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PB PM
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2011-03-11, 16:16

I think the best thing to do is go into a local retailer and test out the different bags. You really cannot make the right choice without trying them out first, at least that is how I approach bag purchases.
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Dorian Gray
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2011-03-11, 16:33

That, or take my advice and buy a Billingham Hadley.
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Matsu
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2011-03-11, 21:21

Billingham makes some beautiful stuff. Costly and a bit eccentric, I feel like I ought to wear an ascot to complete the uniform.

The problem here is that few camera stores really keep a good selection of bags in store, and their websites list almost everything as out of stock (see Vistek and Henry's for instance). I know Henry's main store has a lot of bags in store, and I guess that Vistek's does also.

Next week I plan to scout a few of the luggage stores downtown. If I find a plain messenger of suitable size and strength, I may just custom make my own insert.

I could mod the retrospective to make it just right, but that's an expensive/risky proposition between the bag and a competent repair shop.

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GSpotter
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2011-03-12, 08:44

Maybe these sites help, they contain lots of pictures of camera bags:
http://cambags.com
http://www.taschenfreak.de/indexliste.htm (german, but should be usable)
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Matsu
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2011-03-14, 16:49

I tried the Crumpler's out today. Very stiff, excellent protection, but they definitely need to lossen a bit before you can shoot out of them quickly. Between the 7 and 8, the eight is very deep, it will take a 70-200 with hood on the body, but because the bag is so stiff, don't expect to quick-draw the thing. I should have brought the camera with me and stuffed a couple of lenses in, maybe tomorrow. There's also enough room to stack the lenses, but this isn't very quick either. It could be the nasty cut on my hand (for another thread) but I just found that there were too many flaps to unstick in order to fight my way down to the bottom of the bag.

Do you all find that soft side bags break-in somewhat with use?

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PB PM
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2011-03-14, 17:14

Some user reviews of the Crumpler bags state that they do need a little bit of time to loosen up, but those comments were normally directed towards the shoulder strap.
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Matsu
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2011-03-15, 15:02

I did it, I picked up the Retrospective 30, but it was a tough call between it and the 20. In the end I decided that it will be a while before I shoot with two bodies locked and loaded, and if need be, I can have the bag modified to make it taller, but I wanted the extra width for flashes and lenses.

I also spent a bit too long with the D700 and a few different lenses. My lowly 85 1.8 absolutely comes alive on it. I spent half my trip swaping my 85 and manual focus 50 f/1.8 on and off a D700. The viewfinder is fantastic: it's going to take a lot of will power to avoid buying this camera...

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Matsu
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2011-03-16, 09:22

Back to the bag for a second. It sure does get heavy even with just the D300, 70-200, 85, 50, and SB900. But it swallows everything easily. I wasn't happy with the padding on the bottom. As soon as I first loaded up the bag, I could just see myself inadvertently setting it down just a little too hard, especially with lenses pointing down.

So, I lifted up all the dividers and put a piece of carpet padding underneath.

I used this stuff: eco foam

It's a closed cell polyethylene, about 8mm thick, not the chunked foam stuff - which would make for a pilled-up mess. I had some left over from some padding I put under our area rugs.

I cut it to fit the depth of the bag and about 1.5" long on either end to protect the corners. Put it under the bottom padding and walled it off at the sides using the long dividers. Now the bottom of the bag is much better protected, but it still flexes and conforms to your body. The foam is much more rigid than the typical carpet padding.
You only need about a 7x14" piece, maybe a bit less to really improve the bottom of soft-sided bags like the Retrospective. I tried a Domke in the store as well, which would benefit even more.


I've got a few feet of the stuff left over, if anyone wants to mod their bag let me know, I'll send it to you.

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nikstar101
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2011-03-16, 16:50

Alright guys and gals, i have a SLR question for you.

I am thinking of getting a new DSLR to replace my Cannon 350D. But i am unsure of whether to go for the newly released 600D or spend just £100 more and get the 60D??

I mean they are both pretty even on features and i am really upgrading due to the quicker image processing and movie functions of the cameras. But since i am spending the best part of £650 is the 60D worth a bit more?

Just to give a little background to my photo taking, i am definitely an amateur but an enthusiastic one and i really like taking landscape and night photos hence i have a 2.8 17-55 IS lens to help with that. But i am not sure what benefit i will get out of the 60D??

