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Thread: Invidious camera comparisons?

  1. #1
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Invidious camera comparisons?

    If one looks at camera forums, whether Canon, Nikon or Leica, you find endless comparison threads between camera bodies, sensors and so on. Endless wondering about whether a D600 is as good as a D800E, or whether the Leica M240 beats the M9, or whether Canon 7D crop, 6D entry level full frame, or a 5DIII or the full pro kit is best.

    I can't help wondering if it is all misguided. Human nature, but still misguided. It seems that your choice of lens may well have a far bigger impact than the technological wonder of the body. And the imagination and skill of the operator have a far, far bigger impact on image "value" (which is a mixture of quality and creativity by my self penned definition) than anything else.

    One of the reasons why I like this forum is that people give genuine, well informed advice that is not "fanboi" oriented, and there is a strong focus on the pictures.

    Excellent site.
    Last edited by Adrian; 11th April 2013 at 03:50 AM. Reason: typos as usual!

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    My take (non technical) is that it has been proven that the lens is what counts and I have tried this with my 6 Nikon bodies,I get better results with my D60 body with a good lens than my D7000 body with a mediocre lens.Once you choose a brand of body you are pretty much tied into sticking with it,Nikon and Canon users are forever at each other but in the end they can produce the same results adding photographer skill and post processing,for a beginner see what feels good in your hands and go with it.You can send an individual out with the best equipment but lack of skill or an 'eye' for an image can produce poor result.Nice discussion topic

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Let me disagree with both of your comments.

    It is neither the camera nor the lens. It is all about the final image, regardless if it was taken with a specific brand of camera, specific camera type or model, specific lens etc. Composition and technical quality of the final image are the only things that count. I’ve taken great shots with anything ranging from a point & shoot right through to a high end (D)SLR. The only time we “need” a more talented camera or lens is when we are pushing the limits of the equipment capabilities.

    When it comes to camera reviews, most of these are meaningless as the reviewers measure things that are easy to measure, rather than things that really make a difference in real world situations. Personal opinion and biases often creep into the reviews and readers often interpret these as gospel rather than opinions that often do not stand up to even a low level of scrutiny.

    When a manufacturer designs a new product, they start off with something called a design brief. This document defines in a rough rank order of the product features. Often these are categorized as “must have”, “should have” and “nice to have”. Generally the first items in a design brief are the target user and the target price point. After this, the information provides the design time with guidance as to the design trade-offs that the design team can make as they design the product. Often design requirements can be in direct conflict with one another and the designer has to come up with acceptable tradeoffs. In fact, that is what design is all about; managing tradeoffs.

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Although the skill of the photographer (and post processor) is undoubtedly high on the criteria of what results in a great shot; and the lens is also up there regarding those important points; followed in importance, down the line, by the camera body; there are times in which the specific capabilities of the lens or body will allow aquisition of an image which might not be possible with another camera/lens combination.

    I am specifically thinking about pushing the boundries of the photographic box; such as when I am shooting in low light levels. This is especially true in venues when I am shooting moving subjects under low light which demands certain capabilities of a camera/lens combination such as top-line auto focus, high ISO performance and often a wide aperture. However, there are other times when a specific camera or camera/lens combination will work better than others. I am thinking of sports shooting which almost always requires a long lens with fast/accurate autofocus combined with a camera that has reasonably good auto focus capability.

    There are also some bells and whistles on specific cameras which can make them easier to shoot. When quickly shirfting from shooting stationary subjects to capturing fast moving subjects, the C-1, C-2, and C-3 custom settings on my 7D camera make is easier to quickly shift all my shooting parameters with a single twist of the mode dial. I can be set up for the moving subject almost immediately which may help me capture that subject that I might miss it if I were fumbling to adjust shooting parameters individually.

    Although I produced some rather good imagery using my first DSLR/lens combination, a Canon 10D and the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens; my 7D and either the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS or 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses are far more versatile and capable of better performance when I am stretching the limits of image aquisition.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 10th April 2013 at 04:09 PM.

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    I don't think it's misguided. I think the importance placed on it may be misguided. But I have fun in x vs. y debates a lot of the time. I'm a tech geek in my day job. So I love learning about technology for its own sake. And of course, we over-represent online.

