Thinking about purchasing a used DSLR and would like some advice.

Vaccam Sep 2, 2011

  1. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    I am thinking about purchasing a used Nikon DLSR with a Sigma 28-70mm 2.8-4 DG Lens. I think I can get it for a good price.

    I currently use a Canon Point and Shoot that I don't like and want to move up to something better without spending a lot of money. I would mostly be taking shots of my n scale layout and some railfaning, etc.

    I would like to get your thoughts on it only having 6.1 megapixels. That seems pretty poor by today’s standards. Should I let that concern me?

    The camera got very good reviews back when it was introduced. I think around 2005.

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.

    Michael
     
  2. R C Parsons

    R C Parsons New Member

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    There's more to the equation than just megapixels. Cameras are marketed by megapixel count much like autos were marketed with HP numbers years ago. Sensor quality, internal processing software and lens qualityare just as important factors as sheer megapixel counts. The new DSLR's have internals that process the megapixels available much more efficiently than a poin and shoot. I now use 12 megapxel cameras professionally but they don't automatically produce better images than my previous 6 mega version or the 3 and even 2 megapixel cameras before that...I just have more pixels to work with so I can crop more severely, shoot at higher ISO's and still get a good image. Before you buy a used 6 year old camera...consider that a new entry level Nikon DSLR can be had with lens for around $600-$700 and will likely enable you to create better images than even Nikon's pro models from 6 years ago and you get a wrranty to boot. Improvements in sensor technology and internal processing have helped a lot. Something to cosider. Hope this helps a bit. Cheers
     
  3. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    Also consider depth of field, which is the area that is in focus when you take a picture. The narrower your angle (ie, when you use a telephoto lens, or 'zoom in' much), the closer you are to your subject, and the bigger your aperture, the smaller this area becomes. This counts for all cameras. However, there is another factor: sensor size. The bigger the sensor, the smaller your depth of field.

    Why does this matter? If you want to take detailed, close-up pictures of your N-scale layout, you will likely be very close to your models, likely not use a very wide lens, and likely use a big aperture because you have a limited supply of light indoors. All this means your depth of field will be limited, and a large part of your photograph will be out of focus! To compensate, you need to take multiple photos of the exact same scene and stick them together with specialized software. This means that for model photography, using a high quality compact camera rather than a DSLR could be a better choice.

    If you also intend to take portrait-type photos, then you will likely want a smaller depth of field, and DSLRs have the upper hand there.
     
  4. Seated Viper

    Seated Viper TrainBoard Member

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    I changed a couple of years ago from a Canon 35mm SLR to a Canon DSLR so I could keep the same lenses. It failed twice under guarantee and I now have a Nikon D90. Of course, I had to change lenses! I was thinking of Sigma, but was advised to keep to Nikon lenses as well as camera body to maintain the quality level. I've had Sigma lenses in the past - they are good, but not as good as some other brands.

    Regards,

    Pete Davies
     
  5. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Not to be too critical here, but this is a bit misleading.
    Sure, if you set up a DSLR to match the PnS camera with identical settings, the smaller sensor will get a slightly larger depth-of-field. But you're ignoring the fact that the DSLR can be set to a much smaller aperture than the PnS, giving the DSLR the ability to achieve even greater depth of field, regardless of sensor size.
     
  6. CNW 1518

    CNW 1518 TrainBoard Member

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    I got a D3000 with the standard lens that comes with it..

    After using P+S from both Canon and Nikons.. The DSLR blows it away with quality..

    Even if you go with just the standard package. You won't go wrong..

    I got mine for $449. Best four hundred some bucks I've ever spent.
     
  7. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    If it is six years old you may be considering a Nikon D50, now out of production. I bought one in 2006 and it is 6 megapixels, and I still LOVE it. Any photos of mine that you see posted on here (that aren't historic) for the last five years were taken with that D50. I don't know about the Sigma lenses, and bought Nikons because of the Nikkor glass, outstanding. I have noticed that the resale value of these DSLRs seems to be great, they don't go down in price. When I bought mine it came with the Nikkor 28-55mm lens and the 55-200mm lens, for just under $700. If you are getting this for less than $300 it is probably a great deal. Just my two cents worth. :tb-biggrin:
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If it ever needs any work, such repairs may not be available, or cost prohibitive. You might check to see if the repair stations will still work on them. My camera, although a different brand, needed some work when five years old. Nobody would accept it due to age/cost versus real value.
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'll echo Fitz - if it is the D50, it is a fantastic camera. Almost all (>95%) of my photos on TB are with my D-50 (have a few with PnS or others for full disclosure). While far out of warranty, when I had a problem last year, I sent it to Nikon USA in SoCal, and it was fixed promptly. Yes, cost me about $150, but well worth it.
     
  10. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks all for your responses to my questions. The camera was a Nikon D70s, but someone beat me to it. The price was $280.

    I have decided to wait a few months and purchase a newer Canon DSLR, either the XSI or the new T3, body only. My son, who is living with us for another year or so, has a Canon 1Ti, and several lenses. He’s offered to let me share his lenses so I won’t need to buy any of my own for a while, other than maybe a wide-angle lens, which he does not have. When he decides to upgrade his 1Ti, in a few years, I will probably help him out with the purchase in exchange for the 1Ti body and maybe some of the lenses. We'll see...

