Your opinion on a new (second hand camera)

Discussion in 'Art & Photography' started by Scaff, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    OK guys I am at last in the stage of getting back into SLR photography, and I must confess the digital side of things is new to me.

    First a bit of background, I know/knew my film SLR's inside out, running a Canon F1, F1n and T90 with a range of lenses for many years, however hard times a while back forced the sale of those and I've never got back into things.

    Until now that is.

    Budget is a key factor here (as my wife wants all the money for a new bathroom), so I'm looking at three main choices here that I know I can pick up within my price range.

    Canon EOS 400d
    Nikon D70

    and the wild card

    Fuji S2 Pro


    Now I know that the first two will both the Fuji away in terms of features, however what appeals to me in regard to the Fuji (and puts me off the other two) is that it is originally a semi-pro body and I know it will have the build that I have been used to in the past.

    Picture modes do not interest me one little bit, as long as it has Ae and Shutter priority and manual with a good range of metering option that will do me fine.

    So given that, what do you guys think? I'm particularly interested if you have any direct experience with any of these models.


    Thanks

    Scaff
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  2. Dougboy

    Dougboy

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    Given those 3, i would probably choose the D70. I might be a bit biased towards the Nikon, but i definitely think its a better camera than the 400d. It is a higher end camera compared to the cheap chunk of plastic known as the rebel. And from experience, i remember the focusing speed and iso performance to be superior to the 400d. Only down side is the lack of megapixles, but it should be "enough". I shot with a 6mp D60 for a long time and never had issues with resolution.

    Ive used an S5 before and the extra dynamic range is really something. The compatibility with nikkor lenses is also a bonus. But I never knew anyone with an S2 so i really cant vouch for that. I also dont see any advantage to the dated pro body.

    Is price really that much of a concern? If so, i would probably skip them all and opt for a 450d or D80 sometime later down the road.
     
  3. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    To be honest the Canon is the lowest of the three on my list at the moment, I loved all my old Canon kit, but I've never been the biggest fan of the AF stuff (never forgiven them for getting rid of the FD mount).

    The N70 would be a good pick I know, but they can be tricky to get hold of second hand.

    The reason why I'm interested in the S2 is in part because I used pro kit for so long that anything else (even the D70) seems to be a bit 'flimsy' in comparison.

    I've been looking at and downloading test images from reviews of a lot of cameras over the last week or so and it does seem that the S2 is, even given its age, capable of producing images as good as or better than a lot of modern stuff.

    I guess that is part of the appeal to me, its a camera that at launch was very well rated and to a degree some of the entry level kit still hasn't caught up fully. Once other plus point regarding it would be that while its JPEG image size is 6.1, itis capable of producing RAW images at 12mp.

    Getting back into SLR photography I also will not limit myself to one body (never have - used to run three), so this one will start as my main camera and in the future will become a second body to my next purchase.

    Guess to a degree I'm narrowing this down myself to either a D70 or the S2, and you may guess which one I'm leaning towards.

    Still it is always good to get feedback and opinion, so a big :tup: for the reply.


    Ta

    Scaff
     
  4. Syntax error

    Syntax error Staff Emeritus

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    Even though I'm a “Canon guy”, from that pick, I'd go the Nikon as well. I have a 400D that I use for.... well nothing really, It feels cheap and nasty. The up side of Canons are their (relatively) affordable good lens line up.

    Okay, maybe I’ve been a bit harsh on the 400D. It does take a good shot. My problems with it mostly relate to noise at high ISO and build quality. Apart from that, it really is an okay camera, just throw away the kit lens that comes with it.

    I can’t really comment on the Fuji, F1GTR picked up an S5 recently and left a few comments on it, he seems to like it and he’s shots speak for themselves regarding image quality.
     
  5. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    OK F1GTR's pictures (which I know are from an S5 - but comments in regard to colour accuracy and skin tones are the same as those in reviews of the S2) and his comments about the built. In particular these two comments....

    ...are exactly the sort of thing I mean when I talk about the differences between standard kit and semi-pro/pro stuff.

    My brother has a D70 and while it takes great shots, in does feel as nice as my old T90 did and not even in the remotely same league as my old F1n. What I actually want (but can't have because it doesn't exist) is a digital F1n, best camera ever made in my opinion.


    [​IMG]
    Exactly what my old camera looked like, right down to one of the favorite lenses ever.


    OK - if I get a chance tomorrow after work I'm off to look at an S2.


    Regards

    Scaff
     
  6. GilesGuthrie

    GilesGuthrie Staff Emeritus

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    Scaff, based on what you've said thus far, I think you need to stop thinking about the body that you're about to buy, and think instead of the system you're getting into. I'm definitely a Canon guy, and I can tell you that the Canon lens system is awesome. Yeah, so it's not FD anymore, but the progression from EF-S through EF (with USM) to L is a great long-term plan.

    Forget the body, it depreciates faster than a stone falling from a cliff. Look instead at the lenses. To me, the 400d is a pretty decent beginner body, but it'll see you through a lovely selection of glass, to the point you're like me, with a 1d MkIII and a 5d and £15k in glass.
     
  7. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    Good point Giles and one I should have covered, as I have already thought about that.

