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Old Jul 15, 2008, 3:20 PM   #1
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About a week from now, Im going to Hawaii for ~3 weeks. :-)

Ive been shooting happilywith a sony V3 for the last 3+ years but Ive been idly considering moving up to an entry-level DSLR recently (mainly since live-LCD-view is becoming more common).

So, I think what Im looking for is a big-sensor camera that's not too inconvenient to carry-around, is generally useable like a P&S [composing via LCD], and will deliver a huge improvement in IQ over my current camera.

That said, I'm considering the sony A300 (or maybe A350)because it is well-priced and it seems to have the most useable live-view mode in the field. Based on comments in dpreview's review of the 350, it seems like the A300/350 are made to be used w/ the LCD primarily, and the viewfinder secondarily, which appeals to me since I have no desire to go back to squinting through eyepieces.

Ive looked at the Olympus 420 and I like the fact that it's small (for a DSLR) but I don't like the (lack of) a real right-hand grip and lack of IS.

The Canon 450D/XSi sounds sweet but may be more than I want to spend on a "trial thing" (meaning, I'm not sure if the size of a DSLR will fit into my photography lifestyle, thus it's something of a trial). [unless the quality improvement over my current cam will be a revelation and I'll be instantly sold?]

I kind of wish Sony had made followups to the R1 now!

So I think my questions are:

- Are there other cameras I should be looking at?

- How seriously should I consider the A350 over the A300? [more pixels vs higher pixel density & noise and $200 price diff.]

Also a general question - what's the difference between the CCD sensor in the A300/350 and the CMOS in the A700? Within the context of SLR-sized sensors, is a CMOS necessarily better than a CCD?

I appreciate any and all advice! I know if I stick with my V3, I'll still gets hundreds of beautiful pictures, but I'd hate to find myself buying a DSLR 6 months from now and then think 'crap I wish I had this for the Hawaii trip', know what I mean?

thanks!! :|
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 3:29 PM   #2
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Alternatively, you could get a sophisticated "bridge" camera - the Fuji S100fs. It's not a DSLR but its picture quality is not that different from one thanks to its 2/3 inch sensor. Plus it has all the advantages of a point and shoot - live view LCD (that's adjustable), video, a very wide optical zoom range (28mm to 400mm). The price is very high for a point and shoot but very reasonable when compared to a DSLR with a long zoom lens.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 3:43 PM   #3
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One week isn't enough time to get familiar with a dSLR. The learning curve for a dSLR (any dSLR) is pretty steep. You may very well regret getting it because it will have been a disappointment, simply becasue you didn't have enough time to get to know how to use it. I think you should stick with the camera you've got for the touristy pictures you'll take on your trip, and maybe get a dSLR when you get back.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 7:16 PM   #4
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There's something to be said for TCav's advice, especially if you don't have a background with film SLR photography. Most entry dSLR's offer simple scene/auto modes which work rather well to get you started, but to be really good at it, you need to spend time with the camera.

A dSLR is a lot larger, heavier and more awkward than a p&s camera (with perhaps the exception of the R1). I know I can't hold one still enough at arms length, even with stabilization, to get a decent picture at some of the slower shutter speeds I can normally hand-hold. If you can, try the Sony cameras in-store with your own card, so you can look at the results full sized on your own monitor (sometimes I've had pictures appear to be OK on the LCD but show camera shake/extra softness when I've looked at them on a computer screen or printed). See what kind of shutter speeds you'll need to get shots without camera shake - it will require faster shutter speeds than using a viewfinder, where your body helps stabilize the camera.
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