From Leica to which DSLR?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by johnny t. le, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. I mainly shoot with a Leica M6 and 28/35/50. However, I must acquire a DSLR for my photojournalism class. Prior to Leica I have used old school Pentax and Nikon, but I don't have any on each anymore. I'm leaning toward the Canon 7d or Nikon D300s. I recently noticed from shopping and testing that Nikon lens turn the opposite direction from Leica which was initially confusing. Coming from Leica, I can only foresee myself making use of aperture and shutter speed so all the technology is a bit confusing. I expect a learning curve for which ever system I choose, but other than that, can any guide me toward a direction in which system to start off on from Leica?
     
  2. Pentax has a nice selection of top-quality modern prime lenses which sets it apart from the others. Focus direction is the same as Leica. Pentax DSLRs will mount & meter every manual and autofocus K mount lens ever made, and M42 lenses as well with a $30 adapter. (Use only the Pentax branded M42-K adapter if you go that way.)
     
  3. Do you focus manually with a Nikon dSLR? Which one?

    I go between my Leica M bodies and my Nikon film AF bodies without the slightest problem. And if you intend to use the digital body as if it were a manual camera... why bother? Take the best each camera has to offer (AF in the dSLR, manual focusing and metering with the Leica M) and enjoy. Both are very different tools, for very distinct purposes and applications.

    Good luck!
     
  4. The rich, warm rendition of color and smooth bokeh obtained from Nikon cameras and lenses is much more in keeping to the Leica standard than the rather harsh, cool Canon look, in my opinion. You would also have access to the great, all metal legacy Nikkors.
     
  5. Also, the high-end Pentax bodies (K10d, K20d, K7) and some of the lenses are weather-sealed, which would be useful for photojournalism.
     
  6. The 7D is definitely superior to the D300s. The midrange cameras to consider are the Canon 7D, 5DmkII and the Nikon D700.
    One interesting option to consider would be the Panasonic GH1, which can accommodate Leica M lenses with a simple mount adapter, and has by far the best HD video ergonomics in any DSLR. Many photojournalists believe the future is combined motion and still capture.
     
  7. For the most robust auto-focus performance the D300s would be your best choice.
     
  8. If it's for a class, who cares. You have to comply with a few technical requirements, get something really cheap, an A and move on.
     
  9. Thanks for everyone's responses so far. There are so many options and they all seem competent. I really like the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-P1 but it seems big heavy DSLR is what I must become familiar with if I plan to have a career in today's photojournalism. What I am most concerned about is the ergonomic and operational logic transition from Leica to a DSLR, if there are any. And if the direction the lens turns make a difference. Viewed from the front Nikon is counterclockwise and Canon is clockwise like Leica.
     
  10. I think Pentax and Sony are good choices, too. I use Nikon just because I like them, not because they're better. I know I'm not a fan of the Canon 'look' but that is just a matter of taste. Michael is right though: if it's just for a class, who cares?
     
  11. The rich, warm rendition of color and smooth bokeh obtained from Nikon cameras and lenses is much more in keeping to the Leica standard than the rather harsh, cool Canon look, in my opinion.
    There is no 'Nikon look' or 'Canon look'. It's digital. You can get any look you want through RAW or through JPEG parameter settings. Bokeh is a matter of lens design, and Canon has plenty of lenses with nice, smooth bokeh.
    For the most robust auto-focus performance the D300s would be your best choice.
    I would place the 7D AF module right up there with the D300s module. But Canon has more fast focusing USM lenses.
    Johnny - if you're going to have a career in photojournalism you cannot take the attitude of "it's just for class". Take a good, long look at each system, Canon and Nikon. Look at their lenses and accessories, and decide which will best suite you in the long run.
     
  12. You wrote: "What I am most concerned about is the ergonomic and operational logic transition from Leica to a DSLR, if there are any."

    Should I understand that you want a dSLR that will feel in your hands like a Leica M body, so that you can pick it up without looking and keep shooting with it as if both were the same?

    I don't think you can, but if you want to believe it, go ahead.

    FWIW, I switch between cameras and systems when it strikes my fancy, or when the subject requires it. I already know that a Leica gets handled one way, whereas my D700 will be used differently. I know their layout from sheer practice, not because of their similarity. You can do the same... with any camera you pick. Have fun shopping!
     
