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Old Jun 12, 2007, 11:57 PM   #21
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Hi Jaydreams, Given that your located in the Maldives, with few camera shops around, I am going to suggest maybe a slightly different route. Basically, just about any of the vendors products are going to produce great images. I do think that Mtngal hit the nail on the head, in that the difference between bodies is essentially features - that you may or may not use, but what is important is capturing the image through the optics, so the better the optics the better the captured image. Also the more bells and whistles - the more there is to break - and for the most part your only going to use the primary features most of the time - the rest you will forget how to use. So with that in mind, you can probably pick up just about any body and be able to grow into it for the next 3+ years with out getting bored, without having/missing some specific feature or another. This along with post processing software, just about anything N, C, P, O, S or whatever will probably meet your needs in the next 3+ years. So with that being said, the lower cost body - coupled with the availability of high quality lenses will be your winning combination. Just remember Ansel Adams had the equivalent of a coffee can with a hole punched in it - along with his eye and some imagination.

The other item is using what you currently have, to help determine what may fit you the best. What I mean with this is, use your Canon S3 (something that you currently have) as a benchmark - a strawman - in the following ways. Compare everything (physical) to the S3.... Also, use the S3 to determine the features that you may want (or keep), what does the S3 have that you like (and want to extend) or does not have that you are missing (and want to have available). Go back among your images on your computer and see what types of shots you actually took. Which types of shots do you feel that you missed and why. This will help determine the features that you will want on the camera along with the type of lenses.

Cost - $1,000US or $2,000US or more. For under $1,000US you can do a lot with Pentax and a couple of Pentax zoom lenses. Canon and Nikon will be difficult. On the other end - with $2,000US or more you should be able to do what ever you want.

Size - Is the S3 a good size for you? Do you have large hands? or small hands? How much larger than a S3 would you be willing to go? The Pentax K100D is one of the smaller and ligher units. Use the various websites that provide side by side comparisions against the S3. List them out - circling the ones that are needed and "x"ing out the ones that you know you do not need. Then sit back and see which vendors / models that fit your needs the best.

Weight - The S3 is pretty light - does the weight matter to you - would you like a heaver camera or a lighter one. Fill up plastic bags with the weight of sand of the various units and see which one you would not mind lugging around.

Mass - the combination of volume and weight (I know its not the physics definition), but where I am going is bulk. Something small and lighter or something large and heavier? 10 cubic inches of gold (very dense) or 10 cubic inches of balsa wood (not dense at all).

With answering the above questions you can determine which end of the range you want to go - small and light - large and heavy - or somewhere in between.

The next question is - since your ready to leverage up from your S3, what are your interests? Sports where you need/want bursts of images? Nature photography with long telephoto. Nature with low light? Say 3 frames per second in short bursts is enough for what you want to do, then anything is ok. If you need 3 or 4 per second in long continous runs (10 to 20 continous frames) then that defines something like a high end Canon.

Do you want image stablization? Canon and Nikon have their image stablization in their lens and they are expensive (think on the order of $1,000US+ each). Pentax and Sony have in body stablization where by what ever lens you mount is automatically stablized.

Lens System - C and N have extensive selections of lens in all focal lengths, lens speeds (f stops) and quality ($$$$$). O and S are building out families of digital lenses. Pentax currently has a moderate offering but adding - however over the last 40 years has produced an extensive array of lenses with quality rivaling anyone. The lens system is a very important aspect to the entire decision. Most of the lenses are specific to the vendor's bodies if you want to utilize the automatic features (auto focusing, auto exposure, etc.) If you want to use everything in manual - then to some extent you can mix vendor's lens. However you need to be careful, since various vendors use different sizes of image sensors, and you should match the optical image to the size of the image sensor. Bottom line - its just easier to keep within the vendor's body and image family with third party lenses setup for your body/sensor. This also raises the question if you want to shoot in all automatic (focus and exposure), or do you want to do some/ or a lot in manual - manual focus and manual exposure - all of this goes into the type of lenses you will be picking up. Also, some vendors have lens for specific models that are in-compatable with other models - C and N. With O, S and P their full frame lens will work with their bodies. Pentax guarentees full backward compatability (with the K mount and even their M42 screw mount in manual mode (you can not make a manual lens automatic even on a digital body). With Canon and Nikon you can usually find what you want in the focal length and lens speed, with new lens - they just may be very expensive. On the other end, with Pentax you can usually find it used in good condition with a reasonably fair price - and example - a Pentax lens may cost $400US where by C and N would go for $1,400US. You may also find the Pentax lens used on evil bay for $100US to $200US. Specific examples are always going to be all over the place, but for a Pentax 50mm f2.0 used $5 to $20 used 50mm f1.4 $50 to $70 used $200 new. Go take a look and spend some time on the web to get feel for what things will cost - plus shipping.

