Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

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miamivice
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Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by miamivice »

Thread for those that are familiar with high end SLR cameras....

I have my eye on a professional SLR camera, likely the Nikon D850 but also considering the Canon 5D Mark IV camera. One thing that I have discovered is that neither professional-grade camera has a built in flash.

Currently I use a Nikon D300 with a built in flash and use the flash for about 1/2 of my shots. Virtually all indoor photography I use the flash for along with some outdoor photography as a fill in. I do not wish to carry an external flash around with me, so I am concerned that the Nikon D850 is not the camera for me.

I use my camera for:
- taking pictures of my family, both indoors and outdoors
- indoor pictures of building infrastructure (boilers, lighting, windows, etc)
- outdoor pictures of buildings
- outdoor pictures of parks and community spaces for our homeowners association
- landscape photography
- travel photography

Appreciate any comments about whether the absence of the built in flash is a deal killer for the Nikon D850
livesoft
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by livesoft »

You would buy a separate flash unit for such cameras. I have a dSLR. I haven't bought any gear in a while, but I do have Canon 580EX II and another speedlite clone. I also have radio triggers and did off-camera flash for almost all my indoor photography. Of course, these camera bodies have hot shoes where you can attach the flash or radio trigger or IR trigger.

I never used the wimpy built-in flash on my camera body.

Your wish not to carry around a separate flash unit is weird. These high-end camera bodies are meant to be used with high-end external flash units.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dukeblue219
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by dukeblue219 »

What about the 850 appeals to you over your 300?

What you're going to find is exactly what you'd expect - Pros don't use built in flashes, ever. I think you're at a decision point in your hobby. Do you want to continue taking nice photos with an SLR without much hassle, or do you want to step it up a notch and buy another set of accessories you have to drag around?

What about a D610 instead? It's still full frame but at the entry level.
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miamivice
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by miamivice »

dukeblue219 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:38 am What about the 850 appeals to you over your 300?

What you're going to find is exactly what you'd expect - Pros don't use built in flashes, ever. I think you're at a decision point in your hobby. Do you want to continue taking nice photos with an SLR without much hassle, or do you want to step it up a notch and buy another set of accessories you have to drag around?

What about a D610 instead? It's still full frame but at the entry level.
I like that the D850 has a full frame sensor, has a 45 megapixels sensor, and does video. My current D300 has an 8 megapixel sensor, does not do full frame, and does not do video.

I am looking at a D810 camera instead that may work just fine...it "only" has a 36 megapixel sensor and does 1080p video instead of 4k video, but that would probably be fine for me. It does have a built in flash.
Seasonal
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

If you need a flash and don't want an external flash, then you need a camera with a built-in flash.

The target users for a D850 who use flash tend to regard built-in flashes as inadequate for their needs. If they need a flash, they want something more powerful and flexible.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:43 amI am looking at a D810 camera instead that may work just fine...it "only" has a 36 megapixel sensor and does 1080p video instead of 4k video, but that would probably be fine for me. It does have a built in flash.
Are you printing very large or cropping heavily?

Have you considered mirrorless?
dukeblue219
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by dukeblue219 »

I personally wouldn't worry one bit about 24, 36, or 45 MP, especially coming from your d300. The question is going to be 4K video and how critical that is VS how "nice" it is. You could, after all, buy a D610 and a $1000 4k camcorder for less than a D850.
RubyTuesday
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by RubyTuesday »

D850 is arguably the best DSLR available. Great very low noise high dynamic range sensor, great autofocus system, professional grade everything. If you buy it, I suggest exploring Godox flashes. Great quality and value. That said, do you really want or need professional equipment? And do you even want DSLR? Mirrorless is much smaller lighter, has no mirror blackout, and probably does better video.

I have D500 which is professional grade crop sensor. Great for wildlife. If I get another camera, will either be D850 or mirrorless
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Notsobad
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Notsobad »

Built in flashes are weak and usually only suited for fill. That is why the more serious cameras do not have them.

If you are buying new, why DSLR? The market is moving to mirrorless. We are already seeing a shift in manufacturers dropping some for their SLR lenses and all development is for mirrorless, even for full frame.
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snackdog
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by snackdog »

Unless you need telephoto for wildlife or something the latest smart phones, especially the iPhones, are putting DSLRs out of business. They take great photos in almost all lighting conditions.
hi_there
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by hi_there »

Hi, OP. I personally would prefer not to carry around a full frame DSLR and flash for most of these uses, given the size and weight of the equipment. It's also distracting for family and friends when you pull out a huge camera, and this tends to change the way your photos turn out - so usually, the smaller the better.

It's true that an external flash will give you more power and flexibility. However, unless you're hitting the wall of what you want to achieve with the internal flash, then maybe the portability is more valuable then functionality.

So, I think if you find an internal flash to be useful, then just buy the best camera subject to that requirement. Nikon still makes cameras with internal flash because users still find them to be useful. All 2021 Nikon cameras will probably give excellent results, so I would not be too picky about getting the most high end equipment.

"I use my camera for:
- taking pictures of my family, both indoors and outdoors
- indoor pictures of building infrastructure (boilers, lighting, windows, etc)
- outdoor pictures of buildings
- outdoor pictures of parks and community spaces for our homeowners association
- landscape photography
- travel photography"
02nz
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by 02nz »

If you can't be bothered to carry an external flash, then you should probably stick to cell phone cameras, at least for indoor photos. With their sophisticated algorithms (taking multiple exposures to adjust for lighting conditions), they can give you much better pictures under challenging lighting conditions than a fancy dSLR without flash and operated by an amateur (no offense intended).
nigel_ht
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by nigel_ht »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:43 am
dukeblue219 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:38 am What about the 850 appeals to you over your 300?

