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electrasketch
09-28-2004, 09:59 PM
Hello all,

First time posting, but I run a home based small creative studio, that primarily does web site design ( but am looking to expand into digital photography) and I am looking for a dSLR which has the capability to be used in a professional setting without a 6k price tag. I have been looking at the Canon Digital Rebel without a lense and purchasing a separate lense for it that has a 28mm-300mm range, with all accessories and filters I am looking at about $1300 for a budget. I don't know much about cameras to begin with but am certainly willing to learn. I was wondering if anybody had any professional experience with this camera.

I would mostly be using this camera for studio shots of products and possibly some portrait photography (as I have been receiving a lot of calls lately about this service) and some outdoor shots. Most of my work would be web quality, but I would like to be able to shoot near print quality photos at 8x10, I know the 6.3 megapixels doesn't quite reach that, but I think interpolation in photoshop would be fine for most of my customers' uses.

This camera is barely within my price range, but I have also looked at the Nikon D70, Canon 20-D and the Pentax Ist-D (only because I have an old Pentax K-1000 with a few lenses that I would like to reuse) any recommendations regarding these cameras if the Digital Rebel isn't good enough for prosumer use?

Thanking you in advance for any advice or suggestions.

jamison55
09-29-2004, 09:36 AM
I use my DReb for my small semi-pro photo business, and I couldn't be happier with the results: http://sky.prohosting.com/jgwphoto

I did a cost analysis of the DReb vs other "consumer" DSLR's and found that for the $1300 that a D70 would cost, I could purchase the DReb kit and a couple of extra lenses. When I saw the image quality comparison in several (online and print) articles, the DReb won, although the D70 won on features.

That made up my mind. My "Kit" now consists of:
-DReb Body $1000
-Canon EF 18-55 "Kit" lens (included with body)
-Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Mk II $75
-Sigma DG 55-200 $150
-Sigma EF500 DG Super Flash $200
-Stroboframe Flash Bracket $30
-Canon Off-Shoe Cord 2 $50
-Canon Kit Bag $50

Total Cost: $1505

I do mostly fashion and portrait shoots, and am beginning to branch into weddings, and I am confidently equipped for just about any situation, for the cost of a 20D body alone.

If you do decide on the DReb, and can't spend the coin to replicate my kit, make sure you at least spring for the 50mm Mk II. At $75 it is the greatest bargain in lenses right now, providing astonishing sharpness for the price. It is the perfect portrait lens, since it is 85mm on the DReb!

Having said that, the new Pentax *istDS looks pretty impressive. I especially like those AA batteries!

Rhys
09-29-2004, 10:11 AM
I use my DReb for my small semi-pro photo business, and I couldn't be happier with the results: http://sky.prohosting.com/jgwphoto

I did a cost analysis of the DReb vs other "consumer" DSLR's and found that for the $1300 that a D70 would cost, I could purchase the DReb kit and a couple of extra lenses. When I saw the image quality comparison in several (online and print) articles, the DReb won, although the D70 won on features.

That made up my mind. My "Kit" now consists of:
-DReb Body $1000
-Canon EF 18-55 "Kit" lens (included with body)
-Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Mk II $75
-Sigma DG 55-200 $150
-Sigma EF500 DG Super Flash $200
-Stroboframe Flash Bracket $30
-Canon Off-Shoe Cord 2 $50
-Canon Kit Bag $50

Total Cost: $1505

I do mostly fashion and portrait shoots, and am beginning to branch into weddings, and I am confidently equipped for just about any situation, for the cost of a 20D body alone.

If you do decide on the DReb, and can't spend the coin to replicate my kit, make sure you at least spring for the 50mm Mk II. At $75 it is the greatest bargain in lenses right now, providing astonishing sharpness for the price. It is the perfect portrait lens, since it is 85mm on the DReb!

Having said that, the new Pentax *istDS looks pretty impressive. I especially like those AA batteries!

