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Photography QnA: Quality of Digital vs Film Cameras - What to Buy

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Quality of Digital vs Film Cameras - What to Buy

Ever wonder what the quality of digital vs film cameras is? Find out in this Q&A.

Page 1 : 1 -9 of 9 questions

Photography Question 

member since: 3/15/2004
  1 .  Darkroom to Digital
Moving from traditional darkroom to computer, the photographer's tools and methodologies have changed, but have the creative possibilities been enhanced?

3/3/2005 11:29:23 PM

Michael H. Cothran

member since: 10/21/2004

3/4/2005 6:41:47 AM

I have emphasized in my classes that photography still comes from your eye and personal vision, while the tools to capture that vision have changed. The computer is a fabulous tool to continue your visual story.

3/6/2005 7:05:45 PM

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Photography Question 

member since: 1/19/2004
  2 .  What Should I Stay With?
Hi, I have been interested in photography for a couple of years and had been practicing on a Pentax ME-super. However, last year I got a digital camera and absolutely love it. I want to do freelance in the future but my question is, should I stick with digital or do I need to go back to film? Which is more in demmand? Thanks for any help you could give me.

2/25/2004 12:28:06 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/28/2002
  Why not keep both? It's all depending on what freelance work you will get into. For example, some wedding photographers take only digital. For a wedding, it is easily to take 200-300 pictures. I can't imagine how much time I have to spend adjusting each image (basic level adjustment) and printing them all out. I use a lab that will do all the adjustment for me and for a few bucks more, I can have all the images burned on CDs. But for catalog shots, usually I only take about 20-30 images. In this case, I will use the digital camera. Be flexible. Hope this helps.

2/25/2004 1:28:12 PM

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Photography Question 
Cassandra L. Griffith

member since: 6/25/2003
  3 .  Going Digital
I am seriously thinking about going digital for obvious reasons of convenience and the overall money saving aspects. I currently own a Canon Rebel 2000, and I am very happy with it. I was wondering if there is anyone out there who has the new Canon digital SLR, and if so, how is it? Is it worth it? Are the pictures comperable to film SLRs? Maybe a few different suggestions in the same price range(under $1000),and with at least 5 megapixels. Thanks!

12/31/2003 12:20:05 AM

Richard Kowalski

member since: 12/31/2003
  I just got a digital rebel for myself for Xmas... Not sure yet about the quality of photos, but I love the feels of the camera and the way it takes the pictures. I had other digital cameras before, but this one tops them all in the ease of operation.

12/31/2003 4:55:45 AM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  On "going digital", plan for a bit more of a financial layout, if you want to use that very capable camera for something other than a digital point'n shoot. You will see imagine quality equal to or surpassing film, if you use the Rebel digital to its full potential. You will need high capacity memory cards to store image files of any size, especially if you shoot in the raw mode (highly recommended). Don't forget the imaging program you will need to "work" these images. Raw mode gives you high bit color, a highly desirable feature, but one not addressed with Elements 2. You'll need the current version of Photoshop, a $600 expenditure. Also, budget the the time and effort to learn Photoshop. The courses and help you need are right here at betterphoto.

Of course, you can always shoot low-res JPEGs and enjoy the camera as it is, kinda like driving a Porsche to the grocery store. I love the idea of having a real viewfinder and seeing my image through the lens, unlike holding the camera at arm's length to sight through a silly screen.

1/2/2004 6:14:39 AM


member since: 1/4/2004
  I have the digital Rebel, and so far I love it. I am still trying to learn it's features and how to put the pictures in files on the computer.Challenging!!! It's just the same as the Rebel film camera in every way. Does anyone know if you can take a black & white photo with this camera?

1/5/2004 3:20:59 AM

Lynn M. Garwood

member since: 11/11/2003
  I got the Canon 10D rather than the Rebel, because it has a few features that make it more of a pro camera. A friend has the Rebel and absolutely loves it. You should read a review about the camera to see if it fits your needs ( Images from the Rebel are extraordinarily good, depending on your method of output, of course. Since you probably have lenses from your regular Canon, it makes sense for you to go the Canon route. Using digital frees you from worrying about film costs when trying creative ideas. I rarely use my film cameras anymore.