What you're going to find is exactly what you'd expect - Pros don't use built in flashes, ever. I think you're at a decision point in your hobby. Do you want to continue taking nice photos with an SLR without much hassle, or do you want to step it up a notch and buy another set of accessories you have to drag around?

What about a D610 instead? It's still full frame but at the entry level.
I like that the D850 has a full frame sensor, has a 45 megapixels sensor, and does video. My current D300 has an 8 megapixel sensor, does not do full frame, and does not do video.

I am looking at a D810 camera instead that may work just fine...it "only" has a 36 megapixel sensor and does 1080p video instead of 4k video, but that would probably be fine for me. It does have a built in flash.
None of the Nikon dslrs are great for video for normal folks. They have to drop to CDAF because the mirror is up for video and you often will end up with hunting or missed focus unless you use manual focus.

If video is desired then I’d get a separate 4K camcorder as someone suggested or one of the Z series Nikons.

I’d get a Z6 II ($2K) over a D850 ($3K) and start collecting Z glass. My assumption is you mostly have Dx glass at the moment.

The D810 is discontinued but you can find a Nikon refurb. Then spend the difference in glass. Other than video that will work.

But if you want video I’d get a Z6 II or a refurb Z6 ($1900 with 24-70 f4). Then get a FTZ mount adapter for f mount lenses. No flash though.

Or a Z50 and FTZ and use your current glass as well since it’s a Dx. The Z50 does have a flash.

If you can find a sb400 it’s a nice small flash. The sb300 is smaller and tilts but uses AAA batteries so fewer shots.

If you are starting over for lenses I’d take a look at Canon and Sony because nows the time to switch. Once you have a couple megabuck lenses it’s a lot more painful to switch.
Rex66
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Rex66 »

You will find you only need the flash for specific times.

All the best/professional cameras require a separate flash.

I have a canon 2dxii and only bring flash for portraits.

I would go mirrorless at this point.
nigel_ht
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by nigel_ht »

Oh, last note...I personally don’t want to lug a D850 around for travel...

Mirrorless for travel if you need something more than an iPhone.

Frankly IMHO DSLRs only make sense for sports and even there the Sony A9 (or A7) does well enough although it’s a beefy camera as well.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by rob »

A popup flash is almost useless (depending on brand can be used to fire other flashes which is why I left "almost" in there :-) )... In most cases your better off without it. That may not make sense initially but IMO it's just true. If your new to SLR's - make sure you are going to carry the gear and have a reason otherwise an iPhone is better.
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Watty
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Watty »

My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.

I'm not familiar with the Nikon product line but I would think they would have a lower level full frame camera with a built in flash that might be a better choice for you since you want a built in flash and a full frame camera.

It would also be good to consider the additional weight since a full frame camera and a couple of lenses(especially the lenses) and batteries can be a lot heavier than equivalent crop sensor equipment. The weight is mainly why I am staying with a crop sensor camera.

One of the advantages of a full frame camera is that you can use a much higher ISO and still get good results so you may rarely really need a flash unless you want a fill flash.

I looked it up and your D300 dates back to 2007. Sensors at high ISOs have improved a lot too. I have a relatively current Canon crop sensor camera and I find that I often use ISO 400 for everyday shooting just because there is little if any noise at ISO 400 so there is little advantage with using a lower ISO unless I am doing something like landscape photography.

It was not clear just why you wanted a full frame camera but just to do your due diligence you might want to review the current Nikon crop sensor cameras to see if one of them would work for you.

I agree with the prior comment that mirrorless would be worth considering too. If I was going to get a new set of gear I would be taking a hard look at mirrorless.

One option to consider is renting the camera before you buy it to see if it works for you or not.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Sandtrap »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:26 am Thread for those that are familiar with high end SLR cameras....

I have my eye on a professional SLR camera, likely the Nikon D850 but also considering the Canon 5D Mark IV camera. One thing that I have discovered is that neither professional-grade camera has a built in flash.

Currently I use a Nikon D300 with a built in flash and use the flash for about 1/2 of my shots. Virtually all indoor photography I use the flash for along with some outdoor photography as a fill in. I do not wish to carry an external flash around with me, so I am concerned that the Nikon D850 is not the camera for me.

I use my camera for:
- taking pictures of my family, both indoors and outdoors
- indoor pictures of building infrastructure (boilers, lighting, windows, etc)
- outdoor pictures of buildings
- outdoor pictures of parks and community spaces for our homeowners association
- landscape photography
- travel photography

Appreciate any comments about whether the absence of the built in flash is a deal killer for the Nikon D850
Budget?
Do you use your pictures out of the camera as is in JPEG form? (ooc)
Do you shoot your pictures in "raw" mode and neutral settings and post process in Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One, etc?
What do you do with your pictures after you take them as far as only emailing them, or printing out on a color printer maximum 8x10 or what?
Who looks at your pictures? (what are their expectations?)
Are you going to sell or market your pictures commercially?
Is this your "messing around" hobby, or "serious" hobby, or wanna achieve "pro level results" rewarding hobby?

Notes:
1. Camera and photography levels that go with it, is a "system" that includes the camera, flash, processing software, and more.
And, like buying a computer, you take into account the level of use, software used, and so forth. All are interrelated.

2. On the farthest level that is "adequate", a great photo quality cell phone would achieve the above.

3. On a low to mid level . . . the Sony DSC R100 series camera with built in flash and a 1" sensor and a wide range zoom would "get the job done".

4. On a mid to mid high level. . . an APSC sensor size Nikon or Canon with a quality speedlight (up to $600 for a good one) mounted on the hot shoe would be very useable.