I'm beginning to swing in favour of the Sigma SD-10, purely on the grounds that its photos are phenomenal at 100ASA. I notice that I never seem to use other than 100ASA on my Nikon 995 or anything other than 50ASA on my Canon S1. Thus, sticking with 100ASA on the SD10 shouldn't be too much of a problem.

People have been singing the praises of RAW format over JPEG. I'm not so sure of that but I do note that the SD10 has its own RAW format as standard but no jpeg. I'd like the choice of using jpeg but since everybody says RAW is better, it's worth a shot.

The only downer with the SD10 seems to be the review lens and the dirt on the sensor that Jeff had. I'd love to test-drive an SD-10.

jamison55
09-29-2004, 10:38 AM
Rys,

When I was using digicams I never swayed from 100ASA either, because of the degradation in quality, but with the DReb I often shoot at 400 and even 800ASA. I rarely ever shoot in bright sunlight, so the 100ASA performance doesn't matter to me as much as the 200 - 800, which the Dreb handles impressively!

D70FAN
09-29-2004, 11:49 AM
Having said that, the new Pentax *istDS looks pretty impressive. I especially like those AA batteries!

Just out of curiousity, what do you find impressive with the *ist DS? Even compared to some all-in-ones it is very 2 years ago.

Additionally (from an ex-AA user):

AA batteries are a royal pain.

I like the fact that I only have to carry one spare battery in my bag, and I never have to worry about LiIon self discharging in 30 days. With the extremely long shooting life (800-1500 shots) of a dSLR they just don't make much sense.

jamison55
09-29-2004, 12:28 PM
Just out of curiousity, what do you find impressive with the *ist DS? Even compared to some all-in-ones it is very 2 years ago.


I like the fact that you can (1)easily get by with a set of Duracells, which you can buy on any corner of the planet, in a pinch, and (2)you can buy 5 sets of NIMH rechargables for the price of one extra proprietary battery for most DSLR's.

I also like the smaller form factor of the PistS, and the ability to take all K-mount lenses (and the old screw mount with an adapter). There are phenomenal bargains to be had on old, extra-sharp, manual focus, K-mount and screw mount glass on EBay if you are willing to use an external light meter or do the calculations manually...not something you would want to use for weddings, but samething fun to play with...

Rhys
09-29-2004, 01:01 PM
I like the fact that you can (1)easily get by with a set of Duracells, which you can buy on any corner of the planet, in a pinch, and (2)you can buy 5 sets of NIMH rechargables for the price of one extra proprietary battery for most DSLR's.

I also like the smaller form factor of the PistS, and the ability to take all K-mount lenses (and the old screw mount with an adapter). There are phenomenal bargains to be had on old, extra-sharp, manual focus, K-mount and screw mount glass on EBay if you are willing to use an external light meter or do the calculations manually...not something you would want to use for weddings, but samething fun to play with...

I'll go with that. AA batteries and Compact Flash are the bees knees. Pentax lenses are dirt cheap too. Best to use inexpensive lenses without skylight/uv protection filters and use them than to get expensive glass and be afraid to take the wretched filter off. IMHO all skylight/UV filters should be slung in the bin. I had Pentax and found the lenses were not bad. The bodies though were hopelessly unreliable.

jamison55
09-29-2004, 05:49 PM
Don't know if I should reply since I just want to be friends, but since I was "taken to task"...

We'll have to agree to disagree on the AA's. I for one prefer them, though I have no complaints about the battery life of the DReb. The Canon brand replacement battery does retail for $50 (or about 5x the cost of a set of NIMH AA's at Target), though I bought my after market spare on EBay for significantly less.

Now, about the Pentax:

You are fortunate to have been able to test it before Jeff had a chance, and I must assume that you have, since you speak about it with authoritative disdain. I had a Pentax manual focus film system prior to going digital, and had Pentax offered a DSLR for the same price as the DReb, I would have been sorely tempted. The original P*ist was overpriced at the time compared to the DReb. Like I said before, I wouldn't dream of using one of the old lenses for a wedding, I would definitely break one out in the studio where I could control the light. One of the advantages of digital is the instant feedback, so you can make exposure adjustments until you get it right with the old lenses.

