Help with digital cameras

Discussion in 'Paddling Photography' started by Lucky, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Lucky

    Lucky Paddler

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    Dan's deck mounted dry box is really a great idea and I have noticed that he is a Canon shooter. I also noticed that Andy and Robert shoot Fuji Finepix.

    But I am still a film shooter; medium and large format. When I was a working photojournalist I had a series of Nikons and still shoot Nikon 35mm occasionally. I would like to get a digital camera to start playing around with on the water and the Nikon and Canon DSLRs are more then I want to spend based on the lens selection. As I researched the current popular cameras I was drawn to the Focal range Macro/Wide Angle/300mm+ telephoto of the Fujis.

    So I would like to hear from everybody with information.

    All good things

    Lucky
     
  2. Kermode

    Kermode Paddler

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  3. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I've been looking at the Canon G9 - 12 megapixels, 6x optical zoom, image stabilization, shoots in RAW mode, shoots video, is much smaller than my S3 IS, AND it has an available waterproof housing.

    Many professionals use this camera as a smaller, capable backup/pocket sized camera.

    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_rev ... on_g9.html

    btw: I've got no particular loyalty to Canon or any other brand -- it's just been the case that Canon has had the features and quality that I was looking for.

    *****
     
  4. Lucky

    Lucky Paddler

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    Dan I looked up UW Kinetics; they no longer have the #5010 but there are some other good looking clear, lexan topped units that look like they will do the job. And I will checkout the G9.

    If Andy and Robert could check in with information about the experience with the Fujis I would appreciate it.

    Lucky
     
  5. RichardH

    RichardH Paddler

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    If you're looking for a good, entry level Nikon DSLR, the D50 is still a half decent body and you can pick them up for under a couple hundered bucks and all your 35mm stuff should work just fine (if it doesn't - there's always converters). There's a few competing waterproof housings for the D50 too. should be able to get some nice sharp pics without having to buy a point and shoot.

    -Rich
     
  6. Lucky

    Lucky Paddler

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    While researching camera options I came across a great site. www.dpreview.com/reviews It has a remarkable amount of data including an aspect ratio chart that gives you an idea of th exact how physically size of the sensor in the prospective camera.

    Just an aside it is about 36 degrees F here, it is pea-soup foggy and pouring rain with window rattling thunder.

    Just gotta love it.
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Paddler

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    After owning both digitals and film cameras, and discovering just how fragile and throw away they are making digitals, I've gone back to my good old Pentax K1000 and slide film. Always reliable and easily fixable.

    I have a two year old Fuji finepix and the CCD went wonky - almost $200 to get fixed which is more than what it's worth now... I've lost a lot of digital photos in computer crashes in the past and honestly, I love the feel of an SLR in my hand. Nothing comes close to the macros that I take with my SMC telephoto lens either.

    To hell with the digital 'revolution'! :twisted:

    elmo
     
  8. Lucky

    Lucky Paddler

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    I agree with you elmo about the digital revolution. Its like going to the dark side. Just I and 0s no light. But I want to be able to post work as part of an online journal. And it has become increasingly difficult to find color labs that are reliably consistent. Shortly I will begins initial experiments processing my own E-6 in my jobo, that way I can scan and download images. But all that means more bucks.

    Anyway what happened to make your CCD go wonky, how long had you been shooting, and up until that point how did you like the images?

    I have a MacBookPro w/ Intel processor so I'm not too worried about the blue screen of death that plagues PC users.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  9. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    To each his own, I guess. I also came from a film background but in the early days of digital (early to mid 90's) my job required (financially) that I embrace digital technologies. I've absolutely no regret in doing so.

    Losing files to computer crashes is just plain sloppy computing -- backups are not a big deal and with today's rock bottom hard drive prices it's not expensive.

