Too Much Camera?

Old Dec 25th, 2007, 09:55 AM
  #1  
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Too Much Camera?

I bought my last camera based on info I got from some of you here on the Africa forum and loved it (Canon PowerShot S2 IS) Now I have a dilemma. I just received a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor Lens (AF-S DX Zoom 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED) from my husband for Christmas. He wanted me to have a great camera, but I'm afraid it is too much camera for me. He's agreeable to exchanging it for a Canon PowerShot S5 IS, which is what I've been looking at.

I'm afraid that I'm in way over my head with the Nikon. I can take classes to learn to understand it. I use my camera for travel photography and to take pictures of the grandkids. I know so many of you are really camera savvy and would appreciate your guidance!
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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The Nikon will give you better image quality than the S2 or S5. But whether you can see it depends on what you are going to do with the photos, print size and such. What are you doing now with your S2 photos? You may really love the big bright image you see through the Nikon viewfinder. Unless, you like to take photos by looking at back of the camera, which you can't do with the Nikon. You can set up the Nikon to give you bright vibrant photos like the S2, you really wouldn't need to take a class for that. Unless you want to understand every major and minor capability of it.

Are you going back on safari? If so, the Nikkor 18-135mm lens will not give you the telephoto effect of the S2 or S5 lens. For safari you will want also a "longer" lens like the 70-300mm Nikkor. As an all around and travel lens the 18-135 is excellent, the wide angle (18mm, 27mm equiv.) end of it is very good. Big advantage there over the S2/S5 wide angle (36mm equiv).

Do you like to take video? The Nikon won't do that. But you could, like I, take both cameras, the Nikon for stills and the S2 for video. (Yes, I really do have an S2 that I use for video). Is your S2 still working?

If I had to make a decision for you, and since you're happy with the S2, I'd say keep the S2. (If still working). Yes, and maybe not even don't get the S5. The only significant difference between the S2 and S5 (and S3) is the color. The S5 is black. Or, go ahead and get the S5 and the S2 becomes a nice second camera. You can pick up either one and it will function the same.

My 2 cents, or maybe more like a nickels worth

regards - tom
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Nevermind,
Although I'm a big fan of SLR cameras, I you are asking if it's the right format for you. Unless your going to throw yourself into photography in a serious way, I would stay with the advanced point and shoots (i.e., like the PowerShot S5 IS you mention). That model will give you great results without a hudge investment in lenses and the need to acquire advanced photo skills. I beleive it is an 8 Mpix body with about a 12X optical zoom and it is image stabilized to boot. For safari it is actually a better choice than the Nikon with a 135mm zoom. One of the greatest attributes of the SLR format is the ability to use different lenses for different purposes. Good lenses are expensive and take some understanding of the basic principles of photography and optics in order to get the best results. Simply owning an SLR with a basic general purpose zoom generally leaves people frustrated and sorry they didn't stay with a point and shoot. By the way, the name "point and shoot" is something of a misnomer, these advanced non single lens cameras can do a lot and do it really well. One shortcoming they do have however is the smaller sensor that limits print size to about 8 X 10 inches, otherwise people are usually hard pressed to tell if an image was captured on an SLR or point and shoot. Since it the giving time of year, why not see if your husband can be persuaded to get you the S2 and a nice High Def. DVD camcorder?
Cheers-safarichuck
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Well said safarichuck, I agree with you 110%

regards - tom
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Hi Tom, Our posts must have crossed. Well said yourself. Since we agree we must be right
Cheers and enjoy the Holiday-safarichuck
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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Yep, we crossed, they popped at up at same time for me.

I like your "By the way, the name "point and shoot" is something of a misnomer, these advanced non single lens cameras can do a lot and do it really well." So very very true. And as an example of what you said, my sister-in-law had a Nikon P&S 8700. Her husband got her the Nikon D70 SLR when it came out. She tried it, then he returned it. She's still using the 8700, I saw it Christmas eve.