  13. The photojournalists use the Nikon and Canon cameras with the highest frame rates, with APS-C sensors.
    Pentax lenses have focus and aperture rings that go in the Nikon (well, originally Contax) direction.
    Most DLSR's are so horrible for manual focus that you will have to depend on (and learn to love/hate) autofocus. They have tiny finders, often with pentamirrors instead of pentaprisms, and focusing screens optimized for brightness with the incredibly slow "klt" zoom lenses they come with. So the direction of the focusing ring gets somewhat irrelevant.
    The Pentax DLSR's are somewhat Leica-like, in being compact, light, and having some really good prime lenses (the FA and DA Limited series) available. But PJ work is normally zoom lens territory today.
     
  14. I've used Contax G2s entensively (21, 28, 45, 90) and am now very happy with a Nikon D90 and 16-85. Relatively small, not to conspicuous, balances well and the zoom replaces all the lenses. I sometimes also carry the 35/1.8 for low light, making it even smaller and lighter. The high ISO sensitivity makes up for the slower zoom.
     
  15. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Take whatever you've bought out with a decent sized memory card and shoot until it's full to get a feel for the camera. Your mind will adjust to what you pick up after that -- and most PJ work will be autofocus as John Shriver pointed out.
    If you're going to freelance after graduation, invest in some good glass if you can (two or three good fast zooms to cover from wide angle to moderate telephoto). Think of this body as the first in the system. Pick a system you can live with.
    Consider that if you want to rent a long lens for a special assignment or if you need to rent a camera body in an emergency, more places will have Nikon and Canon gear than will have other brands (a local DC rental place has nothing except Nikon and Canon in DSL gear; Calumet in NYC rents Fujifilm DSLR bodies in addition to Nikon and Canon, but those take Nikon F mount lenses). Most places that provide staff cameras are more likely to have either brand than any other brand.
    Weight is less big a deal than you might imagine, but both Canon and Nikon have lighter weight consumer grade DSLRs if you would prefer those, but try the cameras in your hands.
    Add a 35mm to 50mm prime lens for fast and light.
     
  16. I shoot with a Leica M7 and a Nikon D300. It's unlikely you will do any manual focusing with any dSLR so I would not be concerned with which directions the lenses turn.
    To get yourself started, I highly recommend an entry-level consumer dSLR. Use it for two years, dump it for 25% of your purchase price, and upgrade to a prosumer or pro model.
    Good luck and good shooting.
     
  17. I shoot with a Leica M7 and a Nikon D300. It's unlikely you will do any manual focusing with any dSLR so I would not be concerned with which directions the lenses turn.
    To get yourself started, I highly recommend an entry-level consumer dSLR. Use it for two years, dump it for 25% of your purchase price, and upgrade to a prosumer or pro model.
    Good luck and good shooting.
     
  18. i shoot an m6, d700, 4x5 combo and i'm studying visual journalism if that means anything to you.
    i just like the fullformat feeling, wherever it may come from, you might wanna consider the d700 therefore. if you're into video go for a 7d or d300s, it really doesn't matter though i'd say.
    michael
     
  19. The ergonomics of any DSLR is going to be radically different from what you're used to. I went to a Konica Minolta 5D and then a Canon 5D. You can get used to the control layout from either. Something like a micro 4/3rds camera might allow you to use some of your lenses at a 2x crop factor. You won't like the weight of modern DSLRs, especially something like the 5D (though you WILL like the image quality). I'm tempted by the micro 4/3rds cameras but don't like their viewfinders. I do miss the M2s though.
     
  20. You do not have to get the optimum photojournalist's DSLR outfit now. Get the most affordable with the features stipulated as essential for the course. The reason for the D in the required D SLR, is to make sure you know where to stick your memory card when you get back from an assignment. It has little to do with photography.
    I agree 100% with Michael DiMarzio, it's for a class!
    It is just as important, in fact I think more so, to explore and exploit the potential of the equipment on hand, so that YOU can the make an informed decision when it comes to buying high-end expensive gear.
    As a teacher, I would be more pleased to see you follow Michael's advice rather shopping after technical specs. Work your way through experience towards to the camera of choice. Rather than buying something with all the bells and whistles and fancy programs. The course is about photojournalism, not how to drive a sophisticated, state of the art, do-it-all wonder camera. Crap!
    You already own one of the best there is, and will ever be. For Heaven's sake ... !
    00VJDX-202599584.jpg
     
  21. My how times have changed. Used to be they made you use a film camera instead of some computer that takes away all the thought in the image capture process. Anyway, if you're a Leica fan, try to talk your prof into letting you use a Panasonic GF1 or a Olympus EP-2 if they come out in time for your class. It is as close to digital gets to a Leica without spending a ransom on equipment.
     
