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Old Sep 22, 2004, 9:20 PM   #1
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My current camera is a Sony DSC-P30. It's great. Good color, good quality, low noise and decent features. I've been pushing it hard over the years to do photo shoots of bands, nature photography and holiday pics.
I was at a particularly dark club a few weeks ago and the stage lighting was insufficient for non-flash shots. I had to abuse the hell out of the tiny little flashtube. At max flash, it was taking 15 seconds to charge. The focus was off in at least half of the photos and I was unable to take enough shots to satisfy me due to the long charge times.
I decided to start looking for something a bit more serious. I needed something with a hotshoe so I could use an outboard flash that wouldn't flog my main batteries to death. I needed more pixels and less time between shots. In short, it seemed that a DSLR of some sort was the ticket.
I did a bit of research on the web and asked a few questions on various forums. One camera that was suggested was the Sigma SD10. I read up on it and tried it out at a local camera shop. It seemed pretty solid. The ergonomics were less than perfect. I also tried out a digital Rebel. It seemed kind of... cheap. Plasticky. I didn't like it.
The Sigma looked like a go. In the shower one morning I got a troubling feeling. Sigma is not exactly known for cameras. The idea of a proprietary mount scared me a little. I read that no one else was making lenses for it. RAW only was a turnoff. The lack of FAT32 support was what broke the deal. I want to be able to have a 2 gig microdrive so I don't have to fumble around in semidarkness for more memory.
I remembered playing with the DSC-F828 a while back and liking it (I damn near walked out of the store with an F717.) The ability to use flash memory was a huge plus. Memory sticks work fine, but they're too expensive. The holographic focusing system sounds pretty slick.
I think I'm going to pick one up Friday, but before I do I want to know if there are any showstoppers or if there is something better that I haven't really looked at.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 4:31 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
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If you're going to be taking lots of photos of bands, where you may not always be able to use a flash, then I'd probably go with one of the entry level DSLR models if your budget allows (Canon Digital Rebel/EOS-300D orNikon D70).

These can shoot at much higher ISO speeds compared to the non-DSLR cameras (because their image sensors are much larger, and can gather more light).

Then, I'd pick up a bright lens to go with it. Something along the line of a 50mm f/1.8 would be great, if you don't need zoom (it would be equivalent to a 75mm lens on the Nikon D70, or a 80mm lens on the Canon Digital Rebel). You can find a 50mm f/1.8 for either camera for under $100.00 from most dealers.

In a non-DSLR camera, the Sony DSC-F717 does much better than most, thanks to it's very bright f/2.0-2.4 lens and 5MP 2/3" CCD. Although, you'd still need to bump the ISO speeds up quite a bit without a flash, and you'd get high noise when you do,it's going to be better than most in the non-DSLR category.

The Sony DSC-F828 would not be on my list for this purpose (as it will have very high noise levels as ISO speeds are increased -- a characteristic of it's 8MP 2/3" CCD). However, if you can use a flash, and keep ISO speeds set low, then it should not be a real big problem.

LIkewise,the Sigma SD10 model wouldnot be on my list of cameras for this purpose (it tends to have higher noise levels as ISO speeds are increased compared to most other DSLR models; lens selection would be limited to Sigma lenses; you must shoot in RAW mode and convert using software later, etc.). It sounds like you've already looked at this part.

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