Buying a SLR camera

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Johnson, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    I thinking about buying the Minolta Maxxum 5 with a 28-80mm lens. Factoring in shipping and everything the best deal seems to be B & H Foto. Anyone have any experience with this camera or comments in general?
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Always see the acronym SLR but keep forgetting what it means. [​IMG] Single Lens Reflect?
     
  3. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Minoltas are good cameras. You should get good reliability out of this. I checked it out, and it seems solid. Minolta lenses are also sharp as a tack.
    However, I'm biased towards Nikon. Most manufacturers use plastic parts for the shutter mechanisms, Nikon is just about the only Japanese maker that still makes their shutters with aluminum. Nikon's bayonet never changes, Minolta's has a few times in the past, but the Maxxum line has bee around for a decade or two, so you should find some good supply there. My problem with minolta is the flash hotseat. It's a proprietary connector, so finding after market (Sunpak, Vivitar) flashes are a trial. Minolta's flashes are pricey.
    Before you make your final decision, check this one out, it's about in the price range...
    http://www.worldphotoonline.com/slrc...ikonn65kit.htm
     
  4. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    SLR = Single Lens Reflex

    That is an exceptional price on the Nikon 65. It's normally in the $359 range. I will definitely consider it. I was originally looking at the Minolta STsi, but it has a polycarbonite lens mount as opposed to stainless steel on the Maxxum 5. I'm a little suspicious about the price at World Photo. Look just below the camera and you'll notice it says N65/F65. If in fact it is an F65 then it is a grey market product, thus the price difference. Have you dealt with this company in the past?
     
  5. Chris Knox

    Chris Knox Stunt Coordinator

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    Minolta has the best bodies...

    Nikon has the best lenses...

    Canon is the best compromise...

    I own a canon EOS 1v HS and small collection of the "L" lenses and I really cannot imagine a better camera in the world for the money.

    Of course, I am refering to their flagship, so it's no wonder.

    I've always liked the feel of Minolta in my hands, and I know as far as great cameras in the world, you really shouldn't be looking for anything other than these three 35-milimeter-wise.

    The important thing to remember is that ANY camera (SLR-type) is just a box that allows light through a controlled opening to allow exposure onto film, so any SLR will take fantastic pictures in the right, capable hands. I've seen people with low end Pentax's take pictures that walk all over the same photos taken with Nikon F5's. It's all a matter of exposure and who is the better photographer.

    In short, your camera choice (IMHO) is just fine...

    Chris
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I'm feeling pretty dated here with my hand-me-down Canon AE-1 Program...... [​IMG] Takes beautiful photos BTW.
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Cant go wrong with Nikon, bodys or lenses.

    Love my 8008s, would love to get a f4 or f5... Some day!

    Sam
     
  8. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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  9. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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  10. Ken Wagner

    Ken Wagner Stunt Coordinator

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    It's been a while since I used a 35. I have a Minolta XK which I loved. Unfortunately there were some problems (my fault) that probably would cost more to fix than it is worth. I now use a digital camera and it is okay but I miss the 35. As someone else said, almost any camera in the right hands will take good pictures. Lighting and composure mean everything.

    In a couple of years, digital cameras will be on par with 35's quality wise. Of course at first the price will be high but they will come down. Whatever your choice have fun.
     
  11. Peter Yee

    Peter Yee Stunt Coordinator

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    B&H Photo is great outfit. I say so as a satisfied customer, having bought my N70, 35-80 Zoom, 70-210 zoom, and 20 mm through them. You can get both US and gray market equipment through them, your choice. Not as cheap as some of the other places, but you'll get a lot less hassles (no bait&switch, pre-charging the credit card before shipping or discovering "we're out of stock").
    Can't say much about the Minolta, although friends who have them say they have incredible capabilities built into the bodies. I went Nikon because the bayonet is essentially the same as it has always been and my father will be giving me his Nikon and lenses soon -- he doesn't want to carry around the weight of an SLR anymore. [​IMG] As Deepak notes, the N70 has a weird interface, but other Nikons do not -- if I were to buy a body today, I would be looking at the N80 or N100.
    Sure any SLR can take great pictures given a good photographer and proper technique. Some cameras, however, make it easier, have more choices in lenses, and have ease-of-use features that make them better choices than others. If you can, try out the feel of a camera in a local camera shop. And perhaps consider buying from your local camera shop if you feel that you might like some personalized service -- you would be amazed what a good relationship with your local expert (I'm not talking Ritz Camera here) can do.
    -Peter
     
