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Thread: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Carolyn needs a new dslr ..she complains that my files (m8/D3) just look better than her Leica V-lux 1 files. She is more dedicated than you might expect shooting maybe 7-8000 images per year ..mostly travel logs . She makes a book after each trip and we do about 6 trips a year. She uses video and makes slide shows that include video clips for maybe another 5-6 events per year. So she has about a project a month . She uses Aperture on here MacBook and takes a weekly lesson at the Mac store.

    Weight and size ..she can handle any of the DX bodies ...but has to go with a lighter zoom (I can barely carry the 24-70/2.8 on D700 and have gone to primes.

    So we have narrowed this down to the D90 or the new D5000. Both have video and the new sensor . Cost of the body isn t really a factor as they are only a few hundred dollars apart. Either looks like a fine choice. I would buy the D90 for the closer to 100% view but she likes the flip screen for getting lower camera angels.

    The zoom lens is much more difficult...the kit lens is good and cheap ...looks like we can have the 18-55 or the 18-105 .

    She doesn t want to with a 4/3 alternative primarily because she wants a bigger file to allow cropping etc.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    I have to say that I find a flip screen atractive as well.
    Has she handled both in a store? That would be important.
    Another thing: When I bought a d40 as a second body I realized that the somewhat bigger lenses (even the 18-200) just didnt balance well with such a small body. So maybe also keep in mind which lens to get. I dont think she would win much with a bigger sensor but maybe a second class lens.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    I'm a bit confused on the the 4/3 comment since they are both about the same amount of pixels so you would have the same ability to crop unless it is an IQ issue? Best implementation of integrated video is the GH1.

    For the Nikon lens solution, the 18-200 while it has some issues, I've seen plenty of good work with it and you would have a nice one lens solution.
    Last edited by Terry; 25th May 2009 at 10:25.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I have to say that I find a flip screen atractive as well.
    Has she handled both in a store? That would be important.
    Another thing: When I bought a d40 as a second body I realized that the somewhat bigger lenses (even the 18-200) just didnt balance well with such a small body. So maybe also keep in mind which lens to get. I dont think she would win much with a bigger sensor but maybe a second class lens.

    Agree 100%...the body I think is a toss up ...the d90 s are discounted and easy to find used..so the price isn t significant. Most of the features are close enough that it will not matter so its primarily the view finder and the screen. Size and weight very close.

    The lens is the issue....my lenses are all FX and way too heavy or zeiss primes which are overkill for this application. We are thinking something in the 18-100 range is enough and maybe the small fast 35 1.8 for night shooting.

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    nei1
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I'm a bit confused on the the 4/3 comment since they are both about the same amount of pixels so you would have the same ability to crop unless it is an IQ issue?
    Doesnt that depend on what you want to crop to,if you like 3:2 then the 4:3 sensor becomes almost point and shoot.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    Doesnt that depend on what you want to crop to,if you like 3:2 then the 4:3 sensor becomes almost point and shoot.
    On the GH1 the sensor is bigger than a regular 4/3 sensor so there aren't any crops when you change aspect ratio.

    Dimensions in pixels

    4:3 - 4000 x 3000
    3:2 - 4128 x 2752
    16:9 - 4352 x 2448

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Consideration for how large she will print will make a difference also. I've been shooting the 5D for well over 3 years now, but found that there was so little difference to anyone without a loupe between the 5D at 11 x 7 and the G1--both landscape with fine detail--that it didn't make a difference. There are lots of other considerations, but cropping--unless you are going to crop substantially--needn't be one of them unless the prints are going to be larger than 11 x 17 (which I print on 13 x 19 paper). Perhaps she likes to crop out detail and print larger--that could make some difference, but for her books--the G1/GH1 should be more than adequate--or any other 4/3rds (and I've been a Canon shooter forever LOL so have no bias for Oly/Panny except that I do like my G1 now--esp. with MF lenses).

    Diane

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    nei1
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    On the GH1 the sensor is bigger than a regular 4/3 sensor so there aren't any crops when you change aspect ratio.

