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Old Jun 24, 2006, 7:18 PM   #11
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After two hours of reading messages I think I finally found one that has my questions.

Which did you end up buying?

I currently have an Olympus D550 and Canon EOS Rebel film camera. I am not a pro at the Canon, but do like the flexibility it gives me to experiment. I find that I carry both cameras with me so I can shoot quick pix with the digital or creative shots with the Canon.

Earlier this week I went into a Ritz Photo to ask about the EVF superzooms listed in June's Popular Photography. "for an amateur stepping up from a compact, to experience SLR-like capability" sounded like what I may need.

My original wants were:

5-6 MP

zoom and wide angle (zoom more if can only have one)


preferably under $1000 ($600 even better)

large LCD display (I think my Olympus has 1.8", would like much larger for reviewing purposes)

Their store had just been flooded so she had no cameras I could hold. But, she answered some questions for me.

She told me that with the superzoom I could set the settings, but that since they have no manual focus I was going to lose a lot of shots it sounded like I want. (I take family photos with moving children, animals (pets), outdoors, indoors, closeups of flowers, sunsets, moving water, etc) I would be up to the mercy of what the camera wanted to focus on in my "man-made" shot. Could someone please expand on this? Is it really that important to me? When I use my Canon on manual settings, I always use the manual focus. Had never thought to use the auto focus. I do use my viewfinder when I use my digital camera, too. Unless shooting video. So, that is not a problem.

Her recommendations were:

Nikon D50 ($599)

Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (although, she told me they just bought Sony or Sony bought them and the cameras would be changing) ($599)

Canon EOS Rebel XT ($799)

I don't want to be buying another camera anytime soon. My husband bought me the Canon about 4 years ago (I think) and he's not excited that I want to get another SLR. But, I am tired of carrying both cameras around with me.

Another thing she told me was no video with DSLR. She suggested buying a small digital that would do good video to carry in my bag for the few times I wanted video. Not all that often, but I have enjoyed that feature on my Olympus.

I don't really know what other features I should look for. I know that I would prefer one that uses regular AA batteries as don't wish to be stuck with proprietary stuff. I know to look for lens quality. Want IS. But, for the processors I have no idea what the differences are.

One thing I realized I don't like about my Canon is the limited focus points.

Another thing, she mentioned that zoom rates were 1.5 (??) times comparably higher on a digital system. If I get a 22-200mm lens it is comparable to 80 - 300mm. Does that mean that 28-80mm is equivalent to 42-120mm? So, I'd have to get a 18mm to get anything close to 28mm?

My Canon only has the original 28-90mm it came with. If it will work with the Canon, can I buy a bodyonly someplaceand spend other money on a higher zoom.


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Old Jun 25, 2006, 9:24 AM   #12
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If you want to shoot sports and moving kids then you would be better off with a SLR.

Your Canon SLR lens WILL work with a Canon XT, however you are correct to get a wide-angle 28mm equivalent you will need a 17 or 18mm lens.

Also if that 28-90mm lens is anything like the one I used on my old film camera it's not going to be terribly high quality, and (despite the poor reputation that the 18-55mm canon kit lens has) the 18-55 is sharper and more contrasty.

If you want IS with Canon you have to buy the 17-85mm IS lens, and that will push the cost of the XT way over $1000.

So you would probably be better off getting a Dynax5D and kit lens or one of the new Pentax K100 cameras, for they both have IS built in to the body.

You could add the Sigma 70-300 APO DG for a very good value for money telephoto, which will gain IS with either the Dynax or the Pentax. ~$250

That should keep the whole package under $1000.

Forget about AA batteries. All SLRs have their own proprietary batteries that have MUCH higher capacity. Many SLRs have battery grip add-ons which allow you to use AA batteries in a pinch, but a full set of alkalines typically will get you 20-30 shots, compared to around 500 from the proprietary battery.

With modern SLRs the autofocus is generally far better than most people can achieve manually. By better I mean faster and more accurate. IMO most people who claim they can get better results manually (and there are a few about) are mistaken - perhaps they haven't used the AF on a SLR made in the last 5 years.

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Old Jun 25, 2006, 10:01 AM   #13
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nhmom wrote:
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (although, she told me they just bought Sony or Sony bought them and the cameras would be changing) ($599)
Sony acquired some of Konica Minolta's assets and will be launching DSLR models that can use the same lenses (any Autofocus Lens designed for Maxxum or Dynax series cameras will work on the new Sony Alpha DSLR models, too).

Sony is also taking over warranty obligations for Konica Minolta digital cameras as part of the arrangement with Konica Minolta.

