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Thread: SLR camera

  1. #21

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    Personally, the key thing. I repeat, key thing, that the F65 does not have is a spot meter. All the other things are secondary to this. If the F65 had a spot meter, I would easily recommend it as a beginner's camera for poor students .

    I disagree with DOF preview being critical (or single-dial control for that matter), after all, many such as myself lived with the F70 which had no DOF preview and a single dial. But if I didn't have a spot meter... well, then I probably wouldn't have a clue about exposure as all I'll be seeing is average weighted measurements.

    As for build quality, well, the F80 and F65 both don't seem to be that ruggedly built (compared to say F70 & F90)


    Note: F65 is clearly not as bad a camera as the F60 was.

    Originally posted by YSLee
    F80 if you have the cash. Getting something too low end is only if you're not into photography whatsoever.
    ....

    No DOF preview, cheapo plasticky mount, single dial control are among the reasons I don't recommand the lower end cameras.

  2. #22
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    I wasn't originally planning on saying anything, but Erwin's brought up a point that I was wanting to make so I'll chip in anyway.

    Without meaning to turn this into a "manual or AF camera for newbie" topic which is oft debated and frequently bursts into flames...

    It stunned me a bit to see the various recommendations, not just in this thread, to skip the EOS 300s and Nikon F65s. Things like DOF preview which Erwin points out are superfluous to taking good pictures. I will even go further and say that spot metering is not necessary either.

    The thing that matters is understanding photography, be it the principles behind exposure, how cameras or hand held meters meter, etc. If you understand that then you'll be able to take good pictures.

    I have cameras which do just about anything under the sun except make coffee and warm your hands. Yet, I use my spot meter for maybe 0.05% of all my shots. DOF preview even less. Multiple exposure, once in a blue moon. My hand held meter doesn't have a spot meter, but I don't seem to have much problem getting good exposures with my 5x4. And yes, I leave my PJ style shooting out of those calculations. In fact I usually use manual metering and occasionally manual focus for my sports work.

    The point is a lot of things I lusted for as a newbie -- information recording (like exposure and shutter speed information), multiple AF points, etc, I rarely, rarely use, if at all, now that I have the ability to. Yes, even multiple AF points for a sports photographer.

    Probably the most cost effective thing you could spend money on as a beginner is film. If you've never used a camera before on an extended basis, then another issue to consider is whether you will tire of the hobby before long? While you might well be able to afford a more expensive camera, if you're just starting out then prudence on this front might be a good idea. Of course, if you're a multi-millionaire then forget everything I've just said and buy the best.

    Don't think you need to pump a massive amount of money into photography to enjoy it. Someone here (sbs I think) uses an FM or FE10. And I'll bet he enjoys his photography as much as the next person.

  3. #23

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    Ah, but the FE10 and FM10 have 2 dial controls, compared to single dial controls of the PITA to use low end models. Furthermore it's easier to use, since there's a lot less automation and buttons to press.

  4. #24

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    Originally posted by YSLee
    No DOF preview, cheapo plasticky mount, single dial control are among the reasons I don't recommand the lower end cameras.
    /me kok YS

    Wa liew.... alien go away!

    EOS 300 HAVE a DOF preview function.

  5. #25

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    Not the F55 and EOS 66.

  6. #26
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    Since you already have G2, should get a Canon SLR.

    I brought my EOS 30 and the G2 for hoiliday recently. I can share the 420EX flash. The function and controls are quite similar. I sometime use the G2 to preview the shot before using the EOS 30.

    On certain occation when you do not want to carry all the staff, I left the EOS lock in the room and only carry the G2 in the waist pouch.

    If the EOS 30 is too much, you should consider EOS 300.
    I buy G2 partly because it can use the 420ex. Because the G2 built-in flash is effective only within 3 meter.


  7. #27

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    FYI ,

    CP is selling EOS 30 bundled with Ef 28-105mm lens although the Canon promotion is over .....

    price is from $950-$1000 ...

    I owned Canon Pro 90IS and EOS 30 ... accessories shared are
    - Flashlite 420 EX
    - filters <-- 58mm thread
    - closeup lens <-- 250D/500D
    - tripod
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

  8. #28

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    With the exception of the flash, the other accessories can be used with any other system.

  9. #29

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    I'm in 2 minds about spot metering. As may be guessed from my various posts, I kind of think that Nikon's matrix metering is pretty foolproof and coupled with bracketing, foolproof as well. But I don't want to rely on bracketing for everything, (or rather, I want to improve my hits with bracketing by correctly selecting the good 'start' exposure)

    As a practical example, I took a photograph of a lighthouse against clouds. I spot metered the clouds and the lighthouse and selected a exposure compromised between the bright sky and the lighthouse and was about 2/3-1 stop over the matrix meters recommendations. If i bracketed from this, I have a good chance of getting 2 or even 3 good frames, whereas if i bracketed from the matrix meters recommendation, I would likely only get 1-2 good frames. I was fortunate that the contrast was not that high and it turned out well.