    The glass side of things is what got me to the body options, I know both the Nikon and Canon lens range quite well, and the quality and range avaliable for both is what got me looking at a Canon or Nikon mount body (the Fuji range accept Nikon lenses).

    Back in my 35mm days I used to love the Canon L range of lenses and the Nikkor range has always been on a par with them. The other advantage of both is that they both offer a good range of fixed focal length lenses, which I personally prefer to zoom lenses. Yes you do lose a degree of flexability, but the quality and speed advantages both outweight these for me.

    That said I do intend to start with a short zoom (around the 18 - 55 range) and built on that in the future, hoping to get back up to the kind of range I had in the past, which would be.

    28mm F2.8
    35mm f2.8
    50mm f1.2
    100mm f2
    200mm f4

    I prefer using avaliable light and for me the above lens selection I always found to be ideal, and what I hope to get back to and I know that both the Canon and Nikon range will allow me to do that.

    I also know a couple of photographers who run both systems so borrowing lenses from time to time is also an option with both mount systems.


    Damn - I've been thinking about this more than I realised.

    :)


    Scaff
     
  8. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    OK - So I've borrowed the S2 for a few days (the advantage of having a friend running a camera shop) and I love the build quality of it.

    However the image is as dusty as hell, with quite a few nasty spots on it, so this one may well have to be a no if it can't be cleaned.

    Back to the drawing board for a while.


    Regards

    Scaff
     
  9. Syntax error

    Syntax error Staff Emeritus

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    Welcome to the world of digital SLRs. No matter which camera you go with, you will have to contend with the dust accumulating in a massive scale on the sensor. Don't be thrown by it, it happens even on weather sealed 1D's as I'm sure Giles will testify.
     
  10. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    I'm going to see if it can be cleaned, as a little dust I can handle (after all that's what photoshop is for after all), this is just a bit more than I would like.

    Fingers crossed I can get it sorted, because I do like the S2 itself a lot, stunningly well built.


    Regards

    Scaff
     
  11. GilesGuthrie

    GilesGuthrie Staff Emeritus

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    1d still clean after 2,000 actuations ;)

    Don't forget Scaff that the SLRs you're looking at are all crop bodies (mostly 1.6x) which appears to make the focal length longer than what's on the lens barrel. For example, 18-55mm on a 450d is roughly equivalent (in field of view terms) to 28-90 on your old F-1.
     
  12. Syntax error

    Syntax error Staff Emeritus

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    Really? I'm jealous! My 5D & 20D are dust magnets! Although I think I blow through 2K in actuations easily in one weekend. :nervous:
     
  13. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    I've been playing around in PS a little and after a resize the dust marks are a lot less noticable, but I would still like as many of them gone as I can.

    Shouldn't be a problem to get done.

    In regard to lens sizes, that one is taking a little getting used to, have to keep doing a quick bit of mental maths.

    It is how ever nice to be playing around with an SLR again, my little Sony DSC-80 is a very nice compact, but its just not the same.

    Edited to add.

    Test shot - 100 asa, 6.1mp and in-built flash, with just a re-size in PS.

    [​IMG]

    Regards

    Scaff
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  14. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    Had the sensor cleaned on the S2 today as I have taken the plunge and gone for that, currently it has a 'place-holder' lens on it, a Cosina 19-35 which I'm not a big fan of as its rather soft.

    That will however be replaced by a Nikon 18-55 early next week (Monday with any luck), here however are a couple of early shots with the camera and I will get a gallery set up here ASAP as well. Any comments on the best site to use for hosting would also be appreciated.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Regards

    Scaff
     
  15. Syntax error

    Syntax error Staff Emeritus

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    flickr is usually good for hosting, doesn't seem to suffer from drop outs and loading errors Imageshack is prone to.
     
  16. G.T

    G.T Premium

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    I'm not a photography expert but my Dad used to have an S2 Pro and liked it; he replaced it with an S3 a few years later (which was pretty slow at saving photos - the S2 was quicker). It took amazing photos for its time and still probably look very good today. It won him a runner-up prize of a £800 lens in a major photography magazine, so it must be a pretty good camera. :tup:
     
  17. Scaff

    Scaff Moderator

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    Thanks for that, I've just set up an account and its good to hear that its not as drop-out prone as Imageshack.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonliddiard/


    That's good to hear, and I have to say that so far I'm very happy with the S2. However a win like that is never just the camera, your dad must have taken a good shot as well.


    :tup:


    Scaff
     
  18. wfooshee

    wfooshee Premium

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    Just to add on the glass side of things, the D70 will mount (with very few exceptions) any lens Nikon has made since Nikon has had 35mm SLRs, and auto-exposure works however it worked with the lens's original designed-for mount. It will auto-focus lenses made for the n8008 and up film cameras, as it has a motor in the body. (The D40 and D60 do not, and will not autofocus lenses made for the film autofocus cameras.) I passed up a D70 a couple of years ago, and then last year bought a D50 from the same guy. I really couldn't tell you what the difference is between the two!

    BTW, the T90 was on my short wish list when I had an AE-1 and a truckload of FD lenses. By the time I could get one, the autofocus cameras were out, so I got a Nikon n8008 and entered the Nikon universe, haven't looked back.