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#652049 - 23/06/2003 12:47 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
anewts Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 21/08/2002
Posts: 3343
Loc: Forestville, NSW
was reading 'the guide' today in the smh, and there was a short review on the 5400. they have the price at $1599 for a 5.1mp, 4x optical zoom. id still spend the extra $300 for the 5700

Andrew

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#652050 - 23/06/2003 13:57 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
anewts Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 21/08/2002
Posts: 3343
Loc: Forestville, NSW

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#652051 - 23/06/2003 15:24 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Nullamanna WX Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 09/06/2002
Posts: 1274
Loc: Nullamanna, Nth-West Slopes, N...
I thought this might be a little slightly off-topic but RICOH has just released to the media that they are completing manufacturing all 35mm film cameras in favour of Digital camera by the end of this year,
Maybe they can smell something in the air, mind due they weren't really top end camera's.

Mick.

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#652052 - 23/06/2003 20:13 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
thunder Offline
Member

Registered: 18/01/2003
Posts: 906
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW
I will be waiting for the Nikon 5400 reviews before making any final judgements against the 5700.

At this stage I can only see 8x zoom as being the only real advantage for most - in fact I actually prefer the 5400's 28mm low end. For storm chasing I feel this is more useful then the 5700's 8X.

There are several other features of the 5400 - such as timelapse that may be interesting.

If the reviews hold up I'll actually opt for the 5400 over the 5700.

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#652053 - 23/06/2003 21:41 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Blizzard Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 31/03/2001
Posts: 10343
Loc: Blue Mountains
Thanks for all the posts folk, its been good reading. Looks like I will be waiting around five years for my digital SLR then wink
_________________________
BoM Storm Spotter, snow chaser, webmaster for www.blackheathweather.com

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#652054 - 06/08/2003 12:23 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
David Simpson. Offline
Weatherzone Administrator/Moderator

Registered: 13/10/2002
Posts: 4928
Loc: Tasmania
Quote:
Originally posted by thunder:
Nikon will be due to release sometime in the next 3 months a 5 megapixel Coolpix 5400.

Of interest to our storm chasing friends will be a 28mm low end of a 4X optical zoom. That 28mm will help get those big storm structures into frame. The other feature is a 10 min max Bulb exposure. This is more than you will ever need and in theory any long digital exposures tend to get very noisy, so a lot will depend on the noise reduction firmware. The B setting is one that is sadly missing from many digitals.
etc
Michael
I'm about to buy the 5400, whilst the ebay prices are tempting these units out of Hong Kong will not be honoured under guarantee in Australia and the unit would need to go back to HK. I've come up with a price of $1479 + 30% off a 512mb card and a discount off the remote. I like the extended bulb but 10 mins would be a noise disaster anyway, I imagine. I'll still shoot 35 mm slide & do some MF work but field work with storms and night-time lightning usage should save me big $$ I hope on development costs, especially for my own personal usage as opposed to commissioned projects.

Now's the time anyone, before I buy, to tell me about that cousin or friend that just bought a 5400 and needs to sell it ugently for $1000!!! (I hate purchasing something just to be told afterwards "oh why didn't you tell me first...!). I reviewed the 5400 and 5700 extensively, Dave Ellem you have the 5700 I think? I simply can't see enough reason to pay the extra $500, how are you finding it Dave?

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#652055 - 06/08/2003 14:42 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Dave Ellem Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/2001
Posts: 1408
Loc: Wollongbar, NSW Northern River...
Hi David,

First of all, I managed to get my 5700 through a business on the Gold Coast that imports them from the US. As part of the deal I got a 3 year extended warranty thatís valid in Australia. Also, I got mine in a package, but the 5700 ended up costing (by itself) around $1500. Pretty huge saving considering at the time its retail price was $2400.

