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RedhillPhil
11th Aug 2010, 10:51
As has been mentioned in a previous posting...due to Pprune being the source of much straight talking expertise, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, heroes and heroines I'd appreciate some guidance. After much badgering from number one and number two sons I'm going to give up on my years of film photograph and enter the murky and confusing - well to ole thicko here anyway - world of digital photography. I've had and been using a Pentax ME Super with a Takumar 28 - 85 lens for ages. So, what is the digital equivalent? I'm not too worried about brands, I 'spect that they're all much of a muchness.

forget
11th Aug 2010, 10:57
I'd say you're in the wrong place Phil. Try Spotters.

Gainesy
11th Aug 2010, 11:03
Hang around here for Ms Bluediamond, she's good on this. She's in Oz so factor in the time difference.:)

MadsDad
11th Aug 2010, 11:16
The lens equivalence varies according to the digital camera you are using, it depends on the sensor size and position relative to the lens, so you will have to check for a particular model. Having said that I have heard '* 0.4' as a rough guide (so a 35mm film lens equates to a 14mm digital, but not certainly).

One other thing to remember is the aspect ratio (width:height) of the pictures is also different for digital (it is 3:2 for film (standardised), 4:3 for digital (usually)) so the print sizes are different.

A A Gruntpuddock
11th Aug 2010, 11:24
You really want to look on Flickr for the answer to that question - loadsa threads on that very topic.

Problem is that the game is changing all the time. Newer cameras have better resolution and lower cost than last years models.

Best to decide if you want a 'point and shoot' which is easy to carry around or get a high-end model for maximum quality, interchangeable lenses, etc. Really depends on what you want to shoot most of the time.

Modern cameras are pretty reliable so don't reject the idea of a second-hand model, you can always sell it again on eBay!

Bushfiva
11th Aug 2010, 11:33
Since you're talking about an ME Super, which I'd guess is at least 25 years old, either you don't take many photos OR you're really comfortable with Pentax kit. Why not get one of the newer Pentax digital bodies, such as the Pentax K-7? If you're open to other brands, check out the cheap ends of Canon and Nikon, both of whom have fine cameras. Rather than compare specs, I'd find a shop where you can hold the cameras. You'll soon work out which ones do and don't sit in your hand nicely, then you can discard them no matter how good the specs.

Note Pentax merged with Hoya, and there's a joint development agreement with Samsung.

I think you'd be very happy with (almost) any current body with a kit lens. Don't be tempted to buy a used body, the technology is moving too fast for any used bargains.

If you don't want to carry an SLR, then consider an almost-compact with changeable lenses: the micro 4/3 system and its competitors. I'd stick with micro 4/3 simply because it has more lens choices (although still too few) than its competitors, plus you get to play with Panasonic bodies (the same as Leica but sometimes different firmware and a way different pricing point) and a mix of Panasonic, Leica and Olympus lenses.

I have Nikon D3, D300, D200, Ricoh GX200 none of which I'd actually recommend to you, although I love the D300 and the GX200.

green granite
11th Aug 2010, 11:53
Try this thread RedhillPhil : http://www.pprune.org/computer-internet-issues-troubleshooting/383634-digital-photography-thread.html

The top end cameras ie digital SLR's are really a case of personal preference as the specs are similar.

Also look at this forum: The Digital Darkroom - Digital photography Forums - Powered by vBulletin (http://www.digi-darkroom.com/)

Groundgripper
11th Aug 2010, 11:55
I agree completely with what AAG says above - I agonised long and hard between a digital SLR and a super compact (as I think they call them) but, having carted one or more 35mm SLRs plus lenses, flash, and a host of other ancillaries around with me in a gadget bag of ever increasing size for over 50 years, I eventually went for the super compact (Panasonic DMC FZ-35) which has a lens equivalent to a 27-486mm zoom on a 35mm SLR:eek: and weighs about half what a DSLR weighs. (This choice was speeded up by the prospect of an impending two week holiday in North America.) This camera also gives you a choice of aspect ratios 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9.

For me it was the right choice, 12 MP gives me sufficient picture detail and the lens itself (Leica Elmarit) certainly seem up to the job. The only slight difficulty I've found is that it's a bit difficult to get the electrically-driven zoom to exactly the right focal length I require for the shot I want and the zoom does tend to use up battery power if used a lot, so carry a spare - ready charged!

I'd previously had an Olympus 5050Z compact for about 6 years - that was good and gave me some brilliant pictures when used with thought, but suffered from horrendous shutter lag and the zoom lens also gave marked barrel distortion at wide angles. I think that this sort of problem might well have been solved by now.

