NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions
lycraloon
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NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Apr 23, 2013

Hey all.

I am new to this forum but not new to forums in general. (Belong to a cycling forum and a wildlife forum)

Ok,so the thing is I have done some research into the world of digital photography and got my search narrowed down to a Nikon D5100 (new) which I can get at a good proce from a local chain store.

Then a colleague of my significant other mentioned she just baught a new Nikon D3100 and was taking up the lessons on offer with the purchase and went on to mention that her hubby had a Pentax that he never used. So we asked what they might want for it and they have come back with a reanobly good offer and I'm seriously thinking of getting this as a second camera for the SO and as an interim camera while I scrape the cash together to get my Nikon.

I know the lenses are not interchangable but the pentax with a 300mm zoom lens will work well as a backup for closer photos while I can use the Nikon with a 500mm lens for the longer shots.

I have no idea what the Pentax model is but will look at it sometime soon.

Any ideas comments on this stragedy?

Nikon D3100 Nikon D5100
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Leonard Migliore
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 23, 2013

lycraloon wrote:

Hey all.

I am new to this forum but not new to forums in general. (Belong to a cycling forum and a wildlife forum)

Ok,so the thing is I have done some research into the world of digital photography and got my search narrowed down to a Nikon D5100 (new) which I can get at a good proce from a local chain store.

Then a colleague of my significant other mentioned she just baught a new Nikon D3100 and was taking up the lessons on offer with the purchase and went on to mention that her hubby had a Pentax that he never used. So we asked what they might want for it and they have come back with a reanobly good offer and I'm seriously thinking of getting this as a second camera for the SO and as an interim camera while I scrape the cash together to get my Nikon.

I know the lenses are not interchangable but the pentax with a 300mm zoom lens will work well as a backup for closer photos while I can use the Nikon with a 500mm lens for the longer shots.

I have no idea what the Pentax model is but will look at it sometime soon.

Any ideas comments on this stragedy?

Pentaxes vary. New ones are going to be pretty good since they use the same Sony sensors as Nikon. Old ones are going to be...old.

The big drag is that lenses won't be compatible between the two camera systems; this can be a significant extra expense.

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Leonard Migliore

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JamesRL
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 23, 2013

Seriously, what are you shooting that requires a 500mm lens? Have you priced one?

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IMAGEJUNKY
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to JamesRL, Apr 23, 2013

I am a hardcore Nikon fan. My advice to you would be to stick with the Nikon. The problem with having two different systems is not only are the lenses not compatible with one another (most of the time), but you also have to worry about getting familiar with the differences between the operation of the two cameras, this is were confussion between the two sets in. I recommend you get the Nikon, learn on that and save your money. Then take that saved money and buy lenses that are compatible with your Nikon. I did some research as well before I bought my Nikon, and let me tell you....I am very happy with my system. I don't regret the purchase at all, and I have had my Nikon for about 5 years now and it still runs like new. I hope this helps.

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Thanks,
Image Junky

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JoeR
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 23, 2013

Unless you can get it reeeeeeeal cheap skip it for the reasons already mentioned.

joer56

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to JamesRL, Apr 30, 2013

JamesRL wrote:

Seriously, what are you shooting that requires a 500mm lens? Have you priced one?

Yes I have priced them. Pretty expensive where I live in the good old RS of A. Huge import duties and all that junk make them pretty costly.

At the moment, I shoot only mammals in the Kruger National Park with a few poor bird shots. The bird shots are not great but at least getting better.

The longer-term plan is to shoot birds as well.

So a 500mm lens is pretty much something one needs for this type of photography. (just for fun more than anything else)

When I was there at the beginning of this month (April) there was a chap at one of the "hides" that had a 300mm to 800mm lens. Now that is a lens although way out of my league and budget.

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to IMAGEJUNKY, Apr 30, 2013

IMAGEJUNKY wrote:

I am a hardcore Nikon fan. My advice to you would be to stick with the Nikon. The problem with having two different systems is not only are the lenses not compatible with one another (most of the time), but you also have to worry about getting familiar with the differences between the operation of the two cameras, this is were confussion between the two sets in. I recommend you get the Nikon, learn on that and save your money. Then take that saved money and buy lenses that are compatible with your Nikon. I did some research as well before I bought my Nikon, and let me tell you....I am very happy with my system. I don't regret the purchase at all, and I have had my Nikon for about 5 years now and it still runs like new. I hope this helps.

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Thanks,
Image Junky

Thanks Image Junky. Right now, the Pentax, while older, comes with a 300 mm lens and pretty much the camera the GF (Girl Friend) will be using. I know the lenses are not interchangeable due to different mountings but ideally, she should be able to shoot the closer stuff with the 300 and I can shoot the further stuff with the 500. There are a few times when a 500 is too long and many more times when a 300 is too short.

