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Best 24 MP DSLR today? Waterproof? Need help please


Gundog 1 624 Scotland
7 Sep 2013 7:09PM
....wouldn't call either of those cameras "waterproof", though!

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Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
7 Sep 2013 9:09PM
Gundog the 800e is recommended on the astrophotography forums because it renders more fine detail. I have the standard 800, but if I were to do astro work I would go for the D800e.

I can't find anywhere about the D800e having an extra filter to the D800, quite the opposite.
8 Sep 2013 2:58AM

Quote:I mostly shoot wildlife and nature of all kinds. I do like a lot of detail at macro levels and also in my landscapes.

I do shoot at low light levels a fair bit and use bins and a telescope for astronomy shots as well.

Macro shots also a fave of mine....

Looking for a camera I can live with for a few years without wanting to trade up too soon.

I really would like the Sony but the negative low light review making me think deeply....


You have some contradictory requests to your future camera. That's normal. The contradiction I write about is that higher resolution cameras do have higher noise levels per pixel within the same sensor size. Needless to say that an image created from 10M of reasonably clear pixels would have better colour fidelity than 18M image from noisy ones - no matter what magnification you use for image display. Sharpness - wise they may be the same, or higher Mp count may win. What is it you are after in your low light images then? Detail or clarity?
Ultimately you would need to go with full frame camera, but again there's a drawback. These cameras are expensive, and cost of the camera is only a small fraction of the cost of whole set ( lenses, tripods, etc). Also, you will need serious skill and reasonably large telescope to put it on if used in astrophotography. I would not put FF on anything smaller than 8" reflector or 6" refractor. Too heavy and bulky for the rest. SONY SLT cameras are rarely used in astro too - for they designed with stationary self-transparent mirror before sensor and in astro every photon counts.Smile If you want a DSLR with SONY sensor - buy Pentax one. With macro, landscape and wildlife you may be good with any decent larger sensor camera - from M4/3s to full frame DSLRs again. But lighter cameras prove to be more versatile again.
What camera do you use currently? Could you upload a few photos taken with it in your portfolio? That would help to give you some more concrete advice.
8 Sep 2013 3:09AM
P.S. Sorry, missed your info on the camera. Yes, Samsung PL170 is not too much of a camera. Still would be interesting to see your photos. My feel is that something from M4/3 line-up would suit you the best. How serious are you about astrophotography? Planning to tether the camera to a laptop?
Steppenwolf 3 1.0k
8 Sep 2013 7:37AM

Quote:You have some contradictory requests to your future camera. That's normal. The contradiction I write about is that higher resolution cameras do have higher noise levels per pixel within the same sensor size. Needless to say that an image created from 10M of reasonably clear pixels would have better colour fidelity than 18M image from noisy ones - no matter what magnification you use for image display.


Not true. The higher Mp camera will have higher noise levels per pixel (technology being the same) but when you downsample the image to the size of the lower Mp image the noise levels are effectively the same. So basically if you view the two images at the same size there will be no noticeable difference in noise.
8 Sep 2013 7:52AM
For your combination of 24 MP, reasonably water resistant and wildlife the Nikon D7100 seems the obvious front runner.
It has 24 MP, the same water resistance as the substantially more expensive D800, and although the 1.3 crop option reduces MP to 17 MP it puts AF points right across the frame in this mode.
As you do not have lenses a 105 VR macro is very useful for macro when you cannot get a tripod in the right position, and it is also a good portrait lens.
The just out 80-400 AF-s is still expensive but has extremely fast AF for an f5.6 lens, very good optics, does AF with a 1.4x converter and has almost the reach of the 15,999 800mm on FX.
Now for the real challenge - the body is only the first step in building a system and the 3 items I suggest cost 3,500.
What is your budget.
Steppenwolf 3 1.0k
8 Sep 2013 8:06AM

Quote:
I may well stick to the lower 16 MP and not sure if I will get a DSLR or not.

I do like the reviews for the Sony A77.