    But lets say the contrast is a bit too high [but not ridiculously so](personally - you shouldn't even bother), but lets say you must photograph the lighthouse. Then spotmetering would seem to ensure that at least, the most important element (to you) of the scene is correctly exposed whereas the matrix meter will underexpose the lighthouse due to the bright sky.

    I think that this is a very useful lesson to learn. To be able to 'see' the scene' in terms of its individual parts and exposure values [i confess that i don't most of the time, looking at a scene nowadays, from experience, I'm pretty sure the scene is ok and bracket from there - of course, I still make mistakes which could have been avoided had i spotmetered ] Again, this is from the perspective of a person that likes landscapes quite a bit...

    Ultimately, I would agree with Jed that you can have lots of fun and take great pictures with a F55/F65. I have no quarrels about that. But I think the point of most of the posters is that a F80 is only $200 odd more.

    If the person really can't afford the F80, then the F65 / F55 are still far better buys than an equivalently priced digicam. But (not referring to anyone in particular), there seems to be a pattern that people (i think its a guy thing), after buying their camera/digicam, after a few weeks, months, feel that their photographs are not up to scratch, get the itch to spend more moeny and end up shelling out lots of additional cash for all sorts of other 'accessories' etc....

  10. #30
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    Originally posted by erwinx
    Ultimately, I would agree with Jed that you can have lots of fun and take great pictures with a F55/F65. I have no quarrels about that. But I think the point of most of the posters is that a F80 is only $200 odd more.
    Hmmm... makes me feel like a "traitor" for disagreeing, but...

    Yes, an F80 is only $200 more. And then an F90x is only $300 more, and then a 2nd hand F100 is only... When does it end?

    Frankly, it's very difficult to justify expensive equipment unless you're earning money from it. A significant number of people on this forum are students and not earning a regular paycheque (I'm not specifically thinking about you Erwin!). Time to weigh up the pros and cons. And to budget.

    Beginners need to learn to budget when they first start out. I mentioned this somewhere else, but a lot don't factor in the other incidental costs. A tripod, a camera bag (which cost a lot), etc. And more importantly film. An F55 with $200 of film will guarantee you better pictures than an F80 with no film. And unless you blow maybe $500 and up on film and processing, then the extra $200 you can spend on film with the cheaper camera will probably mean you get better pictures in the vast majority of the situations.

    The point I'm trying to get across is that you don't need dollops of money to enjoy this photography. A newbie coming into the hobby looks at the layout, gets the advice that he should go for an F80, and thanks, right with that, with lens, with tripod, with bag, with filter, with this with that, he's got to spend xyz amount of money. He gets the impression that if he spends xyz-$200, then he will have a less enjoyable photographic experience.

    On that "experience level", I think that's wrong. To re-iterate the above point, xyz-$200 + $200 of film will be far more enjoyable to a photographer than xyz with no film. Or vice versa for a technophile.

  11. #31

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    To turn this around,

    xyz with $300 of film and a camera with a spotmeter will learn something that xyz with $500 of film and a camera with no spotmeter may not be able to learn. In terms of marginal returns, there is a genuine feeling that in Nikon's case, the F70 and now the F80 are the bodies to get. (no one is going to recommend the F100 to a beginner... diminishing marginal returns)

    So in the interest of not scaring newbies, we shall say that the F55 and F65 are 'fine' but recommend the F80 subject to finances.




    Quote "On that "experience level", I think that's wrong. To re-iterate the above point, xyz-$200 + $200 of film will be far more enjoyable to a photographer than xyz with no film. Or vice versa for a technophile."
    Last edited by erwinx; 24th February 2002 at 08:08 AM.

  12. #32
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    What does a spot meter actually help you learn? To be honest, not a lot. It might help you meter, which is needed every once in a blue moon, but you need to learn how to understand exposure first before you can identify those situations, and also before you can use a spot meter properly.

    If I may ask, politely, what you method of metering your lighthouse picture was? As in the reasoning behind it, etc? There is surely more than what you've put down.

  13. #33
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    I agree that a spot meter does little help to learning but nonetheless is a pretty useful thing to have on your camera if you know how to use it. About spot meter being needed once in a blue moon is really debateable, depending on what you shoot. I find it very useful(especially multiple spot) for landscape and sometime architecture. That's why I bitch so much when I found out the D60 doesn't have one. Yes, I think its a bloody crime not to include a spot meter.

  14. #34
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    My question was directed at Erwin actually, as I was trying to find out his method with the lighthouse. Trust me, I shoot everything. My LF I use primarily for architecture and landscape and as mentioned I don't have a spot meter.

    I also debate the real usefulness of multispot unless you were sheet processing. It involves too much calculation...

  15. #35
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    So how do you get your way around those contrasting subjects?

  16. #36
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    Back to basic.
    Choose a camera within you budget and most important one with accurate meter.

    You need to take a lot of photos to gain the experience. You learn from making mistake.

    A lot of the features are nice to have for amature like me. All special feature are like computer software, tested only for a certain known set of conditions. It will not make you a pro. But it will help those with alot of experience to increase the chance of getting a good shot under difficult condition.

    Though my dream cameras are the EOS 1V and the EOS D1, I can't find the justification for them yet!

