BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Ariana Curiel
 

Choosing an entry level SLR


I am looking into moving up from a point and shot camera to an SLR. I have 3 kids, so I am looking for something that can take good action shots and that is idiot proof.

Ariana


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1/20/2006 8:54:18 PM

 
Bob Fately   Arianna, this topic of "what camera to buy" gets beaten to death regularly here - you may want to search the archives to see what folks keep saying. Here is one thread that's pretty recent - the main take-away is that you need to select a camera after handling a few to get a sense of what models feel right to your hands and your eyes.

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21874

You don't mention a budget, but assuming you're talking about film cameras then check out offerings from Canon or Pentax, as they're really the only players left in the film SLR business. Nikon, which makes excellent gear, has just announced they are dropping all but two of their film cameras - their manual model and their very costly F6 pro model. And Konica-Minolta just anounced they're getting out of the camera business altogether. And unless you're independantly wealthy, you don't want to look at Contax or Leica. So Canon or Pentax are the brands to loof at, quality wise.


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1/20/2006 10:15:17 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  Canon or Nikon...if digital. The canon digital rebel XT(or 350D) or the Nikon D50, D70 or D70s... any and all, great digital SLR's.
Craig-


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1/21/2006 3:59:04 AM

 
Will Turner   "You don't mention a budget, but assuming you're talking about film cameras then check out offerings from Canon or Pentax, as they're really the only players left in the film SLR business...And unless you're independantly wealthy, you don't want to look at Contax or Leica"

Bob, you've neglected the used camera market, which abounds in fine SLR cameras. Except for the very highest end cameras, SLRs are not made as well as they used to be made, and even then, their complexity may result in a shorter service life. Many of the better brands and older models you've left off your list will most likely be working long after the last cheaply made AF SLR or DSLR has bitten the dust.


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1/21/2006 7:59:55 AM

 
Ariana Curiel   I've narrowed my choice down to a Niknon N75. Thanks for all of the advice offered. Does anyone know of a anywhere to get a good deal on this camera?

Ariana


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1/30/2006 1:27:17 PM

 
Bob Fately   YOu don't say where you live, Ariana, but if you want to go the mail order route then the two stores with unequivocally great reputations (well deserved great reputations as well) are B&H photo (www.bhphotvideo.com) and Adormama (www.adorama.com).

There are some mail order operations that proclaim slightly lower prices, but be very careful with these outfits, as many play the game of charging that super-low price for the camera but charging extra for stuff that comes in the box anyway, like lens caps, batteries, straps, etc.

The two stores I mention, though are very very good.


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1/30/2006 3:02:00 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   I live in Eureka Ca. As far as I know the only two camera stores around here are Ritz and Swanlunds.

I'll check out the online sites you mentioned.

Ariana


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1/30/2006 5:03:23 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  I wouldn't bother with an entry level camera. As you progress, you might find that that entry level unit doesn't have all the features you'd like. And, now that film cameras are disappearing from the scene, it might be time to go to digital.

Of course, you can buy a pro SLR for film for the price of an entry level digital SLR.


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1/31/2006 6:53:43 AM

 
Ariana Curiel   I rather like the Nikon cameras. Are there any pro SLR for film Nikons you can recommend?

Ariana


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1/31/2006 8:11:57 AM

 
Ariana Curiel   I rather like the Nikon cameras. Are there any pro SLR for film Nikons you can recommend?


I'm not sure about digital. I have a concern about the digital cameras being rather like computers in that whatever you buy will be outmoded by the next model that comes along.


Ariana


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1/31/2006 8:16:34 AM

 
Will Turner   Well, the N75 is a fairly new model. So you get the benefit of newer electronics, and an improved interface (easy to use). Downside with inexpensive AF SLRs is that it is getting harder and harder to build a reliable one at very low prices. They have had more troubles than the N80, for sure, even though the N80 came out 3 years earlier. As I mentioned in the other post, in newer AF Nikons I like the N80 (F80) and above Nikons, they're better built. Rather have a used N80 than a new N75, but if you like the '75, go for it.

