Want to buy a new digital camera to replace my Nikon 5700,..

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Hi, All.

Many of you are aware of the problems I've had getting
well-exposed, consistent exposed pictures when using
flash on my Nikon Coolpix 5700 with Sunpak's excellent
433D external when shooting cars in dark museum
settings. A few weeks ago, I bought a Nikon 8800 with
Nikon's SB-800 external, but results were even worse,
despite my best efforts, help from the camera store and
help on this NG. So, I returned it for a charge credit.

In a nutshell, I have no problems whatsoever in
daylight, but when I shoot car pictures in museums,
results vary considerably. About 1/3 are OK, another 1/3
are underexposed by 2 f/stops, while the rest are under
by 5-6 stops. I really don't want to get into another
long discussion about why I'm shooting flash and not
available light on a tripod, suffice that I want to.

I've long been enamored with EVF cameras because I could
see instantly if I did or did not get a decent exposure.
But, I'm being lobbied by the camera store and by others
that I'll /never/ get good flash with /any/ Nikon EVF
because their underlying flash exposure systems just
aren't up to the task. Maybe this is bunk or maybe
somebody's DSLR really is the best camera for me.

The camera most often recommended to me right now is
Canon's Digital Rebel XT with DIGIC II. My local store
recommends that I also buy Canon's Speedlite 550EX,
because it has the power I need and is fully adjustable
for EV. I'm not worried about buing a "pig in a poke"
because the store manager will give me a 10-day trial,
as he did with the Nikon 8800.

I'm looking for a recommendation for a new digital
camera, flash. 8 mega pixels is more than enough, I'll
actually be shooting at only 3 or 5 MP. I'm, of course,
interested in sharpness and low noise, which I would
normally expect in any camera in the price range of the
Canon Rebel XT.

I'm also looking for recommendations for a zoom lens for
the Rebel (or other EVF or DSLR) longer than the 28-85mm
equivalent that comes with the Rebel "kit". I'm looking
for something that is at least 35-150mm, preferably 28-
200mm equivalent.

Canon apparently has a wide angle-to-zoom lens to fit my
needs/wants but is pricey (sorry, I can't remember the
model number). I don't want to be "penny wise but dollar
foolish" and buy somebody else's glass, but would like
to get the best quality I can at a reasonable price (who
doesn't, right?)

I'll keep this post short for brevity but will gladly
answer any questions you may have to help guide me in my
quest. Thanks so much in advance.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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"All Things Mopar" <noneofyour@busi.ness> wrote in message
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> I'm looking for a recommendation for a new digital
> camera, flash. 8 mega pixels is more than enough, I'll
> actually be shooting at only 3 or 5 MP. I'm, of course,
> interested in sharpness and low noise, which I would
> normally expect in any camera in the price range of the
> Canon Rebel XT.
>

Actually, let me ask first & foremost--why buy an 8 megapixel camera if
you're only going to be using 3 or 5 megapixels of it? You might as well
save a lot of money & get a 3-megapixel camera in the first place. (I've
never understood the point of buying a high-megapixel camera only to not use
all of it, seems like a waste of money to me.) Think a used Nikon Coolpix
990 or 995, they have an external flash connector; with proper adaptation,
you could probably hook up all the Vivitar 283's or 285's you want and you'd
have plenty of flash power.

I don't know that EVF cameras would do any differently than D-SLR cameras.
One thing about Nikon EVFs is that they don't have true TTL flash. They have
a conventional flash sensor mounted in the built-in flash that does the
metering, in that aspect they're like the old-time "classic auto" flashes
where you used "blue" or "red" mode & the corresponding aperture--only with
the Nikon you can use any aperture you please.

The Canon Rebel XT would be fine, and the 550EX would have the power. One
thing, though--the guy said the 550 was fully EV adjustable. Well the
Digital Rebel XT has flash exposure compensation, so that doesn't matter.
You could get the 420EX and still have the ability to vary your flash
output.

One last thing--a D-SLR would be hugely helpful if you shoot without
flash--I know, you said you want flash, but if you find it too problematic
getting enough flash power in such a huge setting, you might end up
resorting to no-flash output. In that case, a D-SLR is hugely advantagoeus
because of the much higher performance in high-ISO situations.

LRH
 
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> The camera most often recommended to me right now is
> Canon's Digital Rebel XT with DIGIC II. My local store
> recommends that I also buy Canon's Speedlite 550EX,
> because it has the power I need and is fully adjustable
> for EV. I'm not worried about buing a "pig in a poke"
> because the store manager will give me a 10-day trial,
> as he did with the Nikon 8800.

