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Subject: "from prosumer to DSLR" Previous topic | Next topic
ktchow1 Registered since 15th Mar 2004Mon 15-Mar-04 12:17 PM
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"from prosumer to DSLR"



          

I m now a new user of DSLR, upgraded from prosumer sony 707 to nikon D70. However I find some difficulties in using DSLR, as if I need to learn photography from the beginning again. The main difficulties are : (1) focusing (2) exposure and (3) focal length. Thank you very much for your reading. My skill needed to be improved and I sincerely ask for your help. Thank you for your patience and generosity to help.



(1) Focusing
Although most D70 users appreciate the fast and accurate focusing in D70, I found that it is poorer than prosumer like 707. I guess this may be because of my poor skills in handling DSLR. My 707 can focus accurately even under dim condition, it can focus on low contrast object and object that hides inside complex environment, like these :




However when i m using "auto focus single shot" mode in D70, the camera cannot focus on a plain white wall, it cannot focus the plain blue sky (my sony can easily detect "infinity"). I need to find high contrast object in one of the five focusing regions. Focusing fails when my composition do not contain high contrast objects in these regions. Furthermore, the right and left focusing region require strong contrast horizontal edge, a vertical edge cannot help. While the top and bottom focusing region require a vertical edge. What happen if there are only horizontal edges in the top region of my composition ? Do I rely on too much on the ease of focusing in prosumer DC ? If Yes, what should i do to improve my focusing skills in D70 and other SLR ?



(2) Exposure
My old sony 707 can achieve a large aperture F2.0 at 38mm and F2.4 at 190mm !! Although most people say that the aperture in prosumer DC isnt comparable to the aperture in DSLR in terms of "narrow depth of field", i find that the exposure of DC is similar to that in DSLR when using the same shutter speed and aperture (under the same ISO). The lens that goes with D70 is 18mm - 70mm f3.5 - f.4.5, which has an aperture far smaller than my sony 707, which means the shutter speed will be slower in D70 than in 707, when the largest aperture is used for both camera. Under dim condition like cloudy evening, indoor with enough lighting, i can shoot with hand held using my 707 (at f2.0), which is impossible for my D70. Does it mean that tripod is necessary in cloudy days for D70 ? One of the reason that i like my 707 is that i can perform "available light photography", i can shoot even under dim condition without using tripod, this is very convenient. However for my D70, tripod is needed even in cloudy daytime.



(3) Focal length
Some people may suggested that a large aperture lens with fixed focal length can help. Yes, i bought a 50mm f1.4, and i can only afford that. However i need to buy more and more until my D70 can cover "F2.0 at 38mm and F2.4 at 190mm" which is achieved by my sony 707 without changing lens. When I can focus on objects 2cm away from the camera using D70, i need extension tube or other macro lens. In my 707, i can do that by pressing a "macro" button !!! Is the lens in 707 too powerful ? Or ...... do I rely on toy-liked 707 too much ?



I have been using D70 for 1 week. It is excellent in low noise image (comparing with 707, because of the large and better CCD) at the expense of not-easy-to-use, higher cost, relatively difficult focusing and longer exposure (unless you spend more to buy large aperture lens). As most people like to upgrade to DSLR, I have such a strange feeling. I guess there should be something wrong in my concept about photograghy, and perhaps i havent yet understood the advantages of DSLR. Would anyone tell me what should i do to improve ?

thank you very much.

  

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serych Registered since 02nd Mar 2004Mon 15-Mar-04 02:01 PM
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#1. "RE: from prosumer to DSLR"
In response to Reply # 0


Praha, CZ
          

>(1) Focusing
>Although most D70 users appreciate the fast and accurate
>focusing in D70, I found that it is poorer than prosumer
>like 707. I guess this may be because of my poor skills in
>handling DSLR. My 707 can focus accurately even under dim
>condition, it can focus on low contrast object and object
>that hides inside complex environment, like these :
>However when i m using "auto focus single shot" mode in D70,
>the camera cannot focus on a plain white wall, it cannot
>focus the plain blue sky (my sony can easily detect
>"infinity"). I need to find high contrast object in one of
>the five focusing regions. Focusing fails when my
>composition do not contain high contrast objects in these
>regions. Furthermore, the right and left focusing region
>require strong contrast horizontal edge, a vertical edge
>cannot help. While the top and bottom focusing region
>require a vertical edge. What happen if there are only
>horizontal edges in the top region of my composition ? Do I
>rely on too much on the ease of focusing in prosumer DC ? If
>Yes, what should i do to improve my focusing skills in D70
>and other SLR ?

It is not problem to use AF-lock function in problematic scenes. Just conform the image composition to focusing, then lock the focus and recompose the image.