If ultra-fast AF speed is not that necessary, the older N8008s (F801s) has established a very enviable reputation. I've seen 8008s that look like they were thrown out of a speeding car, yet worked perfectly. The N90s (N90X) also has a good reputation, as do later production F100s.

The pro Nikons, F4, F5 are some of the highest quality AF cameras ever built in terms of ruggedness. Quite a few people find them overkill, or simply too large. F4 has a rather slow AF speed.

BTW, you can find all the Nikon camera information you ever wanted to read at nikonians.org.


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1/31/2006 8:55:02 AM

 
Bob Fately   Ariana, if I may offer a little advice...

When you select something like a camera (digital or film) there are many things that simply cannot be determined from spec sheets and other people's (well intended) "advice".

The Nion 8008, F100, and F4/F5 are so completely different from each other that it's like you asking about car buying recommendations and me telling you that the VW Beetle, the Porche Cayene and the new Bentley are all great cars. They all have 4 tires and a steering wheel, but they are all quite different in general feel and handling, no?

The point is, you need to physically hold some cameras in your hands, view through the eyepiece and focus, etc., to get a sense of whether you'd like a particular model or not. I have an F100, but cannot stand the N65 - it's just too light for me. But that's me - and that's the point - no way would I suggest one of those over the other based on my preferences. Yes, one is better built and designed for more rugged use, but at heart they are both light-tight film holders with a lens mount on the front, right?

In fact, I must ask whether you have looked at other brands before concluding that Nikon is the one you like best. Again, some folks find Canons easier to grip, focus through or handle, while others prefer the handling of the Nikons.

There is no way to find out what you like best by reading reports - you need to get your hot little hands around a few cameras to make an informed decision. The N75 is, by all accounts, a great camera - but far more important than that is whether you find it comfortable in your hands. Because, if you do, you'll go out and take more pictures. But if you don't then sooner or later you'll view dealing with it as a chore to be avoided.

Since the entire goal of the game here is to take more photos, I suggest you make a decision based on your sense of things, rather than the words of strangers (myself included).


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1/31/2006 1:55:23 PM

 
Will Turner   Bob's advice is good, with one caveat. I think getting advice on a well-built camera that will last a significant period of time, without recourse to the increasingly dodgy alternative of warranty repair is very important, especially if you don't know much about camera internals. Buying a lemon won't kill you, but it can sour any budding photographer.

I never make any bones about the fact that my recommendations have nothing to do with features, specifications, ergonomic comfort, user interface, etc. You can figure that out for yourself, and there is plenty of advice out there already on the subject.

My advice is very specific and based on one overriding criteria - WILL THE DARN THING WORK FOR A FEW YEARS WITHOUT BREAKING DOWN. It's strange, with any other consumer product, people would want to know what is reliable and its MTBF history (mean time between failures). In cameras however, people plunk down $500 for the Laplander 5000 then wonder why they spend so much time getting it fixed. I did, too, when I started out. So we become easy marks, victims, endlessly posting complaints on camera repair forums about dead and dying cameras, lousy repair/warranty service, etc.

Sure, no one can give you a guarantee on this stuff. I base my comments on reports from what I've seen, and from reports from hundreds of owners, camera techs, and others over the years. At some point, I decided I would share what I knew - at least some people might benefit from it.

Sometimes you can give cogent reasons why a particular camera is reliable. Other times you can't - the N8008s, for example, is more reliable than it really should be, given its age and original selling price.

Ask anyone who has ever repaired a camera - there are differences in build between SLR cameras. Some are built well, some not so well. It's your money.


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1/31/2006 3:04:31 PM

 
Steve Warren
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2004
  Will,

You make a great point. I have a few Minolta AF bodies, but none are close to my trusty Pentax K1000 or Canon AE-1.

