Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 7, 2006, 4:12 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 19

I am interested in making the jump to the (~$1000) dSLR world yet am slightly imtimidated by the functionality.Does anyone use thier dSLR mainly in P&S mode (auto, scenes etc.)?Reason for exporing this option:Speed (two kids 1.5 and 4.5 - the older one will be playing outdoor sports this summer)Options (flash, len kits)Future-proof - So far I have had four digicams. I figured I would be more satisfied longer with the speed and image quality of a dSLR.Concerns -*Will I really carry this around the way I have with my Canon S45, Kodak DX 7440 etc)?Would I be better off with an UltraZoom?
uncool is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 8, 2006, 6:12 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 132

Pentax *istDL. Easy to use automatic settings. Small. Light. You can buy one with the kit lens for cheaper than many of the ultra zooms. I paid $474 for mine with free shipping. Still have plenty left over for a long zoom lens. Excellent camera....extremely underrated.
ccd333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 2006, 7:01 AM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13

D50 for me. Whilst short on features of its more expensive siblings (D70/D70s), the picture quality is surprisingly good if not better. As an upgrade path, Nikon has a great and wide range of lens and it is, on the average, less expensive than Canon's. In DSLRs/SLRs, the lens are the investment you make. With every leap in technological advancement, the body becomes obsolete but the lens usually lasts longer.

No disrespect to Pentax but Nikon has made more lens than Pentax
woof72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 2006, 7:16 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 207

I to have the Pentax DL and agree with ccd333. This is truly a great camera and very under rated. Also one of the best built DSLR's available for the enthusiast.
rritter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 2006, 11:25 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,528


As you can see, every DSLR manufacturer has their proponents. The truth is, the entry level DSLRs from all of them (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, KM/Sony) are very good. They all have auto and other selection modes (sports, portrait, etc...).

All of them offer more advanced features as well for you to grow into. Canon and Nikon are the industry leaders in DSLRs with about 80% of the market between them. These two have the added benefit of generally having more lenses available (through their own company and through third party lens manufacturers) and in general have set the standard for DSLRs. Sony has taken over the manufacturing/distribution of Konica Minolta DSLRs and vows to increase their share of the market. But the other manufacturers have great products as well and some very satisfied customers. Bottom line - you'll be very happy with any of the cameras.

But, buying the camera body is really only the 1st part of the equation. The biggest investment comes in the lenses. In reality, the slr lenses that offer the greatest focal length coverage also tend to be the poorest performing. So, you don't have a single one-size-fits-all lens. You end up getting different lenses for different shooting situations. Want to shoot landscape - you use one lens. Want to shoot outdoor field sports - a different lens. Want to do indoor low-light shooting with no flash - probably a third lens. Macro - possibly a 4th lens. And, the built-in flashes on the DSLRs are still very poor - you'll want a hot-shoe flash if you plan on taking a lot of flash pictures.

So, I just caution you that a DSLR is not, by itself, going to give you better results. It has the POTENTIAL to, by using the right lenses / accessories. Which brings us to your concern about whether or not you'll carry the gear around with you. That's a valid concern. You're now talking about carrying a bag with you - not just a little belt pouch.

I would caution that if you go the DSLR route, you should be willing to learn and grow as a photographer. The preset modes on the cameras will not get the best results for you. If you want to start in the presets and grow into using the manual, AV and TV modes then go for it. If you want to stay in the auto modes and feel you might not want to lug around the equipment your money is better spent on another digicam.

Finally, as a sports shooter I can tell you a DSLR is the only way to go to shoot sports - the shutter lag, burst rate, focus speed and buffer handling are all leagues above digicams. BUT, sports shooting can require some very expensive lenses. It is one of the genres of photography that is very demanding of equipment. So, while the magazine adds show Mom shooting her son's football game with a Digital Rebel and kit lens that's not reality.

Don't mean to scare you off - just want you to be aware of what's involved in going with a DSLR and don't want you spending $800 and then realizing you need to spend another $500, $1000 or $2000 on lenses just to shoot the types of things you want.