  22. Another option...
    If you want to use your Leica glass, consider a Panasonic G1. It will mount Leica glass with an adaptor. Strictly speaking it's not a dSLR since it replaces the mirror (the Reflex part) with an electronic viewfinder. But your professor may accept it since you still need to use a viewfinder. I'd ask your professor before buying.
    And if your photojournalism education also includes video - more and more journalists are being asked to produce video as well - then consider the Panasonic GH1. It's like the G1 except for the fact that it shoots HD video. You may not need that in this class but maybe sometime soon?
    I'm also with the camp that believes that you will probably buy more gear when you graduate. With that in mind, the Panasonics can always serve as your personal gear and you'll always have a home for your Leica glass.
    Good luck!
     
  23. As for "The Look" of Canon vs. Nikon, Nikon has always tended towards high contrast, edge dominate images vs. the smooth tone of an older Zeiss Planar for example. Minolta slr lenses were sharp but didn't have that edge enhancement that Nikons seem to produce. Better colour on Minolta XD lenses too. As for your choice, I have the solution! My nearly new Nikon D300 with a 24 -120 zoom lens. The Nikon will do everything you ask, shoot faster than ever, is robust, light and will take the extra battery grip that bumps the speed up to about 7fps. Also, the built in flash allows you to either trip a slave or use the Nikon lighting system.
     
  24. Mid-thread the OP states:
    but it seems big heavy DSLR is what I must become familiar with if I plan to have a career in today's photojournalism.​
    So it appears it's not just "for a class."
    Anyway, professional photojournalism is first and foremost about getting the job done. This means storytelling pictures, in nearly any situation, back from the field on time to meet deadline. Panasonic GF1 and the like may be fine for features and to some extent news and portraits, but you're not going to be able to do things like sports very well without a proper DSLR and long glass. God forbid you run into an event situation where you're roped off in a "press area" several hundred yards away. What are you going to tell your photo editor?
    "Just for a class" is the wrong attitude to take, especially if you're planning a career out of this. If you want to get something out of the class, then at least pretend to take it seriously. It's an immense freedom to be a student, where you can take risks without any danger of losing your job. Take advantage of that freedom and build the best portfolio you possibly can.
    An editor thinking of sending you out on assignment will want to see that you can reliably handle almost anything. They don't have time for glorified point-and-shoot-carrying primadonnas with their noses in the air, "I don't do sports because I'm an artist with a 50mm lens." People with that attitude shouldn't waste the editor's time. There are plenty of other photographers to choose from, all with the proper gear and attitude, hungry for an assignment from that editor. That's the market reality.
    The image of the Vietnam 1971 Leica-toting photojournalist is, of course, very romantic. But in this field, romanticism takes a back seat to getting the job done, so pick the proper tools for the job. In 2009, media outlets expect interns and potential hires to have a working familiarity with DSLR photography, Photoshop, videography, and Final Cut Pro. If you're seriously considering this as a career, that is current reality. Anyone who tells you otherwise simply isn't plugged in to what's going on, and probably shouldn't be giving advice on this topic.
    Ultimately, this is really the old Canon vs. Nikon question, just in a slightly different flavor. Go to a store and handle both. This will tell you a lot more about which one to choose than any internet forum possibly could.
     
  25. zml

    zml

    The rich, warm rendition of color and smooth bokeh obtained from Nikon cameras and lenses is much more in keeping to the Leica standard than the rather harsh, cool Canon look, in my opinion.​
    The fact that it is just your opinion should make you a very, very happy person, because in real life you wouldn't be able to tell apart pictures taken with Nikon, Leica, Canon...
     