I have a 300D and a 550EX and think that the XT + 550EX would be a very good
combo for you. What the heck; try them for 10 days!

> I'm also looking for recommendations for a zoom lens for
> the Rebel (or other EVF or DSLR) longer than the 28-85mm
> equivalent that comes with the Rebel "kit". I'm looking
> for something that is at least 35-150mm, preferably 28-
> 200mm equivalent.

Look at the Canon 75-300 IS lens. It's a good buy. Here is a shot taken
with that lens and a 300D at full-zoom and hand-held from a moving tram ride
in the Florida Everglades:
http://home.comcast.net/~charlesschuler/wsb/media/291308/site1056.jpg
 
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Charles Schuler commented courteously...

> I have a 300D and a 550EX and think that the XT
> + 550EX would be a very good combo for you.
> What the heck; try them for 10 days!

Thanks for the fast reply, Charles! I need to be a
little circumspect here, though. I want to try to "do my
homework" before going back to my local store with a
lame "OK if I take another camera out for a test drive?"

> Look at the Canon 75-300 IS lens. It's a good buy.

I assume this is 75-300mm equivalent? What I'm after is
something that goes to 35mm or better still 28mm
equivalent at the wide end, and at least 150mm,
preferably 200mm at the tele end. I really don't want to
lug lenses with me.

Is my need/want even feasible?

> Here is a shot taken with that lens and a 300D at
> full-zoom and hand-held from a moving tram ride in
> the Florida Everglades:

> http://home.comcast.net/
~charlesschuler/wsb/media/291308/sit
> e1056.jpg

Great bird shot, Charles! Do you by chance "know" Ron
Lacey? He's also a terrific bird photographer.

Have you had any experience in museum shooting? Doesn't
necessarily need to be cars, although that's my first
and nearly only love! Museums are always a challenge
since the flash gets almost no help from ambient
lighting and there're plenty of things that can "fool"
the AE, particularly reflections off shiny car paint,
the old wide WSW tires, etc.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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> I assume this is 75-300mm equivalent? What I'm after is
> something that goes to 35mm or better still 28mm
> equivalent at the wide end, and at least 150mm,
> preferably 200mm at the tele end. I really don't want to
> lug lenses with me.

No, it's 1.6 x (equivalent) due to the smaller sensor in the 300D/350D/20D.
I also have an EFS 17-85 (27-135 equivalent) that I can recommend for use
with the 300D/350D/20D.

> Is my need/want even feasible?

Perhaps not.

> Have you had any experience in museum shooting? Doesn't
> necessarily need to be cars, although that's my first
> and nearly only love! Museums are always a challenge
> since the flash gets almost no help from ambient
> lighting and there're plenty of things that can "fool"
> the AE, particularly reflections off shiny car paint,
> the old wide WSW tires, etc.

Car museums allow flash photography whereas art museums do not (each, of
course, sets their own rules). In those that do allow flash, a diffuser or
the use of bounce flash is worth considering.
 
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Charles Schuler commented courteously...

> Car museums allow flash photography whereas art
> museums do not (each, of course, sets their own
rules).
> In those that do allow flash, a diffuser or the use
> of bounce flash is worth considering.

Thanks again, Charles, but a diffuser won't help, as
what I encounter is /deep/ underexposure. Likewise,
bounch flash is infeasible as there isn't anything
overhead to bounch off - ceilings typically 12-15 feet
above the floor.

The real question is whether a Canon XT with their flash
is or is not likely to return well-exposed pictures of
/anything/ in a museum environment.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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Larry R Harrison Jr commented courteously...

> Actually, let me ask first & foremost--why buy
> an 8 megapixel camera if you're only going to be
> using 3 or 5 megapixels of it?
[snip]

Thanks so much for the reply, Larry!

The answer to your question is easy: I do /not/ want a
P&S, I want an advanced amateur or "pro-sumer" camera
with all the photometric bells and whistles, good glass,
tight sensors, low noise, etc., etc., and have a budget
of at least $1,400. The fact that I only want to shoot
(today) at 3-5 MP isn't really the issue. My main
interest, for the foreseeble future, is getting reliable
flash exposures of cars in museums as well as excellent
quality in daylight. The mega pixels I shoot at doesn't
mean diddly when it comes to exposure capability.

I know that many will dispute me, but for my purposes -
screen display and /not/ large prints - more than 3 MP
is just wasted CF card space. And, I see no need for RAW
right now, even though I understand why it is
advantageous.

