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Photography QnA: Comparing Camera Models

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : 35mm Cameras : Comparing Camera Models

Comparing cameras? Or are you looking for the right camera for you? This QnA will help when you are choosing between particular camera models.

Page 1 : 1 -6 of 6 questions

Photography Question 
Jerrica Dalton

member since: 8/16/2002
  1 .  A Beginner Looking for Answers
I have always loved photography as my hobby, and now I want to turn it into a business. I know that I need to play around before I start a busniess. I have 2 small children so they can be my ginny pigs=-)! Anyway I have a Rebel Ti, but my question is... I am going to do portraits so should I stick with my 35mm, or go to a medium format camera? I will probably start with pictures outside only and then working my way inside. Any suggestion for a begginer would be greatly appreciated. I am having trouble finding good information.

2/29/2004 7:58:59 PM

  Jerrica, I started off with the same camera! Don't feel like you have to go medium format just because it's there. The most important thing for you is to get great pictures. Fous on consistency. No matter what camera you have, all that matters is great results. There will always be better and more expensive equipment, but if you take great pictures, you will take great pictures with whatever you use. The Rebel Ti is a great camera, don't let yourself be intimidated by what the "experts" use. Some of their pictures aren't terribly spectacular! Know your camera and have fun with it. At first I was intimidated to do studio shots because the lighting aspect was made out to sound so difficult. Well it's not! You may be a beginner but you have fresh eyes and fresh ideas, just express yourself in your work and have fun with it.

3/1/2004 10:44:15 AM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/19/2004
  I like Jen's comments - I also would have to say concentrate on the camera you have. Good photography is not about who has the best equipment - use your imagination and you will be surprised what results you can get. As you know camera equip can be expensive so check out used first and go from there. Find a few basic poses etc that work well for you and stick to them untill you are comfortable and perfected them, then branch out from there.
Good luck - you are going to have tons of fun!

3/1/2004 1:18:58 PM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  In response,film choice is a really imortant factor in studio work,and lens and filter choice also IMHO will play a huge role in your finished product,and lets not kid ourselves,medium format is so so well suited to most studio work if you can afford the jump to it,Mamiya does make some TLR cameras that look to be well suited for the work you have in mind,with interchangeable lenses and can be had at a fairly reasonable price in the used marketplace allthe best!!!!

3/3/2004 11:30:46 AM


member since: 7/1/2000

I came across the question that you posted regarding either using the 35 mm format for doing portraits or using medium format. I noticed that you posted this question nearly two years ago, but I will comment on the subject.

Both 35 mm and medium format have their respective places in taking pictures. If you are happy with the results you're getting with your Rebel, then 35 mm will suffice. However, if you are serious about making large portraits, then medium format would offer you this advantage. If I know that I won't be enlarging beyond 11"x14", then I will usually shoot with either a 35 mm Leica R8 or a Leica M7 rangefinder. On the other hand, if I think there is a remote chance that I may want to make a print larger than 11"x14", I will use a Rollei 6008 Integral 6x6 square medium format. With 35 mm, when you start to enlarge beyond 11"x14", grain begins to show up versus with a square medium format, grain doesn't become a problem until you go past a 30"x30" size print.

3/19/2006 12:06:43 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  I agree with Michael and Dale. Also, while doing quality work isn't necessarily about having the best equipment, still, you need to try and match the format to the job. And, the camera itself isn't necessarily indicative of the kind of grain you'll get at higher magnifications. That's really more a factor of using fine grain emulsions suited to portrait work at least when you shoot with film.

You also want to have relatively good quality optics that provide sharp images, or at least be able to have sufficient light to have adequate depth of field on your subjects, especially when shooting head shots.

My own preference is the Hasselblad system which will likely be out of your budget at this point, but still there are some great deals to be had on used Hasselblad equipment and as many medium format SLR cameras, it allows you to build on the basic system. That includes a great series of lenses, film magazines, yes, even a digital back if you can afford about 5 grand.

Anyway, the larger the format you use, then the larger you can comfortably make prints, and the bigger the print, the larger the sale. In fact, a lot of guys with portrait studios only have large (really large) prints hanging in their reception areas just to encourage people to buy that size as opposed to 8x10 or 11x14 since there ain't a lot of money in that. Instead, you have to hike your shoot fees to compensate. See what I mean?
As an additional thought, you could buy a clean used crown graphic press camera that shoots 4x5 format and would allow you to use a polaroid back to check results. Say a 150 or 200mm lens and lensboard. Works great for portraits and will probably run you a lot less than other MF Slrs.