    May be after tomorrow!

  17. #37

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    (simplification - leave out colour discussions, where a +2 sky may actually only be +1 as its lighter in tone than a grey card)

    the lighthouse was just an example of a situation where nikon's matrix metering did not give the 'best' exposure but underexposed the lighthouse because of the bright sky.

    Matrix metering: value - 'X'
    Spotmeter sky: X+1.5 stop
    Lighthouse: X-2 stops
    obviously, matrix is favouring the sky in this instance.

    I know that lighthouse at X-2 is going to give me an ugly looking grey lighthouse. So the obvious solution is to shift the

    Final exposure value: 'X+1 stop' resulting in
    Sky: +2.5
    Lighthouse -1

    Jed, you can probably do this in your sleep , but most people can't. Maybe with enough experience, I can do automatic exposure adjustments in my head without a spotmeter, but the fact that I learnt how to in the first place is with a spotmeter.

    I must confess that I am inefficiently self-taught, so if theres a better way of learning this without a spotmeter, than more power to F55/65 users I was influenced by Galen Rowell who once wrote something to the effect that "people ask me what is the correct exposure, I tell them the correct exposure is when the most important element (without which the picture fails) is correctly exposed" In effect, an advocate for spotmetering


    New Example 2:
    Without a spotmeter, how does one figure out whether to use a 1 stop, 2 stop or 3 stop Neutral density grad for a landscape?
    Last edited by erwinx; 25th February 2002 at 03:53 AM.

  18. #38

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    I believe I've mention in another post about this.

    If you know your camera well and shoot often, spot meter becomes kinda redundant.

    For me, I dun hv a spot meter. In the past, i rely on center-weighted metering ~10% spot. Lately, i've switched over to evaluative as I begin to understand the situations where my camera will meter over or under and I just dial-in the compensation accordingly.

  19. #39
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    Hi Erwin! Thanks for the reply:

    (simplification - leave out colour discussions, where a +2 sky may actually only be +1 as its lighter in tone than a grey card)

    Unfortunately, the whole point is that you cannot leave out colour discussions (and brightness as well). That's the reason why I said it involves too much calculation.

    BTW, a +2 sky is +2 stops lighter than a grey card, assuming 0 is a grey card reading. A -2 sky is -2 stops darker than a grey card. You have to remember your meter, including the spot meter, assumes everything is a grey card. So it's telling you that it's a grey card which is effectively +2 compared to the matrix reading.

    Matrix metering: value - 'X'
    Spotmeter sky: X+1.5 stop
    Lighthouse: X-2 stops
    obviously, matrix is favouring the sky in this instance.


    Actually, from this, it sound pretty accurate, in the senses that it is practically in the midpoint between your two subjects.

    I know that lighthouse at X-2 is going to give me an ugly looking grey lighthouse. So the obvious solution is to shift the

    Final exposure value: 'X+1 stop' resulting in
    Sky: +2.5
    Lighthouse -1


    Is it the obvious solution? You're using a lot of stuff that you understand through a good lengthy process of learning. The spot meter helps you apply what you've learnt, but does not actually help in the learning process.

    Sorry to continue with the questions, but in your example, with the original matrix meter illustration proposed (as in, +1.5, -2), if it was a dark lighthouse (say 2 stops darker than mid grey, as in a near black lighthouse), and the sky was +1.5 brigher than mid grey (possible) then you'd have the perfect exposure. I know there are no black lighthouses (none that I know of anyway) but it's a value judgement you've made based on your assessment of the scene.

    I was influenced by Galen Rowell who once wrote something to the effect that "people ask me what is the correct exposure, I tell them the correct exposure is when the most important element (without which the picture fails) is correctly exposed" In effect, an advocate for spotmetering

    No, from my reading Galen is only advocating correct exposure. He doesn't say you need a spot meter to achieve that. I agree... the most important element must be exposed properly. To do so you must understand enough to take a spot reading off the main element. In your case, I assume the lighthouse (in which case, you shouldn't by a strict reading be bothering with the sky). You'd probably want to put that at +2 if it's an off-white lighthouse.

    However, if you understand enough to take a spot meter reading, then you should be able to work out to how your main subject exposes in relation to a general meter reading of the scene, and then compensate from there. After all with a spot meter, unless you are spot metering off an 18% grey subject, you still have to use this estimation anyway.

    Here's where everyone should go out and understand the Zone System. Applying it is difficult (ideally requires sheet film), but it also helps understand exposure so it's not just for sheet film users.

    New Example 2:
    Without a spotmeter, how does one figure out whether to use a 1 stop, 2 stop or 3 stop Neutral density grad for a landscape?


    This can be achieved by pointing the lens at the sky and then at the foreground. Again, it's less calculations this way, as you know your foreground is probably going to be a good average of 18% grey (on the same basis all meters depend), whereas deep blue sky is similarly going to be close to mid grey.

  20. #40

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    Hi Jed
    You do have the most detailed explanation for anything photography. Admiration is all mine

    Can write more articles? I find yours particularly useful. And care to share with me your sites and galleries?

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