If Pentax had not stopped making cameras, perhaps I would go with that brand for both of us so lenses can be shared.

But having looked at whats available, I pretty much have limited choices. Canon or Nikon. Somehow the Nikon feels better, the quality of the stock lenses seems to be much better and the image quality, in my limited experience, is far superior. (I know it depends on what one is comparing.) I have looked at Canon bundles and the similar Nikon bundles and Nikon has the edge in my opinion.

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to JoeR, Apr 30, 2013

JoeR wrote:

Unless you can get it reeeeeeeal cheap skip it for the reasons already mentioned.

joer56

http://www.pbase.com/joer

Put it this way, a new camera (say Nikon D5100 with 18 to 55 and 550 to 200 stock lenses) is going to set me back 7000 of our currency.

The Pentax with a 300mm lens is going to set me back 3500. That's about the price of just one used lens.

A used 500 mm lens will set me back about 6000 and a new one about 12000. And thats on for one that has a max aperture of F5.6. (Sigma)

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Cosmo Not
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 30, 2013

Hello Lycra. I recently switched brands, from canon to pentax. Not sure who told you pentax is gone but they are actually alive and well. B&H has the D5100 for $500, and the Pentax K-30 for $585. I ended up buying a K5-IIs but looked at the K-30 at first and it is a nice camera. It has better features than the D5100 and better image quality. I had freedom to buy any brand, including Nikon but Pentax seemed the best overall. This is of course just my opinion but many others agree. Good luck either way.

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to Cosmo Not, Apr 30, 2013

Thanks Cosmo.

Being in Africa south on the tropic of Capricorn has some advantages (Great weather and beautiful country) but alas, it has some disadvantages as well. Mostly very high import duties to pay for our corrupt Presidents House and a very weak exchange rate.

So if I import the camera at $500 (I assume USD) it's going to set me back 4800 of our local currency and that excludes import duty. 

(Does the $500 include any lenses or is this just the body?)

So the price of 3500 for a used camera in good nick is not a bad price and I can get the D5100 for around 6200 (Shop demo) which is also a pretty good price. It will come with full guarantees and warrantees. It also comes with 18 to 55 and 55 to 200 lenses.

A friend of mine told me that Pentax had stopped manufacturing cameras but still made lenses. At least this may well be the case in Africa at about the 23rd southern parallel. I haven't seen a new Pentax in this country for many years. 

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Kodachrome200
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 30, 2013

lycraloon wrote:

Hey all.

I am new to this forum but not new to forums in general. (Belong to a cycling forum and a wildlife forum)

Ok,so the thing is I have done some research into the world of digital photography and got my search narrowed down to a Nikon D5100 (new) which I can get at a good proce from a local chain store.

Then a colleague of my significant other mentioned she just baught a new Nikon D3100 and was taking up the lessons on offer with the purchase and went on to mention that her hubby had a Pentax that he never used. So we asked what they might want for it and they have come back with a reanobly good offer and I'm seriously thinking of getting this as a second camera for the SO and as an interim camera while I scrape the cash together to get my Nikon.

I know the lenses are not interchangable but the pentax with a 300mm zoom lens will work well as a backup for closer photos while I can use the Nikon with a 500mm lens for the longer shots.

I have no idea what the Pentax model is but will look at it sometime soon.

Any ideas comments on this stragedy?

what are you shooting with these massive telephoto lenses? honestly i wouldnt start out trying to shoots sports or wild life with massive telephoto lenses.

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to Kodachrome200, Apr 30, 2013

Lets put this thing into perspective. The Kruger National Park (which is a large nature reserve in South Africa) is probably bigger than Holland and Israel combined. (In the past 18 months, we have been to Kruger 5 times)

So being large, there are times when some shots will be of smaller mammals and birds sometimes taken at fair distance. The camera I currently use (Pentax Optio) has a 3 times Optical Zoom which is more often than not, too "short" to take the shots. And then at full zoom, the images are blurred more than 90% of the time due to camera movement. A tripod is a bit difficult to handle in a motor car so a longer lens will not have to zoom quite so much and the image should be a bit less blurred. (That's my understanding of it anyway.)

It will be some time before I can get a 500mm lens anyway but that's the long term plan. To be honest, I dont even know if a 300mm will lens will be long enough but it has to be better than the 125 I used last year. It is all but impossible to identify the bird I shot with the 125mm

To stabilise the camera, I use bean bags on the windows which is not ideal because sometimes the passengers move and the vehicle moves which blurs the shot.

Seriously, a 500mm lens in Kruger is considered small.

.

