Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Right Exposure

Your Advice Will Help Merisi Make Her Decision

Raindrops on roses. I took this shot with a Pentax K10 digital SLR.

Her wonderful photographic essays from Vienna, Austria, have held my attention for several months, but now Merisi wants your help. In her own words: "Would there be any way that you could ask for opinions from your vast readership?" Yes, I’m always happy to help a fellow blogger and I’m sure you’ll support me on that.

Merisi wants to buy a digital SLR and wants your advice and guidance. She writes: "I am still thinking about staying with Sony. I love the Zeiss lens of my little pocket camera very much, I feel insecure reguarding other brands. I was looking into the Sony Alpha 100, but my husband says I should go for the Alpha 700 (Euro 700 or 1.500 resp., with an 18-70mm lens). In the film days, I used a Pentax and had a professional Nikon, still have, somewhere."

Whatever your opinion, please leave a comment here for Merisi. It doesn’t matter whether you leave a couple of words, one sentence or a long, detailed message. It’ll be a great help to Merisi and could become a great reference point for other bloggers who have the same dilemma.

Some months ago, I started answering readers’ photography-related questions on my Get The Picture posts on this blog. In this case, since I’m familiar with the terrific variety of Merisi’s work, I’ll start the ball rolling by telling her to invest in the Pentax K10D (a digital SLR) with a versatile 18-200mm zoom which is great for a) travelling and b) having a variety of options with a single retractable lens. But Merisi and I both want to know what your advice is ….

Bloom or bust. I also shot this using a Pentax K10 digital SLR.


Lee said...

Merisi, I used the dpreview website to make my decision on what camera I wanted to purchase. I went looking for the review on the camera you wanted. The Alpha 100 is here. The Alpha 700 is reviewed here. The review of the Alpha 700 includes mention of the 100 so it may answer some of your questions. Hope this site helps.


Max-e said...

My wife and I both have Panasonic Lumix cameras. They have an incredible array of features for their price range and have been a pleasure to use, but have the limitation of not being able to change lenses. I suggest you go for a DSLR - find one you are confortable with.
We are dreaming of buying an SLR, but have to wait, because whatever we go for will have to be multiplied by 2 as we are both photography nuts

david mcmahon said...


I just spoke to a good friend of mine who is a professional photographer on the staff of a newspaper. He recommends the Nikon D80 which of course is a digital SLR - and it's in the same price range of the Pentax that I told you about.

Keep smiling


Misty Dawn said...

I can understand your love of the Zeiss lens. For the past few years, I have used a Sony DSC F717. I wasn't quite ready for a full DSLR yet (although I am now), but I wanted a camera that would give me the most features to help me learn and get ready for that SLR. One thing I knew I wanted was a great zoom, because my favorite subjects are animals and nature. Oh my, the F717 is wonderful for that. I actually researched the F828 also (which is a step up - supposedly), but, believe it or not, the 717 had better reviews. Anyway, neither of these cameras are full SLRs - just a step below that.

I use Steve's Digicam for ALL of my digital camera research - I LOVE that website and cannot say enough good things about the reviews and the tests. That site is fabulous.

While I understand your loyalty to Sony and their lens, because I have a strong love affair with my Sony, I have to admit that my dream camera is a Canon 30D. Yes, I know there is a 40D now, but the 30D will fulfill my dreams just fine.

Well, I've managed to ramble on and on in this comment and am probably going to be hauled away by the comment authorities. Again though, I must recommend visiting Steve's Digicam and reading their reviews on any of the cameras you are considering. And, I wish you complete happiness and beautiful photos with whichever camera you choose. Please have David give us an update when you have your new camera so we can find out if you are pleased. I wish you the best!
(David, please don't ban me from your blog for making this long comment!)

Merisi said...