    I've owned more than a half dozen digital cameras over the years (from a 1 megapixel point and shoot to a $30,000 Leaf scanning back on a medium format Hasselblad) and have NEVER had a problem with any of them (well, except for the one digital camera that fell out of my boat in False Creek, but that hardly counts here). I suspect that there are a few people who can tell horror stories of their non-digital cameras as well. Anything can break -- but I've found digital technologies to be no less reliable than any other.

    With regard to cheap feeling cameras -- no argument from me that many of the digital point and shoots feel plasticy and cheap, although some brands are definitley better than others in this regard. But considering the price that you pay, the cheap feel is a bit justified and expected. Prosumer point and shoot cameras are much more substantial and you know that you've got something good in your hands. Try the feel of some of the prosumer or pro level SLR's and you'll be hard pressed to determine a difference of the "feel" that you're talking about. In fact, embace the technology a bit and you'll find that many of the current digital SLR's blow away the older film cameras in terms of feel AND function.

    No offence, but you guys can keep your film -- I can do it all (and more) digitally and am quite happy doing so.

    btw: they're not ones and zeros, they're pictures.

    *****
     
  10. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Seriously, where do you guys come up with this stuff? :shock:

    *****
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Lots of fine photos have been taken with the K 1000; in fact, Becky's daughter has recently become enamored of what can be done with old fashioned darkroom techniques, and a well-used K 1000 is high on her wish list, even though she is enrolled in a photo class at the community college up the hill where SOP is submission of photos each student takes on his/her digital camera.

    What's not to like about each way of gathering images? Why would using and enjoying one exclude the use and enjoyment of the other?

    I like apple pie and cheesecake. Apple pie and cheesecake do not dislike each other; in my tummy they do not fight much. Each achieves about the same degree of thigh/butt enhancement.

    There is a "real" camera shop over the hill from me where Chuck has a case of well used and loved used film cameras; he moves one or two a week, makes most of his bucks off processing film, yet also embraces digital technology, which holds up the last 20 % of his gross.

    I have not taken a film image in 6-7 years; I've been through three digital cameras in that time, and enjoyed them all. The versatility and image quality of the latest one (Canon A570 IS) is about everything I will ever need, cost me about $200, and if it pukes, I think I'll get another one.

    As to computer crash? What's that? I have not seen a blue screen of death in two years. Even when I did, I never lost any images, because they were on the hard drive, or archived on CD's.
     
  12. Lucky

    Lucky Paddler

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    Geeeze

    In all good humor, I was only clowning about the darkside. To me a digital camera is just another tool in the box. But its a tool I like less then the tools I use now. Further I'll be the first to admit that I am being dragged scratching and kicking to face the learning curve of making the transition but like Woody Allen said "I don't mind change. I just don't want to be there when it happens." Even though it means I would never have to smell fixer or selenium again.

    And I have to agree that the Hasselblad is a remarkable piece of equipment. I remember doing side by side demos with Heidelberg Printing Press USA in 1998 when they premiered the camera to press with no film proofs correction at the press. I still prefer the Tango scanned chromes, but that's just me. In fact a few weeks back I was nearly talked into buying the new Hasselblad back. It's even more amazing now then before. And I was seriously tempted but after all these years I still feel there are some visual challenges in the darkroom, subtle as they are, that I hope to accomplish.

    Still old fashioned I think illustrators are artists as well as the post modern deconstructionists, that it helps to be able to draw to be an artist and I am always reticent to confuse motion with progress. Knowing full well that my taking the Greek word photography literally to mean writing with light; creates a double bind, but that is just me.

    Zeros and ones or not, Dan the pictures you post are always beautiful. Besides the open dialogue about digital and film is to go on for a long time and as long as it is discussed I want to be included. Thanks for the opportunity to exercise the gray matter.

    I can't thank the participants of this forum enough for all the good advice you have generously afforded this NEWBIE.
     
  13. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Just an observation for Lucky or anyone else looking at a new camera:

    An image stabilizer is worth its weight in gold when taking pictures from a kayak. I neglected this fact in my latest camera purchase, and I was mortified by the number of blurred photos I ended up with compared to similar circumstances to my old camera.