5. On a more "pro level or serious hobbyist level", a Full Frame sensor Nikon or Canon with at least 2 speedlights (used both on and off camera or both off camera, speedlights are $600 each) would be capable of low to mid level wedding shoot quality depending on one's skill.

6. No mention of "mirrorless" because that's a whole nuther level of things not better or worse, just different, and open to zillion opinions.

7. So the above is an idea of the broad range of things (not specifics).

8. Glass glass glass. Usually cameras with on board flashes are not interchangeable lens cameras. Usually. Not always. So, now you have to figure out the various lens to use for what you want and expect to get in result. IE: Canon EF-S lens can be had for 3-800$ or go the "L" lens route and pay 1000's per lens. It just depends on what you want and need to do.

9. And what you are willing to carry around.

Select your level of use and interest and your budget.
j :D
For fun,
this is a Iphone 7+
taking a picture of a Sony RX100V (with a custom filter setup) and a full frame Canon 5d setup with a fast $$$$ lens on it.
Cell phones have come a long long way.

Interesting size and weight comparison.
Image
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jrbdmb
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by jrbdmb »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:26 am Thread for those that are familiar with high end SLR cameras....

I have my eye on a professional SLR camera, likely the Nikon D850 but also considering the Canon 5D Mark IV camera. One thing that I have discovered is that neither professional-grade camera has a built in flash.

Currently I use a Nikon D300 with a built in flash and use the flash for about 1/2 of my shots. Virtually all indoor photography I use the flash for along with some outdoor photography as a fill in. I do not wish to carry an external flash around with me, so I am concerned that the Nikon D850 is not the camera for me.

I use my camera for:
- taking pictures of my family, both indoors and outdoors
- indoor pictures of building infrastructure (boilers, lighting, windows, etc)
- outdoor pictures of buildings
- outdoor pictures of parks and community spaces for our homeowners association
- landscape photography
- travel photography

Appreciate any comments about whether the absence of the built in flash is a deal killer for the Nikon D850
It sounds like you have already decided, so get a good camera with a built-in flash. Though you really should consider at least getting a small flash with a tilt head to mount on the hot shoe for indoor shots. I have an older Canon DSLR (crop frame) and there is just no comparison between indoor photos taken with the small direct on-camera flash and with a shoe-mounted flash bounced off the wall or ceiling.
Last edited by jrbdmb on Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
mrb09
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by mrb09 »

My camera journey went from 35mm film w/ multiple lenses, to digital with a mix of the 35mm and smaller dx lenses, to mirrorless w/ separate lenses, to mirrorless with an integrated lens, and finally to just my phone. Partly I lost interest, and partly a phone is just so good now. But with all the cameras with separate lenses, I had a separate flash. Partly because built-in flashes are wimpy, but also because a big lens will block the flash.

Agree with other folks that if you're not going to carry around a lens bag (in which case that's where you carry your flash), maybe you should look at a smaller camera with an integrated lens. The new mirrorless cameras are really amazing. And if shoot in raw mode and use a post-processor like Adobe Lightroom, a good chunk of the time you don't need fill flash any more.
Seasonal
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

snackdog wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:24 am Unless you need telephoto for wildlife or something the latest smart phones, especially the iPhones, are putting DSLRs out of business. They take great photos in almost all lighting conditions.
With an interchangeable lens camera you can choose from a much wider array of focal lengths and can much more easily control shutter speed and depth of field. If those are not important, then agreed, smart phones are great and often all you need.
Seasonal
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Rex66
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Rex66 »

well its a lot more than that

mine will take 12 pictures per second, has superior autofocus capabilities to any phone camera, better low light and adjustments such as aperature, speed and iso equivalents as well.

you could never take sports photos like i can with my 1dxii but you would have to pony up a lot of money and carry some weight around to use it.

i carry my phone everywhere for the most part but when i want serious event photos, i break out my professional level camera.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

OP, if you don’t have a small fortune invested in Nikon lenses, go mirror-less or even latest iPhone. If nothing else, people don’t clam up when you point an iPhone in their direction, but you can feel them freeze up when I point my D4 w/ 70-200 2.8 at them and they hear the “paparazzi sound effects.”

I got that camera because it could take great photos of hockey games in amateur rinks (with limited light). I would not get one today.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by hi_there »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:06 am Interesting size and weight comparison.
Image
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tibbitts
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by tibbitts »

I don't understand all the replies without discussing lenses. If the OP has only a kit lens for the existing camera then there no degree of F-mount lock-in; otherwise there is. Also there is considerable sentiment that the new Nikon dslrs being released this year will the be the last F-mount bodies ever, so while lens availability won't be an issue for a long time, you have to consider that you're locking yourself into that. While the adapters for mirrorless are said to work well, ultimately you want access to the new lens technology when it develops, and I'm not sure how many more new F lenses there will be after the new F-mount lenses released this year. Adapting only works in one direction.

I probably wouldn't complain about carrying a small flash when the D850 is the size it is relative to many other cameras, and the lenses will often be correspondingly larger and heavier than for a crop body.

About the built-in flash, I don't take enough people pictures to say how useful it is for that. I know that with vegetation outdoors at medium-distances where in theory it would be really handy (like to get detail in backlit branches), it seems like if I use my built-in flash (which is powerful enough, usually), it means lots of time of trying to fix artificial-looking shadows, partly due to the varying distances of objects. You wouldn't need an off-camera flash to fix that; you'd need a lot of off-camera lighting. I can see it maybe working for something like a flower close-up. My camera doesn't have any intelligent fill capability like I believe Nikon has, and lack of high-speed-sync also limits the value of built-in flash.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by iamlucky13 »

I only use the pop-up flash when desperate for some extra fill, or to trigger the optical sensor on an off-camera flash when I didn't bring my radio triggers. The nearly face-on lighting angle is not very natural due to the lack of shadows, and it is especially noticeable when the color temperature does not match the ambient (although that can be adjusted by colored filter gels, just like with an off-camera flash). It tends to be one of those things that most people don't consciously recognize until they start to pay dedicated attention to lighting, but still doesn't look "right" even if they can't articulate why.