>
>
>
>(2) Exposure
>My old sony 707 can achieve a large aperture F2.0 at 38mm
>and F2.4 at 190mm !! Although most people say that the
>aperture in prosumer DC isnt comparable to the aperture in
>DSLR in terms of "narrow depth of field", i find that the
>exposure of DC is similar to that in DSLR when using the
>same shutter speed and aperture (under the same ISO). The
>lens that goes with D70 is 18mm - 70mm f3.5 - f.4.5, which
>has an aperture far smaller than my sony 707, which means
>the shutter speed will be slower in D70 than in 707, when
>the largest aperture is used for both camera. Under dim
>condition like cloudy evening, indoor with enough lighting,
>i can shoot with hand held using my 707 (at f2.0), which is
>impossible for my D70. Does it mean that tripod is necessary
>in cloudy days for D70 ? One of the reason that i like my
>707 is that i can perform "available light photography", i
>can shoot even under dim condition without using tripod,
>this is very convenient. However for my D70, tripod is
>needed even in cloudy daytime.

I don't know F707, but I found on dpreview that maximum ISO of this camera is ISO 400 and subjectively there is much more noise on ISO 400 test image (at least without noise reduction) than on D100's (nearly the same CCD as D70 has) ISO 1600 setting. There are two stops between ISO 400 and 1600, so f3.5 with ISO 1600 gives the same time as f1.75 with ISO 400 and f4.5 with 1600 the same as f2.25 with 400.
Isn't it enough?

>
>(3) Focal length
>Some people may suggested that a large aperture lens with
>fixed focal length can help. Yes, i bought a 50mm f1.4, and
>i can only afford that. However i need to buy more and more
>until my D70 can cover "F2.0 at 38mm and F2.4 at 190mm"
>which is achieved by my sony 707 without changing lens. When
>I can focus on objects 2cm away from the camera using D70, i
>need extension tube or other macro lens. In my 707, i can do
>that by pressing a "macro" button !!! Is the lens in 707 too
>powerful ? Or ...... do I rely on toy-liked 707 too
>much ?

Cameras without interchangable lenses can realize macro only if the build in lense has extremely long range of focusing. The range is divided into two zones because of shortening the focusing times. That's why there is macro button on this cameras. It is just telling the camera: "now you'll focus in the second zone".
On the other side one of the main advantages of SLR cameras is that you can change lenses, and in the case of macro it means, you can buy very expensive ones specialised to macro photography or you can solve the macro photography using extension rings whitch are much cheaper than the macro lense.

For more consumer oriented shooting (first image - big mountains panorama, second - macro of spider, third - portrait of somebody under the tree on which the spider has his net and fouth the eagle just flying above that tree) the compact cameras will always be much more flexible - just point and shoot.
But if you know, that this afternoon you are going to shoot only macros of spiders, the technical quality of the images would be much better using DSLRs with specialised lenses.

Nice day
Jakub

  

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suaide Registered since 12th Feb 2003Mon 15-Mar-04 02:42 PM
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#2. "RE: from prosumer to DSLR"
In response to Reply # 0


Sao Paulo, BR
          

Hello ktchow1,

I undersand your ´disapointment´ with respect to your D70 camera, when compared to your P&S camera. The reason is the following. DSLR give you the extreme on image quality that you do not get with P&S. It also gives your flexbility and speed that you also dont get in P&S cameras. you pay for it in the end... So, let me try to explain your points.

1. Focus. The D70 has several focus capabilities that probably your P&S does not have such as fast tracking, etc. I am sure the D70 can achieve superbus focus, even better than your P&S if you correctly set the camera. It is known that DSLR images are softer than P&S because the image processing on camera are more conservative to give the possibility of offline processing using Photoshop. with this approach the out of the camera images look somehow out-of focus for the untrained eye. This give the possibility of huge enhancements (prints) that you can not get from P&S. But, I am sure the D70 has settings that can give you tack sharp images out of the camera.

You also get an impression of the fast focus in the P&S because the camera does not focus precisely. It uses the very small focal lenght feature to discretize the focus. Very small focal lenghts have huge DOF so if you miss the focus by a few centimeters, depending on the distance to the subject, it does not matter at all. The DOF will make the image sharp no matter what. This focus discretization is necessary to give you the focus speed. DSLR have continous focus (yoou can focus on all possible distances) so it will give you extreme focal precision with minimal DOF if required.

