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Author Topic: Film User outta practice needs helping getting back into amateur photography  (Read 2016 times)
Clynch
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« on: October 17, 2013, 06:15:10 PM »
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I need some help picking out my first quality digital camera.  I was an amateur and had several 35mm camera's, one medium format and dabbled in the darkroom.  I went away from "amateur" when digital came out.  I of course did point and shoot digital for years (Panasonic) but that's not photography.  Now I want to improve.  My interests are:
1.  Quality images comes first!!  I'll shoot jpeg with minimal compression but want to try raw for special occassions.   (people birthdays, holidays, scenary, general purpose camera)
2.  Fast would be great!   Something below F2.0  I love playing with focus depth. 
3.  The Camera's that look like range finders are very very appealing (small and light, is awesome.  Large is not good. That's why I'm posting here.)
4.  Micro Four Thirds looks great.  I don't think its going to be a passing thing ... I hope.  Is it?
5.  Hot shoe, pop up flash, lens changing, all good
6.  View finder is nice but jury is out on whether or not its a requirement.  The 3 inch digital monitor is probably the way to go.  Need to grow with the times I suppose.
7.  I enjoy varying f stop, expo time, iso
8.  Video is a bonus but not a deciding factor.  I shoot stills
I don't want to go over $1000 for a kit if possible.  Less $$ is good.  I started looking at a Panasonic GF2, then the GX1, (price going up and up) now the GX7.  I read several reviews on the GX7.  This site gave it a decent review but cnet and DP were tough on it.  Not really a thumbs up.  I'm trying to be loyal with Panasonic but it isn't easy.  I opened the search to Oly EPM1.  Again, the reviews were tough.  This site loved the Fuji XE1.  I know its not a micro Four Thirds but its range finder style and size.  Might be a decent choice.   Whatever I pick I will have for a very long time.   

I am now lost.  Perhaps I'm putting too much stock in reviews.  Time to regroup.  I'd like to focus on 2 or three cameras.  If anybody could make a suggestion or two I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks in advance.  When it comes to quality digital I'm a noob.   
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RzB
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 08:22:44 PM »
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My advice - if image quality comes first is shoot in RAW & save a little money for PC software like Lightroom.  And perhaps a decent printer. That's where you pictures will come alive!

A good performance PC will also help, and don't forget to cost in a little for back up storage - storage always breaks at the most inopportune time - easy to loose the lot.

These are not things you have mentioned but to my mind the camera is just one small part in a whole jigsaw puzzle of hardware, software, expertise and luck.

Others here will help much more than I can re the camera.

Roy
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Clynch
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 11:22:24 PM »
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Thanks.  That makes good sense.  I have a killer computer.  I'll look into the software. 
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SZRitter
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2013, 01:49:07 PM »
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4. M43 isn't a passing fad, but it will be interesting to see how it progresses. The image quality isn't the best of the bunch, but it is a highly versatile system with lots of options. The E-M5 from Olympus really helped cement the system in photo, and the GH2 from Panasonic and some of the offerings from Blackmagic Design really helped it in video. Needless to say, it is a very large system with lots of freedom.

Look at the GX7, E-M5 and E-P5.

That said, Fuji or Sony probably have slightly better images, but it comes at the price of system size.
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Clynch
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 11:58:43 AM »
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Thanks.  I'll focus on these three and pick one. 
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RzB
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 12:41:26 PM »
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Well - If it's any help, and it's probably not, I just purchased a GX7.

It's has some really nice features, and I'm sure I'll take some nice photos with it, but my first impressions are not exciting :-(

But then I'm making comparisons with my 5DIII - so it's not really apples for apples - it's the fantasy/reality thing yet again!

Regards,
Roy
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Wenge
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 07:59:40 PM »
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Lots of useful info on m43 at the below blog link by Ming Thein. It was helpful in narrowing down my m43 search, went with the EP5.  I've had mine a month and really like it a lot. The VF-4 viewfinder that comes with the kit is great.  The 17mm 1.8 kit lens is not bad, but real good glass puts the IQ at excellent. I just got the Sigma 60mm 2.8 yesterday and after a few test shots, it's darned good quality for just $239 and makes the camera a keeper.
  
http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/05/10/oiympus-pen-e-p5/

(edited: correct viewfinder model # to VF-4)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 08:07:00 PM by Wenge » Logged
Isaac
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2013, 10:43:49 AM »
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I'll shoot jpeg with minimal compression but want to try raw for special occassions.   (people birthdays, holidays, scenary, general purpose camera)

fwiw Everytime I use jpeg I seem to regret it.