If you want to take your photography to the next level, taking control of the lighting by using off camera flashes is one of the most significant things you can do. I learned quite a bit from reading David Hobby's strobist 101 blog posts, although there's plenty of newer resources, too:
https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

That said, it takes extra time to set up flashes and figure out the appropriate power level. At least when indoors, I often will give myself some quick fill by putting the flash in the hotshoe and swiveling it upward for indirect, diffuse light bounced off the ceiling.

Also, if you get a new full frame DSLR, the improved low light performance compared to your D300 should reduce how frequently you need extra light.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by quantAndHold »

If you’re expecting to use the pop up flash, you probably don’t need a D850. D850 is an amazing beast, that, in the right hands, takes beautiful, perfect photos, that can be printed at poster size. It is also large, heavy, and expensive, and requires a bagful of large, heavy, and expensive lenses, tripod, and lighting gear to get that result. When I was shooting professionally, I had a D800. Now that I’m not, I don’t. All the equipment is just too big and heavy.

If you have a bag of lenses that you want to continue using, a D7500 will be a massive step up from that D300. The lenses you already have will be the correct focal lengths. With the increase in resolution, you might find that you need better quality lenses to keep up with the body, but you don’t have to replace everything at once to get the correct focal lengths for the camera. For practical use, unless you’re printing at poster size, your results with a D7500 will be every bit as good as the D850, in a smaller, lighter, and cheaper body.

If you’re starting completely over, I would look at the various mirrorless options. Especially if one of your primary uses is travel. I shot an African safari with an Olympus, and the only thing I missed was the prodigious size and weight of the Nikon gear. The results I got were great.

Also think about what you expect the end result to be. Are you going to print? For large prints, you might need a fancy camera. But for smaller prints or for posting online, a recent model phone will do 90% of what you want. Some of the best pictures I got in Africa were actually shot with my phone.
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robphoto
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by robphoto »

Do you have a real good phone? I'm a professional photographer, and for the kind of photos you list, I can't get better photos with my big cameras (without lighting and setup) than with my Samsung Galaxy S10 phone. (has ultra wild, wide, and "portrait" lenses)

I think with modern DSLR, or a mirrorless Nikon like people recommended above, you could get good photos without flash in most light.

It sounds like you need the flash for the dark boilers, etc. If you really don't want to add a flash to the camera for that, you've got to get a camera with built-in flash. This rules out many cameras. I couldn't find a full-frame camera which has that.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by stimulacra »

What lenses do you currently have?

Current Full Frame Nikon DSLR's with built-in flash:

D610
D750 (older version of the D780 before flash was removed)
D810A (for astrophotography)

If all you have is a kit lens and a nifty fifty. I would sell everything and get a compact mirrorless that has built in flash, you'll have more options with crop factor bodies.

Nikon DSLR's have two issues going forward:

1) They've abandoned any future development on F-mount lenses (for SLR cameras) and switching all R&D dollars into their Z-mount lenses (Mirrorless). Great opportunity if you want to buy older lenses and older bodies cheap and cheaper as people dump gear to switch to a more relevant system but not something I would want to invest thousands of dollars into as a system.

2) Nikons financial health has been a news item for years in Japan. I think the government there had to strong-arm Fujifilm to bail them out. It's possible for electronics brands to dig themselves out of a hole and do a turnaround but as a customer, you'll probably be happier going to another brand with more flush R&D budget and a robust product pipeline.

One other option would be to find a very compact external flash that you could carry with you unnoticed with batteries and such. Something like a Metz mecablitz 26 AF-1 or smaller. You'll have to try them out and see if it works for the style of photos you do.

I recently got a tiny Fujifilm EF-X20 flash unit for my Fuji camera and love the versatility of it. It gives that harsh street photography flash look for when I need it and has manual controls to let me dial it way down as needed. I was predominantly an "available light" photographer before. I like that I can use the flash off camera in my other hand or on a tripod to create interesting lighting effects. In my bag it takes up the same amount of space as a spare dSLR battery.
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miamivice
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by miamivice »

Thanks all.

I learned a lot from this thread. Most importantly, I think I probably overrely on my D300 flash. I need to try using it without flash and learn how to do indoor photography with no flash with my D300. Then maybe the D850 will become more appealing.

Really appreciate all of the input.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by tibbitts »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:41 am Thanks all.

I learned a lot from this thread. Most importantly, I think I probably overrely on my D300 flash. I need to try using it without flash and learn how to do indoor photography with no flash with my D300. Then maybe the D850 will become more appealing.

Really appreciate all of the input.
Maybe, but carrying it and those higher-quality full-frame lenses definitely won't be more appealing. I've learned going from 6mp to 16mp on my crop bodies, lenses that made the grade at 6mp just don't come close at 16mp. You're making an even larger leap from 12mp(?) to 45mp. So to avoid a bunch of blurry pixels you won't just need full-frame lenses, you'll need really good full-frame lenses. So the cost isn't just the cost of the body, it's the cost of the very best lenses. Unfortunately some of the very best lenses are also often some of the biggest, heaviest, and of course most expensive. I really see built-in flash as almost a non-factor in choosing, no matter how much you use the flash.

You can't just change what you do with your D300 and get similar results because the low-light sensor performance, and dynamic range, isn't the same.
TN_Boy
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TN_Boy »

Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.