But before you go out and buy anything or even start marketing, you really ought to have put together a flexible, realistic business plan along with a budget for everything you can presently anticipate needing. According to the IRS, (among others) most small biz start-ups fail in 3 or less years because of poor planning and /or lack of start-up capitalization.

Take it light.

3/19/2006 11:38:05 AM

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Photography Question 
River Side

member since: 9/10/2001
  2 .  Oh No.. Not another Rebel 2000 vs N65 Question!
Hi Guys,

I've narrowed down my search for a beginner SLR 35mm AF camera to the Canon Rebel 2000 and Nikon N65. I just need to clarify a few things.

1. How durable are these cameras. (Has Canon's plastic construction really affected it's durability?).

2. The N65 doesn't have Mirror Lockup. What exactly is it and why would I need it.. If I'd need it at all?

3. The N65 shoots 2.5fps when in Sports Mode ONLY. Is this true? and does that mean I can't take multiple photos in a manual mode? Does the Canon let you take it's 1.5fps pictures in any mode?

4. There is no remote control on the Canon. Is there a Self Timer? Is it good enough? How about the Self Timer on the N65?

5. There is no connection for external flash on Canon. True or False? Can I add one later?

6. How is the battery life on both cameras. Are they both battery guzzlers or economical to own.

7. Is there any difference in PQ when using a 50mm/f1.8 or f1.4 Canon or Nikkor lens respectively.

8. What is a PC connection. Do these Cameras have it?

9. I can stretch my budget a little. So are the N80 and Canon Elan 7 really worth the price difference going a step above?

10. If I never want to upgrade to telephoto or other complex/advanced lenses, which brand Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax is best for me?

Thanks for your patience. I'm as green as they come in Photography.. but I promise, if you have any questions on setting up a HT, I'd be very glad to help you out in return :)

9/10/2001 11:40:42 AM

Elaine S. Robbins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2000
  I purchased a Rebel 2000 in April and have really enjoyed it - I, too, had been weighing the Canon against the Nikon N65. Ultimately I just preferred the way the Canon felt in my hands as well as the bright viewfinder and layout of the controls. As for your questions:

1. I took my Rebel hiking in the Badlands of North Dakota. I was pretty careful with it, but it still got a few bumps - and it was fine. I don't give a whole lot of credence to those who complain about the plastic because frankly, if you drop/bump it that hard then you're just not being careful enough. Pros who do a lot of field work maybe are justified in having a "really rugged" camera, but for us normal folks, I don't think it really matters.

2. Mirror Lockup is when you can pre-fire the mirror of an SLR before actually firing the shutter. It is useful for long or very low light exposures where the vibration of the mirror could cause blur. I've done 20 second exposures without it (since the Rebel doesn't have it) and the slides are plenty sharp.

3. I have no idea....

4. Actually, you can buy a remote for the Canon, as well as a cable release. It also has a self-timer (10 seconds, though it may be programmable) that would work as well as long as your subject isn't moving much (i.e. not sports or animals, etc).

5. False. It has a hot shoe and can hence be added to.

6. I don't really know. I'm still on my first pair of batteries, since April, have probably shot 100 rolls. However, I don't use the flash much - flash sucks batteries on any camera.

9. I don't know much about either, however, now that I'm seeing Elan 7s online for $300-400, I'm almost wishing that I'd waited a little. On the other hand, the Rebel is extremely light and compact for an SLR, particularly one with so many features - I can carry it around in a midsize purse and no one's the wiser (very convenient while traveling).

10. Both Canon and Nikon have excellent lenses. I don't think it really matters. I'm saving up for a 75-300 IS lens by Canon - either of the cameras you're considering could be used with higher-quality lenses.

Good luck!


9/16/2001 3:36:05 PM

Yaron Kidron

member since: 7/29/2001
  1. They are durable enough, for most daily needs. Neither are built as tanks. Both the N80 and Elan 7 feel much better. Plastic is a none-issue really. Top cameras are usually composed of PolyComposites, the same material that NASA builds essential space-crafts. And that also has a plasticy feel.

2. Mirror lockup is mostly needed in Macro photography; if you intend in embarking seriously in this kind of photography, neither models would suite you. However, this is a very specific niche. For nearly all occasions, mirror lockup is not required (When you lock the mirror, you can not frame your picture!)

3. Can't provide any input on that.

4. False. you can buy a remote or a cable release for both bodies. (there are several models available). There is also a timer.

