How to Choose an Old/New DSLR?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Wayne R., Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    Something I've done in the past is look for two-year old reviews of
    two-year old tools/cameras/equipment that I can pick up on eBay. This
    generally works well, especially when diving into unfamiliar areas.

    Our consumer-grade cameras do a good job for what they're designed to
    do. Lately, though, I've been realizing their obvious limitations in
    depth-of-field and shutter lag, among other things.

    I'd like to do the same review/eBay process with a new-to-me DSLR.
    Since this category covers a huge range of stuff, I hope I can get
    some advice on better targeting my effort.

    I can't justify a pro rig in any way. I just want to get something
    that allows me more control in the same way film SLR's do.

    And I would like to stay with SD cards and AA batteries, I think.

    Practical advice is welcome, please.
     
    Wayne R., Oct 16, 2008
    #1
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  2. Wayne R.

    OG Guest

    DPReview is a solid place to start if you want to look at reviews for old
    models

    If you're not tied to a particular model and want to continue to use AA
    batteries, you might want to have a serious look at the Pentax K100D Super.
    This is a beginner level 6Mp DSLR using 4xAA cells and SD or SDHC cards.
    Because of its relatively modest pixel count it gives lower noise images
    than larger resolution sensors. In common with all Pentax DSLRs it is
    useable with all K-mount lenses (with the exception of Ricoh k-mount), so
    you should be able to buy a large range of second hand lenses off ebay -
    yes, you may not get auto-focus or fully automatic exposure, but you can get
    cheap glass to start with and get more later if you need. The kit lens is
    very presentable if you get one sold with that.
     
    OG, Oct 16, 2008
    #2
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  3. Wayne R.

    Joel Guest

    I haven't read lot of magazine lately, but if you are really in the
    electronics world in the past decade then you may find thing are much
    cheaper these days comparing to thing decade or so ago. Example, probably
    little over a decade ago I paid around $900 for the greyscale camera had the
    resolution 320x200 (?), then some years later I paid around $900-1000 for
    the Olympus P&S with around 640x480 resolution (?), then a newer Olympus P&S
    with higher resolution for about the same $900-1000 onsale, then another
    $900-1000 for newer model, then around $800-900 for the Olympus C-210010X
    1.2MP. Then $1500 for the Canon 10D, $1300 for the 20D, then $900 for
    another 20D (When Canon was about to release the 30D) etc..

    And before that film camea wasn't cheap, and before that not many people
    had a camega. Man, and if I just count the $$$$ I spend on digital cameras
    alone it could be $20-30K (???? I never dare to count, and 30K probably
    including lens?).
     
    Joel, Oct 16, 2008
    #3
  4. Wayne R.

    Peter Guest


    Budget?

    What do you want to do?

    Brick & mortar store hands on.
     
    Peter, Oct 16, 2008
    #4
  5. Wayne R.

    Cats Guest

    The big problem IMHO with buying 'on spec' according to magazine and
    website reviews is that you might hate the camera once you get it in
    your hands, and also see how you like the viewfinder.

    Of course if you don't like a camera that was a good buy from Ebay
    then you just sell it again, but it could be a tedious process. I
    brought my first D-SLR in the summer and brought it in a shop, where
    the chap put a battery in and let me play with a few cameras. He
    showed me 4 cameras and it was blindingly obvious which the right one
    for me was - but only once I had handled them all. For the record the
    previous (very annoying) one was a Fuji S5600 (S5200 in the US I
    think) and the new one is an Olympus E510, reduced as it was the last
    one in the shop and the E520 had just come along.

    Personally I wouldn't let SD cards and AA batteries sway me. CF cards
    are cheap these days (4GB for under $15 from some suppliers), and your
    current SD cards may well not be large enough with an SLR shooting
    RAW. Depending on what kind of photography you do you might want a
    fast card which is usually more expensive, but unless you set the
    camera to taking several shots in a row it won't be an issue.

    Batteries might be an issue - just check to see how much you can get a
    spare for. The compatible ones for my Olympus are about $7 each,
    hardly expensive, and provide lots of shots unless I use the live
    view, which I do occasionally. The charger will take anything from
    100v to 260v, so unless I go trekking in Nepal again charging most
    places won't be a problem (so long as I take a travel kit so I can
    plug it in!) - and if or when I got back to Nepal I'll simply get some
    extra batteries, along with another memory card or three. Once
    charged they seem to hold charge without a problem.

    Whatever camera you do get, it's well worth investigating how back-
    wards compatible it is with older lenses. As mentioned elsewhere all
    K-mount lenses will work on the Pentax D-SLRs (obviously a manual
    focus lens remains just that!), so it's worth checking on the maker's
    website and also seeing what the prices are like. Don't forget that
    there is a 1.5 or 1.6 conversion factor with most D-SLRs (2 for
    Olympus) so a 50mm lens becomes the equivalent of a 75mm lens - handy
    if you like long lenses, a problem if you are into 24mm lenses.
     