Though not a pro photographer, I think I have a decent grasp of the difference between "entry," "semi-pro" and "pro" cameras.

Here are some things I suggest as the differences:

1) Pro cameras (and lens) are more rugged and have good weatherproofing. You can't drop them in a lake, but they can take rain.

2) Pro cameras usually have the best autofocus systems and different auto-focus modes. If you are doing things like shooting birds in flight, you start to understand things about pro cameras and pro lenses and why they are a good thing.

3) Pro cameras have a full set of physical controls. Changing ISO, shutter speed, focus and metering type can be done with a quick dial turn or button push (NOTE: somebody not using the controls like this has no particular reason to get a high-end camera ... you are wasting its potential). Pros tend to shoot in aperture priority or manual (with or without auto-ISO) a lot.

4) Pro cameras, especially those oriented towards action or wildlife shooting, have higher burst rates (max shots per second) and also larger RAM buffers so you can take a long burst. My semi-pro Nikon can take 8 frames a second (reasonably fast for a dslr) and the buffer can handle 50 RAW images. I'm not sure I've ever taken a burst much over 20, but the big buffer is there.

5) Pro cameras generally have the best sensors and can handle low light (high ISO) situations better than non-pro cameras, though usually there is less difference here than in the other areas. Most modern cameras have pretty darn good sensors now.

Back to the better pictures, in decent light without a lot of fast motion, you don't need a pro camera to get good shots. The more demanding the situation (lower light, fast moving subjects, etc) the more the pro equipment starts to make sense.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by stimulacra »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:41 am Thanks all.

I learned a lot from this thread. Most importantly, I think I probably overrely on my D300 flash. I need to try using it without flash and learn how to do indoor photography with no flash with my D300. Then maybe the D850 will become more appealing.

Really appreciate all of the input.
What's the aperture or F-stop range on your current lenses?

If it's like F 3.5-5.6 (kit lens range) you'll need a tripod to keep the camera steady or crank the ISO way up.

If the shutter speed is slower than 1/60 you'll probably have noticeable camera shake in most of your shots.

Getting a fast 35mm or 50mm prime (like 1.2 or 1.4 f-stop) will give you much more leeway to shoot indoors with available light.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by lazydavid »

My ancient D7100 has a built in flash, but I basically never use it. In cases where i might need a little bit of fill, the tiny but awesome SB-400 lives on the hotshoe full-time. Far more powerful than any built-in flash, and can be bounced easily. If I know I'm going to need a flash, my big SB-800 comes out of the bag.

I would recommend getting the camera you need/want, without respect to whether it has a built-in flash.
TN_Boy
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TN_Boy »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:26 am Thread for those that are familiar with high end SLR cameras....

I have my eye on a professional SLR camera, likely the Nikon D850 but also considering the Canon 5D Mark IV camera. One thing that I have discovered is that neither professional-grade camera has a built in flash.

Currently I use a Nikon D300 with a built in flash and use the flash for about 1/2 of my shots. Virtually all indoor photography I use the flash for along with some outdoor photography as a fill in. I do not wish to carry an external flash around with me, so I am concerned that the Nikon D850 is not the camera for me.

I use my camera for:
- taking pictures of my family, both indoors and outdoors
- indoor pictures of building infrastructure (boilers, lighting, windows, etc)
- outdoor pictures of buildings
- outdoor pictures of parks and community spaces for our homeowners association
- landscape photography
- travel photography

Appreciate any comments about whether the absence of the built in flash is a deal killer for the Nikon D850
You've had a number of good comments, I'll add a couple and ask some questions.

Do you shoot in P mode, or do you use the aperture priority, manual, etc modes? Put another way, do you think about the "exposure triangle" when you take pictures?

Few "serious" photographers use built-in flashes. The direct flash into people's faces .... rarely looks that good. I do mostly outdoor photography, but I think most people using flashes use one or more off-camera flashes. So yeah, I'd get away from using the flash so much.

Why do you want a pro-grade camera? I have another post mentioning what "pro" cameras give you. Which of those features would help you?

Good pictures of people indoors can be pretty challenging. Often the light is weak, and for more candid shots people may be moving. The solution I would use is a fast prime lens (I have a 50mm 1.8 lens ... not that expensive) for my Nikon. And a more expensive fast macro lens that is also good for those situations. But you also need a camera that can handle low light pretty well.

I would echo the suggestion by several people that you look at mirrorless. That's the wave of the future (and for many purposes the present). A mid-range mirrorless and a couple of mid-range lens would handle your situations. And a tripod. A tripod is the way to get good photos of stationary things in dark environments (actually high-end smartphones have night modes that are very good at that use case).
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TN_Boy »

Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 am
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
My point is, "pro" is not just marketing per your comment I quoted. There are real and important differences in the camera features. Certainly when I look at Nikon's line, for example, it is very obvious which cameras are aimed at more serious photographers.

Could you give me an example of a camera labeled "pro" by its maker that you feel is obviously not a "pro" camera by your definition?
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by BrooklynInvest »

Have an old D800 with a small flash built in and a newer Z7 that doesn't.

Rarely used the D800's built in flash, Because it's so close to the lens a lot of larger lenses block the flash anyway. Loved the high res sensor on the 800 - I crop a lot - but it's a bear to carry around with any wide aperture lens. Heavy and large.

Me, get a small flash on those rare occasions that need fill in light and look at one of the new Zs. The 6 seems to be a good compromise between cost and features last time I looked. The vibration reduction means you can shoot hand held in low light. Clever stuff.

dpreview.com a good place to look for reviews.