As for B&W photos, take them as color, then manipulate them in Photoshop or Elements to get the B&W. Check manuals or articles for the best techniques for doing this; changing to grayscale will not give the best results.

1/5/2004 9:11:16 AM

  I highly recommend the Digital rebel, there are very few differences between it and the Canon 10D (obviously the price!). And you can use the same lenses as you would with your Rebel 2000, a real bonus! The camera itself does not have a B&W setting but comes with the software (PS Elements) to easily do it yourself. It is better to shoot color so you can have the option of B&W because it is a whole lot harder if you want to get color after shooting B&W. I keep my Rebel Ti handy for when I want to shoot specifically B&W.
Ebay is where I found the best deals for the camera and accessories. It is advisable to get an extra battery and large card (1 GB), Ebay has some super deals. GetDigital is the company I bought from and they were excellent.
Have fun!

1/5/2004 9:12:14 AM


member since: 6/16/2003
  Dear Cassandra and Doug,

"You will see imagine quality equal to or surpassing film, if you use the Rebel digital to its full potential."

This statement by Doug is not exactly true. In practice, the Rebel Ti Digital will give you results as good as - probably - you have been getting on film. And this is what matters, so don't be afraid of going digital. In Cassandra's case, yes, she might get better pics with digital that she would wioth film.
In reallity though, photos made with most digital cameras will still not exceed the quality of photos on film made with *ideal* settings and equipment. Basically, the theory is: if the absolutely perfect quiality photo is 100, you can get 90 easily with digital and even go up to 98. But the remaining 2 is the "analog quiality" that will be missing, always. 99.9% of photographers don't need, don't even see/sense that extra warmth of film. With film, it`s much more difficult to get 90 quatlity no to mention 100. But, IF you and your equipment are very good AND the situation is ideal, you *CAN* get 100, not just 98 - (which again, is prbably more that Cassandra or most of us will ever need).



1/5/2004 9:54:07 AM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  Unless you invest in a Canon D1s or Kodak 13 mega pixel camera you will not be able to match film period!!!that is very clear,truly I believe the photographer plays a huge role on what makes a good image!!!!6 mega pixels and film not really a large difference,to me though digital has a plastic look,lack of grain and is still just to expensive of a not developed technoligy to invest in at this point in time IMHO anyways!!

1/5/2004 11:25:19 AM

  All that matters here is the real purpose of going digital, for what reason? I went digital so that I can specialize in photo enhancements and touch-ups. I want to offer a specialized service that film just can't handle. Cassandra will have her own reasons for going digital and our purpose here is help her realize that you don't need the most expensive equipment to get great results. For my purposes 6 mega pixels works great and the Digital Rebel is my camera of choice. The 10D offers very little to justify the price jump and 13 mega pixel D1 is just plain overkill for most photographers.

Hope this all helps you out Cassandra!

1/5/2004 11:56:16 AM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2003
  Going digital can be compelling and there might be good reasons for doing so. In order for digital to match film, it must get to 200 mega pixels, at least.

That isn't to say that to the eye, you can tell a difference. Sometimes I can immediately, and sometimes I can't tell. For the most part, a photog who knows his/her stuff could fool me.

The difference is in the explosion. I've explained this before, so I wont go into detail. But, if you take the top-o-the-line digital camera today, which I'm sure is debatable, but lets take the top mega pixel camera (I thought it was Canon, but I just learned here that Kodak has a 13...WOW!) If you have 2 identical photos of the same thing, and you massively blow up the digital image, then massively blow up the film, counting grain and all, the film will be more clear.

This, in most cases, is totally meaningless to the eye. The reason is that it's so minute that you can't even see it. But, it is a serious discussion on the technical level about "is digital as good as film?"

Is this good enough for your clients? Are your clients looking for museum quality?

I decided to not go digital because I feel it is still too early. I will wait until the technology matures. I can put all my stuff on CD's I can scan, I can do many things that is equivilant to digital, from a clients perspective.

