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Some Thoughts on Digital Camera Lifespan
PETAPIXEL ^ | July 06, 2021 | Ming Thein

Posted on 07/06/2012 5:39:13 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER

This small mountain of gear leads to two very frightening thoughts. Firstly, there’s no ending in sight; one keeps accumulating more and more equipment in order to keep pushing the edge of what’s possible both from a compositional and artistic standpoint, as well as from an image quality standpoint. You’ve either got to have a great day job and very deep pockets, or some good recurring clients.

The second thought is around obsolescence. In the film days, the camera body and lenses lasted a long time; you invested in glass, got a decent body – one that fulfilled your personal needs as a photographer – and then picked the right film for the job. In that sense, image quality differences between brands were down to the lenses and the photographer. This is to say that if you put the same film in every camera, the difference in sharpness or acuity or color or whatever would be down to the lens only. If you wanted more image quality, you went for a bigger format – and thus a larger sensor. The digital equivalent to this would be having only one photo site design of a fixed pixel pitch; say around 4.9 microns, which would get you 16MP at APS-C, 36MP at FX, about 60MP on 645, and something silly on large format. For an equivalent size print, the larger format would definitely outdo the smaller format by an amount proportional to the difference in resolution.


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: camera; cameras; digital; film; photography
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I'm always worried about wearing stuff out, I shoot a lot, but a 30 year old 35mm SLR is more likely to be working than a 10 year old digital SLR.
1 posted on 07/06/2012 5:39:18 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
At this point in my life, I don't worry about outliving equipment. At this point, I don't even buy green bananas. ;)

/johnny

2 posted on 07/06/2012 5:44:30 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: lawnguy; pandoraou812; Daffynition; barker; ferri; gjeiii; genefromjersey; texas booster; ...

pinglist


3 posted on 07/06/2012 5:44:53 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: JRandomFreeper
"At this point, I don't even buy green bananas"

Now, that thar is funny and I don't care WHO y'are ...

And no need for forgiveness Lord for them Pygmies.

4 posted on 07/06/2012 5:47:40 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: JRandomFreeper

LOL!

Me neither!


5 posted on 07/06/2012 5:48:03 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (I hate pragmatists!)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

SLR/DSLR lenses hold their value. Now that the pixel counts are higher than most consumers need or will ever really use, the is less of a reason to upgrade. I spent about $1700 on my camera body 3 years ago and I have no desire to upgrade, unlike the DSLR body I had prior to that that cost about $900.


6 posted on 07/06/2012 5:48:54 PM PDT by The Toad
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
Got my Nikkormat FT2 and a few nice lenses when running up the credit card was a cutting edge phenomenon. Still have it, don't use it.

Last night a tat artist agreed to trade me some ink on my delt for it. I agreed then thought better of it this morning and backed out. I'll pay the twenty sawbucks to look pretty and still have the Tri-X holder.


7 posted on 07/06/2012 5:51:05 PM PDT by I see my hands (It's time to.. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER FREEPERS!)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Oh man don’t say that


8 posted on 07/06/2012 5:52:12 PM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Maybe six years ago I purchased (for a high price) a name brand digital movie camera. Last year it crapped out on me and the manufacturer’s representative told me in a superior tone of voice that there was repairing it..after all, technology had just moved on and it was obsolete. They offeed me a second-second-unit.

B—stards!

The article is correct, the digital stuff out there is highly suspect.


9 posted on 07/06/2012 5:58:52 PM PDT by OldPossum ( "it's" is the contraction of either "it is" or "it has"; "its" is the possessive pronoun)
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To: The Toad
I've got some 40 year old manual focus lenses still like new. I use Minolta AF lenses from 1985 all the time.

Digital camera makers don't make a lot of spare parts, after a few years you're out of luck.