Merry Christmas - tom
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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My post should be called "Not enough camera?"
I am taking a Panny TZ3 and that's it. I am only taking pictures at all because I am "supposed to," as my African experience will all be and remain forvever vividly in my head and my heart. I'll enjoy taking pictures of the new friends I am certain to make, the lodges maybe, the sights of Zanzibar and -- with luck, I'll snap a good one of an ele family. For the rest, I am thankful to you Fodorites who share your photographic talents.
Jess
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I'm currently using a Canon PowerShot S2 IS, and I love it. The only downsize is the resolution of the pictures. It is the one I took on safari and I am happy with the pictures, but simply want better resolution. You can see a few of my pics here
http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...y=-jtvi47&Ux=0

I've spent the past couple of hours researching the Nikon, and had almost persuaded myself that it was the right camera, although the lack of image stabilization is an issue to me, as is no video capability. Then I came back to check on your opinions and find I'm right back to wanting the Canon PowerShot S5. Tom, part of the reason for the lens my husband chose is for safari use. He doesn't know much about cameras, so looked them up on Consumer Reports, then talked to the salesperson at the camera store. If the lens he got isn't right for safari, this probably isn't right for me. We don't have immediate plans for another safari, but plan on going back someday.

Now the problem will be talking the camera store into taking the Nikon back in exchange for a far less expensive set up.

Thanks again Tom and safarichuck. I really respect your opinions and appreciate that you took the time to respond! Now, I'd better get off the computer as it isn't very sociable of me to have my nose in the computer on Christmas day!

Cheers and Happy Holidays,
Linda
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Old Dec 25th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Linda - You're welcome. I'm not sure I understand when you say you want more "resolution". The primary thing resolution does is capture detail. Detail is amount of "information" our eye can see. But our eyes are not microscopes so captured digital image details have to be made big enough for us to see. That is, a large print or large projected image. You have seen 35mm slides, I hope, how much detail/resolution can you see by looking directly at the slide held up to a light? How much detail can you see when the slide is projected onto a five foot screen? What I see from you Kodakgallery site is all of the detail, resolution, that can be expected from that type/size format. Even a camera with 100megapixels would not show you more on Kodakgallery. Likewise, same thing exacatly if you are looking at 5x7 inch prints. Now if you are looking at 20x30 inch prints then the details/resolution becomes important. And then you probably do have an issue with the S2 resolution and consider the D80.

Do you mean instead something like image subject size, like when using a telephoto lens? "Zooming in" to make the subject larger in the photo? If so, the S2/S5 will give you twice the telephoto image size that the Nikon 18-135mm lens will. On the Nikon D80 you would need a 300mm lens to get the same telephoto effect as with the S2/S5 zoomed in. The Nikon lens you got will "work" on safari but that ostrich like in your second photo will be half the size as if you had used the S2/S5 zoomed all in.

It is unfortunate that the public has been sucked into the mega pixel resolution thing by camera makers. They should be ashamed. There are now more important considerations for good image quality.

regards - tom
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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Tom,
When I hear nevermind's comment about "resolution," what I interpreted it as meaning was the image quality differences between a point & shoot and a DSLR. I think resolution is part of that difference, although you are 100% correct that megapixels aren't the indicator of actual, usable resolution.
Rather, DSLRs have two things going for them that give them better image quality than a point & shoot. First, the lenses are larger in terms of the size of the front element, which gives the lens a physically greater ability to collect and focus light than the small lenses on a pint & shoot. Second, the sensor on a DSLR is much larger, meaning the individual pixels are larger, such that each gathers more light and requires less amplification, which in turn increases sharpness and reduces noise. These latter factors are what make full-frame DSLRs (like the 5D and D3) higher in image quality than the crop-framed versions.

Having said that, you are again correct in noting that for a safari, a Canon S5 will be a better choice than a DSLR with a 135mm lens, as the longer lens on the S5 is necessary for shooting wildlife pictures. By contrast, however, a D80 with a good 400mm lens would doubtlessly produce sharper images with more detail resolved than the S5 would, even at equivalent focal lengths, and it would also perform better in low-light, high-ISO situations, where point & shoots are at their weakest.

That's my take on the "resolution" issue.


Chris
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Hello Nevermind -

You already have some great advice from people that know photography.

IMHO, a sophisticated P&S is the way to go, unless high-end photos are a major driver for your safari. I bought an Canon S3 for first safari last January and got terrific results, better than I expected. Learned a lot too, and will apply those lessons to using new Canon S5IS that Santa brought me when we return to TZ and then to Kenya, early August 2008.

While I realize the digital SLR can pull in more light and may have better lenses, I'm not looking to sell to Nat'l Geo. I have been able to share our photos with many others and they (and me) still marvel at them. Also, not having to be attentive to lenses, bodies, and dust (other than common sense) have allowed me to enjoy the miracle outside of the viewfinder.

One other thing I've come to appreciate: 99% of taking amazing photos has to do with the doofus pushing the button, not the equipment. Unfortunately, photography is like golf. The upside is that, when you are taking photos in Africa, its hard not to do something right!

