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Old Nov 9, 2005, 10:31 PM   #1
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Hello forum. Long time Steves review reader, first time poster.

I recently had my little 3 year old Kodak P&S camera (DX6440) break on me (faulty focuser mechanism they think) and cant be bothered getting it fixed out of warranty, because I dont think its really worth what it is going to cost me. It was a good camera while it worked, but its time to upgrade. Hence its new camera searching time! I am having all sorts of hassle trying to figure out which camera to buy, and hence are asking your opinions!

First what I am after:
- 5+MP, size/shape not important
- must have some manual modes for me to play with, and the option for filters/adapters would be a bonus
- something more than a basic P&S because I want to learn more about taking photos etc.

I was originally looking at spending no more than $700AU/$510USD, and was eyeing off the Canon S2 IS (~$700AU), Sony H1 (~$700AU) or the Fuji Finepix 5600 (~$499/$365USD). Im not a big fan of Fuji cameras though, and it lacks the Image Stabilization that the Canon and Sony have. After some more thought, though, I figured for not a lot more than the Canon or Sony, I could go entry level DSLR and get a Pentax *IST DL (~$1000AU/$733USD). Would it be worth the extra in everyones opinion? I like the fact that the new DL *IST has auto picture modes.

The other option I had was to wait a little longer and get a Canon Digital Rebel (300D or 350D) and grab an EF/FD adapter and try and use some of my dads old FD lenses from his Canon AE-1. Ive read mixed reports about this though, and I know that auto focus goes out the window, but it could be fun. Then again after reading some of the forum posts Im not 100% sure that its going to work?

Can anyone help/give me some advice? The S2 IS would probably suit my needs, but the Pentax sure is appealing.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 4:34 AM   #2
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Panasonic FZ-30 might be in your price range, as well - if not right now, then in a couple of months.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:43 AM   #3
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I have the S2 and do love it, I also have a Minolta 5D DSLR. With the S2 you have the movie modes, and all the manual controls to play with. You also have a huge zoom range which is nice. If money is a big concern, then you cant go wrong with it. The KM 5D takes some sweet pictures, and is a pretty good low light performer with its ISO range up to 3200. The kit lens also provides more zoom range than most other Entry DSLR's. Plus in camera IS makes it a pretty damn good bargain I think. Sure, you might want more Megs, but the 6 mp images look great. The rebel XT I beleive is a bit faster shot to shot I beleive, and can do more in burst, but I havent hit any ceilings in my use. YMMV.

SO, in the end its up to money and use. The DSLR route will cost you more in the end, with more lenses, etc in the future, but will provide more quality and speed for your action shots. The S2 is pretty sweet out of the box but has its limitations (manual focus being my only complaint, its a pain) its got alot of bang for the buck.

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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:59 AM   #4
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For dSLRs you need to take into account the cost of the lens which can be a lot more than the price of the body, particularly if you buying nice fast glass.

If you considerint S2, why not take a look at panasonic's offering. I would also suggest FZ30, gives you manual controls, 35-420mm lens with IS. For lot cheaper, older models liek FZ20 are also very good.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 7:00 PM   #5
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You guys are no help! :lol:

I really dont know which way I want to go. I really like the idea of the dSLR, and I consider the interchangable lenses a definite plus, but has been mentioned it can get costly with the additional lenses (and I already have enough money sapping hobbies). Then again the Pentax has good compatibility with older format lenses without adapters etc so extra lenses dont have to be costly.

The FZ30 does look enticing as well, but the li-ion battery is a bit of a worry. Its much easier just recharging a bunch of NiMH's for a trip, than worrying about buying another li-ion. Its around $950AU as well, so about the same as the Pentax.

I dont know which way I want to go, when I decide I will let you guys know.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:53 PM   #6
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A DSLR is going to give you much better image quality.

Buying a DSLR is also laying a foundation for serious photography: experimenting with different lenses, different effects.

If you think your hobby is going to grow, a DSLR is a better long term investment.

Usually the kit lens is enough to get you started, then in six months or a year or two you can start looking at other lenses and focal ranges your interested in.

As for your old Canon lenses, they could only be used manually with an adapter.

I don't think it's worth trying to re-use those lenses.

You certainly wouldn't go wrong with something like a Canon digital rebel or a Nikon D50 as a starting DSLR.

As for Lion batteries, I would never trade back to NIMH rechargeables.

I used to get only 80-100 shots on a set of rechargeables, and they would drain in a couple of weeks just sitting in the camera.

I can get about 130 shots on my LION battery, plus I can leave the camera for a month or two, and the LION's only lose about 10 percent of their charge a month, in comparisoin to 20 percent per week with NIMH's.

I don't even carry a backup battery for my Canon 20D.

As for the expense of lenses, they can be bought over time.

When you've bought a decent quality lens, you can use it for the next 10-20 years.

-- Terry

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Old Nov 11, 2005, 7:03 AM   #7
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I have borrowed a friends Canon 350D for a few days to check it out. All I can say is; oh my! Its a massive step up from the little Kodak.

The best thing about it is, even in full auto mode you cant go wrong at all. I took the camera to my parents house for a little play and managed to snap some half decent macro'd flower shots without even trying. It would be great fun learning how to use the camera properly.

Ive attached of the photos I took, what do you guys think (for a total amatuer)?

edit: aw, my black border job doesnt show up too well in the forums. And image was resized down to 640x480.
Attached Images
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 7:09 AM   #8
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The Canon S2IS is a superb"bridge level" camera (ie half way between a compact and a DSLR). I have one and love it. However if your budget can stretch just a little further I'd go for an entry level DSLR such as a D50 or EOS350D, whoch will open up a whole new world of photographic possibilities for you.
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Old Nov 20, 2005, 7:44 PM   #9
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In case anyone wonders, I ended up picking up a Canon EOS 350D yesterday with a twin lens kit. Hopefully the kit lenses should keep me out of trouble until I have the funds to get some better ones down the track.

Thanks all for the replies.
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Old Nov 20, 2005, 7:52 PM   #10
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Would love to see some of your amatuer first shots!
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