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AlbertInFrance
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 30, 2013

lycraloon wrote:

Lets put this thing into perspective. The Kruger National Park (which is a large nature reserve in South Africa) is probably bigger than Holland and Israel combined. (In the past 18 months, we have been to Kruger 5 times)

So being large, there are times when some shots will be of smaller mammals and birds sometimes taken at fair distance. The camera I currently use (Pentax Optio) has a 3 times Optical Zoom which is more often than not, too "short" to take the shots. And then at full zoom, the images are blurred more than 90% of the time due to camera movement. A tripod is a bit difficult to handle in a motor car so a longer lens will not have to zoom quite so much and the image should be a bit less blurred. (That's my understanding of it anyway.)

It will be some time before I can get a 500mm lens anyway but that's the long term plan. To be honest, I dont even know if a 300mm will lens will be long enough but it has to be better than the 125 I used last year. It is all but impossible to identify the bird I shot with the 125mm

To stabilise the camera, I use bean bags on the windows which is not ideal because sometimes the passengers move and the vehicle moves which blurs the shot.

Seriously, a 500mm lens in Kruger is considered small.

.

It doesn't really matter how big the park is, the horizon is the limit. The important thing is how close you can get and how big your subject is.

You also need to understand more about 'zoom'.

You say you have a 'Pentax Optio' (but there are a number of models in that range) with 3x optical zoom. That's equivalent to about 20-60mm on an APS-C sensor (most DSLRs). A 300mm will give you images about 4-5 times bigger in the frame than your present camera,  with vastly better image quality. The better quality comes from the image actually being bigger due to the larger sensor.

When you talk about 'full zoom' does that include digital zoom? If so, that would account for your misunderstanding when you say:

  • a longer lens will not have to zoom quite so much and the image should be a bit less blurred. (That's my understanding of it anyway.)

A prime (e.g. 300mm) and an equivalent zoom (e.g. 100-300mm) will give pretty much the same quality of image on the same camera and the same focal length setting.

The shake you are worried about will exist equally whether you use a long lens (e.g. 500mm) or a shorter one (e.g. 100mm) and enlarge the centre of image, which is what digital zoom does. And digital zoom always degrades quality.

A DSLR with a big lens will be easier to hold still than a P&S like an Optio, especially with a bean bag.

Why not try borrowing the Pentax for a couple of days to try it out? That will teach you a lot about using a DSLR and help you to decide what you really need in terms of lenses.

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Albert
Every photograph is an abstraction from reality.

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lycraloon
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to AlbertInFrance, Apr 30, 2013

Thanks AIF.

Yes, when I say full zoom, I refer to going all the way using the full digital zoom over and above the tele zoom offered by the P&S Pentax or Nikon. Or in other words, the camera is unable to zoom into the subject / object any more.

Unless one takes the same sort of shots with both cameras, it's unlikely for one to have a grasp of the difference in image quality, but I like what you say about DSLR's having a bigger sensor and thus giving better image quality. The other thing is it's not always possible to get a perfectly positioned subject. For example, last year, we were at a particular place in Kruger National and came across a Tawny Eagle eating its prey. It was early morning and the sun was on the wrong side so the captured image is more a silhouette than anything else. I know that cameras can't exactly perform the miracle of placing the sun on the opposite end of the sky in this instance but it's likely I would have been able to manipulate certain aspects to change the shot with greater ease if I had a) had some form of manual over-ride and a lot more versatility than the P&S.

Subsequently, I have discovered how to change to more manual settings but unless you know exactly how to do it on the Optio, it's not easy. Changing to Manual focus on a DSLR is easier (as I have experienced) and I think its easier and faster to change the zoom. One of the drawbacks I've found with the Optio is that when the camera switches off and I switch it back on, it goes back to auto settings again. Often, one does not have time to change these and I have noticed that a DSLR is easier to set up on manual and keep it there. At the very least, the zoom is mostly manual and a lot faster to zoom in and out.

The P&S cameras are also very power hungry and chew batteries at an alarming rate. (Around 200 shots.)

Another thing I like about a DSLR is the view finder. Regardless of where the sun is, I can always find my target and zoom in on it faster (unless subject is directly into the sun in which case neither camera is going to be any good to me.) With the Point and Shoot, and the sun directly behind me, I cannot see the image on the screen. I find it easier to find the target through the view finder and then one is looking at the target instead of trying to find the target by looking at the camera. At full zoom this is a major problem I have with the P&S.

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AlbertInFrance
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Re: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In reply to lycraloon, Apr 30, 2013

Definitely try to borrow the Pentax for a day or two. Just try side-by-side comparisons on static subjects and you'll be amazed at the quality difference. Also try moving targets -- even people -- to see how it handles.

I'm not advising the Pentax over any other make, just that you could probably get to try it out. With your level of knowledge and experience almost any DSLR will 'know' more than you do, so choosing is really is a matter of whether you will want to build up a system and how much it will cost you.

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Albert
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