    Thanks again for all the comments, suggestions and advice.

    Michael
     
  11. lavenlaar

    lavenlaar New Member

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    The Rebel is a great little entry DSLR body. Just remember it is the glass (lenses) that count NOT the camera.
    The first lens that you should buy is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime. That will give you the DoF for about $150.
    All DSLR's (exc Full frame sensors ie: 1D and 5D ) have a 1.3x crop.
    Sure the MP is great to have so large, but where are you going to enlarge any image above 30"x20"? Did you know 5MP can blow an image to the size of a bedroom wall... only really good if you want to zoom in and crop right in, but hey, just change lenses....

    cheers
    Brendan
     
  12. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Brendan,

    I had hoped to stick with an older body, as you say, I am not planning on enlarging photos much and I would like to spend less than $300. Some of the reasons for thinking about going with a newer body is that the older ones used compact flash cards instead of the SD cards and USB 1.0 instead of 2.0. The XSi is the first Rebel that has both SD card support and USB 2.0. Of course I could purchase a CF reader for my iMAC.

    I've ruled out the T3. It has some good features, but I think they made too many compromises for my taste, such as body materials, and which controls to emphasis.

    Thanks,

    Michael
     
  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, get one that uses SD. But, don't worry about the USB connection at all -- get a USB card reader (SanDisk makes a nice one) and just pop the card out of the camera and into the reader. Much easier / quicker - no going through camera software to access the files.
     
  14. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Rick,

    Thanks, that was my thinking. My iMac has a built in SD card reader, so I am all set there.

    Thanks again,

    Michael
     
  15. exaguy

    exaguy New Member

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    Hope I'm not too late. I have had Leicas, Nikons and Exaktas but have gone digital and presently use an Olympus SP-590UZ -- which is a fairly inexpensive 12 MP fixed zoom lens camera -- which has had some bad reviews in some quarters. My secret is using Adobe Photoshop to adjust the images until they look like what I want. I can adjust parallax as if I still had my view camera, adjust colors, saturation and even increase sharpness. This works for me. At this point in my life, I take snapshots of trains and things and "Photoshop" the ... heck ... out of them.
     
  16. PW&NJ

    PW&NJ TrainBoard Member

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    Amen, brother! Though I use GIMP (open-source PhotoShop-like image editor), I do the same. :)
     
  17. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the advice!

    I made my purchase on Monday from Adorama and received my new camera on Tuesday.

    I decided on a refurbished Nikon D5100. I spent a bit more than I intended to, but I am very happy with my purchase. The camera came with the 18-55mm VR lens. I also got a Tiffen filter kit (3) and a SanDisk 16GB memory card. So far the camera is great! It appears to be brand new without a single mark on it and only 4 shutter actuations.

    I was very pleased with the service I got from Fred at Adorama. I wanted to pay for the 3-5 business day shipping instead of the free 7 - 10 business day shipping that Adorama offers, but Fred told me to stick with the free shipping, since I would most likely get it the next day. Like he said they shipped it the same day and I received it the next day for free. Adorama is in New York and I'm in Maryland.

    I was very disappointed with the SanDisk memory card. 9 tries out of 10 the camera would not read the card and would indicate No Card Installed. I had no problem with a 1 GB memory card from my older camera, or the Sony 16GB card I purchased from Ritz. Again, Adorama treated me right by emailing me a pre-paid UPS shipping label so that I could return the SanDisk card for a refund.

    I guess I need to find something to take pictures of.

    Thanks again,

    Michael
     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hopefully, your vicinity is filled with opportunities! Will look forward to seeing some....
     
  19. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just want to reiterate that the D50 (and the D70s) are absolutely great cameras and well worth the money.
    The odds you'll care about the larger sensor, even taking n scale pictures is very low. Get a good macro lens.

    Yes, you could buy a current entry level Nikon, but the best part about the D50 and D70 are that they have the focus motor on the body. Which means almost every single AF lens Nikon has made in the last 35 years will snap on and WORK! period.

    The new entry level cameras have no focus motor, so to have autofocus, you have to buy the new lenses made for the new cameras. Nikon has made some fabulous lenses over the past 35 years that are as good or better than those cheap new ones. So to me, this feature would outweigh and considerations of age.

    In my opinion, the D50 was the last Nikon entry level DSLR I'd be willing to buy. If I were to buy a new one today, I'd save up for the expensive prosumer model with the focus motor.
     
  20. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I've had similar problems with SanDisks. I would assume the reason your 16gb SanDisk didn't read was because the "write speed" of the card was really low. This makes them really cheap, but in the case of my DSLR which can record video, SanDisk card's are too slow.

    Each SD Card should have a little number with a circle. The larger the number, the faster the card can "write" information. SanDisk is usually 2-6. Most cameras recommend 8+.

    I think the capacity also has some play. I have a 4gb 2 speed that can record about 30 seconds of video before lagging out, yet an 8gb 4 speed (supposed to be faster) that cant get past 1 second. :/

    I solved that by just buying a PNY 8gb 20 speed card :)
     

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