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Old Dec 13, 2007, 3:56 PM   #1
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Right, I've been on here a couple of times and have recieved some very useful advice. I started presuming that I'd buy an entry level dslr, then drifted towards the FZ18.

Then I ran into a good salesman and he said that as I was doing a big trip ( HK, China, NZ, Auz, Malaysia) then I should really go for a dslr. They had quite a good deal on the Nikon D80 with 18-135 lens.

I know I will not use the majority of the functions on a D80 (or is it 80D?), it's heavier, I'll be terrified of getting stolen it or losing it.

Size wise I probably prefer the dslr. Obviously the zoom range is not as good as the FZ18 and the D80 is just over twice the price of the FZ18.

My question is would there be a big difference in image quality if most shots were taken in idiot mode? I enjoy taking photographs but will not be learning to get the full use of the D80s' functions before my upcoming trip.

All feedback much appreciated.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:02 PM   #2
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Well if you can afford it and don't mind a little extra size and weight then I say go for it.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the prompt reply.

I can afford it's more a matter of is the picture quality 2 x as good = price difference?
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 5:35 PM   #4
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I don't know the prices you are being shown at the store you visited, but...

Online you can get a Nikon D80 plus the lens you rmentioned for upwards of $1045 from a number of reputable etailers. I think there are many selling at around $1100.

On the web, you can get an FZ-18 for less than $350. You can get an SP-560 for almost exactly $350 from 4 reputable dealers online.

I am sure that the D80 will give you splendid image quality. It will run circles around the other two cameras in low light. Its shutter lag will be almost zero. However, if the camera is a little bulky and you are not used to it, you will be less likely to use it. Speaking only for myself, I would tend to go for one of the ultra zooms: Fuji's S8000, Panasonic's FZ-18 or Olympus' SP-560, because they are easy to carry around and so versatile. If I bought one of these superzooms and didn't like it, after the trip, I would sell it on Ebay and then buy a DSLR. At that time, you might sell the camera for $100 than you bought it for .

I had a small DSLR, the Pentax *ist DS for over a year. I liked it. However, I feel more inclined now to take pictures with my superzoom because it's so portable.

By the way, was the salesman that you were talking to on a commission?
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Old Dec 14, 2007, 1:06 PM   #5
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I have the D40, not the D80, with the 18-135mm lens, and it gives great image quality in both good light and in poor light (with add on flash). For holidays, I still use my Sony H5 ultrazoom a lot because in outside lighting, the image quality is comparable to the D40, the zoom is bigger and with image stabilisation, and the camera is more compact. It also tends to give more consistent exposures with less adjustments. Another advantage for me was the acceptable video so I could leave the video camera and charger at home.
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Old Dec 14, 2007, 4:43 PM   #6
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Thanks again folks. Yes one has to presume that the salesman was on comission but I also think it's a bit of a snob thing over here, they just can't get their head around the fact that a ultra zoom can be (almost) as good as a entry level DSLR.

I don't seem to be able to find a good offer with the D40 + 18-135 lens. To get them seperatly would cost the same as the D80 combo.

Those prices you quoted are good, it costs about $200 more over here.

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Old Dec 16, 2007, 11:51 AM   #7
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i have no experience with nikon, but with the canon 20D and 30D, auto is not something i recommend except outdoors in daylight. it isn't so much image quality as the camera sometimes drops down to a shutter speed that most people couldn't reliably shoot hand-held without having blurry pics.

i've heard the D40 is fairly newbie-friendly but if you're looking at the D80, i'd check with people here on a new thread and see what D80 users think about auto, especially in less than perfect light.

my personal experience is that often digicams have better autos, although i can tell you that the best pics from my fuji S9100 are definitely not taken on audo, but that's more of a bridge camera.

have you considered a samsung or pentax with the 18 - 250 lens for tons of reach? my hubby's second camera is a samsung gx-is and it has much better auto than our canons, plus cost half as much - and the newer pentaxes have stabilization to help out.
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Old Dec 16, 2007, 12:57 PM   #8
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Once again, thanks for a very helpful reply.

It's funny you mention the 20D, I was just looking at a couple of second hand ones.

The attraction of the D80 is that I could use my old Nikon kit lenses but it is certainly more camera than I really need at the moment.

I wil consider your other suggestions.

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Old Dec 16, 2007, 1:02 PM   #9
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pcake wrote:
have you considered a samsung or pentax with the 18 - 250 lens for tons of reach?
The Tamron 18-250mm is available in Pentax, Canon, Sony/Minolta and Nikon mounts right now (although the current model won't autofocus on the D40 or D40x since these models don't have a built in focus motor).

A new model should be out before too long that will work with them, though. See http://www.tamron.co.jp/en/news/release_2007/a18n2.html

It does seem to be a popular choice in a walk around lens with lots of range from wide to long.

On the entry DSLR models using a Sony APS-C size sensor (Pentax, Nikon and Sony DSLR models), this lens would give you approximately the same angle of view you'd have using a 27-375mm lens on a 35mm camera (just multiply the focal length by 1.5x to see how they compare on models with a Sony sensor, or use 1.6x for Canon's models with APS-C size sensors).
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