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I'm probably getting a Nikon D70 in the next few days. I know I'm…

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I'm probably getting a Nikon D70 in the next few days. I know I'm getting a camera, but deciding which one has been difficult. My current camera is a sad little 1.3 mp Fujifilm MX-1200 which I've had for over four years now. It has no zoom, the macro is broken, and these days it only takes a photo if it's in the mood. Despite it's cantankerous attitude it's been my constant companion and watching it die has almost been like losing a limb, a mechanical hand extension.



The Nikon D70 will be a combined birthday and christmas gift from Macsen and our families. A SLR will allow me to accomplish many projects that have sat brewing in my mind for years now, but was unable to do before. I think it will be a new breath of inspiration for me, something I need right now. I narrowed down my choices between Nikon and Canon under £1000 and I definitely prefer the D70 over Canon's 300D. I have many talented and knowledgeable photographers on my friends list and I'd like to ask you if you think the Nikon D70 is a good choice? Also, there are many different kits available and I wonder which lense is best to start with? I've done extensive reading and questioning, but before making such a major purchase I thought it would be good to ask.

In other thoughts, I'm greatly enjoying a mixture of mix cds recently. I just received Mister Eden's Lysergic Africa "Sticky Tribal Nightmare" by asphalteden in the mail and loving every dark tribal second of it. Also enjoying playtime on the iRiver is From the Earth to the Moon and Back also by Mr. Eden, the gorgeous and eclectic Farewell Fall by antitype (downloadable here), Svarte Greiner - Under The Leaves, Aeiou - Strings as Lines, and Xela - Grade A Maple Mix (last three discovered through yhancik. "Type Records is a record label specializing in electronic, soundscape and cinematic music from around the world.")



Is it bad form to admit that I'm still listening to my own mix cd frequently? It has such a deep personal resonance and I did after all make it for myself, so I'm glad I like it. :) I'm working on a few new ones, but I'm unsure if I'll be able to finish them before my trip to America in late November.

Speaking of our trip, our TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter arrived in the mail today. It's not legal in the UK so we had to order it from the US, but it will allow us to listen to our iRiver in the car with more ease than the tape converter we had previously and also we can use it in our rental car for our stateside trip. This is the first time we haven't had to take a huge bulky cd case to America with us so we wouldn't have to listen to country music and right-wing shock jocks while crossing the Washington desert. Bliss.



I also want to write a little about John Peel. There are only 3 public figures that I've ever shed a tear for, they are: Jim Henson (when I was 9-years old), Douglas Adams, and now John Peel. I wish I had Ripcast the tribute program on Radio 1 last night, it was intense and moving without becoming saccharine. I think the archived show is on the website. Peel first introduced me to innumerable bands and I have fond memories of listening to his late night shows with Macsen. I always found his voice to be a comforting and cynical friend and appreciated that he gave everyone a chance. I realize not everyone liked Home Truths, his Radio 4 show, but the first time I heard it Macsen and I were driving through France and Radio 4 was the only English speaking station we could pick up. We enjoyed it then, but I haven't listened to it for a long time so perhaps it changed in the last few years. Peel will be sorely missed, but as I said in my last post, I am so grateful that someone like Peel existed and was allowed the freedom he had. He made the world a better place, in his own way.
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Current Music:
sticky tribal nightmare
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On October 27th, 2004 07:23 am (UTC), bostonista commented:
Jim Henson (when I was 9-years old), Douglas Adams, and now John Peel

Oh man, I bawled when Jim Henson died. And I was quite upset about Douglas Adams as well. Both died stupidly young.

So, the camera question: I love my antique Nikon, but in the course of studying flash photography, I've heard a lot of bad stuff about modern Nikons. The issue isn't the quality of the Nikon's mechanical workings or lenses. The issue is the flash photography interface. Modern Nikons have an incredibly counterintuitive interface when compared to Canons. Also, Nikon has crap customer service in this area. Canon has a very easily learned interface, and great customer service.

This might not be an issue for you, depending on what you'll use your camera for. But it might be a small consideration.
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On October 27th, 2004 09:00 am (UTC), xach replied:
For what it's worth, Nikon has the best flash technology on modern cameras. The matrix metering controls flash output, and the scene logic almost always ensures that the subject of interest gets proper flash exposure if possible. I was surprised to learn that it monitors the exposure as it happens and modulates power to the flash to prevent under or over exposure.