Any thoughts???
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PB PM
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2011-03-16, 22:14

The 60D has a larger brighter viewfinder, better build, ergonomics and controls, than the 550D/600D (reviewers are saying 550D/600D are identical in image quality, so other than the flippy screen they are the same), which in my opinion would be well worth the extra money. If those aren't enough, and you are considering going for the 600D, you could save some cash by getting the 550D, unless you really have to have the flippy screen.
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Matsu
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2011-03-17, 05:38

Not that you're asking this, but Canon's 18MP APSC is a winner. A lot of reviewers give the edge to the 16MP Sony unit, but I don't really see it. Out of camera detail favors the Canon IMHO, and high ISO results are close too. So, you can't really go wrong with any of them. I'm tempted to go for either the cheapest unit or best discount you can find, since all have their advantages. Get the 600D if the difference over the 550 isn't too great. Get the 550 if goes on close out sale or something like that. Get the 60D if you want more features, are willing to pay a bit more, AND you find a good sale.

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PB PM
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2011-03-17, 12:12

Since the 60D and 600D prices are $100 different or less, it is almost a no brainier to go for the higher end model. Do note that the 350D you have been using uses CF cards, while the 600D and 60D both use SDHC/SDXC card slots.
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Matsu
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2011-03-17, 12:20

I hadn't really followed Canon's models. I though the 600D might be a replacement for the 550D, and that the latter might be available at discounted street price. I guess they're both current models though?

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PB PM
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2011-03-17, 12:52

For the time being the T2i/550D is still in productions, the current Rebel lineup is T3/1100D, T2i/550D, T3i/600D.
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PB PM
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2011-03-19, 14:18

This is a touchy topic, because it isn't the main concern after what happened last week, but being a camera chat thread, it is something to talk about. It's going to be a tough year for Japanese camera makers I think, at least in terms of the higher end gear. Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fuji have lost the use of some of their high end factories in the north. Fuji lost the plant that makes the X100, so if you were going to get one, the wait could be a very long one.

The Nikon plant for pro lenses and bodies is out of commission for who knows how long. I wouldn't count on seeing the D800/D4, till late this year or early next year at the earliest. Nikon's non-FX gear most likely wont be effected, because it is all made in Thailand or China, unless Nikon pushes pro camera/lens production to Thailand for a short time to make up for the loss in Japan.

I believe Canon's factory was the one that produced high end "L" lenses, so that production could be effected long term as well. This may or may not effect the deployment of the 5D MkIII and 1D MkV. I know Canon makes all it's DSLRs (including Rebels) in Japan, so I wonder what will happen in terms of overall supply of all camera bodies, as Canon might shit production around to make "L" lenses elsewhere.

Sony is the hardest hit, and may effect Nikon as well as other brands, since one of the image sensor factories is down, again for who knows how long. Could we see the rise of the Korean camera makers as a result? I guess only time will tell.
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Matsu
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2011-03-20, 05:34

I think that in the grand scheme of things, the delays will be relatively minor, certainly in relation to the loss of life and property, but also relative to the general damage. None of the camera manufacturers initially reported significant damage or loss of employees. In the former case, this may simply be Japanese corporate discipline. Personally, I don't see how at least some precise equipment isn't at least in need of realignment. However, who knows what sort of losses were suffered elsewhere in the supply chains, and of course the general infrastructure (roads and power) is completely buggered.

That said, I have faith. The rest of Asia has huge capacity and will probably absorb various bits of supply chain contracts and assembly in the short term. And, so far, every news report seems to agree that the Japanese people are showing an uncanny sense of civility and order compared to recent disaster reactions elsewhere in the world (looking at Haiti and the USA). While I'm not sure that there isn't just a little racism in those comparisons, I do think the Japanese are reacting better than many of us would, and it's the main reason I think they'll be back sooner than later.

I think we may even see some pre-announcements, just to show strength: "It's been a terrible time, but our people are the best in the world and dedicated to getting back to normal quickly." Actual product may take months to ship, but something tells me that those announcements will be important to the corporate psyche.

EDIT: And just as I wrote this, I read through a link from Nikon Rumors that Nikon is moving production of pro bodies to Notion VTEX in Thailand. Recent events may have accelerated that move, but a 10% ownership stake was acquired in 2010, and a bunch of production already takes place outside Japan. I believe that pro lenses are made in Japan though, and some of the supply may be constrained in the coming weeks.

Interestingly enough BOTH prices and supply look good for pro lenses right now. I attribute it to a few things. Pro lenses don't sell in as big numbers. Pros, for the most part, picked up new lenses when they came out, and new entrants tend to sit on the fence until new bodies come out. There haven't been any new bodies, so sales of pro lenses are a little slower. Because production of these lenses is stable over time, they tend to be in short supply when either new lenses or new bodies come out, but eventually supply builds up and initial demand tapers off. When that happens, and there are old bodies to move out, we see bundled deals, as they had in the US recently. If new bodies are even announced, pro lenses may go back up to full retail quickly, since supply might be more seriously affected for lenses than bodies?

