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Photography Question 

Digital or SLR????

I was really considering buying a SLR camera like a Nikon F5 but I have been told by many people (not proffesionals) that Digital is coming so more advanced that they will be much better.

I want to beable to take really good photo's and I want to learn more I dont know what kind of camera to get. I was thinking I could get the best out of photos with SLR camera's but im not sure anymore.

I really want to become good I dont want to just photos just for the fun of it so to speak. I want to take photos that really catch someones eye.

Im not sure if I should go Digital or to Film based SLR.

Please help.


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2/4/2004 5:53:24 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  There's a difference between being able to take good or great pictures, and being able to easily dress up plain photos with a program.
If you want to build a house, the newest, most advanced drills and saws aren't any better than old, used drills and saws if you don't know how to build a house.
So you have to decide what you want to do with a camera and whether or not film or digital is what you need to do it. And that's anything from price of the camera to what you're going to end up doing with the photos you take.
If you can afford digital, and it lets you do what you need to do that film has drawbacks with like the quickness of putting on a web site, or whatever, than you can go with digital.
But don't make the confusion that digital is going to inherently make you better at taking pictures. I would say that a digital camera can accelerate the learning, because with the monitor you can see what changes do to the look of a photo.
But taking good pictures is taking good pictures.

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2/4/2004 7:26:32 PM

Sayeed Huq   Jeff,

You've the capability to buy a Nikon F5, an expensive camera in SLR family. Why don't you go for any digital SLR? If you can afford it. Better go for DSLR of any brand - Nikon / Canon. See the detail features before buying it.

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2/5/2004 12:49:05 AM

Jeff    Do you know where I could get some information on Digital SLR's?

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2/5/2004 5:25:21 AM

Jeff    I have looked at a few sites with Digital SLR's and seen what you can do with them.

They are incredible just what im looking for just too expensive for me... to out of my price range. Not sure what to settle for at the moment. I dont know what I should settle for but I want a camera which I can learn abit about something that I can get alot of learning out of.

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2/5/2004 5:40:19 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  You have to think about more than the price of the camera for digital. There's the price of the flash card, if you have a computer, if you think you'll need an editing program(although you'll probably get one with the camera),if you have a printer to do your own photos.
But being able to do your own stuff is a great thing about digital. And also experimenting dosen't feel so critical. If it dosen't work, delete and try again. You don't feel like you're wasting film.
There are good digitals for around 1,500 now. But if you look around, you can find a good used film camera, and save some money and get a good lens. Then later on if you have more money, you can get a digital body and keep using the same lens.

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2/5/2004 8:17:29 AM

doug Nelson   Gregory L. is making good sense here. The photographer makes the picture, not the stuff. Digital, with its storage cards, software and computer is quite a financial commitment. The great thing about photography is that the simplest stuff is often the best. Get a Nikon FM and a 50mm 1.8 lens and take a course. Try shooting black-and-white and developing your own film. Shoot slides to test and refine your exposure skills. Look at Henri Cartier Bresson's pictures in a library and realize that his lenses were crude compared to the $50 50mm on any SLR. Buy a short tele and a wide later, when you see what a 50mm can do.

In the meantime, if you want to learn digital from the ground up, get a flatbed scanner for your computer and Elements 2 imaging software. You can scan your prints and learn image editing. Some flatbeds can scan negatives and slides as well. You may later decide to buy a film scanner and scan directly from your film.

Give it a few years. By then digital SLR's will be cheaper and better. They're all having some growing pains right now. The early learning process is no place to have to deal with one maker's raw format mismatching someone else's software. By then, you'd know what depth-of-field, exposure and contrast are, you'd develop your own style, and be way ahead of the "set it on Auto and point" crowd. If you decide a digital SLR is what you want, one of Nikon's can use manual or auto focus Nikkor lenses.

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2/5/2004 9:58:52 AM

Jeff    I understand a photographer makes a photo and thats what I like to do. I dont like the idea of just digital camera's as much because it seems you dont have as much control with settings like shutter speed.

So I think I will get a Nikon SLR camera but I dont have a place where I can self develop it I would have to get my film developed at a shop.

But yes I like your idea of wait a few years untill I get some more money and they will become cheaper and better. Because I will be still Looking for a Digital SLR in the future.

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2/5/2004 4:37:10 PM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  Jeff, if you want to take a look at digital camera reviews as they come out, check out these sites:

Digital cameras do have shutter controls. In fact, they have ISO, White Balance, Exposure, Aperture, and Shutter controls. The white balance being the equivelent of changing to a film balanced for a particular light.

With Digital, you get the advantage of learning as you go without having to keep paying for film, development costs, and time. I would say that you will learn more quickly if you can see what went right/wrong in a few seconds as opposed to taking all of your shots now and waiting a day or more for them to come back and then having to match up shots with your notes.

The thing with scanning film is that there is only so much data to be pulled from the film. I think the ballpark range was 3500-4000dpi scans will get all there is to get from film of anykind. But that assumes pro-level lenses used in their prime focal length range with rock-steady shots in great lighting on extra fine grain film. For most people and their equipment, they will most likely not be in this category and will suffice with 2400dpi scans.

Put into megapixels for a 35mm(36mmx25mm I'm rounding up), you get:

@1200dpi: 1728x1200 => 2073600 pixels or 2.07MP
@2400dpi: 3456x2400 >= 8294400 pixels or 8.29MP

A typical prosumer digital SLR with interchangable lenses or fixed 5x,7x,10x lenses will cost in the range of $500 - $1500(lens included) and provide you with 5MP to 8MP of digital images without having to develop film or scanning film. Ie, no cleaning up dust/lint in the scanned negatives. No wait time for film development.

It is something to think about. Before I bought my first digital camera, I took a look at my film, development, printing, and scanning costs for using a 35mm SLR. I then tallied up my costs for the digital camera, digital memory card, and reader. I determined that for any given camera in the $800-$1200 price range, I would have to take about 2000 photos to justify the cost.

I took about 200 pictures in the entire time I owned a film camera. I have taken about 800 pictures with my first digicam(1.3MP, 3xoptical, $400 purchase price). I have taken about 3500 pictures with my second digicam(2.1MP, 10xoptical, $700 purchase price). I bought my third digicam about 2 months ago and have taken over 700 pictures with it. It is a 5MP, 7X optical, $700 camera. I have upgraded my camera about once every 2 years. I basically wait for technology to make the leap, but I leap with it.

The truth is, I take alot of pictures and of all the pictures I take, I KNOW I will only want to use a fraction of them. With digital, I can practice as often as I want without having to pay to practice.

Ultimately, it will depend on what you want to do and what your budget is. But I would strongly recommend tallying up your film based camera costs(film, developing, prints, time, scanner, camera, lens) and your digital camera costs(camera, storage cards, reader, lens?) and seeing how long you intend to use either one.

I have found consistently that going digital is cheaper... even if I upgrade every 2 years since I easily take 2000-3000 pictures in a year's time. That's alot of film, development, and print processing.

Good luck with your photography!

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2/12/2004 3:18:21 PM

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