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Best Digital Cam with Manual Functions?

Discussion in 'Through the Lens' started by WYSIWYG, Jul 2, 2005.


    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer


    I got a little big of money from the hubby today and I was thinking instead of spending it on spiders, I ought to spend some of it to get me a decent digital camera.

    I'm kinda die-hard in that I dont' want a straight digital camera. I want one with some manual functions, where I can control the lense and do things like selective focusing. I don't want to have to stand there for 20 minutes waiting for the camera to settle so that the object isn't a blur.

    I'd like to be able to do some of the cool macros shots I see here too, BUT...

    I don't have an arm and a leg to spend. I only have a couple hundred
    dollars to spend (darn it, there I go with that return button at the end of
    every line). :p

    Anyway, I only have a little bit to spend, and chances are, I'm not going to
    be able to get EVERYTHING I want in digital, but if I can get at least half of
    it, then maybe I can sell some of my artsy types of photos to move up to a
    better camera.

    I really want to get some good shots of some of my favorite tarantulas and my other critters too. Anyone got any ideas?

    (I saw another related thread, but the question wasn't the same as mine, so
    figured I might as well start a new one). :)

  2. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    I like my Canon EOS Digital Rebel. You can control everything!

    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for such a QUICK response! I've been looking at those lately.
    Last time I looked, it was a few years ago. Back then, they were just
    point and click thingies. So I'm guessing they've come a long ways!

    I'll take a closer look at one this weekend. I'm really anxious to get started
    with my photography....bugs and other things too. :)

  4. Windchaser

    Windchaser Arachnoking Old Timer

    I would suggest that you look at the Canon S2 IS or the Sony H1. Both are very capable cameras. I just picked up the Canon for my daughter as her graduation gift. It is a nice camera with lots of features. The only thing I don't like is that it does not have a hot shoe to support other flashs. Apparently there is some type of additional Canon flash you can get, but this is not the same as having a hot shoe that will work with a variety of different flashs. Other than that, it is a very nice camera.

    I have an older Sony F717 and like it a lot. I have seen good reviews for the H1. Based on these two points, I am recommending it as an option for you. Though I don't have any personal experience with the H1.
  5. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    For pics of what my camera can do in a novices hands..see any of my pics. I think I do allot better than I used to but I lack good variety of lenses, lighting, and other equipment options.

    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    Hiya Chris,

    Yeah, I was just admiring your B. smithi pix in another thread.
    BUT....I don't see the info on what camera you were using. Obviously,
    it has selective focusing, which is one of my favorite things to do with a
    photo. It gives it a 3-D feel. (I remember putting up a photo for discussion
    in one of my photography classes and someone said it looked 3-D to them).

    I LOVE selective focusing! You get that going with interesting patterns (my last photography teacher said he noticed I had a penchant for patterns), and you get some really interesting stuff.

    I really stunk at photojournalism-type pix like basketball games and portraits and such, so I still with the artsy type things that don't move for the most part. ;)

    So, what camera are you using, Chris?

    Windy, thanks for the tips. I'll check those out. I don't like to use flash at
    all anyway. I prefer natural light, so I don't see a problem there. :)

  7. Windchaser

    Windchaser Arachnoking Old Timer

    Chris is using the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. At least I assume that is what he is using since that is what camera he said that he has.

    As far as lighting goes, I too prefer natural light. Unfortunately that isn't always an option. So, I like to have more options available to me if I need a flash rather than be limited.

    For instance, this picture would have been impossible without a flash, since it was taken at night during a scorpion hunt. The cheesy built in flash would not have given me the same results.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2005
  8. Tony

    Tony Arachno-pragmatarian Old Timer


    As you may have noticed lighting goes along way in making the picture...a 3 MP camera with a good macro will do you just fine...a site you can check is dpreview.com but they sure get into the nitty gritty of stuff..My Sony DSC-S75 works pretty well for me...The S 85 $mp) apparently is popular with people even though it is old.

    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer


    DUH! You'll have to forgive me. I was up until 4 am and then got up around 8 AM this morning so the brains aren't really here yet. :}

    I hadn't made the connection that Chris is the same Chris that answered my question earlier. I was reading your reply thinking, "WHERE did he say he was
    using a Canon?!?" --- and then I scrolled up and found it. :8o

    Funny stuff. (As you can see, I'm finally starting to get the hang of these
    smiley thingies too, though I still get mixed up between hitting the return at
    the end of every line and letting it wrap). ;)

    Tony, I saw your suggestion. Thanks. I'll check it out.

