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Photography Question 
Kathy Coombs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/31/2009

Best 35mm Camera to buy?

I want to buy a new camera, one that is fast with good lenses...Is nikon the best? I shoot flowers and nature.

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10/12/2004 6:14:40 PM

Kip T. Berger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/20/2002
  I don't see the need for a "fast"( number of images able to be taken in a shot) when dealing with nature or flower type photography. You will likly be using a tripod and not be under time contraint of a moving image. Fast cameras or cameras suited for action or sports Photography, will work with landscapes, nature..but you are paying for the ability to achieve that framerate with either $ or lower pixel resolution. Hopefullly this helps. I myself, if I didn't want the option for framerate, would go with what produces the better color rendition, image resolution and what lenses I currently own, would be compatible with the new camera.

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10/12/2004 11:44:10 PM

Steve McCroskey  
  U.S.S.Alabama 5
U.S.S.Alabama 5
© Steve McCroskey
Minolta Maxxum 5/D...
Hi Cathy!
I use a Minolta Maxxum 5 as camera of choice!
I would suggest that you check out cameras from the major makers(Minolta,Canon,Nikon) see which ones you are comfortable with.
Take a look at my gallery to see some examples!!

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10/13/2004 5:16:27 AM

Elizabeth R. McNeil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2004

Hey Kathy,
I do Flower and landscapes, I just got the Nikon Fm10, and I really like it, it takes very good pictures and is easy to work with. I hope to get my Macro lens soon. got to save up the money first =)

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10/13/2004 8:58:43 AM

Kathy Coombs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/31/2009
  I think I wanted a fast camera, because, I sometimes lose a shot as my camera seems so slow. I live on Maui, and shoot the waves and birds and I am frustrated when I don't get it. Also I want to get close up pictures, do I need a special lense for flowers? I can't seem to get mine to focus close up, even Manual. I have a lot to learn, but want to do mostly nature photography. I then have it put on canvas or watercolor paper and it looks cool. I wonder if I should shoot slides or if I have it put on disk from film will it still look good? Any help here would be appreaciated. This camera will be my 50th, and two wedding annivesary presents! :) I will go check your websites! Mahalo! Kathy

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10/13/2004 3:14:32 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Kathy -

The best camera is the one that feels best in your hands, so I agree with Steve, in that a camera from any of the major manufacturers will probably be OK.

If you're thinking film, you should think towards lenses as much as the camera body. In other words, I'd sacrifice some features on the body to purchase better, faster lenses.

I've been shooting the Canon EOS line since 1988. There's always the argument as to who manufacturers the best lenses. Once again, it's a personal thing, in my judgment. But, even aftermarket lenses offer lots of speed and features for a lot less money.

A reliable, local camera store will let you borrow a camera and lenses for a trial. Unfortunately, that's probably not do-able through a big mail order outlet. Your cost may be a little more if you buy at that local store, but you may be happier with the camra you select.

Your second message speaks to fast - meaning shtter speed. That's a feature of the camera. Most of today's auto-focus cameras allow shutter speeds up to 1/2000th sec. and even up to 1/8000th. That's more than enough to stop wave action. However, since I don't shoot digital, I can't speak to issues of stopping action with a digicam.


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10/14/2004 12:12:21 PM

Kathy Coombs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/31/2009
  Thanks John, that was a big help. Didn't know you could get faster lenses. I have a rebel eos, but it shoots slow, is it me? My lense?

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10/14/2004 3:11:47 PM

Frank P. Luongo   Hi Kathy:
I agree that your best bet is to go with Nikon or Canon,arguably the two best camera manufacturers--also make the best lenses--when one day you will probably expand your arsenal of lenses.

I am in the early stages of my training, and I use the Nikon N-75.
It's simple to use,lightweight,has autofocus,AE,shutter and aperature priority--and most importantly manual mode for creative control.You may start off with the automatic modes, however as you become experienced I bet you,like myself will shoot almost entirely in manual mode.

The price for the body is approx. 160.00
There is a package which includes a very good and useful 28-90mm zoom lens;
That's what I own.
I'm sure if you shop around the web you can get the package for 350.00 or much less.

P.S. I have nothing against Canon--
I'm just a Nikon man.
It's a matter of personal taste.

Hope this helps
Wishing you success

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10/14/2004 4:00:46 PM

Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004

From your second mention, I calculate your age to be 29+. If my calculations are correct you need to be looking at a camera that needs to be light and fits your hands. Since you shoot a Canon EOS already I would suggest you stay with the Canon line.
Let me address “Fast.” A camera is fast if it can shoot at shutter speeds above 1/1000 of a second. A lens is fast if it has a large lens opening. To me a fast lens is one that has a lens opening of f2.5 or greater. Now to the nitty-gritty: To shoot flowers you need a tripod, a sandbag, to stabilize it, and the lens you will want is a “Macro” some where between a 50 to 180mm. Canon has both in manual and auto focus models, ranging from 289.00 to 1,200. As a working pro I carry four lens in my bag. A 15 to 30, 24 to 120, 80 to 200, and 105mm macro. I have been using a Nikon camera and lens since 1970. One of my best friends sold his system and bought Canon. The bottom line is what ever feels best to you.
Hope these ideas help.
Good Shooting

