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Old Oct 23, 2010, 4:55 PM   #1
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Default Entry level vs Mid level DSLRs

As I mentioned in my other thread, I am looking at the FZ100 or the HS10, but I am also just starting to look at DSLRs and I have a few questions.

What features in general are missing from a good entry level DSLR that are found on a mid level one? Fast burst speed, fast shutter speed, image quality?

I think I would be looking for a sony camera becasue it has stabilization in the camera. What other compnaies have in-camera stabilization? The Nikon and Canon seem to have stabilization in the lenses which makes the lenses much more expensive, is this right?

Speaking of expenses, how much do lenses generally cost? I would like a zoom ability similar to a 10-12x zoom on a point-and-shoot. What is generally the largest lense that one can comfortably carry around and not need a tripod for?

What would a camera like the A55 from sony be considered? That is one that I was looking at and it seems to look pretty good. Entry? Mid-Level?

I hope these questions make sense somewhat and Thank you very much for any advice and help you can give!
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 5:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
As I mentioned in my other thread, I am looking at the FZ100 or the HS10, but I am also just starting to look at DSLRs and I have a few questions.

What features in general are missing from a good entry level DSLR that are found on a mid level one? Fast burst speed, fast shutter speed, image quality?
In addition to those, there are more technical features like better and faster and more flexible AF, better and faster exposure, more and better features for exposure and AF, and better support for different lenses.

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I think I would be looking for a sony camera becasue it has stabilization in the camera. What other compnaies have in-camera stabilization? The Nikon and Canon seem to have stabilization in the lenses which makes the lenses much more expensive, is this right?
Pentax, Sony and most Olympus dSLRs have sensor shift image stabilization in the body. Canon and Nikon rely on optical image stabilization in the lens. Canon and Nikon both still make film SLRs, and their stabilized lenses will work on those bodies as well as their dSLRs. But, yes, optically stabilized lenses are bigger, heavier, more expensive, and more rare than unstablized lenses. Also, Pentax and Sony can use lenses that were made 20+ years ago, and they will be stabilized on their current bodies, so the used market is a great resource for some great lenses that will be stabilized on modern bodies.

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Speaking of expenses, how much do lenses generally cost? I would like a zoom ability similar to a 10-12x zoom on a point-and-shoot. What is generally the largest lense that one can comfortably carry around and not need a tripod for?
dSLRs have larger image sensors than P&S digicams, and so need larger lenses. Also, with P&S digicams, you're stuck with the lens that it comes with. With dSLRs, you can pick and choose from among the many lenses that are available at different prices, different levels of quality, and from different manufacturers all of whom are competing for your dollar (or Euro, or Yen, or Peso, etc.) So, when selecting a lens, you need to decide waht you want and figure out how to get it within your budget, which isn't always easy, but it's the kind of thing that many of here love to do: Spend OPM (Other People's Money.)

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What would a camera like the A55 from sony be considered? That is one that I was looking at and it seems to look pretty good. Entry? Mid-Level?
The Sony A55 is more of a hybrid, in many respects, so it doesn't fall neatly into any of the standard categories, but it can best be described as an intermediate level camera, while the A33 comes in at the entry level.
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 6:24 PM   #3
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I bougth T2i for entry-mid level purpose after reading a lot of forum posts and asking questions to some pros. You may consider it.
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 7:37 PM   #4
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So besides the cost, what is the advantage of an entry level DSLR over a Mid-Level one for a first time DSLR buyer? are they less complicated to use?

What would Sony's other mid level DSLRs be besides the A55? What about Pentax? What is the difference in the 4/3 standard from olympus and any other DSLR?
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 7:43 PM   #5
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The sony mid levels are the A550, A560, A580.

Pentax entry is the K-x, and mid level is the new k-r.

But some entry like the k-x has capabilities of mid level dslrs. So it depends on the model if there is more then price that is the difference. And dslr are getting simpler for new point and shooters looking at upgrading with more menu setting and scene mode function.s

4/3 form olympus is a smaller sensor, and the whole system was design around digital form the beginning. But next to that they do pretty much what all the dslr do out there.
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Old Oct 24, 2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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I'm now prejudiced in favor of (in order) Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Nikon, Canon. From what I have read, Nikon entry-level cams lack many capabilities of their big siblings. Nikon and Canon both suffer by offering IS/SR (image stabilization / shake reduction) only in bigger, longer, pricier lenses. The smaller M4/3 sensor of Olympus means resolution is lower than other brands, and wide-angle lenses are more problematic (and expensive). Sony, which has good cameras (I have several P&S's) (and my bro-in-law shoots FF Sony), may or may not be phasing out dSLRs.