Dear David,
I cannot thank you enough for giving my quest for a camera upgrade this much exposure.
I have long admired your photography, and have also been considering the Canon and lens you are using. Now the Nikon D80 sounds intriguing too, escpecially since I have those great Nikon-made lenses (which brings me to this other dilemma: Does it make sense to use the old lenses from my analog Nikon?).

Dear Lee,
thank you very much, I will read the reviews you recommend.
Dear Max-em
the Panasonic Lumix camera is one of the cameras I have in my research folder, photographers I admire are using them. I am not really sure yet if I shouldn't stay more in the point and shoot size (David's combination of a Canon and lense like his does sound very tempting!).

Dear Misty Dawn,
oh yes, "love Affair", that is also how I would describe my relationship with my Sony, even though mine has less zoom than yours (I own a Sony DSC-W5, with 3x optical zoom).
The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens is a real gem. I do all of my photography without flash, and the Zeiss does a great job in low light conditions (in which I love to take pictures). The 2AA Sony batteries last for more than 300 photos (I have a second set, used both for 2 years continuously, and their performance does not show any wear). Anybody out there who's looking for a pocket camera, I am ready to answer questions concerning a Sony.

I shall look into the Canon cameras, not least because a friend here is using the Canon camera body with a Zeiss lens.

I cannot thank everybody enough for taking the time to talk about their cameras and camera dreams. I will keep you up to date about my persuit of happiness, er, a new camera. :-)

Best regards from Vienna,

Anonymous said...

Hello Merisi and David
I think that Nikon D80 is a great choice. And also a Canon 40D or 30D. I have a canon 350D and I'm very happy with this. As for a lense a believe that 18-200mm is excellent to start. You can find more info here

or at the others recommended sites.

lynn said...

Are whiskers on kittens next? Great shot this is. I need a camera like that. I dream daily. The paper i write for also uses Nikon. Every time the photographer meets me on a job i can't help but stare at his equipment.

freefalling said...

My, my, you are a busy blogger, David.
I'm sorry your first visit to my blog was about "buckets" - how thrilling!
Oh well, it takes all kinds, doesn't it?
I have nothing to offer Merisi. As she would well know. Technical talk confuses me - as long as I can take photos that bear some resemblance to the subject's reality, I'm happy.
I learned from you, the yellow peril is called The Vault - I never knew that - I thought yellow peril was its proper name!
Thanks for pointing people to my blog - I appreciate it (although I'm not sure how impressed they will be by my buckets!)

Sandy Kessler said...

to the left of the rose petal water pictures, is that a dead leaf , bloom or >??At first I thought was a living creature??

dr. filomena said...

My favourite is my Nikon SLR. Plenty photos on my blog at
http://www.drfilomena.com/ to see though my Canon Ixy does a fine job as a ligt pocket camera... and all last week's "mobile" pics and texts from Israel were posted to the blog directly from my Nokica cell phone.

Peace indeed.

Suldog said...


I hope you know I love you, but I know NOTHING about this, so...

Good luck, anyway!

imac said...

Hi Merisi, Im no pro, Ive got a Nikon D50, the cheaper end foe SLR.
Find a camera shop and check out a few cameras that you are interested in, get the feel of them, check out how they opperate.
Then choose and buy from them -a)if you want to b pay a little more and get after sales service and advice, or b)go and buy your choice from the internet.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo's David. I had a friend stay at New Year and she loves taking photographs. She allowed me to copy her digital card onto my computer and I hope to use some of her images in my future blogs. She's an amateur but really quite good.

Crystal xx

Corey~living and loving said...

HI! I use the Canon Xti, and I love it. I don't use the kit lens. I am totally in love with my 50mm 1.8 lens. :)

Mike said...

I'm a Canon fan, always have been. I don't think there's a lot to choose quality wise between all the top brands. For me it more comes down to whether the camera feels right in my hands.

Merisi said...

evlahos, Dr. Filomena, imac, Corey, and Mike:
I cannot thank you enough for taking the time and share your opinions and experience. I will consider each and every one of your very helpful suggestions.