The one thing I cannot do, which is the reason that I am going to purchase a digital camera soon, is I cannot shoot endlessly for free. Digital allows this. I could shoot all day long and not spend a dime. So, for experimentation purposes, I would really like to purchase some digital equipment.

I am open-minded, and if it turns out that for my shooting, digital is the way to go, I'll change.

Sometimes, as photogs, we are too picky for our own good. Our clients just want nice photographs, they don't really care about all the this and that.

But, I often think that if someday, my work winds up as a candidate for a wall in a museum, that I have the ability to produce it from old photos, and I wont regret having some of my best work taken with a 6 mega pixel camera, when by then the standard might be 8,000 mega pixels.


1/5/2004 12:23:58 PM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  MilleniumSea and Mike are quite right in bringing me to task on my remark about film. I should have said that digital of this quality will give better results than MOST film. I was thinking of the tonal and color correction possible in Photoshop by importing an image in the raw mode, in high bit. It makes a lot of difference in tonal and color correction. Only after doing Levels and/or curves do you go down the 8-bit color.
I would still rather shoot Provia 100 and T-Max B&W for things I really care about.
That said, I think that color film processors have brought the eclipse of film down on us by not giving quality tonal and color correction for years to the general public. Color film makers are doing an axe job on their own products. The Kodak Supra line is gone, with some silly super saturated 400 film in its place that gives garish blues and yellows. I don't know how many times I have gotten terrible prints, only to find that the information is in the negative, and I make a better print from a scan with an inexpensive film scanner.
I, too, sometimes don't like the funny paper colors of some digital captures. But I have also been blown away by the true color I have seen from some digital cameras. If the digital Rebel has the same CMOS as the Canon 10D, it has a lot of potential.

1/6/2004 5:58:19 AM

Derek Holyhead

member since: 12/26/2003
Hi All,
I have a Digital Rebel, great camera, as easy or as difficult to use as you want to amke it, my wife shot the rollercoaster using the full program mode and she would never use any of my my Canon 35mm's! As for all the doubters still using film you should read this it is in 5 parts so read all 5 pages. So, Cassandra go out and get that Digital Rebel and enjoy!

1/13/2004 6:05:09 PM

Derek Holyhead

member since: 12/26/2003
  Hi All,
I have a Digital Rebel, great camera, as easy or as difficult to use as you want to make it. As for all the doubters still using film you should read this it is in 5 parts so read all 5 pages. So, Cassandra go out and get that Digital Rebel and enjoy!

1/13/2004 6:16:04 PM

Derek Holyhead

member since: 12/26/2003
  Sorry the Rollercoaster didn't load and I didn't realise the post had loaded without! New to this forum.

1/13/2004 6:18:37 PM

Cassandra L. Griffith

member since: 6/25/2003
  Thanks everybody for your great advise! I am going to go out and get my new digital camera this weekend!

2/24/2004 8:38:43 AM

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Photography Question 
Peggy Wolff
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2003
  4 .  Sigma SD10 Compared to Film Cameras
Help! I think I am ready to go digital but am so confused! In the past 6 months I have broken 2 of my good lenses, so it is no longer really important that I stay with the Cannon EOS line, however I do love my EOS 35 mm. I just saw an add for the Sigma SD10 and it looks like a great camera but I don't know anything about them and no one seems to have one that I can look at. It is a 10.2 MP camera but has a FOVEON X3 system that I have never heard of. I guess this is 3 layers of pixel sensors stacked up so that there is over 3 MP of blue, red and green? When I looked at another website that compared cameras, and how large you can blow them up to it did not look like it measured up to other larger pixel cameras... more like a 4 MP camera. Hoverever I know that Sigma had the best lens of the year last year and has great professional lenses. The camera is only $1,500 with 2 lenses (non prof lenses). Does anyone know anything about these cameras?

With almost ever photo shoot that I do, I sell a 20x24, so it is VERY important that I have a camera that can do this. I also work fast because I do a lot of toddlers and I like shooting them in action. The website I got the info on is Also, does anyone know how these MP add up to 35 mm? For instance is a 5 MP considered as good as a 35 MM and 10, a medium format? I need direction!