> I don't know that EVF cameras would do any differently
> than D-SLR cameras. One thing about Nikon EVFs is
> that they don't have true TTL flash. They have a
> conventional flash sensor mounted in the built-in
> flash that does the metering, in that aspect they're
> like the old-time "classic auto" flashes where you
> used "blue" or "red" mode & the corresponding aperture
> --only with the Nikon you can use any aperture you
please.

This is true for the Coolpix 5700, but Nikon presumeably
redesigned it's TTL for the 8800, calling it iTTL, which
is why I bought that last month. Alas, it did not come
close to doing the job!

I posted a number of queries on this very subject whilst
I still had the Nikon 8800 under trial. No one could
explain what was going on, so I simply gave up and
returned it. I don't know why an EVF vs. a DSLR could
possibly make any difference, except if my store manager
is right - and Nikon just can't make a flash TTL/AE
system that works.

> The Canon Rebel XT would be fine, and the 550EX
> would have the power. One thing, though--the guy said
> the 550 was fully EV adjustable. Well the Digital
> Rebel XT has flash exposure compensation, so that
> doesn't matter. You could get the 420EX and still
> have the ability to vary your flash output.

I asked about the 420EX at my local camera store. I know
the manager, and I think he is a knowledgeable, reliable
dude, albeit one with a sales target. It is /he/ that
says the 420 isn't enough.

Where, besides dprewview.com, would you suggest I
investigate the various Canon flashes?

>
> One last thing--a D-SLR would be hugely helpful
> if you shoot without flash--I know, you said you
> want flash, but if you find it too problematic
> getting enough flash power in such a huge setting,
> you might end up resorting to no-flash output.
> In that case, a D-SLR is hugely advantagoeus
> because of the much higher performance in high-ISO
> situations.

Definitely! But, again, the problem is /not/ getting
enough flash power - my Sunpak 433D has GN=120 and the
Nikon SB-800 I used with the 8800 had GN=100. The
problem was that the flash pulse was shutting down
prematurely, underexposing the image.

For brevity I didn't mention my year-2000 FujiFilm 4900,
which did an outstanding job being it only had a small
built-in speedlight. I also tested my wife's Kodak 6330
($150) and my daughter's Kokak 7000 ($200) - each
performed flawlessly in the same museum shoots that both
my Nikon 5700 and the 8800 failed so miserably at
(within their flash range, of course).

That's why I simply refuse to believe that competant
pro-sumer cameras are incapable of good flash exposures,
particularly when I set up very detailed, elaborate
tests varying both camera and flash EV, ISO, metering
modes, etc., for both my 5700 and 8800, but could /not/
get good results.

The camera store guy was willing to take back the 8800
"no questions asked" because he'd predicted it would
fail. Now, the $64,000 question is: Why?

Thanks again for your insights.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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"All Things Mopar" <noneofyour@busi.ness> wrote in message
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>
> I know that many will dispute me, but for my purposes -
> screen display and /not/ large prints - more than 3 MP
> is just wasted CF card space. And, I see no need for RAW
> right now, even though I understand why it is
> advantageous.

I am stressing to be courteous here, but I am one of those people. Frankly,
I don't think cameras should give even users the OPTION to shoot at lower
resolutions. JPEG full-sized or RAW, that's it. If you don't need more than
3 or 5 megapixels of resolution, it's a total waste of resources to buy that
much & not use it. Sort of reminds me of those people who buy Corvettes and
never go above 35 mph. I'm like--WHY!!

I do apologize if I'm being a hard-one about that. CF card space is cheap,
so is CD storage on your computer. If your CF card is at least 512
megabytes, you can get over 150 or so photos even at Large/Fine JPEG.

You never know what you may use the photo for. It could end up being
published, or asked to be blown up if you're doing this for a client. In
that case, 3 megapixels isn't going to cut it. If 5 is enough, then maybe
the Canon EOS300D (the OLD Digital Rebel) should be considered as it shoots
at 6 and is a bit cheaper than the new Digital Rebel XT.

If you really want the SLR experience but no more than 3 megapixels, try
finding a used Canon EOS D30. That's a 3.5 megpixel D-SLR which you can find
used for almost nothing, right at $350. It would use any Canon flash like
the 550 or 420, too.

One other thing, too--if you go for any of the Canons and shoot in Av mode,
be prepared--the Canons are weird in that they assume "slow sync flash" in
Av mode--a characteristic I find peculiar. The other brands have "slow sync"
as a particular mode you deliberately enter into--otherwise, it keeps the
shutter speed near X-sync so you don't get blur. The Canons enter "slow
sync" in Av and it can lead to blur. (Except for the "old" Digital Rebel
without the Wasia hack, you can override this with a custom function.)