    But photography, unlike most of the other arts, is technology-bounded. You can write without a pen. You can paint without a brush. You can compose without a keyboard. You can cook without a stove. But you can't take a photograph without a camera, a way to focus the light (i.e., lens/pinhole), and some sort of light-sensitive medium. As the technology has changed, so have the capabilities (note, I did NOT say abilities) of the photographer.

    Of course we're going to obsess about the technical details. Particularly as the technology is continually evolving. Is an advance/change/feature really an improvement? is pretty much all the arguments boil down to. It's not like people aren't used to these types of arguments from film days. ["rangefinder or SLR?" "which developer/paper is best?", etc. etc.]

    Mastery of any art means you have preferences for the tools that work best for you, because you've figured out what and how you want to perform that art. Doesn't mean you can't still make art with different or "lesser" tools. But you still need a camera, a lens, and a light-sensitive medium. So, yeah, sensors/processors, camera bodies, and lenses are argument-worthy subjects today.

    But I would say if you think lenses are the important argument vs. the bodies, then...

    Invidious camera comparisons?
    Aaron Johnson's What the Duck

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post

    One of the reasons why I like this forum is that people give genuine, well informed advice that is not "fanboi" oriented, and there is a string focus on the pictures.

    Excellent site.
    I have to agree Adrain, which is why I hang around. When the dreaded manufacturer issued is raised it is usually with tongue very firmly in cheek or in raising an issue which is camera specific.
    I honestly don't believe there is any such thing as a bad camera these days and that choices are made based on other factors.
    In my case I now own a couple of ageing Nikon DSLRs and a reasonable number of lenses. I have wanted a Nikon ever since I bought my first decent SLR in my twenties, but couldn't afford one. No surprise then that when the D70 came out I bought one, some 35 years on!! Having now bought into the Nikon system I'm likely to stick with it for financial reasons but I'll be the first to admit that there are features on other brands that I frequently envy.
    I made my choice and happy to stick with it despite the limitations now posed by old technology, which in truth still exceed my own limitations and the use to which I put my results.
    Let the marketing men have their day, I'm always interested in what they selling but they're not getting my money!!

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Given a starting point, what would your order of priority be - marked out of a hundred (for each parameter).

    Let's take arguably the most popular genre - Landscape.
    So, set of cameras that all have similar framing capabilities - e.g. wide angle lens (say 27mm FFE) through to 300mm FFE (e.g. travel lens - so decent quality, but not top glass by any means). You have a vista in front of you that can be captured by the 27mm lens. You've parked in a suitable parking space but your ability to move around is limited to the parking area (e.g overlooking a valley and the parking area is 100m x 100m). Park closes immediately after sunset and opens just before sunrise (no night time shots). A fairly typical scenario for many big vistas.
    Final display either on-screen or print (up to 16x24, viewing distance min 24").
    What are your priorities (given that you have a camera - but how important the various features?

    Tripod - 90 (to allow for a long shutter speeds, bracketing)
    Feet - 90 (changing positions as much as possible)
    Ballhead - 20 (or similar - in case of birds moving nearby)

    Camera and accessories
    Camera make - 10 (and only because I wouldn't want a holga or similar to use for the shot)
    Manual mode - 95
    Bulb mode - 50
    ND Grads - 75
    Polariser - 75
    Megapixels minimum of 10Mp - 95

    Top class glass - 10 (travel lens should be good enough for the final display)

    In summary, as long as the camera has at least 10Mp and a decent lens, further choice comes very low on the priority list.


    I'm sure there are features that I have forgotten. Or add your own scenario and prioritise.

    Graham

  8. #8
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post




    In summary, as long as the camera has at least 10Mp and a decent lens, further choice comes very low on the priority list.

    Graham
    Take a look at some of the images taken with a 6Mp D70 on this and other forums Graham, some of which I have successfully printed to A3, so even that it is not necessarily a priority. That most modern cameras have a sensor size well in excess of that is of course a given.

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post

    No surprise then that when the D70 came out I bought one, some 35 years on!! Having now bought into the Nikon system I'm likely to stick with it for financial reasons but I'll be the first to admit that there are features on other brands that I frequently envy.
    I made my choice and happy to stick with it despite the limitations now posed by old technology, which in truth still exceed my own limitations and the use to which I put my results.
    Let the marketing men have their day, I'm always interested in what they selling but they're not getting my money!!
    Hi Mike,

    Yes. just as Inkista hinted, it's all marketing hype.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Btw, just went thru your website. Awesome pix. Did you use your D70 or some other?
    TIA

  10. #10

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    The most important part in the whole process is 4 inches behind the viewfinder.

