Over the past three months I have made the jump to to digital, well not really a jump as i have had a coolpix 5000 for several years whilst i was backpacking around europe etc, more the jump back into real photography rather than point and shoot happy snaps. I have found that I mainly shoot what I always used to shoot when I was serious about photography and used an old pentax k1000 setup, nature and landscapes, urban and wild, as well as some motor sports etc.
For the landscape work I have gone thee medium format route as I have found that Bronicas are now cheap and easy to get.
The problem that I am having is that I just cant seem to get the image qual' out of the D70 that I used to get out of film. I do a lot of manual focus work, both through my 400 (Birds and other wildlife), and also recently macro work with my Nikor 70 - 245 AF D lens mounted on a PN - 11 tube. I aam also finding the D70s a real mission to focus. I might not have always taken the best pictures but I rarely had so many out of focus on the old pentax. On the D70s, manualy focusing I often only get a couple in focus out of say 35 - 40 shots. Recently a close friend of mine who runs a picture framing buisness brought an Epson STYLUS PRO 9600 and we spat out some A2 size prints which were really not very good quality, understandably so but that leads into my question.
I can currently sell my D70s and basiclly replace it with a used F5, and plustek opticfilm 7200i scanner. I will still be able to use my lenses on the f5, except the 18 - 70 dx but that will go with the D70s, and I am hoping the I will be able to get better quality scans shooting with velvia etc. Also the much better veiwfinder, and changeable screens should solve my focusing woes. I would however lose the instant viewing capability but I have found that seems to make me lazy as I now I can just delete and keep on shooting.
Any advice, opinions would be greatly appreciated. I have had no experiance with scanning slides and don't really now what to expect, and that model of scanner was only based on reading things on the net, I would really like a scanner that could also do my 120 flim but this model seemed to offer the best res'. Or should I just leave the scanning up to labs? Would the F5 be the best choice of body?.
Thanks greatly in advance for any comments, I don't want to rush into things like I did with the D70s.
#1. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 0diver_paul Registered since 07th Jan 2005Tue 13-Dec-05 10:34 AM
I too held back on going digital because of the quality. I use an F6 and a Nikon Coolscan V. The results I get from a well exposed slide are fantastic. I'v done 11x13 prints and can see no grain. This Scanner goes for about U.S. $550.00.
I use the Velvia 100 (not F) for my landscapes and love this film.
I have a D200 on order though. I suspect I will just use this camera for family snapshots where I want to share the pics right away. And as a backup body.
Life is a journey,
Not a guided tour.
Life is a journey,
Not a guided tour.
#2. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 1Silver Surfer Registered since 13th Dec 2005Tue 13-Dec-05 12:51 PM
Film will always give better qualtiy results. Only the D200 and D2X are starting to get close.....
If you are using AF then the F5 has the best meter you can get, however you will be paying a premium for the build qualtiy and the camera is much heavier than the D70. I personaly like the weight of the F5 as it gives a better balance with a bigger lens. The F100 / F80 are lighter and would produce the same quality pictures.
"Horses for Courses"
If you are printing A2 the 6 MP on the D70 is just not enough detail. Even in Tiff files you would be getting around 12MB per shot whereas a scanned negative @ 7200 dpi would give you around 38MB. See where I am going ? A D2X would give good results but at the current price The film / scaner is a better and cheaper option for quality results. Maybe 2 years down the line the D2X will be a good used buy......
If buying used then the F5 would make the most sense if you can live with the weight. Plenty of choice so insist on the best but don't pay over the top. $750 will buy you a nice example. Get it serviced and cleaned by Nikon and you'll never look back. *** The Penta prisms always get dusty on non-serviced F5's *** Avoid early serial 30.... versions.
#3. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 0
I am using an F6 with a Konica Minolta Dimage Scan Elite II scanner.
When using Velvia film I am getting incredible results.
I used to use a Nikon D100 and went back to film. The quality of the Velvia, KM combo is hard to beat.
I just got my slides back from a trip to Sedona AZ. I scanned them tonight and will post some when I get them resized for the web.
The KM scanner is able to scan at 5400 dpi. The file sizes are huge! The thing is producing 42 MP files.
My body and scanner combo cost me about $2500.00. Half the price of a D2X, and I don't have to worry about dust, 1.5X cropping factor, or small viewfinders. All things I hated about DSLR's.
The thing is you don't have to get an F6, an F100 is priced great right now with the $200.00 rebate. You could pick one of those up and the scanner for around $1300.00.