    My previous camera was a small digital with a waterproof case. Best purchase ever. It was my backup that became my main SLR camera. I had it sitting in water in the cockpit, rained on, stepped on, kicked and generally abused and the camera still looks brand-new when out of the case. Whatever camera you get, make sure it comes with a waterproof case option. For that reason the Canon G9 linked earlier looks ideal. I might even go out and get one just to have kicking around in the cockpit...

    I'm finding SLR cameras, the style I prefer to use, have very limited use in a kayak. The extra security in keeping it dry, the extra time in extracting it from a dry case, just isn't worth it. I went with an SLR-style camera in my latest purchase for the increased lens options. I'll probably go back to a Powershot style soon. Try changing a lens on a wet sprayskirt as a whale passes by. The outcome generally isn't good. But have a good digital in a waterproof case and you likely won't miss anything. At least I'm sure there's very little I've missed.

    And if there's any debate about digital or film, it's a moot point. Digital has won. The quality in my view is superior, you can review photos immediately, the cost is significantly lower, and it's vastly more friendly to the environment (there are few chemicals more harmful than photo processing chemicals, and they all get dumped straight down the sink). I was in Tofino on the weekend shooting surfing - 350 photos at no cost beyond the equipment purchase. Try that with film! I've also shot film at locations with a digital backup, and often ended up using the digital for the better quality image. In a side-by-side, the digital seems to have a greater capacity to record ranges of lighting than slide. Not that film lovers will agree...
     
  14. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Personally, I'm a huge fan of digital.
    HDDV to be more specific.. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    What is that squirrel doing to your camera?!?! :shock:
     
  16. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    I thought it was Cookie Monster's arm at first...
     
  17. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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  18. andreas

    andreas Paddler

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    :lol:
     
  19. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    My apologies if I sounded a bit terse in my previous reply -- I've got nothing against film photography and fully understand and support the need to keep it preserved. But I've heard unsettling statements made against digital photography by die-hard purists (i.e., film shooters) so much over the past years that it gets a bit tiring now, especially given that sooner or later they all eventually see the benefit and make the switch. Give digital a chance -- learn what it's about and how it works. Learn where the limitations are and where the boundaries are. Learn how to do with digital, the same things that you do with film, with the same ethical methods and meanings. Give it time and you'll be amazed that it will open your creativity to avenues that you never knew existed. Play with it. Kick it in the air and toss it around. It's the only way that you'll truly see it for what it is.

    I've heard time and time again the same arguments from photographers that digital is not "pure" or that it lessens or cheapens the art of photography. You know what? It really isn't much different than film photography -- it's simply a different, more cost effective, and environmentally friendly way of capturing light for a specific amount of time and intensity that has passed through the lens. True, the substrates used in film and the manipulation of the chemicals and papers is an artform in itself, but they're not lost and I suspect that there will always be film photography around. You might argue that while that may be true, there will unfortunately be no new developments in the way of new processes and papers -- but there is. It's developed into digital.

    I've also heard the argument that being able to manipulate the photo after the exposure is not right. Well, again, the argument doesn't hold up -- photographers have been manipulating photographs in the darkroom since the beginning. One of the most well known photographers in the western world, Ansel Adams, spent considerable time in the darkroom, using science and his own creative genius to manipulate the images that he captured into the magnificent images that we love to stare at for hours on end today.


    Interesting that you bring this up as the printing industry has had a huge influence upon digital photography (and vice-versa) -- new presses no longer use film. Amazing stuff when you consider the unchanged history of the printing press since near its inception. Over the past few short years, direct to plate digital technologies have definitely changed the way imaging and images are handled and ink is applied to paper. But your last sentence speaks volumes and it's why I believe we'll always have a need for traditional photographic methods -- it's the best place to push the boundaries and develop new techniques -- that digital can imitate. :wink:

    Oh, I do understand your words here and there's nothing old fashioned about it, but without getting into a discussion about the definition of an artist, as I stated above, digital photography is merely a different method of capturing the light that passes through the lens. The photographer to me is both an artist and a scientist but at the same time is neither. Always though, the photographer is the observer.