Steve


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1/31/2006 6:55:50 PM

 
Sean Ronters   One of the nice things about the N80 is that it has full manual override of ISO speeds, which the N75 doesn't have. When the DX code-reading module fails to work (as it sometimes does) you can override it manually and keep shooting with correct metering.


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2/2/2006 2:07:59 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   Thanks for the advice on Nikon N80. I am looking for a used body. I am not in any hurry to buy. If anyone know of anyone who has a good used one to sell could you let me know? I would be willing to pay around $150-$200 for just the body.

Also what is a good lense to start with?


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2/2/2006 5:38:06 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I'd recommend for any person just getting into SLR is a normal 50mm (probably around a f/1.8 or f/1.4).


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2/2/2006 5:56:17 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   I have a chance to buy an used Nikon n80 from Amazon for about $198. It includes a strap, camera bag and lense. Should I go for it?

Ariana


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2/5/2006 5:04:31 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   I have another question concerning the Nikon N80. Should I buy the Dxsb50 flash?


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2/6/2006 12:55:18 PM

 
Glen Taylor   You can get an 'excellent plus' N80 from KEH.com for only $150, probably doesn't even have a scratch on it. It doesn't have a lens, of course but some of those consumer zoom lenses are pretty bad, and a 50mm Nikon lens isn't expensive. A camera strap will cost you about $8 at any Wal-Mart (try a neoprene binocular strap).

Based solely on my own experience, I would be wary of buying used cameras on Amazon. Who is the actual seller - Amazon.com, or someone 'listed' with them?? Frequently you don't really know who the used seller really is, it could be almost anybody. I've seen a lot of complaints about people buying 'refurbished' used 35mm cameras on these types of sites that turn out to be junk. Plus at KEH you are dealing with reputable people and a 14-day return guarantee.

Others may want to chime in?


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2/6/2006 1:12:02 PM

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

You need to go to a local, reliable camera store and check out this equipment first hand. Many stores sell used equipment, but many don't.

In any event, no one can make a valid recommendation on any piece of equipment because, chances are, that person doesn't own [or hasn't used sufficiently] a whole lot of different cameras, etc.

That being said, Peter Burian [who has columns (equipment reviews)on betterphoto.com] has tested and reviewed a lot of equipment. See whether he has anything to say about the camera[s] you're interested in.

But, since used equipment can be obtained for pretty good prices, buy a little "more" camera than you think you need - you'll never think about that feature the entry level camera is missing until you need or read about it. I'm not suggesting breaking the bank; rather, don't get caught with a camera that can't do the things you'd like just because you're trying to save a "little" money.

On the other hand, one does have to justify buying the "big" camera, especially if it has features you'll NEVER, NEVER use. That's the real problem with the digital decision I'd face if, and when, I buy one. I own Canon EOS equipment so I'd be weighing the digital Rebel, the 20D and the 5D.

Of course, and I repeat for the umpteenth time, an expensive camera won't make a better picture because it's up to the photographer!


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2/6/2006 1:19:06 PM

 
George Anderson   KEH.com is good for used Nikon stuff, B&H is another online source. N80's a good camera if you're going autofocus, not too expensive, not too cheap, and still supported by Nikon. Lots of amateurs and even some pros have used it over the years. Be sure and get the camera instruction manual.

"You need to go to a local, reliable camera store and check out this equipment first hand. Many stores sell used equipment, but many don't."

This is great advice - if you can still find such a place. I can still find 'local' camera stores, and once in a blue moon a 'reliable' camera store (out-of-town), but I have yet to find a local, reliable, camera store that sells reasonably-priced (these days, used) 35mm cameras.

Because of increased competition and a big drop in repeat business, local stores aren't any more immune these days than any other outfit to selling you what they have, as opposed to what you need.


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2/6/2006 1:34:26 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Gee, George. Too bad! I can name at least three reliable stores withing 25 miles of my home [in New Jersey] and I can also go to B&H, Adorama, etc.