    Dimensions in pixels

    4:3 - 4000 x 3000
    3:2 - 4128 x 2752
    16:9 - 4352 x 2448

    Thats clever

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Tamron 17-50/2.8 on a DX body is a good combination. It's a remarkably good lens, compact and not so expensive, 67mm thread. Just don't treat it like I did hehe. If I had a DX body I would get a new 17-50. I believe Jorgen Udvang has one. Add a 30/1.4 DX, and perhaps a medium FL macro 90-100 mm. And I believe Sigma 50/1.4 would be an outstanding short tele for portraits.

    As for bodies, I only have firsthand experience with D300 which is a great camera.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Any experience with the mid range zooms in the 18-100 range on a Dx body? She needs one mid range zoom?

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    For a very small, light, inexpensive lens with a reasonably large zoom range, the Nikon 18-70 DX lens that used to be the kit lens back in the D70 days is a darn fine lens. So you don't have to just take my word for it, look for it on Bjorn Rorslett's web site, which has reviews of many Nikon lenses (look for the "Lenses" link near the upper left):

    http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

    I now mostly use the Nikon 18-200 VR DX, but only for the extra reach and the VR. Otherwise, I'm slightly happier with my old 18-70 in terms of image quality, and it's a great deal smaller and lighter.

    Lisa

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    I had the 16-85. Good sharp lens. You will need a good prime with it because it is slow and it can be sort of maddening to be around f5.6 at 50mm. It may take a bit for your wife to get used to because the v-lux is actually a pretty fast lens all the way through the zoom range.

    The best successor to the V-lux with very similar menus/controls etc and video really is the GH1. There is a 20mm f1.7 coming and Oly is going to announce their m4/3 system in two weeks with all indications of very quick shipping thereafter. I expect to see a fast prime from them.
    Last edited by Terry; 25th May 2009 at 12:48.

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Any experience with the mid range zooms in the 18-100 range on a Dx body? She needs one mid range zoom?
    Thom Hogan is extremely knowledgeable about Nikon cameras and lenses. He has recently reviewed both the 16-85/3.5-5.6 ("Highly recommended:
    [his] first choice of DX consumer zoom") and the 18-105/3.5-5.6 ("Highly recommended: budget shoppers won't be dissatisfied with this lens"). The reviews are comprehensive and worth reading.

    Am I correct in assuming your wife is shooting video with a real video camera? I wouldn't buy either the D90 or the D5000 expecting the video to be all that wonderful. If video in a still camera is important, the GH1 would be a much better choice.

    PS. Given that she intends to crop, the flip screen will be of more use than the closer to 100% view. (I don't crop much at all but I'm really hoping that the rumors about the D400's having a flip screen are true.)
    Last edited by Jonathon Delacour; 25th May 2009 at 13:05.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Roger,
    I have to put in another vote for the G1/GH1. The two kit zooms are very good and your wife could borrow your M lenses for it. I carry mine around in my purse when I don't want to take a camera bag with the D700/S5. It is no slouch...she should go to a store and handle it before she makes up her mind.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    While Carolyn shoots a lot ...I mean she will get 150% as many images as I do ...she has a good hit ratio with the vlux. My daughter shots events for a 3000 person office of a business services company..and uses a 5D the 24-105 ,70-200L,35L and now the 50/1.2L. Carolyn borrows Elizabeths camera (5D) and can contrast the Vlux 1 size features etc to the 5d. Carolyn shoots raw and uses Aperture .

    The size and weight issues have been pretty easy to discuss...put her Vlux 1 on one end and my D700 on the other. She wants a serious camera capable of better IQ ....don t we all? ......we settled in the middle with the d5000 and the d90 offering reasonable alternatives. She will still have a Clux 2 for her purse...so this would be her camera for heavy shooting. Sorry if I over simplified her requirements but I thought my posts are already too detailed.

    The Vlux 1 is a great camera and under the right conditions can produce images worthy of publication.....but it dies as you need to increase the ISO and the lens is slow. The IQ is fine for her event work but she wants better IQ for her travel.

    So we boiled it down to two key decisions ....(1) D5000 or D90 and (2) what standard zoom.. the two best seem to the 18-105 and the 16-85 . A standard or wide prime will be needed in either case..but that can be carried only when expecting really low light. If I can find the new 35/1.8 (about $200)..it would seem enough.

