vs. a DSLR


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Cap_Dingo

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Apr 25, 2006
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#1
Hi guys

I have a Minolta A1 and am thinking of upgrading as I need something which has more "crisp" pictures and has a shorter shutter lag (at the moment I cannot take it especially when lighting is indoors)

Will changing to a DSLR help improve these 2 problems and is it worth upgrading for these 2 benefits, or are there more benefits I can look forward to?

Thanks
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#2
1. having crisp picture (about optical sharpness, not about focus and shake-free) require a good lens rather than dependent on the body. however, the performance of SLR lens generally is better than compact lens.

2. SLRs will outperform the old days compacts 3 years ago in terms of shutter lag, but i'm not sure if the gap is closer nowadays for most compact models. however shutter lag is DIFFERENT from a prolonged shutter duration in low light indoor situation. this means if you are not talking about shutter lag, but are talking about having long shutter duration and resultant handshake in indoor situation, the same principle applies and you are going to face the same problem. chances may be improved if you have a DSLR lens with very large aperture, which may just cope with dim but not too dark indoor situations at static subjects with increased ISO, wide angle and proper support. a better option is to use a diffused flash and a reflector.

in short, changing the equipment will not automatically solve the above two problems. you still got to know how to use the new equipment to get around the problem, and after learning the basics, you can only improve very little unless you clear some non-equipment related bottlenecks. if the same bottleneck is present, changing into even the professional bodies and best optics will not make a difference.
 

Cap_Dingo

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Apr 25, 2006
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#3
1. having crisp picture (about optical sharpness, not about focus and shake-free) require a good lens rather than dependent on the body. however, the performance of SLR lens generally is better than compact lens.

2. SLRs will outperform the old days compacts 3 years ago in terms of shutter lag, but i'm not sure if the gap is closer nowadays for most compact models. however shutter lag is DIFFERENT from a prolonged shutter duration in low light indoor situation. this means if you are not talking about shutter lag, but are talking about having long shutter duration and resultant handshake in indoor situation, the same principle applies and you are going to face the same problem. chances may be improved if you have a DSLR lens with very large aperture, which may just cope with dim but not too dark indoor situations at static subjects with increased ISO, wide angle and proper support. a better option is to use a diffused flash and a reflector.

in short, changing the equipment will not automatically solve the above two problems. you still got to know how to use the new equipment to get around the problem, and after learning the basics, you can only improve very little unless you clear some non-equipment related bottlenecks. if the same bottleneck is present, changing into even the professional bodies and best optics will not make a difference.
Thanks for that zoossh! :thumbsup:

I already took these factors that you mentioned into account. Unfortunately using a flash means that I get kinda a "subject" flashed but the background all black. 2nd big problem is taking pictures of kids, fast focus and snap is really really critical, coz by the time the focus happens, the moment is gone. And this is the most annoying thing I'm facing at the moment.

A large apeture is something that I was considering, but not sure if getting a step up (current largest is 3.2 on tele) to say a prime with 1.8 will fix the "fast focus" problem, or whether its actually the body which does this fast focus. Would you know?
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#4
Thanks for that zoossh! :thumbsup:

I already took these factors that you mentioned into account. Unfortunately using a flash means that I get kinda a "subject" flashed but the background all black. 2nd big problem is taking pictures of kids, fast focus and snap is really really critical, coz by the time the focus happens, the moment is gone. And this is the most annoying thing I'm facing at the moment.

A large apeture is something that I was considering, but not sure if getting a step up (current largest is 3.2 on tele) to say a prime with 1.8 will fix the "fast focus" problem, or whether its actually the body which does this fast focus. Would you know?
Well, flash can be controlled by using a slow shutter speed with a boosted ISO, this will help to expose the BG properly while still illuminating the subject.

If you need fast focusing, you go for either a fast lens which has a large aperture or one which has a motor internally which will speed focusing up by a lot. Some bodies do have a faster focusing motor. ;)
 

arpinkor

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May 13, 2005
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Nee Soon
#5
I already took these factors that you mentioned into account. Unfortunately using a flash means that I get kinda a "subject" flashed but the background all black. 2nd big problem is taking pictures of kids, fast focus and snap is really really critical, coz by the time the focus happens, the moment is gone. And this is the most annoying thing I'm facing at the moment.

