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

Vaccam Sep 2, 2011

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Diverging slightly, what is the megapixels range for the slightly above average railfan photographer? Thinking of best for use on a web site and perhaps occasionally printing off something. But probably the biggest being 8 inches by ten inches, or slightly larger? I have been told 8MP would suit most folks? NOT trying to start any huge debate here. A few years ago, 8MP was big time stuff, now I am seeing numbers twice that and it has me wondering if there is any real gain?
     
  2. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    My 5.1 Mega Pixel Nikon D50 has been perfect for that need.

    I have a picture of 3751
    [​IMG]
    and 4449
    [​IMG]

    Cropped and blown up to 11x13 (about the largest recommended for a 5.1 megapixel camera) and framed and while I'm sure pros would have a million problems with both I think they look great.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK. My old camera is 4MP. And some folks have seen what I have recently put up on my web site- Thought those views turned out fairly decently. But that camera has a couple of things slowly going wrong, so I am daydreaming of a new one.
     
  4. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    YoHo, my D50 is 6.1 megapixels and I think yours is, too. Ken, your 4 Mp shots at full screen are perfectly clear. Unless you want to make posters, I can't see why anything more than 6 to 8 is necessary. When I bought my D50 back in 2006, the salesman showed me a poster he had made from a shot he took and it was fantastic. I have a shot of 4449 as my wallpaper at 11 by 17 inches on this MAC. It was shot at high JPG, not RAW, and is about 1.5meg in filesize. I am not sure if I have that in my RI file, but will check and come back and edit this post, hopefully posting that shot. It is absolutely clear at the size I am showing it on the computer. Be back.
    It appears that I uploaded the thumbnail, but here it is, and try to imagine it at 11X17.

    2011NRHS264.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2011
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, maybe I can prod Sandy Claws a little. Probably won't get lucky, but I can dream. Guess I'd probably hope for 8MP, if there was a miracle. Ha ha.
     
  6. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Huh, I could have sworn the D50s were 5.1 Megapixel cameras, but it's been so long. I could be misremembering.
    Either or, it's good enough for most any need.
     
  7. y0chang

    y0chang TrainBoard Member

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    I saw at that big blue box electronic store clearing out the Nikon D3000 for 375. That is a pretty nice starter DSLR, when they clear out older models you can get a very good deal. That is how I got my Pentax IstD for 250 after rebates a while ago.
     
  8. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Got me a Canon Rebel T3 for Christmas.
    A Sam's club kit. Came with an 18-55mm lens, a 75-300mm telephoto lens, battery/charger, a 16GB class 6 memory card and gadget bag for $599+tax. Added a 55-250mm lens as well.
    So far, I've taken a number of pictures, and they have turned out great!
    Including maybe 2 dozen indoor pictures Christmas night, as everyone was opening gifts.
    Since then, I've gotten 2 extra batteries, screen protectors, 3 books and waiting on an additional flash kit to arrive.
    Replaces the Canon Power shot S3IS I had prior.
    I'm happy!!
     
  9. rsn48

    rsn48 TrainBoard Member

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    I'm putting this in for others who may peruse this thread looking for an idea concerning new or used cameras. Not all pixels are equal, a 10 megapixel camera in a P&S is not the same as on a Nikon or Canon DSLR with 10 megapixels. The image size of the P&S will be the size of a smaller finger nail on the little finger. The cropped sensors found on Nikon's and Canon's are about the size of a thumb nail, so 10 is not 10 so to speak when it comes to megapixels. For low light, the reason DSLR's do better than P&S's is the larger pixels the sensor wears. P&S pixel numbers on P&S's became carried away, as some one in this thread said earlier there is more to image quality than pixels, there's micro lenses, softwear interprolation, gapless pixels versus gapped pixels. The larger camera's sensor will yield an image that is easier to work on and retain quality.

    You can imagine how poorly an image will deteriorate too when it begins the size of a small finger nail, and then is cropped into; the same image on a larger sensor camera will stand up to more cropping and still yield decent results.

    If I were to advise some one who is purchasing a camera for rail fanning, I'd advise an older DSLR over a newer P&S; if for no other reason you can play more with the DSLR image without crapping it out. In my life, I've owned two film SLR's - Konica and Canon - many film P&S's, bought more digital P&S's for my wife and son, and I currently own 3 DSLR's, from the original Digital Rebel (300D), the Xsi (450D) and now the Canon 5D mk 2. Its also worth something - big time - to be able to change lenses and if you are a low light freak like me, you will own some fast "primes" from f1.4 to f2.0 to get those moody night shots, something you can't do with a P&S.

    So image manipulation and interchangeable lenses give the DSLR a leg up in rail fan photography.
     

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