As to paying $500 more (although I presume you could save somewhere under $500 by purchasing an overseas model) I guess the only advantage over the 5400 that the 5700 has is itís 8x optical zoom. I went from a digi that had 3x zoom to the 8x zoom I have now, and thereís no way Iíd go anything less now. Just yesterday I was praising the 8x zoom as I got some photos of a parrot in our garden (something I would have had less success doing with only 4x zoom). I wouldnít pay $500 more just to double the zoom on the 5400, but if you could find a cheaper 5700 I think it would be worth it. The only other difference I can see when quickly looking at the 5400 specs is that it doesnít have ISO 800 like the 5700 (but letís face it, how often would you use it Ė noise city!!). The 5400 has a couple of features over the 5700 like the timelapse feature, a 28mm wide angle (as opposed to the 35mm wide on the 5700), and a better movie mode. As usual, it comes down to what you want. I would still pay the extra for the 5700 over the 5400, but thatís just me. For you, zoom may not be a huge deal.

Iíve been VERY happy with my 5700. It does have weaknesses (Iím yet to hear of a camera that doesnít have any thatís under $3000!) but overall it does a great job. Iím also glad I took the risk and got an overseas model Ė made a huge saving and it didnít provide too many hassles.

BTW can I ask where and for how much youíre getting the remote cable (MC-EU1) for the 5400? Iím looking desperately for one before this next storm season (itís a must for lightning photography in bulb mode!) but have only found them on eBay in the US.

Any more questions feel free to ask. I believe the 5400 should be an excellent camera! smile

Dave

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#652056 - 06/08/2003 15:22 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
David Simpson. Offline
Weatherzone Administrator/Moderator

Registered: 13/10/2002
Posts: 4928
Loc: Tasmania
Hi mate, good feedback, thanks. The zoom is an issue that pains me and I only hope not to regret a 4X limit. Given that 90% of my work is weather related, zoom is not an over-riding issue and I have up to 400mm lenses to play with my 35mm gear so if I need that kind of reach I still have it I guess. By the way this is a link to the 5400 review and many others, you may have seen the site already.

The remote (Remote cord MC-EU1), which as you say is a must for nightime bulb work, is $249, very rich I'm afraid. It works for both models & I can get 10% off the price if I purchase the cord with the camera, let me know if you want one at the same time? The lack of selecting ISO 800 isn't an issue for me, especially for low light, I stay around 50-100 or at least I wind back for it with 35mm film work at night anyway. If I come across a good price for the 5700 in the meantime I'll see what happens, as I recall it has full manual bulb setting? I do like the progressive mode the 5400 offers and can imagine this being used for time-lapse sunrises, sunsets and updraft development for example, with a big enough memory card! Pre-set time-lapse would be fun with flower openings etc if a high pressure ridge is making life boring! I'm very keen to know Dave if you have any night lightning shots with it yet? If so I am very keen to look, accompanied by settings too, the noise issue is what I'm interested in.

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#652057 - 06/08/2003 16:00 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Dave Ellem Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/2001
Posts: 1408
Loc: Wollongbar, NSW Northern River...
Yep Ė sounds as though the 5400 is the way to go for you. I havenít had a huge go at lightning photography yet as Iíve only had it for the winter months, but I did get to give it a bit of a trial run in Thailand. Hereís some pics I have uploaded on my site. It wasnít the best conditions for lightning photography, but showed that with noise reduction on, the camera gave beautiful results. I was very happy with the lightning shots I got in terms of clarity and I look forward to a proper NE NSW light show in the summer months to really test it out!

First shot was set on f3.3 for 85 secs, second shot f4.7 for 176 secs (LONG exposures!). The lightning was really bright CCs overhead that night with distant CGs and all very infrequent so it was hard to capture! The third was taken a couple of nights later - f3.7 for 1.5 secs. All shots had noise reduction on.



First one here f3.7 for 4.3 secs and the second was f2.8 for 7.6 secs, taken later that same night. Both had noise reduction on.



So Iíve been pretty impressed with the results so far. Just need some decent storms here now! Also, check out some of Dann Weatherhead\'s pics from the SSC\'s TDU trip last year . He has some great lightning photos from his Nikon Coolpix 5000 which I would expect to give similar results to the 5400.