Good luck OP!
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by JD2775 »

snackdog wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:24 am Unless you need telephoto for wildlife or something the latest smart phones, especially the iPhones, are putting DSLRs out of business. They take great photos in almost all lighting conditions.
Tell that to a landscape photographer who relies on long exposures. Try doing that with your iPhone
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Watty »

miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:41 am Most importantly, I think I probably overrely on my D300 flash. I need to try using it without flash and learn how to do indoor photography with no flash with my D300.
I suspect that you may just frustrate yourself with spending a lot of time trying to perfect your technique with the D300 since you will likely be running into camera limitations.

I use Canon but I had a somewhat comparable Canon crop sensor camera that was from 2011 that I replaced with a current one in 2019. Even though it did not have a lot more pixels the difference in the image quality was clearly visible and I was glad that I had upgraded. The new camera also came with a new updated kit lens that was also a lot better. Before I sold my old camera I tried taking some side by side pictures with combinations of the old and new bodies and lenses and the improvement was easy to see even on a computer monitor.

It was not just the resolution but the colors and contrast were also a lot better since the new camera has lot more powerful computer and software to process the image if you are not shooting raw images. When you see the comments about good cell phone pictures something to keep in mind is that the cell phones have a lot of limitation just because of the physics of using such a small lens and sensor. A lot of what makes some cell phone photos look good is the sophisticated and frankly impressive software that they use to process the image. Your D300 would not have a real powerful image processor or software compared to current camera bodies at that level.

I don't know the Nikon lineup but I would think you could get a new Nikon crop sensor camera bundle and new kit lens for less than the cost of a good full frame lens.

In the Canon lineup there are less expensive options like the Canon T8i but the Canon 90D would be worth looking at as an upgrade to your D300 and it has a pop up flash. The body is also more rugged than some other similar consumer cameras.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... html/specs
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by stimulacra »

I'm going to chime in and say that the "Pro" designation is a mix of both engineering and marketing.

Yes, a camera manufacturer can label any camera as a "Pro" model that they want but customers are equally empowered to reject or ignore those labels.

The Sony A9 was Sony's "Pro" full frame mirrorless camera but many professionals in the Sony ecosystem gravitated towards the A7 lineup instead for hybrid workflows. They are hoping to rectify the "Pro" tiering with their new Sony A1, throwing out their naming logic in the process (In my view the A1 is really a A9 mk III).

The Canon 5D was initially an advanced enthusiast full frame dSLR but slowly evolved into a professional model as more and more pros gravitated towards it and it got ruggedized accordingly over iterations. In Canon-land "Pro" usually meant taller bodies with integrated vertical grip but that has loosed up since 2008.

Professional photographers are savvy and shrewd with their money and gear. If a non-professional camera also happens to be a reliable workhorse they'll be quick to adopt that. Nikon built it's pro reputation as a third party lens and rangefinder alternative to Leica back in the 50's. Camera manufacturers are also savvy enough to be in constant contact with their "Pro" users to solicit feedback and develop features and technologies to cater to their core audience.

Sometimes a camera brand can also be penalized when their customer base suspects that models and features are artificially engineered to create performance and feature gaps between Pro, advanced and consumer models (Canon is notorious for this).
Last edited by stimulacra on Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:38 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 am
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
My point is, "pro" is not just marketing per your comment I quoted. There are real and important differences in the camera features. Certainly when I look at Nikon's line, for example, it is very obvious which cameras are aimed at more serious photographers.

Could you give me an example of a camera labeled "pro" by its maker that you feel is obviously not a "pro" camera by your definition?
Can you cite an official enforceable definition? It's more a term that people believe they understand that a camera manufacturer can choose to use as a label or can choose not to use as a label.

As many have put it, any camera used by a pro to produce and sell pictures is a pro camera, whatever it's labeled. There are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro and from what I can tell the vast majority of cameras labeled pro are used by amateurs.

For Nikon, the main differentiator between a pro label and other cameras seems to have been a PASM mode dial. Or look at Nikon Professional Services, which lists, for example, a D7500 as a qualifying camera, despite being labeled enthusiast, not pro.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Seasonal »

stimulacra wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:04 pm I'm going to chime in and say that the "Pro" designation is a mix of both engineering and marketing.

Yes, a camera manufacturer can label any camera as a "Pro" model that they want but customers are equally empowered to reject or ignore those labels.

The Sony A9 was Sony's "Pro" full frame mirrorless camera but many professionals in the Sony ecosystem gravitated towards the A7 lineup instead for hybrid workflows. They are hoping to rectify the "Pro" tiering with their new Sony A1, throwing out their naming logic in the process (In my view the A1 is really a A9 mk II).

The Canon 5D was initially an advanced enthusiast full frame dSLR but slowly evolved into a professional model as more and more pros gravitated towards it and it got ruggedized accordingly over iterations. In Canon-land "Pro" usually meant taller bodies with integrated vertical grip but that has loosed up since 2008.

Professional photographers are savvy and shrewd with their money and gear. If a non-professional camera also happens to be a reliable workhorse they'll be quick to adopt that. Nikon built it's pro reputation as a third party lens and rangefinder alternative to Leica back in the 50's. Camera manufacturers are also savvy enough to be in constant contact with their "Pro" users to solicit feedback and develop features and technologies to cater to their core audience.

Sometimes a camera brand can also be penalized when their customer base suspects that models and features are artificially engineered to create performance and feature gaps between Pro, advanced and consumer models (Canon is notorious for this).
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by tibbitts »

TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:38 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 am
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
My point is, "pro" is not just marketing per your comment I quoted. There are real and important differences in the camera features. Certainly when I look at Nikon's line, for example, it is very obvious which cameras are aimed at more serious photographers.