I believe the original poster was looking for a camera to use in a studio, and he has Pentax lenses. Shouldn't he at least wait for someone to test the P*istS to see how it is executed before making a decision? I know you think that no other camera but the D70 is worthy, but others prefer the freedom to weigh their options.

No, I won't be trading my DReb for any camera for quite a while. The fact is, it is enough camera for everything that I want to do with it, and I am quite delighted with my system. However if I had the choices that a prospective DSLR user has this year with the announcements from Oly and Pentax, it might have been a tighter race.

I certainly wouldn't have discounted any camera because of a predjudice against the manufacturer (ecxept maybe Nikon, whose users always seem to be be a little too defensive...)

If anyone wants to check out the Pentax: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/pentaxistds/

electrasketch
09-29-2004, 07:33 PM
Thank you to those who posted in response to my query. I actually tried to email you Jamison with the following questions, but I guess you didn't receive it or haven't checked your mail.

BTW didnt' mean to start a minor heated debated guys... :)

This response is mostly directed at Jamision, I took a look at your portrait work, but I have a few other questions.

1. Were all of your portfolio shots taken with the Digital Rebel?

2. I saw that you only had one series of shots that were in a studio setting, I read another review after I posted last night that said the Rebel wasn't so hot for Studio Shots, having something to do with difficulty in setting up the flash or something like that. Do you find that to be true?

3. I believe I found the lense that you suggested at the following links, I just wanted to be sure it was the correct one. If not, could you provide a link to a seller for me?

This is the company that I intend to buy the camera from:
http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?ref=nextag&sku=CN5018II

This was the cheapest cost:
http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?icatid=282&stk_code=canef5018ll&svbname=16

I use a continuous output tungsten smith victor lighting kit kt-900 for my studio work, not the best choice I know, I will be looking at other lighting solutions down the road. My first priority however is a decent camera...my previous one was an Olympus point and shoot, with only a 1.2 mp capacity, it shoots okay photos, but it is getting pretty old and I need the flexibility and professional quality of a higher end camera.

The main reason I am looking at the Digital Rebel is for an upcoming job in which I will be shooting closeups of micro-batteries, credit card sized and smaller to be posted on their web site, but they want print quality versions as well. Any particular lense suggestions for macro work of small objects?

jamison55
09-29-2004, 07:43 PM
I received your email, and sent a reply.

D70FAN
09-30-2004, 06:31 AM
Don't know if I should reply since I just want to be friends, but since I was "taken to task"...

We'll have to agree to disagree on the AA's. I for one prefer them, though I have no complaints about the battery life of the DReb. The Canon brand replacement battery does retail for $50 (or about 5x the cost of a set of NIMH AA's at Target), though I bought my after market spare on EBay for significantly less.

Now, about the Pentax:

You are fortunate to have been able to test it before Jeff had a chance, and I must assume that you have, since you speak about it with authoritative disdain. I had a Pentax manual focus film system prior to going digital, and had Pentax offered a DSLR for the same price as the DReb, I would have been sorely tempted. The original P*ist was overpriced at the time compared to the DReb. Like I said before, I wouldn't dream of using one of the old lenses for a wedding, I would definitely break one out in the studio where I could control the light. One of the advantages of digital is the instant feedback, so you can make exposure adjustments until you get it right with the old lenses.

I believe the original poster was looking for a camera to use in a studio, and he has Pentax lenses. Shouldn't he at least wait for someone to test the P*istS to see how it is executed before making a decision? I know you think that no other camera but the D70 is worthy, but others prefer the freedom to weigh their options.

No, I won't be trading my DReb for any camera for quite a while. The fact is, it is enough camera for everything that I want to do with it, and I am quite delighted with my system. However if I had the choices that a prospective DSLR user has this year with the announcements from Oly and Pentax, it might have been a tighter race.

I certainly wouldn't have discounted any camera because of a predjudice against the manufacturer (ecxept maybe Nikon, whose users always seem to be be a little too defensive...)