10 posted on 07/06/2012 5:59:48 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
I have some OLD SLR and rangefinder type stuff that I still use occasionally, just to make sure it is working. Plus, I pick up low-res digital cameras for cheap when people are upgrading to the latest and greatest 1,000 megapixel camera. People don't realize you don't need the latest and greatest to take great pictures. Canon AE-1, made in the 1980's:

January Sun

A 1970's Praktica MTL-5 with a dead light meter (no functioning electronics):

Blackeyes 1

$5 thrift-store Mamiya 1000TL from the 1960's with a Montgomery Wards lens:

Forlorn

A 3.2 megapixel Kodak Easyshare with no zoom:

57 Chevy

A $55 Polaroid 6 MP camera from Wal Mart.

Odd moment.

11 posted on 07/06/2012 6:04:28 PM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Oh without a doubt, but let’s be honest, who’s kept a digital camera for 10 years and is happy about it? Even the 12mp SLR’s of the day had crappy sensors that were really only 6mp sensors. Let’s not even get into sensor noise at ridiculously low ISO’s.

The point and shoot stuff was so horrible 10 years ago that phones now take better snapshots. It’s a different age, and longevity is indeed something that has been lost, and is unlikely to return any time soon.


12 posted on 07/06/2012 6:06:54 PM PDT by Melas (u)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
For an equivalent size print, the larger format would definitely outdo the smaller format by an amount proportional to the difference in resolution.

That was true fifty years ago as well.

13 posted on 07/06/2012 6:07:01 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Melas

Actually, my 10-year-old Sony works pretty well. Naturally, the newer digital cameras are much better, but it still works and takes pictures.


14 posted on 07/06/2012 6:10:20 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: JRandomFreeper

“At this point, I don’t even buy green bananas. ;)”

LOL.... I will use that line.

I am there too.


15 posted on 07/06/2012 6:12:18 PM PDT by Gator113 (***YOU GAVE it to Obama. I would have voted for NEWT.~Just livin' life, my way~)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Digital format megapixels are a marketing driven item.
A collegue of mine actually designed most of the lens systems for 2 of the biggest names in DSLR cameras, he’s been a camera lens system designer for more than 50 years (yes, he’s in his 80s and still sought after by the camera makers). According to him, unless you plan on spending more than $10K, you might just as well buy a 3-1/2 to 6 Megapixel camera body, because the lens system won’t give you a better image than that anyway, no matter how high you go in megapixels.
And for the film purests, 29.5 megapixels is equivalent in a 35mm format to the very best smallest grain film ever sold, provided your lenses will use it.


16 posted on 07/06/2012 6:13:11 PM PDT by BuffaloJack (Repeal Obamacare, the CITIZENSHIP TAX)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Got a nice Fuji digital. 15 megapixels. Just have to remember to change the batteries. Has a 4g memory chip. Can’t take that many pictures. Thing about digital cameras though is - no view finder - you have to look at a screen to compose. Very awkward especially in bright sun.


17 posted on 07/06/2012 6:14:12 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("Ambition Without Talent Is Sad - Talent Without Ambition Is Worse")
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
I had a cheap little digital that took darn good photos but was limited, should still work ok, but wanted a dslr.

Finally after reading for a year and a half, I bought my Canon 8mp dslr in 2005, has over 8000 shutter clicks on it and actually has more because I didn't shoot in RAW for the first couple years. I've looked at the upgrades but am the type that likes to get my money's worth out of things. I know the new ones have better resolution (which means amazing detail) and advanced features. I would like good video capability at some point.

I got some L lenses and they will fit on another body if I need to get one (may need to be sent for calibration).

To this day I admire the results out of the Nikons; it was a hard choice at the time but once you have, best stay with what you have unless you get a super good price for the lot. I've been really happy with mine; it does have a few things you have to work around and skills and tricks to learn, but the battery life is amazing.

You take some nice photos. Are you hankering for a new one? On the photo forum, there are some where it could get to be keeping up with the Jonese if you let yourself.

18 posted on 07/06/2012 6:15:20 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

A good digital camera will last, while not as long as a solid film camera, quite a while in functionality. The bigger question with digital - do we case technology as with computers and other electronic devices?