Could you give me an example of a camera labeled "pro" by its maker that you feel is obviously not a "pro" camera by your definition?
I've never thought about it but I've almost never seen cameras labeled as "pro." If you read the marketing material you'll see "blah blah meets the strictest professional requirements" etc. but that's all I remember. It might be obvious to some people from features which are more suitable for professional use, but it's a spectrum. And there are a handful of exceptions for lenses that I can think of, like Zuiko or Tokina Pro lenses, that are indeed labeled "Pro." So what cameras are actually labeled "pro"?

The larger issue I think is that today's pro-based-on-features camera is tomorrow's amateur camera and next year's doorstop, so "pro" is really a point-in-time measure. That's somewhat true at this point for lenses as well.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TN_Boy »

Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:08 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:38 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 am
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
My point is, "pro" is not just marketing per your comment I quoted. There are real and important differences in the camera features. Certainly when I look at Nikon's line, for example, it is very obvious which cameras are aimed at more serious photographers.

Could you give me an example of a camera labeled "pro" by its maker that you feel is obviously not a "pro" camera by your definition?
Can you cite an official enforceable definition? It's more a term that people believe they understand that a camera manufacturer can choose to use as a label or can choose not to use as a label.

As many have put it, any camera used by a pro to produce and sell pictures is a pro camera, whatever it's labeled. There are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro and from what I can tell the vast majority of cameras labeled pro are used by amateurs.

For Nikon, the main differentiator between a pro label and other cameras seems to have been a PASM mode dial. Or look at Nikon Professional Services, which lists, for example, a D7500 as a qualifying camera, despite being labeled enthusiast, not pro.
You are still missing my point which is that some cameras have "pro" features which clearly differentiate them from "non-pro" cameras.

You are especially off-base with respect to Nikon and this comment "For Nikon, the main differentiator between a pro label and other cameras seems to have been a PASM mode dial" This is utterly wrong. How much have you used Nikon cameras?

Let's look at the crop-sensor dSLR Nikon line a bit. I have a D7500. It is what most people would call an "enthusiast" camera and very clearly fits in between their D500 and the D5600*. What's the difference between a D500 (clearly their pro crop sensor camera) and a D7500?

1) The D500 has Nikon's best autofocus system. Under many conditions, the D7500 can match it ... but in very challenging situations you will get more shots in focus with the D500. This from people who have tested them side by side with the same lens.

2) The D500 can take a vertical battery grip. This makes for better handling and battery life.

3) The D500 is more rugged. This is hard to quantify .... but it does seem to be beefier. I know the D7500 can definitely get wet and keep on ticking.

4) The D500 has dual card slots, the D7500 does not. You can mirror writes to both cards. I don't care about this ... but people doing wedding and such worry about a card failing and having no pictures to show .....

5) The D500 controls are a bit more flexible, though the D7500 is pretty good. One thing you can do with D500 that I'd love to do but can't on the D7500 is set a button to switch between focus modes. If I'm taking bird shots I want single-point autofocus for things like getting a songbird in the branches of a tree, but I tend to switch to group mode for birds in flight. I can switch fairly quickly with the D7500, but not with a single button push.

6) The D500 has a higher burst rate (10 versus 8) than the D7500.

Incidentally the D500 doesn't have PASM on a dial, but the mode button on the main dial lets you cycle through those settings -- you can shoot in P mode if you want for example.

If you go below the D7500 to something like the D5600, you get a less effective autofocus system, slower burst rate, and fewer physical controls (you might have to go into the menus more, which is dreadfully slow when having to change things in the field in a hurry).

Would I consider a D7500 pro? Not really. Maybe as a backup camera. But its autofocus is still excellent and as good as anything you could buy six or seven years ago, it's quite good in low light so if you wanted a crop sensor camera with a good set of features it could fill the bill. Personally I now kinda wish I'd gone for the D500 because I'd like the very best autofocus ... but the D7500 does the job most of the time.

*there remains some debate about the D7500 versus the older D7200 ... Nikon definitely confused some people there. For action/wildlife shooting the D7500 is clearly better though.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by TN_Boy »

tibbitts wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:18 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:38 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 am
TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.
There is no official enforceable definition of a pro camera. There are some characteristics often found in cameras labeled pro, but it's not guaranteed, and there are cameras not labelled pro that can share many if not all of those features. For that matter, there are many pros who shoot with cameras not labeled pro.

A camera manufacturer can label any camera pro that it wants.
My point is, "pro" is not just marketing per your comment I quoted. There are real and important differences in the camera features. Certainly when I look at Nikon's line, for example, it is very obvious which cameras are aimed at more serious photographers.

Could you give me an example of a camera labeled "pro" by its maker that you feel is obviously not a "pro" camera by your definition?
I've never thought about it but I've almost never seen cameras labeled as "pro." If you read the marketing material you'll see "blah blah meets the strictest professional requirements" etc. but that's all I remember. It might be obvious to some people from features which are more suitable for professional use, but it's a spectrum. And there are a handful of exceptions for lenses that I can think of, like Zuiko or Tokina Pro lenses, that are indeed labeled "Pro." So what cameras are actually labeled "pro"?

The larger issue I think is that today's pro-based-on-features camera is tomorrow's amateur camera and next year's doorstop, so "pro" is really a point-in-time measure. That's somewhat true at this point for lenses as well.
I think pros look at things like weather sealing, auto-focus, physical controls, etc.

If you look at a maker's line, and the features in each camera, I think it becomes relatively clear which cameras are suitable for "pro" use in a given type of photography. Yes, there is some marketing at work, but if for example, you are doing action/wildlife photography for a living you know that you need certain features (and the availability of certain types of lenses).
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by Sandtrap »

TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:57 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Watty wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 am My understanding is that part of what makes professional level cameras more expensive is not that they necessarily take better pictures, it is that it is more rugged and weather resistant and it does not sound like you need that.
A professional camera is whatever the marketing department of the manufacturer chooses to label a professional camera. They are often more rugged, don't have a PASM wheel and more expensive.
Ah, no. It is not marketing.