Your interests - Your interests are going to determine the lens set you wind up buying. Just about everyone has the 18 to 200mm range covered with a combination of 2 lens. Landscapes / architecuter you will want to go wide. Nature - telephoto or macro. People / street scenes - 50mm or ??? Will you be using bright natural sunlight - f 3 to f4 lens ok. Dim interior lighting with no flash f 1.2 or 1.4 lens - then either close up (50mm) or distance shorts (100mm, 135mm, 200mm). Will you be using a flash.....

Batteries - Can you go with AAs or custome batteries - or does it matter to you???

Pixel density - You can go from 6MP to 10MP easily and with $$$ go even higher. 6MP is fine for just about everything, however if you do a lot of croping then having more real estate to select from helps.

ISO - with higher f stop lens, for low light situations you will be raising the ISO speed. Now you get into noise and noise filtering. Are you going to shoot in JPG or RAW. You can adjust / filter out the noise better using RAW than JPG. Also if you go with JPG then the in camera JPG processing becomes more important. If you shoot RAW and post process then the JPG in camera processing becomes pretty much moot.

You probably guessed by now that I have gone with Pentax. The K100D has great features and is for entry to moderate experience (3 - 5+ years depending on the person). The K10D has all the additional features and is for advanced - with water and dust sealing. Pentax does not have a "Professional" model - however there is a French Fashion photographer who went from Canon to Pentax and is not unhappy at all. Go by and see the Pentax forum here. Also visit the C, N, S, O and the rest.

Have I confused and lost you yet?

Basically - you have to ask your self a number of questions -
What am I interested in?
What am I going to take pictures of?
What are the light conditions?
what are the distance conditions?
What physical attributes do I want (size & weight)?
How much do I want to spend?
What facilities are close by for support and repair or can I ship items out and wait a month turn around?

Another idea is to do the selection and have your brother in the US buy the equipment, test it out to make sure that things are ok, assemble it into one shipment and ship it to you - as a gift. Also Pentax is having a great set of rebates.

Given that C and N have a presense in your area - it just may be safer to go to that way. There is a person on the Pentax forum - Crashman - if I remember correctly that shoots Pentax in the south pacific and is from down under. He has had no reported problems.

Good Luck - and hope this helps...

You know - you can do all the analysis in the world - checking out everything - but if you have always wanted a Porsche - and your analysis says a Volvo- what the heck - if you can afford the Porsche - go with it - The camera is to take pictures with - you have to be happy with using the camera to take the pictures - the world's best photographers can take great pictures with just about anything, and Arnold Palmer can beat me golfing with a shovel, rake and a hoe.
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Old Jun 13, 2007, 1:25 AM   #22
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furthermore how important is Auto focusto you? No sense in praising a lot of choices in the Manual focus range, if you find them uncomfortable to use.

I don't mind shooting a couple of MF lenses but, i find the viewfinder on the Nikon D50 DSLR a bit small to actual hit that spot on focus every time. ( i guess it's lag of practice :-))
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Old Jun 13, 2007, 6:29 AM   #23
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interested_observer wrote:
Pixel density - You can go from 6MP to 10MP easily and with $$$ go even higher. 6MP is fine for just about everything, however if you do a lot of cropping then having more real estate to select from helps.
Minor point, but Pixel Density isn't the total number of pixels on the image sensor, but the number of pixels per square millimeter. A large number of pixels is good because it captures more detail. A high pixel density is bad because light from one pixel can bleed into adjacent pixels, causing brightly illuminated pixels to overwhelm adjacent pixels.

Ideally, a digicam would have lots of pixels but a low pixel density, but that would require a large image sensor which would require a large camera. An ultracompact that has more pixels but a small sensor (like the Canon PowerShot SD40, Sony DSC-T10, or the Casio EX-Z700) has a high pixel density, while a dSLR that has fewer pixels but a larger sensor (like the Canon EOS 1D) has a low pixel density.
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Old Jun 13, 2007, 9:46 AM   #24
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TCav - point taken and your perfectly correct. I had done a lot of image exploitation software systems, and from the post processing view, I was using pixel density to indicate the amount of image real estate you had to work with. I was just writing faster than I was thinking...