LRH
 
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All Things Mopar wrote:

> Hi, All.
>
> Many of you are aware of the problems I've had getting
> well-exposed, consistent exposed pictures when using
> flash on my Nikon Coolpix 5700 with Sunpak's excellent
> 433D external when shooting cars in dark museum
> settings.


Yep.

Did you say you got good results with family's $200 digicams? Heh, why
not do that then?

I do think your expectations are unreasonable. Flash is awfully
difficult to use effectively from what I see around here and doubly so
for highly reflective subjects. For the kind of particular requirements
you want, I don't think auto exposures on a small sensor camera with an
on-camera flash are going to work.

The advantage of a DSLR is the larger pixel size and ability to shoot in
low light with high ISO. This is real. Outdoors in full sun you can get
great shots with a smaller pixel camera but the ISO adjustment can make
a big difference with a DSLR in low light.

But don't think a DSLR is going to be easy and you are correct in
worrying about needing a bunch of lenses for different situations
because the whole system is bigger, the lenses are bigger & less
adaptable than a small pixel camera. The kind of subject matter you are
talking about is very difficult being very reflective you will have
highlights from the flash blowing out and illumination simply will
bounce off & be lost.

Cars being rather large and three dimensional, depth of field is also a
serious issue. If you got a fast lens you could still only get a narrow
slice in focus which would only be capable of rather 'artsy' looking
pictures like the front fender in focus & the rest a blurry mirage.

I can only relate to folks talking about shooting small model cars &
similar products like jewelery where it's common to build a tent of
translucent fabric with big hot lights on all sides in order to get
suitable illumination for a reflective subject like that. The equivalent
for flash would be bouncing off the ceiling at relatively low 'fill'
levels and boosting ISO to make use of the available light in reasonable
proportions. Something that special is unlikely to work reliably with
auto metering though so you will still be looking at manual metering and
careful experimentation.

I will mention again though if it's at all possible to set up a tripod,
the museum lighting is probably great and the results could be
exquisite, just like you see with your naked eye.

unexpertly yours,

--
Paul Furman
http://www.edgehill.net/1
san francisco native plants
 
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>
> I'm looking for a recommendation for a new digital
> camera, flash. 8 mega pixels is more than enough, I'll
> actually be shooting at only 3 or 5 MP. I'm, of course,
> interested in sharpness and low noise, which I would
> normally expect in any camera in the price range of the
> Canon Rebel XT.
>
> I'm also looking for recommendations for a zoom lens for
> the Rebel (or other EVF or DSLR) longer than the 28-85mm
> equivalent that comes with the Rebel "kit". I'm looking
> for something that is at least 35-150mm, preferably 28-
> 200mm equivalent.
>
> Canon apparently has a wide angle-to-zoom lens to fit my
> needs/wants but is pricey (sorry, I can't remember the
> model number). I don't want to be "penny wise but dollar
> foolish" and buy somebody else's glass, but would like
> to get the best quality I can at a reasonable price (who
> doesn't, right?)

My own flash experience is limited, but I do know that the 350D is an
excellent camera. I have just bought the Canon 580EX flash - and expect to
get some decent pictures in the right circumstances. I'm not sure that the
museum environment is the right place for a camera mounted flash. If you
can't bounce the flash off an adjacent surface then you are going to have
harsh shadows.

Try the 350D body with a high specfication wide angle lens. I have bought an
L series lens and they really are much much better than the cheaper lenses
(a second is on order). Also. the 350D has a sensor that is capable of using
high ISO without too much noise. A high spec lens and high ISO may help by
allowing you to use flash as fill in only.

John
 
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eatmorepies commented courteously...

> My own flash experience is limited, but I do know
> that the 350D is an excellent camera. I have just
> bought the Canon 580EX flash - and expect to get
> some decent pictures in the right circumstances.

> I'm not sure that the museum environment is the
> right place for a camera mounted flash.

John, I agree that museums nor anyplace else are not
good places to shoot with only one flash mounted atop
the camera. But, at the risk of sounded like an ingrate
for refusing your help and advice, the problem /still/
is underexposure. I have no complaints whatsoever with
flash glare or any of the other limitations of the way I
choose to shoot my cars.

> If you can't bounce the flash off an adjacent surface
> then you are going to have harsh shadows.

Yes, I will, but I am a "documentary" photographer, not
an artist. Hence my goal is to capture the car "in all
its glory" without regard to how "dramatic" or well-
composed the photos are. Thus, while I don't like harsh
shadows better than the next person, they don't bother
me nearly enough to do anything about them.