Good luck in whatever you decide!!
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 2006, 3:02 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 11

Thank you for the head's up on the Pentax. I'll be making a trip to Ritz to play around with some of the models (Pentax and others).*And a special thanks to JohnG for such a vivid, big picture commentary.*
dandy35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11, 2006, 2:54 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 67


i am in a similar dilema to uncool, the only reason i am now considering a dslr is because i can get one for not much more than, say a panasonic fz30, also because of the potential "noize" problems, everyone seems to mention,

1, i do not wish to process any pictures, in a software package, other than to crop or auto improve

2, i only intend to use auto and scene modes at least for the near future,

3, i only intend tobuy one lens, at this time, being capable ofthe fz30, focal lenth, (i also intend to buya macro lens in the future), i also presume this would be equivilent in quality to the fz-30?

4, i am concernedre the dust problem, that is why i only want onelens, so i wont have to keep changing it, hopefully eliminating the dust problem,

in my threads most people seem to have recommended the dslr route, yourreply to uncool, and reading your comments, seem to be recommending i (or should i say uncool) shoud stick with megazooms, do you think i am also wasting my time and moneytaking this routeand would you recommend i stick with my olympus 765uz,very happy with the pictures, except i can not seem to hold the camera steady at full zoom,but original upgrade thoughts were for i.s., hence the fz-7 / 30 and the potential of a better camera

perhaps uncool would also like to comment on my thoughts

thanks, totally confused
jad123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11, 2006, 3:21 PM   #8
Senior Member
mtclimber's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143


Either the Nikon D-50 or the Pentax DL will do a fine job for you. Buy the body only and then add a Tamron 28-300 XR lens or the Tamron 28-200mm XR lensand you will have the package of your dreams.

Dust is really not a problem as long as you keep your lens changes to a minimum. And with just a single lens, you won't be making many lens changes, so dust will become a non issue.


mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11, 2006, 7:34 PM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 18

Uncool & jad123 ,

Just thought I would mention that I ampresently in a similarsituation . My last Digital Camera was a Canon S50. I liked the image quality, but 2 of the consistant problems Iencountered wereshutter lag even when prefocused, and red eye whichwas present in almost every indoor shot taken using flash. I have four children and two of them under 3yo so the shutter lag on the S50 was just a pain, though it is apparently not as bad as some others.

Main reasons for me wanting to jump to DSLR is to eliminateas much as possibleof those two issues and because now they are within my financial means were as before they were way to expensive for me to consider.

It may be worth having a look at my post titled "350D D50 1stDL"
( Some questions to assist me in my decision ) as there are some excellent responses to my questions.

I have been keen on the NikonD50, Canon 350D / XT and Pentax 1st DL. I have had a play with the three now and felt that the Pentax may be a touch slower in autofocus ( for me it will be in auto mode for some time so this matters for me) Other than that I liked it equally with the D50. After using the CanonS50 and being pleased with the image qualityCanon is the way I originally intended to go, but on trying iinspecting the 350D / XT, it felt too cramped in my grip, also thought it wasnt working only to discover I had pressed the self timer by accident, incidently my wife did the same thing and she has very small hands.

There is a nice feature on the D50 of small picture which duplicates an image to very low resoloution making it ideal for email. i send a lot of photos via email to relatives, so although this would be insignificant to many people, for me itis a real time saverthat I dont have to reduce the image size on the PC before emailing. I dont think any other DSLR has this feature.

With the lens, I am not about to have a large collection of lens in the near future, so I have been considering the Tamron 18-200mm on the Nikon D50 figuring it will give me a good result for most of my needs though it would likely not give the result some would require. I will be drawing a direct comparison between photos that I have taken with my Canon S50 and I am fairly confident they will be much better. ( I might add that the D50 in kit form is some $400 less expensive than what I outlayed for the S50 some years back.)

Initially, I had considered one of the Superzoom P&S but reviews on these I find are inconsistant. Reviewsrelating to the various DSLR cameras are almost all positive.

