Pentax or another digital SLR?
June 22, 2005 11:00 PM Subscribe
I'm looking for a new digital SLR that I can use with my existing lenses, which works well in general and low-light situations...
posted by Rothko to technology (22 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I do photography of electronic music shows with a 35mm SLR camera (Pentax ZX-10), and there is often little or no light to work with.
I'd like to move to a digital SLR that works well under low light (i.e. pictures have low noise, and the camera can take pictures in this condition without requiring a flash). I'll explain why below. If necessary, I'd like to buy the SLR with a 28-80 range lens that works well under low light (decently "fast" lens?).
I'm a bit of an amateur so bear with me as I describe my problem and what I have been trying to do to solve it with my current gear.
I've tried using a large flash (Pentax AF210T) but what ends up happening is that the subject gets all the light, and the background gets nothing. Not good.
I've also tried using more expensive and faster film, but the grain is noticeably large that often the pictures are very "noisy" when they are used for publication, if they can be used at all. I also tried B+W film to get more contrast and detail, and less offending noise, but its not much of an improvement.
I've also tried going without the flash and living with the long shutter times that are required, but I can't carry around a tripod to these shows, and so I end up with great, interesting compositions (i.e. good reproduction of lighting details) with blurred foreground subjects (i.e. the musician). I also have the problem that my camera simply refuses to take pictures in low light. I don't know enough about how much time I need to leave the shutter open in low light to do things manually.
Many of the photographers I see at these shows use digital cameras and do not need a flash or tripod (or light meter).
Developing film is getting more expensive, and sending images in digital form for publication adds to the cost and hassle. Since I work for free, I need to move to digital before the film dev costs send me to the poorhouse.
I'd like the camera (and optional lens) to not need a flash to take decent pictures, as permission to use flash is occasionally forbidden at the events I visit.
I've been reading reviews about the Pentax "*ist D" and "*ist DS" cameras. They look small, lightweight, and will work with my small lens collection.
I'd like to know if either of these cameras will work well for my needs, as I have three Pentax lenses I bought for use with my ZX-10, a slow, cheap telephoto lens, a macro lens, and a really expensive fisheye lens that I'd prefer not to have to replace. I have a 28-80 lens that came bundled with the ZX-10, as well. I suspect it's not a fast lens.
Failing that, are there other brands of digital SLR cameras in the $1000-$1500 range that are better suited to this, and will be compatible with my Pentax lenses? Or should I sell the old camera and lenses and start over?
Personal usage experiences of these cameras are greatly appreciated, as well as general photography advice for this application.
(I'm skeptical of online reviews, which are either geared to professionals who know the vocabulary that I don't, or the review simply trumps up the quality of the product.)