I've heard the SB-600 and SB-800 are excellent. I've only used the built-in flash, and it works fine.

The only real interface to it is flash exposure compensation, and that's as easy as regular exposure compensation.
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On October 27th, 2004 07:32 am (UTC), xach commented:
I'm not a talented or knowledgeable photographer, but I have used the D70 for a few months now. I previously had Nikon film cameras, and a set of Nikon lenses, so the choice was partly due to lens compatibility.

I'm more of a nerd than an artist, so my tendency is to notice technical things first.

The camera's very fast. I previously used Canon and Olympus P&S digital cameras. They take a few seconds to read the card, pop the lens out, that sort of thing, so by the time they're ready to take a picture, the opportunity may have passed. The D70 starts instantly, literally instantly. As soon as you turn the power on you can press the shutter release for a picture.

There are a lot of nice features in common with the N80 film camera. It has a DOF preview, grid lines, auto-focus assist lamp, that sort of thing.

Power management is very smart; unless you're actively using the camera, the battery doesn't run down at all. I've left it on, accidentally, for days at a time with no power drain.

It shows a count of how much room is on the card at all times, not just when powered up.

I haven't used the high-end Canon DSLRs, but I've used the Nikon D1. The D70 is clearly far, far better. The local camera shop guy said he's had people trading in D100s to buy D70s.

I haven't tried the kit lens, but Ken Rockwell at kenrockwell.com says it's an excellent lens, not just something thrown in to get amateurs to pay more. As far as I know there's only one "official" Nikon kit of body+lens, and that's the one to which he's referring.

My only slight problem so far has been dust on the sensor. After changing the lens just once, I have seen specks in sky shots at small apertures. Nothing a bit of postprocessing can't fix, but it's annoying. Nobody local can fix it, and I don't want to send the camera away for cleaning just yet.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this camera to anyone interested in a digital SLR. It's amazing that there are digital P&S cameras selling for close to the same price; their only advantage is being able to stick them in your pocket. If you don't care about that, the D70 is the best value for any digital camera available today.
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On October 27th, 2004 09:32 am (UTC), nomi replied:
You sound knowledgeable to me! I spent some time holding and playing with the D70 at a shop the other day and I love the way it feels, quite solid compared to the 300D. I agree that the start-up time and shutter release is impressive. I've heard elsewhere that the D70 is superior to the D100 in many ways, which is good news for me since the D100 is just over my budget. :)

Thanks for the info about the official kit lense, I've seen some packages offered with different lenses and was a bit confused as to what was the best deal.

It's amazing that there are digital P&S cameras selling for close to the same price; their only advantage is being able to stick them in your pocket.

Before settling on a SLR I was considering the Canon G5, or something similar. but now from personal experience and from discussion with friends I think the best approach is to have 2 cameras (if you can afford it), one pocket-sized P&S and one "proper" camera like a SLR. The inbetween cams are too bulky to carry around everywhere, but don't have the picture quality to make it worth it.

Thank you so much for your informative comment! I'm getting more and more convinced on the D70. :)
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On October 27th, 2004 07:34 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag commented:
food pr0n and french countryside in extreme xxx-rated dSLR resolution...

giving Naomi a dSLR is like giving Saddam WMD

dear god. i'm done for. it'll one giant non-stop food pr0n orgasm for the rest of my days. me and the rest of the nomi LJ readers. we are all toast.

*runs away from the internet*
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On October 27th, 2004 07:52 am (UTC), langerdan replied:
What a way to go though!!!

for 'a sad little 1.3 mp Fujifilm MX-1200' you certainly took some great pictures.
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On October 27th, 2004 10:27 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I can't wait to see the photos you take. :) I was planning on getting the 300D until the D70 came out. An old friend of mine has a 300D and he's taken incredibly photos with it and it's still an excellent camera. I understand getting it because of the lenses, we have a Minolta film SLR and were considering holding out for the new Minolta dSLR so we could use the lenses, but it won't be coming out for awhile yet.
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On October 27th, 2004 09:31 am (UTC), asphalteden commented:
I feel like I just got slashdotted. ;)

So glad you're enjoying the mixes, which represent dark and light sides of my musical personality. Do feel free to copy them for your parents--they seem so cool!
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On October 28th, 2004 04:56 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Hah, well at least you don't have your mixes up for download so your bandwidth isn't getting drained. ;)

I love the mixes. I've had Sticky Tribal Nightmare on a loop for three days now.