19 posted on 07/06/2012 6:16:30 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: FLAMING DEATH
My 2001 Kodak Easy-Share DX3900 Digital Camera still works flawlessly, after all these years. And at 62, I don't buy green bananas much anymore, either. LOL.
20 posted on 07/06/2012 6:16:56 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All libs and most dems think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)
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To: JRandomFreeper; Randy Larsen

I not only buy, but eat green bananas.

I let then ripen internally.


21 posted on 07/06/2012 6:17:18 PM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: The Toad
You will. The technology now exists to create cameras with usable film speeds in the millions. Eventually it will become affordable. The possibility to freeze any moment in time, under any light, with perfect clarity will render your (and my own) SLR absolutely obsolete. And then there are the cameras of the future that aren't digital facsimiles of film cameras, as our digital cameras of today. It's going to be a new world for photographers.
22 posted on 07/06/2012 6:18:43 PM PDT by Melas (u)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
If you wanted more image quality, you went for a bigger format

Or finer grain film.

Or you used a tripod.

Or an advanced developer to produce finer grain.


23 posted on 07/06/2012 6:19:54 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: UriÂ’el-2012

Here’s the thing: sure, you’ll get more detail from a larger resolution camera. But, when you print a picture at say, 20 inches or greater, do you look at it from 10 inches away? Most often, pictures that are larger are viewed from longer distances, and the extra detail is lost anyway. If all you’re doing is making 4x6 prints, you don’t often need more than 3 megapixels. If you’re viewing the pictures on a computer, you don’t need much more than the best resolution most computers can handle. A 2560 x 1600 display is only 4.1 megapixels.

In the meantime, the tradeoff for having that huge sensor is a definite loss of sensitivity. There simply isn’t as much light to share among 20 million individual pixels as there is to share among 10 million. If you have to shoot in low light at a slower ISO, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels you have. Your picture will likely be blurry anyway due to the slow shutter speed required with low ISOs.

I’d LOVE to be able to find a point and shoot camera with manual controls (shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual) with a SMALLER sensor (maybe 5-6 megapixels) that had a much better ISO sensitivity than most point and shoot cameras have.


24 posted on 07/06/2012 6:22:38 PM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Got my Sony Mavica MVC FD90 1.6 MP Digital Camera used from a friend in 200 for 400 bucks. You can get em on e-bay for 30 now. This camera takes great pictures. I wish it was as fast as my Canon PowerShot, but do I really need anything bigger than 2 or 3 meg pictures?

Newer and fancier gadgets just means I have to upgrade all the periferals to use them. I cant afford a 60” computer screen to view a 32 meg picture and I have been following along quite nicely with all the photoshopped birth certificate and Reuters news photo threads.

What am I missing?

(Former Canon AE-1 and A-1 user. Digital did save my ass cause I was going broke buying film and developing.)


25 posted on 07/06/2012 6:24:00 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

I used to load the plates for my daddy’s Speed Graphic before he would go out on a shoot. 100 of them in a huge leather valise probably weighed 70 pounds. Then I would assist him in the darkroom.

Got an enlarger for my 16th birthday!

Love the old stuff.


26 posted on 07/06/2012 6:32:01 PM PDT by left that other site
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To: Delta 21
200 2000

...better...

27 posted on 07/06/2012 6:32:23 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: carriage_hill
My mother uses one very similar to that, and it takes great pictures. The 4th picture in my post above was taken with one of these:

The 5th was taken with one of these...and yes, it is just as cheaply made as it looks:


28 posted on 07/06/2012 6:36:20 PM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?)
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To: FLAMING DEATH
Most often, pictures that are larger are viewed from longer distances,

Viewing distance is 1.5 times the diagonal of the image.

I store all of my final images at 22" x 15" at 300 dpi
in 16 bit Tiffs at 28 megapixels.

I try to do landscapes a 100 ISO.

I've done available light at 25,600 ISO and smoothed the noise.


29 posted on 07/06/2012 6:39:17 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: BuffaloJack

My DSLR, a Nikon D40, is only 6 MP. Nikkor lenses are SUPER sharp, and I never had a problem with clarity or detail...


30 posted on 07/06/2012 6:43:53 PM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

I use a Dx40 mated to a 18-200,both Nikon as are a closet full of bodies and lens for film.

