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Thread: Camera experts wanted.

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Chester

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    Default Camera experts wanted.

    I know you're out there.

    Digital technology has left me behind, so i'm looking for advice on behalf of my daughter.
    She wants a digital camera for university and holiday use, that will have a reasonable chance of still functioning in two years time. In my experience, they have a tendency to pack up just after the guarantee runs out, but not often before.

    She has two of my old film SLRs, so she has some idea how to use a camera.

    The problem is... her budget of 200-250.
    Storage memory is more important to her than trillions of pixels.
    She might like the option of changing lenses in the future, and hopes to find a SLR for that budget.

    So the big question is.......

    Are digital SLRs as robust as most of the film ones were?
    And
    Can you suggest something please?

  2. #2
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    I suspect the Hooded Claw (Hamish, to his friends) will be a good person to help, but on the basis you are looking for something with a warranty, no chance of a new SLR camera at that price, I'm afraid. (350-400 for a basic one and kit lens, I would suggest.)
    Alex

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  3. #3
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    Alex.

    Ah yes, i wasn't very clear. The warranty bit was just a cynical view from me.
    Secondhand is quite acceptable.
    We just need to know if buying these things secondhand is a bit of a lottery, and which are the ones to look out for.

    I bought dozens of secondhand film SLRs without any real problems. But i don't know how the new cameras compare with regard to reliability.

  4. #4
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    Well, no experience of buying secondhand Digital SLRs, but I have bought one or two film ones, and lots of lenses. I personally have always been a Canon man, and as the EF lenses still fit the digital EOS range, I went for a 450D, and love it. You would be able to get an older body - like this 350D (8 megapixel) http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Canon-EOS-350D...d=p3286.c0.m14 and a basic non-stabilised lens like this 28-80mm http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CANON-EF-28-80...d=p3286.c0.m14 - the lens will be basic, but a good starting point, though you need to remember the effective focal range needs to be increased by 1.6 as the CCD is smaller than a 35mm frame. (i.e. 28-80 equates to 45-128 in 35mm equivalent) - if she could live without the zoom, and could stretch a bit further, a standard EF 50mm F1.8 is an absolute stunner for the money - I've had mine since my film days and love it - at around 80 new it is a bargain - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-EF-50m...5468167&sr=1-2

    The other body option at that money would be a slightly older (I think) EOS 20D like this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CANON-20D-DIGI...d=p3286.c0.m14

    Others will favour the Nikons or Olympus etc - I have only experience of Canon, and stuck with them as they are so similar to the film cameras, and I had loads of EF lenses - what were the SLRs you passed on - that might have a bearing on the decision, if the lenses can be re-used?
    Alex

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  5. #5
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    I was a Canon EOS fan too. I always found them more intuitive than other brands.
    The film SLRs that i gave to her have no significant value, which is why i didn't bother to sell them. Fujica STX-1 and Pentax MZ50.
    Just remembered that the Mother in law still has an EOS 1000fn with a good zoom lens, so maybe that could be put to use.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alb View Post
    Just remembered that the Mother in law still has an EOS 1000fn with a good zoom lens, so maybe that could be put to use.
    It sure could - all Canon EF fit lenses also fit the EF-S (current digital) bodies with no problems - some of the third-party EF fit lenses struggle though, some of the Sigma ones, for example.

    Just remembered - you'll also need a memory card - this would be fine - under a tenner for 4gb - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...pf_rd_i=468294
    Alex

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  7. #7
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    (My favourite lenses are the older Made in Japan ones - this one (should be able to get one for 50-60) is my favourite walkaround lens - metal mount, much sturdier construction - back element focus (filters don't rotate when focusing) http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Canon-EF-35-13...d=p3286.c0.m14 - 35mm - 135mm is a very useful length and the best of the consumer lenses, IMHO)
    Last edited by Alex_UK; 13-10-2009 at 22:39.
    Alex

    Main System: Digital: HP Laptop/M2Tech Hiface/Logitech Media Server/FLAC; Marantz SA7001 KI Signature SACD Player and other digital stuff into Gatorised Beresford Caiman DAC Vinyl: Garrard 401/SME 3009 SII Improved/Sumiko HS/Nagaoka MP-30
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  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2009

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    I'm Hamish.

