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Buying a SLR camera


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#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Tom Johnson

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Posted March 28 2002 - 04:15 AM

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 of 16 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted March 28 2002 - 06:05 AM

Always see the acronym SLR but keep forgetting what it means. Posted Image Single Lens Reflect?

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Trace Downing

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Posted March 28 2002 - 06:41 AM

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.worldphot....ikonn65kit.htm

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Tom Johnson

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Posted March 28 2002 - 07:36 AM

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 of 16 OFFLINE   Chris Knox

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Posted March 28 2002 - 10:20 PM

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...

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#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted March 29 2002 - 03:21 AM

I'm feeling pretty dated here with my hand-me-down Canon AE-1 Program...... Posted Image Takes beautiful photos BTW.
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#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 29 2002 - 08:34 AM

Cant go wrong with Nikon, bodys or lenses.

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

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#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:13 AM

Quote:
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?

I am biased towards the Nikon myself. I used to have the N70 and the user interface wasn't too user-friendly. I upgraded to a N80 a couple years back and it is the most user-friendly camera I have seen (it has many more features than the N70). But I think you can't go wrong with a Minolta, Canon or Nikon. All of them make equally good amateur SLRs. Of course Nikon is supposed to make the best lenses, but you probably can't tell the difference in picture quality with your naked eye.

B&H is one of the few NYC camera stores that is actually reliable (be sure to ask for the US warranty). Most of the others sell gray market equipment (without proper warranty) and use questionable sales tactics.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Mark Larson

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:50 AM

Quote:
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.


Beware!! I thought this was true for disposables as well some time ago and have regretted taking those photos ever since!! I would call myself a respectable photographer, but the ones taken by other people were simply horrid! Posted Image

BTW, i had a Pentax efina... Such a lovely camera (no it wasn't SLR)

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Ken Wagner

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Posted March 29 2002 - 03:39 PM

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.
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#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Peter Yee

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Posted March 30 2002 - 04:06 AM

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. Posted Image 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.

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#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Trace Downing

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Posted March 31 2002 - 02:54 AM

Sorry it took so long to get back to you Tom....Earthlink has been disconnecting me every 10 minutes.Posted Image

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 BTWPosted Image! 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 of 16 OFFLINE   brentl

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Posted March 31 2002 - 05:52 AM

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 underdogPosted Image

P.s. I'd buy Nikon PRO stuff if money is NO object.

Brent

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted March 31 2002 - 08:11 PM

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.

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#15 of 16 OFFLINE   Tom Johnson

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Posted April 01 2002 - 03:02 AM

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 of 16 OFFLINE   Tom Meyer

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Posted April 01 2002 - 05:48 AM

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.

Quote:
>It's also getting harder to find fixed focal length lenses fo cameras ... too bad!

I'm not really sure what you base this on but it certainly doesn't hold water. Canon, Nikon & Minolta all offer a complete range of focal lengths from super-wide fisheyes up to extended telephoto.





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