    The video quality isn t a key factor ..but she doesn t want to give it up. She embeds video clips in her slide shows (baby showers,awards luncheons etc) she puts them on her website and is a big hit with her golfing friends.

    This is clearly one of those (Nikon/Canon etc questions) no right answers ..but plenty of good alternatives. Thanks to all that contributed....I will have to study the camera and lens reviews.

    Cindy Please......loan my M glass ...LOL....

    Roger

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    These were the best lens reviews I have found as few have included the new er 18-105.






    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    Thom Hogan is extremely knowledgeable about Nikon cameras and lenses. He has recently reviewed both the 16-85/3.5-5.6 ("Highly recommended:
    [his] first choice of DX consumer zoom") and the 18-105/3.5-5.6 ("Highly recommended: budget shoppers won't be dissatisfied with this lens"). The reviews are comprehensive and worth reading.

    Am I correct in assuming your wife is shooting video with a real video camera? I wouldn't buy either the D90 or the D5000 expecting the video to be all that wonderful. If video in a still camera is important, the GH1 would be a much better choice.

    PS. Given that she intends to crop, the flip screen will be of more use than the closer to 100% view. (I don't crop much at all but I'm really hoping that the rumors about the D400's having a flip screen are true.)

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    I'm a bit late to the party, but here are a few viewpoints anyway:

    Between the D5000 and the D90, I would choose the D5000 hadn't it been for one important detail: the D90's vastly superior viewfinder. Add to that the fact that the D90 has a larger LCD with much higher resolution, and the difference can be quite big in many shooting situations, particularly when there's little light. You must really have a strong need for the flip-LCD to choose the D5000.

    The 16-85 and 18-105 are both nice lenses, but I would feel limited by the slow aperture at longer focal lengths, which is the reason why I chose the Tamron 17-50. The fact that the Tamron was around half the price of the 16-85 helped also.

    Still, for you wife's use, I would clearly have chosen the Panasonic GH1. Same resolution, surprisingly good high-ISO performance (have a look at the 1600 ISO samples at dpreview) and much better video. Since she's used to an EVF anyway, that shouldn't be a problem, and the one on the GH1 is the best anywhere. Also, the 14-140mm zoom seems to perform very well at all focal lengths.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post

    The Vlux 1 is a great camera and under the right conditions can produce images worthy of publication.....but it dies as you need to increase the ISO and the lens is slow. The IQ is fine for her event work but she wants better IQ for her travel.

    Roger
    Actually the v-lux lens is pretty fast. It is f2.8 at the wide end and f3.7 at the long end. The long end being much longer than you are looking to go. At under about 100mm the lens is closer to f3.0.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    These are all excellent points and I am put off by the...how slow the Nikon zooms are at typical working ranges.

    The biggest issue I have with the G1 is the smaller sensor size . The impact on color ,dynamic range ,noise etc is pretty easy to see ..especially as you get into lower light. My point about cropping is really that ..you see these problems much more as you begin to enlarge the image. (An aside when making books she will often make two page spreads or take selective sections of an image ).

    Its difficult to evaluate the sensor limitations (I use the DxO tests and read the detailed charts). The M8 for example might be useable at 1250 ..if you are Ok with "noisy" black and white but in color it starts to loose DR ,saturation etc even at 640. This isn t true with the Nikon sensors and if you compare the D90 against the D700(which I know well) you can see its very comparable and excellent up thru 1600. Since I have an use both systems ..I have found the DxO charts to be accurate and comparable to my field tests.

    But Terry is absolutely correct in pointing out the impact of lens speed and if the Nikon glass gives up 1-1 1/2 stops ..then thats like comparing Iso 400 to Iso 800-1200. (as an aside thats why I like the DxO charts and the camera comparions). This warrants more study time.

    The viewfinder is the other big issue and as pointed out above ....seeing with a .92 magnification is a lot different than .72 and IMHO the EVF are another set down. As you can see I am biased by my D3 experience ...Carolyn can surely adapt to a EVF coming from a Vlux 1.

    This looks to be a difficult decision as the trade offs are important.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Always up for a good debate when it comes to buying gear. Pretty strong recommendations for the G1....which I don t follow. If it was a small walk around camera for me ..good points ..I have an arsenal of M lenses and am willing to work the raw files to get the best . A small EVF that could turn a 90/2 summicron into a 180/2 is pretty neat. Plus I fully understand that F8 and be there trumps any other consideration.