  26. Michael, many years ago a took a Canon AT1 and a Nikon FM, each with a 50 or 55 mm Macro lens, and a roll of Velvia. I shot, tripod mounted, half the roll in each camera. I shot angled at a newspaper at every aperture with each lens. Without a doubt, the Canon was much sharper but there were very distinct differences. The Canon rendition was MUCH cooler. The area of the photo which transformed from focused to unfocused was handled much better Nikon, a very smooth transition while the Canon looked stringy and ugly. This was film of course, one type of lens, and a very unscientific experiment but it convinced me to go with Nikon. I still use a Canon digital P&S, the one area where Canon excels over Nikon. All this is just my opinion. I attend many events around the Monterey area and the huge preponderance of "pros" still use Canons, usually with a big honking white lens attached and a monopod.
     
  27. Here is a web site of a photojounalist that works with point and shoot cameras. He gets the job done and he wins awards for photojournalism. I am not suggesting that a person should use point and shoot camera's but rather getting the job done can be accomplished in a number of ways. However for a class I would suggest a Nikon D3000 and a kit lens or a used camera. For professional photojounalism I do not suggest anything because I do not know. I guess I would wait until I completed the class and hopefully new something before shopping for this career move.
    http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-6468-7844
     
  28. go for the nikon and get some zf lenses in the same focal length as your leica
     
  29. Might I suggest that you contact the instructor of the photojournalism class you will be taking and see what exactly you will be required to have equipment-wise for the class? This would allow you to start off with a bare bones kit saving money initially, and also ask for guidance from your instructor. S/he may have a bias toward one brand or another, but it would still be useful to get feedback from someone in their position regarding the equipment used for the type of photography they will be teaching you in the courses you will be taking.
     
  30. You'll find a lot of the advice given among these forums to be a careful mix of fervent Pro-Canon or Pro-Nikon, each argument embued with a strong splash of embellishment and heavy dose of blindly swallowed marketing drivel. Stick around long enough and you'll be able to identify the same users who keep regurgitating the same brand loyalty arguments over anything substantial and objective.
    That said, there is also a lot of very, very good advice spread throughout this forum. At this point, it can be said there is very little to separate the two major DSLR players: Canon and Nikon. They both have camera lines extending from the entry-level all the way up to the very high-end professional full frame cameras. Pentax, Olympus and Sony (old Konica-Minolta hybrid) all make very capable cameras in the entry-level to mid-range / 'prosumer' lines. Some, like the new Olympus E-620 and Pentax K7 are really very good cameras indeed and are definitely on par or even surpass Canon / Nikon offers in some areas. Sony are only just beginning to touch upon the high-end market that Canon & Nikon have largely dominated for years. The lines only start to become clearer near the very stratosphere, when we have 24MP or 18MP, or just 12MP full frame models - and boil down to:
    How big do you want to print your photos?
    Obviously, there are other options with medium format digital SLRs (or backs) from the likes of Hasselblad, Mamiya, Leaf, etc, but it is apparent you won't be using MF cameras for photojournalism. So, having worked with newspapers and magazines in both photography and copy fields, you can get away with using something as simple as a Nikon D70 (this camera is still in use at a major magazine I used to work for in the city I live in) or Canon 400D (though a 20D would be better). That said, these cameras are more than four years old now - but this is a good indication that you can still get away with using or at least training on one now. Picking up a good used body would also seem like a good option - at least until you've become proficient enough to gain paying work and a future where you will actually be needing to use a DSLR, as opposed to requiring one for a course.
    I'm not a fanboy in the slightest. If anything, I wish for them all to wake up and realise how limiting it is to be one. But I think in this case, if it was for a class - and money is an object (which it doesn't seem to be seeing as you own an M6), than I would recommend picking up a used Canon 30D or Nikon D200 in good condition. Like other people have mentioned, you can find cameras which will allow you to use your Leica lenses in stop-down metering mode on a Panasonic GH-1, GF-1 or Olympus EP-1, or indeed a Canon or Nikon DSLR.
    However, I don't think there is anything wrong with recommending a new system, particularly as with photojournalism you don't really want to have to deal with metering guesstimates and a lack of autofocus, losing a crucial shot, etc.


    I f m o n e y i s n o object, and you are serious about making photojournalism more than just a class and more of a career, then I would still recommend you getting a midrange older DSLR over one of the newer entry level ones simply as you'll be learning how to familiarize yourself with a the workings of a fairly pro-level camera from the start.


