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Re: [Killietalk] digi cam, was bitaeniatum "Majitam"
Tony Terceira wrote:
My suggestion is to figure out what you want, how much you can
afford...... Wright Huntley has much information which he has shared
over this list.
And free advice is always worth every penny! ;-)
My personal opinion, is to go with the new digital SLR .. if you
can justify it and use it to its greatest advantage by having a
collection of SLR lenses already.
I would limit that, right now to Canon or Nikon (or the Fuji or maybe
Kodak models that use a Nikon body). Others, like Sigma, are too big a
question mark for a safe investment. I think we can just about forget
Minolta. Sad, as they did some great stuff in years past. Oly apparently
has given up on interchangeable-lens SLRs. [May be smart -- no dirt to
clean off sensor!]
Any major brand will do .......... I happen to use Nikon, but
that is the camera I have lenses for. When compared to the investment
in good lenses, ( lenses take pictures .... quality counts) the
cost of a digital SLR was not prohibitive.
I do not think most people should buy a digital SLR for fish
pictures only, there are other cameras which are more than adequate, I
just have no experience with anything but SLR.
I'm not as expert as Tony at taking fish pics, so I'm still satisfied
with my old Sony DSC-D770, which is still too much of a "pro" design for
a lot of folks. It pretended to be a SLR, but replaced the flipping
mirror with a fixed beamsplitter that loses a lot of light to the
viewscreen. To compensate, they didn't frost the glass and you can
accomodate focus right through it. Setting the diopter adjustment and
then getting scene and viewfinder rings both in focus is tough,
particularly in marginal light. In compensation, you do get real-time
preview on the LCD, which "real" SLR's cannot provide
My replacement for the one that was stolen in Las Vegas came in with a
dinged lens rim. I easily reworked it for accepting filters and
extension lenses, again. Unfortunately, it seems the viewscreen (or ccd
sensor) was jostled a hair out of position, so accurate focus is only
under autofocus -- too slow for most fish pics. Perfect focus on the
view screen gives a slightly soft image now. Right now, I use autofocus
to set, and then switch to manual focus until the distance changes.
I downloaded the USAF test chart and printed out an 8.5X11 copy to check
out cameras. It took only a few minutes with a tripod to determine the
exact extent of the problem. [I dread taking it apart to try to fix it
though, but Sony repairs are unbelievably expensive.]
For a good fish camera, look for decent macro (Portrait lenses do a
great job of converting zoom-telephoto to macro), good control of flash,
and a remote release of some kind. [Fish often are much more relaxed
when you are nearly out of sight.]
Full manual control of focus and exposure can help a lot with the
accursed shutter delay that seems aimed at making good pics of fishes
tails (and kid and pet rears, too). Some still have too much, even with
full manual. Test.
The biggest glass you can afford will pay off long haul. Too many
big-name cameras just don't have adequate lenses in either size or
resolution. As Tony says, "lenses take pictures ... quality counts."
I have often wanted one of the tiny Nikon "pocket" cameras, but I can
get better macro with a close-up lens or two, and the total quality of
the tiny lenses just isn't there. It shows in the pictures, IMHO. With a
small lens, the shutter must be slower, and my ability to hand-hold an
exciting shot with a mini-camera just isn't there! That negates all the
advantage of a camera that fits your shirt pocket.
Sony sold the basic design of their pro cameras to Olympus, when they
bombed in that market. Check out the "E-10, 20" series at dpreview.com
or Steves Digicams. [Try http://www.steves-digicams.com/e10.html.] Many
like the Sony 505, 707, 717, 828 series, but they are a wee bit too
"P&S" for my particular taste. I'm bummed out that the 828 cannot take
add-on lenses, too.
As Tim says, the number of pixels you need is often overdone. For web
work, a really good lens on a 1 MP camera is just fine. Anything much
more than 640X480 tends to be slower and web overkill unless you "must"
have full screen (and then many can't even see your excellence!).
Take advantage of the rapid tech improvements and buy a better used or
last-year's camera off e-bay or at u-bid closeouts. It is NOT like a
computer where it won't run next year's software. If it takes good pics
now, it will in 10 years. Expect improvements in lowered noise and
quicker processing (shot-to-shot recovery time). They are within about
50% of theoretical noise perfection, so expect future improvement only
with much bigger sensor cells. [$hould have $pelled that "$en$or cell$.]
Put some emphasis on service (Kodak reported good, Nikon mixed and Sony
dear) if you aren't handy at that stuff. I like InfoLithium batteries,
but AA NiMH cells can be good and universally available. Avoid NiCd and
regular Alkaline batteries at all costs.
Things I wish I had are a cable-release or IR remote that works from the
rear. Nobody wants to be in front of the camera for the macro and
telephoto shots that call for remote control to eliminate camera shake.
[Off the tank glass is a lousy compromise!]
I'd also like a PC connector for the flash, so I don't have to mask the
internal flash to operate my slave flash(es). The internal flash glares
off the glass and really lights up any dirt or algae, if not carefully
masked. Ideal light, for me, would be a remote flash wired to the camera
and a large and small slave flash. Watch it tho, many digicams cannot be
used for slave, as they use a preflash for exposure or red-eye
reduction. Be sure you can turn that off for a fish cam.
'Nuf for now. Quiz on Fri.
Wright Huntley -- 760 872-3995 -- Rt. 001 Box K36, Bishop CA 93514
Mencken's maxim—every election is a sort
of advanced auction of stolen goods.
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