A large apeture is something that I was considering, but not sure if getting a step up (current largest is 3.2 on tele) to say a prime with 1.8 will fix the "fast focus" problem, or whether its actually the body which does this fast focus.
Black background with flash usually means you used a direct flash (I suppose you are using the built-in flash ?). You can try to bounce the flash to light up the background as well.
For faster focus, without buying anything yet, you can try to switch to manual focus, using a smaller aperture for a larger DOF. Taking photos of active kids requires good timing and some luck.
 

zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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#6
Thanks for that zoossh! :thumbsup:

I already took these factors that you mentioned into account. Unfortunately using a flash means that I get kinda a "subject" flashed but the background all black. 2nd big problem is taking pictures of kids, fast focus and snap is really really critical, coz by the time the focus happens, the moment is gone. And this is the most annoying thing I'm facing at the moment.

A large apeture is something that I was considering, but not sure if getting a step up (current largest is 3.2 on tele) to say a prime with 1.8 will fix the "fast focus" problem, or whether its actually the body which does this fast focus. Would you know?

there is a few parts to it.
1. fast visualisation
2. fast handling
3. fast focusing
4. fast shutter speed
with control of handshake (user) and assessment of subject motion (subject)

fast visualisation depends on your eye sight, the lighting condition and the viewfinder size and quality.

fast handling depends on the ergonomics and designs of setting controls of the body/lens, compatibility to your hand size, and by practice and familiarity.

large aperture size lens at its widest aperture gives fast shutter speed. given fair light indoor, f/1.8 should function well from wide angle to standard focal length. but if the focal length is going to be tele, even f/1.8 may not cope consistently. especially since your child is moving fast at close distance, it is not that forgiving. but f/1.8 50mm should be able to cope on average terms and give you some good pictures indoor, though not all the time.

fast autofocusing depends on the body or lens motor. usually the lens motor is faster, if there is one. it also depends on whether you have enough light and enough contrast of the subject under focusing. if difficult focusing, may consider manual focusing.
 

Cap_Dingo

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Apr 25, 2006
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#7
1. Unfortunately the A1 produces lots of grainy stuff at ISO400

2. Yes, its onboard flash. Slowing down the shutter will make the image blurry

3. Zwoosh, you're right on the peg. Its fast focusing that I need. The problem is that in dim lighting either its focus on the wrong thing or takes about 0.5 to 1 sec to auto focus.

4. Not sure whether a 50mm f/1.8 will help. Maybe I'll try buy one on the buy and sell and see how? Would anyone know whether the prime lens is auto-focus or is this only for manual focus use?
 

cantaresg

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Feb 23, 2007
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#8
For 1, I believe DSLR will help as generally DSLR has cleaner images compared to compacts. Some models of prosumers and (I believe) all DSLRs allow for external flashes so that you can bounce the flash and when you are familiar, you can avoid the black background issue.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#9
1. Unfortunately the A1 produces lots of grainy stuff at ISO400
depending on brands or models, some DSLR will show noise from 400 to 1600 onwards. compact is more likely to be noisy due to smaller sensor size. my nikon D50 do fairly well at 400, and starts to be noisy to me from 800 onwards.

3. Zwoosh, you're right on the peg. Its fast focusing that I need. The problem is that in dim lighting either its focus on the wrong thing or takes about 0.5 to 1 sec to auto focus.
in dim lighting, DSLR lens may have the same problem. not sure why but i guess the technology of sensing contrast may not be dependent on size and hence may not differ that much between compact and DSLR. however, from what i heard, some tele lens does autofocus faster than their counterparts at the same tele focal length and same lighting condition. i'm not sure how much difference different lens gives in terms of autofocusing speed, becos shutter duration is more of a problem so most ppl dun discuss about this instead.

4. Not sure whether a 50mm f/1.8 will help. Maybe I'll try buy one on the buy and sell and see how? Would anyone know whether the prime lens is auto-focus or is this only for manual focus use?
what DSLR brand are you looking at? nikon 50mm f/1.8 can fit all their current models except D40 and D40x, with autofocusing and metering. not sure about other brands.
 

Cap_Dingo

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Apr 25, 2006
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#10
Thanks so much for all the advice.

a. having a body that can produce cleaner shots at higher ISO will help.
b. focus on the wrong thing or slow focus may still be a problem even with a DSLR.
c. prime 50mm with f/1.8 combined with (a) will move the "speed" of the shots much higher compared with what is currently experienced on the A1 standard lens.

Now, any recommendations for good body/standard kit lens packages to swap this out with?

