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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
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    Nikon D70

    Depends on what you want to do (what type of photos you normally take). you might find that you are just as well served by a point-and-shoot digital with say 4 or 5 Mp resolution.

    If you already have Nikon SLR lenses, this will help make your decision. BUT keep in mind the 1.5x "focal length multiplier" caused by the smaller-than-35mm size digital sensor. Thus, your trusty 24mm wide angle will now only be the equivalent of a 36 mm wide angle ....

    In short, a good camera and a very good deal with the "DX" zoom lens that comes with the $1299 kit. (The DX lenses are designed specifically for the small coverage area of the digital sensor, thus optimizing the lens to get the best performance given the small sensor size). Note that the DX zoom in this case does provide some true wide-angle coverage (something like 25mm focal length equivalent in "35 mm lens" terms.


    Your other "affordable" option -- if you want to go Nikon SLR -- would be the Fuji FinePix digital SLR body, but this is considerably more expensive than the D70 body -- for questionable value added(?) The Nikon pro digital bodies (D1 and D2 series) are in the $3-4K range ..........



    Originally posted by Darcy
    I would recommend the
    Empire Builder with the Size 1 Brain Cell for your Gateway.

    You'll be able to carry everything you listed inside of the Empire Builder, and you can carry the bag either by its handles or with the optional Absolute Shoulder Strap, which is exceptionally comfortable.

    What really makes the Empire Builder jump out as the obvious choice is that it has removable file dividers, which sounds like the perfect solution for your class files. You can keep them organized and protected.

    And yes, the Empire Builder and the Brain Cell both have the 'Treason Tag' sewn in

    I agree that we need more pictures of the bags! I am looking at this camera. Can anyone here offer me some advice?

  2. #2
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    Digital SLRs

    The Nikon D70 is a good digital SLR. My question is whether you already have an investment in Nikon equipment. I ask because in my opinion Canon leads in digital cameras, especially SLRs. Canon now has the 10D in the same price range but there are heavy rumors that Canon will announce the successor to the 10D (20D?) in a couple of weeks. The 10D costs $1,500. Canon also has the 300D which costs $1000 and there may well be a newer one soon. There is a big photo show called Photokina starting soon in Germany. All the big camera companies will be announcing new cameras so if you haven't already parted with your money you may want to wait.

    I recently switched to digital from film and sold all my Nikon gear and switched to Canon. Canon has the leading technology and Nikon tends to follow by 6 months to two years and I was tired of waiting for Nikon to catch up. Life is short.

    Having said all this the D70 is a fine camera and has received excellent reviews.

    Please let us know what you decide.

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions elliotk and dcphotoguy.

    It sounds more and more like we should go with a Canon. The Canon Digital Rebel has come highly recommended -- any thoughts on that?

    I will be going to our photographers on Wednesday for a small lesson (and new pictures of products!)
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  4. #4
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    Darcy,

    Thanks for responding to my several posts.

    My thoughts about the Canon 300D. Although I generally prefer Canon to Nikon at the moment the Nikon D70 is in my opinion a better value than the 300D. Having said this I think the 300D is due for replacement -- perhaps very soon or perhaps in a few months so if can wait I would do so.

    Another important consideration should be how each camera feels in YOUR hand. If one feels more comfortable than the other that's very important.

    Looking over the long run Canon is working very hard at being the number one digital camera company in the world. In the non-SLR market Canon's main competitor is actually Sony -- with Nikon well behind. I think when it comes to innovation you generally -- but not always -- will see Canon in the lead. And when Canon does fall behind (like with the 300D versus the D70) Canon responds.

    I hope this helps.

    PS Looking forward to getting my bags and I hope you decide to get into the camera bag market. Photographers seem to collect bags

  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.

    It sounds like it would be smarter to wait a few months (I see Photokina is in late September/early October.) The only thing that I don't like about that is that I'm losing two months of learning how to use the camera, and we need pictures ASAP!

    Speaking of which, are there any books on learning how to use these cameras that you'd recommend? I'm basically starting from scratch and will have a few lessons from our photographer but not much else. Is it possible to learn how to competently use a camera like the Digital Rebel without proper classes or training?

    I know the easy answer is to just get a really nice point and shoot (though I will still have to learn lighting, etc.) but this is a skill I'd love to have anyway and the challenge is appealing to me.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  6. #6
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  7. #7
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    Book and Cameras

    Hi Darcy,

    The book I highly recommend is Mastering Digital Photography and Imaging by Peter Burian (available at Amazon.com). Burian is a National Geographic photographer who has written several photography guides for the NG. He knows his stuff and more importantly can explain it in easy to understand language.

    If you are missing out on taking pictures now then don't wait buy a 300D or a D70 (whichever feels best to you) and don't look back. Digital cameras are like computers. They get updated by their manufacturer's about every 18 months. That doesn't mean they still won't take great pictures.

    Even if you buy a digital SLR it is also nice to have a compact camera for times when you just want happy snaps or want to travel light. I usually recommend that people starting to learn digital start with a small and relatively inexpensive compact camera so you can learn the work flow (described fully in Peter Burian's book). The Canon A80 is a great small camera that takes beautiful pictures and costs about $300. That and the book will get you started. I learned without a class. I'd start with the book (about $20) and if that doesn't get you enough look for a class but honestly I think the book will help.

    And remember you can make great images with an inexpensive camera. The most important piece of equipment is what's behind the camera .

    Good luck and let me know if you have more questions. Digital is fun! The immediate feedback is just wonderful. I think you will love it.


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