You all have a much better idea than I when it comes to cameras and photography. I am simply sharing the little knowledge I have gathered in my recent research and from the excellent feedback and information that others have kindly shared with me.

Hope there might be something helpfull.
mickellay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 12, 2006, 7:39 AM   #10
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,528


Think of it this way - a DSLR is like a sports car with manual transmission and runs on premium fuel - a digicam has auto transmission and runs on regular unleaded. Now, can you get better performance out of the sports car? Absolutely - but only if you're willing to learn to drive manual (analogy sucks if you already know how :-)) and willing to put the time into learning how to handle a car like that and pay for the premium fuel and premium tires, etc. If you don't want to put in that time, chances are you're not going to get better results driving the sports car. And putting $50 tires on that sports car is going to provide a poor driving experience - just like trying to put a 'one size fits all' lens on a DSLR.

Does a DSLR have better noise handling? Absolutely!!Is it capable of producing better pictures in more challenging situations than a digicam? Absolutely! But only if you understand how to use it. The preset modes won't push the camera to get better results. If you're going to be shooting in challenging situations where you need the benefits of a DSLR - high ISO performance, burst rate, fast focusing you're going to have to move beyond the automatic modes. When you look at all the galleries of photos in challenging situations - wildlife (not the bird-feeder shots or bird on your deck shots), sports, high dynamic range shots - people by and large are not accomplishing these via auto mode on their cameras.

And please don't letpeople mislead you - you CAN tell the difference betweenphotos from a high quality lens and a cheap mega zoom lens - and please, folks, don't post a single example trying to disprove this. I'm talking about taking a collection of 100 shots from the el-cheapo mega zooms and 100 shots from a good quality lens and comparing. Assumingall other factors are equal, you'll notice a difference.

That being said - asyour other thread indicated- the dust problem is completely overblown. I've cleaned my 20d sensor exactly ONE TIME in the last 14 months and I shoot A LOT. I change lenses - always carefully and never in bad situations. Cleaning it is an accepted part of owning a DSLR.

The other part of your situation that leads me to believe you won't get the best results out of your DSLR is that you don't want to post process. Post processing is a normal part of DSLR workflow. Why? Because your brain and eyes can do a better job of fine-tuning than any computer algorithm. When a camera automatically does something - sharpening being a great example - you can't always undo it. So, bumping up in-camera sharpening instead of doing it yourself can ruin some shots.

This discussion reminds me of a conversation I had with my father this past week. My wife and my parents and I were on a vacation - he had his digicam and I had my DSLR. I gave him copies of my photos after the trip and he was stunned - "wow your camera does a much better job - colors are better, low light shots are better, etc. Having the right camera really makes a difference" Guess what? I would say the gear was about 20% of the equation. My knowlege of how to use it to achieve the best results in a given situation probably 50% and my post processing about 30% I don't think those numbers are misleading. If I had given my father my DSLR and a cheap lens he would have come back with only marginally better shots than he got with his digicam. Why - because he doesn't want to invest time to learn how exposure and DOF work and doesn't want to post-process (bumping up saturation when water and sky and landscape is involved but no flesh tones as an example). So, because my father doesn't want to learn all that stuff it is a waste of money for him to buy a DSLR. And at least now, with a small camera that fits in a belt pouch - he takes it with him and gets some photos when he goes out. Think a big, heavy DSLR with lens would get lugged around after a few trips with marginal results? I'm not putting him or you or uncool down at all. A digicam is the right tool for my father because the added cost / size /weight of a DSLR wont give him much better results than what he's getting now.

Only you can say if you fall into the same category. Again, this is onlyMY opinion - for people who want a single lens solution with all automatic shooting I think a digicam is the right solution. Good luck with whatever you decide. If you decide to go with a DSLR - you'll be happy with any of the entry level models. Please don't let fanatics drive you towards one brand or another - test them out at a local store, feel them in your hands and operate the controls and select the one that feels best to YOU.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:43 AM.