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    I firmly believe (and make the comment regularly) that the first emphasis should, be placed on ELEMENTS that are under the heading:
    “The Value of the SYSTEM to me.” - (not monetary ‘value’ but ‘usefulness to the person and tasks’).

    For example, for a ‘beginner’ - it is ‘valuable’ that the camera fits in the hands snugly and comfortably and that the functionality of buttons and layout and logic of menus system is most easily understood.
    Those elements in the CHOICE of camera SYSTEM, could be as important as, for example, “What camera system does my best friend have and would it be a good idea to consider getting the same”.

    I advocate a more holistic approach to the criteria list, than just comparing tech spec of the big two (three) Cameras or just considering lenses.

    WW

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzbenedicto View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Yes. just as Inkista hinted, it's all marketing hype.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Btw, just went thru your website. Awesome pix. Did you use your D70 or some other?
    TIA

    Not all of it is marketing hype; but one has to know which features are useful and which ones are less important to you.

    As an example, the one significant improvement that we've seen over the past couple of generations of sensors is that they have far better dynamic range and are less likely to result in blown out highlights. This is really a result of moving away from CCD sensors to CMOS sensors. My brother-in-law dusted off his D70 when I was doing to see him a few weeks ago, and I was shocked at how easy it was to get a blown out sky.

    I don't shoot any video on my DSLRs; but know a number of people that spend more time shooting video that stills. To me; video capability is more like marketing hype; but to them it is a desirable feature.

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Not all of it is marketing hype; but one has to know which features are useful and which ones are less important to you.

    As an example, the one significant improvement that we've seen over the past couple of generations of sensors is that they have far better dynamic range and are less likely to result in blown out highlights. This is really a result of moving away from CCD sensors to CMOS sensors. My brother-in-law dusted off his D70 when I was doing to see him a few weeks ago, and I was shocked at how easy it was to get a blown out sky.

    I don't shoot any video on my DSLRs; but know a number of people that spend more time shooting video that stills. To me; video capability is more like marketing hype; but to them it is a desirable feature.
    Yep. I guess you're right. Because you posted such is your belief, so who am I to contest your opinion.

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Invidious camera comparisons?

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzbenedicto View Post
    Btw, just went thru your website. ... Did you use your D70 or some other?
    TIA
    Hi Victor, thanks for your comments. About 50% of my website pics are from the D70, the remainder are from my ageing D2Xs.

  16. #16
    Wayland's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    I believe that as Kathy suggests, "the importance placed on "kit" is misplaced to some extent. On one forum that I post on it seems to be the norm that everyone posts a kit list, presumably so that advice can be targeted more accurately but there does also seem to be an element of "bragging rights" attached.

    I rarely mention the brand or model of my kit because I think it is not often relevant to my photography. There are few comments that are as certain to irritate me than "That's a good photograph, you must have a really good camera..." Invidious camera comparisons?

    Having said that, the points made by Manfred about "pushing the limits of the equipment capabilities" have been brought home to me quite recently.

    I invested in the best camera I could afford about 7 years ago. It wasn't the top of the range but it did represent some of the leading edge technology in the "Enthusiast, not pro" market at that time.

    My thinking was that I was unlikely to out grow such a camera very quickly. Indeed, it is still a good work horse, capable of handling 90% of the work I do.

    I have watched two "replacements" to this model come and go and not even been slightly tempted to part with my hard earned cash in the megapixel wars. I did however invest in good glass as time went on.

    In the last few months I have been impressed by a number of landscape shots taken long after twilight and when following such inspiration and trying to apply such techniques to my own work I have come firmly up against the limits of that 7 year old technology.

    That did not suddenly make my old camera a "bad one", it just meant that it was not the correct tool for the job at hand.

    As a consequence I have recently bought a new body, from roughly the same market position now as the original was then and although I was expecting a difference, the improvement in the high iso performance and the handling of noise at all levels compared to the older body was quite astonishing.

    Not only has it exceeded my expectations for the type of task I bought it for but it has also opened up new possibilities that I simply had not expected.

    The old body still has a place in my support bag and on a recent shoot was busy on one tripod shooting stacked star trails while the new body was used for long exposures on another.

