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Thread: advice etc for camera upgrade please

  1. #1

    advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Hi

    Im quite new to digital photography though I did, back in the day, do a lot of photography with film.

    I have recently bought myself a Nikon D5100 and though I do like the camera I am feeling I should maybe take it back (while I can) and exchange it for a better model. I have a few queries and am hoping people on here might be able to help me out.

    1. There is no B setting. I like to take shots in minimal lighting and I like to experiment. I would like to be able to take exposures of a few seconds or even, in some cases, a few minutes. So I would like something with a B setting.

    2. Looking on various sites at lenses to buy I discovered I have to buy a lens compatible for DX, while some other Nikon cameras had a different type of lens requirement. Does this signify a step in quality? Would I be better getting a different camera with a better lens selection is what I am really asking. (bearing in mind I do intend to kit myself out with a full range of lenses eventually)

    3. After quite a bit of researching I have discovered the meaning of bpp and that my D5100 is 14 bpp while the optimum to go for it would seem is 24 bpp. Is this a bit over the top? Is the quality between the two significantly different? I have spent a fare bit of cash on photography equipment over the years but never had top grade stuff, always middle of the range. I have a little put by at the moment and have decided I should go for something top of the range while I can.

    I do like Nikon but dont feel I have to stick in the Nikon range.
    Any advice, suggestions or links to good comparison sites will be very welcome.

    Thanx for taking the time to read all this,
    B.B.

  2. #2
    New Member gtpete's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Billy
    1. the D5100 does have a "B" setting. Nikon call it Bulb mode and to access this just set your mode to Manual or Shutter priority and adjust the shutter speed until you see the word BULB.
    2. DX lenses are not lower in overall quality generally speaking unless you are a professional photographer, which i assume your not from the questions, these will be produce very very good results when coupled with a D5100.
    3. why do you feel you need to upgrade? what type of photography can't be done with the D5100?
    have you reached it's limitations?
    14BPP is more than enough to print very high quality large sized prints so getting a camera with more megapixels is pointless unless your going to be printing billboard size prints or doing some very major cropping.
    It almost sounds like your upgrading for the sake of upgrading which to me is a waste of money.

    I apologise for sounding so blunt but I see and hear people talking about upgrading all the time and in reality their photographic situation just doesn't warrant it.
    better gear does not = better photos.

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Hi Billy; when you get to the Nikon DSLR lines there are really two sets of offerings, the crop frame (DX) line which has a smaller sensor and the full-frame FX lines that has a sensor about the size of a 35mm film. Up until very recently, DX = amateur and FX = Pro, but with the introduction of the full-frame D600 last year, that distinction has blurred a bit. In current models, the D3000 series is entry-level amateur, the D5000 series is a mid-range and the D7000 series is the high-end amateur camera. These cameras can take either DX or FX lenses, whereas the FX with their larger sensors need the FX lenses.

    From an image quality standpoint, I really don't see a lot of difference between the three consumer lines in terms of final image quality capability. While the sensors do differ, the image processor is identical. The real difference is the a reduced feature set, i.e. certain functions like auto bracketing are not available on the lower cost models, use of a pentamirror, rather than a pentaprism, single thumbwheel control, access features via menus rather than buttons, slower burst rate, shorter shutter life, etc.

    The one thing to watch with the D3000 and D5000 series cameras is that they will only autofocus with lenses that have built in focus motors, while the D7000 has an in-body focusing motor so it can use the older model autofocus lenses. When I picked up my D90 about four years ago, this was the show-stopper for me. I wanted the in-camera motor; and in fact was considering the original D5000 and the D90 at the time. As things turned out, this was the right choice for me because I picked up a couple of lenses that required the in-camera motor and there was no alternative at the time. There are two sets of FX lenses; the pro lines; f/2.8 zooms and f/1.4 primes; the rest are more a prosumer line. They also make some long primes that are aimed at sports and wildlife photographers that are well out of my price range.