Effective April 1, 2006, Sony Electronics will be providing service and repair of certain Konica-Minolta products in the United States. Sony is pleased to provide existing Konica-Minolta customers an excellent customer service experience. All terms and conditions of the Konica-Minolta products' limited warranty continue to apply.
Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories

The first new Sony DSLR model should start showing up on store shelves towards the end of next month (Sonystyle is now quoting that it will be shipping on or before July 28th). It will list for $899 (body only) or $999 for a kit including the camera with an 18-70mm lens.

Here is a preview of the new Sony DSLR-A100 (a.k.a., Alpha 100)

It was based heavily on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D

I'm surprised that your local Ritz still has any 5Ds left in stock. Most retailers have been sold out for a couple of months now. But, you can sometimes find them at bargain prices while supplies last.

BTW, Wal-Mart has the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D for only $699 including an 18-70mm lens. Apparently, they made a deal with Konica Minolta for some of the remaining stock.

This DSLR body sold for $100 more than the Canon EOS-20D when it was first introduced, and $600 more than the Nikon D70.

Now, you can get them for less than half of that amount while supplies last (and most vendors are sold out). That's a steal for a body with it's build quality and features, and the anti-shake works with any lens you buy for it.


Lenses also become an investment with a DSLR. If you change camera bodies later due to advances in technology, you can usually take your lenses with you within the same brand, and Minolta Autofocus Lenses will work on new Sony DSLR models (and vice-versa, as new Sony lenses designed for their Alpha 100 DSLR will also work on Konica Minolta DSLR models).

Note that Minolta has manufactured over 16 Million Autofocus Lenses that are compatible with the Konica Minolta (and now Sony) DSLR models since 1985. That's not counting third party lenses in this lens mount from Tamron, Sigma, Tokina/Cosina/Phoenix/Vivitar, and even Kodak). The used market is full of lenses in Minolta Autofocus Mount. I bought most of my lenses used.

Note that I'm biased, since I'm currently shooting with a KM DSLR. ;-)

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Old Jun 26, 2006, 9:32 PM   #14
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Thank you for your input, peripatetic. It has answered a lot of questions.

Going with the KM/Sony sounds much better than trying to make the Canon work. I can get a better deal for much less money.

I noticed that neither of you mentioned the Nikon. Would there be any benefit/pitfall to going with the Nikon besides that I could get lenses cheaper for the KM? Or, does the Nikon have IS in the lens also?

On the battery issue, I was not aware that the proprietary ones lasted longer. My sister has an Olympus with proprietary battery and is constantly having to charge and being stuck without a battery as she has no spare.

In my older Olympus I use Monster NiMH rechargable batteries and don't have to charge that often. The camera uses four AA's. Yes, I did find that I could only take a few shots when I used regular AA batteries.

I'll have to try AF on my SLR and see. I think it might be that in my photography class we were not supposed to use it and I just got in the habit of not. It is on when I set the camera to auto.

JimC - You mentioned the KM 7D at Walmart. I'm assuming with the higher number it is better than the 5D. Anything I should be aware of with it? From what you are saying it sounds like a great buy. I went to the KM web page and am printing out the specs on both. I noticed that the 7d is a 2004 model. Any reason not to buy a 2 year old model?

Just trying to make sure I'm not going to be wanting another one in a few more years.

Will try to go to Ritz tomorrow to see how they all feel. I know that will be a huge factor in what I finally decide.

You said you were surprised Ritz still had the 5D. I'm assuming they still did. The lady told me that the guy that had just been in was making his final decision on that one soon because of the buyout. So, I don't really know that they had more.

I'll probably be back with more questions once I go into Ritz again. I'm sure a different salesperson will talk me into different cameras than the lady last week.

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Old Jun 26, 2006, 10:38 PM   #15
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If you are thinking about dSLRs you might also look at the new Pentax K100D that is coming out in July. It will have IS in the body, and Pentax cameras (including this new one) can use any Pentax lens ever made, including manual ones. I have a Pentax DS, and it does not use proprietary batteries - it works just fine on regular rechargeable AA batteries (4 each). I have 2 sets of them and keep rotating them, works quite well for me. I also routinely use a couple of lenses that are 25 years old - yes, they are manual, but they are really sharp lenses. They can often be purchased used for much less than new lenses. The other advantage of the Pentax (at least the DS/DL cameras, the K100D hasn't shipped yet) is that it is smaller and lighter than the other dSLRs in this class. Definitely give it a look, especially if you can wait until the K100D ships.
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Old Jun 26, 2006, 11:09 PM   #16
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It will always depent on how much into "it" are willing to spend. Shure having a single-all-in-one-flash-zoom is more travel friendly, when it comes to enjoying the results, I stick to the-bulky-camera-bag-full-of-stuff. I shoot sports for a living, so I would recomend DSLR. Now depending on what brand to choose, no brainer, Canon or Nikon. Besides the camera, it's important to chose good optics, so you can start with a body and as first choice a zoom 28-135mm to get you started. once you feel your new needs, and planning sports with kids, a 70-200mm 2.8 would be my next choice.
I would recomend getting one lens at the time learning how to use it, and then getting if needed some more.
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Old Jun 27, 2006, 7:57 AM   #17
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KM has some very good lenses, so do Pentax.