I think you need to meet my parents (and see their vinyl collection!)
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On October 27th, 2004 10:54 am (UTC), pecunium commented:
I'd go with the Nikon.

People will rave about the way Canon is "user friendly" but truth be told, when you are learning a new system, it doesn't matter how it's built. It's when you know an old system.

A camera is a box to trap light. So (esp. before digital) the lenses mean more than the box (and the flash is important, but variable).

Nikon glass (IMO) is the best going. The second best is Tamron (which you can get for any camera) and they make some of Nikon's elements these days.

Nikon has the most versatile flash set ups going, so all around, a Nikon (or the Fuji... take a look at the SB1 by Fuji, Mikon Platform... more comparable to the Nikon D-100) in the next month or so.

Sigh... the economics of doing photo for money means I need a digital.

TK
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On October 28th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I've heard the D70 is pretty user-friendly too, I think you're right that it's just what people are used to.

I've only played a little with a film Minolta SLR so any information is appreciated, thank you!

Yes, I still prefer film aesthetically, but I don't like spending so much on film and printing. I'm considering doing some photography work for money when I feel more confident with my abilities and digital is definitely the way to go.
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On October 27th, 2004 11:37 am (UTC), sabrys commented:
I own the slightly older D100 so cannot comment directly but all I've heard is that the D70 is excellent. Certainly my experience with the D100 has been entirely good. Most of my Kenya pictures were taken with it and in my mind it compares very favourably with Nikon film SLRs.

My hands are not the steadiest in the world so I've found the new(ish) image stabilised 24-120mm lens a godsend. It also offers a good range for someone who doesn't want to cart a lot of different lenses around, is reasonably lightweight and pretty robust. Despite my best efforts my cameras got very dusty in Kenya and were also thrown around in back of a landrover travelling at speed offroad, they nonetheless come through with flying colours.

If I could have afforded it, my choice for long lens would have been the Nikkor 80-400mm VR, as it was I got a good deal on a Tokina 80-400mm and have come to like it a lot. Its not as sharp as some but for its range is nice and small and has superb build quaility.

If I was going to buy a second digital body today I'd probably get another D100, but the D70 would be high on the shortlist. As it is though I'm planning on waiting till next year when (hopefully) the D200 will be out.

I look forward to seeing the results you produce with such a camera.
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On October 27th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC), document replied:
My current cheapie snapshot camera is a panasonic FZ2, with a 12x, image stabilized zoom lens, and I agree, the IS is a godsend for lots of shots. The bright lens helps, but there are still tons of shots I couldn't get without the IS.

One of the big reasons I'm not rushing out and buying a 20D or D70 today is that I want to see how the recently announced Konica Minolta 7D dSLR works out -- it has in-body stabilization, so any lens you put on the camera would benefit from the IS. Given the cost of the IS lenses, it could be a worth a lot if the camera is any good. Initial reports are favorable, but I'm looking forward to seeing some real reviews.
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On October 27th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC), document commented:
Between those two, I don't think there's much of a choice. The D70 is a much nicer camera, in nearly every way: better kit lens; much, much more durable body/lens mount; more responsive in most every way; better metering. Etc. The 300D has a slight edge in having lower noise, but noise just isn't really an issue with any dSLR.

The one reason I can think of to buy the 300D is price: I've seen it as low as $700 with kit lens, from a reputable seller.

The main issue I have with the D70 is the dreadful color moire its pictures sometimes suffer from. Most of the time it can be post processed out, but who wants to do that? I imagine it doesn't crop up too incredibly often in the real world, but it's still a little disturbing to me.

I guess cameras and motorcycles and cars are always more expensive in the UK than a straight currency exchange from US dollars would suggest, but with the Canon 20D coming out there are probably more options. You mention waiting for a 10D price drop, and I think I've already seen it selling for somewhere close to $1000. The 20D itself is hitting the streets right now at only $1500 -- well under £1000.