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10/14/2004 7:27:47 PM

Shauna Linde
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/10/2004
  Hey Kathy- The reason you may be having difficulty getting close up shots of the flowers in focus is because with standard lense (I'm assuming that's what you're using) the closest you can get to keep the subject in focuse is right around 3feet. Any closer and you just can't get it right. A Macro lens would be great ( I saw that was brought up), but they can be expensive. If you shoot mostly flowers and those things (birds, bugs, also are great) then a macro lens would probably be a great purchase for you. Also, I have a Nikon camera, I think they are the BEST. :)

And, on a side note- Maui is so beautiful! I was there a few years back and got some GREAT pictures. You are very lucky to be in such a beautiful place.

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10/14/2004 7:30:40 PM

F Jaramillo   Howdy Kathy,
Both Nikon and Canon are make great cameras and lens. I personally have the Nikon system with a FM10 which is a great light-weight camera with no worries about technology failing. This great when I am taking shots and have time to set-up everything with no concern for hurrying up to get the shot. Otherwise, I beg to borrow my wife's N90s. This is an AWESOME camera, they have been discontinued for quite sometime but are available used at very good prices. I wish I could afford an extra but can't at this time.

I would recommend to cut-back on the camera and spend as much as possible on high quality lens.

BTW, I was on Oahu this past March and it is beautiful.

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10/28/2004 6:56:18 PM

Kathy Coombs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/31/2009
  FJ, I was thinking Nikon, but here's a question, I used a friends Rebel Canon EOS, hers was newer than mine, and it shoots really fast. Then I used a camera, minolta, that a tourist handed me to take their picture, a $200 camera, same thing, fast! Is it my lense? Imstead of another camera should I think new lense? Also, what do you think of buying a spotting scope that I can put on my digital? I am looking into those too, for whale watchin (it's almost whale time!) and taking pictures. Does anyone know what motor driven lenses are? I am heading up to Bend Oregon in November and may hit some storeds there..(I need the cool air!) Hot here! Any suggestions? Mahalo! Kathy PS Hope you enjoyed Hawaii! I plan to fly to all the islands and shoot as much as I can!

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10/28/2004 8:03:02 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
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  Kathy -

Read over these answers slowly one more time. Your question has been answered. But -

A fast lens relates to the amount of light it will let reach the film. The f/number of the lens, for example, my Tamron 28-200 mm zoom is rated at f/3.8-5.6, is the indicator. The f/number is the ratio of the focal length to the diaphragm [in mm or inches.] The smaller the ratio, the faster the lens; the cost of the lens increases with its speed.

Today, particularly with auth-focus cameras and zoom lenses, f/2.8 is "fast." If you purchase a fixed foccal length lens, there still might be a few f/1.4 or even f/1.0 lenses available. The f/1.0 will be very expensive.

Remember one thing, however, it's been reported for years that the vast majority of pictures are shot at lens openings of f/5.6 to f/11. Thus, you must evaluate whether the cost of a lens, for example the Tamron f/2.8, 28-105 mm zoom at $700, can be justified on your budget and by the type of pictures you take.

As to a fast camera, any camera that will allow you to take a picture at 1/1000 sec. is fast enough to stop almost any action the average photographer wants to shoot. As I said earlier, most auto-focus cameras have speeds of at least 1/2000 and some go to 1/8000 sec.

Canon EF lenses are "motor driven" lenses." That is, the mechanism for allowing the auto-focusing is contained in the lenses. Originally, Nikon's "motors" were in the camera body; I think that's still true today.


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10/29/2004 5:29:48 AM

F Jaramillo   Hi Kathy,
After seeing your continued questions, I believe we may have misunderstood your question. All of the previous answers are applicable if that is what you were asking.

When you say fast, are you referring to the camera's abiiity to focus quickly? The FM10 will only focus as fast as the operator can because it is only manual. You would need an "AF" auto-focus lens and camera accomplish this. I am happy with the N90s's ability to focus quickly. When comparing cameras you need to see how well they do in low-contrast or low-light situations such as subjects and backgrounds that are similar in color. Some, like the N90s, even use infrared emitters to over come these obstacles. The cameras programming and the lens motor-drives are also factors.

Or, are you asking how many frames per second you can take. Obviously, you can not shoot 1000 frames per second when that is what you have the shutter set at 1/1000 sec. The fastest the N90s can shoot is 4.3 frames per second. An automatic camera will need to have an auto-film advance for this type of shooting. Using the FM10, the operator will be the factor. I might be able to get 7 shots in 5 seconds if I had to guess. Not hopefully 2 of this would not be affected from camera shake while trying to advance the film lever quickly.

As far as the spotting scope, I have been playing with this idea myself. It should work. Amateur astrophotographers are putting their digital cameras up to the telescope's eyepiece to capure shots.

I am going to stress that when getting a lens, make sure you are getting one that yeild photos whose sharpness meets your expectations.


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10/29/2004 5:13:09 PM

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