There are some drawbacks to scanning film. Your computer needs lots of RAM and if you plan on scanning many images at full resolution you will need lots of hard drive space. My full size scans at 16 bit are around 220 MB.
Well I hope this helps some.
Life is short. Live it with integrity,
leaving the world a better place than
you found it.
#4. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 3GLOBETROTTER Registered since 11th Aug 2003Wed 14-Dec-05 07:55 AM
Jarrod, I too would point you towards the F5 - a superb camera system.
I do sometimes use the D70, but mainly for 'quick' shots used for the Internet, etc. My partner has a D70, and she is quite happy with it, and gets very sharp results using her lenses such as the AF Sigma 28mm f1.8 DG Macro, AF 180mm APO Macro, and Nikkor 75-300mm lenses. I've also used the D70 on the Nikkor 600mm ED-IF and have had no problems with obtaining sharp shots.
Your success rate in maual focus seems very strange, even taking into account the dark and small viewfinder of the D70. Is the viewfinder eyepiece adjusted to your eyesight?
It is also possible that your eyesight might also be waning slightly since you used the Pentax some years ago.
I use the Nikon F5 system for most of my professional work, and up until a few years ago sent all my original colour transparencies (slides) to editors or publishers that mainly used drum scans. However, I've been using the Minolta Elite 5400 scanner for some years now, and find that I now prefer to make most of my own scans, burn them to CD or DVD discs and send them direct to editors or publishers. I've even used the Minolta scanner recently for calendars and even large-size framed prints for publishers - and am very happy with the results.
The Minolta Scanner is quite slow, and you do need to finish each scan individually via Adobe Photoshop CS, but it is well worth the extra effort.
Regarding the F5 - I'm sure you will find it vastly superior to the D70 in most aspects, and far easier to focus manually.
A last note: Most of my own lenses tend to be very fast-aperture models. The main reason that I use these lenses is not for their open-aperture performance (as a high percentage of my shots are taken at medium apertures) but more beceause they simply provide much brighter through-the-lens viewing, and therefore a better platform for a high success rate of manually focussed shots in all light conditions.
#5. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 0
Keep it simple - the D70 does not have a good enough viewfinder for the sort of manual focus you are trying to do.
Modern 24x36 SLR's have less viewfinder magnification than a K1000 to allow for the extra viewfinder information and less brightness because a lot more light is diverted for modern matrix metering and multi spot.
An OM4 has a larger apparent size screen which is 2 stops righter than an F5, and the K1000 is not far behind.
DX viewfinders are smaller than 24x36.
"Cheaper" DSLR's have less efficient viewfinders made artificially brighter by using a clearer ground screen which appears to be brighter but is much less suitable for judging manual focus or dof.
In your bird photography and macro work you are not using super bright f2 lenses to compensate.
Getting your eyes checked might help a little but if you want AF you should consider an F6 or D2x with dK 17M to make things easier.
If you want the brightness possible screen you need to forgo AF for a K1000 or OM4.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#6. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 5GLOBETROTTER Registered since 11th Aug 2003Wed 14-Dec-05 01:45 PM
The K1000, and especially the OM-3 & OM-4ti indeed have bright viewfinders, however, the big high eyepoint of the F5 (with interchageable prisms and screens) still provides a very bright and full frame viewfinder, and you should see a vast difference in your abilty to manual focus compared to the D70.
I also use the superb Pentax LX professional system and its range of viewfinders are stunning to look through, but the F5 can still hold its own as providing some of the best veiwfinders in an autofocus body.
The F6, like Len said, is also a possible option, although you do loose the abilty to change prisms (which in my 'view' is a big minus). Also, the F6 and D2x may beyond your budget. I'm not sure how bright the viewfinder of the D200 will be, but judging by early reports it is an improvement on the D100 & D70...but hardly likely to be better than the F5.
#7. "RE: To sell or not to sell?" | In response to Reply # 0
Thanks heaps for the responses guy's, it great to get advice from people with a lot more experiance than me.
As for my eyes I have had them checked prior to posting due to this issue and that has resulted in me setting the diopter to around +0.5 - 1. This did make a difference and I am getting glasses so that I can see if this helps (although my optom' says I dont really need them unless I am reading for long periods).
As for what I am going to do I have bid on an F4 on ebay as it is a very cheap option and will enable me to keep the D70s for the moment and see how I find the results from this camera and then I can decide from there what route to take. I am also going to try a friends macro lens on the d70 with the tube I just have to wait for him to buy it.
If you want to have a look a couple of the photos that I took on the d70 this link should get you there, and the first two shots were on this camera.
Thanks agian for all the info.