That said, I don't see how you can go wrong with a D70. They can take incredible pictures.
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On October 28th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
I was almost sold on the 300D when I saw my friend's gorgeous lightning photos that he took with his, but since then I've seen many D70 vs. 300D side-by-side comparisons and the D70 seems to come out on top every time.

The moire issue disturbs me a bit, too. The less post-processing required the better.

I have seen the Canon 10D body going for about £1100 here, compared to around £700 for the D70. We considered buying it in the states when we go over, but decided it was too risky with the warranty.

Out of all the digital SLRs I narrowed it down to Nikon and Canon so I definitely think Canons are great cameras, but for some reason I'm drawn to Nikon. Perhaps because so many artistic photographers I admire swear by Nikons.
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On October 28th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC), jasonlizard commented:
go canon
Hi, I stumbled here from cris's journal.

I've had Canon film cameras for years so when I went digital, I bought a 10D. I love it. Now that the 20D is out, you could probably pick up a 10D (new or used)for about the same cost as a D70. The D70 is a good camera, but I think Canon is winning the DSLR market and will have more to offer in the future. With a SLR, it's important to think about lenses because that will ultimately be the biggest cost of a camera system. Canon lenses are a bit less expensive for at least the same quality.

As misanthropica said, the Canon interface is very intuitive and that's just what you need when you're trying to do something new quickly or just need to get the shot. But they're both good cameras.

John Peel went too soon. :-\
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On October 28th, 2004 08:15 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: go canon
Hi Jason. :) I definitely believe Canons to be superb cameras, though the 10D new is still quite a bit more expensive than the D70 right now (at least here it is). bm8 just bought a 20D after years of owning a 10D.. he is a huge Canon fan and almost had me convinced, but I also have a lot of other photographer friends swear by Nikon. I could hold out for the 10D, but I've already been waiting for so long that I'm ready to get something now, before I find another reason to put it off for even longer.

I hoped Peel would still be playing punk records at least until 2024.
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On October 28th, 2004 07:43 pm (UTC), antitype commented:
I feel special to have made it into one of your posts. :)

Very happy that you like the mix. I think I'd like to do another, slightly lighter one soon.

You know, it's strange... I have been aware of John Peel for a long time, but usually only through the "BBC/John Peel Sessions" albums you see -- I have some by the Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division, etc. I'm sort of discovering him posthumously, and it's making me wish I'd listened to him via internet more often. I guess I can still be thankful, though, listening to what he's left behind now.
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On October 28th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Oh I do and any mix that has Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins on it will always score happy points with me. :)

I'd like to finish this mix I'm working on before my trip to America, but I'm not sure I'll have time. I'm also too much of a perfectionist.

I listened to Peel's shows often, but not nearly enough. I guess I kind of took them and him for granted, he was such a part of Britain for so many decades that there was a feeling that he'd always be here. People in the UK have been in shock, M. said when the news reached his office that everyone stopped what they were doing and were kind of dumbfounded. I can't imagine there was the same reaction in America, but he certainly affected music around the world. I've been downloading peel sessions off of soulseek lately, I don't usually buy or d/l live performance cds, but after hearing the Peel tribute program I felt compelled.
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On October 31st, 2004 05:21 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
The D70 "feels" a lot better than the 300D. I think handling is very important. After all, if your camera is akward to use you might not use it very often. It's definitely a different class in comparison to the 300D (... the 300D simply feels cheap IMHO). I like the Canon lenses however. Especially the USM lenses (Ultrasonic Motor) are a treat. They are super smooth and fast, the kit lens of the D70 looks poor/slow in comparsion. If you are into manual focusing that might not be that important. The best would be a combination of nice handling and USM lenses ;-). I personally therefore would go for a higher model Canon like the 10D or 20D. Yes, you will have to spend more money, but it is money well spent. Another consideration is weight. You have to be really determined to carry your SLR around. I often leave my camera at home and miss out on some good shots. Also you can't do the "hidden but most interesting" people shots with a large SLR. At the moment I use a really cheap film camera for B/W. It gives me great resolution, I don't have to worry about it, and it is small enough to fit in my pocket. Confused? Sorry ;-).
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On November 4th, 2004 04:59 am (UTC), langerdan commented:
Another Tribute Program
There's another tribute program on irish rdio tonight. 7pm to 10pm on Today fm www.todayfm.com.

The DJ Tom Dunne knows his stuff
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