SFR Digital SLR


Help! I'm trapped in a landlocked state.
Some of you guys are photo junkies and post some outstanding pictures, so perhaps this is a good place to ask this. What are you guys shooting in digital SLR cameras? In terms of shooting good fishing pictures, is there any difference between something like a Rebel XSi or a Nikon D60, or is it a Ford and Chevy sort of thing? What separates one camera from the next?

Charles Craumer

i'm poor and shoot the D40x. now SLRs are damn cheap. the D90 is sick. shoots hi def video and pictures. the key to whatever camera you use is shooting in. RAW format. that will make your pictures look pro status. some guy on this site that does this for a living will fill you in.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Even entry-level DLSRs are a big step up for P&S users. They have several advantages over their smaller cousins: interchangeable lenses; larger sensors; better and faster image processors; and an array of features and accessories that allow them to be adapted to many different situtations. DSLRs also have several disadvantages: they're larger, heavier and bulkier; more complicated; and more expensive. On balance, the lower prices and better quality and features of today's crop of DSLRs makes them a better value than ever before.

For most of this decade, Canon enjoyed a considerable advantage over Nikon, especially at the higher end, with their full-frame (24x36mm) sensors that provides the same relative image as a corresponding 35mm film camera. Look along the sidelines of almost any big-time sporting event and you'll see dozens of pros shooting cameras with big, white telephoto lenses, all made by Canon. But Nikon changed that equation a couple years back with the introduction of their full-frame D3 and later, the full-frame D700. At the high end (and we're talking $4-5K just for the bodies here!), the playing field has become much more level, even tilting slightly towards Nikon for fast-action sports shooters.

For pros, much of what determines their upgrade path is dictated by their investment in optics and accessories. Someone with $25K invested in Canon lenses isn't likely to switch to Nikon's latest camera without taking a serious haircut.

But for new DSLR users without an equity stake in optics, the decisions are much less complicated. Consumer-level cameras from Nikon and Canon are pretty evenly matched in terms of features and price, so it really does come down to Ford vs. Chevy in many cases.

I started out shooting a prehistoric Nikon D100 that I bought with three lenses. But it quickly became apparent that the D100 was a dinosaur so last year I shopped pretty hard, leaning toward Nikon because of the lenses I already owned. But I ended up switching to Canon's 40D body with 17-85 and 70-200 zoom lenses with Image Stabilization. At the time, the Canon 40D fit nicely into what was then a price gap in the Nikon lineup - Nikon simply didn't offer any body in the $1200-$1500 range.

That's all ancient history now as Nikon has completely updated their entire consumer DSLR line and added their flagship D90. But Canon hasn't stood still either, replacing the 40D with the even more refined 50D and adding the full-frame 5DmkII (which I recently had a chance to play with on a client shoot.)

Cameras are a lot like guns - owning a good one is no guarantee that you still won't take clunky pictures. They'll just cost more. RAW files offer better editability to rescue marginal exposures and most new cameras allow you to double up exposures by saving images as both RAW and JPEG files simultaneously.

I'm really happy with the 40D and see me shooting it for years to come. But one thing I won't do with it is take it fishing. It's just too big and complicated and there's far more at risk if I accidentally drop it.

I'll keep shooting my waterproof Pentax WP and have just picked up a 14mp Canon G10 for non-fishing outdoor use. Bigger than most P&S cameras, it's full-featured, all-metal, shoots RAW and its images rival those from DSLRs at about half the price.



dead in the water
I really have nothing more to add to what Kent said. He summarized it very nicely.

"Ford vs Chevy" is pretty much exactly how I describe it to people these days.
Yes, well said Kent. I personally shoot with Nikon DSLR because it fit in my price range (used) and I had some older compatible lenses. I have barely scratched the surface of it's capabilities. Fun stuff!
"Ford vs Chevy" is pretty much exactly how I describe it to people these days.
So who's the Mercedes Benz of the camera world?


dead in the water
Benz or BMW would probably be Leica. Great products, but expensive. And if what you want is value over "exotic experience", Leica probably isn't for you. Just as you'd be more likely to buy a Toyota than a 5 series BMW.

Chris Puma

hates waking up early
The xsi has a real time preview doesn't it? Does nikon have similar feature?

I like my xti. I need a low light lens for it.