5. You can add any EOS flash system to the Rebel 2000. Take note though, that flash performance is considered to be better optimized with Nikons. The higher priced Canons (as well as the Elan 7) match the Nikons though in this term.

6. Irrelevant; you would spend much more on film than on batteries. In any case, you can buy battery packs for both bodies- these could easily prolong battery-depended camera life.

7. The f/1.4s are marginally better in picture quality. However,they are constructed to meet pro-usage, and the EOS version employs USM (as well as full time manual focusing). Is it worth the extra money? if you are planning to study photography, the 50mm lens is the best way to start. However, Most people will NOT see the difference in PQ.

8. Neither do, and if you're not planning to shoot in a studio, then forget all about it.

9. I believe they actually do worth the extra cash. BUT- a better camera would not necessarily translate to better photography, at least for starters. If you don't need extra-ruggedness, faster AF, fast film advance and more manual control, then buy the lower priced bodies, and invest in a tripod, a remote release, and loads of film. THIS would make you a better photographer.

10. Nikon has the most elaborate lens line. It also provides you with the option of buying lower-priced, manual focus Nikkor lenses, and hooking them up to the N65 (You need to check for compatibility, though- some lenses would not meter correctly). The EOS line has loads of lenses as well, some of which are world-class leaders, especially with stabilized telephotos, and standard-tele zooms. Minolta and Pentax travel behind. It does not matter what they have to offer, just remember- the more you spend on a lens, the better lens you're going to have; and in most cases, your lens collection is going to far outweigh your camera body in terms of price.

9/17/2001 12:43:42 PM


member since: 5/27/2003
The N65 is slightly better by a very slim margin. The Canon has some interesting features, but overall the Nikon feels and handles just a tad better. This does not mean, however, that this comparison holds true on up the line of these manufacturers' products.

I myself am trying to decide between the Elan 7 or N80. I'm quite intrigued with Nikon, but I want to eventually go digital and think Canon may be a cheaper solution. Any ideas? (Apologies if this is a retread as I'm new to the forum).

5/27/2003 3:25:25 PM


member since: 5/27/2003
  The N65 is slightly better by a very slim margin. The Canon has some interesting features, but overall the Nikon feels and handles just a tad better. This does not mean, however, that this comparison holds true on up the line of these manufacturers' products.

I myself am trying to decide between the Elan 7 or N80. I'm quite intrigued with Nikon, but I want to eventually go digital and think Canon may be a cheaper solution. Any ideas? (Apologies if this is a retread as I'm new to the forum).

5/27/2003 3:25:57 PM

Judith A. Clark

member since: 9/14/2002
  8. There is an adaptor that you can buy making your hotshoe into a PC. You only use this if you are going to fire some none dedicated flash units, and studio lights. I know on my old Canon, I had a few camera stores tell me it would not work, but it did as long as I used manual. I have a Nikon D100 now and use the same adapter to fire my lights also in manual. If you are useing studio lights, you need to have a light meter to meter the scene anyway, so manual is not a problem.

5/28/2003 3:52:12 AM

River Side

member since: 9/10/2001
  Well well well.. it's been a while I visited this thread.. I think just for fun, after two years and still using the Rebel 2K and opting not to shell more for the Elan 7, I should respond to my own questions.

1. The camera is still going strong.. personally I have discovered the people who complain about 'plastic' are used to older bodies.. as the new 'plastic' is quite resilient against proper use.

2. I never felt the need for a Mirror Lockup so far.. the Elan 7 has it, plus the lit focusing points, but i'm opting against upgrading the body .. I may invest more on the lens instead.

3. Again... haven't used the continuous shooting mode for the Rebel 2K so I guess it wasn't relevant.

4. There is a self timer.. I use it quite often.. haven't found the need for a remote control yet.

5. ok.. that was a silly question .. the hot shoe takes compatible flashes.. in fact i'm using a Vivitar 285HV instead of the expensive TTL Canon options.

6. Batteries drain faster if I use the on camera flash.. but i've just bought a bunch of AA NiMH batteries and a Maha charger and plan to get the Canon BP-200 battery pack which allows the use of AA batteries.

7. sorry again.. that was a lens question thrown in between a body questions.. but hey.. I was a newbie back then.. I got the 50mm 1.8 (1.4 too rich for my blood) PQ is great as long as I stay at 5.6 or above.. goes a little softer at the edges at 4 and softer still wider than that.

8. I can't recall why I asked this.. maybe I read their specs..anyway dunno and dun really care now.

9. I think the main problem with the Rebel 2K is the dull viewfinder, unlit LCD and focusing points and a little hard to find in the dark controls.