    One thing is it would be nice to get at least one good pix to put into the
    Arachnoboards contest, though Murphy's Law dictates that the opportunity
    won't present itself until after the deadline....but there's always next year! :)

    Thanks a bunch guys. :)


    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    Oh, I forgot to thank ya'll for the reminder about the night-time situations. (Lovely pic, Windy). Funny thing, is that I just don't have an off-camera flash even for my 35 mm Pentax Z-whatever-model it is. I do need to get around to expanding my camera supplies though. I want to do sceneries and stuff.

    I think if I could find a good camera with a K-mount, then I could use the lenses I already have. That would help save a few dollars too. :)
  11. Venom

    Venom Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Hey WYSIWYG, I have also been researching a digital camera. Some of my main criteria were:

    excellent macro
    high resolution
    low noise, very good image quality
    good range of manual controls
    good for landscapes also
    high all around competency and quality
    price sub $400

    I don't know how this matches with what you need in your camera , but after several months of exhaustive research I settled on the Olympus C-7070. You can find a number of pages with informative reviews on this model here:


    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    Thanks Venom,

    That seems closer to my range than some of the other suggestions.
    I found one of yours at Ebay (a new one from on online dealer), and it comes with alot
    of great stuff. (I looked up Olympus on Kits Camera, where I got my last two cameras from, and they don't carry that brand for some reason)!

    This one actually is higher than what I was looking for too, but I'm thinking with all the bonuses the dealer is throwing in, it might be worth it. (Looks like he has more than one, so it's probably safe to share the URL). :)


    What do ya'll think?

  13. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    Hopefully I can post some of the details on mine.