Which leads me to this. I can pick-up a 24-70 f/2.8 for $1600 (new) plus taxes. This would essentially complete my DSLR lens kit for a move to FX. I wonder if this is the best price we'll see for the 24-70 for a while, or do you think it will go down?

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Last edited by Matsu : 2011-03-20 at 06:10.
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Dorian Gray
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2011-03-20, 06:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
EDIT: And just as I wrote this, I read through a link from Nikon Rumors that Nikon is moving production of pro bodies to Notion VTEX in Thailand. Recent events may have accelerated that move, but a 10% ownership stake was acquired in 2010, and a bunch of production already takes place outside Japan. I believe that pro lenses are made in Japan though, and some of the supply may be constrained in the coming weeks.
I understood Notion to be making mounts only, not entire bodies. Surely it takes more than a week to move manufacturing of whole cameras to a new plant?

It's certainly true that manufacturing is already spread over Asia, in all directions. I was surprised to hear Samyang recently blame slow production on lack of lens elements from Japan. I would not have expected Samyang to use Japanese elements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
Which leads me to this. I can pick-up a 24-70 f/2.8 for $1600 (new) plus taxes. This would essentially complete my DSLR lens kit for a move to FX. I wonder if this is the best price we'll see for the 24-70 for a while, or do you think it will go down?
All depends on how soon Canon hit us with a stabilised f/2.8.
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Matsu
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2011-03-20, 09:41

Do you think they will?

Rumor suggests that there's a redesign of the Canon 24-70 coming, but that it isn't stabilized. To me, the f/2.8 zoom pairs/trios are the reason to buy a DSLR. In the wide-normal range it's interesting that no one makes a stabilized fast zoom for 35mm. These exist in the APSC space, where Canon was first, and now Sigma and Tamron also have stabilized wares, but none of them makes a stabilized version for the 35mm frame despite having some new designs (Nikon and Sigma). Is there a design consideration that makes such a lens difficult? Operationally, some will argue that it's not really needed, since slower shutter speeds than the reciprocals for these will not freeze motion under available light. But why then do we have slower and wider stabilized lenses, like the 16-35 f/4 VR?

Maybe Sony has the right idea: stick the stabilizer in the body.

Having not shot the 24-70, except as a test, do you think I could make it work for street photography?

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PB PM
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2011-03-20, 16:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
EDIT: And just as I wrote this, I read through a link from Nikon Rumors that Nikon is moving production of pro bodies to Notion VTEX in Thailand. Recent events may have accelerated that move, but a 10% ownership stake was acquired in 2010, and a bunch of production already takes place outside Japan. I believe that pro lenses are made in Japan though, and some of the supply may be constrained in the coming weeks.
You might want to read that post again, it says that they are moving F mount bayonet production, not body or lens production.

In any case the bigger issue for Nikon is the Sony CMOS production plant. Without new sensors rolling off the line there could be a camera shortage.
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Matsu
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2011-03-20, 17:14

I still think Japan Inc. will get back up on their feet in short order. Nikon hasn't reported any damage to plants. Sony's set-backs could delay everyone, but there's an element of national pride at work as well - it's more than just business now. I'd wager a little money that there will even be a modicum of corporate co-operation not unlike the civilian stories we're seeing everywhere.

BTW, I went out on a shoot today. Street photography with a giant DSLR is fun, I can't believe I'm looking at a bigger one! While shooting I picked out of the corner of my eye a well-to-do young man rocking an M8. Most people wouldn't have noticed it, but I spotted him immediately. When he noticed me eyeing his camera he got this look of self satisfaction - smug basturd - I hope I wasn't drooling. Damn, a whole other league of unobtrusiveness that camera is. You could literally strap three of them under your jacket with three different lenses and hardly get noticed, except by your financial planner/wife...

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Dorian Gray
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2011-03-20, 18:36

It's almost impossible to know what's going on in Japanese factories unless you understand enough of the language to follow news and forum chat in Japan (and even then…). My gut says Japanese infrastructure is quake-proof enough and deep enough for this earthquake to have a generally minor effect on production. The price spikes and out-of-stock problems we're seeing are probably caused by the unusually strong yen and short-term lack of product caused by shipping delays at flooded ports, etc.

Even if the earthquake doesn't greatly affect Nikon's plans, the D700 successor might be surprisingly late (it already is, you might argue), surprisingly expensive, or compromised in ruggedness to meet a D700-like price point. It's just conceivable that it would also introduce something distasteful like a touchscreen or electronic viewfinder, or something glitch-prone like a modular sensor system (presumably a sensor + shutter + mount module like Ricoh's system).