In fact, the President of my Camera Club owns a camera store and makes the better portion of his profits buying and selling used film-based equipment. He won't take digital in "exchange" or as trade-ins because the "market for last year's digtal" doesn't exist. But, there's always a demand for used film cameras.


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2/6/2006 2:08:47 PM

 
George Anderson   What can I say John, you are lucky to live in a highly populated area with a nearby major city that is also a hub for professional and amateur photographers and tourists from around the world. Some of us aren't that fortunate.

Those of us not near L.A. or San Francisco or New York and plenty of competition (no accident B&H and Adorama are in NYC) sometimes are relegated to whatever can still stay in business - if we don't shop online, that is. I think Ariana mentioned something about being in the same pickle, more or less.

Ebay and new online camera sites killed a lot of camera stores around here. You know, one can make a very good living selling used camera gear on ebay - no need for a brick & mortar shop at all. What is left is often a smaller shop without a great deal of inventory, but sometimes a great deal of attitude. They tend to push what they've got in stock.


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2/6/2006 2:53:38 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Sour grapes, George.

Go to Ritz Camera or one of its companions [Wolf's Camera comes to mind.] They're in larger shopping centers all over the place.

e-Bay may have killed a lot of Mom and Pop Shops - but there are a lot of crooks out there, lurking in other places.

My camera store friend sells through e-Bay, too. He reports that used equipment sent to his e-Bay customers is sometimes returned in damaged condition [and, gee, you know what, the Serial Numbers don't match.] Could it be that these customers are pulling a switch at the seller's expense?

Check out all the current fedral pressure e-Bay is under! It's a cold, cruel world out there and, if one doesn't have an idea of what s/he realy wants or needs, it's better to go see the mechandise.

Then, of course, there's the "help" in trying to make it work. For me, the local guy is best for most amateurs.

Now, I've been using Adorama for almost 20 years [started after Cambridge Camera closed.] Never had a problem - but, I think I knew what I wanted because I did the necessary research.


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2/6/2006 5:01:33 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   I live in Eureka, CA pop 23,000. There are two camera stores but they are mainly pushing digital cameras which I feel are too expensive (even I did have the money). Both stores tell me that film is on the way out.

I am checking into used film cameras because I don't have the budget for a new one since I am a student.

Thank you George for suggesting KEH. I also thank Will T for suggesting the Nikon n80. I have compared other cameras in the 2 stores and I like the layout of the Nikons best.

Ariana


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2/6/2006 6:43:08 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Well they are salesmen and will tell you anything for a buck. DSLR's are more expensive so they tell you film is gone or film is on the way out to scare you from buying film which leaves you to the more expensive digital. just a sales pitch. a great salesmen will tell you that digital is good for some things, while film still has its advantages as well, just different. you can get the final print with either, there's just different ways of doing it. don't listen to biased salesmen who say film is out or going.


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2/6/2006 7:14:04 PM

 
George Anderson   You're welcome, Ariana.

John, all I can say is that you just may have to accept the fact that not everyone has your experiences, but that doesn't make our advice any more suspect or 'sour grape' than yours.

I'd never argue that Ebay is the best choice for someone getting their first serious camera. You may have misunderstood me, I was only explaining why many of the 'good old' camera shops aren't around anymore in middle America. You really want a money-back guarantee and no-hassle return, at the minimum.

But I like KEH.com, I send my own family to them to get good quality used digital and film gear - their film camera inventory is second to none.

Indeed, a couple of the stores you have listed make my hair stand on end - many do much of their business online, you know. One I found obnoxious and deceptive, one I luckily avoided after seeing the comments on photo.net, and was darn glad I did after seeing what happened to other customers, if I recall correctly, they were forced to stop doing business. Another constantly pushes their own cheap lenses and digital inventory, I don't trust them to even develop my snapshots after what they did to my prints (even after repeated complaints). And chain stores are hardly the place anymore to get knowledgeable or friendly local service. How much help can a pimply-faced clerk be to anyone when they don't even know how to operate a film camera themselves?