It's a tricky time to be buying a camera partly because there's so much choice but also partly because there's a quiet revolution going on in the "system" camera area. It used to be that, if you wanted a enthusiast/semi-pro camera with interchangeable lenses, you bought a DSLR.

Then both Sony and Olympus dropped DSLRs. Sony decided that compromises involved in using a reflex mirror meant that there was a better solution (the pellicle mirror and an EVF) - it also meant that the camera could shoot good video like a dedicated video camera, which the DSLR can't do. Olympus decided to focus their attention on mirrorless interchangeable lenses (micro 4/3) which is an open standard shared by Panasonic (and a few others). The "advantages" of the micro 4/3 are that a) it uses a smaller sensor (so the lenses are smaller and cheaper) and b) it has no reflex mirror or remote AF sensor so it checks the focus at the main sensor which means it's very accurate. The disadvantages are that a smaller sensor has a bit more noise (although with every generation of sensor this gets better) and the "contrast detection" focus that most mirrorless cameras use isn't as fast as that provided by the phase detection AF (PDAF) used in DSLRs/SLTs. However, manufacturers are now beginning to put PDAF into the main sensor, so this problem will go away.

So the market is in a state of flux. At the moment it could be argued that the DSLR still has the upper hand - not least because Canon/Nikon, the main DSLR manufacturers, have by far the best range of lenses. Sony's range is also pretty good, but the m4/3 range of long telephotos (especially prime ones) is not good. No doubt it will improve. When you buy a system camera you have to think long term to some extent because, after you've bought a few lenses, you won't want to have to change system.

Which system you go for is your choice. If you decide on a DSLR then (IMHO) the Nikon D7100 is the best APS-C available although expensive. The D7000 (16Mp) is also great and is a bargain nowadays.

If you go for an SLT, the A77 is a great camera - it's far and away the best camera I've ever owned and it's difficult to see how it could be significantly improved, although it's rumoured that Sony are going to ditch the pellicle mirror and go fully mirrorless with PDAF in the sensor, which would be an improvement. The A65 is nearly as good and is a real bargain. It has the same image quality as the A77 but lacks the AF micro-tune (which I haven't needed) and has slightly less sophisticated focus.

Micro 4/3 is more tricky. Do you go for the top of the range Olympus OMD-EM5 or one of the Panasonic range. Who knows. The fact is that there aren't many bad cameras out there nowadays.
8 Sep 2013 9:31AM

Quote:...The higher Mp camera will have higher noise levels per pixel (technology being the same) but when you downsample the image to the size of the lower Mp image the noise levels are effectively the same...

This is partly true for luminance noise that affects the camera resolution and sharpness perception. But digital noise is not homogenious. It has also chroma component ( i.e. colour noise). Most of it is low magnitude low frequency noise which due to it's nature cannot be scaled down as much as luminance noise. Please see more here. This noise is fortunately almost not present in images taken in bright light thus allowing the statements like the one above to be partly true, but comes en masse in low light images.
That's why I am asking:
What is it you are after in your low light images? Detail or clarity?
Ok, so the astronomy side is for fun and the wildlife, nature photos are what I concentrate on.

I take photo's in all weathers but I love taking photo's in the rain and of dark skies etc.

I take photo's of flowers, mainly roses and I take some abstract ones, so basically, a macro shot of a part of a rose etc, that I think looks amazing, folds of petals, colours, depth of shadows etc. I take these in the dark also as I love the way the colours pop against the darkness.

Landscapes, sunsets, sunrises, animals, flowers, trees, beach shots, clouds, the list goes on.

So I am after detail and clarity. In the low light images, I am looking for clarity.

I am such a beginner here ans so glad I joined this site as I have learned so much just from this one 'simple' question.

I will be putting this camera buying on hold for a bit to really digest all you have told me here. So much help, I could never have imagined!!!! Grin

I have since found out that a friend is selling his A77 for a silly price so I may very well grab that while I can and learn with it....I obviously need a lot of that.... experience is needed here....such a newbie....

I do hope to sell more of my work in the future though as there has been some interest....