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    to be fair alex has done a fine job of answering the question.. a few points of note
    1.whatever brand you get buy the black body version - you might get a good price on a silver one but they depreciate quicker as they wear worse
    2.go in jesops and get one of their undertrianed drones to show you a few brands ... notice the quality of the plastic ... nikon still uses the (imo) more tactile plastic ... you will notice the sonys feel cheap! choose a brand and but second hand! prices these days are over inflatewd and quality has dropped
    3. (imo) avoid olympus ... they use 4/3 sensor - the leses are more expensive and less avaliable

    my advice is always nikon .. i am a pro, i use nikon, dave cawley is a pro, he uses nikon, shaun is a pro, he uses nikon... the sencible pros do ...

    some great cameras to look out for

    nikon d70s - small screen but otherwise great camera - usually comes with nikons 18-70 lens which is way better than the 18-55 by such a big margin!!
    nikon d50 - a true unsung hero of a dslr ... look out for one with the 18-70
    nikon d40 - will come with 18-55 - if you are lucky you might find one with a vibration reduction 18-55. main selling point ... has bigger screen
    d80... pushing the price... very good camera though

    If you buy a d70 or d50 you can use all nikon af lenses .. they DO NOT ALL af on the 40 or 60

    non nikon
    fuji s3pro - BIG .. takes great photos might be just in budget

    sonys take older minolta lenses ... if you go down this road stick to the lower rez a100 or a200 though (the a100 is a gem for a non nikon)

    remember one thing more pixels does NOT mean better photos
    the d50/d70/d40 are all 6mp .. 6mp on aps-c sensor means bigger photosites - means more light hits them - means less noise (facts abridged)

    ...

    a good way to check a s/h dslr is as follows-
    set camera to apeture priority (A)
    set apeture to min (eg f.22)
    take photo of sky or unblemished subject
    inspect for dots on the image

    dots means dust on sensor - means 12 careless owners
    no dots means 1 carefull owner

    the dots can be cleaned but its usually a good indication of history!
    there should also be little dust visible through the vf (on focus screan)

    ...

    if you buy a nikon d200 all the lenses dating back to 1957 work (some need a bit of fileing but i can do that for you) http://hamishgill.blogspot.com/2008/...o-to-work.html

    good luck with your search.. i will always answer more questions .. even by pm/phone if ness! i like to be helpful with cameras as im less than helpfull with hifi!
    i have to work now though ( at this time of night?! .. shite int it ... deadlines!! ) ...
    Hamish

  9. #9
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Chester

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    Thats brilliant Hamish, thanks for taking the time.

    From that i conclude that Nikon and Canon are relatively safe secondhand buys. We'll take a look locally and then see whats available online perhaps.

    my advice is always nikon .. i am a pro, i use nikon, dave cawley is a pro, he uses nikon, shaun is a pro, he uses nikon... the sencible pros do ...
    I could understand the Nikon pro connection when the F4 was the camera of choice. But some of the cheaper cameras in the Nikon range made little impression on me. Others seemed easier to use.
    Maybe professionals judge a camera system with a completely different set of criteria to us amateurs.

    I used to do weddings with Bronicas and Nikkor lenses, does that make me a pro.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Preston, England

    Posts: 78

    Default which camera?

    in my experience the nikon coolpix range are superb and the two i own are both going strong long after the warranty ran out.

    it's not true that you need millions of pixel's, three million is a good compromise between quality and speed, speed? i hear you ask, well yes everytime you press the button the camera pauses whilst it captures the image, obviously 12 mega pix tales a lot longer to capture the image than a 3 mega pixel, so.... well whilst it's capturing it can't take another picture, so you could miss two great pics whilst your waiting.


    3 mega pixels can be enlarged to a4 no probs, so unless you want a more pro' approach and want to enlarge to poster size and take a tripod etc then you need more.

    but a student? pissed at party, on a day out, or general 'snaps' probably not.
    good luck

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