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Old Jun 14, 2007, 12:54 PM   #25
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Hi jaydreams,

just ignore most of the "battle of the brands" talk, it isn't exactly helping you with you camera choice huh

Look, all the big brands make nice DSLRs, all very similar in image quality.

What you want to look at, is in which system you'd like to invest.

- Do you consider wide angle very important? in that case Olympus is not an option (2x crop factor), and Canon (offering a possible upgrade to full-frame) might be the way to go.

- Do you want to be able to adapt older manual lenses, with different mounts, such as M42? In that case I wouldn't recommend Nikon, on which most old non-nikon glass doesn't focus to infinity, due to the large distance between the sensor and mount. Pentax, Canon and Olympus do offer a lot of options for these, with Pentax having automatic exposure and focus confirmation with even the oldest lenses...

- Do you consider a vertical grip very important? In that case, know that the K10D is pentax's only recent model to support one, whereas I think all Canon cameras do (even de smaller Rebel series), and most of the Nikons do.

- Do you want your camera to be big and chunky, with a large grip, or do you want a more compact, light camera?

- How important do you consider ergonomics? Here, Nikon and Pentax have an edge (if you ask me...)

Also, if you have a chance, look trough a few viewfinders of all the brands, you'll have a personal preference right away.


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Old Jun 16, 2007, 9:29 AM   #26
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hi friends , thank you all for valuable advices ,i tarveled to Srilanka,and had a hands on feel of canon30D, 400D, Nokon 40X , D80 ,sony A100 and Pentax K10D. all are good, i was just bowled over by the feel and ease of Nikon D80. I am going for it.
Jim i could not open Keh.com.

Maldives is like another world,i decided to buy a new one to be on safer side ,though the offers at BH ware irresistable.

Thank you all again , i will come back for more advices, once i have camera in hand, for photographic tricks.
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Old Jun 16, 2007, 2:10 PM   #27
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Thank you Observer, for an excellent insight in to selecting a DSLR.
I really appreciateit, and I have contacted somephoto enthusiasts in Maldives. One is using Pentax K10 D, and other two with canon and Nikon D80,we have planned to meet for a cup of coffee this week end ( that will be next Friday) they have promised me, i can try take some shots and make my final decision.
I work as an Urologist here and made some good friends, they are helping me out too.
I was using net to help my patients, now I feel happy to get help for myself, thank you all -------Jay

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Old Jun 17, 2007, 10:06 AM   #28
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I'm in the same boat. Looking at getting a DSLR. I'm not brand loyal to any, although after I get into a new digital system I may have to stay, cause of cost of changing.

I looked, over the past year at:
  1. Nikon D80- I really like it, but am concerned about the amount of plastic. I do know they all have plastic parts...but I have a feeling the D80 has a high percentage. Maybe it's just me.
  2. Canon 30D- great camera, really well built, but 8.2 MPs. Know MPs aren't teh end all, but the 30D has been out for awhile and I have a feling it will be updated soon..maybe a 40D ? I don't know, but might wait.[/*]
  3. Pentax K10D- better sealed than just about anything else, has self cleaning sensor that the other two don't and also has shake reduction built into the camera body...not like Canon and Nikon where you have to buy specialized lens for SR, as that's where those companies put the SR..and you have to pay for SR, each time you get a new lens ?[/*]
Lately I've been leaning towards Pentax. Looking at the Pentax 16-45 and the FA (film) 75 - 300 mm lens.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 2:01 PM   #29
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TDN wrote:
- Do you consider wide angle very important? in that case Olympus is not an option (2x crop factor), and Canon (offering a possible upgrade to full-frame) might be the way to go.
The OP wasn't interested in Olympus, and that's OK.


Olympus and 4/3 does do wide angle and they do it rather well. They offer their wide angle zoom, the 11-22 f2.8-3.5 that is an exceptional lens. If 22mm EFL isn't wide enough, it gets a bit more expensive ($1500) for the 7-14 f4 that does the job as well as anyone.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:46 AM   #30
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It is really unfortunate that the general population considers only the Canon Rebel xti & Nikon D80. Sony alpha (a100) must therefore have a chip, because people think 'high noise at high iso.' BUT, XTi and D80 ...neither have anti-shake unless you buy VR lenses. In addition, High ISO (1600) shots constitute only 1% for me due to IS.

I really hope Sony ($600US) and Pentax up their marketing on this basis. Both have in-body image stabilization and allow me to take well-saturated night shots at ISO200, 1/10s, no shake, hand-held.
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