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Old Feb 16, 2005, 11:06 AM   #1
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This is my first post here as I am new to the digital world. I have used film slr only. I am debating as to the ist ds, d70 or the fz20. I wonder if the dslr is too much to handle for a newbie but I don't want to plunk down a large chunk of cash on something I might outgrow in the next couple of years. I want a good solid camera that will last me a long time which i can grow into. I am completely clueless about software and all the tweaking in photoshop (but plan on learning) so am unsure as what to do. help!

I do quite a bit of shooting for friends and family (family portraits, kid shots, b&w etc). Right now it is just a hobby but like the possibility of this growing into a small business. i want to make the right investment, the first time.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 11:47 AM   #2
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I recently purchased the *ist DS which was quite the upgrade from my old 35mm pentax. I'm very happy with the purchase. I have only two complaints about switching to digital.

1) I don't like the crop factor with the digital. Using the same lens for film and for digial, the digital essentially crops the image that the film would see. I think the crop factor is 1.5. Some people say this turns a 50mm lens into a 75mm lens, or a 300mm lens into a 450mm lens, but I disagree. It only crops, it doesn't change the perspective.

2) Occasionally dust will get on the image sensor. You'll notice blemishes, especially in pictures with the sky. The blemishes are easily photoshopped, and the dust can be cleaned with a special sensor cleaner. It's pretty easy to do if you can follow instructions.
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Old Feb 20, 2005, 9:08 PM   #3
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I think it depends what your priorities are. I think you will keep a DSLR much longer than a prosumer, as the quality is higher and you can do a lot more (lenses, filters, flashes etc). If it's more taking snaps with the occasional manual control then a prosumer might be better, as they are smaller & have more gadgets (for example using the LCD as a view finder, movie mode etc).

I'm kind of in the same boat as you, tossing up between a top of the line prosumer (the Canon Pro1) & the 1st Ds. Since i want a camera to keep for a long time (which won't quickly become obsolete) plus the flexibility of lenses etc I am probably going to go the 1st Ds route. Plus since the sensor size of a DSLR is huge compared to even the best prosumer, photo quality is general far superior in a DSLR (over prosumer) given the same resolution.

Going back 10 years I was quite into photography & had a 35mm SLR. I've recently come back into phottography with a Canon A75 which I find entertaining but a little limited. 2 great things about digital photography are:

1) photos can be 'improved' so much after the shot is taken &

2) you can play with the camera by taking 100s of shots without any cost.

cheeers Bryan
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Old Feb 25, 2005, 1:17 AM   #4
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I'm late in answering but thought my experience might help.

Bought the FZ20 last October, 5 months later bought the *ist DS. I was greatly dissatisfied with the Lumix FZ20 and really regret having wasted the money. The *ist is well worth the extra money IMO.
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Old Feb 25, 2005, 6:13 PM   #5
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I certainly agree with Althea. If you are thinking of spending anything close to what the *ist DS costs ($870 online with the kit lens), then buy the Pentax.

The sensor is far superior (much larger, less noisy) than anything you'll find on a prosumer camera. (By the way the *ist DS sensor is made by Sony and is the exact same one as in the Nikon D70. Too bad Nikon put it in such an inferior body IMHO).

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Old Mar 17, 2005, 12:11 AM   #6
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One big plus for the FZ20 is the stabilized lens. Once you go beyond 6x you will probably need a tripod. With the Image Stabilized (IS) lens, you can zoom in further while using your hands. If you want an IS lens for a dSRL, you have to go with the Canon dSLRs or Minolta (very expensive).

I'm in the same boat trying to decide between the dSLRs and an FZ20. I've got/had a number of the digicams over the years (Apple Quicktake, Nikon 950, Fuji S602, Canon A70, and now I have an Olympus C-750UZ).

Unless you plan on getting a bunch of extra lens and spending a lot of time in PhotoShop, and all you want to do is have fun with the camera and take pictures to print up to 8x10, then get the FZ-20.

If you want to really get into digital photography - seriously, then get s dSLR. The only way I can see justifying the cost of the dSLR is if I plan on making photography my main hobby in life - and plan on spending hundred, if not thousand more over the years. I might actually go that route - I'm just crazy enough to do it! :-)

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Old Mar 17, 2005, 5:11 PM   #7
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From what I can see the FZ-20 costs about $100 less than the *istDS with the kit lens and from what I have seen the extra money will get you far better images with the DS.

Image stabilization is an interesting feature, but something I really don't have much use for on a still camera and if I have to use a tripod it isn't that much of an inconvenience.

I do find IS useful with my video recorder though!

The D70 is too big and a friend that I shoot with doesn't get the same quality images that I do with my DS, especially at high ISO. I expect this is because of the Nikon software, since the sensors are the same.

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Old Mar 17, 2005, 11:30 PM   #8
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Ok, the FZ-20 cost $525 with an IS 36-425mm lens.

The Pentax *ist DS cost $700 (body only). Add $100 for the 18-55 lens kit. Then add $125 for an inexpensive 70-300 zoom telephoto. Now you are at $925 to get the same basic functionality as the FZ-20. I have no doubt that the Pentax (or any other dSLR) is more versatile and will produce better pictures overall, but the initial buy in is at minimum $425 more (85% more).

For the guy who wants a better camera in the range the FZ-20 offers and doesn't want to spend an additional $425 initially, and who doesn't plan on spending 100's if not 1000's more in the future, the FZ-20 is a heck of a deal.

Realistically speaking, how much does the average dSLR person spend each year on "extras"? I figure the average dSLR joe will want at least one new $250-500 toy to add to the collection each year. Now if that's what you are looking for (and a fairly time consuming, rewarding, and fun hobby), then the dSLR is the way to go. I certainly am thinking that I will go that way, I'm just not sure I'm ready to jump off the bridge yet. Also, I think Nikon needs to be heard from, and I'm willing to wait a few months and see what they have up their sleeve. Heck, Minolta just reported crapy earnings. Maybe they will lower their price to spur demand. The 7D is a heck of a camera.

amyg, if you want to grow your photography hobby into a business, you should probably look at Nikon D70 or D100, the Canon EOS 20D, the FUji dSLRs. The *ist DS, the rebel, the e-volt, and to a large degree, the D70 are entry level dSLRs, and are not really pro quality; they are for the hobbieest/enthusiast.

Clearly if you already have lens, flashes, or other accessories that will work with one of the dSLRS, then you are ahead of the game and your choice may be clear. If you are starting from scratch, the FZ-20 is a great entry camera, and will probably hold it's value for a year. If you are starting from scratch with a dSLR, then any of the models will work very well, and your biggest concern should probably be "does the camera feel right in my hands?" In that case, try the cameras ad a local store, or buy them, one at a time, at a store that has a full refund return policy and try each one.
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Old Mar 17, 2005, 11:47 PM   #9
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Amyg, I was exactly in the same situation. Having long experience with SLR have decided to move into digital. At those time all DSLR was too expensive and I could not justify such money - so I finished with FZ10. I verguosly disagree with alathea that FZ series is disappointing- I think it is great. However it is still far behind any DSLR. So I grow over very quickly and start looking into DSLR. Since I have got my *istDS poor FZ10 just collecting dust majority of time. So my advise is very simple - if you keen SLR user go for *istDS - in this way you SAVE money.

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