    Cats, Oct 16, 2008
    #5
  6. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    I like that site - one thing, I have no idea how to narrow into the
    non-pro models, but I'm with you here.
    Excellent info, thanks, this is what I was hoping for!
     
    Wayne R., Oct 17, 2008
    #6
  7. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    If I get you right, you'll spend the same money today but get more for
    it than in the past. As opposed to other tech stuff where you get more
    and pay less at the same time.

    I'm hoping to get the good stuff from a few years ago that's being
    passed along from guys like you. And I hope to get some 'targeting'
    advice...
     
    Wayne R., Oct 17, 2008
    #7
  8. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    Not too concerned with budget, but I know I could just go get a D90
    kit for $1200, so say, maybe half that?

    I hope to simply get a decent, usable (not overly complicated) camera
    where I can see what I'm going to get. My goal is some depth of field
    control and the usual aperture/shutter control. Nothing fancy, just a
    step up over the "snap & hope" method.

    I won't be a sophisticated user, for sure.
     
    Wayne R., Oct 17, 2008
    #8
  9. Wayne R.

    Peter Guest


    Most DSLRs will take good pictures. Just pick the one you feel most
    comfortable handling. If you're uncomfortable using it, you won't use it.
    That's why I said brick & mortar store. Play and ask. If the salesperson
    gets annoyed with your questions, it's because they don't know the answer.

    No matter which one you pick there will be something it cannot do. Think
    possible expansion, but do not become obsessed with that negative. And most
    importantly, enjoy the positive. The prior posters gave you some pretty good
    advice.


    Enjoy.
     
    Peter, Oct 17, 2008
    #9
  10. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    Good point. I hear you.
    The SD thing is more, to me, about the rest of my 'infrastructure', I
    like CF too, and realized a while back that both CF and SD seem to be
    the best long term formats. Specifically I want to avoid xD and
    Memory Stick stuff, anything proprietary.

    I'll welcome alternative theories on the topic!
    I like the CR-V3 concept of a large-ish lithium battery that can be
    replaced by off-the-shelf AA like lithium or Eneloops. And I have a
    bunch of Eneloops for other stuff. Just like flash, I hope to avoid
    being locked into proprietary power too.
    Also an excellent point - how does someone learn the apparently
    complex nomenclature of lens epochs? I mean, I know in general terms
    of focal length and aperture, etc., but even the mount systems have
    non-intuitive names, let alone AF, etc., for each manufacturer's
    lines.

    I don't mind learning about it, I just want to avoid doing it the hard
    way - by buying the wrong thing...
     
    Wayne R., Oct 17, 2008
    #10
  11. Wayne R.

    Peter Guest

    Brick & mortar stores will cost you a little more, but all reputable ones
    will let you play with the box. Some even for several days. They have demos
    for this very purpose.
     
    Peter, Oct 17, 2008
    #11
  12. Wayne R.

    Guest Guest

    | Something I've done in the past is look for two-year old reviews of
    | two-year old tools/cameras/equipment that I can pick up on eBay. This
    | generally works well, especially when diving into unfamiliar areas.
    |
    | Our consumer-grade cameras do a good job for what they're designed to
    | do. Lately, though, I've been realizing their obvious limitations in
    | depth-of-field and shutter lag, among other things.
    |
    | I'd like to do the same review/eBay process with a new-to-me DSLR.
    | Since this category covers a huge range of stuff, I hope I can get
    | some advice on better targeting my effort.
    |
    | I can't justify a pro rig in any way. I just want to get something
    | that allows me more control in the same way film SLR's do.
    |
    | And I would like to stay with SD cards and AA batteries, I think.
    |
    | Practical advice is welcome, please.

    The one thing I'd like to urge you to change is your desire for AA batteries.

    I went with a Canon EOS 450D (Reben XSi). It uses SD(HC) cards, but it also
    uses its own Li-Ion battery pack. While this camera (a little over $600) may
    be out of your range, I'd suggest that if you do find a lower end camera that
    uses a Li-Ion battery pack, don't rule it out. If you end up taking a lot of
    pictures, you'll pay a lot more in the long run for batteries. AA cells do
    not last as long and have to be disposed of. If you are going to be shooting
    on multi-day trips in remote locations, get a solar power converter to run
    your battery recharger from, too. That and/or a car power convert. I also
    have found that AA batteries tend to make weaker contacts, and I sometimes
    have gotten false "battery low" camera shutdowns on my P&S as a result of some
    shaking or whatever that caused a brief reduction in voltage. Ordinary AA's
    are very short lived in cameras. The "photo lithium" types do last longer,
    but not as many times longer as the price.
     
    Guest, Oct 17, 2008
    #12
  13. Wayne R.

    Charlie Groh Guest

    ....I used to have an Olympus 10x optical zoom 3mp rig (can't remember
    the nomenclature...I gave it away 3 years ago when I finally got into
    DSLR) that shot decent pics (if you didn't use the zoom too
    much...heh)...man, it chewed-up AA's like candy...the person I gave it
    to was with me at a function over labor day, good thing I had an extra
    8 AA's for my battery pack which weren't needed, 'cause they got
    used-up right quick!

    cg
     
    Charlie Groh, Oct 18, 2008
    #13
  14. Wayne R.