    Camera Type: Digital AF/AE SLR
    Recording Medium: Type I and II CF card
    Imaging Size: 0.89 x 0.59 in. (22.7 x 15.1mm)
    Compatible Lenses: Canon EF including EF-S lenses. (Focal length conversion factor: Equivalent to approx. 1.6x indicated focal length compared to 35mm format.)
    Lens Mount: Canon EF mount
    Imaging Element type: High-sensitivity, high-resolution, single-plate, color CMOS
    Pixels: Effective pixels: Approx. 6.3 megapixels.
    Total pixels: Approx. 6.5 megapixels
    Aspect Ratio: 2:3 (Vertical:Horizontal)
    Color Filter System: RGB primary color filter
    IR Cut Low-pass Filter: Located in front of the imaging element, non-removable
    Recording System
    Recording Format: Design rule for Camera File system (JPEG) and RAW. Exif 2.2 compliant.
    Image Format: JPEG and RAW (CRW)
    File Size (on CF card): JPEG:
    (1) Large/Fine: Approx. 3.1MB (3072 x 2048)
    (2) Large/ Normal: Approx. 1.8MB (3072 x 2048)
    (3) Middle/Fine: Approx. 1.8MB (2048 x 1360)
    (4) Middle/Normal: Approx. 1.2MB (2048 x1360)
    (5) Small/Fine: Approx. 1.4MB (1536 x 1024)
    (6) Small/Normal: Approx. 0.9MB (1536 x 1024). RAW: Approx. 7MB (3072 x 2048)
    Folder Setting: Automatic
    File Numbersing: (1) Serial numbering, (2) Auto reset
    Processing Parameters: Standard parameters plus up to three custom processing parameter sets can be set
    Interface: USB
    White Balance
    Setting: Preset: (Auto, daylight, shade, overcast, tungsten bulb, fluorescent light, flash.) Manual : (Custom: read off photo quality gray card or white subject.)
    Type: Eye-level SLR (with fixed pentamirror)
    Coverage: Approx. 95% vertically and horizontally (Coverage against JPEG Large)
    Magnification: 0.8x (-1 diopter with 50mm lens at infinity)
    Eyepoint: 21mm
    Buit-in Dioptric Correction: -3.0 - +1.0 diopter
    Focusing Screen: Fixed
    Mirror: Quick-return half mirror (Transmittance: reflectance ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with lenses up to EF 600mm f/4)
    Viewfinder Information: AF points, AE lock, FE lock, AEB in progress, flash ready, improper FE lock warning, high-speed sync, flash exposure compensation, shutter speed, bulb, FE lock, processing data, aperture, exposure level (exposure compensation, manual exposure level, AEB level, flash exposure compensation, red-eye reduction lamp-on indicator), Max. burst during continuous shooting, AF/MF focus confirmation, CF card full, CF card error, no CF card
    Depth-of-field Preview: Enabled with depth-of-field preview button
    Eyepiece Shutter: None ( provided with neckstrap)
    Type: TTL-CT-SIR with AF-dedicated CMOS sensor
    AF Points: 7
    AF Working Range: EV 0.5 -18 (at ISO 100)
    Focusing Modes: One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF (Automatically selects One-Shot AF or AI Servo AF selected according to shooting mode), Manual Focusing (MF)
    AF Point Selection: Automatic selection, manual selection
    Selected AF Point Display: Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD panel.
    AF-assist Beam: Intermittent firing of built-in flash, effective range: approx. 13.1 ft/4m at center, approx. 11.5 ft/3.5m at periphery
    Exposure Control
    Metering Modes: Metering Modes: Max. aperture TTL metering with 35-zone SPC. (1) Evaluative metering, (2) Partial metering at center (approx. 9% of viewfinder), (3) Centerweighted average metering (in manual exposure mode)
    Metering Range: EV 1-20 (at 68F / 20C with 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO 100)
    Exposure Control System: Program AE (shiftable), shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, auto depth-of-field AE, full auto, programmed image control modes (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, and Flash OFF), E-TTL autoflash program AE, and manual.
    ISO Speed Range: Equivalent to ISO 100-1600
    Exposure Compensation: Up to +/-2 stops in 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments (1) AEB (Auto exposure bracketing). (2) Manual exposure compensation. (3) Flash exposure compensation.
    AE Lock: Auto: Operates in One-Shot AF mode evaluative metering when focus is achieved. Manual: Enabled with AE lock button. No AE lock in Basic Zone modes.
    Type: Vertical-travel, mechanical, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically-controlled.
    Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec. (1/3 increments), bulb, X-sync at 1/200 sec.
    Shutter Release: Soft-touch electromagnetic release
    Noise Reduction: None (Not necessary)
    Self-time: 10-sec. delay.
    Remote Control: Remote control with RS-60E3 terminal or wireless Remote Controller RC-1 and RC-5. (Both Optional)
    Built-in Flash Type: Auto pop-up, retractable, built-in flash in the pentamirror hump. Guide No: 13/43 (at ISO 100 in meters/feet)
    Recycling time: Approx. 3 sec.
    Flash-ready indicator: Flash-ready indicator lights on in viewfinder
    Flash coverage: Up to 18mm focal length (equivalent to approx. 28mm in 35mm format)
    EOS-dedicated Speedlite: E-TTL autoflash with EX-series Speedlite.
    Drive System
    Drive Modes: Single, Continuous selected automatically according to shooting mode, Self-timer
    Continuous Shooting Speed: Approx. 2.5 fps (at 1/250 sec. or faster for all recording qualities)
    Max. Burst During: Continuous Shooting 4 shots
    LCD Monitor
    Type: TFT color LCD monitor
    Monitor Size: 1.8 inches
    Pixels: Approx. 118,000 pixels (Displayed pixels)
    Coverage: Approx. 100% (for JPEG images)
    Brightness Adjustment: 5-levels (settable with menu: LCD brightness)
    Image Playback
    Image Display Format : (1) Single image, (2) Single image with information, (3) 9-image index, (4) Enlarged, (5) Auto play
    Highlight Alert: In the single image with information display mode, the highlight portions containing no image information will blink.
    Image Protection and Erase
    Protection: A single image can be protected or unprotected
    Erase: A single image or all images stored in a CompactFlash card can be erased if they are unprotected.
    Menu Categories: (1) Shooting Menus [8], (2) Playback Menus [4], (3) Setup Menus [14]
    LCD Monitor Language: English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), and Japanese.
    Firmware Updating: Enabled by the user
    Power Source
    Battery: One Battery Pack BP-511/512 (lithium ion rechargeable battery)
    Dimensions and Weight
    Dimensions: (W x H x D): 5.6 x 3.9 x 2.9 in. / 142 x 99 x 72.4mm
    Weight: 19.7 oz. / 560g
    Working Conditions
    Working Temperature Range: 0 - 40C / 32-104F
    Working Humidity: 85% or less
    EF-S 18-55mm Lens
    Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6
    Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
    Diagonal Angle of View: 75-degrees 20' - 27degrees 50'
    Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with MM
    Closest Focusing Distance: 0.28m / 0.92 ft. to infinity
    Zoom System: Rotating Type
    Filter Size: 58mm
    Max. Diameter x Length: 2.7 x 2.6 in. / 69mm x 66.2mm

    So what do you think...enough features? LMAO!!!!!!! I know it does everything except fly!
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2005
  14. Windchaser

    Windchaser Arachnoking Old Timer

    That's cool. Does it pick up your dirty socks too? :D

    Nice camera BTW.
  15. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    naa......they just get kicked downstairs to the room that the clean clothes appear from. Like magic!