If anyone wants to check out the Pentax: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/pentaxistds/

Yup. You are correct, and I did not mean for the reply to sound like some pompus ass, which it did. So I deleted it. Yes I did try the *ist D and my opinion is based on that camera, and not the *ist DS. Unfortunately the *ist DS is not a radical change (on paper), in form and function.

To the best of my memory I have not taken the high road with the D70 arguments, and I don't think I even mentioned it in my reply. And before it's intro the Canon DReb was my choice. The D70 has a few warts as well, but they can easily be tollerated.

My points, however badly stated, were that:

1. AA batteries are not better in all applications (especially dSLR's), and in fact have many drawbacks.

2. The *ist DS is not the best value in a low cost dSLR (The DReb offers a solid migration path, and a decent lens selection).

3. Manual, screw-mount lenses, no matter how nastalgic, are not really "fun" to use, especially for a beginner.

You are right in that if someone already has Pentax lenses, then it might make sense to buy an *ist DS. I just think that it does not bring anything new to the party. And like Kodak, and Fuji, Pentax is playing off of its nameplate rather than introducing real value, or inovation.

jamison55
09-30-2004, 08:16 AM
Yup. You are correct, and I did not mean for the reply to sound like some pompus ass, which it did. So I deleted it. Yes I did try the *ist D and my opinion is based on that camera, and not the *ist DS. Unfortunately the *ist DS is not a radical change (on paper), in form and function.

To the best of my memory I have not taken the high road with the D70 arguments, and I don't think I even mentioned it in my reply. And before it's intro the Canon DReb was my choice. The D70 has a few warts as well, but they can easily be tollerated.

My points, however badly stated, were that:

1. AA batteries are not better in all applications (especially dSLR's), and in fact have many drawbacks.

2. The *ist DS is not the best value in a low cost dSLR (The DReb offers a solid migration path, and a decent lens selection).

3. Manual, screw-mount lenses, no matter how nastalgic, are not really "fun" to use, especially for a beginner.

You are right in that if someone already has Pentax lenses, then it might make sense to buy an *ist DS. I just think that it does not bring anything new to the party. And like Kodak, and Fuji, Pentax is playing off of its nameplate rather than introducing real value, or inovation.

I guess that's why they call us "enthusiasts"; we all get a little enthusiastic sometimes.

Your points are all very good, but I think your most effective argument is the upgrade path. Both Canon and Nikon have a nice upgrade path, with fine cameras to move up to if the needs dictate. I think Nikon has the edge there, at least as far as my field of portrait/fashion/weddings, since the upgrade path includes the Fuji S2 and new S3 (another AA DSLR). I presently plan to stick with Canon unless my weekend business pick up th the point that I can start from scratch with a pro system. Then I might start looking more seriously at the Fuji/Nikons...

D70FAN
09-30-2004, 09:29 AM
I guess that's why they call us "enthusiasts"; we all get a little enthusiastic sometimes.

Your points are all very good, but I think your most effective argument is the upgrade path. Both Canon and Nikon have a nice upgrade path, with fine cameras to move up to if the needs dictate. I think Nikon has the edge there, at least as far as my field of portrait/fashion/weddings, since the upgrade path includes the Fuji S2 and new S3 (another AA DSLR). I presently plan to stick with Canon unless my weekend business pick up th the point that I can start from scratch with a pro system. Then I might start looking more seriously at the Fuji/Nikons...

Thanks for letting me "off-the-hook". One of the reasons I try to stay away from commenting on the "which camera should I buy" board is that there are only a handfull of cameras I consider worth buying, and I have come to realize that you can't save everyone from the pain of buying the next-best camera for the same price as the best one. The meetings at "recommendations anonymous" are working.

I'm surprised that the 20D is not on your list. Seems like the next step up, allows you to continue using Canon lenses, and is reasonably priced.

Rhys
09-30-2004, 09:35 AM
I guess that's why they call us "enthusiasts"; we all get a little enthusiastic sometimes.