    I do fairly large prints - 17" x 22" and larger and using the D90 was pushing it a bit. I fairly quickly found that I was a bit limited by the DX line; the viewfinder is tiny (I wear glasses) and hated composing with it. I'm also someone who crops quite liberally, and the small DX sensor really did not work out to my liking from that standpoint, so I picked up a full-frame D800 last year. While I have both bodies; I shoot with the D800 about 90% of the time. I still like using the D90 when I am out and about as it is smaller and lighter and would cry as much if it got damaged.

    As for which camera to get, Canon and Nikon have the lions share of the market between them. I did not shoot either brand as a film SLR so I really had no preconceptions and in the end I went with Nikon because the camera really felt more comfortable and intuitive to me. I did have a look at mFT cameras, but they were fairly new in the marketplace and had a fairly limited history. I did not like the electronic view finder then and I had a chance to use a Nikon V2 a couple of weeks ago and still don't like it, but that is just personal taste.

    I've played with both the D3000 series and D5000 series and really don't like them because of some of the usability limitations, rather than images that they produce.

  4. #4
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Hi Billy

    When you talk about bpp (bits per pixel), I think you may be getting confused between jpeg and raw files. The 14 bpp you quote for the D5100 would be for the raw file (ie the output of the A/D converter). In this case, each pixel represents one of the primary colours only. When a raw file gets processed in a raw converter, the values for the other two colours for each pixel are estimated from surrounding values and then we end up with a 16 bit file (14 bits with a couple of stuffing bits) in which each of the three channels of a pixel value is represented by 16 bits. The 24 bpp you refer to would be an 8 bit jpeg file in which each of the three colour channels is represented by 8 bits ie 8 bits per channel and 3x8 bits per pixel. There is a CiC tutorial here which talks about this.

    So if you shoot raw, you will start with a 14bpp file and after processing you will quite likely convert it to a 24bpp jpeg.

    If you shoot jpeg, you'll get a 24bpp file straight out of the camera.

    So the bottom line is - dont worry about bpp!

    Dave

  5. #5
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Just to add to Dave Ellis's comment, so far as I know, there are no DSLRs that run better than 14-bit depth. If you want to go to 16-bit cameras, you will have to look at some of the medium format units that cost an order of magnitude more than DSLRs.

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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    You do not have to buy a dx lens for your D5100. Full frame lenses, like my Tamron 70-300 vc, will work perfectly fine on your camera. What you need to watch out for are lenses that do not have a focusing motor in them. If you buy a lens that does not have a focusing motor, most will still work on your camera. They just won't autofocus. This can be confusing because some manufacturers have made the identical lenses with and without the focusing motor. So, you should be acquainted with the lens manufacturers' terminology for built in autofocus. Nikon: af-s; Sigma: hsm; Tamron: bim, usd. Tamron can be especially confusing because sometimes they do not put an indication on their lenses. Tokina offers two versions of the 11-16 and 12-24. The one with the focusing motor is the more expensive one: dxII.

    Watch out for buyer's remorse! Unless you want to spend a lot more money, I don't think you can do better image quality-wise than the D5100. Well, there is the D5200 of course. Whatever you buy, there is always going to be a better model sooner rather than later. Start shooting, practicing, and learning.

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Most DSLR cameras can produce better quality imagery than the folks using them. The differences between the various Canon crop cameras are more a facet of ergonomics and better controls plus some extra bells and whistles that of the fact that one camera can produce better imagery than another.

    I suspect that it might be the same for Nikon DSLR cameras.

  8. #8

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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    When you did a lot of photograph with film what exactly did you do? For instance did you belong to a camera club and exhibit prints of say 15x12 on a 20x16 mount? I think you are picking up a lot of high tech digital info without knowing what it means in practical terms or if to be bothered about it. Certainly what you are quoting doesn't come into my calculations in buying or being satisfied with what I purchased.
    The 5100 is a fine camera and Nikon lenses are really good so I doubt if you need to 'upgrade' and would second Peter's last para. I don't know the camera but I am pleased when I work on my Nikon files from the past. I also have maybe different needs as a photographer than you so my choice is not a DSLR but a top-line M4/3 which I consider generically superior to the former. At 16Mp it is more than enough for quality work, though you may find some bells and whistles it doesn't have which you MIGHT just find useful in another camera.