RedhillPhil
11th Aug 2010, 12:31
Thankyou all for your collective rapid and informative answers. I've now got lots to mull over whilst nursey administers the Theakstons.

chuks
11th Aug 2010, 12:47
The wife bought a Canon Powershot G10 which I have used some myself. (The latest version is the G11 which is very similar.)

The G10 has a small optical viewfinder so that you don't have to do that stupid "waving the camera around trying to frame a shot on the back screen" thing, without the noise and expense of the SLR's mirror or the extra expense of the latest pseudo-SLRs which have a small extra display you look at as if it were an SLR.

It has a fixed, zoom lens so that it is now relatively cheap. This is because the latest-latest thing is a standard called "four-thirds" that most of the manufacturers have agreed upon for their lenses, when you can put a Canon lens on an Olympus camera, for instance. On the other hand, with a fixed lens you should not have such a problem with dust on the sensor chip, a major PITA with digital cameras.

The camera is fairly robust, uses the commonly available SD card, has a lithium-ion battery that lasts a long time and recharges quickly and, best of all, has controls that I can understand without having to ask my 19 year-old son to decipher them for me!

I found it to be a user-friendly way to jump across to taking digital photos now and then. I can swap across from my 35-mm SLR and rangefinder cameras to this thing without having to relearn the whole procedure. You do have to remember to do the auto-focus thing instead of just mashing the shutter release but that is about the only tricky thing I found with it.

I cannot see the point of going for one of these big, expensive digital cameras for simple hobby photography.

If I want to go all "Henri Cartier-Bresson" then I still use a film camera, mainly because it holds back that essential human urge to just blast away at everything ("Oh, look! A dead cat!") simply because you can cram six zillion frames onto that little chip. I went to a somniferous evening of looking at holiday snaps on a CD-ROM the other night when we had to beg off about halfway through, after 500 or so rather forgettable pictures. If our friend had stuck with his old film camera I think he would have only had about ten rolls of film, 360 shots, but many more really good pictures.

Anyone else old enough to remember the thrill of having 36 exposures at hand after using a 120 film camera with only 12? Of course so many of us then had to get a motor drive that could run off those 36 shots in less than a minute... Okay if you were a press photographer but if you were not, not.

Ancient Observer
11th Aug 2010, 12:57
Even the tiny digitals are worth a look.

Each few months they become cleverer and cleverer.

I was seduced by a Canon Ixus 120. I guess to-day's equivalent is the Ixus 130.

I've "lapsed" in to mainly using it on a fully auto point and shoot basis, (other than zoom).
Its adjustment to changing light conditions could be quicker. However, I would not use this for very fast moving photos, such as horse racing. It's fine for crowd scenes and landscapes.

PaperTiger
11th Aug 2010, 14:50
I still shoot slides on my 15-y-o SLR for serious work, although since Kodak give up on film (b:mad:s), it has to be Fuji these days. OK, but...

For casual shots I do have a digital super-zoom up to 18x optical with an 'emergency' digital doubler (36x !). It does the job but, as Groundgripper remarked , it literally eats batteries - I go through a 4-pack a week - but they are the cheap variety ($6 from a supermarket chain). Mine has a slightly, no make that very, annoying delay between pushing the shutter button and the photo being taken. Panning takes much more effort than with the SLR and after a few shots of just the back end of airplanes :O I have learnt to 'lead' the subject and keep panning long after you think it should all have happened. Absolutely fine for static stuff though and for slightly over $200 I can't complain.

While film is still available I'll keep the SLR, I'm not convinced a DSLR is worth the money if you're just an amateur like I am.

G-CPTN
11th Aug 2010, 14:57
I moved from Pentax 35mm to Pentax K100D Super - do a search on eBay - there's someone selling one including a lens right now:-
Pentax K100D Super 6.31 Digital Camera +flash+lens on eBay (end time 15-Aug-10 18:05:08 BST) (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Pentax-K100D-Super-6-31-Digital-Camera-flash-lens-/110570851910?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_DigitalCameras_DigitalCameras_JN&hash=item19be894e46)

Certainly worth following to see how the bids go - think of 250 as the value - and decide how much you are prepared to spend. Don't bid yet, wait until the closing stages and see if the price is still within your budget, then set up an automatic bid for a couple of pounds over the round figure that you have decided on, then place your bid (don't forget to register and log in beforehand) a couple of minutes before it closes. You will either be lucky - or outbid (or the buyer might withdraw if they have set a limit).

I found the K100D Super to be a good compromise between resolution (6mpixels) and technology (includes anti-shake for long lenses and also automatic sensor cleaning). Batteries are cheap (AA) and readily available if you run out (though they last a long time).

