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Photography Question 
Jill  Skaggs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
 

Which DSLR???


My wife and I are now using film photography but want to add digital. The problem is the more reviews I read the more confused I get. Once it was, The more megapixels the better. I just read a comment by a professional that says that is not really true. Even thought a camera is high in pixels does not mean all the pixels are good....?????? If the pros can't deside on a better camera how do amatures know which way to turn. I am leaning toward a Minlota 7D but unsure. Also can my maxxum lenses be used on digital. I have heard yes and no...?????? Please help.....


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7/24/2005 10:33:48 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  HI !

I have a Konica-Minolta 7D and love it! Yes, your Maxxum lenses will work with this camera. In fact, at least to date, I have had no problem using the equipment I purchased for my Minolta Maxxum 9 working with the 7D. (cable release, off-camera flash, etc.) If you are already using a Minolta Maxxum the learning curve for the 7D will not be large. Most of the controls on the camera should feel familiar. The 7D is a hefty, tough camera that seems to stand up to the sometimes rough conditions that I find myself in when shooting outside. This is fairly powerful tool that has features that some of the other brand cameras do not have. The image stabilization, built into the camera, (not the lens) is a great tool and has permitted me to shoot handheld in conditions where I probably would not have been able to do otherwise. Anyway, IMHO, this is a wonderful camera, particularly if you already own Minolta equipment. Hope this helps!


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7/24/2005 11:04:57 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Not simply a matter of more pixels. More pixels crammed into a tiny sensor usually give more "cross-talk" and noise, especially at higer ISO settings than a larger sized sensor with fewer pixels. Thus a 4mp or 6mp DSLR (like the Minolta 7D) can usually give better results than a 8mp point & shoot.


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7/25/2005 7:30:38 AM

 
Jill  Skaggs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  Thank you for your responses. I don't mean to be a "pain" but I am a film "junkie" from way back and an amature at that. The only noise that I ever heard was when my shutter clicked. I am sorry but to put it plane and simple, I am totally lost when it comes to digital. And the only "cross-talk" that I have ever heard of comes from my CB days. Like I said I have been reading reviews but the more I read the more confused I get. I have seen 6, 8, 10mp. Canon, Minolta, Nikon, etc. Is a 10.1mp from Canon better than say a 6.1mp from Minolta. The Canon is $900.00 where as the Minolta is $1500.00. I do understand SLR is better than point and shoot, always has been. Even in film but that is where my understanding ends.


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7/25/2005 7:53:10 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Cross-talk and noise, with respect to digital imaging sensors, is very similar to the cross-talk and static of your CB days. Basically it refers to an electronic interference between neighboring pixels on the sensor.

IMHO, the difference between 6mp and 8mp DSLRs is very marginal. As with film SLRs, the price difference between models usually reflects greater feature set and more rugged build. This is the case when comparing $900 8mp Canon Digital Rebel XT with the $1500 6mp Minolta Maxxum 7D. The Canon 20D is a closer comparable model to the 7D.


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7/25/2005 8:29:11 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Hi there... I am no technology expert, but I'm experienced in digital, and I'll try to explain things as best I understand them.

With digital, there is a sensor on each camera that senses and records the image. Sort of like film in a film camera. Smaller cameras have smaller sensors, and larger cameras (like D-SLRs) have larger sensors. Manufacturers make consumers think that megapixels are everything, but if you cram a bunch of megapixels onto a tiny sensor (like on the Canon Elph), the megapixels won't be as valuable. For example, an image made by a 7 megapixel Canon S70 (compact digicam) will not be as high quality as an image recorded with a Canon Digital Rebel (D-SLR) even though it has more megapixels. The Canon Digital Rebel has a larger sensor, and each pixel on the sensor is 'worth' more.

Noise is sort of like grain on film. Here is an in-depth explanation if you'd like. It is what makes pictures look sort of static-y or grainy or not smooth. Cameras with smaller sensors are notorious for having a lot of noise at higher ISOs, during long exposures, and in low lighting situations.

I may be biased from experience, but when it comes to digital, I would trust Canon, Nikon, and Fuji. I personally would not go with anything else because those three brands have been at the forefront of the digital revolution. However, it might be easier for you to go with Minolta because you already have their lenses. It's up to you.

More megapixels when it comes to D-SLRs is in general better, but I don't really think many people need more than 6 or 7 megapixels. I work for one of San Antonio's top wedding photographers, and he is able to get 20" x 30" enlargements from a 4-mp image if he uses the right printing company.

I hope that helps... sorry it is so lengthy. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I can try to answer them.

Nancy


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7/25/2005 8:34:54 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Wow - Nancy and Jon have given you some great info and explanations - as well as some food for thought. Now, IMHO, the Minolta 7D is a terrific camera. I actually considered switching to Canon and going with the D20. Thanks to a friend, I was able to use this camera for about a week. Don't get me wrong, it is a great camera and everything that they say about Canon is true - they are very, very good. However, I really think that Minolta is right up there with quality. In the end, for me, it came down to what works best for the type photography I want to do - nature and wildlife. The Minolta has some options - notably the integrated image stabilization - that really help when trying to make images in poor conditions.

Ultimately, you need to choose your camera based on how you plan to shoot and how each camera feels in your hands. Donít fall into the trap that too many novices fall into (been there, thought that, and learned better) that the camera makes the photographer. The best camera in the world will not, on its own, make you a better photographer. Only time, knowledge and experience will do that. Good luck and let us know what you decide.


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7/25/2005 11:52:09 AM

 
Jill  Skaggs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  Thanks for all the info. It has been fantastic. You all have informed me very well. Now I just need to make up my mind on which one. I am leaning toward Minolta 7D, just due to the fact I already have a Maxxum and can use the lenses on both. Plus the stablizer sure helps. I am the type that takes photos "from the hip". I walk around to see what I can see and when something pops up, click. I use a tripod when I am waiting on a picture, but I don't "wait" on many of my pictures. One last question, Since it is so new, has anyone heard of any "problems" or "bugs" in it. I have always been leary of buying "new" electronic products. And I have learned the same thing, the camera does not make the photographer. But a good camera helps to take good pictures.


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7/25/2005 12:06:51 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  The only problem - bug issue that I have encountered or heard about was to do with the write speed. When I first got my 7D the write speed could be slower than I wanted. KM came out with an improvement that resolved this issue. If you purchase your camera from a reputable dealer this should be a non-issue since this fix has been installed with any 7D put out since May. From what I have read the write-speed issue is something that a number of camera makers have struggled with. Even before installing the fix (a simple download from the KM site) I never noticed the problem unless I was trying to capture moving wildlife or something of this type. This is the only problem I have encountered and the only one that I have read/heard about.


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7/25/2005 6:09:05 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Once again, I recommend you ask yourself some very key questions. Like what do I want to do with a digital camera and how much is available in the piggy bank?

If you want to shoot snapshots and send them off to family and friends via the Internet, you need only a point and shoot with 2-3 PP. If you plan to hang archival prints on the wall, you'll need more MPs. You may or may not need a digital SLR.

Another important question, "Do I like to spend lots of time staring at the computer monitor while editing pictures?" If you do, great. Then, you should also ask yourself, 'Is my computer fast enough, does it have enough RAM, is my inkjet printer going to produce satisfying prints, etc., etc."

Digital ain't cheap, regardless of what you hear and read. I continue to be amazed reading threads on weddings in which photographers suggest they've shot up to 4,000 pictures at a wedding. While they may have done so, then there's no way they're going to make a profit because the labor to just screen 4,000 images would offset any normal pricing policy.

Digital is good. And, one of these days I just might consider one. But, since the camera I want might cost $8,000, I think I'd rather go on a nice vacation [with film.]


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8/3/2005 11:03:21 AM

 
Jill  Skaggs
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  John, thank you for your post and I agree totally. I will continue with my film camera for pictures that I can wait on. But I am getting into things where people what to see what the pictures look like right away and you can only do that with digital. Wait until about this October or just after the first of the year. Something is suppose to be happening where digital camera prices are going to drop like a rock. I have no idea what but two people have told me to hold off buying mine. The one I am looking at is in the range of $1500.00


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8/3/2005 11:24:02 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  If you've read any of the major magazines you have a better inkling. Ron Leach, Editor of PhotoGraphic magazine, predicted that the "bloom was off the digital bush" as last Christmas' buying season rolled around.

In fact, more i-Pods were sold during the Christmas season than digital cameras, according to one article I read.

The point is that as cameras have added features there has been a lessening of human input. Once it becomes too easy to take good pictures, things cool off. Can't recall the thread but someone asked, "What can I do to re-kindle the fire?" - or words to that effect.

A lot of folks said, "Go buy a digital camera." That, of course, just isn't the answer!

But, I repeat, I still shoot film, but I massage my images after scanning. I get the best of both worlds, losing out on the only digital feature I really would love - the ability to view the picture on the LCD screen, delete and reshoot it if necessary. [Of course, I never shoot a less than wonderful image - HA! HA!]