The Elan 7, or the new Rebel Ti for that matter have focusing points that light up and metal lens mounts, BUT i'm sticking with my Rebel 2K because of the great AF system and the metering which to date has been great for such an affordable body.

I have learnt the hard way that better lenses not better bodies make a better picture.

10. Still have no need for specialty lenses.. IMO Canon has the edge now with it's AF system and the USM IS lenses.. Nikon has the USM equivalent but very few if any IS kinda lenses.

I think I did good going with the Canon Rebel 2K. Gonna replace the dog 28-105mm USM with the less-of-a-dog consumer 28-135mm IS as my all time traveller lens and concentrate more on technique and pray to win the lottery to get into the L lenses.

Thanks everybody for the responses.. i'm not so green as I was two years ago.. but there is a long way to go.. To anyone else faced with the predicament; unless you have inherited a sack of Nikkors, Go Rebel 2K .. u can get it for like $150 these days .. and if u want more, get the Rebel Ti (lit focusing points great advantage) .. they blow the entry Nikons out of the water till it gets to N80 and then u have Elan 7 to take care of it.

5/30/2003 12:57:51 PM

Melissa Williams

member since: 3/29/2003
  I love my Rebel 2000 and I work in a camera store so I've gotten to play with the Nikons. I think it's now discontinued, Wolf/Ritz/Kits Cameras only has ten left in their warehouse.
I have the remote switch, it's called the RS-60E3. It is not wireless, but it allows for bulb exposures, and helps with camera shake on slow exposures, since you're not touching the camera to release the shutter. I don't think there is a wireless version. If I'm wrong, tell me where I can get one. I use a 28-200 Tamron lens for almost everything. I hardly ever use my other three lenses unless it's for some specific reason like filter size. I didn't like the feel of the Rebel Ti, but that's just me. I don't feel the need for a lit LCD personally, I just look in the viewfinder to see the f stop and shutter speed. I like that it has a lot of focus points but I think it might bug me if they lit up. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of each and decide which one suits you best. There's no such thing as "The best camera." Find the one that's best for YOU. Then create your images with what you have: your eye, and your knowledge of shutter and f-stop.

6/23/2003 10:59:22 PM

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Photography Question 
Dani M

member since: 9/2/2001
  3 .  Which is Better - Nikon N80 or Canon Rebel 2000?
Which is better Nikon N80 or Canon Rebel 2000? Do either of these come with the date stamp?

9/6/2001 2:20:04 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The N80 is a much better and much more expensive camera than the Rebel 2000. The N65 and the Rebel 2000 are equivalent. The N80 and the Elan 7/7e are roughly equivalent. All 4 models are available in a QD (Quartz Date) version.

[Editor: here is a link to the Nikon N80 QD date version although I never recommend using the date function, myself. I find it distracting. - Jim]

9/6/2001 3:49:44 PM

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Photography Question 

member since: 10/30/2000
  4 .  Buying Medium Format Camera
I am strongly considering buying a Bronica RF645, but was curious if anyone has tried this camera. It looks well priced and I have heard it has good optics. I was also considering the Mamiya 7 II but wasn't sure if I want to go all out with price. I will be shooting primarily landscapes, and recommendations on what camera I should look into? Your personal choice?

9/5/2001 10:34:32 AM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  See for comments from pro users of both. The Mamiya is a little heavier, but you get a bigger negative. I've checked out the optics of both in magazines, and see no difference in quality. I'm told you can get a much better price in Europe; seems the manufacturers of both are soaking the Yanks and Canadians. I'd choose the Mamiya, but I haven't used it, just considering it.

9/5/2001 1:07:19 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I like the bigger neg so I would go for the Mamiya. Plus the Bronica requires you to turn the camera on it's ear to shoot a horizontal. Not a plus for landscape photography.

9/6/2001 12:58:06 AM


member since: 10/30/2000
  What do you mean turn the camera on its ear??

9/6/2001 9:54:15 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Most cameras, when held normally, take horizontal pictures. 645 cameras when held normally are vertically oriented. So every time you want to shoot a horizontal landscape you will have to rotate the camera 90 degrees.

9/6/2001 10:57:32 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  A clarification about 645 format:
Not all of them run the film horizontally (creating a vertical format). IIRC, it's the rangefinders that do. Most (all?? I haven't done an exhaustive check) of the 645 SLR's run the film through the back vertically which gives a horizontal format. Example: Mamiya M645. It's the reason I have a 645 SLR and not an RF.