All Pentax-fit lenses (including manual focus) will fit later Pentax bodies.

cats_five
11th Aug 2010, 15:01
A Pentax ME Super is a great camera - a real classic IMHO.

SLRs have some advantages over compact cameras:

Almost no shutter delay - it can be quite pronounced in some compacts. Not a problem for landscapes, but for animals and/or children a real problem.
A proper viewfinder instead of a wretched LCD on the back
Better quality images - the sensor is larger, squeezing all those pixels into the tiny sensor (smaller than your little fingernail) in the average compact leads to lots of digital noise at medium to high ISOs
A lot of compacts don't have an Av setting which is effectively what an ME Super on auto is using
You can use filters easily - ND filters are great for getting slow shutter speeds, and polarisors can do magic things to skiesThe Pentax SLRs will take any K- or 42mm mount lens though in some case with limitations.

Suggest you find a shop where you can play with a K-X. The K-7 is lovely but a mid-range camera so a mid-range price.

larssnowpharter
11th Aug 2010, 15:06
Much good info here.

For diital I always hace a small Sony nearby; comes with me everywhere. For more serious digital, I use a Nikon D90. Great camera and am still learning its capabilities and functions.

However, I still regularly use my old Canon A1 (surely the best SLR ever made) and a pair of old and very battered Canon AE1s.

G-CPTN
11th Aug 2010, 15:25
Since you're talking about an ME Super, which I'd guess is at least 25 years old,

The Pentax ME Super was a highly successful 35 mm single-lens reflex camera produced by Pentax of Japan between 1979 and 1984.

I've still got three ME Supers and three Super As as well as a few dozen lenses from 16mm to 1000mm focal length . . .

Been Accounting
11th Aug 2010, 16:20
There is an interesting site CHDK Wiki (http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK) that offers additional functions for some Canon cameras.

Don't get put off by the 'hack' label.

I have used the time-lapse feature to make movies and have dabbled with the movement detector to get pictures of lightning (atmospheric not the aircraft).

This isn't available for all Canons (e.g. In our household ... not available for G10 but available for IXUS 800 and ISUS100)

jumpseater
11th Aug 2010, 17:48
One of your key criteria will be your budget. I changed from Pentax MX's to Canon to get the best from the lens range and autofocus facility, this was a good few years back mind and I am at the Pro end of the market.

One thing I would avoid is the so called 'bridge' cameras, they are sort of what it says on the tin, a bridge, so they are neither compact or DSLR, and you'll find that todays compacts will out perform them in some areas, as will DSLR's, so you don't really get the benefit of 'both' as the manufacturers advertise. My experience has been with Canon in digital format, I find them very user friendly, and if you go DSLR there is a wide range of both manufacturer and 'independant' lens' to expand your kit. I've used a mix of Canon and Sigma lens' with very good results.

For a compact I'd recommend the Canon G9/10/11. I've got a G10, which produces excellent results, I've had stuff published from it, mates have had published work with G9/G11 and again they're user friendly, robust and produces quality results.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c270/2012images/IMG_0743.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c270/2012images/IMG_1398.jpg

As you can see the G10 handles difficult light superbly, these are straight from the camera and large Jpegs, RAW is even better.

Out Of Trim
11th Aug 2010, 18:50
Hi RedhillPhil,

I agree with others that your
budget for a new camera is quite important as performance and specs widely differ on digital equipment.

The compacts these days can offer pretty good performance these days, despite having smaller sensors than the larger DSLRs. However, they all have a certain amount of shutter lag; which can be very frustrating, depending on what subjects you photograph.

As an SLR owner I would suspect it would probably suit you to aim for a DSLR type. Most photographers with DSLRs though probably have a compact for when you just want a camera in your pocket.

For plenty of good information and to aid comparison check out www.dpreview.com (http://www.dpreview.com) for reviews and Brand model forums.

For hands-on experience and help I would advise going to Park Cameras in Burgess Hill. They have a nice new showroom with just about every model on display.

Personally I'm a Nikon man; I have had great results with my Nikon D70 and Nikon D300 over recent years.

Something like the Nikon D90 is a very good all rounder, but due to be upgraded soon.

All the best OOT.

bnt
12th Aug 2010, 01:22
I think it comes down to the lenses, since the costs of good lenses can far outweigh the cost of a SLR body. So if you already have some good /rare Pentax SLR lenses, you can get more years of use out of them by getting a Pentax DSLR body. They're the one company who make a real effort to ensure old lens compatibility on their new bodies.