    I love the camera and as soon a funds permit, I will be buying about 5 different Canon EF lenses (Macro Only, 500m, 300m, 200m Fisheye), Canon 440 Speedlite modular clip on flash that is directional, RC-1 remote that has macro and time release functions, Canon BG-1 battery grip, tripod and many other items. It will be fully loaded then.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2005
  16. Blasphemy

    Blasphemy Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Yeah the EOS rebel is one monster of a camera. The price will really do some serious damage to your wallet, but as they say you get what you pay for...and 9/10 that's usually true, especially with that thing.
  17. Windchaser

    Windchaser Arachnoking Old Timer

    Hey Chris,

    You can save a little on the flash if you go with a non-dedicated flash such as the Sunpak Super 383. It has a guide number of 120, which is a little less than ths Canon flash that you are looking at, but it is $100 less. That could help toward the lens fund. This flash is used by a ton of photographers. It is worth considering.

    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    I'm still SOOOOOOO confused!!! (I haven't had any input on that link I put up as to whether or not that's a good deal either). ;)

    Anyway, the Canon is 6.3 megapix. The Olympus I'm looking at is 7.1 and it's less expensive than the Canon. I'm leaning that direction.

    But if it's has more megapix, why is it cheaper than Canon? Is it just a brand name thingy like the difference between Cadillac and Ford Lincoln Continental? (In that Cadillac is a more expensive car with a brand name people pay extra for despite it's electrical problems, and the Ford Lincoln is less expensive and is a better car in general, despite the brand name)?

    Or am I really off-base with my comparison? ;)

  19. Venom

    Venom Arachnoprince Old Timer

    The difference is that the Canon EOS is a digital SLR, and the Olympus c-7070 is a high end "point and shoot". The advantage of the SLR is that you can change lenses, and that the image you get in the viewfinder is the same framing that the camera's sensor will see. Now, on the Olympus you can still see what the camera sees, but you see it on the lcd screen on the back. Also, I beleive the optical viewfinder has adjustment markings that allow you to adjust from the viewfinder being offset from the lens. With the Canon you can change the lens for a wide angle, telephoto, or macro lens, and get filters for the lenses as well. But you have to buy each lens separately ( mega $$$ ). With the Olympus you still get wide angle ( 27mm lens ) and a 4x telephoto ( 110 mm ) without having to buy lenses--these functions are part of the built-in lens. There are also two macro modes built in : normal and super. In normal mode you can get something like 20 cm from the subject, which isn't great. The super mode allows a distance of 3 cm, which allows you to fill the frame with an object a mere 21 x 28 millimeters. For a point and shoot, the Olympus is very versatile, and you can also buy additional lenses for it, including 187 and 330 mm telephoto lenses and an 18.9 mm wide angle, but you first have to attach an adapter.

    As for resolution, yes the Olympus does have higher megapixels than the canon. SLR's typically have "cleaner," less processed images, but the Olympus still has excellent image quality. SLR's are generally for serious photographers--advanced amateurs and pros. However, the Olympus here is so capable and SLR-like that it really is a compelling alternative for someone who doesn't want the price tag of an SLR, but still wants an extremely capable camera that will do everything they want it to.

    The auction you showed is a good deal, if you want to really get into serious photography. The camera by itself though you can get for about $350 +s/h. The main thing that auction offers is the two lenses--the wide angle and telephoto. You just need to decide on what you want to do with the camera, and if a 27mm wide angle and a 110 telephoto is enough for you. Anyway, do some research. How much camera is enough for your needs, and what are you needs? The website I gave you has links to numerous other sites that give reviews of these and many other cameras.

    WYSIWYG SpiderLoco Old Timer

    Thanks again, Venom. Seems like the SLR is what I want.
    I remember a few years ago, I got to borrow our photojournalism camera, which was some sort of Canon. At the time, they were running about $2500 - $3000. So I imagine the Canon Rebel is much closer than that as I really don't want to look through some display. I want to look through it like I do with my regular camera. :)

    That's a BIG factor for me, so thank you for clearing that up.

    I have been looking at the site, but to be honest with you, it's so full of info, it puts me on information overload and confuses the heck out of me. But I'll keep looking at it. I need to find out if there is some kind of adaptor so that I can use my Pentax lenses with it. Then, instead of spending the money on the Olympus and all that other stuff, I can go with the Canon. (Too bad I haven't found a good Pentax dig, but I'm still looking).

    I think today, we'll just go to the camera shop where I got my Pentax. They always seem to have the best prices and their extended warranty is nice.

    For now, I'm going to go look at that site again and see what it says about Pentax and if they even have an affordable dig with all the features I want. :)

    Thanks a bunch! :)

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