Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

  1. #1
    New Member Thantos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    7

    Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Hey all,
    I am a rather new photographer who seems to have found a cool hobby and want to get better at it. Let me tell you a little about what I plan to do and maybe you can help decide on my next camera. I spend most of my camera time taking pics of bands in clubs and venues where the lighting is very very low. I usually shoot from about 6 to 20 feet away from my subject depending on the stage/barricade set up. About 2 years ago I bought my first real camera a Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm and 70-200mm lens, and have become fairly competent with it, but I have come to realize the limitations of this camera. At the time I had bought it because I heard it was a great beginners camera and the price was right. So I am looking to move up to a better camera. I am going to stick with the Nikon in hopes of using the existing lens I have with the new body, unless someone tells me that brand XXX is the perfect camera for low light shooting. So here are my questions: Based on low light shooting, high frames per second capability (6fps or better) in both auto and manual.

    1). I am looking at the D90 or D300 which is better for my application? Or is there another body you would recommend?

    2). High ISO capability.

    3). High FPS capability.

    Thanks In Advance

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Recommendations

    Hi Thantos,

    I'm a Canon man, so can't help with any Nikon recommendations (although you might like to look at something like the Canon 5D Mk. II (5D2) with something like an EF85/1.2L lens?

    With this kind of shooting, something always have to give (and often it's money!) ...

    ... good high-ISO performance is your primary weapon, assuming that setting up multiple remote flashes isn't an option. Fast glass (something with a maximum aperture of less than F2.8) helps, but the more you open up, the narrower your depth of field becomes - so if you're quite close then you'll only have a narrow plane of focus.

    High FPS probably isn't going to help as it's only applicable with relatively high shutterspeeds. Monopod would definately help.

    No doubt others will chip in shortly.

    PS: Canon 5D2 also has a high-definition movie mode - not sure about the Nikon range.

  3. #3
    Raycer's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Calgary, Canada
    Posts
    241

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Hi Thantos

    D90 sensor has a very slight advantange over D300. See dxomark.com

    but the D300 has the fps that you are looking for.
    Also, D300 has better AF modual. Stronger AF motor. Better protection from the elements. Its heavier so it will be better balanced with your 70-200.

    Of course, if you want amazing high ISO camera, D700 is the camera you are looking for.

    Cheers
    Ray

  4. #4
    Felipe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Santiago, Chile
    Posts
    19

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Hi.

    I owned a D40 and the very same lenses you own, and now I own a D90.

    In my opinion, you don't need as much a new body as you need faster lenses.

    The lenses you own are slow. I don't know your budget, but your best option (on a DX body) is the NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED (25.5-82.5mm equivalent). Moderate wide angle and short tele. Accurate focusing and nice bokeh (you don't get good bokeh with your current equipment).

    The fps rate is not critical for your needs. You need 10fps if you shoot sports. Believe me, the 4.5fps rate of the D90 is more than enough, and it's performance at high ISO is better than the D300 (check kenrockwell.com). So, if you are gonna upgrade to a DX body, I suggest the D90 and save your money for better lenses.

    There's one strong argument, in your case, to go up to full frame FX cameras: much clearer finders. I don't need the D700 finder, but as you shoot under dim light most of your time, you'll see they are a blessing. In that case, of course, you'd need to buy full frame (non-DX) fast lenses, which are generally excellent and expensive ones. For example, the superb NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED.

    Some might say that the extra f stop of these f/2.8 provide is overridden by the VR that their cheaper f/3.5 counterparts exhibit. But VR (or a monopod for that matter) just improves the blurring from your hand and camera shake, not the image quality itself.
    Last edited by Felipe; 27th March 2009 at 03:30 AM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    156

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    For low light shooting I've just ordered a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 zoom in Nikon flavour. When it arrives I hope to report on how it works.
    I got the Nikon 18-200VR, which is great, to cope with the inherent slow shutter speeds that come from low light shooting, for general use. I had a play with it at a Tae Kwon-Do championship where my kids were competing and found it to be lacking. Due to the slow speed of the lens I was getting lots of DOF and all the backgrounds were fairly sharp as a result. When the shot caught a moment of minimal movement of the fighters they were pin sharp, but the rest of the time they were blurred due to movement.

    My conclusion has been that I need a wider aperture to separate the subject from the background and reduce the blur caused by subject movement. I know there will be some blur left a lot of the time, but that makes things look like they are moving and isn't that bad a thing.

    Bands may not move so much, but I would guess that the light level will be lower than an indoor arena.

