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Old Jul 27, 2007, 3:46 PM   #11
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Corpsy wrote:
But since you're photos are supposed to illustrate how using a flash with a P&S is superior than using a DSLR, can you please tell me what P&S camera and flash you used? That information is missing from the EXIF data.
No, the pictures are supposed to illustrate that flash is necessary. If you re-read my initial response I suggested the OP consider only cameras with a hot shoe. This means they can use a more powerful flash. It also means the flash is moved farther from the lens reducing red eye. And, for a camera like the S5 you can use canon's 430ex flash which swivels and tilts so you can bounce it. All flashes are not created equal. Not by any stretch. I hate on-board flashes -even on a DSLR. Now, I don't own an S5, but I know enough about low light photography to bet any amount of money I could take that camera and a 440ex and get better results in family situations than any entry level DSLR w/o flash will provide (without artificially improving the lighting in the house or restricting shot selection to posed or portrait style shots).

But I still maintain for average family shots you simply have no choice in the matter. Ive never seen any evidence that high isos and fast primes provide any chance of success. And I've seen too much advice from people who take portrait style shots with available light and make the statement they never use flash. That's great - for artisitic, portrait style shots. But that's not the type of shot most people are interested in taking. I respect your subject's right to privacy. But I stand by my asertion that advice to avoid using flash is impractical and I counter that it is way too limiting. Having an external flash - especially one that can be bounced will be more useful in most standard family situations.

For what it's worth - the shots I posted were taken with a DSLR (20d) and external flash (Sigma 500 dg super). But the key to success was the external bouncable flash. Will a DSLR take better flash photos with an external flash than a digicam with external flash? Sure. But in these situations I'm confident a quality digicam with hotshoe and advanced flash will take better shots of this style than a DSLR without external flash.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 4:14 PM   #12
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Thanks for the responces.
My budget would be up to somewhere around £400 GBP which i probably should have said at the start.

It seems to be hard to find the Nikon D40 with the 18-135mm kit lens here in the UK as that sounds ideal. The S5 IS is avaliable for £280 which seems a bargain to me wheras the D40 with 18-55mm kit lens is £320.

Is it possible to get the same kinds of depth of field shots with something like the S5 as a dSLR? People do seem very happy with the S3 IS and S5 IS.

I doubt i will need the super zoom capability (12x bit) but would think only having up to 55mm would be very restrictive which is why the Sony A100 was interesting as that goes to 70mm. Is that much difference in the real world?

Finally how much do you loose out and in what with a dSLR and a lens with a wide range such as the 18-135 or 18-200 as i guess one option would be to go the dSLR route and get a second hand lens?

thanks again
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 8:34 PM   #13
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have you considered the fuji S9100 (i think it's the 9600 in the UK). there is some graininess at ISO 400, but it has a manual zoom ring, which i really love, and a semi-manual focus ring. at ISO 80 and 100, the pics are nice and i have done some bokeh blurs with it that look purty good. the videos look very good and you can get an external flash for it.

i use the fuji outdoors a lot, but having all those features made me want a dslr, so i recently bought a 30d. i still take the fuji for birds and beach shoots, though.

the S3-IS is a good option, a little less expensive, and the videos are very good - as good as our medium level consumer camcorder but better in lower light situations.

i tried the D40 out and it felt good, but the kit lens doesn't really do it for me as far as being able to shoot some distance. it had a good feel, though, and will probably do better in low light than a digicam.

the s3-is does have image stabilization, though - a big plus if you don't want to mess with shutter speeds or tripods, and it has a lot of manual features that make it a lot of fun. i almost got it instead of the S9100, but after some thought, i decided the manual zoom was near the top of my list.

btw, there is an on-camera flash diffuser at bhphotovideo. haven't tried it, but it might help out with flash harshness.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 11:41 PM   #14
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Hi I believe that probably the canon S5 (not S3 as no external flash) is the best comprimise you could go for. I've had the S3 for over a year and really enjoyed it, the 12x zoom is a real bonus and the video mode with stereo sound is as good as any medium cost high8 video camera.

There are as with any camera, dslr or compact, limitations and looking at your requirements the S5 meets the bill except for no manual focus, but image qualityand usability are great. There are occasions when it would be nice to have a wider angle but one can get add on lenses to do this or to increase the macroor telephoto capacity if one wants. The macro mode is stunning capturing images from literally 0cmoutwards.

The only real issue is that noise levels on high ISO settings (above 200) are not good but this is a problem not just with the Canon S5 but generally speaking most compacts including the super zooms, due mainly to sensor size. Here the dslr's win hands down and even the cheapest entry level dslr camera out performs any compact. I have just recently started using the Olympus E-510 with twin kit lenses (chosen because of several reasons but mainly because the kit lens quality is so good) and to be honest getting generally better shots in all areas but especially low light situations. Having said that my S3 did not have an external shoe for flash and so was limited to on board flash .

With a £400 budget I think in real terms any Dslr is out of budget as a single lenson a dslr is not sufficienteven for general photographic needs. So back to the S5, I still use my S3 to grab long distanceshots where I haven't got time to change the lens and obviously for videos. There are other Super zoom cameras out there some with manual focus but generally I believe that the S5 is top of the bunch.

I hope this helps as trying to decide which camera to buy is a nightmare with so many opinions and loyalties to weigh up, good luck and let us know what you decide and whatever you decide ,remember there is always "something better out there and what if", so enjoy what you've got, learn to use its full potential and above all else enjoy it.
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