    Thanks Lucky.

    Zeros and ones -- hmmm... it's ALL zeros and ones. :wink:


    Thank you. Yes, we can discuss the merits and downfalls of digital and film photography till the light goes out, but in the end, they are two separate mediums that produce similar yet sometimes disimilar results. The science and beauty of film is still there and will remain -- and there would be no digital photography had there not been film photography. Of this, I'm certain.

    I'm not in anyway saying that one method is better than the other. Each has it's benefits -- digital, along with the Internet, makes it much, much, much, easier to communicate with photographic images than ever before in history. It's made printing much easier and more cost effective. It's made photography accessible to the masses in ways never before dreamed. George Eastman would be envious that he didn't think of it.

    And I do see the artistic value of film -- which can never be replicated digitally. Not physically or the spirit of it.

    I personally prefer digital because it makes it convenient and affordable for me. I paddled in the Deer Group last summer for two weeks and took around 2,400 photos. I'm not sure what the cost of film and processing are today but when I last was using 35mm film it cost about a buck a shot. There's no way I could have afforded to take that many shots. Never mind the space in my boat for 70 or so rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film! Digital works out to be much more practical for my needs. I'm recording the moment, not trying to create art.

    If I may offer some advice, it would be to not think of digital photography in terms of film photography. Embrace digital imaging with the zeal that you embraced film when you first began studying photography and look foward to the challenges. With your film background, you truly will be amazed at the creative doors digital will open for you.

    The nice thing about it is that you don't have to give up one, to have the other.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up Lucky, it's a good one. It's an interesting discussion and one that most nearly all paddlers can relate to as almost all of us take pictures of the places we travel.

    I still think the Canon G9 would be a good choice for you to get into digital with.

    *****
     
  20. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    That is quite a treatise, Dan. It lead me to an online review of the G9, a very nice camera, with a "retro" look and feel that certainly harkens back to oldies but goodies like the Pentax K1000.

    Two drums I'd like to flog:

    1. "Optical" image stabilization (versus "digital" IS): worth its weight in gold, whether shooting from an ordinary platform or off a kayak deck. IS has allowed me to reliably expand my hand-held range into the quarter-second to half-second shutter envelope, if I brace my hands a bit. Certainly the single most useful enhancement in digital camera features, at least for me.

    2. Canon: Canon has produced some really nice, ergonomically set up digital cameras. From control placement to ease of use of menus on the fly, Canon seems ahead of Olympus, my previous favorite camera producer.

    One simple improvement: on my previous digital cameras, in Aperture-preferred mode, I had to hit a button, and then look at the menu options on screen to decide how far down the menu to toggle to select a focus mode (Manual Focus, Normal Focus, or Macro Focus), then hit a different "select" button to pick the mode I wanted. Minimum button count: 3 and up]. The Canon I have now (the A570 IS) uses one button, which toggles through each option, flashing it large onscreen; if you pause, it selects that mode; if you keep on clicking that button (note: same button -- your finger does not have to select another; your eye does not have to shift over to find the next button), alternate options flash onscreen until you get the one you want. Button count: one, two or three, maximum. Emphasis: it's the same button, too!

    I have no affiliation with Canon. It happens the local camera store guy is a Canon dealer -- rare in a small town to even have a camera store these days! -- but that had no influence on my choice. My A570 IS is a very versatile, compact point and shoot unit with a range of options if you want some variety, and is a real improvement over the S1 IS I bought just two years ago. If the big dollar number for that G9 is a barrier, Lucky, you might want to check out something like the A570 -- less than half the cost of a G9. If you don't like it, I'll buy it off you as a spare!