There is much to be said for buying a time-honoured model like the D700, with its known good autofocus system, familiar sensor qualities, well-established raw file support, widely available accessories, etc. A successor might require an initially unavailable grip, it will definitely introduce a new battery (since the existing one wouldn't pass the stringent new Japanese safety regs mandating recessed terminals), it will need updates to raw developers, and it might need new specialist accessories like L-brackets, underwater housings, etc.

Worse, the camera might be announced, start shipping only a couple of months later, be widely available only another two or three months later, and get a 15% price cut yet another three months later (especially since a 5D Mark III will eventually arrive). It gets tedious to wait for this stuff…

(By the way, it's not inconsistent for the camera to require a new battery but not a new battery grip, because it might support the old MB-D10 to keep users happy, while also introducing an MB-D12 for the new battery with recessed terminals. Alternatively, it might simply use the MB-D11 and have a cut-down body size to match.)

All things considered, the earthquake has made me think I should simply get a D700 right now, though the urgency is dulled by the fact that I unexpectedly still have a job.

Buying something Japanese is one way to support them in their hour of need, I suppose. Especially an FX Nikon, since they're made in Sendai.
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Dorian Gray
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2011-03-20, 19:32

PB PM: related to my urge to buy a D700, I was wondering if you think the manual focusing with it is much better than with your Nikon D300, whether because of the better viewfinder (true, I'm sure), more precise in-focus green dot (true, false?), or more usable live view (true, false?). All my full-frame lenses are manual focus except my 60 mm f/2.8 AF-S, so manual focus ease is very important to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
Rumor suggests that there's a redesign of the Canon 24-70 coming, but that it isn't stabilized.
I don't really follow Canon rumours, but I was under the impression that the next Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 was widely expected to have stabilisation. In any case I think it's likely, though not a sure thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
These exist in the APSC space, where Canon was first, and now Sigma and Tamron also have stabilized wares, but none of them makes a stabilized version for the 35mm frame despite having some new designs (Nikon and Sigma). Is there a design consideration that makes such a lens difficult?
Well, fast lenses are easier to design and make, stabilised or not, if they cover a smaller frame (the LX3, for example, has an f/2-2.8 zoom lens despite a price of only $400). Making a full-frame f/2.8 standard zoom is very hard indeed, akin to making a hypothetical 17-55 mm f/2 for DX: thus there isn't much room in the envelope for adding image stabilisation (which compromises optical quality or increases costs, or both). Canon's 17-55 mm is an EF-S model, so its rear element can be closer to the sensor than any lens by Tamron, Sigma, or Nikon: this allows improved optical quality and/or bolder designs (like optical stabilisation). The three stabilised f/2.8 zooms you mention are all positive-lead types, while Nikon's non-stabilised 17-55 mm f/2.8 and the FX f/2.8 zooms by Nikon and Canon are all negative-lead types. Negative-lead designs require larger internal elements, making them less amenable to optical stabilisation. It's also worth noting that 24 mm on FX is a bit wider than 17 mm on DX or Canon's 1.6x sensor, adding further to the design burden of the FX lens.

There's no fundamental reason a 24-70 mm f/2.8 FX lens can't be optically stabilised, and I would expect one to show up in the next couple of years, probably from Canon first. The arrival of large-aperture precision glass moulded (PGM) aspherical lenses has enabled amazing lenses like the current 24-70 mm f/2.8 Nikkor, and I somehow doubt optical progress will now stop dead!
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PB PM
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2011-03-20, 20:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
PB PM: related to my urge to buy a D700, I was wondering if you think the manual focusing with it is much better than with your Nikon D300, whether because of the better viewfinder (true, I'm sure), more precise in-focus green dot (true, false?), or more usable live view (true, false?). All my full-frame lenses are manual focus except my 60 mm f/2.8 AF-S, so manual focus ease is very important to me.
Generally speaking manual focus is easier, although the viewfinder isn't as magnified. Like some of the high end film cameras of the past (F90, F100, F5) there are focus indicators in the viewfinder, which show you if you front or rear focusing, rather than just the relying on the green dot, which really helps you get on the right track. Still not as nice as using an old film camera with a split prism, but a lot better than a DX camera. As for liveview, the D700 uses the same 3" LCD, with the same resolution as the D300, so no difference there. I manually focused my moon shots last night with no trouble. I also manually focus a lot of the shots I take with my AF-S 60mm micro without too much trouble.