    If you are buying new, I would look at least at a Canon 500D, Nikon D90 or Olympus E-30. These will do the job fine, don't let anyone else tell you you need a D300s or a 7D or 5D MII right now. Of course, if you've got the money to splurge and want the best immediately without learning how to use (or indeed knowing if you have the skills to need one) then by all means get whatever tickles your fancy.
    For me, I say pick up a good, used D200, E-30 or 30D, then look for an upgrade later when you establish your needs / wants a bit better.
    Invest in a couple of lenses; I say get a good standard zoom (17-50mm f/2.8 - Tamron makes a very good one for all major manufacturers for a very good price. Nikon and Canon and Pentax all do excellent equivalents but usually for a much higher price. Olympus has a couple of really high quality standard 15-54mm and an even better 12-60mm.
    For the second lens I think it's a good bet to get a 35mm prime. As far as I know Nikon may be the only one that has a 35mm f/1.8 that doesn't break the bank but I could be wrong. Later on it would be very useful to pick up a telephoto zoom, and here is where you'll really appreciate the benefits of an SLR over rangefinder system. Autofocus is a definite must for photojournalism, no question about it. Generally, sound advice is to be quick and to get the shot. Look for 70-200mm telephoto later on for shots requiring a bit more reach.

    Photojournalism is one area where the argument for a prime over a zoom isn't so clear, you need to get that shot in that instant, instead of fiddling with a a lens and having to move closer to the subject (which may or may not be impossible). Of course there are instances where primes are definitely more useful and I would wholeheartedly recommend them usually.


    I hope this proves helpful for you. You've got a lot of choices out there!
     
  31. I would agree with Jeff that you should try and discuss this with the instructor to determine what will be required. Although I am not a photojournalist I would expect fast auto focus would be required for fast paced situations. That probably rules out the m4/3 system which is uses contrast auto focus systems. These can be slow in some situations, especially low light. Most point and shot cameras us contrast auto focus systems. Most DSLRs use phase detection which can be very fast. Especially with a lens that has a fast focusing motor.
    Others have mentioned that Pentax has a good selection of primes. Primes are OK but I would put more emphasis on good zooms. A photojournalist doesn't want to loose the perfect shot because he was replacing the wide prime or a telephoto prime. Furthermore todays zoom are optically very good. A friend in the local photo club does some photojournalism and his preference is a 28-200mm super zoom.
    In my opinion Nikon and Canon have much more diversified zoom selection then the others. I particularly like Canons zoom selection. They have consumer zooms, constant F2.8 zooms, and constant F4 zooms. Canon also has a very wide selection of prime lenses if you want to go that way. Yes camera selection is important. But so is the lens selection available for it. Lens selection might be one of the big reasons why most professional photographers use Nikon or Canon cameras. You might also want to put a preference on getting a camera with video capability. Some news organizations may prefer it.
     
  32. I was given a Nikon D3000 as a gift (out of the blue), so was spared the agony/ecstasy of deciding. I say, as someone suggested above, just pick a low end kit and jump in. go either Canon or Nikon. (I'll add Pentax because it was my main squeeze in film.)
    Also, as Robert Gordon noted above, you are unlikely to be able to shoot a DSLR with the manual focussing technique of a manual film camera.
     