    None of this has made me a better photographer of course, but it has made me more capable by extending the range of subjects that I can now approach with some degree of success.
    Last edited by Wayland; 11th April 2013 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Typo.

  17. #17
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    When I started this debate off I had perhaps not fully considered the march of technology. We have recently been in eth market for kit and over the last year we have replaced a Leica X1 with an X2, ruined an Olympus indestructible camera in the sea, bought and been a bit disappointed with a Fuji P&S, been given a Leica M9 and some lenses, traded in a EOS 600 for a used 7D (for teenage son) and bought a 5DIII to move on from a 40D (because we needed far better low light capability and video).

    I have looked long and hard at Nikon and been very tempted to by a D600 for business use.

    In doing all this I have read countless reviews and posts on various websites. Some are balanced but by and large writers adopt polarised perspectives that make it difficult to evaluate whether their view is informed or so deeply biased as to be devoid of value.

    I have looked at picture comparisons between lenses and still have to remind myself that such things on-line are usually affected by file compression on upload.

    It is interesting, to me anyway, that we love to discuss gear endlessly, when what is really important is the technique that helps us to get the required end product. That said, I have found some of the guidance here from pros and experienced amateurs, very helpful in putting buying decisions into the context of intended use.

    I am still waiting to find the perfect camera. It needs to do macro, portraits, wide angle, sports and wildlife,be discreet, light, idiot proof to operate, have superb IQ and fast optics, be easy to focus for glasses wearers like me, not take ages to download, have built in backup, not require my name to be Rockerfeller or Onassis, and look cool at at all times. This seems like a pretty straightforward brief to me: I can't understand the delay in delivery.

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    On one forum that I post on it seems to be the norm that everyone posts a kit list,
    If you ever detect that I've plunged to the depths and am resorting to this, you have my permission to shoot me (not with a camera). I'll answer if asked, but otherwise ................!

  19. #19

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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    I think it comes down to what are the "Achilles heels" that are holding a photo back. Many beginners agonize over "canon or Nikon" or "this model over that model" when in reality there is a HUGE overlap in capability between most models and in most cases it really doesn't make a lot of difference what they choose, as the biggest single limiting factor for a log time with be THEM.

    Having just said that though, there comes a time when many folks might appreciate better equipment - that's how it was for me anyway. Personally, I like using 1D series cameras and L-Series lenses; for the most part both are very heavy, but I know how to use them - I use their feature sets to my advantage - and I'm very comfortable using them (it just feels natural to me) (whereas if I pick up a xxxD series camera it really does feel like a toy camera to me).

    For the most part, I often tell people that if I shot a model in the studio with the 1D X and again with a 20D - you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference - but - in the same breath, the 1D X has a far superior AF (so more shots will be in focus) - and a far better viewfinder (so it'll be so much nicer to use) - and I can record RAW to one card for maximum quality but send JPEGs to the tethered computer so that shots appear in 2 sec as opposed to 7 etc etc etc.

    I do feel that most website / magazine reviews are pretty worthless though - normally they jump on the bandwagon and make a mountain out of a molehill over some aspect that - in their opinion - the manufacture was nothing short of insanely stupid to have [/not to have - delete as applicable] included.

    These days I have to say that most magazines seem to be full of paid advertising - sponsored competitions - and worthless / biased / irrelevant reviews. I haven't bought / read one for many years now.

  20. #20
    Wayland's Avatar
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    Re: Invidious camera comparisons?

    With regards the "perfect camera" I doubt if such a thing will ever exist as the requirements of one photographer can be so different to the needs of another.

    I have been very pleased with my new camera though. It seemed that when I came to use it all the features that I needed on a regular basis were there just under my fingers where they should be.

    It felt to me, that in line with a design brief that Manfred mentioned, this camera had been "designed" for landscape photography.

    When later I stumbled across a brochure for the camera, it was therefore unsurprising that of the four "genres" of photography the brochure specifically highlighted the first was "Landscape" the next "Outdoor" and the fourth "Low Light" (The other was portraiture by the way for those that are interested.)

    The only thing that I would have added to the camera, and this has been a long term niggle about a number of models, is that there is no viewfinder blind, which means you have to fiddle about with a little rubber cap attached to the camera strap to fulfil this function.

    They know it's a requirement which is why they supply the cap, so why not include a simple blind like my old A1 used to have?

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