    HTH

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanC View Post
    I got the Nikon 18-200VR, which is great, to cope with the inherent slow shutter speeds that come from low light shooting, for general use. I had a play with it at a Tae Kwon-Do championship where my kids were competing and found it to be lacking. Due to the slow speed of the lens I was getting lots of DOF and all the backgrounds were fairly sharp as a result. When the shot caught a moment of minimal movement of the fighters they were pin sharp, but the rest of the time they were blurred due to movement.
    I think that this is the bit that many people forget with VR / IS lenses - the technology is there to reduce lens movement - it doesn't do ANYTHING to reduce subject movement.

    Faster glass can be the answer, but one needs to remember that the depth of field reduces accordingly - often just higher ISOs are the best solution for poor light / high movement shots (unless you can use a flash, in which case the rules can change a bit).

  7. #7
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,784
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Do you use Flash? - I assume not, as you note high ISO in your list of requirements.

    You might want a new camera but IMO you need new glass.

    I shoot a lot of Jazz Clubs, Bars, and Theatres: all sans Flash.

    I can push a Canon 20D to 3200ISO: and a 450D works OK at ISO1600, provided I nail the exposure I can get acceptable 5x7 prints from both cameras; if necessary I can hand hold at 1/15s . . . but the bottom line is: in these shooting situations the lens speed will be the ultimate criterion which makes the shot "possible" or "impossible".

    A camera with ISO6400 / 128000 capacity, will obviously do better than your D40, but the point is a camera of that ilk will do much, much better, with three or four more stops of aperture than what your 18 to 55 can now supply.

    Also it is important to realise the other advantages using Fast Primes with this type of work, not limited to but including:

    . brighter viewfinder
    . more efficient AF
    . short barrel / discreet

    At the shooting distances you mention and with an APS-C body, I suggest you look at a fast 35, 50 and 85.

    Noted that with fast glass used near to, or wide open comes shallow DoF (Depth of Field) but also such lenses give a fast shutter speed, which is necessary to freeze subject motion.

    Using two bodies is a valuable resource with this type of work.

    I do not find frame rate of great importance with this type of capture, perhaps you might consider a rethink about that aspect of your technique, which might save you some money.

    ***

    The attached image was shot at a bar: yes it is a bit noisy, (note the uncompressed version is better); yes, the 20D was pushed to its limits, using the "H" setting ISO 3200.

    But, using this image as a practical example, I can perhaps express my point more adequately:

    In an environment with low EV and without Flash there would be little improvement if had a camera which could use ISO12800, if I were still limited to a lens like the 18 to 55 and I was forced to use F5.6 which I believe that lens has as its maximum when used at FL = 50mm . . . so that is why I am suggesting the money go toward glass, first.

    The reason I suggest a fast Prime or two, is because you are talking low light venues, and in low lignt venues F2.8 is not that fast . . . and F2.8 is the fatsest you can get with a zoom.

    Tech Specs: 20D / 50mmF1.4
    Shooting F1.6 @ 1/50s @ ISO3200; HH; Available Light; Av Priority; CWA Metering.


    WW

    Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 29th March 2009 at 06:49 AM.

  8. #8
    New Member Thantos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    7

    Re: Recommendations - moving from beginner to advanced DSLR

    Hey all,
    Thanks for all the great reply's and helpful advice! I am looking at getting the D90 based on everyone's advice and the info at dxomark.com, Great site! Next on the purchase list is some new lenses ! ! !

    Thanks Gene

  9. #9
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,231
    Real Name
    Richard

    I'm a Canon guy too...

    With Canon DSLR cameras, you get a bigger payback in image quality by improving the quality of the lens you shoot with rather than upgrading the camera.

    As an example, you would see better quality using an older Canon XT 350D camera with a top lens like the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS than you would using the newest 50D camera with the 18-55mm kit lens.

    I would expect that this is pretty true with Nikon gear also!

    By the way, the high ISO performance of the Canon 40D camera is awesome.

  10. #10
    iPhillip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Feilding, NZ.
    Posts
    103

    Re: I'm a Canon guy too...

    I agree with everyone else in the most part, You'd be much better off buying a new glass. My fastest lense is a 50mm f/1.4 and that comes in handy during low-light with a high ISO rating but this reduces your DOF hugely. Depending on what your shooting this can be a bad or good thing.

    And good choice by the way (going with a nikon), I had a look at some Canon cameras the other day and flicked through the menus a bit. The thing is though that the damned buttons didnt make sense (I got stuck in the menu), practically nothing made sense on the camera, But I guess everyone with a Canon reads the manual twice over by choice anyway
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 22nd May 2009 at 11:54 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •