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Before you buy a new camera...
Old 11-15-2019   #1
Archiver
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Before you buy a new camera...

Like many here, I have a heap of cameras, and if there's something I've learned, it's that before you buy a new camera or lens, really look at many pictures taken with it, and see if you like those results.

For example, I bought cameras like the Contax T3, Fuji Natura Black and Sigma DP1 because I saw a lot of images that I liked. When I started shooting, I knew what kind of results to expect, and I was very pleased when I achieved similar results.

On the flipside, I wish I had listened to myself when I bought the Sigma DP2 Merrill. I looked at a lot of images but never quite liked what I saw. I still bought one because I thought I could figure out some custom processing. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I have never liked the majority of this camera's output, regardless of what I do with the files.

The flipside is that if I like the look of images taken with a particular camera/lens combination, it suggests that I'd like the camera and lens itself. Right now, I'm looking at Nikon D700 and 35mm f1.4 images and I like them a lot. Scary, hahaha. @NickTrop will no doubt approve of this combination.

What would you fine folk advise before buying a new camera?
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Old 11-15-2019   #2
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The only real variable ends up being the lens - interface and aesthetics of the camera aside. With a film camera, the rest is about the film used. With a digital, especially with the quality of current cameras, you can achieve almost any result you want if you (custom) profile the camera, and/or its files, suitably. If you rely on in camera profiles and/or canned profiles in raw converters, then you do get what someone else has decided the world should look like.
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Old 11-16-2019   #3
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D700 is nice. Still gets praise even 11 years after it's introduction. One of Nikon's best.

Dpreview shows great images taken with the cameras they test. It's all pretty much the same to me. If I were going to buy another digital camera, I'd choose a Canon 5DIII or the new RP only because I really like Canon's menu system.
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Old 11-16-2019   #4
David Hughes
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If you already have cameras that take the sort of images you like then why confuse the issue with another? Spend the money on film, paper etc.

Or resign yourself to the fact that you are a collector, it can be fun.

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Old 11-16-2019   #5
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Take a deep breath ... count to ten!
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Old 11-16-2019   #6
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Within reason I’ve never found samples to be a particularly useful way of determining whether I’m going to like a camera. Pretty much all modern, large sensor digitals have very good image quality, and as a raw shooter I find the biggest difference in IQ between bodies tends to come down to how I process the files...
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Old 11-16-2019   #7
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Always remember that for the most part all cameras give you the same 2x3 view of the world so when it comes time to buy another camera ask yourself what does the camera you're looking to buy let you do that your current camera doesn't and what are the chances that you'll use that capability. Example the main reason I'm looking to get a newer digital M is for the better high ISO capability verses my M9, but I ask myself is having the capability worth the cost of a new camera or can I find creative ways to shoot in low light with what I currently have.
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Old 11-16-2019   #8
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Confess. Like a lot of us here, you are a sufferer of GAS. Wear it proudly. My Shrink has an opening.

Anyway enjoy.
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Old 11-16-2019   #9
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I often have conversations with people (friends) looking for a new camera and scratching their heads about different options. My "advice" is always about the lens. It doesn't matter so much about he system, it's the unique character of the lens that matters. Look for the lens and choose the best body that supports your choice... a great body with an average lens is a waste... just one idea...
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Old 11-16-2019   #10
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Just as one instrument is right for one musician, but wrong for another, the same can be true of cameras. I don't know that it was a mistake to try the Sigma. Here's an analogy: Everyone knows the Stradivarius is a fine violin. Some believe it's "the best." After all, many world-class violinists have used one. But it won't do what some violinists need it to do. When world-class violinist Sarah Chang was tried on the Stradivarius, it proved to be the wrong instrument for her. It takes a Guarnarius Del Gesu for her style of playing, and that is what she plays today.

I tried a Mamiya 7II. I loved the viewfinder, but the camera was wrong for me in other ways. And I imagine Archiver needed to actually use the Sigma to find out for real if it was right for him. BTW, I love my D700. It's one of the cameras I do my best with. Now, about that 35mm f/1.4 Nikkor! I hear it's outstanding when stopped down. I just might get one to try out!
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Old 11-16-2019   #11
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I've only rarely found that photo examples posted on line made with a camera I'm interested in gave me any useful information about whether I'd like that camera or lens.

Sample raw files of diverse scenes let me know whether I like the editability of the files; photos of the camera and lens showing controls and such let me know how the camera is laid out; a specification summary and a downloadable instruction manual or user guide let me know what the features are; a review or impressions article from a credible reviewer that I trust give me some feeling about whether the camera will work the way I want it to: these are useful information to me. But how well it all performs together as a piece I cannot really understand until I have it in my hands and use it for a while.

I have so many cameras and lenses now that I find both perform extremely well and are so well suited to what I want that when I get a jones to buy some new thing, I enjoy the infatuation for a while and then usually let it dissipate as infatuations usually do, after a time. If it keeps coming back AND I see some specific advantage possible from that new thing, then I do further study about it and decide whether or not to act on the buy impulse.

Once in a while I act on the impulse, acquire the new thing, and then start working with it to determine if I'm going to keep it or return it/trade it on. It usually ends up that I keep it and sell off something else that I'm no longer using because of it—because I've gotten pretty good at seeing what the new things have as an advantage to me. Once in a while, I keep both the new and the old things because they complement each other. And every so often I go on a purge binge and sell off a bunch of things I have stopped using.

... And thus is order and the space in my photo cabinet preserved.

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Old 11-16-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
Within reason I’ve never found samples to be a particularly useful way of determining whether I’m going to like a camera. Pretty much all modern, large sensor digitals have very good image quality, and as a raw shooter I find the biggest difference in IQ between bodies tends to come down to how I process the files...
Now that's the crux of the biscuit. Many people simply jump around from one processing program to another in search of the magic bullet, or maybe stick with one program but never invest the time and work in learning how to cajole that program into providing the kinds of images they're interested in seeing. Learning how to manipulate your tool(s) to give you the results you're seeking should be the goal, IMHO.
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Old 11-16-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
Like many here, I have a heap of cameras, and if there's something I've learned, it's that before you buy a new camera or lens, really look at many pictures taken with it, and see if you like those results.

For example, I bought cameras like the Contax T3, Fuji Natura Black and Sigma DP1 because I saw a lot of images that I liked. When I started shooting, I knew what kind of results to expect, and I was very pleased when I achieved similar results.

On the flipside, I wish I had listened to myself when I bought the Sigma DP2 Merrill. I looked at a lot of images but never quite liked what I saw. I still bought one because I thought I could figure out some custom processing. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I have never liked the majority of this camera's output, regardless of what I do with the files.

The flipside is that if I like the look of images taken with a particular camera/lens combination, it suggests that I'd like the camera and lens itself. Right now, I'm looking at Nikon D700 and 35mm f1.4 images and I like them a lot. Scary, hahaha. @NickTrop will no doubt approve of this combination.

What would you fine folk advise before buying a new camera?
I bought a Nikon D700 and I use my old Nikkor 50/1.4 with it. I like the resulting images from this set. All was inexpensive too.
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Old 11-16-2019   #14
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I buy camera both to use and to collect, and I approach them differently.

If I’m shopping for a new camera with a specific purpose in mind, I do these things:

1. Find out what gear that photographers who are doing the same thing use.
2. Look for other photos taken with all of that equipment.
3. Read reviews and the user manual.
4. Try the camera in person.

I only collect to see what the shooting experience is like, not to build a comprehensive collection of one brand, so I do the following:

1. Read about the history of that type of camera.
2. Look at historical photos taken with that type of camera, mostly at the library or an online digital collection.
3. Pick one example that’s historically significant, good-looking, affordable, and is still practical to shoot.
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Old 11-16-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
What would you fine folk advise before buying a new camera?
For digital...I think you really need to feel it in your hand and look through the menus to see if it gels with you. Outside of weirder stuff like the Sigma, most digital cameras are pretty easy to get standard results from.
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Old 11-16-2019   #16
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I was going to open similar thread today. But first is first.