Even so, if you use a 645 SLR with horizontal format, I strongly recommend a prism finder, not a waist-level finder. It's a royal pain to use a WLF sideways!

-- John

9/6/2001 2:08:16 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Thanks John, I'm afraid I wasn't specific enough in regards to rangefinders vs SLR's.

9/6/2001 6:12:07 PM


member since: 10/30/2000
  I would hate to have to hold the Bronica on its side to shoot landscapes. I don't think I can afford the Mamiya 7II. Is the Mamiya 7, and Mamiya 6 about the same as the new one, both with built in meter?? Maybe I will get a Fuji GSW69 II.

9/6/2001 8:17:00 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  The Mamiya 6 (6x6 RF) has built-in metering with both aperture priority and manual exposure mode. The only lenses for it are a 50mm f/4, 75mm f/3.5, and 150mm f/4.5 which would comprise a basic set of short, standard and modestly long lenses. (IMO it's a limitation, but for some users it's more than enough.)

There is also a 6MF version of the body; MF = multi-format. Of note among its several different formats is the 645 mask: it still only allows 12 shots per roll versus the typical 15 from a true 645. Some users complained about the complex sets of viewfinder lines for the various formats.

-- John

9/6/2001 9:10:22 PM


member since: 10/30/2000
  So, which one do you feel is the best, the 6 RF or MF?

BTW, have your tried the Fuji GSW69II

9/6/2001 11:36:54 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
"Best" depends on evaluation criteria and how much they are weighted. If I were offered one or the other I would pick the "6" over the "6MF" body. Rationale: simplicity combined with not having a very real use for the other formats the "6MF" offers. Someone else would pick the other one if there is a need or valued use for the other formats beyond basic 6x6.

I haven't tried the Fuji. In looking at the specs, a consideration is lack of interchangeable lenses. It comes with a 90mm f/3.5, a "standard" for that format. This may or may not be important depending on how much you anticipate wanting to use the perspective of a short lens or long lens versus a standard length. Some MF users don't and some do. It's a question you must answer based on your photography.

A general (emphasis on general) observations about various frame sizes in medium format:
(a) Lens speed goes down and price increases with size of frame.
(b) Obviously, size and weight increase with size of frame.
(c) Obviously, resolution and ability to greatly enlarge goes up with frame size.
(d) If slide projection is a consideration, the easiest are 645 and 6x6 as they use standard 7x7 cm slide frames. There are a couple 6x7 projectors, but selection of make/model is extremely limited.

These are all trade-offs in your decisions as well.

-- John

9/7/2001 1:09:07 PM

Gerard FitzGerald

member since: 11/27/2000
  Hello Stephen,

I used to have a Bronica 645 ETRSi and found it a brilliant box of tricks. I changed to a Fuji 6X9 as most of my work in photographing ship's (marine industry). I find the Fuji very easy to use and focus, particularly in low light, also less fiddely bits when changing film (cant drop spare film back into the briney). The optics are brilliant and the results from the 6X9 neg ... well, what can I say.

Regards... Ger

9/15/2001 5:53:28 AM


member since: 5/11/2001
  Hi Stephen,

I hold the GSW690 in my camera bag as the third (to my F1 system) and the only medium format body. The format is natural and viewfinder precise. The landscapes come out real. Furthermore, surprise: it is great for portraits too as long as the film is very fast. For someone like me who already have invested a lot and is quite happy with performance of 35mm, the GSW690 adds to a range of possibilities. I consider fixed lens an advantage for medium format; the prices and the weights of telephotos are prohibitive.

9/17/2001 11:49:41 AM

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Photography Question 
Amber Mizer

member since: 6/18/2001
  5 .  The Right Camera
I am torn between a Nikon N80, N90 and F100. I know for sure I want a Nikon because of the extensive lens capability.

I will be mostly shooting weddings, portraits and candids on location. I plan to use Kodak Portra film with high quality processing and I need a camera that will give me the sharp pictures, lots of flexiblity and ease of use for quick shots.

I am an amateur looking to "go professional" and need a camera to grow with. I would love to find one with a remote trigger and a grip. Also, is medium format the only form that allows interchangable backs for mid-roll changes?

Thanks so much... I could really use some great advice on this! OH! Also... have you ever heard of the New York Institute of Photography, and do you recommend their course?