12/18/2003 7:48:35 AM

Tim Devick

member since: 11/28/2000

From what I've read in magazines and on-line, it sounds to me like the Sigma SD10 is a good idea whose implementation is not quite ready for prime-time. I've read that the picture quality and color balance are not as good as expected. The Canon EOS 10D seems to be the hot camera right now and arguably the best of the digital SLRs.

As far as comparison between digital and 35mm, there is a big discussion on this other places on this web site. Some say that a good digital camera is as good as 35mm, while others say it is not. However, without interpolation software (resampling in PhotoShop or using a tool like Genuine Fractals), you cannot enlarge a digital image to 20x24 and get good prints. Interpolation means the software basically adds more pixels by making an educated guess about what the new pixels should look like based on the surrounding pixels.

None of the current batch of consumer or semi-pro digital cameras comes close to matching medium format film. You can buy a digital back for your medium format cameras, but they cost almost as much as a nice new car! I've never used a digital back, but if anyone here has please let us know what you think of it.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that 5MP is close to 35mm in quality. A piece of 35mm film is roughly an inch by an inch and a quarter in size. A medium format negative would be something like 2 1/4 inches square (or a bit larger, depending on the camera format). In this example, the MF film is 5x the area of the 35mm film (5x larger). To get twice the number of pixels in a 5MP camera, you need to have not 10MP but 20MP (think of it as twice as many pixels horizontally and twice as many vertically). So, to get 5x the pixels of the 5MP camera, you need not 25MP, but 50MP.

12/19/2003 1:41:17 PM

Peggy Wolff
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2003
  Tim, thank you so much for your responce, it was very helpful. I would love the Cannon 1DS but that isn't going down enough either. Although, I have seen at digital liquidators it is down around $6,000. It is still out of my price range. I just don't want to go digital until I know I can use it for my business. It looks like I may be waiting awhile longer. I am surprised that the D10 didn't go down at all in price since last year. Maybe in another year the digital SLR's will start going down in price. Thank you so much for your responce!

12/19/2003 2:16:26 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  I haven't tried but what if you shoot everything in RAW files? Didn't that give you a large enough file that you could make 20x30 blow-ups?

12/20/2003 10:10:46 PM

Tim Devick

member since: 11/28/2000
  Well, print image quality is tied more directly to the number of pixels in your image than file size. Even if you start from a TIFF file, you have the same number of pixels in your image; the TIFF will be slightly better quality because it isn't compressed, but the number of pixels in your image hasn't changed.

The recommendation for printing seems to be to keep the number of pixels per inch close to 300 (although I have printed 250 pixels/inch and got nice looking prints). If you start with a 5MP image and print it at 18x24, you will get 107 pixels/inch in your finished print. If you print at 20x26, you'll get about 96 pixels/inch. This is about a third of the pixel density recommended for a good print.

12/21/2003 7:10:23 AM

Gregg Vieregge

member since: 11/10/2000
  Have you looked into the Fuji S2 pro? It has come quite a bit in price. I have been shooting professionally with it for two years and I am very satisfies. I normally shoot at the factory default settings of 6.13 in JPEG but can go up to TIFF and Raw At 12. The JPEG's gives me fast downloading and the 20x24 I print look great.

12/23/2003 9:57:04 AM

Peggy Wolff
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2003
  Greg, I have to admit, I haven't looked at the fugi much. Maybe because I have had EOS's since I started shooting. Thank you so much for the recommendation, I just looked at and it is down to $1,400. Sounds like a great deal. How do you like the lens's? Thank you for your insight.

