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Old Mar 15, 2008, 1:55 PM   #1
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I need advice on which camera to get. My friends are going to NY next weekend so I want them to get me a new camera while there.

I always took a lot of pictures, but only used compact P&S cameras until recently. I wanted to learn more about photography and have better control on my pictures, so I borrowed my friend's film SLR camera (a Nikon F60 with a 50mm lense) and took a photography class. I wanted to learn the very basics with a film camera. I enjoyed using this camera and liked the good quality pictures I took with it. The only thing I missed was the zoom I had on my previous cameras.

I want to continue learning, as I love photography, and I'd like to get my own digital SLR camera. My budget would be around 800$. For now, I think that kit lenses would be enough and I can always get other lenses later. I want a camera that I would be satisfied with even if advancing in photography learning and that I would not need to change in 1.5 years. I was thinking of getting the Canon xti, Nikon D80 or Olympus E-510, but then I read very good reviews about the Pentax K10D. I don't really know for which brand I should go... Or maybe you have other suggestions?

Also, I was curious to know if it would be better for me to get an advanced P&S digital camera? How big is the difference in picture quality between those and the cheapest SRLs?? They for sure have interesting optical zooms and a lot of manual features now, as well as being a lot cheaper. But their sensors are a lot smaller than those of the DSRLs and it is supposed to affect the colors/image quality?

Anyways, I would really like to get a new camera this week, so all your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!


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Old Mar 15, 2008, 2:08 PM   #2
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Morning, I would suggest finding a couple of camera stores that carry these models, go down and try them out. See which ones you like the best and appeal to you. If you hate holding the camera, your not going to use it. Check out the menuing systems and maybe get an SD card to take a few pictures with them.

In that you did not say what type of photography your interested in, then for general use, any of the models should do fine. Also, your interests would tend to point you to particular lens sets.

With the Pentax K20D/200D models comming out, that placed the K10D on clearance. This would probably be the best bang for the buck, given your budget.

Good Luck...
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 2:09 PM   #3
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A DSLR is a more flexible option, not only because of a larger sensor, which tends to give better Dynamic Range and lower noise (and/or less smoothing of detail from noise reduction), but because you can buy lenses better suited for the conditons you plan on using one in.

You also have more control over things like Depth of Field (for example, a shallow depth of field to help subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds is tough to do with larger subjects using a non-DSLR model, since the actual focal lengths of their lenses is much shorter than their 35mm equivalent focal lengths).

Lenses are also more of an investment with a DSLR solution (you can often take the same lenses with you when you upgrade to a different body within the same manfucturer later versus replacing the entire camera/lens later using a non-dSLR model)

Just keep in mind that not all lenses will work on all DSLR models within a given camera brand (some lens model are made strictly for APS-C size sensors and you can buy DSLR models from Canon and Nikon that use larger sensors now).

I'd start your search with our Best Cameras List (and these are just a few of the great options available now).

I'd also let members know what kinds of subjects you may want to shoot more often, and the conditions you will probaby use a camera in more.

If you're not sure (totally new to photography), your best bet would be to stick with a basic kit lens type solution. That way, you'd have a chance to use a camera for a while to find out where it's limiting for the types of shots you take more often (so, you'd make better informed decisions before spending a lot of money on lenses that may not be as suitable as desired later)

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Old Mar 15, 2008, 2:29 PM   #4
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Thank you for these replies.

I travel a lot and like to carry my camera everywhere with me. I like to take landscapes, street pictures and portraits. I also take indoor pictures of friends and family.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 2:36 PM   #5
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It sounds like any of the basic DSLR single lens kits would make a good startup package for you.

You may also want to get an external flash for indoor use (you'd get better results by bouncing a good flash for more diffused lighting, versus trying to use a camera's built in flash when indoors).

Then, decide if you need a longer lens (more optical zoom with higher available focal lengths) for anything later (sports, wildlife, etc.) after you have a chance to use a camera with a basic kit lens more, or if you may want a brighter lens for use in less than optimum lighting (you'll need a flash indoors for moving subjects with most inexpensive zoom lenses).


Between the models you've listed, the Canon XTi and Nikon D80 would tend to be the more flexible options (more lens choices suitable for more shooting conditions).

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Old Mar 15, 2008, 3:03 PM   #6
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all good advice. Any of the entry level models will fit your needs. But I agree whole-heartedly with the recommendation you should try to hand-hold the various cameras. The ergonomics will be different. So since they are all capable technology wise of meeting your needs, ergonomics may well be the deciding factor.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 4:14 PM   #7
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orkiz wrote:
...My friends are going to NY next weekend so I want them to get me a new camera while there. ...
You might want to re-think that. If your friends buy you a camera from a storefront, they'll have to pay the 8%NY Sales Tax and the 0.375% NYC Sales Tax.

It might be cheaper to order online and pay for the shipping.

BUT, if you're going to spend a lot of time at a local store, and you get a lot of help from a sales person, you really should buy the camera from him or her. Don't walk out of a store that has given you good pre-sales support, and buy the camera someplace else. That's salesperson abuse.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 7:41 PM   #8
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You'll find people here who are completely happy with their Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Oly or Sony cameras. All of them can give you excellent results. The K10 is an excellent value as stores sell off their remaining stock, and has a number of features you won't find on other cameras in its current price range (I have one). But it's a relatively heavy camera and might not suit everyone. Best thing to do is go to a store and handle each camera. What's the viewfinder like? Can you see the focus in it? I discovered yesterday that viewfinders really do make a difference.

As far as whether a dSLR is the best solution or not - that really depends partly on the individual, what they expect in a picture and whether the image quality gains you get with a dSLRis worth the extra weight, expense and fiddling with the camera.My personalanswer was to get a dSLR, but I came to that conclusion only after buying one of the ultrazooms and hating it. Other people bought that same camera and loved it.
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Old Mar 21, 2008, 10:56 PM   #9
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I was in a similar boat awhile ago. I had a Panasonic Lumix P&S which is a fine camera but it had limitations.

Shutter lag was a problem and although the zoom lens is excellent quality (Leica) I found the camera to be limiting as I was used to using SLR's (35 mm) for about 40 years.

I looked at the Nikon D80, Pentax K10D and Canon 30D. I eventually went with the K10D and I have been very happy with my purchase.

It does everything I want and although there is a lot to learn, I find through practice, reading about 3 different manuals (Pentax and a few non Pentax user manuals), asking questions on this forum and the Pentax forum I can alwasy figure out what needs to be done.

P+S are great, but you may find yourself growing out of fairly soon. On the other hand the K10D is complicated, but you can always leave it on 'automatic' till you get used to it's host of features.

The Canon and the Nikon are great cameras, I just found the K10D felt good and I also have a number of older Pentax and Takumar lens the K10D would fit.

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