Volcan Visit May Have Been Expensive

One of the people I talked to at Dalys restaurant was reader of CC and a great photographer. I looked at several photos he had taken of calf roping in Volcan and they were nothing less than fantastic. The one thing I don’t like about my camera is that it is slow and it is easy for me to miss a photo I wanted to capture.

The gent was toting a Nikon and now I have the bug to start checking the net again for a digital SLR. I don’t know if this is going to get past the wishing stage, but I sure wished I hadn’t looked at his photos. 🙁

17 thoughts on “Volcan Visit May Have Been Expensive

  1. You’ve plucked my guitar string 🙂
    Try a Nikon D300 or D700…takes good shots in low light…although the D700 handles noise (little black dots) better at a higher ISO in low light. Alternatively, you could snag the D90 which allows you to capture video also. Then, snag the Tamron 28mm to 75mm, F2.8…excellent lens and easy on the pocketbook. Both the D300 and D700 have onboard flash. However, if you also wanted off-camera flash, consider the Metz 58 AF-1 N Digital Flash for Nikon. It is slightly better than the SB900 (Nikon’s newest off camera flash).

    Shoot in camera RAW (.nef files), process (tweak exposure, sharpness, crop, etc) in Adobe Lightroom 2.0 (requires a Windows or MAC OS), and output a 72 ppi jpeg image ready for your blog.

    Don…go look at his photos again 🙂

  2. Hi Michael. Kind of figured I would hear from you. I am just starting on the research. I will look at the models you mentioned. I had seen information on the new Pentax K7 with video, but it might go out of my price range. I have time to study.

  3. Don Ray,

    I agree with Michael in two areas: shoot in RAW and get a fixed minimum aperture zoom. I have the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 zoom, and that is all I use on my D50. I use Bibble (http://www.bibblelabs.com/) for processing my RAW files, but there are Free Software options (dcraw interfacing with Gimp is one). I have a Bibble Pro license which allows me (a single user) to use the software on Linux, Mac, or Windows.

    The choice of whether Nikon, Pentax, or other is very personal. I’d like to encourage you to check out the reviews at Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com) and Popular Photography (http://www.popphoto.com).

    If you go DSLR, you will like the lag with your present camera even less. Trust my first-hand experience on this.

  4. Hi Tuxi. Yes, I have never liked the photo lag. However, it will take some research and coaxing for me to drop the coins that a dsl runs.

  5. Hi Stephan. Thanks for the links and taking the time to leave a comment. Your site has even gotten me to thinking about the D40. Maybe it is all I need.

  6. For research, here are some blogs/web pages for Nikons (and some others):
    http://www.nikonian.org/ (huge forum with info on most Nikons)
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm (he routinely tests Nikons and rates them)
    http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/ (lots of good info on “through the lens” [TTL] flash)
    http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/ (famous photographer who shoots with Nikons)

    For coaxing: Don, go look at his photos again 🙂

    OK…I’m finished

    Nikon Facilitator

  7. Hi again Michael. Thanks for the links. It is a long way to drive up to Volcan. I will have to be tempted by another good restaurant. 🙂

  8. So if I splurged and bought the D90, what lens would be the minimun I would need and what are considered the best values?

  9. The Tamron lens I mentioned in my first post above is an excellent zoom lens and not expensive compared to similar lenses. I think it would work great for the kind of photography you do and would be the minimum I’d recommend. B&H lists it for $399.95 here and the listing includes reviews by the end user:

    I learned about the lens from Will Crocket @ shootsmarter.com. He’s a no BS commercial photographer with a studio and photography school that has done extensive testing of what works and doesn’t work for photographers. I followed his recommendation and bought this lens about a year ago. I’ve used this lens for weddings and outdoor portraiture and love it. Most of the recent photography on my web site was taken with either the Tamron or a Nikon portrait lens.
    If I’m going to buy some equipment, I check his web site first.
    After you sign up, do a search of his “smarticles” using the search terms: “Recommended DSLR Lenses”

    This is what Crockett wrote about the Tamron in 2005:
    28-75 f 2.8
    $ 385.
    It’s inexpensive and remarkably sharp. Unusually lens flare resistant. We cannot recommend this high enough. It’s not built in a rough-and-tumble case like Nikons’ version, so don’t take to Afghanistan on assignment, but it will rock your portrait / wedding / commercial studio. A-”

    I have 4 Nikon lenses and the Tamron and this is my favorite for all around shooting. I usually stick with Nikon equipment with some exceptions…this lens is an exception.

    If you purchase the D90 and also plan to shoot video clips, I’d recommend:
    1. a filter to protect the lens
    2. 2 – 8 GB SD cards…or a minimum of 2 – 4GB cards. The video will likely eat up a lot of real estate on the card. Video on the D90 is limited to 5 minute clips.
    3. Get the body only…you don’t need a “kit lens” that costs about what the Tamron costs. A kit lens has a fluctuating F-stop…and the product description will read “f/3.5-5.6.”
    4. A backup battery if you plan to shoot steady for a couple of hours and use the on-camera flash for a couple of hundred shots.
    5. A bag to carry the camera.

    B&H sells the D90 for $974.95 but they’re currently on backorder:
    I’ve spent a lot of money at B&H. However…they call your phone number to confirm you have a physical address. Adorama is also another good source for photography equipment.

    Pay attention to “Import” versus “Nikon USA” warranty. Nikon USA won’t honor a warranty for a Nikon import also called “gray market.” Photographers here avoid “gray market” or import. It’s a bit weird but that’s the way it is.

    To answer your question about what are considered the best values: I’d review Will Crockett’s recommendations and give them serious consideration if you’re gonna spend money…whether a serious amateur or pro. Avoid the $200 no-name lenses. They are a waste of money. Good glass is essential to good photos. You should be good to go with your onboard flash.

  10. Hi Michael. The lens costs as much as my last camera. If I do decide to buy, I will most likely need to have someone buy it for me that is coming to Panama. Or I will have to wait till I am in the US and buy it and bring it back. Could double the price of my vacation. 🙂

  11. I have a Canon Rebel (several years old now) SLR and like it very much. I ordered it from a NY shop and saved a couple hundred dollars over the price at my local USA home. I haven’t seen Canons at any of the David stores and haven’t looked in PC, but it’s great camera.

  12. Hi Fran. I also like Canon. AudioFoto used to carry some, but no store in Panama carries a large number. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  13. Hi Don: I can’t recommend Canon high enough. Previously I had purchased a Canon PowerShot S1IS and had used it a few years but then it started to lose its viewfinder. It started out blurry and then black. I wrote (e-mailed) to Canon U.S.A. and they told me to send the camera to the Canon repair office in Panama City even though the camera was out of warrenty. I did and after they investigated informed me that they didn’t have the part to repair my camera but that they would send me a upscale model S2IS at no charge. In all, took about two weeks and I have been using the S2IS since. Now this camera is not in the class that you are accustomed to but to show you that Canon stands behind its brands.

  14. Hi Patrick. I have had pretty good luck with Canon. However I has a Canon S2 from the US and Panama couldn’t fix it and i had an expensive paperweight. In Panama, things may go good or bad. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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