Ignored Member
Some Nikons have live view, D90, D300, D700 are a few. I want a D300 real bad but will likely get the 90. I can't justify the extra 600 bucks for the 300 considering the type of shooting I do.

DSLRs are a lot like fishing gear. There is always something new, better, faster, with more megapixels coming out but honestly for most of us the entry level offering by most DSLR makers will suffice. Take a look at Pentax and Sony also. Good cameras.

Dustin Bise

Active Member
Here is my BEST advice. A camera is only a tool. With that in mind, pick the tool that you feel is the most comfortable. Pretty much any DSLR out there is gonna get the job done, but there is an extra abundance of used cannon lenses. thats its only real advantage over nikon I feel. I personally shoot with a slightly outdated nikon d70 but its a great camera and i love it. You need to go to a camera store and play with a few. Find one that fits your hand, has a viewfinder that is nice to look through. If you are planning on shooting in low light get something with good preformance at high ISO (film speed).

I hope that helps and PM me if you have anymore questions. If your serious about fish photography you may also consider the price and availbilty of underwater housings for your selected DSLR. peace
ON THE NOTE OF DIGITIAL RANGEFINDERSS.... If you are fishing under human propulsion (backpacking, hiking, etc) a high end digital rangefinder is baller. Super light weight, super fun to shoot, and super high quality. I would take a leica any day if i had the funds. The small size is such a huge advantage.


Newb seeking wisdom
We bought a Nikon D40 with the two-lense pack and neither my wife nor I are experienced photographers, it's been great.
Make sure you get the VR lenses.
It's a major step up from P&S.
Does more than we're prepared to use.
I had an issue with Canon customer service a few years back and promised them I wouldn't buy another one of their products again.
I have other Nikon sport optics and really like everything I've used.
If you don't think you'll exploit all the features, keep it simple and use the extra cash for lenses.
My $.02


dead in the water
Dustin and I disagree on a few things.

I virtually never use a tripod, I love IS/VR lenses, and while I enjoy rangefinder photography as much as anyone (I have more money in Leica cameras/lenses on my desk right now than my truck is worth) I wouldn't ever recommended them to anyone just because the lenses are small.

  1. Tripods
    Tripods are a useful item for sure. But for the kind of shooting I do (on location, documentary, extreme sports, adventure, wedding reportage, etc) they are a burden. I rarely suggest that anyone carry anything more than a gorillapod or a small cushmann travel tripod. Hoofing a tripod back into the backcountry is a lot of extra weight that most fishing-photographers don't care about. I won't ever tell anyone that they shouldn't buy a tripod. I just won't tell them that they HAVE to buy one.
  2. IS/VR
    IS/VR rules. If you can afford it and they fit your needs, you should get lenses that have it. This is a staggeringly wonderful technology. It takes one of the two sources of "blur" out of the equation for slow-shutter images (1. camera movement 2. subject movement). Of course there are limits to it's effectiveness, and IS/VR can't do anything about subject movement. But take it from someone who has spent a lot of time in dim bars and reception halls, IS/VR is cool.
  3. Digital Rangefinders
    There are only two digital RF's on the market today. And one of them (Epson RD1) you either have to buy used or go to Japan and grab one of the limited re-release cameras. The other (Leica M8.2) goes for $4000 not including lenses. In all honesty, you can achieve a package almost as small and just as light with a Canon XSi or Nikon D40 and prime lenses.


New Member
You might want to look at the cheap Pentax DLSR's. They run on AA batteries which is nice if your out camping for long periods of time. Also the camera's have weather sealing. All Pentax bayonet lenses can also be used, but I'm not sure how much of advantage this really is unless your into telephoto stuff.
Dustin and I disagree on a few things.

I virtually never use a tripod, I love IS/VR lenses, and while I enjoy rangefinder photography as much as anyone (I have more money in Leica cameras/lenses on my desk right now than my truck is worth) I wouldn't ever recoment them to anyone just because the lenses are light.
I just think a digital rangefinder is the most practical option for the wilderness. :) You my friend are a traitor to the tripod, and for this I may never forgive you! I am sure I would love IS VR if i wasnt poor. :beathead:

Also, as much as i preach tipods to beginers I am a master of the galen rowell wilderness photogrpahy principles. AKA I like to use a tree branch or a rock or anything to set my camera on. I would def be taking a tripod in the backcountry with me if I could afford one of the carbon pods. But then again I reallyenjoy shooting multiple expousers and long shutter speeds.