    Let me eliminate some distractions. Carolyn will have a Clux2 or maybe my daughters Lx3...so thats a nice purse camera to have around. But during our street shooting trips ...she needs the better image quality that goes with larger sensors. She can t do a cropped 2 page spread with her Vlux 1 files...may be if she had a perfect image ..but not routinely. She has no viable solution for evening or night photography. Thats how we got to the range of Nikon s .

    Video is a sideline and she is considering getting a quality video camera ..but the post processing side is whats holding her back. The Canon 5DII is the perfect video solution for where she is at ..but too expensive and heavy. So just the ability to add a clip or two in a slide show in all thats required. This knocked out the D300 if the D400 was out it would be considered.


    I grew up with 100% manual cameras and film ..so I still like manual focus and prime lenses. She prefers zooms and AF .

    The zooms are all slow...the G1 offers no advantage other than size (for the specific context outlined above)from what I can see?

    Am I missing something as it appears that experienced photographers are promoting the G1 over say the Nikon D90.


    I realize I don t have good solution without at least a 2 lens kit because the zooms are all slow. Small form equals slow and short.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    The GH1 which should be out any day now has video integrated into it and comes with a 14-140 lens which is all the range she will need. It was built with video in mind so it is more integrated than the 5DII because all manual controls are still available including AF with the kit lens. It has the video world buzzing. However it is still very much a stills camera.

    It is same sensor as 4/3 cameras. The 1600 is totally useable and is better than my M8. The GH1 sensor is a bit better than the G1. Panasonic like Leica uses a very weak AA filter you will like that. Their colors are also very accurate.

    As Diane mentioned you can print big and not differentiate from a 5D, which she has done and her work is good.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pana...cg1/page33.asp

    Yes, it is light and smaller, but not too small. What it does allow for is smaller lenses and they are generally compact. The 14-140 is a bit larger.

    At the same time Oly is going to unveil their m4/3 camera on June 15th so the array of available lenses will increase at that time. But that being said, with an adapter you could use a bunch of the regular 4/3 lenses or just about any old manual focus lenses.

    The two areas the G1 does not excel in are fast burst mode sports because of the viewfinder and the way it will blank out. However the focus tracking does work well. Secondly, with the kit lens it is hard to do "dark" predawn shooting because of a lack of focus scales on the lens and live view giving a dark image however, I have worked through that to get good results.

    What software is she using for her work? This could make a difference in recommendation.

    On my Iceland trip, I will be backing up my A900 with the G1.
    Last edited by Terry; 26th May 2009 at 05:35.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    I know I am beating this to death ..but I never go down easy in a debate.

    Video isn t a factor in the decision unless its totally unacceptable. If its about the same as the Clux/vlux thats fine....there having the best video gets maybe 5 points out of a hundred.

    IQ gets at least 50% and thats more than noise...if you look at the DxO website you can see several measures of IQ ...noise is one,but dynamic range and color saturation also suffer as ISO increases. This doesn t mean that you can t get a great large print from a small sensor but as ISO increases quality declines. A shot from a G1 and a D90 at ISO 1600 would not be comparable. IMHO . The Nikon sensor is very close to the D3/D700 performance in this range. The review of the G1 states this ..image quality in low light doesn t match the DSLR. Thats important and one of the key arguments.

    The 2nd is the viewfinder....a 92% Nikon view is pretty darn good and for me a lot better than an EVF.

    This in no way degrades the G1 as a serious camera and in situations where size and form are very important or you value the best in HD video from a still camera or you have a bunch of M lenses....no question the G1 is a winner.

    The only real issue I have with the Nikon D90 or really any of the current crop of DSLRs is the slow and large zooms. Carolyn isn t ready to try prime lenses or we could solve this quickly. You are dead right that F5.6 at 50MM sucks for evening shooting....kind of defeats the purpose.

    Kidding aside we could certainly make the G1 a winner but I feel the intermediate DSLR may be a better fit for the improvements she is seeking.

    I wish the new Pentax was available as small high quality and weather sealed ..nice package with smaller form lenses.

