Well after a bout of flu and lack of surf I finally got down to produce this set of thoughts about the high end of digital photography.
This is a comparison of digital SLR ( single lens reflex ) cameras and then on to CS ( compact system) cameras.
We are now talking about where you want control creatively, you wish to put some elements of design and composition into your shots. You will most likely want interchangeable lenses and have a wider range of subjects you wish to shoot ( both large and small).
You want a camera that covers you at a PhD level (press here dummy) and when you get creative does the fancy stuff.
You can change apertures, ISO and do a heap of other stuff. (See Jimmy’s section on this. http://www.surfing-waves.com/surf-photography.htm
IMO The real creative stuff is better done at the camera end and then can be brought to an even better level in your computer.
Let’s talk about DSLRs first. First fact they are bigger and heavier than compact cameras.
The reflex part is a mirror which reflects the picture you wish to see and take through to the viewfinder some now also display the picture on their LCD screen (which can be really helpful if it pulls out and swivels so you can take shots at angle where you couldn’t access the viewfinder).
Benefits here are: what you see is what you get when you press the button the mirror flips up and the light hits the sensor= click picture taken, very little noticeable difference between what you saw and what you shot!
In sports settings you can take multiple frames per second and get sequences of movement! More frames per second = more shots. PhD system of surf shooting bang away cull the lousy shots!
There is no parallax error ( cause you see what you shoot) with an DSLR, so it is much harder to chop off heads and you can play with zoom to get exactly the shot you want.
Focus too is better because you see the exact shot in the viewfinder and can pull it into focus on the lens, there is also multiple point auto focus and full automatic settings for each type of shot you wish to take at PhD level.Brands to consider.
Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony.
Depending on what I wanted to shoot I would review all for the megapixel count, shutter speeds range of lenses , frames per second.
Most now can also do HD video in a movie mode and have sound pick up.
Costs vary from about $600 AUD to TBA meaning very expensive and the model list is constantly changing.
A fair comment here is some of the expensive models have a cheaper companion model that has about 95% of the features but they are in a lighter non metal body ( so lighter but not quite as robust). This is not a problem if you look after your camera.
My advice if you are just starting out and you have a bit of money to spend go the basic 18 megapixel model and spend the rest of your money ensuring you get good lenses that can do what you want, cheap lenses will drag your work down somewhat!
All the brands mentioned above have a good range of lenses and some lenses like sigma are adaptable to Nikon and Canon mounts, be sure before you buy any third party lenses that they are compatible.
Speaking of buying, be aware be very aware, check that the camera you buy and the accessories are under a good warranty in your country or have a genuine international warranty (ebay imports for China, Hong Kong and other countries may not have the warranty) Some in country el cheapos may have this problem too.Your pictures;Size matters
, remember when pictures taken by regular home photographers all came back from the photo store at postcard size, they usually looked fairly reasonable!!!
Blow them up and the bigger you get the worse they look. Film or digital
So how big do you want to go?
Let’s use a little page knowledge here.
A4 standard page for printers and fax machines, cut that in half gives you 2 A5s, put 2 A4s side by side and you have an A3.
Going beyond A3 to poster sizes means you want to work big time ( sorry about the pun)
If you want to digitally enlarge sections of your work then the bigger allowance of megapixels is important.
Most of the entry level cameras produce a least 12 or 14 megapixels on a slightly smaller sensor than the old 35 mm framing, this sort of gives your lens almost a 25% extra zoom.
The bigger sensors have a bigger pixels size and a greater number of pixels ( the dots that make up the picture) more dots better image better to enlarge.
That’s why size matters.
With a good lens, a good camera ( I suggest keeping lens and camera in the same brand) any thing from 10 megapixels up will produce a fair to good picture up to A3.
Another thing DSLRs offer is image stabilisation some in the lenses and others in the camera which allow you to work with different stops and takes the shakes out of your shooting especially when you are using big telephoto lenses and if you learn to hold the camera correctly you can also shoot at slower speeds.
If you are serious about your work think about tripods, monopods, gorilla grippers and other things including sand bags.
One thing though, a waterhousing for a DLSR is a big ticket item often about the same cost as your camera if not more. Do you buy cheap here? Absolutely not ( a failure will cost you your camera) be a good swimmer too
For the technical stuff refer back to Jimi’s shooters guide for the other things you do like, considering lighting, apertures, depth of field, speed for shots and after shot processing.
I’ll finish this post here, it may answer some of your questions about what to buy. Hope it helps.
I haven’t gone very technical as I’m offering it as a KISS review.
More questions please ask!
Next the CSC review and why I think they may be an answer for some photographers.
BTW not everything you see in a viewfinder is a surf shot
I've taken up troll hunting just for fun, instead of a rifle I'll just use a pun!