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Old Feb 13, 2005, 5:52 PM   #1
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My shopping habits and caviar tastes are getting the best of my PB+J budget. It is a common theme with me. If you visit my espresso website (http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com) you will see that. I originally began thinking that a $125 espresso machine would be just great, but eventually ending up dropping nearly $800 for a grinder, machine, and roaster. On the other side of that, over four years later I am still using that same espresso machine and grinder every day, so I the long run, my careful shopping habits seem to pay off.. most of the time.

I originally had a Nikon CP900, and a "discussion" about that camera's ridiculous time-out value (non-adjustable) got me kick-banned from the Nikon discussion board. I eventually E-Bay'd that camera and get a Sony DSC-D770 which is about to be E-Bay'd.

So I have been shopping for a new camera as a step up from the 770, and originally thought that the Dimage Z3 would suit me... until I saw the sample images. Uchhhh. From there I looked at a number of cameras-all fixed lens, 'super zoom' SLRs, and the only one I found that was close was the Dimage A200, and I have been discussing that camera in the appropriate group on this board recently. it's not a bad camera for the money, and the images are pretty decent. There were some complaints of slow or bad focus response in some situations (low or flat light, or low contrast subject matter). So I moved on to the thinking seriously about the Nikon D70.

So yesterday I 'went to town' (we live in the mountains) with the purpose of putting my hands on some cameras. Circuit City was first and they had nothing to speak of. They did have a Canon rebel there, so I picked it up and it felt just like it looks (to me)- a toy. That was about it for top-end cameras there.

After that I went to Best Buy- home of retail pricing. They did have a few better cameras on display that I was able to handle. One was the Nikon D70. After holding it I was gratified that I hadn't bought it. After picking it up I wondered why ANYONE buys this camera. I say that because it has the worst ergonomics I have seen so far. The size of the camera is- well. large. (For reference, I wear a large or extra-large glove. My hand, around the palm measures exactly 9". From wrist to tip of middle finger is 7.5") I held the D70 for about ten to fifteen seconds and already could not imagine carrying it around for more than a minute or two.

The problem is that the grip protrusion in the front of the camera not very deep, so your fingers hit the front of the camera before they securely grip around the hand-hold. Because of that I found myself searching for a secure way to hold the camera and it puts a lot of stress on the thumb. This is exacerbated when you I tried to reach any control on the body other than the shutter release. Trying to adjust the selection or setting dials lessened my grip. This is a two-hand camera, and that's the way I would have to carry it all day- with both hands. Just to check, I had my wife pick it up. Her hand measures 7" around, and her immediate comment after looking through the viewfinder was, "This thing has terrible ergonomics." She went on to say that she found herself trying to find a place for her thumb to grip but it seemed to her that the grip area was designed in the wrong direction. "The grip goes this way but my thumb doesn't work like that," I believe was her comment.

The battery was low on the Nikon so I only got to play with it for about thirty seconds, but that was enough to satisfy me that there was no way I could own this camera. Regardless of the specifications, I urge anyone thinking about purchasing this camera (or any camera) to go and hold it with lens and battery in place for two minutes with just your right hand. when you put it down and the pain in your right thumb subsides, decide whether you want to always carry the thing around with two hands. A friend is buying one and she said she liked the way it feels, so there you go.

Next to it was the problem... for my bank account! The Canon EOS 20D. The salesman, who first tried to get me to look at a $500 Sony said it was a top-rated camera. I had not seen nor investigated it as it was well out of my original price range (sound familiar?).

What a great camera! Picking it up it instantly felt at home in my hand. The battery was charged and I just happened to have brought a CF card with me so I took a few pictures. Inside the store, with all the banners hanging, this camera's intelligent focus instantly locked on to whatever I pointed it at, and using the existing light in the store I was able to capture some quite nice pictures. Mind you, hand held, one image taken at full telephoto towards the back of the store was: 55mm focal length, 1/50sec, f5.6, Multi-pattern metering, 3504x2336 pixels and I THINK it was at the best quality JPEG (the file size was about 3.1mb). Be aware that I had NO IDEA what I was doing with the camera as I had done no research on it and this is not a "point-and-shoot" unless you know how to set it for that- I didn't

My wife picked it up and took a few pictures as well, and she was quite impressed, particularly after handling the D70. As bad as the Nikon felt in my hand, the Canon felt that good.