That leaves Pentax. I've shot for over a half-century, but never before with Pentax. When I started researching dSLRs a couple years ago, I favored Sony, Oly, Nikon, Fuji. But I read the user ratings and complaints at dpreview.com and I charted ratings vs price. Pentax bodies got fewer bitches and whines and "I wanna upgrade" comments than other brands. I am no longer employed; I wanted something that I would NOT want to upgrade anytime soon. And that's how I got my mighty K20D, which to me was the last 'professional' Pentax before the new 645D.

The Kx, with in-body image stabilization (IBIS), and the best high-ISO performance, and its good build, seems to me to be the ideal starter AND prosumer camera, and one that can put in many years of good service. What it lacks that the K20D has are tethering, a wired remote jack, extreme weather sealing, and 3mpx of resolution. But it's quite capable of professional performance. And it can use any Pentax-compatible lens made in the last 70 years. Incredible manual lenses are still available dirt-cheap on eBay and elsewhere -- I have 100+ of them, accumulated in just the last couple years.

For a starter, the Kx is great. If you don't need video and super-high ISO, the K20D is still a great buy, often available now for about the price of a Kx. That's my recommendation.

Bur opinions are common. I like data. That's why I did the whines-per-dollar analysis at dpreview.com -- try it yourself. Read up on all the bodies in your price range, see how users rate them, see which get the most complaints, and make a decision. Good luck!
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 8:05 AM   #7
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It's worth looking at other data too. There seems to be some misconception that Nikon and Canon glass with IS is automatically more expensive than the competition. Really not the case. They both come with image stabilized kit lenses. They both offer consumer grade telephotos with IS/VR at prices comparable to the competition. Their pro-grade glass with IS is comparably priced to pro grade telephotos in other systems with the same feature sets. But that glass is expensive.

The one area where in-body IS has a distinct advantage is if you use short prime lenses as there really aren't any short primes that are image stabilized in Canon/Nikon.

Now - as to the other question - advantages of entry level vs. mid level the only advantage is price - you save money that you can put towards another lens or flash or other accessory. It's all about buying the best tools for the job that you can afford. If you're not going to need the features a mid level body offers over the entry then the money is better spent in other areas. Any of the mid level cameras under consideration have scene modes. It isn't until you jump up to the pro-sumer / pro bodies where those scene modes are gone (and you're left with programmed auto, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual). But auto, programmed auto and scene modes in a mid level are just as easy to use as the entry level.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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It's worth looking at other data too. There seems to be some misconception that Nikon and Canon glass with IS is automatically more expensive than the competition. Really not the case. They both come with image stabilized kit lenses. They both offer consumer grade telephotos with IS/VR at prices comparable to the competition. Their pro-grade glass with IS is comparably priced to pro grade telephotos in other systems with the same feature sets. But that glass is expensive.
Not quite true. While Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony all offer consumer grade telephoto lenses (Let's call that "less than $300".) The average cost for a stabilized lens is higher than the average cost of an unstabilized lens. If we up the ante to intermediate level lenses (Let's call that "Between $300 and $1,000".) then the average cost of a stabilized lens is lower than the average cost of an unstabilized lens, but that's because the stabilized versions of those "sub-$300" lenses appear in the mix. If you take those out, then the unstabilized lenses are less.

Let's look at this more simply. For every unstabilized lens from Canon, Nikon, Sigma or Tamron, that has an equivalent stabilized lens, the unstabilized lens is cheaper, but about the same level of quality (if not a little better.)

If you want to compare "equivalent" products between brands, we can do that too. Let's call the Nikon 55-200 VR and the Sony 55-200 Equivalent. The Sony is less expensive, and the Sony is just a rebranded Tamron, which sells for a lot less than the Nikon. The Sony 75-300 is overpriced and a poor example, but because of its high price we can call it equivalent to the Canon 55-250 IS which is cheaper, so you win that round. But that doesn't take into account that a Sony dSLR can use the Tamron 70-300 Di LD which is almost as good as the Canon, and it costs a lot less. Sony's 70-300 G is a little better than Canon's 70-300 IS USM and Nikon's 70-300 VR, which are less expensive, but about as good as Canon's much more expensive DO and maybe their new L (but that remains to be seen.) Sony's 70-400 G is about the same price as Nikon's 80-400 VR but it's better, and Sony's 70-200/2.8 is less expensive than Canon's IS II USM and Nikon's VR II.

So I don't think your point is justified.

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The one area where in-body IS has a distinct advantage is if you use short prime lenses as there really aren't any short primes that are image stabilized in Canon/Nikon.
Another area where in-body IS has a distinct advantage is used lenses: 20+ year old Pentax and Sony lenses are stabilized on their respective dSLR bodies. Canon and Nikon can't compare.
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