I used to carry a trunk full of gear, now just the Dx and the 200, good for just about everything.

I still have 6 rolls of Extar 25 in the freezer.


31 posted on 07/06/2012 6:46:32 PM PDT by razorback-bert (I'm in shape. Round is a shape isn't it?)
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To: Delta 21

I still have (and love) my old Canon AE-1.

No point in ever selling it. I wouldn’t get out of it what I have in it, plus there’s too much sentimentality attached to it. It was my first camera with REAL electronics abd I shot a LOT of pictures with it.

My first SLR was an East German Praktica LTL. Loved that thing too, and shot with it semi-regularly up until a few years ago.


32 posted on 07/06/2012 6:47:46 PM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Thing is you wouldn’t want the 10 Year old DLSR. I used a leading edge one back then; it was good but BIG and EXPENSIVE. The state of the art was moving so fast that building something durable was a waste. The technology is only now slowing down in terms of quality improvement, price drop, and efficiency increase.


33 posted on 07/06/2012 6:49:17 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER; a fool in paradise

I’m more worried about the operating system of my computers wearing out by running day in day out!


34 posted on 07/06/2012 6:50:31 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Delta 21

I want a Sony Qualia 016. At the time was a top-end 1MP crammed into the size of a pack of gum. $3000 for the camera, lens kit, and case.


35 posted on 07/06/2012 6:56:06 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: ctdonath2

Size isn’t the problem for me that it seems to be for some people. I have a good range of lenses but seldom use anything shorter than 75-300. I’m not likely to ever be a street or nightclub photographer.


36 posted on 07/06/2012 7:14:05 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: FLAMING DEATH
Here’s the thing: sure, you’ll get more detail from a larger resolution camera. But, ...

One advantage of high megapixel sensors for bird photos is that you can significantly crop an image and still have decent resolution in the crop for printing. I can crop a smaller section of an 18 megapixel image and print it than I could with my old 8 megapixel images. I've found that cropping the same small portion of an 8 megapixel image will sometimes fail pixelation limits for prints (i.e., a small crop of an 8 megapixel image will sometimes have too few pixels to print without pixelation).

37 posted on 07/06/2012 7:14:24 PM PDT by rustbucket
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
Minolta SRT-201 - Film
Olympus 4040 - 4 MP
Sigma SD14 - either 4.5 MP or 14 MP depending on how you interpret the specs on the Foveon Sensor
Canon 60D - 18 MP

I've cropped about 25% of an image from my Oly, had it printed at 20x30 and unless you were pixell peeping, all the digital grunge that was present got lost in the bokeh. It is a compact, but it has an f1.4 lens.

The Sigma is a DSLR, and with L-glass can produce some incredible images, but it is a cranky, crotchety beast that requires buckets of light, don't even think of shooting over ISO 200.

The 60D doesn’t have the Foveon “look”, but it has allowed me to capture images in several situations where I wouldn't have even gotten off a shot. I can take descent pictures at ISO 800 handheld that with the Sigma requited a tripod and auxiliary lighting.

As far as prices, you should get several thousand images out of a camera body. Your real investment is in the glass, which locks you into a particular manufacturer's system unless you want to get involved with adapters that let you use lens X on body Z at some time in the future if you decide to change.

Finally, consider the total cost of a camera system. Yes, one or two thousand dollars is a pretty good chunk of change, but over the course of ten years that breaks down to $200 per year or a little less than four dollars a week,
and while you do have costs associated with printing an image, I can get a 16x20 print on matte Fuji paper done on a $4000 Epson printer at Sam's club for under $10, and you have 0 costs for film.

This is truly a golden age for photographers and modern technology allows even a rank armature to produce pictures that equal and even surpass works of the Masters of times past. Part of the process and part of the fun is just the learning process that results with picking up even a cheep $100 camera and being able to shoot hundreds of pictures for free, and in the process, learning by doing.