12/24/2003 6:37:31 AM

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Photography Question 

member since: 10/31/2002
  5 .  scanners
I am new to all of this, especially 'film scanning', but I was wondering if there were scanners out there that could scan negatives as well as prints (I guess a film scanner and flatbed scanner, as well). I am not looking for anything on the professional level, but before I buy a film scanner for my own fun, I wanted to see if there were any 'all purpose' scanners. Thanks, Doreen

11/19/2002 12:23:58 AM

Judith A. Clark

member since: 9/14/2002
  Doreen, I have never used a film scanner, but after going on I found a couple of flatbed scanners that scan negs. Visioneer One Touch 8920 for $129.98, and Hewlett Packard Scanjet 3570C for $149.99. Just take a shopping trip and ask a few questions at the store. I don't know where your from, but try a large office supply, or electronics store ( like Best Buy ), you should find just what you need.

11/19/2002 6:31:50 AM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  The Hewlett-Packard S20 Film scanner goes for 350-400 now (was originally $500). It scans prints up to 4- by 6, 35-mm slides (Kodak cardboard mounts only) and 35-mm negatives. I've used it and like it for negatives. For a flatbed to scan 35-mm, I suggest you find someone who has one and see for yourself. I'm rather skeptical, although I am hearing good things about Epsons in the $400 and up range.

11/19/2002 1:18:09 PM


member since: 10/31/2002
  Thanks for all your help. Doreen

11/19/2002 10:15:08 PM

Michael F. Harrington

member since: 10/27/2002
  Doreen, I bought an Epson Perfection 2450 for $300. Like Doug I was skeptical, too. Until I used it. Go to my webshots at:

There you can see my slides I scanned in "Travels in Asia" and "Grand Canyon"

See for yourself!!

And if you do, p[lease sign my guestbook so I'll know. Thanks

11/23/2002 4:31:16 PM

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Photography Question 

member since: 10/14/2002
  6 .  Setting up a mini-studio: Digital?
Ok, I have several questions, but will try and keep this short and to the point. 1. I have a Olympus Camedia 4.1 megap. and am thinking about starting a very small and humble studio for black and white portraits etc...for friends, relatives etc... 2. I also have a Canon A1 (w/no decent lenses) - the manual focus makes it impossible to do studio work. QUESTION #1: should I add on to the digital camera (for studio work), and if so, what to buy (what would I need minimally), including a printer? QUESTION#2: should I get a "film" set up (I now have the opp to buy a Nikon outfit for $800 - used from someone who is going digital). QUESTION: how difficult is it to start doing studio work with digital and what does a person need? THANK YOU - any help is awsome!!!

10/14/2002 10:35:15 AM

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Photography Question 
Bob Irwin

member since: 6/3/2002
  7 .  Quality between digital and scanned film
I own a Fuji 6900 and an epson photo printer but I am disapointed with action shots on the Fuji shuter lag EVF freez while aiming at action etc apart from this I am happy with the quality.So I would like to sell Fuji and get something within my buget like a Canon EOS 300 + film scanner of around 2700DPI but before Ido this would like to know if the quality is better or worse than a 3.3 MP Digicam. I usualy print A4(11x8) size prints and only A3 sometimes
thanks Bob

6/3/2002 7:30:19 PM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  The kind of resolution we're talking about here is somewhere near the same. If you want to be exact, look up the longest pixel dimension your digital camera can give you. It will be somewhat less than 2700 pixels, but not much less.

In my opinion, I think you're doing the right thing for what you seem to be shooting. I don't use autofocus, but I surely would if I shot a lot of action such as sports. I can't afford a state-of-the-art digital SLR, so, for me, shooting film with the best optics I can afford, then scanning the negs or slides with a film scanner works best. Sure, I'd love to have a new 4000 ppi film scanner, but, like you, I seldom need prints larger than about 8 x 10.

6/4/2002 9:11:09 AM

Bob Irwin

member since: 6/3/2002
  Hi Doug
thanks for your promt reply I think I will trade in fuji for second hand EOS body of some sort and lenses in August I will purchase film Scanner quite like the look of Minolta they do one at 2900DPI and has ICE etc and comes with photoshop elements.I,m away to the Alps on my bike begining of July so will get camera quite soon so I can get used to it.
thanks again

6/4/2002 7:08:40 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
I will emphasize a subtle point Doug made in his reply:
" . . . with the best optics I can afford . . ."