> Try the 350D body with a high specfication wide angle
> lens. I have bought an L series lens and they really
> are much much better than the cheaper lenses (a
> second is on order). Also. the 350D has a sensor
> that is capable of using high ISO without too much
> noise. A high spec lens and high ISO may help by
> allowing you to use flash as fill in only.

I don't understand what you mean by "high
specificication wide angle lens". What I want is
something in the range of 35mm-200mm equivalent. The
long end is for outdoor shooting of both cars and
general subjects, not the cars in the museums, where
wide angle-to-normal is normally necessary. I just don't
want buy nor haul around a bunch of lenses.

Please explain your take on "fill flash". I understand
the term and can do it but, again, the /issue/ is a
given camera's ability to properly expose images
consistently, /not/ reducing harsh shadows or much
anything else.

I apologize again for perhaps being abrupt with you, I
really don't mean to sound like a twit. It is just that
I am /so/ frustrated in not being able to explain what I
need/want without people giving me Photography 101
lessons. I appreciate that, of course, but it doesn't do
much for me if I can't get reliable exposures in the
first place.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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"All Things Mopar" <noneofyour@busi.ness> wrote in message
news:Xns966BB24DA84B0ReplyToken@216.196.97.131...
> Charles Schuler commented courteously...
>
>> Car museums allow flash photography whereas art
>> museums do not (each, of course, sets their own
> rules).
>> In those that do allow flash, a diffuser or the use
>> of bounce flash is worth considering.
>
> Thanks again, Charles, but a diffuser won't help, as
> what I encounter is /deep/ underexposure. Likewise,
> bounch flash is infeasible as there isn't anything
> overhead to bounch off - ceilings typically 12-15 feet
> above the floor.
>

Lumiquest makes a couple of flash "bouncers," the MiniBounce and the
PocketBounce. These allow you to bounce flash when not in an environment
that would normally allow it, like outdoors or with tall ceilings.

--
Skip Middleton
http://www.shadowcatcherimagery.com
 
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On Sat, 04 Jun 2005 15:12:15 -0500, All Things Mopar
<noneofyour@busi.ness> wrote:

>Hi, All.
>
>Many of you are aware of the problems I've had getting
>well-exposed, consistent exposed pictures when using
>flash on my Nikon Coolpix 5700 with Sunpak's excellent
>433D external when shooting cars in dark museum
>settings. A few weeks ago, I bought a Nikon 8800 with
>Nikon's SB-800 external, but results were even worse,
>despite my best efforts, help from the camera store and
>help on this NG. So, I returned it for a charge credit.
>
>In a nutshell, I have no problems whatsoever in
>daylight, but when I shoot car pictures in museums,
>results vary considerably. About 1/3 are OK, another 1/3
>are underexposed by 2 f/stops, while the rest are under
>by 5-6 stops. I really don't want to get into another
>long discussion about why I'm shooting flash and not
>available light on a tripod, suffice that I want to.
>
>I've long been enamored with EVF cameras because I could
>see instantly if I did or did not get a decent exposure.
>But, I'm being lobbied by the camera store and by others
>that I'll /never/ get good flash with /any/ Nikon EVF
>because their underlying flash exposure systems just
>aren't up to the task. Maybe this is bunk or maybe
>somebody's DSLR really is the best camera for me.
>
>The camera most often recommended to me right now is
>Canon's Digital Rebel XT with DIGIC II. My local store
>recommends that I also buy Canon's Speedlite 550EX,
>because it has the power I need and is fully adjustable
>for EV. I'm not worried about buing a "pig in a poke"
>because the store manager will give me a 10-day trial,
>as he did with the Nikon 8800.
>
>I'm looking for a recommendation for a new digital
>camera, flash. 8 mega pixels is more than enough, I'll
>actually be shooting at only 3 or 5 MP. I'm, of course,
>interested in sharpness and low noise, which I would
>normally expect in any camera in the price range of the
>Canon Rebel XT.
>
>I'm also looking for recommendations for a zoom lens for
>the Rebel (or other EVF or DSLR) longer than the 28-85mm
>equivalent that comes with the Rebel "kit". I'm looking
>for something that is at least 35-150mm, preferably 28-
>200mm equivalent.
>
>Canon apparently has a wide angle-to-zoom lens to fit my
>needs/wants but is pricey (sorry, I can't remember the
>model number). I don't want to be "penny wise but dollar
>foolish" and buy somebody else's glass, but would like
>to get the best quality I can at a reasonable price (who
>doesn't, right?)
>
>I'll keep this post short for brevity but will gladly
>answer any questions you may have to help guide me in my
>quest. Thanks so much in advance.