I appreciate your comment. :-)

Merisi said...

I am busy researching, thanks to your suggestions I have learned quite a bit more in the meantime. Thanks to all of you.

I have come upon a discussion CANON forum around the topic "using/adapting old Nikkor/Nikon lenses with DSRL" cameras,

here's the link.

This is very exciting for me, because I own several old Nikkor lenses.

I have not decided yet about the camera body and am still not knowledgable enough to decide about using old lenses, tempting as it sounds not having to ditch my beloved lenses.

Any opinions or experience with this?

Merisi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merisi said...

Here's one more site I'd like to share with you, Beginner's Digital SLR buying guide: The Sifry Starter Photo Package.

Quote: "If you've already got film cameras of one type, I'd definitely try to stay within that system in order to use your older lenses."

I am getting ever more excited ... :-)

Merisi said...

I shall stop my online camera research for a couple hours, before the letters and digits start dancing in front of my eyes.

Right now, I am sort of enamored of the idea of a Nikon D80, if (big if) my old Nikkor lenses would really work with it. I have also not abandoned the idea if staying with the smaller pocket cameras, adding maybe a Panasonic Lumix camera, which would give me a great Leica macro and more zoom.

Again, thank you all for your very helpful suggestions and advice. I appreciate it immensely.

I wish you all a great day,

Merisi said...

I have to leave you this little gem, from the amazon.com site, about the healing powers of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3K shutter cover, reported by
reviewer Robert Salita:

Update: 28-May-2007:
The flimsy automatic shutter cover is broken. I'm able to keep it stuck in the open position. Rather disappointing. The rest of the camera seems pretty durable though.

Update: 12-Jun-2007:
The automatic shutter has somehow fully healed itself. Over the course of two weeks of frequent use, it began to progressively return to its proper open and closed positions.

Merisi said...

Friday (Saturday already in Australia):
Looking for a new camera turns out to be an all-consuming enterprise!
Yesterday I visited shops that sell various brands, Like Canon, Pentax, and Nikon. They did not have a Nikon D80 in stock, unfortunately.
Today I was at a store that only sells Nikon cameras, tomorrow I will visit another, larger Nikon dealer.
I will also meet a friend who has a Nikon N70, he will show me how it works.
I was so completely lost in front of the actual camera, the D80, that instinctively I wanted to stay forever with my little Sony. So very confusing! ;-)
I think I have ruled out a Pentax, mainly because Pentax does not offer any service here in Austria.
With the Nikon, they are offering a special price on the 18-70mm Nikkor lens. I am aware that this offers only a tiny bit more zoom than my little Sony. Still, it seems to me that this would be a very universal lens, allowing me to pretend to have a point and shoot, that I can carry along.

And there is that nagging thought, if the D200 would not be a better choice, thinking in the long term.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Merisi said...

My head is stuffed with technical data and reviews, I give my little Sony a hug every hour or so, for being such a good camera, but I am also staying with the task: Getting a DSRL!

Right now, I am doing indepth research on lenses for a Nikon D80 (may a congratulate USA readers for the great prices over there, I could almost fly to the USA, buy the equipment, pay the custom's fee here, and still come out ahead):
Luckily, I now know that the kit lens here does not have the all-important VR (Vibration Reduction)feature (I called the Nikon dealer moments ago about this, I am upset that all he wanted was sell his D80 kit, not even offering the body alone, even though I pointed out to him that I am interested to pay more for the best lens).

To make it short, here my new favorite:
Nikon D80 body plus
Nikon 18-200mm lens

I will see my friend with the D70 camera shortly, and another friend coming over tonight. I admire his photography, he uses a Canon with a Zeiss lens.

Have a great weekend!

Merisi said...

Nikon D80 body and the Nikkor 18-200mm lens are now mine. Battery is loading. I am exhausted, but happy. :-)
Thank you all for your great help, I couldn't have done this so fast without you.