Merry Christmas!

Jim.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 09:20 AM
  #12  
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What a pleasant surprise to check back this morninging and find more responses to my question! I'm still pretty confused about whether to return the Nikon and get a point and shoot, but I realize that is a decision I'll have to make myself. Your input is so helpful and gives food for thought.

By resolution, I refer to the image quality (as Chris said). I tend to get myself all bound up with perfectionism, which is kind of nuts...

I know very little about photography, but am eager to learn. I want to be prepared for anything exciting in our travels. (I was disappointed to get blurry pictures last fall when I tried to capture a total eclipse of the moon in Australia - but also realize that taking a photo like that probably requires expertise and equipment beyond me).

Your helpful comments have given me much to research and ponder.

Asante sana.
Linda
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Alright, I am jumping in. The people who have commented already have actually been a great help to me over the last few years with questions I have asked them concerning camera equipment, lenses, editing software, and, of course, safari, and they gave you incredible answers, really sticking to the spirit of your actual question. They know more about cameras, the photo process and the various products than I will ever know. So, when it was Xmas day, and you snuck online and wrote that you had talked yourself into the Nikon, but then re-read the Canon arguments and were happily going to go that route, I decided to keep my mouth shut and not confuse the issue, since you seemed happily decided. But here you are still at it, and you are not decided, so I am going to speak up. I'm going on a different path here, not answering your specific question, which is more technical, and would probably lead to the Canon as the correct choice. However...I own the D80 as of March of this year, and it is one of my prized possessions(I am only a part-time amateur photog, pics of the kids, vacations, my safari, etc, but one that is trying to slowly improve on the various aspects of getting killer shots, like you I think). When we have parties and somebody pries the D80 from my hands to get me to stop shooting, and they take a picture, I don't see the camera again for an hour, because they cannot put it down. It is that much fun. I am talking about the way it feels in your hand, the incredible viewfinder, the speed and the quality feel of the camera. I did tons of online research too, but I knew what I wanted when I went to the camera store and held 6 different cameras. I have never seen or felt that Canon; you should really go someplace where you can hold them both for 15 minutes, snapping shots of the photo store, seeing how each feels to you, trying different lenses,....If one camera feels like an extension of your arm, if you just cannot put it down, that is a camera that you are going to get a lot of joy out of, and if it makes you want to take pics of everything, like the D80 does for me, you are going to get much better at photography by the resulting practice!! If you want, as you say, to head towards a new level of photography, which is what I wanted to do and what I think I hear you saying(or maybe I am reading between the lines in your hesitancy to let that baby go), you want this D80. It is inspiring in your hands. You hold it, and it feels like a piece of serious equipment. That particular lens might not work right now for you, but you can grow with this camera over the years. You could even rent a lens just for the trip, as people on this board advise all the time.
Anyway, sorry for the run-on thought. You have done all the research, you know what each camera is, now play with the both and see which one your heart wants!!
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Nicely put janeck. I also simply enjoy using my cameras. Like janeck, they appeal to me on many levels; intellectually, emotionally, tactilely. You may find the same. Try the Nikon D80, you may find an exciting new hobby. After all, it's not a life dangering decision. Although, if you love it, it may be life changing

regards - tom
ps - change your mind again???
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 06:18 PM
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As I've always known, you guys here on the Africa forum are the best -- so generous with your time and expertise.

I've decided. I'm keeping the Nikon. It is the camera my husband wants me to have, and he's really happy about my decision, and I think I will be too. I have this really annoying habit of over-analyzing everything, and second guessing every decision I make. The bottom line is the Nikon is a thoughtful gift and will encourage me to grow as a photographer. (It comes with lessons, as well.)If all else fails, I can still fall back on my Canon S2.

Thank you all for being a good sounding board for my concerns. It is good to be able to talk it out with people who know something about the subject.

Cheers and Happy New Year to all.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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Linda - SUPER, have fun.
regards - tom
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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Congrats!! You won't ever regret it...
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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Congratulations, I know you will be happy with it. Now prepare for the next two subjects:

(1) lens fussing
and
(2) RAW processing (Tom's favorite subject)

Chris
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement. I think my next trip will be to the Easter Islands, then Antarctica, so maybe my photos won't be showing up on the Africa forum in the very near future. However, we're hoping to take our grandkids on safari when they're old enough. By then I'm hoping to have mastered the Nikon and maybe can dazzle one and all with my magnificent photos!!
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