I think there isn't any quick substitute for getting lots of advice, reading up, and then making your own choices.




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2/7/2006 12:28:48 PM

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

In my humble view, the reason that there are so few smaller stores, as you suggest, has much more to with the "coming of digital."

The fact is that, with digital cameras, lots of folks shoot and shoot and shoot in the hopes of getting that great picture. And, that's terrific.

Of course, then they upload images to their home computers and try to print [directly or after editing] - still hoping for that great picture. They certainly can go to CVS, Wal-Mart or a Supermarket; they can use a kiosk, etc.

But, the bottom line for the small store may be the fact that a significant part of its income came from mark-ups on film processing. Thus, no film > no film processing > no small stores. A local shop [in fact, I bought my first Canon EOS from the boss when he was a partner at another store] just went out of business for this reason. Six years ago he was making 16,000 prints/month onhis one-hour machine; today he isn't abe to pay the increased rent!

I agree with you - there's no substitute for getting advise. As I suggested earlier in the thread, reviews by BP staff [e.g. - Peter Burian] make sense. Comments from individuals may be misleading [although well-meaning] because most of us just don't have enough experience with a variety of equipment. That's why, in my Camera Club, we decided that we can't/won't offer to show folks how their new digital works - unless a member has the same make/model, advice may be just guesswork.


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2/7/2006 1:06:05 PM

 
Sean Ronters   "Comments from individuals may be misleading [although well-meaning] because most of us just don't have enough experience with a variety of equipment."

You keep making this accusation. Who, may I ask, are you referring to? If you want to call my comments misleading, fine, but you might want to back that up with a few facts.

I don't know if you own any Nikons, but I have owned quite a few different Nikon and Minolta AF cameras and I think I know what I'm talking about. I've read what others said here about the Nikon cameras and I haven't seen anything that I could call 'misleading'.

If someone comes up with information that's incorrect or unsupportable, seems to me that is a self-correcting situation - everybody else who knows something will jump in and say so. But making veiled insinuations doesn't really help at all.


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2/7/2006 2:53:43 PM

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

I see you're on your white charger and ready to fight. But, you haven't participated in enough of these threads or, at least, the several I read to take offense.

No one [at least not me] challenged anyone's specific comment about Nikon equipment. Rather, my comment reflects that fact that frequent responders pontificate with the authority of a professional on one thread, provide an ill-informed, downright incorrect response in another, launch a question as a rank beginner on a third . . . the list goes on and on.

One of the frequent responders who, for obvious reasons shall remain unnamed, describes himself as a beginner. Less than a year's involvement. He espouses the significance of his use of a medium format camera - "It's the best," he'd have us believe that. And, it well may be. But, in perusing his gallery today, all but ONE of the photos presented were shot with an Elan 7 [or an Elan variant.] In other words, not a medium format. Hmmmm!

Now, my point is that we all must be truthful, consistent and, most important, honest as we offer any opinions or responses to questions.

This point, I believe, remains absolutely valid. Most of us don't own a number of cameras produced by different manufacturers. More likely, if we have two cameras, we have two models produced by the same manufacturer. In my case, I use a Canon EOS 3 [primary] and a Canon EOS 620 [which I bought when auto-everything cameras were first introduce in 1988.]

While I still own a Minolta SRT-201 and have offered images shot with it in my gallery, I do not claim I'm knowledgeable about current [or, perhaps, extinct] Konica-Minolta 35-mm or digital SLRs. Nor do I offer comments about about Nikon equipment, except to say that owning one does not make a person a better photographer - rather a Nikon owner. [Don't know if you read the thread where I repeated that quote from an article I read recently.]