As for the remote cable, I was shocked to hear $249!! Is this retail price? I ask because I have seen the same remote cable available from an Australian online store for $180. I was hoping for something cheaper than that, but I may be dreaming! frown Iíll see if I can find it again and give you the link if youíre interested.

Thanks David.

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#652058 - 06/08/2003 16:32 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Dave Ellem Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/2001
Posts: 1408
Loc: Wollongbar, NSW Northern River...
Hi David,

I have found the cable advertised on this website for $170.00. Only problem is that it appears the only way to purchase the cable is if you also purchase the Nikon 5700 with it! I've emailed them and asked for a price if ordered seperatley from the camera. I assume you would be inerested in purchasing one if it's at this price? I suggested to them that there may be two people interested at buying them if sold that cheap. Hopefully they'll sell it at that price, becuase that's a huge saving from the $249 rrp.

Dave

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#652059 - 06/08/2003 17:19 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
David Simpson. Offline
Weatherzone Administrator/Moderator

Registered: 13/10/2002
Posts: 4928
Loc: Tasmania
Yes Dave I'd like to know if the cable is available seperately, please let me know, via email is probably best. The examples you posted give good comparison (and not bad pics either) so thanks for that, I'll take a look at Dann's shots too. I'm also about to email you if you can take a look soon.

See you there!

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#652060 - 06/08/2003 20:55 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
thunder Offline
Member

Registered: 18/01/2003
Posts: 906
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW
I am also certain to get a 5400. I waited until the official reviews came out before finally committing.

Like all cameras it does have shortcomings, the ones that the Nikon 5400 has the most critism for are ( from Nikon forum at DP review )

- Poor low light auto focus
- Soft photos

The first is not an issue, lightning is an infinity shot, and it has full manual controls.

The second is more of a personal preference, many cameras have more aggresive sharpening default settings. You can alter the 5400's sharpening to suit, or like me post process in Photoshop or similar.

In balance I felt that the negative opinions I was reading were from people who wanted point and shoot results without any fuss. They simply brought the wrong camera, one that was too complex for them.

The two strengths of this camera are

- 28mm low end of zoom
- incredible macro ability
- Bulb shots to 10 mins

The lack of 8X zoom does not worry me, I have taken around 500-600 weather related pictures with my old A20 and can count on two hands the number taken at the 3X (105mm) end of the zoom. The wide angle end is better suited for weather and sunsets, so 28mm is more important than having 8X.

The 5700 is still a great camera, a fact that I have picked up from religiously reading the Nikon forum day after day.

Camera House online in George street Sydney has the 5400 for $1479.

The local Hardly Normal originally had it for $1590, then snuck it up to $1690.

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#652061 - 06/08/2003 21:28 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
thunder Offline
Member

Registered: 18/01/2003
Posts: 906
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW
One thing I forgot to mention. Just beware of E Bay purchases.

The Hong Kong digital deals were a hot topic of discussion in the AUS.PHOTO newsgroup recently.

It seems that the operation is very badly organised. One buyer did not receive his camera and the Hong Kong end did not want to know. It seems they probably do send it in good faith, but if it goes missing in Australia post - well bad luck. The E Bay site evens states that after the camera is sent they have no responsibilty.

Another red flag is sellers who insist only on western union money transfer.

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#652062 - 07/08/2003 07:43 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
David Simpson. Offline
Weatherzone Administrator/Moderator

Registered: 13/10/2002
Posts: 4928
Loc: Tasmania
Thunda, all good info mate, and I have been warned off the HK ebay thing too. For me, paying less than 10% extra for peace of mind is a good investment. Interesting what you say about Hardly Normal, I wonder if they price match? I agree that the 4X zoom shouldn't be too much of a problem. I do ocassionally zoom in on CG's if concentrated in one area and still at a distance, but when shooting I normally have one 35mm camera set, two digital videos & digital still camera so I don't miss anything. I have learnt that the most spectacular CG will always occur when you are changing film or changing video batteries!