Your points are all very good, but I think your most effective argument is the upgrade path. Both Canon and Nikon have a nice upgrade path, with fine cameras to move up to if the needs dictate. I think Nikon has the edge there, at least as far as my field of portrait/fashion/weddings, since the upgrade path includes the Fuji S2 and new S3 (another AA DSLR). I presently plan to stick with Canon unless my weekend business pick up th the point that I can start from scratch with a pro system. Then I might start looking more seriously at the Fuji/Nikons...

I'd rather like to see more in the way of AA powered dSLRs too. I've been burnt by funky manufacturer's batteries too many times to want to use them. Take mobile phones for example - the phone's perfect and works but you can't get a replacement battery or the battery costs more than the dratted phone. Similarly, I can't imagine the funky ENEL1 battery for the Nikon 995 will be available in 5 years time. I love my 995 but I'll have to resign myself to using it with 2CR5 disposables in the not too distant future. My S1 and 3100 both take AA batteries which I can't imagine will be phased out for some considerable time. Unlike many people, when I buy something I expect it to last and for the parts to be available for some considerable time period.

D70FAN
09-30-2004, 10:11 AM
I'd rather like to see more in the way of AA powered dSLRs too. I've been burnt by funky manufacturer's batteries too many times to want to use them. Take mobile phones for example - the phone's perfect and works but you can't get a replacement battery or the battery costs more than the dratted phone. Similarly, I can't imagine the funky ENEL1 battery for the Nikon 995 will be available in 5 years time. I love my 995 but I'll have to resign myself to using it with 2CR5 disposables in the not too distant future. My S1 and 3100 both take AA batteries which I can't imagine will be phased out for some considerable time. Unlike many people, when I buy something I expect it to last and for the parts to be available for some considerable time period.

While I won't continue to dabate the bad points of AA batteries where dSLR's, self discharge, and fumbling with 4 (or more) batteries are concerned. I don't think that the EN-EL1 will be discontinued anytime soon, as it has become the "standard" in Nikons small consumer line, as has the EN-EL3 for the dSLR line.

My guess is that the CP 995 will wear-out well before EN-EL1's are discontinued. Not that that provides much comfort.

jamison55
09-30-2004, 10:47 AM
I'm surprised that the 20D is not on your list. Seems like the next step up, allows you to continue using Canon lenses, and is reasonably priced.

My upgrade path is dictated by where my "business" takes me, and will also depend upon my next lens selection.

My next piece of glass will likely cost almost as much as my DReb did, and at that point I'm commited to the Canon system (not that that's a bad thing!). In that case the 20D (or 30D, if my DReb lasts as long as I would like) will definitely be on the short list.

On the other hand, if my "business" becomes heavily weighted towards weddings, I may look to invest in a Fuji S2 or S3. Most brides get married in white (earned or not), and the Fuji's sensor currently has no equal in dynamic range. Add to that compatibility with Nikon lenses and flash systems, and you have a pretty good kit.

That's thinking pretty optimistically, however, since I need to make enough money with my DReb to pay for the new equipment before I can upgrade (which was the point doing this for money to begin with!)

D70FAN
09-30-2004, 11:59 AM
On the other hand, if my "business" becomes heavily weighted towards weddings, I may look to invest in a Fuji S2 or S3. Most brides get married in white (earned or not), and the Fuji's sensor currently has no equal in dynamic range. Add to that compatibility with Nikon lenses and flash systems, and you have a pretty good kit.

Since I try to learn something new every day and have pretty much ignored Fuji as a viable alternative...

...What is the dynamic range of the Fuji Super CCD sensor compared to say the 20D or other CMOS/CCD technology?

The 3 wedding photographers I know are using Canon and Nikon (10D, 1Ds, and D100/D70). Their results seem excellent, even in relatively uncontrolled light in churches and at receptions.

jamison55
09-30-2004, 12:41 PM
Fuji uses a different CCD configuration which more closely replicates traditional color film:

"Taking a cue from high-quality film, which uses both large and small grains, the sensor uses an equal number of large and small pixels. The smaller pixels capture bright-light detail and highlights, while the larger pixels protect against underexposure in the darkest areas of the image." popmechanics.