As you look for a camera body and lenses for it, pay attention to the lens optics! For me, they have clearly been the most important part of the camera system.

-- John

6/5/2002 12:58:06 AM

Bob Irwin

member since: 6/3/2002
  Hi John
thanks for the advice re lens I went into my local store today and was quite impressed with a second hand Canon EOS 5 (I think it is called something else state side)it comes complete with Canon USM 28 to 90mm lens and I am trying to swing a deal for the Fuji with 75 to 300mm put in hopefully without to much money passing from my pocket to theirs.
thanks again

6/5/2002 4:41:46 PM

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Photography Question 
Pradeep Ganesh

member since: 3/24/2002
  8 .  buying a camera

I have a elph aps camera. It is ok, but I want to move on to the next level in photography. I am a amaetur photographerr who shoots only when on vacation. I went and checked out some digital cameras. But I find it very difficult to justify spending around 500-600 dollars for the resulting output. At the same time I was wondering whether digital is the way to go?


3/24/2002 11:58:07 AM

Tony Peckman

member since: 8/15/2001
  You may get many answers to this one, but I think you should really decide how you want to display your photos. I went through the same decision recently. As much as I loved playing with a digital, I borrowed, our family still loves to put together photo albums and give friends photos. Sooo, if you are more into family photo albums than displaying your photos on the web, I would stick with an SLR. AND, as far as model(Canon Rebel 2000, Nikon N65/N55, Minolta Maxxum 5, Pentax ZX-30/50/60{new}) you can't go wrong with any of those in the $300-400 range. They all have manual settings and the features you would need to "learn" photography. You can find them for under $300 at or Don't be afraid to order online. Good luck!

3/25/2002 5:10:46 PM

Johnathan R. Peal

member since: 3/11/2002
  I like the Canon G2 it's my 1st Camera and I'm very satisfied with the photographic output at 4mp. It's advertised for the semi-professional or advanced beginner. It's has tons of settings which will allow control of your photo's as you advance. It also takes awesome photo's in automatic mode.

You can see some examples of the G2 photographic output on this site. I think DAN Hutchinson uses one and several other former contest winners. DAN has a member gallery site here if you want to check it out.

4/15/2002 6:46:18 PM

Johnathan R. Peal

member since: 3/11/2002
  I forgot to add that the Canon G2 is a 4.0 Mega Pixel digital camera. If your into taking action shots there is a bit of a delay with digital camera's when they write the image on the compact flash card. So it will be slightly harder to take action shot's. The canon G2 retails currently for $799.00.

You also can see a full array of photo's that the G2 has taken at you can also see a full review of the G2 camera and other camera's at that site.

4/15/2002 7:06:32 PM

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Photography Question 
Michael Yoder

member since: 8/29/2001
  9 .  My Perfect Travel / Backpacking Camera
I am looking for a small, sturdy camera with excellent optics and a SLR viewfinder for composition and some zoom capabilities for on the spot flexibility. Quick to use, unobtrusive, lightweight...yet still have some control and get high quality.

Also I am tempted by digital, but worried about sturdiness, battery life, and other problems that could be encountered in a backpacking environment.


8/29/2001 4:58:48 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  IMO a manual focus, mechanical shutter SLR offers some advantages for backpacking. Even though a battery is required for the TTL metering, you can continue shooting without any batteries by estimating exposure.

All of the following are sturdy, well-made workhorses with systems that have excellent lenses. If you want macro capability you can use a set of extension tubes on, although they tend to work better on prime lenses, not zooms (focusing is harder). I've listed the OEM zoom lenses for them that span a modest wide-angle to a modest telephoto. I recommend looking at the 35-105mm and the 35-135mm (if one was made for it) zooms. My one zoom is a 35-105mm and have found it more versatile than a 35-70mm even though it's a little bigger and heavier.