  23. #23
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    you may not like this answer, but consider pairing one of the nikons (preference according to VF and handling, ignore the focus motor) with a third party f2.8 normal zoom. the sigma 18-50 and tamron 17-50 have their issues (mostly build) but will give you high IQ if you're just a little cautious of their faults. more importantly, they seem to be usable wide open (again, cautious of faults), nearly as small as the nikon kit lenses, and provide the all-important zoom and AF flexibility. if there's any money left over after that's done, a 55-200vr seems like a no-brainer to round off the kit.

    micro 4/3s seems like a good solution for sometime in the (albeit near) future, but it's a bit too early for most to dive into that pool right now.

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Roger

    I don't know how much in a hurry you are to pull the trigger but I would take a long look at the Pentax K7 before making a final decision. One of the big advantages of Pentax is of course it is small and light and they product very small prime lenses of exceptional quality. I have no experience with Pentax now for many years but the murmurings in the marketplace are very positive.

    I am going to look very carefully at one for Phyllis to replace her aged G5.

    Hello to Carolyn for me

    Woody

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Nothings ever perfect it seems ..even without much of a budget. We went with the D90 , the 16-85 VR and the 35/1.8. Carolyn is thrilled.

    The size and weight is only modestly larger/heavier than the vlux so she sees little difference. The viewing and display are much improved over the Vlux. The better high ISO performance is the biggest advantage..it looks 2-3 stops better than the vlux.

    The 35/1.8 is a sweet lens and only $200 .

    Plus if she wants to move on ..this is an easy kit to resell.

    The new Pentax looks like a real winner...the metal frame body and the weather sealing look great. The smaller lenses a large bonus.

    We leave for Paris next Sunday so we will see how she does. Last year she shot about 1500 images in 10 days and produced an Apple book.










    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Roger

    I don't know how much in a hurry you are to pull the trigger but I would take a long look at the Pentax K7 before making a final decision. One of the big advantages of Pentax is of course it is small and light and they product very small prime lenses of exceptional quality. I have no experience with Pentax now for many years but the murmurings in the marketplace are very positive.

    I am going to look very carefully at one for Phyllis to replace her aged G5.

    Hello to Carolyn for me

    Woody

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Say hello to Carolyn and I hope she enjoys the new gear. Have fun in Paris.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Say hello to Carolyn and I hope she enjoys the new gear. Have fun in Paris.
    I will thanks for the insights on the G1 ....selling the M8 ....its a sad day almost everybodies quit Team Leica . I will be shooting 2 M8 s..and trying to copy HCB s image of the point on Ill Saint-Louis!!

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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I will thanks for the insights on the G1 ....selling the M8 ....its a sad day almost everybodies quit Team Leica . I will be shooting 2 M8 s..and trying to copy HCB s image of the point on Ill Saint-Louis!!
    I may be back with Leica but right now the gear is just sitting and that drives me crazy. I kept a small stash....

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Tell Carolyn congratulations. I'd love to see her join the forum.
    ...and it is only a matter of time till she is inot your Leica stash!

  30. #30
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    Re: Help me Buy the wife a new dslr(nikon)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I will thanks for the insights on the G1 ....selling the M8 ....its a sad day almost everybodies quit Team Leica . I will be shooting 2 M8 s..and trying to copy HCB s image of the point on Ill Saint-Louis!!
    Roger

    I am still with you on the M8's as well as shooting some film on my M4-P. I basically stopped using the M8's for a while while I messed around with medium format etc and was ready to sell the gear as it was getting so little use.

    I don't know what prompted me but I decided to use only the M8's for a month and at the end could not believe I had even considered selling them. Particularly as Phyllis and I love travelling and of course shooting, I could not imagine being without them given the small size and weight. I know the G1 is even smaller and I wanted to love it as well but the lack of an optical finder just killed it for me. The G1 has the best EVF I have seen but it still didn't get it for me. Horses for courses I guess

    Have fun in Paris

    By the way, Mark Gowin stopped by today and we had a couple of hours to chat and compare notes. He is now off to Colorado Springs for a three day seminar and then using Friday thru the weekend for some shooting at Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Arches and Canyon de Chelly.

    Best

    Woody

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