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Old Mar 3, 2009, 4:00 PM   #1
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Hi all,

Been taking pictures for a while now using standard point and shoot digi cams (Currently have a Panasonic TZ3) but looking at getting my first SLR now.

Most of the pictures i take are out side, at theme parks etc in both day and night. I dont have a budget as such but dont want to spend to much on my first SLR, somthing easy to use would be great so i can get to grips with it all.

Any recomendations would be appriciated.


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Old Mar 3, 2009, 6:02 PM   #2
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Any of the dSLR cameras are capable of this (Canon, Oly, Nikon, Pentax, Sony).

The first thing you should do is go handle all of the cameras - there are a variety of sizes with them and some might feel better to you than others. Feel and ergonomics are very important and very individual. Some cameras will feel too small to some people, or too large to others. Same with weight - how much are you willing to carry? Can your (short or long) fingers easily reach the various controls? What about the viewfinder - you'll be spending a great deal of time looking through it. I personally find the Sony A300 and A350 have too small viewfinders - it would drive me nuts to use them for very long. They are popular cameras so there are others that don't mind them.

If you are going to consider the Nikon D40 and D60, be aware that they do not have a lens focusing motor in the camera body. That means that not all Nikon lenses will auto focus with them. This would only be a major concern if you really want a particular lens that doesn't have a focus motor in it - otherwise they are nice cameras. So consider which lenses you are going to want along with which cameras you want.

Oly's sensor is smaller, so you would have a greater depth of field with it. That's a good thing/bad thing - it's fine if you want a big depth of field but bad if you want a small one.

The Pentax K200 and K20 both have weather sealing, nice if you are shooting in deserts and snowy mountains. The lighter K2000 does not.

Pentax can use any old Pentax lens ever made, which can help financially (used manual lenses are inexpensive compared to new ones), especially if you don't mind manual focus. Sony uses the Minolta Maxxum lenses, Canon can use any of the EOS lenses (but not the older Canon lenses), and Nikon's compatibility varies a bit between cameras - since I don't shoot Nikon I'm not real clear whichcameras can use old lenses. My recommendation is to not go crazy buying lenses at first because you can easily end up with lenses you don't use. Get thekit lens and use it for a while. Decide what it can and can't do, thenlook for a lens that fills whatever needYOU have that it doesn'tmeet.

P.S. Sony, Oly and Pentax all offer image stabilization in-camera, while Nikon and Canon put theirs in the lens. If you are going to do lots of night photography, IS is nice, but it only helps with camera shake. It can't work miracles and I'd recommend a tripod or as a minimum, a monopod along with the camera.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 6:09 PM   #3
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Your requirements don't seem to be overly demanding, but buying a dSLR is just the beginning and may very well be only a small part of your eventual investment.

Since most dSLRs are capable of most things, the most important distinguishing characteristic should be how you feel about them. If you can't comfortably hold it, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, your experience will be frustrating.

With that said, I'll point out some differences.

Canon has the greatest selection of OEM and third party lenses and accessories, followed closely by Nikon. Olympus makes the smallest, lightest dSLRs available, and, for equivalent angles of view, they have the smallest, lightest lenses as well. But Olympus also has the smallest selection of lenses and accessories for its dSLRs.

Image stabilization isa popular feature in dLSRs. It reduces, if not eliminates, motion blur due to camera shake. Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Pentax, Sony and most Olympus dSLRs use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, so any lens will be stabilized.

'Live View' is another popular feature. P&S digicams have an LCD on the back that can be used to compose a shot, but this feature is not available in all dSLRs. Since dSLRs are bigger and heavier than P&S digicams, most people would tire of keeping one at arm's length to compose a shot anyway. So 'Live View' generally isn't a priority with most dSLR purchasers, but you might feel differently.

Nikon's entry level dSLRs, the D40, D40X and D60,do not have an internal autofocus motor, so most lenses for Nikon dSLRs won't autofocus on these camera bodies.

There are plenty of helpful, knowledgeable people here, that can help you with specifics. You came to the right place to ask for help.
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