I don't do cars, but I have had recent experience with museum
photography as an amateur, and, like you, I'm a "documentary" shooter.
These were taken in the Air Force Mueum in Dayton, Ohio. This museum's
director (an AF General) specifically wants the lighting to be
"dramitic", which means low ambient light, with the planes spotlit.
This means low light levels, even on the planes. On-camera flash
leaves most with unsatisfactory pics.
My camera is a Digital Rebel/300D, with a Sigma EF 500 DG Super flash.
These pics were shot using the kit lens.

Ambient light, ISO 800, 1/15 sec, F:3.5, handheld:
http://pippina.com/misc/no-flash1.jpg
http://pippina.com/misc/no-flash2.jpg

Flash, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, F:3.5:
http://pippina.com/misc/flash1.jpg

In my opinion( considering the fact that I took over 300 pics there),
ambient light is better. And that means (IMO) a DSLR, fairly
obviously.

Now, I don't do cars. But I do do museums. Sometimes the flash (with a
little quick 'n dirty post processing - in this case, PSP's One Step
PhotoFix - is pretty good. Not pro quality by any means, but very
serviceable for my needs.

From the Carillon Historical Park:

Using Flash:
http://pippina.com/misc/flash2.jpg

Ambient light, ISO 400, 1/80 sec, F:5.0, handheld:
http://pippina.com/misc/no-flash3.jpg

The ability to use higher ISO numbers, IMO, lets you shoot ambient
light with good results, if you're steady enough.
But flash or no flash, a DSLR is much better than even something like
the Oly C-8080 for this type of photography.

And, a hint: shoot at full resolution; get another card or two if
that's what it takes. You never knowwhat might come along, or if,
after viewing your pics, you really wish you'd shot *that* pic at full
res. As well, in the future, you may full well kick yourself for
shooting at low res when you had hi res available. Your next printer
may be able to use that resolution.

--
Big Bill
Replace "g" with "a"
 
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Paul Furman commented courteously...

> I do think your expectations are unreasonable.
> Flash is awfully difficult to use effectively from
> what I see around here and doubly so for highly
> reflective subjects. For the kind of particular
> requirements you want, I don't think auto exposures
> on a small sensor camera with an on-camera flash
> are going to work.

If flash is so unreasonable, why does Nikon get $330 for
their external and Canon get up to $370? /Somebody/ must
think this is double plus good!

> The kind of subject matter you are talking about is
> very difficult being very reflective you will have
> highlights from the flash blowing out and illumination
> simply will bounce off & be lost.

I know that! I'm not concerned about flash glare or lost
highlights nearly as much as I am about severe
underexposure and inconsistant exposure. Can you please
stay on-point?
>
> Cars being rather large and three dimensional, depth
of
> field is also a serious issue.

Not really. For a front 3/4 view of an 18' car using a
50mm equivalent lens at f/3.5, I can get enough of
entire car "in focus" by doing the AF lock at the A-
pillar and taking advantage of the 1/3-2/3 DOF rule. I
don't at all care about the background, for DOF or
exposure. It's the car, the car, the car!

I do appreciate people's attempts to help me, but again,
it is most frustrating for me to see the talented folks
to go off into the tall weeds (to my very specific
needs/wants), and begin telling me I'm all wet. I know
that, too!

Now, what I'd /really/ like to hear are what the /best/
camera/lens/flash combos I should look at in order to
get the best overall flash /exposures/. I'm sure there
are experts here on all brands and models of digitals
and I look forward to some good suggestions on how to
improve my car pictures.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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All Things Mopar wrote:

> Paul Furman commented courteously...
>
>>The kind of subject matter you are talking about is
>>very difficult being very reflective you will have
>>highlights from the flash blowing out and illumination
>>simply will bounce off & be lost.
>
>
> I know that! I'm not concerned about flash glare or lost
> highlights nearly as much as I am about severe
> underexposure and inconsistant exposure.


I'm suggesting that maybe the flash light is bouncing off the reflective
surface and not really doing much or behaving in extreme ways that
confuse the metering. Can you post examples of these troubled
mis-metered flash shots? Email a few to me & I'll post them. Maybe there
is some glare that throws off the metering or the contrast with the
background. Is the problem with light or dark colored cars?