(Not just lenses, either. I have a Pentax 1.7x AF converter like this (http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/teleconverters/F1.7X.html), which I picked up for 25 back in 1999, and I could get 10x that for it today, if I wanted to sell it.)

BarbiesBoyfriend
12th Aug 2010, 02:27
As a recent convert myself, let me explain.

Firstly. Digi does FA that film can't. In other words, good light is your pal. Not shaking the camera works too. Setting the camera correctly is vital.

Just by saying these things, you might avoid some of my mistakes.

Want a top tip? Buy Nikon stuff.

You'll be glad you did.

Use your digi like you use your 35mm and all will be well. Good cameras need their pix sharpening and pp ing. I found this odd. pish even. It is true.
Good luck.:ok:

cats_five
12th Aug 2010, 07:24
Forgot to say - whatever you buy, budget for some more memory cards. If one comes with the camera (one does for point & shoot, not necessarily for D-SLR) it will only hold a few photos. Get one or two big enough to hold at least a hundred photos at biggest resolution and best quality.

When you get the camera, check the settings. If it's not set to take biggest resolution and best quality, set it to do that. It's easy to make them smaller, making them bigger never works as well.

If you can, set it to take both RAW and JPG. (if it will save a DNG I'd go that route) Yes, this takes up even more disk space, but that is cheap these days. Consider getting an external USB HDD - a USB3.0 1TB drive is under 100 these days, and even if your PC doesn't support the latest USB, your next one probably will or for a desktop you can probably add in a card that does.

A-List Award Winners | PC Pro (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/alist/external-hard-disk)

Start exploring the wonderful world of digital image processing. Your habits from the ME Super will stand you in good stead, but some images benefit hugely from cropping and/or tweaking however good the original was. Whatever you do, never ever overwrite the original JPG.

Finally, Google is your best friend. Don't know what DNG is? Google does!

Flying Lawyer
12th Aug 2010, 08:38
jumpseater One thing I would avoid is the so called 'bridge' cameras

If, like you, RedhillPhil is at the Pro end of the market then I'm sure your advice is absolutely correct.
If not, then a bridge camera would be an excellent choice.

Apart from one Nikon, I always had Canons (AE-1 and then A-1) in my 35mm days. When changing to digital I didn't want the expense or bulk of DSLR + separate lenses so bought a bridge camera. After much research, I eventually went for the Panasonic Lumix FZ28 which I'd first seen recommended by many Ppruners and then found was highly acclaimed by the reviewers.
For my enthusiast but non-Pro purposes, it's the best (and best value for money) camera I have ever owned - and I use it far more often than when I had to carry a camera bag around.

It's since been superceded by the FZ38 (FZ35 outside Europe) which also gets rave reviews.
The equivalent Canon is the SX20 IS.
Objectively, there's nothing between the two so it comes down to personal preference. eg The Canon has a longer zoom but the Lumix is lighter and its 27-486mm (35 mm equiv) is ample for my purposes.

im from uranus
12th Aug 2010, 10:10
I'm buying an FZ-38 next month, can't wait to see what it can do. It's had some very good reviews and will suit me for my purposes. My phone can deal with the 'quick, take a photo' type of shots! :ok:

And at 240, a bargain!

jumpseater
13th Aug 2010, 03:30
FL
If, like you, RedhillPhil is at the Pro end of the market then I'm sure your advice is absolutely correct.
If not, then a bridge camera would be an excellent choice.

Bridge cameras certainly have their market segment, and a substantial one it is too. My comments are based on observing a number of people at two camera clubs I've been members of, and three friends whom have had them. All of them changed to either DSLR or to a compact within a year or so of aquiring their 'bridge' cameras. Most went DSLR (regular not pro spec) but a couple went high spec compact having found for them that the 'bridge' didn't meet their requirements. Whether thats a camera club type trait or not I don't know. Certainly me ending up at the 'pro' end was a factor in looking to get work published as a sports/action/landscape photographer, and was a logical progression (for me) from my similar SLR's.
Some of the bridges do give very good results across the range too, I recall FL's London snow pics which I thought were very good, and presume taken with your Panasonic.


FL
For my enthusiast but non-Pro purposes, it's the best (and best value for money) camera I have ever owned - and I use it far more often than when I had to carry a camera bag around.

I too found a similar effect with the G10 I bought. Whilst in SLR/DSLR days I often carried a basic set up I have now used the G10 far more frequently than I expected to on purchase. That I've had published quality images with it has been a very pleasant surprise.

It is worth going to a camera shop to look at, and feel the cameras you shortlist. You'll find that some will feel right, and if you get one of those and find the operating intuitive, whatever you buy you'll enjoy it.