38 posted on 07/06/2012 7:38:06 PM PDT by ADemocratNoMore (Jeepers, Freepers, where'd 'ya get those sleepers?. Pj people, exposing old media's lies.)
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To: SkyDancer
Dittos to that statement! I wonder if wearing polarizing sunglasses will compensate for that? I have a pair with prescription lenses but they are never with me...
39 posted on 07/06/2012 7:44:49 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: tubebender

Doesn’t help. I have polarizing sunglasses. It’s not glare but brightness of sun. Inside it’s great.


40 posted on 07/06/2012 7:50:41 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("Ambition Without Talent Is Sad - Talent Without Ambition Is Worse")
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

You don’t understand. The CAMERA was HUGE. Not the lens, that was normal; the body was very big. Manageable, but around one square foot.


41 posted on 07/06/2012 7:57:35 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: ADemocratNoMore

I am dreaming about a Fuji X Pro1 with all three lens. I’ve tried to convince myself I’m too much an amateur to really justify it but I still want it and an A5 convertible.


42 posted on 07/06/2012 7:59:46 PM PDT by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years.)
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To: Aliska
I had Canon F series SLRS from 67-82, when I switched to Olympus OMs. Those were stolen in 1987.

Coincidentally, that same year I was in a meeting with the chief designer of Canon's then-new EOS line. He brought a sample EOS (the 650), a speedlite, and the components of the ultrasonic focus motor for us to fatfinger.

So I finally got around to getting another SLR, an EOS Rebel G, in 1997, before an extended assignment in Germany. Then a couple years later an EOS 3--a big step up--and additional lenses along the way.

In 2005 I went EOS digital, the same year as you. I suspect your camera was the same model as mine, a Digital Rebel ("Drebel") G.

Since then, an EOS 50D, and as of last week the credit card-busting EOS 5D MK III.

These cameras complement my Ansco Readyflash and my Argus C3. ≤}B^)

43 posted on 07/06/2012 8:19:58 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: ctdonath2
This is my current work camera.

I don't use the fast 50 much, it usually has a long lens mounted.

SONY ALPHA A200

I use the 50mm f1.4 for shots like this for the most part. These are fossil shark teeth. FOSSIL SHARK TEETH

The camera is usually cleaner but it spends a lot of time in swamps.

44 posted on 07/06/2012 8:25:34 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: FLAMING DEATH
Here’s the thing: sure, you’ll get more detail from a larger resolution camera. But, when you print a picture at say, 20 inches or greater, do you look at it from 10 inches away? Most often, pictures that are larger are viewed from longer distances, and the extra detail is lost anyway. If all you’re doing is making 4x6 prints, you don’t often need more than 3 megapixels. If you’re viewing the pictures on a computer, you don’t need much more than the best resolution most computers can handle. A 2560 x 1600 display is only 4.1 megapixels.

One word: Crop.

Higher resolution gives you more options. At 3MP you can print a 4x6 photo of the full frame; at 18MP you can print a 4x6 photo of one face in the crowd. Resolution is certainly overblown in camera marketing, but it counts for something.

45 posted on 07/06/2012 8:26:25 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: SkyDancer

You can buy a digital camera with a viewfinder, I won’t buy one without it. The screen is useless in the field unless you’re in the shade..


46 posted on 07/06/2012 8:28:34 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: SkyDancer

Polarized sunglasses wreak havoc on the appearance of both the LCD screen and the SLR viewfinder. I have to take mine off whenever I compose a shot.


47 posted on 07/06/2012 8:29:38 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Your Sony looks like it was designed by M. C. Escher.


48 posted on 07/06/2012 8:32:28 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

A hundred and fifty years from now, will they have a clue what to do with a compact flash card/memory stick micro-sd card that might have images left on it?

Always amazed at them finding boxes of glass negatives that are a hundred years old and the images are still salvageable.


49 posted on 07/06/2012 8:42:09 PM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

It’s not bad on the cinema side:

Auto focus (even now) is no good for DSLR video —that means the super old 100% manual lenses are GREAT for video.

I shot this on a GH2 with a **50-year-old lens***:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFnUt2K-NW4


50 posted on 07/06/2012 8:45:09 PM PDT by insideguy
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