--
Paul Furman
http://www.edgehill.net/1
san francisco native plants
 
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 09:05:56 -0700, Big Bill <bigbill@PIPPING.COM>
wrote:

....
>This museum's
>director (an AF General) specifically wants the lighting to be
>"dramitic", which means low ambient light, with the planes spotlit.
....
Wow! If I could spell...
"dramitic" should be "dramatic".
Also, I'm using a laptop, as my desktop's mobo is at Gigabyte for an
exchange. I hate the laptop's keyboard! :-(

--
Big Bill
Replace "g" with "a"
 
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Skip M commented courteously...

> Lumiquest makes a couple of flash "bouncers,"
> the MiniBounce and the PocketBounce. These allow
> you to bounce flash when not in an environment that
> would normally allow it, like outdoors or with tall
> ceilings.

That's very interesting, I'll investigate. In the meantime, what
do these "bounce" flash aids bounce off if there's nothing above
the scene? Museumes are bad enough, but outdoors?

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 

Dave

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All Things Mopar wrote:
> eatmorepies commented courteously...
>
>
>>My own flash experience is limited, but I do know
>>that the 350D is an excellent camera. I have just
>>bought the Canon 580EX flash - and expect to get
>>some decent pictures in the right circumstances.
>
>
>>I'm not sure that the museum environment is the
>>right place for a camera mounted flash.
>
>
> John, I agree that museums nor anyplace else are not
> good places to shoot with only one flash mounted atop
> the camera. But, at the risk of sounded like an ingrate
> for refusing your help and advice, the problem /still/
> is underexposure. I have no complaints whatsoever with
> flash glare or any of the other limitations of the way I
> choose to shoot my cars.
>
>
>>If you can't bounce the flash off an adjacent surface
>>then you are going to have harsh shadows.
>
>
> Yes, I will, but I am a "documentary" photographer, not
> an artist. Hence my goal is to capture the car "in all
> its glory" without regard to how "dramatic" or well-
> composed the photos are. Thus, while I don't like harsh
> shadows better than the next person, they don't bother
> me nearly enough to do anything about them.
>
>
>>Try the 350D body with a high specfication wide angle
>>lens. I have bought an L series lens and they really
>>are much much better than the cheaper lenses (a
>>second is on order). Also. the 350D has a sensor
>>that is capable of using high ISO without too much
>>noise. A high spec lens and high ISO may help by
>>allowing you to use flash as fill in only.
>
>
> I don't understand what you mean by "high
> specificication wide angle lens". What I want is
> something in the range of 35mm-200mm equivalent. The
> long end is for outdoor shooting of both cars and
> general subjects, not the cars in the museums, where
> wide angle-to-normal is normally necessary. I just don't
> want buy nor haul around a bunch of lenses.
>
> Please explain your take on "fill flash". I understand
> the term and can do it but, again, the /issue/ is a
> given camera's ability to properly expose images
> consistently, /not/ reducing harsh shadows or much
> anything else.
>
> I apologize again for perhaps being abrupt with you, I
> really don't mean to sound like a twit. It is just that
> I am /so/ frustrated in not being able to explain what I
> need/want without people giving me Photography 101
> lessons. I appreciate that, of course, but it doesn't do
> much for me if I can't get reliable exposures in the
> first place.
>
Apology considered, for someone not meaning to sound like a twit, you
sure are doing a good job of it.

Try this to eliminate as many variables as possible.

Put the camera in manual mode, center weighted metering and STANDARD
*NOT MATRIX* TTL.Set your shutter speed to around 1/125 and F stop as
desired taking into consideration subject distance and flash range. See
if that doesn't get you close. My experience with the earlier SB80DX is
that you probably will have to dial in about +1 stop of compensation on
the flash (NOT ON THE CAMERA) for best results.

Nikon (my area of experience) wants to try to do balanced fill flash
most of the time. You have to almost beat them to death to get plain old
TTL flash. I'm interpreting here from my SB80 experience which is that
standard TTL is set on the flash by making sure that only TTL shows not
TTL with the little matrix symbol. With the matrix thing showing you're
going to get auto balanced fill flash.

I have not used the 8800, but from all I've read in the Nikon groups I
frequent, it works just fine as does the SB800. The SB800 gets rave
reviews by most.

By the way, the only info I could find on the Sunpak 433D indicated it
was dedicated for Minolta cameras. There are 433AF units dedicated for
Nikon, Canon and others, but all I found on the 433D was Minolta.