As for production in Japan, until they get the power issues fixed over there, which totally depends on the stability of the power plants, production could be seriously hindered for some time, regardless to how much or little damage has been done to factories themselves by the quake or water damage in the case of the Sony plant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
There is much to be said for buying a time-honoured model like the D700, with its known good autofocus system, familiar sensor qualities, well-established raw file support, widely available accessories, etc. A successor might require an initially unavailable grip, it will definitely introduce a new battery (since the existing one wouldn't pass the stringent new Japanese safety regs mandating recessed terminals), it will need updates to raw developers, and it might need new specialist accessories like L-brackets, underwater housings, etc.

Worse, the camera might be announced, start shipping only a couple of months later, be widely available only another two or three months later, and get a 15% price cut yet another three months later (especially since a 5D Mark III will eventually arrive). It gets tedious to wait for this stuff…

(By the way, it's not inconsistent for the camera to require a new battery but not a new battery grip, because it might support the old MB-D10 to keep users happy, while also introducing an MB-D12 for the new battery with recessed terminals. Alternatively, it might simply use the MB-D11 and have a cut-down body size to match.)
This is why I bought the D700 rather than waiting for the D800, although the recent events in Japan had no bearing on my decision, obviously, but it kind of makes me glad that I did! The thought of having to buy new batteries, grips, wired shutter releases etc. all over again was not a pleasant one to say the least. Not to mention that I would need to get new (expensive) higher capacity CF cards, because I'm shooting with 4GB cards right now, and any increase in resolution would limit their usability without a doubt.
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GSpotter
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2011-03-21, 01:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
Still not as nice as using an old film camera with a split prism, but a lot better than a DX camera.
You might want to checkout the Katzeye focusing screens. I don't have one myself and the reviews seem to be mixed. Some like them very much, other's don't see much advantage, so you must decide/try out yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
As for production in Japan, until they get the power issues fixed over there, which totally depends on the stability of the power plants, production could be seriously hindered for some time
IIRC, some manufacturing processes need continuous power. If you are interested in the lens manufacturing process, there are some interesting videos from Canon, showing the manufacturing process of a 500mm lens. With all those precision steps, I always wondered how they could get decent glass from these plants anyway with all those minor 'routine' earthquakes in Japan...

My photos @ flickr
The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. -- Benjamin Franklin
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PB PM
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2011-03-21, 02:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSpotter View Post
You might want to checkout the Katzeye focusing screens. I don't have one myself and the reviews seem to be mixed. Some like them very much, other's don't see much advantage, so you must decide/try out yourself.
Some DX users seem to like them, but apparently the ones for full frame cameras aren't very good (only covering the DX frame).
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Matsu
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2011-03-21, 15:55

I can get about $1350 for my D300 with two batteries, 18-50 f/2.8 (and maybe a couple of extras, if it helps seal the deal)
What's the market on a good low actuation D700?

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PB PM
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2011-03-21, 17:06

$1800-1900 from what I've seen on eBay, in other words not much better than the cheapest new units which are around $2150. Frankly the two year body warranty is worth the extra cash, IMO.

Why sell your extra battery, since it would still work in the D700?
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Matsu
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2011-03-22, 09:01

Maybe I'm undershooting the value of a clean D300 a tad. In any case, Nikon has an announcement in Malaysia today. Let's see.
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PB PM
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2011-03-22, 12:29

As for the D300, most are going for $850-1000 on ebay, with those having more than 10,000+ shutter actions going under $950. Mine had nearly 13,000 and although it had no scratches looked well used, which it was. Remember the D300 has been replaced by the D300s, while the D700 has had no "s" update to lower its value.

Today's announcement will likely be the D5100, no pro bodies, since they have nowhere to make them right now. That may not be the case very long, as Nikon says they are planning to reopen the Sendai plant at the end of March.
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Matsu
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2011-03-24, 14:08

Looks like all hope is dashed. We didn't even see the D5100, let alone pre-announcement of anything interesting. I guess we'll see it all at PMA/CliQ in September, in two general classes of device. New models (with some new technology) for existing DLSR systems. New models and new systems in the mirrorless space.

Sony's talking up a 24MP APSC sensor. I don't know if I'd get an Alpha at this point* but I'd sure like a NEX type camera. Nikon's filed a few dozen detailed mirrorless camera patents in the last year, but it could be for anything from an advanced ILC Coolpix to a medium format design.

*Sony seems to be putting together some aggressive packages and quickly evolving technology for their Alpha system, sensors, anti-shake, pellicle mirrors, live view, Zeiss glass, etc etc... Some of these are regarded as gimmicky, but from reviews they all seem to work well.

I'm interested to see what happens when some good phase detection technology gets applied to a large sensor mirrorless interchangable lense camera, but, like all good things, we'll have to wait.

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