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Old Oct 11, 2010, 12:07 PM   #11
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The first question I would have to ask you, is "What are you going to do with the photos?" .
A DSLR is will produce better detailed pictures for a given pixel count, but do you need the increased detail? Viewing pictures on computer monitors, or big screen TVs isn't going to require the same level as printing 13" wide or wider prints.
The potential for better photos is there in the DSLR, but it requires you to know more in order to get that potential.
There are a few lenses, such as Tamron 18-250mm and others, which have about the range you are looking for. On crop camera bodies, the range is close to a 35mm equivalent of 400mm on the long end. Image quality is said to be very good.

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Old Oct 14, 2010, 12:50 PM   #12
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When I moved from a very good P&S (Sony DSC-V1) a couple years ago, I asked myself: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? The answers were ultrawide, ultralong, and low-light. After analyzing bodies in my price range, especially user ratings, I decided on a Pentax K20D and a 10-17 fisheye, 18-250 walkabout superzoom, and fast 50/1.4 lenses.

One reason I went with Pentax (after decades of shooting many other brands) is the in-body Shake Reduction aka Image Stabilization. I've since bought many many lenses, mostly old manual primes. On a Pentax or Sony body, they are ALL stabilized, even the 12mm fisheye and 40mm pancake and an enlarger lens on bellows.

Did I suddenly get better pictures than with my old DSC-V1? Of course not. But I learned. And I've put together a kit including some very affordable and quality lenses. Throw this glass onto a highly-rated Kx body, with its superlative low-light performance, and a really winning combo can be had without the necessity of robbing convenience stores.

* An 18-250 (Tamron or Pentax) means never having to change lenses outdoors during the day. Not the cheapest lens, but the most flexible.
* A Zenitar 16/2.8 mild fisheye (under US$200) which I use extensively indoors, even in less-than-optimal light, as well as in any close space.
* A Vivitar 24/2 (under US$150) for shooting wide in dimmer indoors.
* A Pentax 50/1.7 (under US$100) for portraits, lower light, and magic.
* Almost any 135/2.5 (under US$100) for shooting longer in less light.

That 18-250 superzoom is mounted most of the time. I'll select one of the other lenses for specific situations -- look at the space, light, subject(s); pick a lens, shoot with it while there. You'll notice that those primes are all rather faster than the superzoom. I just shot a party in a not-well-lit house with adults and kids running around, with those 16+24+50mm lenses I mentioned, and no flash. Mount a lens, shoot for 30-40 minutes, change lenses, repeat as needed.

What can you expect from a dSLR? Much more control over images, thus much more responsibility. A P&S always has much thicker depth-of-field than a camera with a larger sensor and longer lenses, so their shots almost always look sharp throughout. A dSLR allows/forces you to control the DOF to a much greater degree. So if what you want sharp isn't, it's your own damn fault. Yet another learning experience, eh?
Too many film+digi cams+lenses, oh my -- Pentax K20D, ZX-M, M42's, P&S's, more
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