  9. #9

    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    If you are looking for new dslr camera or planning to exchane with very good dslr for Wildlife and landscape photography or professional use ..........Buy the Canon. The canon EOS 60D has 18 megapixels, good shutter speed, great focus, ISO setting almost equal to 12800 and a high screen resolution. It is also reasonable than the Nikon D7000 or if budget is not a problem then you can buy D7100 is all time good option. check out more options on camera.zoomin.com

  10. #10

    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    ok thank you all for your replies,

    Gtpete & Jcuknz, I am not intending to upgrade for the sake of it & yes I don't have a great deal of meaning behind the
    technical info ~ hence the post ~ If I had known all this information before hand I wouldn't have needed to ask in the first place.
    the reason for the post seems clear enough to me ~ there is a lot of difference between film and digital photography, being unfamiliar with digital makes it very tricky to get the right equipment, so after asking people I know, talking to people in shops and looking on comparison sites I decided to ask around on a few forums.
    it's no good buying something and then discovering it's not what you want only after it's too late to take it back.
    I have no trust in the high street shops. they would happily sell me complete rubbish for a profit and I can't afford such mistakes.

    so thank you all again, your input has been most helpful

  11. #11
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: advice etc for camera upgrade please

    Just two thoughts.

    If you're going to "upgrade" from the D5100 to the D5200, all you're really getting is the newer sensor/processor. This, however, is more of a leap upwards than is typical, because this time around Nikon went for a 24MP sensor in its entry-level crop bodies.

    That's a lotta resolution. However. There is a flip side to cramming more pixels onto the sensor. And that's the size of the files: they're bigger. Processing, transferring, backing up--it takes a bit more time/space/processing time. If you're ok with that, and you plan on printing big or cropping often, then more resolution could be worth it.

    In terms of going up the tiers (and sussing out model numbers), here's a handy-dandy table on Wikipedia that lays out all the Nikon camera models. Because engineers need time to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom , not all the tiers are released simultaneously, so there's some delay on some models getting refreshed vs. others. There's a bit of leapfrogging going on which has the latest sensor/processor and which doesn't. But typically, for one sensor "generation", all the tiers with the same sensor size will eventually be using the same sensor and processor. So, usually image quality does not change between the tiers. However, right now? the model that's up a step from the D5200, the D7000, is the oldest model currently in the lineup, and is using the same sensor tech as your D5100. It's probably due to be replaced this spring, probably with the 24MP sensor in it, too.

    There is a change between crop and full frame, but it's not as large as most folks would assume. I generally characterize it as a "one-stop" difference. One stop better high iso performance, one stop thinner DoF, etc. That may not be 100% accurate, but a decent ballpark guesstimate. For most folks, full frame is NOT worth the added expense of the bodies and swapping out DX lenses for FX lenses.

    To me, the reasons to ditch a D5100 do exist: the lack of true mirror lock-up, high-speed sync flash capability, a DoF preview button, no flash master in the pop-up, accurate metering with non-CPU lenses, etc. But these are mostly all "nice to have" features; not so much "have to have" features. The two main reasons to upgrade from, say, a D5100 to a D90 or D7000 (or whatever gets announced at CP+ this week or in March/April this year as a successor) would be the focus motor (so you can autofocus with AF lenses as well as AF-S ones), and the two-wheel ergonomic layout of controls. This two-wheel control layout is the main differentiation between the lower tiers and the higher ones. Instead of having a single wheel to control both shutter speed and aperture and a model button to switch the control between the two, the higher-up models have two separate wheels: one for aperture, one for shutter speed. If a little light didn't just turn on over your head about "geez, that would be handy...", then you probably don't need to upgrade.

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