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8/3/2005 8:44:40 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi John Ė

Reading your latest post made me think about what going digital has done for me and what it has not done. Perhaps because I am still pretty much a novice at serious photography I have found digital to be a real help in developing my skills. Do I feel that digital, in and by itself, has made me a better photographer? NO! What digital has done for me is to make it easier for me to make more images. With film, which I still use, I am always aware of how much film I am burning and how much it would cost to develop all those rolls. With digital I upload the entire dayís worth of images and then I can view what went right and what went wrong. Of-course, I could do this with film, but at a greater cost. I have learned a great deal from my mistakes. Digital has given me the freedom to take more risks and this has resulted in some pretty cool images that I might not have chanced with film.

I really believe that how one captures an image is much less important than the technique that is used to make that capture. I think that many beginners believe that with a digital camera they donít have to worry so much about exposure and composition. Nothing could be further from the truth than that belief. Sure, it is possible to manipulate an image in Photoshop, but if you start with a poor image you will end up with a mediocre image Ė if you are lucky. I have met and talked with people who really think that with digital all things are possible and that they can make the same quality of image that a pro can make. I see the results from their shooting and, well, letís be polite and say the results are less than stellar. Film or digital capture, it does not matter which you choose, if your technique is lacking your images will be lacking.

Your comment about someone saying that the solution to photographer burn out is to buy a digital camera is right on the money. The means you use to capture your images is not going to re-ignite the spark. You have to seek new challenges if you are feeling burned out and find what really sparks your interest and gives you energy.


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8/4/2005 6:13:17 AM

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

I could agree more.

Ansel Adams took great, great pictures without the bells and whistles of today's miracle cameras.

Albeit, it's Tennis but, Jimmie Connors did pretty well when he won many tournaments using a Wilson T-200 tennis racket.

There are many books out there about taking photos with pinhole cameras.

You're right, digital allows you to take more images and, thereby, learn - and, perhaps, at somewhat lower cost [excluding computer, paper, ink, time, batteries, etc.]

But, after all is said and done, a camerabody is just a black box holding a lens and a place for film/media card. It's the photographer that makes the picture.


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8/4/2005 6:51:54 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Hi Joe! I also have the Minolta 7D and absolutely love it! I was leaning towards getting the Canon Digital Rebel until I heard that Minolta was set to release the 7D so I waited(impatiently I might add LOL) until it did. I already had the Maxxum 5 and my son the Maxxum 50 so we had 5 lenses already and the thought of having to buy all new to go with a Canon was what helped me with my decision to go with the Minolta. Even having the Maxxum 5 I feel like my learning curve with the 7D was made easier. It just felt right. . . it is a heavy camera compared to my film camera but again I have found that it has performed greatly for me! There is always the discussion of too many bells and whistles and so yes I guess you have to decide if you want to shell out the dollars for things you might not use. . . but if you already have Maxxum lenses I think you will find that buying a different model and replacing those lenses you will be right up there in price and the price of the 7D body has come down considerably. I think now you can buy a Kit with several accessories for what I paid for just the body.

I loved film photography and did "okay" with it but was disappointed many times when I got the prints back and found that my exposure was off or something . . .with digital I am right there and can tell instantly if it turns out and take extra exposures adjusting light or whatever and it's not costing me anything to do it. My clients LOVE the digital aspect because if they are wanting something done and we aren't sure if it's working I can show them and they can say okay it's good or let's try again. . . the only thing on the 7D that I struggle with is the LCD tends to show everything dark so it makes things look properly exposed and then I get it home to edit and it looks alot brighter. Since I got a light meter it's been better but it's still frustrating sometimes.

As far as bugs. . . I haven't really noticed any that cause me problems. . . a friend had to send hers in because something in the motherboard went funky after she cleaned the CCD. . . but I would think by now that if there were major bugs that they would be worked out by now because it's been almost a year since it was first released. . . one other thing you might check out is the new 5D that Minolta just announced they will release as well . . . it appears to be about $500 less and has basically the same features as the 7D but has a few different shooting modes built in(landscape, night shooting, etc). You can go to the Konica Minolta website and see it. . . If I can scrounge up the $$ I may try to get one of those for my backup. . .

Good Luck with your decision and be sure to let us know what you decide. If you have any other specific questions or anything feel free to email me. Almost all of the pics in my gallery were shot with the 7D!


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8/4/2005 7:26:17 AM

 
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