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PaulGingell
1 Jul 2013 - 2:01 PM

I've been using film cameras for a long time, but would like a cheap dSLR (around 300 second hand) as an introduction to digital photography. Since I'm pretty comfortable working with fully manual controls and a hand-held light meter, I'd like something that offers this functionality in a fairly intuitive fashion.

I've read quite a few reviews (the Nikon D90 seemed good value) but they mostly deal with features rather than workflow. Do most entry level dSLRs still allow a fairly simple select ISO > focus > set aperture > dial in exposure and shoot procedure? Some Nikon lenses I've seen don't even have an aperture ring on the lens barrel!

Can anyone suggest any models to look at? I figure 10 - 12 MP would be ample to start with.

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Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139495 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
1 Jul 2013 - 2:08 PM

Why not bypass DSLRs, which are becoming yesterday's technology and move directly to an Micro 4/3 kit?

A body + two lens kit like this may suit. You can add a viewfinder for aorund 140.

jumpsystems
1 Jul 2013 - 2:11 PM

If you want full control and a Nikon, then make sure the body is compatible with older lenses. The current crop of lower-end Nikons don't have lenses with an aperture ring, nor do they offer autofocus motors in the body, so you need to look at the mid/high end bodies. I always have trouble with AF and am happy using manual focus but the manufacturers seem to aim for the point and shoot brigade. However, VR is extremely useful, so I'd always look into that. Pentax offer in-body VR and K mount lenses fit.

GarethRobinson
GarethRobinson e2 Member 8995 forum postsGarethRobinson vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
1 Jul 2013 - 2:14 PM

The D90 if that is what you want is perfectly fine and offers everything you require.

PaulGingell
1 Jul 2013 - 2:35 PM

The 4/3 technology sounds interesting - it's format is closer to that of a 5x4 aspect, whereas I always found the 35mm aspect ratio a little narrow and looks odd in portrait orientation.

Also, I have a nice set of lee filters which I'd like to be able to use, so I'll have to see if they could be fitted.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315463 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
1 Jul 2013 - 2:45 PM


Quote: Why not bypass DSLRs, which are becoming yesterday's technology and move directly to an Micro 4/3 kit?

A body + two lens kit like this may suit. You can add a viewfinder for aorund 140.

The Olympus EPM2 would be a better choice than the EPM1, you will be getting the latest technology and you can also claim a free 17mm lens.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Olympus-E-PM2-Compact-System-Camera/dp/B009C6X25S/ref=sr...
http://olympus-17mm-penlens.sales-promotions.com/

redsnappa
redsnappa  121916 forum posts United Kingdom
1 Jul 2013 - 5:36 PM


Quote: Some Nikon lenses I've seen don't even have an aperture ring on the lens barrel!

This is because on modern DSLRS the aperture setting is done using buttons or dials on the camera body.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315463 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
1 Jul 2013 - 6:32 PM


Quote: I've been using film cameras for a long time, but would like a cheap dSLR (around 300 second hand) as an introduction to digital photography. Since I'm pretty comfortable working with fully manual controls and a hand-held light meter, I'd like something that offers this functionality in a fairly intuitive fashion

The Fuji x100 will come very close, with a shutter speed and aperture ring, second hand around 400.

redhed17
redhed17  8659 forum posts England
1 Jul 2013 - 7:29 PM

Every DSLR gives you control over Aperture, Shutter and ISO. How easy it is to access those settings depends on the camera and its ergonomics. If it is mostly shooting in Manual, and speed of handling that is important, then a camera with dual input dials makes things a lot quicker, forefinger to change Aperture, and thumb to change Shutter, or vice versa. If buying any camera I would always suggest that one should try and feel different cameras to see which feels 'right', but that is harder to do with 2nd hand gear. The D90 available new I think, but other 10-12MP cameras will be 2nd hand.

As has been mentioned, if you have any old Nikon autofocus lenses, the you need the AF motor in the lens mount, which has/is in the mid to higher range Nikon DSLRs, otherwise all the lenses will be manual focus.