As I ponder all the comments in this thread [taking the place of Ariana,] there is not one recommendation for a camera that I'd want to hang my hat on - whether or not the comment is correct. That's because I might have a deformed hand that doesn't adapt to a given model well, and there's nothing mentioned about that. My comment - that one really needs to handle a camera to "get its feel" remains valid, in my opinion. And, it's just that - my opinion, made without standing on the soapbox of a given manufacturer.

But, and here's the real rub, the burr under your saddle: I'm not a "Nikonian."


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2/7/2006 6:46:42 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  In my defense we'll start with the point noted about me asking a "rank beginner" question. #1 Never understood how digital could have less DOF than film if they are using the same lenses, forgive me for asking. Never leased any expensive equipment for #2 so I just thought I'd ask, sorry again. #3 Never did headshots for a model who love acting in theatre, there's a quote-unquote "specific style" you need..And finally #4 never used a damn warming filter so I thought I'd ask before laying $50 into one. Sure I describe myself as a beginner and amateur. Never made a dime on my photography and yes I'm a beginner, b/c I produce inconsistent results. I'm still working on how to get what I want, PERFECTLY, everytime so yeah I'm still a beginner, sorry I'm not one to spend $3,000 in equipment and shoot in green square mode but dammit I'm still a beginner. Would you call a doctor who's been practicing for 1 1/2 years a pro? Hell no. yes I do say my RB is the best because IT'S MINE and I love it. I tell everyone my wife is the best too because she's MINE and I love her. I'm sure you disagree and say your wife is the best; see what I'm getting at? And there's gotta be more than 1 photo in my gallery where I used the MF. I'll have to check...Ok I checked there's 4. That's 25% of my gallery. Yeah there's more shot with my Elan in there cuz I've shot with it the longest. I haven't shot too much with my RB lately (been rather busy) and the stuff I do shoot I'm trying to perfect in the darkroom rather than scanning.

So I really don't see the damn point in you attacking me so any explanation would be great. If I offer any "ill-informed" information why don't you just correct me on the spot so maybe I and other's could learn from it. I assure you and everyone else here that the information that I've learned from others I try and pass on. Shit sometimes I get a little confused, mix things up sometimes, forgive me for being human and inexperienced. I'm on here to learn just like everyone else. And unfortunately I'm on here more than I shoot b/c of work related issues so the last few months I haven't really gotten a chance for some first hand experience. Any other fuel you'd like to add to the bash justin bonfire, bring it on, I really don't care. It's just funny how you're too immateur to bring matters strait to me. Grow up and act like an adult.


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2/7/2006 7:29:54 PM

 
Sean Ronters   John, you're right that none of these recommendations or bits of advice could possibly cover all questions or forsee all eventualities, if that is your point. But I don't see where Ariana has asked for such guarantees. And WE don't really know what she's done in terms of research. She seems to like the 35mm Nikons, but if it makes you feel better, if she had liked a Canon or Minolta or whatever, that would be just fine with me.

But let's not categorize all advice as worthless unless it comes from a professional or expert, 'cause that's just not accurate. An expert in teaching wildlife photography seminars, a true artist at conducting wedding shoots, might equally have little or no useful technical knowledge of amateur Nikon film cameras. While someone who owned an N80 for 4 years - might. Personally, when it comes to camera equipment choices, I'd rather hear about day-to-day owner and user experiences than what some expert thinks would be a good camera for me.



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2/8/2006 1:18:13 PM

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

You're right on, and you've agreed with me. That user of an N80 should know a lot about it. Any advise on the whole Nikon line, however, might be a stretch. And, that's the point I was making.

As many have said, Pop Photo Magazine never met a product from a major advertiser it didn't like. Actually, when a lemon appears, Pop and other magazines just don't review them. So, there may not be a lot of info about certain models.

Once, again, my suggestion for checking the Burian reviews. There's always the chance a selection of equipment by one or more manufacturers can be compared.

Never said I didn't like Nikon stuff or that I would only accept Canon. When I bought my first EOS, I was shooting with Minolta. The biggest photography break-through of that time [1988]was the Minolta Maxxum 7. So, why didn't I stay with Minolta?