Thanks and i will keep in touch as I go....
8 Sep 2013 10:42AM
Good luck with your new camera. I was about to advise you to have a look at Panasonic Lumix G5, but if you wish to have A77 first - so be it. It will be fantastic improvement on the camera you already have. You will always be able to sell it for "slightly sillier" price SmileSmileSmile
Waiting for your images, meanwhile you are welcome to enjoy ours. Any further questions are welcome of course.
Cheers!
Steppenwolf 3 1.0k
8 Sep 2013 10:47AM

Quote:...The higher Mp camera will have higher noise levels per pixel (technology being the same) but when you downsample the image to the size of the lower Mp image the noise levels are effectively the same...
This is partly true for luminance noise that affects the camera resolution and sharpness perception. But digital noise is not homogenious. It has also chroma component ( i.e. colour noise). Most of it is low magnitude low frequency noise which due to it's nature cannot be scaled down as much as luminance noise. Please see more here. This noise is fortunately almost not present in images taken in bright light thus allowing the statements like the one above to be partly true, but comes en masse in low light images.



This whole subject has been done to death on earlier threads both here and on DPR. The bottom line is that with modern sensor technology the difference in noise between, say, a 16Mp sensor and a (same size, same technology) 24Mp sensor is effectively non-existent. DPR tested this out with two similar generation Sony sensors (one 16Mp, one 24Mp) - and that's the case in practice. The reason that a lot of reviewers think that the higher Mp image is noisier is that they look at the image at native size - and a larger image will always look noisier.

Also if you look through the DPR tests of various APS-C DSLRs you'll find that the resolution of a camera increases with the number of Mp. The higher Mp cameras resolve more detail and get higher ratings for image quality.
Gundog 1 624 Scotland
8 Sep 2013 11:10AM

Quote:Gundog the 800e is recommended on the astrophotography forums because it renders more fine detail. I have the standard 800, but if I were to do astro work I would go for the D800e.

I can't find anywhere about the D800e having an extra filter to the D800, quite the opposite.



The D800E has two low-pass filters separated by a layer of infra-red absorbing optical glass. The first filter separates the light of the image in a vertical direction; the second filter then re-combines that light in a vertical direction, thus removing any anti-aliasing.

Having said that, I have both the D800 and the D800E and, for all practical photographic purposes, I cannot discern any difference in image sharpness/fine detail whatsoever. Can't talk about astro-photography though - but would have thought that, for that genre, you would want the infra-red absorbing layer to be removed.
8 Sep 2013 11:26AM
You don't need 24Mp unless you want to print big, image quality suffers in every other department when the pixel density is high. The Sony Exmore R series sensor still takes some beating for low noise in APS cameras.

If you want to see all the detail get a camera with no AA filter the Nikon D800 or the Pentax K5-lls, I have the latter and the difference in recorded detail from an older K5 with the same sensor is visible, and there is no need to sharpen images strait out of camera. It's as close to shooting slide film as I've come since I went digital 8 years ago.

If you want a high pixel count with no AA filter you will have to go with a medium format camera, my Pentax 625D still gives me the best images and with 40Mp resolution, for landscape you can't beat it, but the K5-lls is pushing it close.

When Graphene sensors come on stream this whole argument will be a moot point and not apply anymore.

Chris
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
9 Sep 2013 12:39PM
You need to bear in mind that some of the top professional DSLRs, costing 4-5k, have resolution of 16-18 Mp in the interests of best image quality.
Gundog 1 624 Scotland
9 Sep 2013 1:18PM

Quote:You need to bear in mind that some of the top professional DSLRs, costing 4-5k, have resolution of 16-18 Mp in the interests of best image quality.


I don't think so.

Higher frame rates on "motordrive" is a more likely reason. Certainly on Nikons (can't speak for Canons), the image quality on the 36Mp "enthusiast" D800 is better than on the "professional" D4. (Although, of course, it takes us back to how we define "image quality" - for me, photography is a visual art, so only quality that can be discerned visually is of any significance.) Where the D4 does score heavily is on build quality, weather-sealing, frame rate, higher-ISO, etc - all factors that will be more important to a professional, especially if shooting thousands of exposures a day at sports events in shitey weather.

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