    Cats Guest

    <snip>

    I can see where you are coming from, but surely the most important
    thing is to get a camera you like using, that produces results you
    like, for a price you like?

    BTW whatever you get will be able to shoot RAW images - have you
    thought about how you might process them? They can potentially
    produce much better quality results than JPGs.
     
    Cats, Oct 18, 2008
    #14
  15. Wayne R.

    OG Guest

    Well yes, nobody should use alkaline AAs in digital cameras; get the new
    Hybrid rechargeables (Hybrio, Eneloop etc) instead and you'll save a
    fortune, be able to buy and use them off the shelf and share them with your
    flashguns and other gear.
    You can also get in-car chargers for AAs so that you don't need mains power
    to recharge them - I tried recharging my Fuji's lithium cell pack in the car
    and it never really held a charge for as long afterwards, whereas AAs are
    perfectly charged

    I reckon to get about 600+ shots from a fully charged set of Hybrio AAs so
    I'm recharging them every couple of nights on holiday.
     
    OG, Oct 18, 2008
    #15
  16. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    I've assembled a kit that charges most everything I have - it works
    via USB. I usually have at least one computer with plenty of USB
    ports, and I have a little AC transformer with USB output, and a
    cigarette plug also that outputs USB, and cables for everything.
    Including a little Eneloops USB charger.

    The Eneloops charger only does one or two cells at a time, that's the
    biggest limitation so far.
     
    Wayne R., Oct 18, 2008
    #16
  17. Wayne R.

    Joel Guest

    Something ain't right here! Because I don't have what you have to be able
    to confirm what you are saying is right or wrong, but something doesn't
    sound very right.

    *Unless* you say the regular NiHN can give you 600+ or even more then I
    think you are right, but you mean to say that the newer generation of NiMH
    called Pre-Charged, Hy-Brid and similar gives you more shot than the old
    NiMH then I may have to disagree with you.

    Because right now, 2100 NiMH is the largest of the current Hy-Brid AA
    NiMH, when the older NiMH AA is somewhere around 2800 NiMH which is 700 more
    NiMH which means it should give you more shot, or it should give you 800+
    shots.

    As my understanding the only advantage of the newer generation of NiMH
    over the older generation that the newer holds the charge much longer than
    the older generation. And I have never seen nor heard any camera with AA
    battery can do 600+ shots, but I haven't paid any attention to newer
    generation of digital camera using AA to know for sure.

    And if we are talking about the same Hy-Brid, No-Loope, Pre-Charged AA
    battery, then you may not need to recharge every couple nights on holidays
    because as I understand this sucker can hold the charge for 6-12 months.
     
    Joel, Oct 18, 2008
    #17
  18. Wayne R.

    OG Guest

    I think you mean mAh (milliamp hours).
    Yes, the old style NiMH cells may have more capacity (in terms of mAh), but
    most digital cameras have a minimum voltage that is needed to operate, and
    what you find with traditional NiMH cells is that the 'low battery' alert
    comes long before the cells are fully discharged.

    The reason is that although the profile of load voltage vs time is similar
    for both types of NiMH cells (a steady decline in voltage for ~85% of the
    discharge period, with a more rapid drop off at the end); at any point in
    the curve, the actual voltage for a hybrid will be slightly higher than for
    a trad NiMH cell. This means that the 'low battery' alert comes much closer
    to when the cells are actually fully discharged.

    If you're taking 300 shots per day (as I can easily do on holiday, much to
    the despair of my family), then you need to recharge every couple of
    nights!
     
    OG, Oct 19, 2008
    #18
  19. Wayne R.

    Joel Guest

    You are right (sorry my mind wasn't with me)
    I have been using AA NiMH for around a decade or so when 300-500 mAh (?)
    was the highest and it cost around $20-25 a pop. And right now I still have
    around 50 of them older generation, and around 20 Hy-Brid which I try to
    replace those old generation.

    Before I use for lot of electronics devices, now I usually use for flash
    (I have 2 flashes and 2 battery packs those 4 eat 24 AA batteries). IOW, I
    no longer count the shots like used to (when I was using P&S camera)
    Well, not often but on some evens or sport (don't shot sport often) I
    could do more/less a thousand shots. Sport then could be few thousands cuz
    of the brust mode. Me? no way anyone can get me to use AA for camera, and
    the battery of my DSLRs I can get over 1000+ shots. I usually switch
    battery when it reach around 800-900+ so never have dead battery.
     
    Joel, Oct 19, 2008
    #19
  20. Wayne R.

    Wayne R. Guest

    My 'new' K100D Super came in yesterday with the kit lens and a longer
    zoom of the same Pentax family. Thanks for the recommendation, it's
    exactly what I was looking for.
     
    Wayne R., Oct 31, 2008
    #20
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