Though not a pro photographer, I think I have a decent grasp of the difference between "entry," "semi-pro" and "pro" cameras.

Here are some things I suggest as the differences:

1) Pro cameras (and lens) are more rugged and have good weatherproofing. You can't drop them in a lake, but they can take rain.

2) Pro cameras usually have the best autofocus systems and different auto-focus modes. If you are doing things like shooting birds in flight, you start to understand things about pro cameras and pro lenses and why they are a good thing.

3) Pro cameras have a full set of physical controls. Changing ISO, shutter speed, focus and metering type can be done with a quick dial turn or button push (NOTE: somebody not using the controls like this has no particular reason to get a high-end camera ... you are wasting its potential). Pros tend to shoot in aperture priority or manual (with or without auto-ISO) a lot.

4) Pro cameras, especially those oriented towards action or wildlife shooting, have higher burst rates (max shots per second) and also larger RAM buffers so you can take a long burst. My semi-pro Nikon can take 8 frames a second (reasonably fast for a dslr) and the buffer can handle 50 RAW images. I'm not sure I've ever taken a burst much over 20, but the big buffer is there.

5) Pro cameras generally have the best sensors and can handle low light (high ISO) situations better than non-pro cameras, though usually there is less difference here than in the other areas. Most modern cameras have pretty darn good sensors now.

Back to the better pictures, in decent light without a lot of fast motion, you don't need a pro camera to get good shots. The more demanding the situation (lower light, fast moving subjects, etc) the more the pro equipment starts to make sense.
Well said!
Great points.

The end product expectations and demands dictate what comes before.
Professionally, Whether on location or shooting in the studio teathered, our cameras are set to neutral, raw, and manual mode.

Tools to fit the project.
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Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by lazydavid »

TN_Boy wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:41 pm Let's look at the crop-sensor dSLR Nikon line a bit. I have a D7500. It is what most people would call an "enthusiast" camera and very clearly fits in between their D500 and the D5600*. What's the difference between a D500 (clearly their pro crop sensor camera) and a D7500?

1) The D500 has Nikon's best autofocus system. Under many conditions, the D7500 can match it ... but in very challenging situations you will get more shots in focus with the D500. This from people who have tested them side by side with the same lens.

2) The D500 can take a vertical battery grip. This makes for better handling and battery life.

3) The D500 is more rugged. This is hard to quantify .... but it does seem to be beefier. I know the D7500 can definitely get wet and keep on ticking.

4) The D500 has dual card slots, the D7500 does not. You can mirror writes to both cards. I don't care about this ... but people doing wedding and such worry about a card failing and having no pictures to show .....

5) The D500 controls are a bit more flexible, though the D7500 is pretty good. One thing you can do with D500 that I'd love to do but can't on the D7500 is set a button to switch between focus modes. If I'm taking bird shots I want single-point autofocus for things like getting a songbird in the branches of a tree, but I tend to switch to group mode for birds in flight. I can switch fairly quickly with the D7500, but not with a single button push.

6) The D500 has a higher burst rate (10 versus 8) than the D7500.

Incidentally the D500 doesn't have PASM on a dial, but the mode button on the main dial lets you cycle through those settings -- you can shoot in P mode if you want for example.
This illustrates exactly why no one can agree. Going point by point comparing my old "Enthusiast" D7100 to its contemporary "Pro" camera, the D750, which actually came out one year later:

1) Both had Nikon's best autofocus system of the time, with 51 points, including 15 cross-type.
2) I have and use the MB-D15 vertical grip for my D7100. The MB-D16 grip for the D750 is laid out identically and uses the same battery trays.
3) This definitely held true in that generation, though the sealing on the D7100 is actually pretty good.
4) D7100 also had two SD card slots. I had mine set to write simultaneously to both, with one of them being an EyeFi card that automatically uploaded all my photos to Dropbox/Flickr as I took them. Sadly Eyefi is out of business and this function no longer works. :( It was REALLY cool though.
5) No experience in this area.
6) The D750 was faster, but not by much. 6.5fps vs. 6.0fps.

Ironically given some of the discussion in this thread, BOTH have PASM dials and built-in flashes. :D
jrbdmb
Posts: 673
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:27 pm

Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Post by jrbdmb »

tibbitts wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:52 am
miamivice wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:41 am Thanks all.

I learned a lot from this thread. Most importantly, I think I probably overrely on my D300 flash. I need to try using it without flash and learn how to do indoor photography with no flash with my D300. Then maybe the D850 will become more appealing.

Really appreciate all of the input.
Maybe, but carrying it and those higher-quality full-frame lenses definitely won't be more appealing. I've learned going from 6mp to 16mp on my crop bodies, lenses that made the grade at 6mp just don't come close at 16mp. You're making an even larger leap from 12mp(?) to 45mp. So to avoid a bunch of blurry pixels you won't just need full-frame lenses, you'll need really good full-frame lenses. So the cost isn't just the cost of the body, it's the cost of the very best lenses. Unfortunately some of the very best lenses are also often some of the biggest, heaviest, and of course most expensive. I really see built-in flash as almost a non-factor in choosing, no matter how much you use the flash.

You can't just change what you do with your D300 and get similar results because the low-light sensor performance, and dynamic range, isn't the same.
I know that camera companies are constantly upping pixel counts out of habit (and marketing), but how many people really need 45MP or more? Are blurry pixels really an issue unless you are routinely making poster-sized prints? Can anyone really tell the difference in a typical 4x6 print or on a typical 1080P display?
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