8/20/2001 5:15:37 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
Instead of telling you which Nikon body to buy, my advice is thinking about the entire system you will need for this. It goes beyond body and lens. Consider the light path that results in an image on the negative:
Light Source(s) -> Subject(s) -> Lens -> Film

You didn't mention anything about lighting equipment, so I don't know if you've thought about it. I recommend your first priority be on lighting; both equipment to create it and to control it. These are the most important tools of the wedding and portrait photographer. It goes beyond on-camera flash and even a powerful "potato masher" flash handle a photojournalist might use. You will have to create more light than the average hot shoe flash can create, you will need to be able to provide it from any direction, control where it goes, and control how harsh or soft it is. Complete control is not possible "on location" compared to a studio, but there much that can be (reflectors, diffusers, etc.). For weddings, you need to produce a portable studio for the formal groupings. If you haven't investigated what you will need in lighting equipment, you should do so. The list of possibilities and options go beyond the scope of this Q&A. Look for some books at a large bookstore or library about portrait lighting. Part of your studies will undoubtedly include this too.

I won't say much about the subjects. Your studies will also include methods of posing people and groups of people along with controlling lighting.

The lens is more important than the specific camera body. The optical qualities of the lens(es) you have will affect the images much more than the camera body. Buy excellent optics and place budget priority on them over the camera body. I also recommend buying body and lens separately. The ones bundled with these bodies are at the bottom end of the Nikkor's (typical is a 28-80 zoom). By buying them separately you avoid paying for a lens you will not use.

The most important aspects of a camera body for professionals is reliability and durability. A full-time professional can easily shoot over 1000 frames of film a week. Film usage is measured as a "burn rate" in frames per hour when working, and it is bought by the "brick" (IIRC, that's 20 rolls). Any of the bodies you mention are capable of the essentials you require, albeit a few things require workarounds (i.e. lack of a PC socket). For professional use, probably the N90s or F100 would be better.

Last, think about backup for essential equipment. No professional I know of shoots a wedding without some kind of usable backup for lighting, lens(es) and camera body. It may not be as new, easy to use or elegant as the primary hardware, but it can be pressed into service. Something that can be used to continue shooting is better . . . much, much better . . . than being dead in the water (the ultimate nightmare for a wedding photographer). If you have a 35mm SLR camera body and lens now, I strongly sugget keeping them as backup until you build enough of your new system that you have some backup equipment with it.

-- John

8/22/2001 12:10:55 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
Forgot about your second question . . . removeable backs for mid-roll changes. I don't know of any 35mm SLR system that allows the kind of quick mid-roll changes that removable film backs with "dark slides" on medium format SLR bodies allow.

You can change film mid-roll on a manual wind, manual rewind 35mm SLR, but it's a royal pain, takes a few minutes, and you lose a frame doing it. Here's the procedure:
a. Note frame counter and rewind until you feel film just pull out of the takeup, then STOP.
b. Open camera back, pull out cannister and _mark_it_ with the next frame to be used (last used frame plus two; leaves a blank frame to prevent overlapping images).
c. Load next film cannister.

To reload a partially used roll:
a. note next frame to wind to (it was marked on it, right?) and load the film.
b. put lens cap on, set shutter to highest shutter speed, and stop lens down completely.
d. Cup hand over the lens cap, then shoot and wind until you're at the next frame to be used. I keep my hand cupped over the lens cap just in case there's a slight light leak around it.

I don't know how one can do this with the newer bodies that have auto loading and motorized wind/rewind built into them. By comaprison, inserting a dark slide, pulling off a film back, putting a new one on and pulling out its dark slide is much, much easier.

I recommend building a solid 35mm SLR system before moving into medium format. They're very nice to use for portraiture and formal shots at weddings. The negatives allow huge prints with magnificent detail levels. However, medium format SLR's with prism finders are big and heavy compared to 35mm, and film loading takes longer (unless you have a stack of preloaded backs). They easily become unwieldly and tiring at wedding receptions where the shooting style is more photojournalist.

-- John

8/22/2001 12:42:12 AM

Amber Mizer

member since: 6/18/2001

Thank you so much for your thorough answer of my questions. I appreciate you input more than you know, as I've had such a hard time finding someone who really knows about this stuff and is not just trying to sell me equipment!

I know you didn't want to specify a camera without knowing lighting, but if you could choose between the N90s and the F100, which do you think would be more useful for what I need? Please keep in mind that I will need it in my beginning stages (which is to say I know nothing of apertures and shutter speeds, yet) as well as when I get to be more of a professional.