D50?
D40 - lens drive engine issue - so probably not.
any others? even other brand recommendations?
 

creampuff

Senior Member
Jul 11, 2006
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Dover
#11
Try the Pentax K100D or the award winning K10D. You will be impressed.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#12
Thanks so much for all the advice.

a. having a body that can produce cleaner shots at higher ISO will help.
b. focus on the wrong thing or slow focus may still be a problem even with a DSLR.
c. prime 50mm with f/1.8 combined with (a) will move the "speed" of the shots much higher compared with what is currently experienced on the A1 standard lens.

Now, any recommendations for good body/standard kit lens packages to swap this out with?

D50?
D40 - lens drive engine issue - so probably not.
any others? even other brand recommendations?
most DSLR brands fare well with its strength, probably with the exception of panasonic with an overpriced body without the performance to match the price.

people who choose canon or nikon goes for its wider number of lens option and easier 2nd hand market (either to buy or sell). sony-KM is a good performer too but its lens market is not mature yet and really expensive. olympus and pentax have a small market share and preserve it with its pricing and value for money. fujifilm is a cult on its own, sharing the same nikon mount, with nikon casing, but its own sensor and design, especially a favorite with wedding and portrait photographers, but is only at the intermediate level onwards. samsung (similar to pentax) and sigma bodies are not common in sg.

it is difficult for anyone to really give you a recommendation, as most of us used only one brand, some uses two brands before, and very few more than that.

would suggest that you buy one of those magazines that compares the brands.

some of the better performers at the budget levels include
canon 400D
nikon D50 and D70s
pentax K10D

some of the others looking at real performers at the semi-professional to professional range include
canon 5D
nikon D200
fujifilm s5pro
 

LeoDaddy

New Member
Jun 18, 2007
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#13
most DSLR brands ........................some of the better performers at the budget levels include
canon 400D
nikon D50 and D70s
pentax K10D

some of the others looking at real performers at the semi-professional to professional range include
canon 5D
nikon D200
fujifilm s5pro
And anything in between those mentioned.. check out D80!! :bsmilie:
 

digisnap

New Member
Dec 1, 2006
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#14
Check out the Nikon D80 kit. If you want a bigger aperture, buy a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8. Good luck.
 

vector1

New Member
Feb 3, 2007
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#17
Cuz Canon is the only one offering a 50mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.2? :D:D:D
 

Cap_Dingo

New Member
Apr 25, 2006
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#18
After reviewing a few of the posts about lenses and going through some shots taken by DSLRs, I'm now not 100% sure whether the problem is actually the camera.

The CRISP factor and vibrancy of colours I suspect now could be a problem with the lens. Looking back at earlier photos I took, I notice that the sharpness and clarity seem a bit better than now. Is there an easy way that I can test whether its the lens which I need to replace/repair or whether its a problem with the camera, or the cameraman. (I only have a single lens, no spares to compare)

Here's an example of a shot which I thought should have turned out well, but seemed dull and just not "tack-on" sharp and seems like its a series of pixels next to each other rather than a "single photo"... a disappointment. First example, expected the cars to be a bit more grrrrr, but the pixels just don't seem to gel into one. 2nd example, wanted more "ping" out of the colours of the red/green (shallow DOF intended). Overall very disappointed with the results.







Now here's something which I saw on CS which I wanted to reproduce... but the warmth and vibrancy of colours, and sharp cutouts are something which I cannot produce. This pic is the one that started the doubting...

 

zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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#19
is minolta A1 a prosumer? your camera seems to work fine with those pictures.

colors look fine on #3. it is a bit soft and i'm not sure if it is the focus that is off.

#2's color is truely flat with a high level of glare. polariser might work. but color is more so of white balance setting and a software issue, with lens's clarity playing a lesser component of failure.

#1 looks fine to me for sharpness though some parts are burnt. the lighting is harsh too, so there is high contrast.

i think these problems may still occur with DSLR models. you still can upgrade for other reasons though, but they may not solve these expectations of image quality and difficulty on poor lighting conditions.
 

Cap_Dingo

New Member
Apr 25, 2006
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#20
FYI, number 3 (the baby) is the pic taken by someone else which I saw on clubsnap. Loved it - and realised that none of my pics come out that way. The ones which I take appear (to me) like a series of pixels together rather than a smooth photo... dunno how else to describe it. Maybe ISO 200 is too grainy?

A1 is a prosumer.

Thanks again zoossh. Any other comments?
 

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