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ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-08-2004, 08:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone. I just signed onto this site today, and after reading a few posts, I thought I might ask a question. I've been shooting manual everything for 40 years or so, first with a Nikkormat, then Olympus om-1, and now a Mamiya 6.
I got a Nikon Coolpix 995 when they first came out, to check out digital. Hated it. Had to carry the manual around all the time to reference it, and it was a pain to shoot in manual mode. So I'm still using film.
There is a new generation of digital out there, and I'm looking for feedback on which models would be easiest to use manually. I'm just so used to dialing in an Fstop and shutter speed without looking at all the little buttons. In fact, I can't really see what all those buttons say anymore without putting on some reading glasses. So which camera works best by feel? Which is most intuitive, I guess? You know, where you don't have to hold down two buttons at once, or go into the modes to change aperture or speed settings. Any opinions would be appreciated.
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-08-2004, 10:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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the nikon Digital SLRs still have the apeture ring on the lens. (i think) but other than that they pretty much work just the same a most 35mm Film slrs of today
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-08-2004, 10:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I shoot mostly with Nikon D100 and it's a breeze to shoot in manual mode.. Some of Nikons lens called "G" lenses don't have an aperture ring.. This is because they have moved that function to the dial on the front of the grip.. The back of the grip sets the shutter speed.. All of the D-SLR's that Nikon makes work this way. As for all of the buttons, once you get the camera setup the way you want you mostly just have to deal with is the playback button.

DPReview.com has very detailed reviews on the the different brands and models.. They go so far as to cover each control and button. They also talk about the useability and ergonomics.


Thanks,
Israel
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-09-2004, 12:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The difference between the coolpix and the nikon digital SLR is night and day when is comes to manual shooting. I have a D70 and a coolpix 5700. The D70 is a brease to shoot with in manual mode but the 5700 is like pulling teeth when trying to shoot manual. Take a visit down to the local camera store on Lamar and they will be happy to let you take the Nikon's and the Cannon's for a test drive so that you can see for yourself. Depending on your price range, both companies have entry DSLR's around a grand and pro models that top 5 grand. The entry models are pretty feature rich and intuative to use and the pro models build on the feature. Pick up a digital SLR and I think you'll be much happier than you are with the coolpix. I gave he coolpix to my wife fo shooting party pic's, it's useless for any serious photography.

BTW - Welcome to GG!!!
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-09-2004, 01:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Tom,

Another Mamiy 6 user out there... Wow!!! Anyway, if you're anything like me, the Nikon D70 shouldn't be a problem to switch over to. I often shoot it in manual mode and find it very easy to work with. Although I do have the 18 - 70 mm G lens that came with it, I often shoot with my manual focus Nikkor 85 mm f1.4 AI-S. When using non-D lenses, the D70 requires that you shoot in manual mode, which really isn't that difficult especially if you're already use to metering by hand.

If you're curious, in addition to the Mamiya 6MF, I also still shoot with a Contax G2, aMamiya RB 67 Pro, and a Nikon N90s.

Michael
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-09-2004, 07:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Tom

I have a Leica Digilux 2. If you're using a 6 (I have one) then you're used to pricey toys.... The Leica works just like a film camera -- in fact, everyone assumes that I'm shooting film until they see the LCD on the back..

It's a great camera. No interchangable lenses (nope, doesn't use the "M" series) but the 28-90 zoom is pretty good.

Bob

Shot with the Leica:

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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-10-2004, 01:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have an old Canon G1 that's in the shop at the moment, but once I turn the dial to "M" (manual) I have two pairs of buttons that control shutter speed and f-stop. It also has a hot shoe that I use with an external flash, or a Wein infared transmitter (I used to use it to shoot an online clothing catalog, until I got my Nikon D70) in the studio. (You could also use a Pocket Wizard or adapter for a PC cord). All the Canons in this line (G series, and the new Powershot Pro 1) work this way as I understand it (and I am now looking at trading in my G1 for a G5 on a Canon trade-up deal). They are also very intuitive, but you do have to practice with them.

The two problems with these advanced point & shoots is their limited f-stop range (mine doesn't go below f8) and that they are only 24-bit color chips, instead of the 36-bit of the DSLRs. For the web, the advanced P&S cameras are just fine. Of course you don't have to buy a seperate lens with the P&S cameras, but I think as a long-time film shooter you will feel more comfortable with a DSLR. I would suggest either the D70 if you want Nikon, or the Rebel or 10D or 20D if you want Canon. As mentioned elsewhere, you should check out http://www.dpreview.com/ for more specifics.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-10-2004, 11:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I wanted to reply and thank all of you folks that responded to my query. It seems that there are a lot of GG members from Texas. It also seems that by the responses the Nikon D70 would be a choice to look into. I'll see if I can't find one to use for a bit.
Interestingly enough, I actually went to that camera store on Lamar that Allen is referring to, to ask about the Leica Digital Rangefinder that RJWarren is mentioning. The saleperson immediately started showing me other cameras. I am guessing that they didn't have the Leica, so they tried to divert my attention. Or maybe I don't look like I could afford the Leica. What is the street price on those anyway.
Tom
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Re: ease of use in manual mode for digital cameras
Old 12-10-2004, 08:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The street price on the Leica is about $1,800. And it's also been a bit hard to get -- the ones they produced have sold pretty well. You almost have to be a Leica stocking dealer to have one.
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Canon 20D
Old 12-11-2004, 11:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The Canon 20D is one of the best digital cameras and easiest to use. Once you put it in manaul you set the shutter speed with one dial and the aperture with a second dial. That is all. Just spin one dial or the other to set the values. In playing with the various Nikon models, I found them much harder to use than the Canon 20D.
Cheers,
rfs
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