Many of these camera bodies use the old PX-625 1.35 volt mercury cell for the metering. Using the 1.5 volt alkaline replacement is not recommended. There is a zinc-air version of the PX-625 specifically made by Wein for cameras and light meters. There are also adapters for using smaller zinc-air hearing aid cells, and an adapter that drops the voltage of a 1.5 volt #357, SR44 or MS76 silver cell to 1.35 volts. If you need more information about these workarounds, just ask. I have two camera bodies that were made for the mercury cell and they are running just fine on silver cells in the voltage-dropping adapter. Using the wrong voltage can throw metering accuracy off, sometimes by quite a bit.

Hope the following list helps you out some.

-- John

--- Nikon (AIS) ---
Nikkor AIS 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5
Nikkor AIS 35-70mm f/3.5~4.5 Macro
Nikkor AIS 35-105mm f/3.5~4.5
Nikkor AIS 35-135mm f/3.5~4.5

--- Olympus (OM) ---
OM-1 (cannot use motor drive)
OM-1 MD (can use motor drive)
Zuiko 35-70mm f/3.5~4.5
Zuiko 35-70mm f/3.6
Zuiko 35-105mm f/3.5~4.5 ("close-up")
Zuiko 35-80mm f/2.8

--- Canon (FD) ---
New F-1 (1/90 & 1/125 - 1/2000)
FD 35-70mm f/2.8~3.5 SSC
FD 35-70mm f/3.5~4.5
FD 28-85mm f/4
FD 35-105mm f/3.5
FD 35-105mm f/3.5~4.5

--- Pentax (K) ---
LX (mech. 1/75 to 1/2000)
28-80mm f/3.5~4.5 Takumar A
28-135mm f/4 SMC A
35-70mm f/4 SMC A
35-70mm f/3.5~4.5 SMC A Macro
35-105mm f/3.5 SMC A Macro
35-135mm f/3.5~4.5 SMC A Macro

8/29/2001 9:42:08 PM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  As a photographer and backpacker, I can only enthusiastically agree with John L. Too many times I have seen photographers in the damp, cold mountain air with their all-electronic cameras shut down. I tried the plastic very lightweight Canon T-60 SLR, only to find I had to remove the batteries and wipe them off for each shot. It now sits on the mantel for when the grandkids do something cute. I use an Olympus XA, a backpacker cult classic, pre-autofocus, because the sharpness is OK, I can forego tele capability, and it's no bigger than a tiny digital.

8/30/2001 7:58:03 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Bought one 35mm SLR body in particular because it has a mechanical shutter and uses the same lenses for which I have bodies with electronic shutters.

Reason? Doug brought up a good point about batteries, albeit with condensation. Having done some Winter landscape and architectural shooting (including at night), electronic cameras die quickly in severe cold even if the batteries are dry. Battery voltage drops when temperatures drop below about freezing (water). At about +10F to +20F the voltage drops enough that electronic shutters won't fire, motor winders bog down failing to wind on completely to the next frame, and AF lens focus motors can become intermittent. It will recover when brought back to room temperature, but that doesn't help out in the wilderness.

BTW, batteries can last up to several years in most cameras that use them only for the metering. They're also very small compared to the Lithium monsters required to drive some current AF/AE bodies with integral motorized winders. I never go anywhere without spare cells.

-- John

8/30/2001 1:18:27 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  John L., great advice as always. Your list of suitable Olympus cameras excludes the OM-2000, a current model that is very inexpensive, but has metal body, mechanical shutter that can shoot at all speeds (1 to 1/2000 sec.) w/o batteries, DOF preview, and spot metering. Just an oversight, or is there a problem with this model?

8/31/2001 9:14:36 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  I thought about the OM-2000, the Nikon FM-10, and a Canon FD mount equivalent (T-60 ??). There *may* be a Pentax version also (P30T ??). Decided to leave them off the lists because the question mentioned backpacking and the need for sturdiness. The ones listed in my first reply are hardier bodies, albeit perhaps a little heavier.

The OM-2000 its cousins under the other names are all made by Cosina for the major big-name badges. The bodies are decent for their pricing, but not as hardy as an FM-2n, OM-1[n], or Pentax K-1000. IMO: If hardiness for backpacking was not one of the criteria, and they would reside in a more sheltered environment, they could be an alternative.

-- John

8/31/2001 7:42:50 PM

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