Frankly, I knew my lenses would work - Minolta changed the bayonet system. So, I could consider other manufacturers and did. The Maxxum was one choice, the EOS 620 or 650 were a second, and the Nikon 2002 the third.

While the Nikon 8008 [second or third generation is still around,] the 2002 was a bummer. It certainly scored lowest in all the reviews I read on the three choices in 1988. These were the only games in town.

But, I bought my 620 because it had the automatic bracketting feature, the only one of the first auto-everythings that did. And, I never regretted switching to Canon.

But, had the Nikon 2002 been a better camera . . .

I'd rather use/test a camera myself and make the decision. A good store will lend/rent equipment. I can give you all the raves and report my experiences with my EOS bodies, but I can't say a word about other EOS models.

Man, that's easy.


Justin -

Wish I understood where you're coming from. ALl the points - number 1-4 ???? Where did these come from?

Love you passion - but, your language in a "family Q&A" surely shows someone's immaturity - for sure.

My point - and you may feel you're the brunt - there are lot of new photographers seeking advise. There are a lot of amateurs and more experienced photographers providing help. And, then, there are some folks who know enough to be dangerous - giving partially or totally erroneous information. I'm not saying you're guilty, but if you want to wear the shoe . . .


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2/8/2006 1:47:18 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  man this place is a joke. we got all these people bashing the ammys who claim they are pros and then you check out their galleries and they got no evidence of professional photos. if you want to sh*t on the ammys then have a gallery to back it up. i'm out.


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2/8/2006 1:59:29 PM

 
George Anderson   Sorry John, but there was NO Nikon '2002'. Nikon had a N2000, which was a manual focus camera with integrated motordrive, and in 1985 introduced the N2020, its second AF camera after the F3AF hybrid. The N2020 has been criticized for its slow autofocus, but actually AF speed was about the same as its competition of the time. There certainly was a difference in marketing, though - Nikon, aware of its customer base, marketed the N2020 as a reliable manual-focus camera with an AF option, which could use all recent Nikon MF and the new AF lenses, while Minolta marketed their system solely as an AF platform. The N2020 sold very well, one of the biggest selling Nikon SLRs of all time, mostly to new camera non-Nikon owners (who were impressed by the autofocus). But Nikon had a tough time with the manual-focus crowd, who didn't really accept autofocus until 1988 or so with the introduction of the F4 and N8008.

I can remember standing on the Cliffs of Moher in 1985 watching a well-heeled tourist operate his new Minolta Maxxum, while I had a Nikon FE2. He looked at my 'old' metal camera, I looked at his 'new' plastic one, and we both exchanged looks of disgust. I have to laugh now at my preconceptions, but not their outcome. I still have the FE2 and it still works fine after 60,000 slides.


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2/9/2006 8:12:25 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
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  Thanks George for refreshing my memory. Minolta did bring out the Maxxum in 1985. Canon and Nikon didn't introduce their AF versions for at least six months. There were lots of rumbles in those days about how terrible AF was. Just like today's film vs. digital debate.

The Nikon 2020 - slip of my memory, too, as I wrote 2002 [a friend uses the Nikon 8008 AF currently - I just carried the sequencing.] Nonetheless, in "intro" reviews and "user" reports by Modern Photography [it was still in publication in 1985-86,] Popular Photography amd Peterson's PHOTOgraphic, the Nikon didn't rate with the Maxxum 7 or the Canon EOS 620/650. In addition to slow focus, one of the rubs was ergonomics -it didn't fit the hands well.

I don't recall that the 2020 was a particularly good seller. Nikon brought out its successor [4040 or 4004 ???] fairly quickly - perhaps with improved focusing speed.

