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  1. #1
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    Default Catching up with technology.

    Hi there, I'm new to the forum and in general I'm trying to catch up with technology.

    I date from the film era with a Pentax MX camera. Had a friend who always needed a darkroom assistant and by stealing with the eyes, I got pretty clued up on photography. He was good, I just copied everything he did. That was 40 years ago.

    I then got so busy making a living that I forgot to make time for my hobbies. Fast forward into the digital age and photography is a completely new ballgame for me. Got myself a Nikon D60 with the standard 18 - 55m lens and a Sigma 150 - 500mm lens for wildlife/nature photography. Jip, took me a while to get use to everything auto and nowadays I allow the camera to do the auto focus, the rest I do myself. No, I still cannot do post processing and still believe in the perfect shot comes from the camera and not the computer but that topic is for another day.

    Now for the questions. I want to do photography for my own pleasure and not to become famous or to make money or anything. The Nikon D60 is ready for pension, I believe. I get to a stage where the quality of the camera is the limiting factor for instance in shooting the moon. I even see bridge cameras with better quality pictures.

    I am looking at a Nikon D3400 / D5300 replacement. For a novice like me it looks like the difference is only add on stuff like wireless etc and has nothing to do with the physical ability of the camera to take pictures. I understand the internals are identical.
    Any reason not to go for the cheaper D3400?

    Oh, I want to venture into night shots / star trails kind of photography. The D60 gives me a lot of coloured pixels all over the image and that is also a reason I want to retire it.

  2. #2
    Frequent Member Peter Connan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    It's a pity that you feel the need to choose what is by far the most difficult genre as far as sensor performance goes, and then enquire which is the best entry-level camera to do so with.

    While you will be able to take reasonable star trials with either, given ideal conditions, you are rather stacking the odds against you. Although, living in Namibia goes some way towards making it easier.

    With either of these, you will be able to get reasonably good long-exposure star trails, but not results will not be great if you want to stack short exposures, or take star-scape type images (IE photos where star trailing is not evident).

    For either, you will need the fastest lens you can. Something like the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 to have any chance at all.

    To be honest, I found star photography very frustrating until I upgraded to the much more capable (and much more expensive) full-frame cameras.

    Sorry.

  3. #3
    Frequent Member elsahoffmann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    Good comment by Peter Connan. If your coloured pixels is due to really excessive noise - you will probably get the same on the other bodies - the D3400 - dont even go there.

    You are (in my opinion) stuck. Peter is right. I think find something else to shoot

    Also - keep in mind that digital photography no longer includes developing in the darkroom. Your software is now your darkroom - and every single photo needs developing. Not manipulation - but editing. Whether you like it or not
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    Peter & Elsa, thanks for some thought provoking answers. Ok, I understand now that a full frame camera is needed for star trails. It make sense what you say. Let's scrap that idea. "Your software is now your darkroom" - Elsa - you made it so clear - never thought about it that way.

    On wildlife / nature shots, how much of a difference will the 24 MP make against the 10 MP of the D60? I guess megapixels is not the only requirement for good pictures.

  5. #5
    Frequent Member Peter Connan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    No, in fact resolution is almost the least important except if you want to print really large.
    However, there have been massive strides in things like autofocus, metering accuracy, white balance accuracy and other areas too.

    Certainly enough to make a careful upgrade worth while. I just wonder whether you wouldn't be better off with a second-hand D7100 or even D7200? These bigger cameras are a lot faster to adjust, and tend to be more responsive, which is usefull for nature and wildlife.

  6. #6
    Frequent Member elsahoffmann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    Kobus - you should pay Peter. He has some bright answers

    One thing tho - more pixels will allow you to crop n TAD more. but thats it. There are many D7xxx's and the like coming on the market due to the launch of the D850. Buy a low pixel count body.

    Everyone starting out will tell you they want to shoot and get it right in camera. Nice thought, and all that. but ya - regard your editing software as your friend which will allow you to produce the photos as you want them. Digital can produce flat images, especially prosumer gear, so you have to tweak as you did in the darkroom
    Nudity is the most Avant Garde form of dress

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    I got hold of a Canon 60D camera with kit lenses (18 - 55mm and 75 - 300mm) as a loaner to test. I see the Nikon equivalent is the D7000. Yes, I can see now what difference a better camera can do. What impressed me to no end is the low light ability and the better auto focus of this rather old camera vs the Nikon D60. I even managed to take a few night shots which is good enough for me. However, the lenses are a real let down especially the 75 - 300mm. Try as I might (ok, I'm still learning the Canon way of doing things), I cannot get a decent quality pic of the moon. My Sigma 150 - 500mm lens is much sharper despite the low pixel count of the D60. Everything just confirmed what you already said. Once again, thank you all for the advise. I really appreciate it. I think my next step will be a Nikon D7100/7200 body.
    Last edited by Kobus M; 25-11-2017 at 10:18 PM.

  8. #8
    Frequent Member elsahoffmann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    good thing that you are getting the feel of other gear too. It helps one make up your mind. I dont know about the Canon 75-300, but the new Nikon VR equivalent really produces very very nice images
    Nudity is the most Avant Garde form of dress

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    About the only way to get rid of long exposure noise (The coloured dots in your picture) is to set Long Exposure Noise Reduction in your camera to ON.

    Drawback - the camera will be unresponsive for the same time that your exposure was. You can shoot a 'dark frame' and do this is post...

    And NO - noise reduction software will not take this stuff away...

    HTH
    Best,

    Leo Theron
    ... see my pictures HERE

  10. #10
    Frequent Member elsahoffmann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Catching up with technology.

    leo - you dont suggest I clone the noise out
    Nudity is the most Avant Garde form of dress

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