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#652063 - 07/08/2003 20:33 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
thunder Offline
Member

Registered: 18/01/2003
Posts: 906
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW
Quote:
I do ocassionally zoom in on CG's if concentrated in one area
I don't get this luxury in the Illawarra, most of our lightning suffers from one or both of two problems. The first is most of our storms are old anviled out masses full of rain and well scattered lightning, the second is if the storm is healthy the inflow starts sucking in saturated coastal air which equals low scuddy cloud.

I will be testing Harvey Norman for price matching as the only way I can the get the digital before at least October is by their interest free terms. I just cannot afford one until the sale of some land goes through.

I have several internet company prices printed out, all under $1500, I realise they probably won't match that, but may down to $1550 or lower. I also have a quote from G & V imaging in George St for a shop price of $1499.

The funny thing is I swore that the local HN had the camera for $1599 just two weeks ago, now its $1699. By the way $1699 is the price recommended by Maxwells the Australian Nikon distributer, so the discount is a whopping 0%.

Fuji has just released a new 6mp digital that looks a superb camera except for a crippling 15 second max shutter.

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#652064 - 08/08/2003 07:34 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Blizzard Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 31/03/2001
Posts: 10343
Loc: Blue Mountains
As usual, this thread is excellent reading. Playing around with a point and shoot digital for the last year has increased my interest in photography - its always been there but for me, the cost of processing was prohibitive. With a tripod now, I've been able to produce some better shots and my enthusiasm for better pictures has grown. Big zooms appeal to me as being a snow freak, its nice to zoom in on the Central Plateau from here during dustings as well as capturing storms out that way. However, being on a tightish budget is the main influence for me. It seems that I will hold onto my money for now and when I sell the car next year and have saved more, I will look into a G3, superseded yes but from what I've been told and read, still a very good intro camera for a budding amateur. I'd be interested to hear from those that are using this camera or the G2 etc.
_________________________
BoM Storm Spotter, snow chaser, webmaster for www.blackheathweather.com

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#652065 - 08/08/2003 07:47 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
David Simpson. Offline
Weatherzone Administrator/Moderator

Registered: 13/10/2002
Posts: 4928
Loc: Tasmania
Thunder, the HN price of $1699 is the 17 mth interest free price, they will do less for cash/credit as I found out yesterday. ($1589 quoted). I am very impatient once I set my mind to buying something so I may well get the camera tonight but will buy the remote seperately via the source that Dave E. mentioned a few messages back. I'm getting some magazine and stock image work now too so the 5400 will be a good alternative to film. The local council are producing a Storm Guide for ratepayers and want me to privide images and source info so I hope to provide a few 5400 images if the weather cooperates over the next month or so!

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#652066 - 08/08/2003 14:27 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Ben Quinn (BSCH) Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/06/2001
Posts: 2987
Loc: Caboolture, ~45km north of Bri...
I think you'd be pretty happy with a G3 Blizzard, i don't have too many complaints about my G2 - nothing that doesn't apply to other camera's in it's class/digital camera's in general anyway. If you really wanted to save some $$'s you could even look around for a second hand G2. If you picked one up for 8 or 9 hundred you'd be laughing. Looking at the specs on the net the G3 definately has some reasonably solid improvements on the G2 but if i picked up my G2 now at a second hand price i'd be pretty happy with the value for money.

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#652067 - 08/08/2003 15:57 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
MHD Offline
Member

Registered: 05/06/2001
Posts: 219
Loc: Heidelberg Melbourne
Great thread guys... MMMM makes me want to go out and get myself a new digi (I'm using a Nikkon cp2000 atm, 2mp but with the problem of no manual setting for exposure time... But was only 400ish..)

Great Pics!

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#652068 - 08/08/2003 16:06 Re: The Ultimate Digital Camera for weather/lightning
Anthony Cornelius Offline
Meteorologist

Registered: 22/05/2001
Posts: 5162
Loc: Brisbane
There's a G4 coming out soon I think too, it's a 5mp, so certainly up there. If it's anything like the G2/G3 it should be superb!

AC
_________________________
Weatherwatch www.weatherwatch.net.au
Downunder Chasing www.downunderchase.com

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