For the money, I'd be looking at the D200 or D300, with the D300 way better in almost every way to the D200. There are buttons a plenty to quickly change things because they were the Nikon Pro DX cameras of the time. But the D200 is cheaper, if older tech. Wink And if you want to dip your toes in, then it is a reasonable cost to check out. I have had a D300, and have a D300S, and it is a wonderful camera that can do almost anything. The D300S is lacking in very high ISO levels and resolution, but in many ways it is still the best DX camera Nikon have have done, and the D300 is very close to that.

Look at CSCs, but go and try them out, because Electronic Viewfinders, and even no viewfinders, may not be for some. I know it's an optical viewfinder every time for me. And the reduction in size leads to some compromise in ergonomics imho. For some they are perfect though. Smile

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315463 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
1 Jul 2013 - 9:01 PM

Yes we all know that, but very few have similar controls.

MichaelMelb_AU


Quote: I've been using film cameras for a long time, but would like a cheap dSLR (around 300 second hand) as an introduction to digital photography. Since I'm pretty comfortable working with fully manual controls and a hand-held light meter, I'd like something that offers this functionality in a fairly intuitive fashion.

I've read quite a few reviews (the Nikon D90 seemed good value) but they mostly deal with features rather than workflow. Do most entry level dSLRs still allow a fairly simple select ISO > focus > set aperture > dial in exposure and shoot procedure? Some Nikon lenses I've seen don't even have an aperture ring on the lens barrel!

Can anyone suggest any models to look at? I figure 10 - 12 MP would be ample to start with.

Plenty of good advise from Nikon men above, but I would like to ask you - why trying to transfer old skills on new camera? To take the most of it you will definitely need some skill update, so I would approach digital by choosing the camera that suits you best in terms of creativity and image quality, not the closest match to film workflow. At the moment what you are trying to do looks like finding a modern car with horse carriage controls Wink

LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62489 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
1 Jul 2013 - 10:12 PM

You say you have been using film cameras. If they are Nikon are they primarily FM2 manual focus era or recent autofocus like an F100?
If you have Nikon manual focus lenses an F90 is a good choice, part because you can use the aperture ring and manual focus with your old lenses, when you take a picture you can check the rear monitor to see if your settings were good, and part because you can download Nikon ViewNX2 for free and start modifying your images straight away.
If you are coming from the manual focus film era my view is it makes a lot of sense to simplify as much as possible. Sticking with Nikon avoids the complication of learning how to handle a different camera system, and saves money as you do not need to buy any lenses to get started in digital.

PaulGingell
2 Jul 2013 - 2:01 PM

Thanks for all the comments, they've been very helpful.

My film camera is a Hasselblad and what I like about it is the large waist-level viewfinder: it's a great way to visualise the image, even if it is back to front! My reason for wanting a digital camera is that the cost and time involved in using film means I miss some shots just because I'm not confident they'll work. That's bad for creativity.

The Compact System Cameras seem really exciting (it's great to see a bit of design innovation) but the only camera I've found in my price range that will accept my current filters is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, and I don't think it's sufficiently different to the dSLRs. The Fuji X series looks really great, and might be something to save up for.

As to the dSLR controls, I've read a few user manuals and can see the settings are much easier than I feared. The Canon EOS 550D and Nikon D90 are both within budget. My one concern is noise levels, but if I typically work at the lowest ISO and generally shoot fairly well lit landscapes I guess I can minimise any problems.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315463 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
2 Jul 2013 - 7:14 PM

If you like waist level finders the EPL3 with 14-42 kit lens is within your budget, about 250.

The rear screen tilts up behind the camera and this is the one thing most Panasonics can not do.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0058GI38W/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&psc=1&s=...

Last Modified By Paul Morgan at 2 Jul 2013 - 7:15 PM
MichaelMelb_AU


Quote: ...
As to the dSLR controls, I've read a few user manuals and can see the settings are much easier than I feared. The Canon EOS 550D and Nikon D90 are both within budget. My one concern is noise levels, but if I typically work at the lowest ISO and generally shoot fairly well lit landscapes I guess I can minimise any problems.

I own EOS550, great camera. Lightweight as for DSLR too - and it's what I particularly like it for. As for the noise - it will be slightly more than film at ISO100 and ISO200, but considerably less than film at higher ISO values.

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