Digital SLRs

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I sold my beloved F100 and SB-28 a few months back to get this PowerBook (which hasn't been regrettable at all), and I've been getting by with my Coolpix 950 since then. It does very well for a lot of things, but I miss the versatility of the SLR (I was getting so good with that F100, have some incredible images, and I kept all my Nikon lenses).

So, my next big purchase is definitely going to be a Nikon F-mount digital SLR (or otherwise if you guys convince me well enough). Which models/accessories have you had the best results with?

In terms of what I might be shooting; well, it could be everything. I may be shooting pictures part-time for my Uni's newspaper (some nice money for good pictures I turn in), so it will range from sports to groups to speakers/seminars, etc.


  • Reply 1 of 35
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    This is probably the wrong forum for the topic you chose, but wait on the DSLR thing. Nikon will be releasing a successor to the D1x and D1h sometime this year or early next. It's already a year or more overdue depending on who you talk to (Nikon is possibly the only company that is slower to market with significant new hardware than Apple!).

    I am pretty much in the same boat as you, though I will always keep at least one F-100 on hand. It is such a perfect camera, and there are still things film can do that digital can't...but definitely hold onto those lenses and wait for a bit.

    Disclaimer: you're probably going to spend a minimum of $3000 for your new Nikon DSLR. Possibly as much as $5000 depending on the censor technology used, resolution, metering system, FPS, materials used for the chassis, etc.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Yeah, I know it's not the ideal forum, but I figured there are more than a fair share of pro Mac-based photographers around here.

    Hmm...that's what I was wondering. If Nikon gets that new model out the door, the others' prices will drop a little bit (much like Macs; they don't drop a lot, but some, very slowly).

    Which models have you used Moogs? I love the D1h for its huge buffer/continuous exposure capability, but I've heard the D1x's color accuracy and usable resolution are second to none. What about Fujifilm's digital bodies---worth looking at?
  • Reply 3 of 35
    l'ermitel'ermite Posts: 24member
    Check out these sites. Lots of info and forums where you can discuss and ask questions.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Yah. DP Review is a great site. The forums have an even worse static to noise ratio than this one (mostly from Canon vs. Nikon wankers), but there are great reviews and the guy who runs it does get to use the cameras before they're even released.

    I would say the D100 price will probably not change when the new DSLRs come out from Nikon, but the older D1x and D1h will likely be discontinued and therefore be subject to large price changes. They'll probably jump off the shelves in a matter of a few days by people like us looking to snap them up. Used will be the only way to find them after a couple weeks I suspect.

    Fuji's S2 is a very nice camera and would suite your needs as would the D100. Thing is they're both based on the N80 body which is very plasticy and not so durable. Therefore, they're basically prosumer cameras. Me, I'm waiting for a metal alloy chassis "tank" of a DSLR, with a meter comparable to the F-100's and a feel to match. I think it will probably use the second generation Foveon chip (assuming there is one to be used) and so the MP rating will be under 8, but the effective print sizes will behuge. Well over 16x20 if I had to guess.

    Hopefully the first and last digital camera I buy for at least 7 or 8 years. I'm not as dead set on having relatively new camera hardware as Mac hardware. I can wait longer between buys. Though if I bought one of those new-fangled G6's tomorrow, it would be 3+ years since my last Mac purchase.

  • Reply 5 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Yeah, the Foveon chip is a strong point of consideration for me as well. I haven't looked into the possibility of its being licensed by Nikon/Canon, though --- I would guess they could come up with something similar (probably hard with patents still in place). And I am having the exact same doubts as you regarding the build quality; that's keeping me going in the direction of a D1/D1x/h. That F100 just felt awesome in the hand; I have some pretty amazing handheld shots that couldn't have otherwise turned out if it weren't for its extra weight and grippy rubber.

    You heard anything about the Foveon chips going into any major-brand bodies? It would be great to have that brilliant chip inside a brilliant body, which the Sigma SD-9 really isn't at this point (just not the camera experience there to back up such a great technology).
  • Reply 6 of 35
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Two things make my head spin: deciding what digital camera to buy, and any mobile phone plan. I've got this ancient but excellent Nikon KG totally manual film camera, and the 50mm and 28-105mm lenses to go with it. I wish I could afford a digital Nikon that would let me keep my lenses in use. Anyway, here's another link just to confuse you more:
  • Reply 7 of 35
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member

    Sigma introduced a Foveon-based, F-mount compatible DSLR last year. It's a pretty good camera but definitely not Nikon quality. Nikon can license Foveon if they choose to like any other manufacturer. I am sure the parent company that owns Foveon (one of the big electronic giants if I remember right) is hoping they do. I wouldn't be surprised if once the technology has matured a bit (hopefully we're close to that right now), if both Canon and Nikon licensed it.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    This would probably be better suited in General Discussion. Moving now...
  • Reply 9 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    To update this thread somewhat, and since I've been immersing myself in the brave new world of digital photography (serious photography, not "look, I have a little Sony camera, isn't it cool?"), I wanted to explain what I've learned about the Foveon sensor situation.

    It seems the folks at Foveon went to the big-two (Canon/Nikon) FIRST with the new technology and that both turned them down. Why? Don't ask me. It seems, first of all, that the Foveon's exposure tolerance is pretty limited, and performance as a result is also restricted to very carefully designed situations. In other words, the "WOW!" photos we got from the people at Foveon/Sigma were very, oh so carefully set up in a studio to look that great.

    Right now it seems you can get that quality out of the high-end Nikon DSLRs and Canon DSLRs without a studio following you out into the field.

    So perhaps if the Foveon chip matures a little bit, the big two might see fit to adopt it, but I doubt it. With the next big thing being full-frame CCD and CMOS sensors at pixel counts above 14 million, Foveon might get left behind.

