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Old Feb 4, 2007, 10:02 PM   #11
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If you like to shoot JPG, a camera with good processing like the D40 or XT are pretty nice. If you prefer to shoot much higher quality RAW photos, none of them have any significant advantage in quality.

I haven't played with Nikons much as they never seem to be a good match for my style of photography, so I can't say much about their lenses. All I noticed was that the kit lens on the K100d is a lot nicer than the one on the XT.

I have no idea which cameras have better flashes. I almost never use one myself, preferring natural light or controlled light situations. I have noticed that sometimes the flash on the K100d produces odd results that I never had with my P&S camera, like where changing exposure compensation and flash exposure settings didn't seem to do anything, and usually the camera needs to be reset to get it back to normal.

For lens selections, there's a pretty huge difference. From what I understand, the D40 has a very limited selection of lenses that you can use with the camera. The Pentax on the other hand has a few decades of lenses that will work with the camera. If you don't mind manual focusing, you can get quite a cheap collection of nice lenses.

The stabilization is also nice, especially since it works with that giant lens library. It can be useful for telephoto shots, but I tend to use it to push the low light capabilities of the camera.

Here's a photo I took in a pitch black room, illuminated only by a tiny flashlight running on a pair of AA batteries. I held the light in one hand and the camera in the other. I used an old 50mm 1.4 screw mount lens I got off Ebay for $24 including shipping. I believe that was at f/1.4. Without the shake reduction, I don't think I would normally be able to do a 1/8 second exposure at 50mm with one hand.
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 12:06 PM   #12
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Your excellent photo example is avery reason to consider the SR feature of the Pentax line. With the shutter speed at 1/8th of a second, the SR feature saved the day.


I also agree with you that if the grip on a camera does not seem to feel right to you, then it is probably better to pass up that camera rather than disliking it all the time.

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Old Feb 5, 2007, 6:45 PM   #13
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johndykstra wrote:
... those skinny little sony cybershot cameras just weren't working for me. ...
What wasn't working about it? Low light capability? Shake? Nasty/horrible flash? Noise in the images? Limited ISO? Poor white balance? Lack of RAW output? Not enough weight around your neck? Lack of dust problems? ...

The answers to those questions will go a ways toward pointing you to the right camera. If shake is your problem, IS/AS/whateverTheyAreCallingImageStabilzationThisWeek will go a ways toward a solution. A tripod would be better than IS but you are right: they are a not nice to carry everywhere. Might you consider a monopod? I think a monopod gets you about the same shake reduction as my KM5D. Of course the two together will let you get some really long exposures.

If you are upset about the flash with the little camera, will you be happy with any flash? I despise the glare/sharp shadow of a badly done flash, and don't like the flat lighting of a well bounced/diffused single flash. All built in flash units are junk - some moreso than others, but none good. Flash is a whole nother subject, but some cameras do talk to their flash units better than others - hold onto your wallet when you look at the prices of those units.
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