I bought the Canon EOS 620 because of the AB feature. You "dial it in" and press the shutter once to take three exposures. And, in the follow-up reviews, the complaint about having to dial in AB for every new picture was heard loud and clear. The 620 was replaced by the 630, in which AB is turned and remained in place until it was turned off. This is the way my EOS 3 works, except I have to press the shutter button three times, the camera makes the exposure change each time. In essence, my 620 was obsolete less than 30 days after I purchased it and less than four months after it was introduced.

Interesting, though, I've seen 620's in used equipment lists [B&H, Adorama,] but not 2020's.

Of course, polycarbonate bodies have been around a long time and, while plastic, they seem to hold up pretty well. My 620 still looks good as new and functions as my back-up camera [always filled with B&W film.]


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2/9/2006 12:19:26 PM

 
George Anderson   "Nonetheless, in "intro" reviews and "user" reports by Modern Photography [it was still in publication in 1985-86,] Popular Photography amd Peterson's PHOTOgraphic, the Nikon didn't rate with the Maxxum 7 or the Canon EOS 620/650. In addition to slow focus, one of the rubs was ergonomics -it didn't fit the hands well."

Of course, you mustn't forget the background of those sources you cite (and criticized heavily before). As you say, those articles were all that was out there for us to read in pre-web days, and we were perhaps excessively subject to their influence. I do remember Herb Keppler as an unabashed Minolta partisan, for example. But, by emphasizing certain attributes of each camera, I could make any of them sound superior.

The AF of the Nikon wasn't a great deal slower than the Maxxum, given the technology of the day, (Minolta would later regret some of its early autofocus success with its loss to Honeywell on the patent infringement suit) but it's true the Maxxum's ergnonomics, buttons, and 'wow' factor got a lot of praise. The N2020 had a better FOV viewfinder, faster flash sync speed, alloy housing, and a more reliable, if old-fashioned, manual film rewind mechanism. At the time, Autofocus was really an amateur's preference - many pros did not find it fast enough (in any camera) of the day to be truly useful.

Of course today, many of the original Maxxum 7000s, their autowind mechanisms, and LCD display panels have gone to camera heaven, while the 'odd duck' N2020 and the older Canons usually still work fine (except for the latter's sticky shutter bumper, which is easy to fix). The N2020's real worst enemy was other Nikon owners, many of whom still hate it.

"I don't recall that the 2020 was a particularly good seller. Nikon brought out its successor [4040 or 4004 ???] fairly quickly - perhaps with improved focusing speed"

Yes, the N2020 sold very well - though not that well to older Nikon owners. It is actually one of the top-selling Nikon bodies of all time, believe it or not (and most Nikon owners do not want to!). But all Nikon AF cameras faced stiff initial resistance by many Nikon owners, especially serious photographers and pros - even at the end of the 1980s - and there were many nasty comments when the autofocus F4 appeared (the MF predecessor F3 was so loved it continued in production until 2000).

It's true the N2020's successor, the N4004, had improved AF speed - but to many Nikon buyers, this was not impressive. The N4004 was targeted to beginning 'consumer-level' photographers, had a radically different body style, plastic body, could not work with MF lenses, and was a real sales flop.

"Of course, polycarbonate bodies have been around a long time and, while plastic, they seem to hold up pretty well."

Yes they have, but they also have gone through a myriad of material design changes over the years in order to achieve better impact resistance. Early plastic housings on some models were rather brittle. I see a lot of cracked plastic housings on older AF cameras these days.



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2/9/2006 1:09:03 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   Just an update. I purchased a Nikon n80 from KEH. I also bought a camera bag, batteries, lense, and a uv filter. All of this for around $200.

Ariana


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2/9/2006 6:39:53 PM

 
Ariana Curiel   Just a little history. I've been wanting to get a SLR for quite a long time. The Pentax IQ 90 that my family was using got lost while we were on vacation. I am hoping that since an SLR is generally bigger than a point and shoot that it will be harder to misplace.

I am looking forward to playing with my first ever SLR. Again thanks for all of the advice.


Ariana


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2/9/2006 6:44:08 PM

 
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