Nikon and Canon have IS in the lenses, not in the body.

If I were looking to put together a high-end system, even over time, then I would go Nikon or Canon. In fact I use a Canon 20D and am looking to upgrade to a 5D in the reasonably near future.

However for your needs as stated above, the value-for-money of having IS in the body and getting its benefit even with 3rd-party lenses like Sigma makes it very attractive.

That's why I would recommendPentax and KM/Sony for you.
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Old Jun 27, 2006, 9:31 AM   #18
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I bought a Panasonic FZ20 because it was about a third the price of an entry-level dSLR with approximately comparable lens coverage. If money were no object, I would have gotten a dSLR. However, except for low-light usage, I am very happy with the camera. If there is enough light, the camera is wonderful. I keep the ISO set to 100 in most cases. I have, on occasion, had chromatic noise problems even with this setting on bright sunny days. I'm not sure why, and it usually doesn't happen. But sometimes it just pops up when I would never expect to see it. In those cases, Noiseware cleans the image thoroughly, so it is not a catastrophe. Nonetheless, this is one thing I would not expect to see in a dSLR under such conditions.

But the big disappointment is the low-light performance. By low light, I mean dusk or later, or indoor photography without flash. These are common situations, and the FZ20 is really out of its depth under those circumstances. You can sometimes get a usable photo anyway, but the success rate is very low for me. YMMV.

A second thing that I would like to have but don't is a good wide-angle capability. I am not a fan of add-on lenses to a fixed-lens camera, and the FZ20 already has noticeable barrel distortion at its max wide angle, so adding another lens just doesn't make sense to me here. A dSLR would allow you to have a good wide angle capability, which would allow a lot of shots to be taken that just aren't comfortable for the FZ20, both indoor and out.

A third thing that a dSLR would give is TTL flash capability. The FZ20 supports a manual external flash, and it is much better than being limited to the on-board flash or having to use a slave flash. But TTL really makes flash easy to use, wrt exposure.

I don't expect to get a dSLR until my son is through college in three or four years. By then, dSLRs will be even better. Until then, the FZ20 meets the vast majority of my photography needs. But it's not as good by any stretch of the imagination as a dSLR.

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Old Jun 27, 2006, 11:14 AM   #19
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I enjoy how willing people are to help one another on these forums and how a thread can live and grow.

For the record I started the thread with the UltraZoom v. dSLR choice.
Afrer deciding on what was trule important I decided on the dSLR.

Having movie capabilities built in to a camera is great in theory but after a few years of a P&S with movie capabilities I really didn't make much use of this feature. Plus I do have a older DV that gets used occasionally.

I was concerned that I was reliant on the LCD for framing and having to look through a little hole would be annoying. Well after using the dSLR, it just felt natural to hold it. Plus if I want to wing it and just hold the cam in the air or on the ground and shoot, I do. Extra shots don't cost a dime.

Speed. I love how quick I can take photos, flash or not.

Low light shooting. Actually just regular living room shooting. I don't need to use the flash at all. I just adjusr the ISO to get the shot I want. I have four years worth of P&S flash pictures which are great for the memories but compared to the look of a natural light shot...there is no comparison.
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Old Jun 27, 2006, 12:24 PM   #20
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You can be creative and make good images with ANY equipment. You will not be able to make any image you dream up, meaning if you decide "I want a close-up action shot of my kid playing basketball in the gym"... well tough. But knowing the limitations you could use any cheap P&S camera to take some form of picture at the game that is artistic. Do you want to capture the best picture of what you see, or are you willing to take what you can get?

Does that mean that 28-80mm is equivalent to 42-120mm? So, I'd have to get a 18mm to get anything close to 28mm?
Thats exactly right. As I'm sure you know, its nice to have a 28mm wide angle so you'll probably want to take the kit lens with whatever camera you choose.

My local ritz still had a 5D a couple weeks ago, havent checked lately. I have one and think its the best thing ever of course. Canon and nikon are fine cameras, but basicly your not going to get the bang for your buck that minolta gives (particularly considering used lenses and image stabilization). Canon and nikon offer VERY expesive stabilized lenses, pentax just announced a stabilzed camera like the minolta, and may be a good value but I'm not so familiar with them (they do accept AA batteries though).

Low light shooting. Actually just regular living room shooting. I don't need to use the flash at all. I just adjusr the ISO to get the shot I want. I have four years worth of P&S flash pictures which are great for the memories but compared to the look of a natural light shot...there is no comparison.
Its quite liberating isnt it? Crank that iso up to 800 or 1600, slap on a prime lens, and shoot in the availible dark.
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