I also am of the opinion that the store manager either has an ax to
grind with Nikon or is getting a better profit margin from Canon or
someone else. Canon and Nikon are both very capable systems and either
the Canon Rebel or Nikon D70 would suit your needs. All that being said,
from what you've said in your previous posts, I'd give the 8800 another
try. Specs seem to meet all you requirements. Once you solve the flash
exposure thing it should be perfect for you. (I know solving the flash
thing is you major concern, but I believe that it's more operator
error/confusion than camera/flash problems. Just MHO.)

Hope some of this has helped.

Best Regards,
Dave
 
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You can also get very nice IS (image stabilized) lens that give you more
stops (latitude) for hand held low light that complements the ability to use
fast lenses and higher ISOs with reasonably low noise

I have 3 Olympus P&S that work well for specific environment (hand held -
low light indoors is not one of them) and will be getting a Canon 20D and
some good lenses prior to my september vacation - partly to have more lens
choice, partly due to the aggrevation of shutter lag, partly to use in low
light environment

I wonder if you could rent some DSLR combo to test


"Paul Furman" <paul-@-edgehill.net> wrote in message
news:3NednT_twsXzDj_fRVn-hA@speakeasy.net...
> All Things Mopar wrote:
>
>> Hi, All.
>>
>> Many of you are aware of the problems I've had getting well-exposed,
>> consistent exposed pictures when using flash on my Nikon Coolpix 5700
>> with Sunpak's excellent 433D external when shooting cars in dark museum
>> settings.
>
>
> Yep.
>
> Did you say you got good results with family's $200 digicams? Heh, why not
> do that then?
>
> I do think your expectations are unreasonable. Flash is awfully difficult
> to use effectively from what I see around here and doubly so for highly
> reflective subjects. For the kind of particular requirements you want, I
> don't think auto exposures on a small sensor camera with an on-camera
> flash are going to work.
>
> The advantage of a DSLR is the larger pixel size and ability to shoot in
> low light with high ISO. This is real. Outdoors in full sun you can get
> great shots with a smaller pixel camera but the ISO adjustment can make a
> big difference with a DSLR in low light.
>
> But don't think a DSLR is going to be easy and you are correct in worrying
> about needing a bunch of lenses for different situations because the whole
> system is bigger, the lenses are bigger & less adaptable than a small
> pixel camera. The kind of subject matter you are talking about is very
> difficult being very reflective you will have highlights from the flash
> blowing out and illumination simply will bounce off & be lost.
>
> Cars being rather large and three dimensional, depth of field is also a
> serious issue. If you got a fast lens you could still only get a narrow
> slice in focus which would only be capable of rather 'artsy' looking
> pictures like the front fender in focus & the rest a blurry mirage.
>
> I can only relate to folks talking about shooting small model cars &
> similar products like jewelery where it's common to build a tent of
> translucent fabric with big hot lights on all sides in order to get
> suitable illumination for a reflective subject like that. The equivalent
> for flash would be bouncing off the ceiling at relatively low 'fill'
> levels and boosting ISO to make use of the available light in reasonable
> proportions. Something that special is unlikely to work reliably with auto
> metering though so you will still be looking at manual metering and
> careful experimentation.
>
> I will mention again though if it's at all possible to set up a tripod,
> the museum lighting is probably great and the results could be exquisite,
> just like you see with your naked eye.
>
> unexpertly yours,
>
> --
> Paul Furman
> http://www.edgehill.net/1
> san francisco native plants
 
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Steven Toney commented courteously...

> You can also get very nice IS (image stabilized)
> lens that give you more stops (latitude) for hand
> held low light that complements the ability to use
> fast lenses and higher ISOs with reasonably low noise

Thanks, Steven.

Please stick to my question: what camera/lens/flash
combo(s) should I be looking at given that I /want/ to
shoot flash?

I know I can shoot high ISO at low shutter speeds with
an IS lens, preferably with a tripod, I just don't want
to! When I go to a museum, I'm looking to take several
hundred "documentary" pictures in a few hours. I don't
have time for a tripod. And, if the place is at all
busy, setting up a tripod is problematical; in fact, the
curator may balk since it disrupts his museum for the
other visitors.

> I wonder if you could rent some DSLR combo to test

Possibly. I'm hoping to home in on a "better mouse
trap" and take advantage of my local store's liberal
trial buy. The problem I'm having with this thread is
that everyone is telling my I can't do what I want to do
for this, that, and the other reason.

What I would really like to hear is "given that you
understand the limitations of flash, here's the
cameras/lenses/flashes you should look at". Then, I
could read the reviews on dpreview.com and go to my
local store to see how the various cameras "feel", get
an idea on total price, etc.

Can you help me in my quest? Thanks again.

--
ATM, aka Jerry
 
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