As far as lighting... the reason I'm focusing on the camera, quite frankly, is because the whole package is so overwhelming and confusing, and I really have no idea what to look for. Plus, I know that if I HAVE to start out with just a camera and a good speedlight, I can do that and just charge not much over my expenses. I am supposed to shoot a preschool next month and I had planned to buy a soft box light (no idea the technical term, sorry) and a backdrop, but haven't even considered what I'm going to need for an October wedding I have. I had already planned to buy the lenses seperately... probably a wide to normal and a zoom? Is there anythink I really need to look for when purchasing lenses? Since I want top of the line for excellent pictures...

I definately plan on keeping my Minolta, even though I can't control shutter speed or aperture at all... it has programs like portrait, landscape... maybe eventually will buy another SLR. And I definately plan to steer clear of medium format until I'm quite good at all this. Besides, the budget does not allow that, yet!

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm running out of time and need to start buying all this equipment.


8/22/2001 8:29:06 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
At this point I would lean toward the N90s which allows a larger budget for lighting and lenses. You can do a wedding with on-camera flash. However, you should use a flash bracket. It needs to keep the flash directly above the lens, no matter which way you turn the camera. It should also elevate it a number of inches higher than the hot shoe to better control shadows and greatly reduce red-eye risks. Red-eye at receptions with low lighting and after people have consumed some alcohol can be a big problem (the alcohol dilates the pupils even more). Stroboframe is one of *the* names in flash brackets. If there is a large camera store near you, take a look at the different ones they have. Ensure your camera body will fit it and that you feel reasonably comfortable with holding it. You will have to run a cable from the camera to the flash head. I believe Nikon has one the slides into the hot shoe and connects to the flash. There are two basic styles of bracket: one the allows you to flip the flash to keep it above the lens as you turn the camera, and the other allows rotating the camera inside the frame. Your flash should have a GN of at least 100-110, and 125 is even better. You will lose between 1-2 stops of light with a diffuser on the flash head, depending on make and model. Practice with using the bracket. It takes a little getting used to. There's more weight and camera balance changes signficantly with it.

See also my tutorial for weddings here:

It's geared for the advanced amateur who does not have more sophisticated portable strobes, light stands, etc., the cost of which is not justifed in using them only once or twice.

Fundamental principles for shooting your first few weddings:
a. Keep It Simple from a hardware standpoint. You can shoot a wedding only using a fast 50mm lens. The fast 50mm (f/1.8 or f/1.4) also has a huge advantage with low lighting at receptions; it gives you a much brighter viewfinder.
b. Ensure you can put out enough light.
Take your Minolta as a spare and think about how you could mount and hook it up to the same flash bracket so you can switch between them.
c. Take plenty of film and spare batteries for everything. Depending on your flash power, you will probably have to use ISO 400 film. Portra 400 NC has pretty good grain structure.

For tight portraiture of one or two people (head/shoulders), a longer lens in the 85mm to 100mm range will keep you from getting too close to them which can cause perspective problems. This is a consideration for the pre-school event you mention. It will increase working distance requiring more flash power than a shorter lens. The flash bracket is very important for this to avoid red-eye, which is a generally a greater risk with small children (for reasons I don't fully understand).

-- John

8/22/2001 1:40:41 PM

Amber Mizer

member since: 6/18/2001

Once again, can't thank you enough for all the advice. I don't feel so overwhelmed, anymore.

Just fyi... I plan on going with the N90 and will purchase a good flash and bracket. Also, for the preschool shooting, I don't think I'll be able to purchase that camera outfit, yet, so I think I'll go with a faster lens (I only have the one that came with it and a not very fast zoom) the lighting and a backdrop. Also, I was surprised by your suggestion to use a longer lens for that shoot... should I just buy a fixed 100 since it would be less expensive than a zoom? And, just for reassurance, I can still get a sharp picture at that range? I should be able to work the rest out for the wedding... (thanks for the link, can't wait to read your tips on wedding photography!)

Some more questions, if you're not sick of me yet... Can you recommend any Web sites or catalog companies that carry studio equipment such as lighting and backgrounds? I haven't had luck finding one yet.

If I use a light box will I still need a flash and braket?

I think that's it! OH! One more thing... you never said how you feel about New York Institute of Photography.

Thanks, again!!!


8/23/2001 8:30:45 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
With a good camera hold, decent lens and proper focus, and good aperture selection you don't have to worry about sharpness. The very short duration of flash strobes tends to freeze motion. The reason I suggested a longer lens for portraiture is to keep from getting in too close for tight shots. You can easily do them with a 50mm lens provided you get no closer than about 5 feet. This is a 1/3 portrait of an adult (bottom of sternum to top of head). Closer can get you into perspective trouble with the close nose looking big compared to the farther ears looking small. For one or two people I recommend no shorter than 50mm, and use caution with shorter lenses for larger groups (keep people away from frame edges, and especially heads out of the corners). If you do a lot of portraits, you'll eventually need a focal length between 85mm and 105mm.

