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Old Jun 2, 2004, 12:03 PM   #1
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I'm new on this forum and tend to get a bit obsessive with purchases over $20. My Dad always told me that if it costs over $20, go home and sleep on it before you buy. I've read quite a bit on this and other sites, but I'm trying to get the answer to my question before I become a junkie to this forum like I am at AVSforum.

I am a point and shooter that wants to capture good shots of indoor and outdoor family activities. My sony DSC p9 was a good starter camera, but I am now fed up with the shot-to-shot speeds, poor white balance andshutter lag time. It takes nice outdoor shots, and fits in my pocket, so its still good for vacations, but it is impossible to get a decent shot of my kids playing basketball in a gym. Color and focus is always messed up. Action shots are hit and miss because of the shutter lag and slow autofocus.

From everything I've read, a digital SLR will work well for me as it addresses the above issues, but am I paying for a bunch of features that I will not need since I am a point and shooter? Are there any straight digital cameras that can compare to the shot to shot and focus times ofCanon and Nikon DSLR's? Hopefully they will be smaller and cheaper, as well.

And the big question: Is a DSLR substantially better quality than a comparably priced (or cheaper) digital camera?

Thanks everyone for helping a newbie that can't get addicted to one more forum.



Don
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Old Jun 2, 2004, 12:35 PM   #2
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Don:

If you need to take pics of kids playing in an indoor Gym, then you will most likely need a DSLR to get satisfactory results. Unfortunately, non-DSLR models will have pretty high noise, if you increase ISO speed to where shutter speeds are fast enough to prevent motion blur indoors.

A DSLR has a dramatically larger sensor. As a result, the individual photosites for each pixel are much larger, and able to gather more light. With a non-DSLR model, the manufacturers must amplify the signal more from the sensor, to get the same equivalent ISO sensitivity. This adds noise. So, the DSLR is aMUCH better performer at higher ISO speeds.

Unfortunately, this will put a dent in your budget. You will alsowant a relatively fast (bright -- lower F-Stop Number/Wider Aperture) lens (or lenses) to go with it. Unfortunately, the "Kit Lenses" are really not very bright, and would not work well for indoor sports.

I'd probably look at some of the prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lenses with decent brightness (i.e., F2.8 for indoor sports use. A zoom lens this bright can be quite expensive.

The two lowest priced DSLR models now, are the Canon EOS-300D (Digital Rebel) and the Nikon D70. They come in at around $900.00 - $1,000.00 (body only). I would budget just as much for alens or two, if photographingindoors sports is your goal.


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Old Jun 2, 2004, 1:30 PM   #3
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I just wanted to agree with JimC. You will be hard pressed to find a non dSLR that has the same fast shutter and fast AF that dSLR's have.

Eric
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Old Jun 2, 2004, 1:33 PM   #4
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Jim, Thanks for the quick response. The gym isn't the major concern, it is just one of the weaknesses of my current camera. My kitchen is also a weakness, I have natural, flourescent, and yellow lighting. I have problems getting true colors. Everything has a bit of an orange hue.

My photos will be of basically everywhere, from backyard, to soccer field, to stage, to kitchen, basement, and Chucky Cheeses. I am really leaning toward the d70
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Old Jun 3, 2004, 9:01 AM   #5
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Getting white balance right isn't easy, but it can be made easier.

Most/all dSLRs can do a custom white balance. What you do is take a picture of something white, and tell the camera that that picture is white. It won't be (because the colored lights are lighting it something slightly off white) but the camera will change the color temprature (the white balance) to adjust for that and make it white.

A problem with this solution is if your lights have a flicker to them. If you take the picture faster than the flicker happens you can miss the effects of that light.

I don't know if any non-dSLR supports custom white balance, but I wouldn't be surprised. The other way to handle it is to use the RAW format to save the pictures in. That (usually) lets you apply white balance decisions yourself later, picking the value that looks the best.

Eric
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 11:54 AM   #6
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I have owned digital cameras for several years. I owned the Olympus C4040 and the Nikon 5700 both are excellent cameras. I elected to purchase a digital SLR about three months past. The speed and controls over this camera is amazing. The camera is the Canon Digital Rebel. The camera with kit lens was $900. I have since purchased a Canon 50mm F1.8, the Canon 28-135mm USM IS and the Sigma 70-300mm APO super macro lens. The lens cost was $600 for all. The DSLR camera can cause a monetary drain on the bank account. I feel that all the money I spent was worth the quality of the photos I can take.
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 4:20 PM   #7
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I have a Canon G3 and it has several pre set white balance modes as well as a custom white balance mode. So I guess that the newer G5 would be the same. By the way, even the pre set modes work great.

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Old Jun 8, 2004, 4:21 PM   #8
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The Panasonic FZ10 has custom white balance. I use it a lot.

When in doubt, wear a clean white undershirt in case you can't find anything white nearby.

I've done WB off the back of a woman's jacket before.
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