I do wish that there had been a Pentax *ist DS and an DiMAGE A200 on display to handle somewhere, but at least I didn't waste any money on the Nikon.

So at this point (and the point keeps crawling around like a spider on a hot griddle) the short list consists of the DiMAGE A200, the Pentax *ist DS, and the EOS 20D (ouch). I did glance at cameras like the Oly E1 Pro and one or two others, but they are as expensive or more than the E-200. I am quite impressed by the range of sensitivity that the E200's CMOS sensor displays in its images. Shadows as well as bright areas show great detail in the same image, and the focusing system is remarkably fast. It is a little larger and heavier than I would like, but it's a far trade-off for the image quality.

If someone would like to try and talk me out of this camera, my bank account (and my wife) would appreciate it.

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Old Feb 13, 2005, 6:15 PM   #2
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May be you should give the Minolta 7D a try first before deciding... (since you haven't got any lens yet)
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 6:38 PM   #3
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Randy...

I bought an EOS 20D in November, my first DSLR. I got the EF-S 17-85IS lens ($500) with the camera.

There's a steep learning curve ahead for you. I have taken just over a thousand shots with the camera and it's still smarter than I am, but I'm getting a lot more "keepers" than I did at first.

I got some great results with my old Pro90 camera, but it had problems with focus speed and low light focusing. I do have some graet 13 X 19 pictures hanging on the wall taken with that camera.

The 20D can shoot a bunch of shots in no time at all, so you'll need a big card to store them. Photgraphing kids or sports (both tough) is a new world with the 20D. Shutter lag is a thing of the past with the 20D.

I'm looking at new lenses that will cost $600 to get me the same reach that the old camera came built in. That's $1100 in new lenses.

The big expense you'll run into is lenses. People who are into the DSLR world spend a lot more money on lenses than on the camera body. The good news is that most lenses will move up to the next body. There are some exceptions... your Nikon lenses won't fit on a Canon and vice-versa. Also EF-S lenses don't fit any Canon cameras except the Rebel and the 20D.

I took some no flash pictures at a candle lit event with a Canon EF20 50II ($70... best value in lenses anywhere) and was asked if my flash was broken :roll:.

If you buy a DSLR you'll need an external flash and more lenses. You have to ask yourself whether you want to "take pictures" or "do photography". If you want to do the latter, go with a DSLR. Be prepared to spend some money. If it's what you want to do, you'll never look back.
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 7:49 PM   #4
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I got my 20d with an ef 28-135mm usm. and i love it!
To be honest, the sony f828 (my former camera) had alot of useless gimic features that you never really use, like nightshot and many others. It was refreshing to get a camera with nice basic photographic feature along with advanced ones you will really use.
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 10:04 PM   #5
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NHL wrote:
Quote:
May be you should give the Minolta 7D a try first before deciding... (since you haven't got any lens yet)
I actually have 4 lenses... for OM mount. :-?

The 7D looks OK, but it costs more than the EOS 20D and is slower. A big feature of the 20D for me is its speed. if you had ever used a Nikon CP900 you would know what I mean! :lol: It had a 15 or 20 second wait between pictures and a default sleep time of 20 seconds (and like a ten second wake up). The batteries would last forever because the thing was almost never on! :G

Financially, I think that the 18-55 kit lens will have to last me for a while. What about the "lesser" lenses:

Tamron 28-200 F/3.8-5.6 XR SUPER for PENTAX AF
at http://www2.buydig.com/shop/product....ku=TM28200XRPA
for $220

or

EF 75-300/4.0-5.6 III USM
http://www.tristatecamera.com/LookAt...tore.php3.html
for $170.