  12. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Sorry it took so long to get back to you Tom....Earthlink has been disconnecting me every 10 minutes.[​IMG]
    I've never used World Camera. So cavaet emptor (sp?) when using them. I bought mine (Nikon N60) about a year and a half ago, have taken about 50-80 rolls of film with it, and it works like a charm. I'm still on my first set of batteries BTW[​IMG]! I was just surfing around for camera stores to see which is the comperable current model. The N65 looks like it has the same amount of features. That's all.
    I bought mine at a B&M store (Wolf Camera in Denver). You might pay a little more than shopping online, but the personalized service, and easy returns, or exchanges if your Minolta isn't all it's cracked up to be, is something to think about. If I didn't like my N60 so much, they would've taken it back in exchange for another model.
    Click on the HTF meets page, and go to Nov 2000 (the one with Peter Staddon on the first page). 90% of the pictures taken were mine using the N60. Not so much from Warner Bros. because they limited what I could shoot, but I snuck off a couple anyway (the water tower and the ER set).
    Like most people are saying, SLRs require skill to make pictures really pop. My N60 can just as well take some really shitty pictures if I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing.
     
  13. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    The Maxxim 5 it/was considered one of the best values last year. It offers a few upgrade items(Flash sync ETC) with there dedicated flashs, but for shots typical of "get-togethers" it has enough power.
    I love the eye-start thing....great idea.
    I do find the the maximum aperature(brain freeze) a little disconcerting(something like 3.5-5.6
    It's also getting harder to find fixed focal length lenses fo cameras ... too bad!
    Nikon makes what is considered the "pro standard" camera for years .. but you pay for the privelege.
    Kind of like buying a "blad"(medium format). Years ago Hasselblad were untouchable in pro photography. That changed rapidly when Bronica brought out the PS lenses for the SQ line of cameras. For half the price you couldget a camera with optics that compare fovourably to a "blad" but don't have the name.
    That's why I have and use a Bronica SQA, and 3 old Minolta SLRs(2-x700s,1-x-570)
    I must love the underdog[​IMG]
    P.s. I'd buy Nikon PRO stuff if money is NO object.
    Brent
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Tom,

    I have more background in this than you would ever want to know. At different points in my life, I have used all three of the current major SLR manufacturers' equipment. I used Canon for 7 or 8 years, worked for Minolta for 7 years and have now used Nikon for about 8 years. Most of the generalizations you have heard or hear about these brands are pretty much false any more.

    Canon and Nikon do have more truly exotic lenses to choose from, but I guarantee it is almost impossible you will ever want any of them. Minolta actually hasn't changed their lenses a few times. They changed it once in just under 40 years, as have basically all other manufacturers other than Nikon. As a result, Nikon has so many compatibility issues between the old lenses and new cameras, they almost might as well have changed. While the Minolta flash shoe does limit your flash choices, it is significantly better than the standard "hot shoe," which was never intended for its current use. I recommend buying a name brand flash (same as body) any way.

    Saying the camera doesn't matter is a little misleading. The camera body doesn't necessarily have much to do with the quality of your pictures. With it, you just need to look for one with the features you want, is easy to use and feels good in your hand. The lenses absolutely do have a great deal to do with the quality of your pictures. Not one of these companies makes better or worse lenses across the line. They all have good lenses as well as cheap, crappy ones. You get what you pay for.

    B&H is actually a pretty reputable retailer. I but a lot of my film from them and have gotten some hardware as well. I would be leery of World Photo, who I actually have never heard of. Their name is probably intentionally chosen to be confused with Camera World, which is a reputable place. If you are really not familiar with what you need or want, I suggest going to a local retailer instead. There should be no shortage in your area.
     
  15. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you to everyone for some great advice. I'll let you know what I end up with and how it works out. I'm actually buying this as a gift. I absolutely agree with all the comments regarding the Nikon N60, but am steering away from the N65 for reasons that have nothing to do with the camera or the company.
     
  16. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    Tom -- if you're buying this as a gift, what's the background of the person you're giving it to ? The reason I ask is that if the person may develop a keener interest in photography, the base SLR models might not offer them the features that they might want if they really get into it. For example (and this is using Nikon as an example as I have a N80), with the N65, you can't manually change the ASA rating of the film, has only 1 metering system, slower maximum shutter speeds, no bulb setting, etc ...

    Also, the "kit" lenses (usally a 28-80 zoom) aren't that great. I'd start w/ a 50mm fixed focus and go from there. I have a 50mm, a 20mm and a 28-200 zoom. I'm also thinking about getting a 105mm macro.

     

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