MB images in both RAW/NEF and JPEG format. The battery will run down before the card fills up. 16GB cards are now available.

Rurality said...

Thanks Xris! From what I've read online the D200 would handle my old lenses but the D80 would not. Or rather, the D200 would meter them and the D80 would not. Not sure if that's accurate though...

Yeah I would probably buy new lenses anyway over time but it would be nice to be able to use my old wide-angle lens for example. Not something I used a lot so I might not spring for a new one in the near term.

I need to FIND my old lenses first of all! I think they are AF lenses but I'm not positive.

Yeah I liked the little CDs a lot more when the camera was new I guess. But I kind of like having them for a backup. Still, I had no idea that the new cards were so huge. Now all of the sudden I like that idea a lot. :)

Thimbelle said...

The Wrench got me a Pentax K100D digital SLR for my birthday last year. It would be happy to use my old Pentax lenses, but I had (not so) smartly sold them all when I got rid of my old K1000 film camera... :::sigh:::

FWIW, I have *loved* the Pentax. It's not quite as spendy as the Nikons, but overall I have been really pleased with the quality and the ease of use. It looks and feels very much like my old K1000 film camera, which I like (a lot.)

Good luck with your search - it's a very personal thing, finding the right camera.

mon@rch said...

I use to have the Nikon 6006 camera also! Isn't that such a great camera?? I use to use the same CD Mavica at work and was a great camera for its time! I thought I was upgrading with a smaller CD Mavica and very happy with it! But last year decided to upgrade to a DSLR and got the D70s! Great camera but at this point wish I put more money into getting the D200! A fellow worker just got the D80 and for sure this is an upgrade from the D70s but the D80 is lighter than my D70s! The D200 would be much heavier if that helps! Keep away from the canon and my suggestion is getting the D200 because you know your lenses will work with D200 for sure! Also, don't get the D60 (think thats the camear)! Anyways, many of the older lenses don't work with it.

Ontario Wanderer said...

Sorry that I did not get back to you the other day when you asked for camera information on my blog.

What we use are FinePix Fujifilm cameras. They are not SLR but, I think, the next best thing. (My SLR lens will not work with digital cameras, or so I have been told.

We have two FinePix cameras (S7000 & S9100) bought a few years apart.
Positives: They use regular, rechargable AA-size alkaline batteries; can be used in "Auto" or "Manual" modes (we almost always use "Manual" but "Auto" comes in handy for some special circumstances); optical zooms 35-210 on S7000 & 28-300 on S9100; macro and supermacro allows one to get within 1 cm (.4 inch) of subject; does not cost as much as SLR digitals; etc. etc.

Negative: Does not get SLR sharpness (but check out our Flickr sites from the blog links to see what we do get); less control over depth of field compared to SLR lenses (but one can change that with post-processing software; sometimes will not focus, as we wish, on yellow or shiny objects or objects such as cobwebs as the manual focus does not work too well (auto focus can be tricked with gray paper or use of one's hand if the subject will hold still).

If you have other questions, ask.

Floridacracker said...

Well, I went from film SLR's to an all in one nonSLR Sony DSC-H5.
I love it. I love the freedom of not carrying a vest full of lenses and missing shots because I had the wrong lens on.
It's 7.2 megapixies, but the new version sports 8.1 mp and a 15x optical zoom instead of 12X.

You could probably buy 3 of these for the price of one good D80 and a basic lens.

Peggy of PaddleTales.blogspot gets amazingly crisp shots with her Sony SLR, she talks about it in a recent post/comment section.

I may go SLR someday again, but I wonder if that will be necessary as the all in one's continue to improve.

Good luck with your search for the perfect SLR.

Of course all the camera consonants in the world won't do any good if you don't have the photographer's eye.

You do, by the way.

Rurality said...

Thanks very much for all the suggestions, I will check them out. At the time I bought the 6006 I debated between it and the 8008. I sort of got talked out of the camera with more features, and I ended up regretting it somewhat. So that's another reason I'm leaning towards the higher end cameras. I wish I could just test drive them all, but alas camera companies are not begging me to perform this service.

FC you hit on the other reason I liked my current camera - not having to change lenses, carry all that stuff around, etc. I guess the solution would be to buy TWO cameras, outfit them with different lenses and carry both... :)

hunter said...

If you haven't been, head over to dpreview to read reviews of these cameras. It's a great site.

Ki said...

Pretty good pictures for only 2 megapixels. I think you will be very happy with either camera. Should make a huge difference. You'll have to buy a macro lens to do close up work tho.

lisa said...

Sounds like you want a nice big SLR, but I LOVE my Canon Powershot Digital Elph SD900...small enough to sneak into a concert (not that I would do that ;), yet plenty of zoom, 10 megapixels, spot-metering, sepia options, all kinds of cool tricks for such a dinky thing!

Trailhead said...

For what it's worth, I'm about to spring for a D200 myself. (Of course, I really want a D2Xs, but that will need to wait awhile.) My sense is that the D200 is the demarcation line for the really flexible features I currently enjoy in my current film-based body.

ShutterFreak said...

I'll throw in my two-cents worth and suggest the Canon 30D ... I have it, I love it. I have always found that Canon will handle noise much better than Nikon. Of course, that is my own personal opinion. If you care to see some of my images made with the 30D, you can take a peek at my Flickr Stream http://flickr.com/photos/digitalrebel

Good luck with the camera that you decide to purchase.

Jer said...


I upgraded from a D70 to D200 earlier this year. I really love the D200: all of the goodness of the D70 (which I almost wore out!) with lots of nice touches and advanced features.

Very flexible with lenses (oldest I have is a manual focus f1.4 50mm) and I'm planning on using the manual aperture settings when I have it hooked to my telescope. It also has a number of nice features that I love, like the elapsed time photo section. The D70 controls were intuitive and quick to use, yet somehow they made the D200 even better in this regard.

gary said...

For what it's worth, I debated over the D200 or the D80. Once I figured out the 80 was a 200 in a 70 body at a chunk of change less, I went with the 80. It allowed for a new zoom lens and I am happy as a clam...

Jochen said...

Hmmmm, late comment, hope you still find it...

I recently bought myself the Canon XTi and am very satisfied, but it seems everyone is telling you that about their camera. A big plus for animal photography are the 10 megapixel which allow for heavy cropping.
Another important factor for me was that if you want to get the real good but expensive stuff for bird photography and if you check out what bird photographers are using, it is Canon.
So my approach was to get the Canon XTi with a Sigma lens now, a rather "inexpensive" gear for about 1200 bugs. Then, as soon as I have saved enough money, I can get a better Canon lens for the camera and eventually, again after some time, replace the camera for a better one.
This way I can slowly "gear up" step by step towards a very good camera gear.

Marie said...

I'm a wee late in on this discussion but believe I have a bit of info to share....
I have used and use both the Nikon D70 and D200 and have no complaints with either except with focusing issues in low-light sports situations with the D70. If you were starting new in photography, I would recommend going with Canon. Given you already have Nikon lenses--stick with Nikon. IF you appreciate what spot metering does for your photography, then be sure to buy the D200. Also, buy the SB-800 flash or equivalent. It has the ability to work off camera--like a slave--which will add dimension to your blog and product photography shot-not too mention it is a tax deduction. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me.

Rurality said...

Thanks for the continued advice! I still haven't bought one yet so feel free to weigh in if you haven't already.

(I DO use spot metering fairly often.)

thingfish23 said...

Well, Xris and Marie pretty much beat me to the punch here. Definitely go for that extra flash! I can only imagine what you'll be able to do with a new camera, seeing as how you've really excelled with the one that's "acting up".

Happy shooting!