  33. I am not a PJ but happen to own both Nikon and the GH1 so I will offer my two cents.
    1. First of all, in the digital age, it is a terrible idea to buy a used digital camera, e.g., the D200, that is several generations old b/c its performance at high ISO and DR have already been surpassed by even the "entry level" Nikon new camera such as the D3000, and D3000 has the same AF module as the one in D200. It just does not make any good sense to get the D200 instead of the D3000 (unless of course a weather sealed body is that important to you), which are priced about the same. If money is not a major issue, get the one you will use for you job.
    2. You should be thinking about what you want to shoot, Sports, wild life, war, or just general news stuffs, and buy the camera that can do the job competitively. In this regard, which way the lens turns seems a rather trivial consideration.
    3. There is a trend that most news organization would ask reporters to also shoot videos to post on their web site; thus, you almost have to take the video capacity of a dSLRs into consideration. This essentially rules out all dSLRs that cannot shoot HD.
    4. Don't spend all your money on the camera; save the money for a pro-level lens. This means a f2.8 zoom that covers the 28-70mm range in the film day, plus a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 lens for low light. The Nikon 17-55/2.8 (27-75mm eq on a DX camera such as the D300s) is a superb lens that AF quietly, quickly, and accurately even when the room light is very dim. As a PJ covering events indoors, you need a lens that can capture something as you see it happening. As a alternative, you may consider the new Tamron 17-50/2.8, which is half the price and weight and has stabilization. However its AF is noisier and not as fast as the Nikon. Don't waste money on slow zoom lenses (>f3.5) — it is just bad investment and won't do the job competitively.
    5. Indeed you can use the Leica lenses on the GH1, but there is a lot of discussion as to whether Leica lenses designed for the film era can perform well enough with a digital body. This has something to do with how the light hits the sensor that is different from the way light hits the plan of the film. Further with an adapter, light now can bounce around in this extra space in the adapter. As a result there are reports of loss of contrast and corner sharpness, which seems to affect wide angle lenses more than those that are longer (35mm and up). The video from the GH1 is of movie quality when paired w/ a high quality lens (capable of showing shallow DOF). However, its performance at low light and its DR are about at (if not slightly below) the level of entry level dSLR from Nikon and Canon. Furthermore once you take a picture there is a black out time in the view finder, which makes it impossible to track the movement of objects.
    6. If I were a PJ and had the money, for Nikon, I would get the D300s plus the aforementioned 17-55/2.8 lens as my start up kit. I may pick up a Nikon AFS 50/1.4 later. If money is an issue, the D90 and D5000 should be considered as both has the same sensor as the D300s and their AF is very very good. D300s used to be the class leader in almost every way, ISO performance, AF, etc. However the Canon 7D has more than caught up so if you don't care which brand to choose, you should seriously consider a 7D.
    7. Go to a store and pick up these cameras to see how well they fit in your hand. This is not something that you can tell by reading and may ultimately be the most important factor.
     
  34. Since you are a Leica user, I assume that mirror/shutter noise will be important to you. I was pleasantly surprised that the Nikon D3000 mirror/ shutter is relatively quiet. This may be characteristic of most DSLR, but a point you will want to compare.
     
  35. Here is a web site of a photojounalist that works with point and shoot cameras. He gets the job done and he wins awards for photojournalism. I am not suggesting that a person should use point and shoot camera's but rather getting the job done can be accomplished in a number of ways.​
    Let's remember who we're talking about. We're talking about a starting student here, not an established professional. One is trying to build an all-round portfolio to get their very first job or internship. The other is known for a fairly narrow range of subject matter, has multiple publishing credits and awards, is already on contract with a major publisher, and has no need to "prove" anything.
    For professional photojounalism I do not suggest anything because I do not know.​
    It appears you're not the first. The only thing that this thread proves is that an amateur gear forum isn't the place to ask anything pertaining to professional photography...
     
  36. He gets the job done​
    The "job" in this specific case is a 20-image student photojournalism portfolio. It needs to show roughly 3-4 news pictures, 3-4 features or portraits, 3-4 sports action pictures, and about 10 pictures from a longer term project. This isn't my opinion - this is what editors expect to see, and that was back when I was starting out about 10 years ago. Nowadays, many editors also expect to see a video reel. Like I said before, a point and shoot can probably handle most of these in the hands of a skilled operator. It's the sports action pictures, and oftentimes news pictures (darn that yellow police tape) that will trip you up without the right gear.
    The first time you come back with no usable pictures from an assignment because you had the wrong gear for the job, will the last time you work for that editor. I've seen it happen too many times. As a student, you can make dumb mistakes like that and not get fired. If you're thinking about this as a career, however, you might as well take it at least somewhat seriously.
     
  37. If you already own Leica glass, the obvious answer is a Leica digital camera. But I'm assuming that might be a bit steep on a student budget. If you are seriously going to pursue photojournalism/news photography as a career, your choice is strictly Nikon or Canon, not Pentax, Olympus, etc. I spent 15 years in newspaper/wire service work before switching to PR, and in my current PR job I work daily with every major news organization in Washington. In 15 years in Washington, I have never ever seen a news photographer use anything other than a Nikon or Canon on the job, with the rare exception of a Leica back in film days, and nobody is shooting news on film today. (Sure, there's always going to be some exception to this but I'm talking about bread and butter news pictures for daily papers and wire services.) It's not that you can't shoot news with something else -- my first daily used Mamiya TLRs back in the day -- but if you want to end up at a paper and want your gear to be compatible with what's in the photo department pool or what can be rented or borrowed, stick with Nikon/Canon.
     