I have not done the research (I am still loking at cameras, obviously), so my two questions would be:

1) would they work?
2) what would I be losing in function over the 'EF-S' lenses?

I would just be looking for something to do shots of the dogs up in the mountains, and maybe a local sporting event (like the Easter Egg Bike Races for Kids) up here.

I think I will grab my CF card and head back to the store now that I know more about the camera and take a few more pictures with it.

My biggest fear? Some will ask, "Nice camera. How much did it cost?" :?:
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 10:13 PM   #6
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When at Best Buy check out the Olympus Evolt 300 - 8 mp and at several hundred less than the D20 it shouldbe a contender. I compared it to the Rebel and agreed that the Rebel felt like a toy - Retails for $999 bvut can be had on line for Just over $800...
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 10:44 PM   #7
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Geeeyejo wrote:
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When at Best Buy check out the Olympus Evolt 300 - ...
I was looking at the specs for the e-volt and the E-1 Pro. Steve's review showed an adpator for OM lenses to fit those cameras, but the adaptor seems to be conspicous by its absence all over the Internet. I do nave a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 zoom and a Komura doubler for the OM system (and three other lenses), and if I could use that lens on the E1 pro or E-volt it might make those cameras a little more enticing. But the speed and the dynamic range as well as the level of user control of the 20D is going to be really tough to beat. I keep looking for a reason to not get it, and other than price and possibly size, there eally aren't none. 1000 pics (+/-) on one battery charge! WOW!

So many cameras.. so little cash.

I do want a camera that will serve me for at least seven, if not ten years. That is a long time in terms of technology, but I do ride a 1979 motorcycle.. that I bought in 1981! I also think the commercial possibilities for the 20D are good, and I might be able to make back some of the cost that way. A friend wants to do a calendar for his business so I might just push him on that...

I might have to start roasting and selling coffee commercially... Hmm...
"Will trade coffee for camera" :| ... Nahh.

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Old Feb 13, 2005, 11:51 PM   #8
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I agree with NHL, look at the Minolta 7d before making your final selection (My latest addition was a 20D only because I have a largish collection of Canon components )

Peter.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 2:42 AM   #9
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In all seriousness. If the 20D is ideal. Give a serious look at the Digital Rebel. I have a D60, in between the 20D and Rebel - but at 6.3MP like the rebel. I still love the images I get with my D60, and I also own a 1Dmk2.

The Digital Rebel can be purchased for under $900 around here. The proce of an expensive point and shoot - but far higher camera quality and control. And the images will be better with the right camera because you will take the time to get the right shot.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 9:23 AM   #10
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Randy G. wrote:
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The 7D looks OK, but it costs more than the EOS 20D and is slower. A big feature of the 20D for me is its speed. if you had ever used a Nikon CP900 you would know what I mean! :lol: It had a 15 or 20 second wait between pictures and a default sleep time of 20 seconds (and like a ten second wake up). The batteries would last forever because the thing was almost never on! :G
Actually I still have my CP990... Great camera and love those rechargeable AA's NiMh, and still use it for close-up/product shots!

I agree that the 7D is slower, but that's only on power up (my 10D is slower still)... frame to frame is not too chabby though, but then when is the last time you shoot that fast? It depends on your shooting styles but usually one don't 'machine gun' it... and composition requires some amount of time between shot unless you're a press photographer. Also FYI - http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...83&forum_id=84

The Minolta does indeed cost more than the 20D, but its built-in AS will more than offset all your future lens purchases (ie you only paid for this feature once) -> Every lenses will then have IS even form 3rd party vendors... It also happens that they have the best 70-200 f/2.8 around!

Check Kalypso postings... the 'camera' is now your 'film' and this camera put out amazing pictures as well as its ergonomics such as oversize LCD screen (with all pertinent info at the ready all the time) and manual dials: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=12047239

I know this is a Canon forum, but I tend to keep my option open, and not be blinded by any one brand... It never hurt to try otherwise you're only reading other's opinions :idea:

BTW I still have a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 zoom too (so we have a lot in common!) :G
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