Quick tips on portraits: If you can pick a focus point, focus on the eyes. Don't break at a body joint (waist, knees, ankles, etc.). For a partial (2/3, 1/3, etc.) put the frame edge between body joints. Don't get too close with a 50mm lens. Leave some border on the long dimension of the frame in the viewfinder. Standard prints are 5x7 and 8x10. If the full 35mm frame is printed though, it would be 5x7-1/2 and 8x12. You have to be able to crop the long dimension to make standard size prints from 35mm. In addition, the lip of a picture frame covers about 1/4-inch all the way around the print (a mat does also).

*The* mail order company on the web for new equipment is B&H in New York City ( They have an impeccable reputation and are used by professionals around the world. Their on-line ordering system works extremely well, but presumes you know what you're looking for (brand and model). Pricing on new equipment is generally very competitive.

Even if you use a light box on the flash, it should still be on a bracket. The box will "soften" the light but it won't help reduce red-eye. Shadows are still there, but with softer edges. If you cannot get enough light with the box on the flash, remove it. Remember, it absorbs some of the light along with diffusing it. Don't compensate for this by opening up the lens any wider than f/5.6 or you'll have depth of field problems. I have something similar for my flash, but there are times when I pull it off because I can't get enough light at longer working distances.

I've heard of NYIP, but do not know much about them. My "education" in photography was by making tons of mistakes and much self-study to sort out why.

-- John

8/25/2001 11:48:17 PM

Melissa Williams

member since: 3/29/2003
  I have a Rebel 2000 with auto load/wind and reuse half used rolls. Just take note of what frame you left off on, and then hit the rewind button. I use a Sharpie marker to write down the frame # I was on, onto the film cannister.

To reload the film you have to get the film leader out. To do this you can walk into most film developing places, I recommend Wolf/Kits/Ritz Camera stores and tell them to get the film leader out for you because they have contraptions for extracting the leader. Then when you want to use the rest of that roll, load it as usual, with the lens cap on, etc. Use a fast shutter speed and smallest aperture, cover the lens with a dark cloth if you want(lens cap on still), and shoot off the frames until you get past the one you were on, and then shoot a couple extras to be on the safe side. Like John said =)

6/24/2003 7:55:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Jeff Chenevert

member since: 8/16/2001
  6 .  Light Metering (Nikon N65 vs Rebel 2000)
I'm trying to decide between a Nikon N65 and Canon Rebel 2000 and have some questions concerning the metering systems:

1) What is the difference between the Nikon's 6-Segment 3D metering and the Canon's 35 Zone metering?

2) The Nikon says it has 6-Segment 3D metering with G & D type Nikkor lenses, what does it use with a different lens? Is it worth it to get the Nikkor lens?

3) When the focus point is adjusted (on either camera) does the light meter weighting shift to that focus zone?

I'd better stop here. Thank's for any light you can shed on these metering questions.

8/16/2001 8:01:18 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  With respect to Canon's Evaluative metering - Yes, the meter weighting shifts with the active focus zone(s). A description of the Canon metering system can be found at Canon Malaysia's site.

I found a description of Nikon's 3D Matrix metering at a site at MIT about the Nikon N90s.

8/20/2001 8:44:38 AM

Buddy Purugganan

member since: 1/2/2004
  The Nikon N65? Its my camera as of the moment---though I would recommend the N75 for you since the 3D 25-segment metering offers MORE than the N65.The Rebel 2000 has a Rebel Ti model which has better than average features. I suggest you look at at your convenience.

1/2/2004 7:39:49 PM

Buddy Purugganan

member since: 1/2/2004
  The Nikon N65? Its my camera as of the moment---though I would recommend the N75 for you since the 3D 25-segment metering offers MORE than the N65.The Rebel 2000 has a Rebel Ti model which has better than average features. I suggest you look at at your convenience.

1/2/2004 7:39:50 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Since this thread from 2 1/2 years ago has been bumped, I'll update the Canon Malaysia link (they've revamped their site since 2001). Go to . The article on Evaluative metering is now in the "Archive" under "The Art of Photography" (you'll then get a choice of "The Art of Photography" (choose it), "Nuts and Bolts," and "Film and Accessories") article #14. There is a wealth of other good information in that Archive.

1/3/2004 5:30:52 AM

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