  38. If you already own Leica glass, the obvious answer is a Leica digital camera. But I'm assuming that might be a bit steep on a student budget. If you are seriously going to pursue photojournalism/news photography as a career, your choice is strictly Nikon or Canon, not Pentax, Olympus, etc. I spent 15 years in newspaper/wire service work before switching to PR, and in my current PR job I work daily with every major news organization in Washington. In 15 years in Washington, I have never ever seen a news photographer use anything other than a Nikon or Canon on the job, with the rare exception of a Leica back in film days, and nobody is shooting news on film today. (Sure, there's always going to be some exception to this but I'm talking about bread and butter news pictures for daily papers and wire services.) It's not that you can't shoot news with something else -- my first daily used Mamiya TLRs back in the day -- but if you want to end up at a paper and want your gear to be compatible with what's in the photo department pool or what can be rented or borrowed, stick with Nikon/Canon.
     
  39. If you are seriously going to pursue photojournalism/news photography as a career, your choice is strictly Nikon or Canon, not Pentax, Olympus, etc. I spent 15 years in newspaper/wire service work before switching to PR, and in my current PR job I work daily with every major news organization in Washington.​
    Finally, someone other than me who has actual field experience from which to comment. I love compact cameras myself, and I have a couple of Ricohs that I use on assignment when I know I have 100% unfettered access and can get as close as I want. Indeed, 80% of the time, that little Ricoh with a 28 is all I need, and it even has a hot shoe on top if I need to throw in some bounce or fill light.
    But do you know why I am still working today? Not because of the Ricoh. It's because of the 70-200mm that's only ever as far as the trunk of my car (but is usually strapped to my back on a 1D). I'll be honest with you: I hate that thing. It's huge, it's heavy, and quite frankly it makes photography un-fun for me. But when I need it, it's a life saver. That one setup has made sure that I never come back from assignment without a usable picture, and that's why my editor keeps calling me.
    Case in point: I was assigned to cover a dance performance. As per my usual m.o., I called the venue ahead of time and spoke with the event director to find out what sort of access I would have. I was assured that I would be able to shoot from the orchestra pit, since it would be empty (pre-recorded audio). When I got there, it turned out I wouldn't be allowed to shoot from the pit out of concern that I would be a distraction to the audience. Instead, I was relegated to the soundproof control room behind the last row of seats, far back from where I initially planned to be.
    Had I been stuck with something like the GF1, I would have been screwed. But instead of arguing with the director, or coming back with no pictures, I said "No problem," went back to the car to get my rig, and produced the attached picture that ended up on the front page of the next day's Arts section.
    The bottom line is, as a professional photojournalist, you need to expect the unexpected, and be prepared for anything.
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  40. The turning of the lens is something you will get used to being changed rather quickly. Your brain will adapt to a new camera and its ergonomics in short order. Get yourself a Nikon D90. I would recommend starting with the 35mm f/1.8 along with the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC. In time you could add the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. These will cover 99% of your needs while giving you room to grow as well. The D90 does a fantastic job in low light, it is fast, it uses older non AF-S Nikon lenses, and has all of the pro-level controls and bells and whistles you need to learn. It doesn't make sense not to learn how to use a DSLR early on. The sensor size of a DSLR compared to a point and shoot is what will get you the darkly lit shots and help you avoid grain and noise. It also gives you more options in terms of depth of field.
     
  41. Go on the cheap. You can pick up a Canon 40D for a good price. It's not full frame, so what? I wouldn't fret too much.
     
  42. Hugh J. , Dec 22, 2009; 03:10 p.m. hit it on the nose with my portfolio requirements. Great photo by the way. I guess it doesn't matter which system I use as long as it's Nikon or Canon with the typical zooms-a rather obvious and anti-climatic ending to this thread.
    THANK YOU ALL for your insights. I am overwhelm and grateful by the amount of responses. I'll save my Leica for personal photography or when appropriate since it's such a joy to use. Happy Holidays!
     

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