2. F-Stop. It is true that P&S cameras have larger F-Stops (F1.8, F2.0 etc) that are very difficult to obtain in DSLR. This is because the sensor is soo small that the focal lenght of the lens in on the order of 2-15 mm, while DSLR have focal lenghts on the order of 20-300 mm. Making a F2.0 lens in the focal lenght of 2 mm is pretty easy. Making that on 100 mm is extremely difficult and you pay for it. On the other hand, P&S have very small sensors which makes high iso photography practically impossible because of noise. You can compensate the lack of F1.8 lens at 200 mm just by crancking the iso to 800 speed (you will never get a decent 800 iso image on P&S, even 200 iso is extremely hard).

3. DSLR lenses are also much better built. You get much less distortions and much hight color accuracy and better flare control. Also, lens resolution are usually better. If you always print the images at 6x4 it will be pretty difficult to see the differences but if you print at 10x14 you can see that pretty well.

So, just to finish, DLSR are much more difficult to use and require a lot of training and understanding to get most of it. I know a lot of people who got disappointed by SLRs over the years, mostly because this is a kind of camera the photographer plays the most important role on setting the equipment.

The advice I give you is, keep trying... Once you get used to it you will never regret. SLRs are a completely new world and, at first glance, are usually disapointing if you upgrated from a P&S.

Regards

Alex Suaide

----------------------------
Dr. Alexandre Suaide
Dep. de Física Nuclear
Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil

  

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ubiquitous Basic MemberMon 15-Mar-04 10:44 PM
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#3. "RE: from prosumer to DSLR"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I too own a Sony DSC-F707. I also want to upgrade to the D70. The specs look decent and the pictures that I have seen posted so far look great. I especially like the ones taken at a high ISO, 400 and up. I find that there is too much noise on the F707 at ISO 400, poor quality. At 100 I would say excellent.

I think the reason the F707 can focus on a plain wall is because of the hologram that is emitted on to the surface. Turn the hologram off and the green focus light will continue blinking, indicating focus cannot be obtained.

The reasons I want to upgrade is because of shutter lag. Trying to take action shots with this is painfully slow. I want to take a bunch in succession so I can pick out the right action shot to keep. I don't shoot less than 3MP and at 5MP it is only good for still life and landscapes.

The burst mode on the F707 takes 3 in succession whether you want to or not. Press the shutter once and it's click, click, click. Your D70 should allow continuous mode as long as you keep the shutter button down and stop on release.

At 3-5MP in burst mode on the F707 you have to wait around 7-9 seconds for the camera to finish writing before you can take the next set of pics. You will definitely appreciate the speed of the D70 over this. I recently tried some action shots in burst mode and missed a few moments because I had to wait for the camera to finish writing.

The quality of the pics at a high ISO is also evident. Very grainy on the F707 and it maxes out at 400. See the pics from the D70 at 1000, very crisp. The link is on another thread in the D70 forum.

The great thing about the F707 is that it can focus within range of the hologram in total darkness with nightframing or nightshot. I haven't had a use for nightshot yet. If you used it the picture comes out green anyway but at least it is crisp and clear, just green. If I was private detective this may come in handy.

Another reason to get the D70 is to go wide-angle. At 38mm-190mm (35mm equivalent) it is too narrow. Have you tried to take a group shot in the living room with this. If your living room is small you basically have to knock out a wall so you can stand back an extra 10 feet or do it in 2 shots on a tripod, ask the group not to move in the meantime so you can recompose then stitch the 2 together using software. A group shot looks better in 1 frame than over 2.

If you want the macro capability then why not keep the F707. How much would a lense cost to allow you to focus to 2cm (11/16) which the F707 allows.




  

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RoyWoo Registered since 14th Feb 2002Tue 16-Mar-04 12:42 PM
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#4. "RE: from prosumer to DSLR"
In response to Reply # 0


Hongkong, CN
          

Hi KT,

I think the other guys said it, but just to clarify a couple of points for you:

1) The 707 is a great low light performer. In comparison, a DSLR has the potential to be even better, if the right lens combination is selected. The combination of a higher usable iso, f1.4 primes or f2.8 zooms, and stablized lenses provide the best low light performance you'd find.

2) Depth of view control is something that is somewhat lacking on a prosumer. A DSLR allows its user to control DOF precisely. Check out your f1.4 lens, you might be pleasantly surprised.

3) Focal range - why not just buy the very cheap 70-300mm G. That will give you eqiv. of 27-450mm in zoom lenses & a 75mm prime lens. A must agree with you that the 707 is the better "casual" macro tool.

4) Speed and responsiveness - some prosumers are pretty fast, but man this is sweeeet!!

Personally, I think the D70 is a great tool. I also think it takes a substantial amount of learning to fully exploit it. I am sure the 707 was the same when you first got it. Its a matter of time and effort till we become familiar with D70, provided it is the right tool for us.

Roy

  

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