Does camera body affect image quality?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Marco S., Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Marco S.

    Marco S. Subscriber

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    I use a Canon EOS Elan 7E and a couple L series lenses. Lenses being the most important part of any camera system alongside the photographer, how important is the body exactly???

    I have been eyeing a 1N, but I really enjoy the 7E, and was wondering if its worth upgrading if image quality isn't highly affected by the body, or is it? (I manually meter and focus most of the time, and I don't use flash that often).

    I guess my question is will image quality improve with a better, professional quality body or is it just a question of durability and bells & whistles?

    -Marco
     
  2. ron110n

    ron110n Member

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    The metering quality and the mirror slap for SLR is all I can think of. Rangefinder Cameras don't have a mirror and can capture 1/30th of a second hand held in available light for an average person. But it's not a WYSIWYG in SLR frame because of the parallax and no macro.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    The main image difference that a body can make is film flatness, and past the threshold of cheap, you are splitting hairs. It mostly boils down to your preference for the reliability, ergonomics, lenses that a body mounts, or some combination of the characteristics of a system, be it SLR, rangefinder, or whatever.
     
  4. jgcull

    jgcull Member

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    What's WYSIWYG?
     
  5. ron110n

    ron110n Member

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    WYSIWYG = What you see is what you get.
    Rangefinder, you may loose the bottom of the image frame and get more from the top if your lens is wide open. You need to compensate.
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Not as much as the camera manufacturers would have you believe IMHO, although the reliability , and shutter accuracy tend to be better on high end cameras in general, with your Canon L lenses I don't think you will see any difference at all in the quality of your images from your Elan 7E.
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    On the one hand: if you enjoy a body, why go for another, unless it has specific features that you need/want?

    On the other hand: try new things! Who knows, you may find that the body affects you more than you thought it might.

    Regarding 35mm bodies, I shot with an F5 for some time and, yeah, it made me feel like a man. Big "pro" body etc. Then I picked up and F100 and that was it, the F5 was packed off to KEH the next day. Totally different tool and it's just what I needed at the time: a fresh start. At the moment, though, I am favouring an OM1 to my F100 for some reason. Go figure. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes not.
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    There are alot of things that can go wrong with a camera which most certainly affect image quality.
    Metering and Autofocus are the main issues.
    Mirror slap can affect slow shutter speeds, but then so can hands, winds, moving subjects, earthquakes, farts, etc.
    Most of these are really rare to see in a modern 35mm:
    Incorrect registration of the film plane, focusing screen, or lens mount.
    Bad frame spacing, light leaks, shutter malfunctions (slow lead or secondary shutter blind).
    film not held flat, rangefinder out of alignment.

    Dont even get me started on what could go wrong in a large format.. that could take me all day!
    Ref: wheres that link to 60 easy steps to large format photography??
     
  9. Marco S.

    Marco S. Subscriber

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    Yeah, I'm really contemplating picking up a nice 1N in EX+ condition from KEH. I like the feel of a solid camera in my hands, makes me feel good.
     
  10. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    A camera is a box that keeps the light out until you open the shutter. The images is resolved by the lens. The photograph is made in your brain.

    I first work on improving my mind, then buy the best glass I can afford, and worry the least about the camera body.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The reason to move to a 1N would be how fast and durable the camera is, not image quality. As long as a body holds the film flat and mounts the lens the proper distance from the film (and has a properly working shutter, of course), image quality will be identical. I would trust all Canon and other name-brand cameras to do this.

    What might be different between bodies is the quality of your shooting, due to certain features either helping you or distracting you. For instance, I find that in general I prefer my 1976 F-1 over my 1972 F-1 because of the shorter advance stroke and different shape of the advance lever, the fact that the meter can be set up to EI 3200, and because the battery check switch is momentary, so it cannot be accidentally left on. I prefer the '72 over the '76 when using flash, because the PC synch. is finicky on the '76. Each has different quirks, so each will distract you with slightly different considerations and possibly cause you to shoot a little differently in certain scenarios. Due to features, I prefer both of these cameras to my FTb, however, technical image quality is identical.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2008
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A camera body is like any other tool - if it is well designed and suited to you and your needs, it can add to the quality of the photographs.

    To my mind, the two features of a camera body that are most likely to impact the quality of the image are:

    1) the viewing system - is the image bright, contrasty and easy to focus, and does it accurately indicate what is actually on the resulting negative or slide?; and
    2) are the ergonomics of the camera (which of course includes the lens) such that you can easily hold the camera still, and operate all the necessary functions, without causing camera shake, or incorrect focus or exposure, or awkward winding?

    Matt
     
  13. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The 1N is a beautiful machine to work with. I changed up from an EOS 5 after using a 5 for 11 years. The 1N is quite a revelation, particularly its precision of metering, but what I really like about it is the power drive booster E1 taking 8 lithium batteries (being very lighteight and unaffected by cold), which have been in use now for 5 years (!). At grassroots level, though, the camera body is a secondary consideration and your first point of attention should be lenses. All the camera body does is hold/wind/rewind and expose the film for you. Once you're happy with the lens(es) you're using (and Canon's 'L' series are wonderful, when used and understood correctly) you can pay attention to the body. My thoughts are that years of experience working with each camera system will eventually make you see just which one you really like and can settle with over a long period of time. I've used all the systems and settled on Canon as far back as the T90 in 1988, before briefly going to Minolta and Nikon and finally back to Canon. Personally, I don't want anything more from a camera body than what the EOS 1N offers me. Anything more just complicates and bogs down my contemplative approach to photography.
     
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  15. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Okey doke, you've got my attention. Care to elaborate on that italicized part?
     
  16. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I find "pro" bodies are more durable and last longer before breaking down.

    All things being equal -- two normally functioning cameras -- you'd be hardpressed to see a difference. The difference, IMHO, comes a year or two or ten down the line (depending on how much wear you put the camera through).

    Quality wise re: your images, as JBrunner says, there's no appreciable difference beyond the "el cheapo" line.
     
  17. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    I once had a mint-looking Pentax Spotmatic and a set of mint lenses. I never got a single sharp picture because of the fact that the camera's vibration level had risen with age (even though operating noise was normal and there were no visibly damaged components). The same lenses used on a Leica with an adapter gave beautifully sharp results.
     
  18. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    ...mental and physical health and the amount of alcohol, caffeine...
     
  19. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I'm sure I heard that same advice offred on a "Dr Ruth" programme...

    Steve :smile:
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Ja, you don't know vat you really vant until you have it in ze hands!
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Weight may be an issue. If it is too light you may move it too much if hand held. A heavier camera needs more inertia to get it moving so you should be able to hold it steadier.


    Steve.
     
  22. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Not all camera bodies focus accurately.

    Few maintain their mechanical accuracy over time (as they wear).

    Not all have precise film to lens registration.

    Few have really precise film flatness.

    With a motor drive, the speed of film transport reduced film flatness,
    and reduces sharpness.

    You don't HAVE to buy the top-of-the-line cameras,
    but you DO have to buy cameras with the right to return
    if your example is a loser.
     
  23. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    I seem to recall that ALPA manufactured a 35mm camera that pin registered the film. It had a reseau plate and a moving pressure plate. Talk about film registration and flatness.
    Sam H.
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    & Contax offered a vacuum back in one of theirs(ST?)
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    This effect wears off after all your subjects consistently avoid the camera.
     
  26. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    I've found the that in extreme conditions like very cold weather the cheaper cameras shutters tend to SLOW down. So, IMHO the camera body does make a difference some of the time.


    -Joe