    In terms of hardware, the cost of getting into digital is a little overwhelming. I can't imagine what it must have been like just four or five years ago -- to drop over 20 grand on a metal box with a fancy interior must have felt "adventurous." And I kept wavering, wondering if I should just find another decent F100. But no, I've decided to just do it and get a digital body sometime within the next two months. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Nikon releases their third-generation D-series flagship soon so that I can look into a D1x for under two grand, but if that doesn't happen, it seems the D100 is giving people very good results for the most part.

    Whew, takin' a breath now. It's exciting to be looking into this, but completely overwhelming too. But thinking of never having to think about what kind of film to use for a certain occasion or worrying about getting it processed, etc., I feel confident that a digital setup will do well.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    /mandolux//mandolux/ Posts: 648member
    For the last two months, my brother has allow me to use his Nikon D100 - crap (this from someone who used to be a Nikon-addict). Please look into Canon (the EOS-D10 is truly awesome for it's value and the EOS-1Ds is the standard for other cameras to follow). Lastly, maybe I'm the minority but I still think film is better than digital when it comes to quality.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Could you be more specific about the D100's shortcomings? I know it probably doesn't have the autofocus or metering capability of the F5-based D1 series, but I've seen some incredible shots from people using it. Or was the flimsier body just a turn-off?

    The two Canon models - 10D and 1Ds - are indeed standard=bearers, but I don't have ten thousand dollars in the bank for the 1Ds. The 10D's price seems a little nicer, though. I've looked into "switching" before, and the Canon world just seems too complicated and expensive. I've become so versed in the canon of Nikon (in terms of lenses, flash accessories, etc.) that the other manufacturers' stuff makes me feel like I'm drowning.

    But I suppose I could just grit and bear the pain, and learn the Canon system. Because after all, (this is hard to admit), they have a darn good lens selection and technologies to stand behind them (Ultrasonic/EF/Image Stabilization), and their color quality is excellent (second only to perhaps Fuji).

    ....oh, no. What's happening?
  • Reply 12 of 35
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    fred_lj, actually, I think most of the D100's shortcomings can be blamed on the image processing...the brain inside the camera. Whereas Canon updated the D60 into the 10D with the addition of their Digic DSP and other refinements, the D100 has just fallen further behind. In everyday shots, resolution charts, whatever, you can just plainly see the difference...the lack of pure detail, the softness the interpolation creates all around.

    You can't really blame the optics. Nikkor lenses rocks. You can't really blame the F100 body on which it's based. It must be the electronics...
  • Reply 13 of 35
    /mandolux//mandolux/ Posts: 648member
    ...I agree with the above comment - image processing goes a long way (CMOS is really wonderful). But when it comes to detail, the D100 can be excellent when you are using RAW (with the 10D, JPEG images are wonderful and much better than the JPEGs from the D100 (the only RAW images I have seem from the 10D are the ones from Canon's website and those are SUPERB).

    Another thing about Canon: they do have some of the best lenses for a 35mm (Leica is better but more expensive).
  • Reply 14 of 35
    shagstlmshagstlm Posts: 112member
    4 words: Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro. I work at a professional portrait studio and this is what all of the high end pros are looking at. It is a great camera. Much better dynamic range than anyother. Canon makes great film cameras and so does nikon but when it comes down to getting good pictures you need someone who knows how to print and capture (enlarge) well. Canon and nikon know how to take in light but they don't know how to capture light (as well as fuji and kodak). This is why fuji and kodak excell in digital photography. Get the S2 you wont regret it. Granted it doesn't have as many pixels as the 10D but if that doesn't matter than get the s2.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,558member
    I'm in a similar situation. I haven't quite made the leap, but I am about to go for a Canon 10D with a 17-40mm wide angle zoom lens for a start. The low light sensitivity is really amazing. That has been my biggest complaint with my Nikon coolpix 950. So often the shot I want requires much longer than 1/60 s and I usually shoot hand held.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    I wouldn't trash your Coolpix 950, yet. That's one nice little piece of equipment. Take a look at this:

    I'm never getting rid of my 950; it's just too easy to have with me and is great for general eBay purposes.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    /mandolux//mandolux/ Posts: 648member

    Originally posted by fred_lj


  • Reply 18 of 35
    bluesignsbluesigns Posts: 315member
    i already own a canon XL-1 video camera and wanted to buy the 10D with a wide angle lens that i could swap back and forth between the cameras.

    i would already own the 10D if those @#*!%#$'s had put a firewire connector on it.

    the Fuji S2 has firewire; compelling for me.

    the S2 samples i've seen are impressive.

    that's the fence i'm hung up on at the moment.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    shagstlmshagstlm Posts: 112member
    i really like the s2 results as well. considering i look at them all day long they look really good to me. Firewire is also a definate plus...i didn't know that the 10D didn't have seems a little ridculous especially because of the size of the image files not to have it. usb is so slow. I have seen a couple of 10D images and they are equally as impressive as the s2 from what I have seen...the firewire is a strong factor...for me anyway
  • Reply 20 of 35
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Thanks for the compliments! I'm blushing!

    But that picture demonstrates the flexibility of the Coolpix 950, since it has the three separate metering options. Spot metering was required to expose that properly, and you can't choose that on many consumer pieces of junk. But, as this is about DSLRs...

    The FireWire question is significant, but I don't think I could let it affect my decision to get one camera or another. To put it this way, if you use the camera with a desktop at home to upload pictures, you could always get a FireWire Compact Flash reader. And alternatively, if you use the camera on the road with a laptop, you can either get the CF reader or use a PC card CF/Microdrive adapter.

    I would think one of the only instances when it would be vital is if you're desiring to run the camera completely off a computer - in a studio, where you would want instant proofs and perhaps printouts for customers.
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