Basically the Fuji is much more forgiving with exposure latitude, and retains more detail in the highlights.

Here are a few explanations, but the best is in this month's Popular Photography, where they do an extensive preview of the S3 Pro.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0301/03012202fujisuperccdsr.asp

And a couple of reviews of the S2, which used the last generation of "Super CCD" (and was quite popular with wedding photographers).

http://www.popphoto.com/pdfs/2002/1102/FujifilmS2.pdf

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujis2pro/

I have no doubt that your friends take great pics with their setups, as I have with my DReb. 10 years ago we would have been comparing the wedding rigs of those who shot with Nikon FM2's vs those who shot with Hassy's. Both rigs were capable of great results, but the Hassy's had a slight edge on image quality.

D70FAN
09-30-2004, 04:09 PM
Fuji uses a different CCD configuration which more closely replicates traditional color film:

"Taking a cue from high-quality film, which uses both large and small grains, the sensor uses an equal number of large and small pixels. The smaller pixels capture bright-light detail and highlights, while the larger pixels protect against underexposure in the darkest areas of the image." popmechanics.

Basically the Fuji is much more forgiving with exposure latitude, and retains more detail in the highlights.

Here are a few explanations, but the best is in this month's Popular Photography, where they do an extensive preview of the S3 Pro.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0301/03012202fujisuperccdsr.asp

And a couple of reviews of the S2, which used the last generation of "Super CCD" (and was quite popular with wedding photographers).

http://www.popphoto.com/pdfs/2002/1102/FujifilmS2.pdf

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujis2pro/

I have no doubt that your friends take great pics with their setups, as I have with my DReb. 10 years ago we would have been comparing the wedding rigs of those who shot with Nikon FM2's vs those who shot with Hassy's. Both rigs were capable of great results, but the Hassy's had a slight edge on image quality.


Thanks for the pointers. I was only familiar with the S2. The S3 looks pretty impressive, and it looks like the Super CCD has finally been fixed. I just wish they would quit passing it off as a 12MP image.

Yup, with film cameras it was all about the glass, as film choices dictated most of the other perameters. Now we have the glass, the media, and the software to consider. Post processing can cure a lot of ills, and it's only getting better. With the advent of RAW image files, and processing software, and noise killers, like Noise Ninja, you can fix almost any problem.

That's why I'm not sure of how much improvement an S3 would be over a 20D or even over your DReb for that matter. Since you would probably shoot weddings, and other special events, in RAW and have to post process anyway. ;)

jamison55
09-30-2004, 04:40 PM
That's why I'm not sure of how much improvement an S3 would be over a 20D or even over your DReb for that matter. Since you would probably shoot weddings, and other special events, in RAW and have to post process anyway. ;)
With digital cameras it is overexposure that kills. I can make an acceptable image out of a severely underexposed digital shot, but there's nothing you can do if you make a mistake the other way and blow out the highlights...the detail is just gone. The Super CCD design devotes a layer of cells on the sensor to solely capture the highlight detail so that, like negative film, you can get back the details from the blown out areas of a slightly overexposed shot (slide film suffers from blown highlights like digital). With brides in white it's pretty easy to overexpose and lose the detail in the dress that the bride put such an investment in time and money into choosing. The extra highlight detail of the Super CCD sensor gives you a little more latitude over a traditional CCD or CMOS sensor. Of course you could use FEC to underexpose everything slightly as well, and bring it up to the correct exposure in PS (which has been my strategy with my DReb system...)

Common wisdom with Film was to err on the side of overexposure with negative film, and on the side of underexposure with slide film. The Super CCD sensor in Fuji SLR's seems to allow you to err either way and still pull out an acceptable image!

jay
10-08-2004, 11:03 AM
I use it for professional use and it's a great cam.