Sometimes I'm tempted by the functions that my camera provides for jpeg but not for raw, and then when I look at the images I'm confronted by the obvious truth that now I'm stuck with generic sharpening and noise reduction rather than being able to do something more suited to the particular image, and stuck with a WB instead of being able to play with WB.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 10:48:32 AM by Isaac » Logged
Mjollnir
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2013, 12:32:47 PM »
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Lots of useful info on m43 at the below blog link by Ming Thein. It was helpful in narrowing down my m43 search, went with the EP5.  I've had mine a month and really like it a lot. The VF-4 viewfinder that comes with the kit is great.  The 17mm 1.8 kit lens is not bad, but real good glass puts the IQ at excellent. I just got the Sigma 60mm 2.8 yesterday and after a few test shots, it's darned good quality for just $239 and makes the camera a keeper.
  
http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/05/10/oiympus-pen-e-p5/

(edited: correct viewfinder model # to VF-4)

What the @##*)(&@)$*??!?!?!?

Where, pray tell, did you find a Oly 60 2.8 for $239?

Or did you get it used?
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k bennett
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2013, 01:07:31 PM »
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(Looks like he got the Sigma 60mm, not the Olympus Macro 60mm. Price seems right.)

Clynch:

We have two complete compact systems in the house -- a Micro 4/3, and a Fuji X system. I got started with m4/3 three years ago when I wanted something I could carry that would give me good image quality but be light and compact. (I also have an extensive Canon DSLR system for work.) The Panasonic GF1 was a revelation, with it's excellent 20mm f/1.7 lens, it gave me very good images up to ISO 800, but was about the same size as my old point and shoot. That lead to my wife getting a G1 with the two consumer zooms, then to more cameras and many more lenses. The Panasonic G5 is now her primary camera, which she uses with the Panny 12-35/2.8 zoom most of the time. She loves it.

I handled a Fuji X Pro 1 for the first time this summer -- spent about a week shooting with it, then went home and ordered a pair of XE1 bodies and four lenses. The XE1 is a wonderful, annoying, frustrating, amazing little camera that makes me very happy when I go out and shoot with it. It has its quirks -- so many that it took me several months to become comfortable shooting with it (which is several months longer than I would usually take.) It's a camera built for slow, contemplative, careful photography -- not really a sports camera, more like a compact rangefinder from the mid 20th century -- something one would take traveling or carry over one's shoulder as an everyday carry camera. Once I got used to its, um, unique autofocus system, I've found it very handy for candid photography -- receptions, parties, that sort of thing. There's something very nice about using a discreet, small, quiet camera -- people don't notice that I'm shooting pictures, unlike when I point a giant camera with a huge white zoom lens at them.

So, what to recommend. If this is to be your only camera, then I'd recommend something like a Panasonic GX7 or an Olympus OM-D EM-5. The GX7 is on sale at Amazon with the excellent 20mm f/1.7 lens for around $1250. In my mind it's worth spending the extra money on the prime over the cheap kit zoom, and then spend another $400 on the amazing Olympus 45mm f/1.8. This two-lens combo would shoot about 80% of what I need (I'd carry a wide angle, too -- I have the Panny 14/2.5, which is decent, but the Panny 7-14/4 zoom would be more versatile.) Eventually add the Olympus 75/1.8 for a excellent 4-lens kit. The only real downside is that the micro 4/3 system really might not make it in the long run -- both companies are having some financial issues (Oly more than Panny, I think.) But that doesn't take away from the quality of the equipment. M4/3 has a terrific selection of lenses, both zooms and primes, and they are much smaller than the Fuji or Sony lenses (and there are many fewer of those.)

If you like the idea of the Fuji X system, make sure you can try it before buying. The files are amazing. The cameras feel good in my hands. The lenses are top-notch. Overall I'm very happy with making the switch from m4/3 for my personal photography, but many photographers are put off by the slow autofocus system (which may be alleviated somewhat with the newly announced XE2. We'll see.)

This post probably confuses things more than clarifies. Sorry. The reality is that all of these little cameras are capable of making excellent photos. Find one you like the feel of, and get out and shoot. Smiley
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RzB
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2013, 01:33:10 PM »
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"and then spend another $400 on the amazing Olympus 45mm f/1.8."

Just purchased an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for my GX7. My first impressions are good.

I'm totally fed up with focussing system and have switched to manual - I don't think that's a bad thing actually!

However - what I'm really excited about is that I have purchased a legacy PENTAX 50mm f/1.4 SUPER TAKUMAR on ebay. Can't wait for it to arrive from the US (am in the UK).

That's going to be fun - or possibly a challenge! We shall see.

It will be an interesting comparison.

Roy
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Wenge
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2013, 02:10:44 PM »
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Yes it's the Sigma 60mm  Smiley

Took it out for a quick first-time spin yesterday, still need more time with it though, with manual focus it's easy to knock it out of focus, as the barrel is a bit loose by design.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 10:37:14 AM by Wenge » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2013, 07:21:57 PM »
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I have been trying out my old legacy lenses (M42 mount, originally used on a Mamiya-Sekor DTL 1000), and some are quite good. The chromatic aberration and coma inherent in old spherical lens designs is present, but the rendering can be really nice. My favorite so far is the Mamiya-Sekor 60mm f/2.8 1:1 macro lens.
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