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Old Oct 27, 2010, 1:17 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about buying a dslr

For a couple of weeks I was thinking about getting a new camera. Right now I have a Panasonic SDR-S7 camcorder that also shoots 4:3 pictures an old kodak c130 camera that also shoots vga video without sound from 2004 or 2005. I normally shoot/record video of my cats,family, and outdoors at zoos and amusement parks. I was leaning towards a Canon s95, but I wanted to learn a little bit more about photography, (shallow depth of field, macro shoots and able to shoot in inside with low light) so I'm looking at dslr. So far I like the Canon T1i and the Pentax Kx. For price the Pentax looks good but it runs on AA batteries and the menu is not very attracting, while the canon has a rechargeable battery and the menu looks friendly. My budget is $750. Are there any quality differences between Canon and Pentax?

Thank you
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 4:51 PM   #2
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the pentax is a nice camera that does well in low light, but you can get more lenses later on for the canon, and you can get them from companies like sigma, which can lower the price on the lenses. that being said, you can always get the pentax kit with 2 lenses - 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - for just over $600, and people really like this setup. check out the reviews:



btw, to me running on AA batteries would be an advantage, not a disadvantage - in an emergency, you can buy batteries anywhere, and they won't cost you $40 or $50 each like extras will for most brands of cameras that use proprietary batteries. with AA's, just buy a charger and chances are you can get 2 sets of batteries for $20.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 5:10 PM   #3
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I shoot both the t1i and the k-x. The k-x is a little better value. And if you were going to get a 2 lens kit with the 55-300 is a much more useful package, and it is a optically better lens then the 50-200.

There is an advantage to both, canon does have more lenses. And a bit better AF system when match with a fast lens, will out perform the pentax. Here are the canon with the more expensive ef 70-300 and the pentax with the 55-300 in shooting a fast moving bird good test of the AF systems.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The pentax is cleaner at the higher iso's. Both camera does well in low light. Here is the 2 side by side in low light
High ISO comparison, Pentax k-x and Canon T1i

But if you have handle the 2 cameras, and the ergo and layout of the canon feels better to you, then that is the better camera.

Now about your other requirement. Macro, are you up to spending 400 dollars for a true macro lens, as that is the best option yielding the best results. If you are looking for a low cost solution. You can add a canon 58mm 500D close up lens to either the pentax 55-300 or canon ef-s 55-250 and get decent macro results. It will add about 80 dollars to the kit.

Here are what you can expect with a true macro lens canon ef 100 2.8, the canon ef 70-300 with 500d and ef-s 55-250 with 500d and pentax 55-300 with 500d.

T1i with ef 100mm 2.8 macro and 500D close up lens
T1i with EF 70-300 and 500D Close up lens
T1i with ef-s 55-250 IS and 500D macro
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Last edited by shoturtle; Oct 30, 2010 at 5:51 PM.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 5:25 PM   #4
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Both are fine. Pentax and Canon both have very good reputations for quality lenses and quality cameras.

The Pentax has shake reduction in the body, where with the Canon you have to buy lenses that have shake reduction systems within the lens, as the Canon doesn't have SR in the body.

A friend of mine's wife just bought the Pentax KX kit, which comes with the 18-55 and the 55-300mm lens. She's very happy with this equipment.

I have the 55-300mm lens and it is an excellent lens. I find that the pictures are sharp, even at the far end (250-300mm) ...which isn't always the case with many consumer telephoto lens.

The KX comes with AA batteries and they are not rechargeable. What a couple of friends have done is keep the AA's that came with the camera for spares and they have bought Sony CycleEnergy rechargeables which can be bought with a Sony charger.

I have also bought this Sony unit for my Pentax KM. I can't recall the price, but think it was was about 50 bucks +/- with charger and batteries in Canada. Probably cheaper as is usually the case, in the USA.

I've used these Sony batteries very hard, in my KM (Pentax camera before the KX, known as the K2000 in the US) for about a year and a half.

One advantage of the camera being able to use AA's...is if you are taking pictures and run out of battery power...a quick hop to the Walmart or Target for batteries, will get you back taking pictures. AA's are available almost everywhere.

I live in Canada so it can get cold and I'm out with the KM and the 55-300 and the Sony batteries sometimes in the winter....all the equipment and batteries continue to function well.

I don't think you can go wrong with either Pentax or Canon....both very good cameras.

Last edited by lesmore49; Oct 27, 2010 at 5:27 PM.
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Old Oct 30, 2010, 4:33 PM   #5
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If you shoot in low light and/or at slow shutter speeds, Pentax in-body stabilization (which they call SR, Shake Reduction) is significant. ANY lens put on the Pentax body is stabilized. And not just new expensive long AF lenses, but old cheap manual glass too. Of the 100+ lenses I can mount on my Pentax K20D, only ten (10) are modern autofocus, average cost (new and used) = $US$235. The rest are old cheap manual glass, average cost = US$25. Yes, old manual glass can be used on Canons too, but I hear there are metering problems.

I've been shooting for many decades, but only got my first dSLR about 2.5 years ago. I asked myself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have, a good P&S?" and the answers were: ultrawide, ultralong, and low light. I knew up front what kinds of lenses I wanted, so it was a matter of finding a body for them. I read all the tech reviews at dpreview.com and I especially read the user ratings and comments. I saw many bitches and whines like "I need to upgrade NOW", etc. So I drew up a chart of camera prices vs user ratings, a sort of cost-benefit analysis. That guided my purchase. Even though I'd never shot Pentax before and had a bias towards Sony, Olyumpus, Nikon and Fuji, that analysis (and the lenses) drove me to Pentax.

Anyway, you can ask for recommendations, and you'll get anecdotes. When spending money, I prefer data. I haven't analyzed the current offerings because I don't need to. I picked a camera that I most likely WOULDN'T want to 'upgrade' anytime soon. I'll just suggest that you check on user ratings before you spend good money.
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Old Oct 30, 2010, 6:14 PM   #6
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Just thought I'd toss this out, Amazon has a pretty good deal on the t2i for just over $700, body only;


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Old Oct 31, 2010, 2:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Leafflower View Post
My budget is $750.

Thank you

Not sure if you have your heart set on spending that much or feel that you have to have the latest techno innovation.

But here's a thought:

For about less than half your budget you can find a nice lightly used Olympus E300 package with two very good lenses.
The E300 is an excellent camera. Very well made and takes excellent pictures.

I've been using mine for several years, and I'm very satisfied with the images I get.

anyway just a thought so you know you can get a high quality, capable DLSR camera and quality glass for not a lot of money to get used to using a larger camera.
Later you can always upgrade to something with more whistles and bells.

That Canon sure looks like a fantastic camera but it's $700 for just the body. You can easily spend twice that for a good Canon lens

All that said the Pentax sure looks like great deal for a new camera.$600 with two lenses. Personally I wouldn't want to be stuck buying AA batteries.
I like the battery set up for the Olympus and they're pretty cheap to buy spares.

Last edited by Alex 1.0; Oct 31, 2010 at 3:00 AM.
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