I have purchased Canon 5Dc and 50L years ago because I liked images from it on P.O.T.N.
I have purchased film Leica M, because many photographers whom I find interested have it.
No regrets.

For years, if I want to know about digital camera I will put in the Google search "camera flicr.com" and in the search return I click on the flickr group for this camera. Tens of thousands photos from thousands of users. They can't have same PP, the sensor of particular camera is visible at its true capabilities.

I was looking at Sony A7s II in last 24 hours this way. Disappointment. Odd colors.
So was all Leica X series. So-so image quality.
Leica M series I have done many times. Neutral.
FujiNoFilm is nice.
Olympus MFT is the most closest to film sensors I have seen.

So, after many years of self-denial of MFT I purchased Oly E-PL1 and it is indeed camera with very capable sensor.

But I also read user reviews. I like Sigma colors, but as camera it is red flag to me.

I also went on exhibition this week and have tried most of known mirrorless cameras I was interested it. RP, Z, Pro 3 and so on. Olympus Pen F is the winner for me, with its manual focus clutch lens. (Never trust completely to anyone the net, until you will try it )
Well, I couldn't get to Sony booth. It was most crowded one .
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Old 11-17-2019   #17
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With old cameras I've rather looked at it as a cross between a game of Monopoly and chance to own the cameras I lusted after as a teenager but could then never afford. The first has meant I have acquired good quality things as I landed on them, then later sold as I found they didn't meet my requirements (namely having excellent lenses, bright viewfinders and something tactile about them). Of course the latter is a little like finding the film stars of your youth are now a rather broken down bunch with odd habits, while discovering the vintage heroes who were old in your youth, yet which virtues are now obvious (so Leica Ms).

So my test now is - does this camera or lens add something I don't already have (an extra stop or a mount that enables me to use vintage lenses I love), that enables me to get the same ability but for less money, and will I use it. Anything digital will be used for colour as I won't develop colour at home now, so anything film should work well and have some real character in black and white. I use Flickr a lot for that.

So my buying is now confined to getting a reliable and cheap open aperture metering M42 mount camera, a 28mm lens to complete the set for the M5 (and M3), maybe a C Sonnar for that too (as I adore my 35mm Biogon) possibly a longer lens and a shorter lens for my R system (but that is a long way off as I will hardly use either) and a small digital for colour. Plus an autofocus macro for my Canon EOS, but with my move I won't be out in a garden much so that will be held back.

The rest of my equipment is now, like Monopoly, up for sale. Hence my de-gassing signature!
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Old 11-17-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
Like many here, I have a heap of cameras, and if there's something I've learned, it's that before you buy a new camera or lens, really look at many pictures taken with it, and see if you like those results....

What would you fine folk advise before buying a new camera?

It's the photographer's vision that results in the image and not the camera. The camera is the tool. If you don't have a vision about the image in the first place, the (new) camera, or lens won't help.
Once you have a vision, it will be obvious that are able to take an image with any camera that doesn't get in your way .
Take a photo class, a masterclass if possible. It will give you much more in return than other/new equipment.
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Old 11-17-2019   #19
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It's the photographer's vision that results in the image and not the camera. The camera is the tool. If you don't have a vision about the image in the first place, the (new) camera, or lens won't help.
Once you have a vision, it will be obvious that are able to take an image with any camera that doesn't get in your way .
Take a photo class, a masterclass if possible. It will give you much more in return than other/new equipment.
Good advice.

Suggest folks print this sentence and post in a spot that is frequented, like on your bahroom mirror.

But I will add that if you make photographs of people, the personality of the photographer will show on the subjects, having an impact with the outcome of the images.
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Old 11-17-2019   #20
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Originally Posted by CharlesDAMorgan View Post
With old cameras I've rather looked at it as a cross between a game of Monopoly and chance to own the cameras I lusted after as a teenager but could then never afford.
I think you've psychoanalytically hit it on the head.
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