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WidjayaMan Sep 25, 2006 11:08 AM

Hello everyone. Glad to found this forum.. people seem to be very helpful around here!

I'm just a casual photo enthusiast who wants to make a jump from my Kodak V550 to my first DSLR.. We recently had an indoor wedding reception and I was upset at how poorly my point-and-shoot performed. But because of that I was able to convince the wife that a DSLR upgrade is now due. :)

After doing some researching, people seem to have good reviews over the K100D due to its in-camera IS and its very affordable price. My question is, do you guys think the old Rebel 350 XT is still better than this camera? They can be had for about the same price now.

I also saw that K10D is coming with a bunch of improvements.. but with a $400 extra cost. Do you think its worth the price jump? I understand that there's a big difference in MP and some other features such as the dust protector.. but what about picture quality wise? Although I know its kinda hard to say since its not released yet.. :(

Thanks for the help!

milrodpxpx Sep 25, 2006 11:16 AM

go for the k100D. if you're not a semi-pro, the features on the k10d aren't worth the extra cost. the in camera IS in the k100d makes it a much better buy than the canontoo, given the same pricepoint. megapixels are not the only feature in a camera! there have been many debates on these forums, alot of people would actually debate that the 6mp is better than the 10mp. the reason being that the 10mp are actually crammed onto the exact same physically sized sensor. check out ebay for canon's image stabilized lenses - you'll pay almost as much as you did for the camera itself. 6mp can print images 16x20 inches without a problem, so unless you plan on making posters or doing ALOT of image cropping, 10mp isn't necessary. for an indoor wedding, photos for yourself and family, any DSLR will get the job done, but the IS in the k100d makes it a front-runner.

JohnG Sep 25, 2006 11:40 AM

I'm going to pick and choose some quotes here.

milrodpxpx wrote:


megapixels are not the only feature in a camera! there have been many debates on these forums, alot of people would actually debate that the 6mp is better than the 10mp. the reason being that the 10mp are actually crammed onto the exact same physically sized sensor.


but the IS in the k100d makes it a front-runner.
I know this is herasy, but IS isn't the only feature either. Basing a purchase predominantly on IS is just as ignorant as basing it solely on megapixels. Just as yoyu argue megapixels are only useful if you are actually going to use them (via cropping or large printing), IS is also useful only if you're going to use it. Same for people who always say "high ISO performance is the most important feature" - again, that's fairly useless if 90% of the time a person is going to be at ISO 400 or below.

Don't get me wrong, IS can be useful in certain situations. And it is certainly one of the factors that should be considered. Now, I happen to have a Canon camera and a collection of lenses - some have IS and some do not. For my photographic needs, IS has been useful in about 5% of my shots. In my situation (which is completely unique to me so I'm not saying IS is useless, only pointing out it is a feature that should be considered against individual needs) IS just isn't that useful of a feature. In most instances (again 95% plus) I'm looking for high shutter speeds and/or I'm using a camera support (monopod/tripod).

For a specific set of examples: I do sports photographyy where you are generally looking for shutter speeds of 1/500 or better. For anything like a 70-200 2.8 lens or lighter that is easily hand-holdable without IS. For larger lenses, monopods are typically used, not just for image quality but also arm fatigue. 300mm 2.8 and 400mm 2.8 lenses from Canon have IS but just about every pro who uses them for sports will use them on a monopod. But, a person who likes to take existing light candid shots at parties where you see some subject motion will really appreciate IS. Also folks who like to take indoor architecture type shots (think big church shot) where you don't have to freeze motion also appreciate IS.

But, for the example of a wedding reception I would argue a good external flash is a much better solution than IS - you'll get much better results.

So, IS is certainly a nice feature but every individual photographer has different needs. Falling into the 'IS is the only important feature' or even 'IS is the most important feature' trap is a dangerous slope.

My advice is this - regardless of which cameras you are considering:
  1. Do a thorough job of identifying your photographic needs - both now and for the next 5-7 years. [/*]
  2. Then, identify (and people on the forums here can help with this part) the features that are important for those photography needs. [/*]
  3. Identify other features you would like to have[/*]
  4. Select a couple models to consider[/*]
  5. Determine if the manufacturer as a whole (their strategy, current body offerings and direction and lens, flash accessories) meet your long term goals. This is hugely important - over the long haul the amount of money you spend on a body is very small compared to what you will spend on lenses. You don't want to be switching brands once you start investing in lenses. So, keep your eye towards the future as well.[/*]
  6. Compare the cameras based on your 'needs' first, then your wants.[/*]
  7. Handle both cameras - this is huge. Ergonomics plays a big part in camera selection. Different candles feel differently and the controls and menus are accessed and operate differently. You have to feel comfortable using the camera or quite honestly you won't use it.
So, that's the general guidelines. For your specific needs, you need to give some more information on what you will use the camera for. As I stated above, an external flash will give you the best reception results - so there's no clear cut edge to either camera system in that department. Your other needs may drive out features where one of the two cameras has an advantage. If they don't, then step 7 above is the deciding factor - which feels better to you.

WidjayaMan Sep 25, 2006 11:54 AM

Thank you guys. Those are very helpful posts.

John, when I think of my camera needs in the next 5 years, I'm seeing of a more well-rounded use. We will most likely be using it to take indoor parties & receptions, many of which will be under tungsten lighting, indoor and outdoor portaits, outdoor night shots, and so forth. I'm not seeing much of a sports-type use.

As far as my prints, I'm also not seeing of anything larger than 16X20 in general either.

milrodpxpx Sep 25, 2006 12:17 PM

i completely agree with your post john. if i were into taking many action photos IS doesn't help (i've asked that in the pentax forum previously and have already received a good explanation!). Those 300mm and 400mm f2.8 lenses you spoke of are also way outside the budget of 99.9% of people looking for a good, entry level dslr. if i were to shoot indoors for action, i would obviously need to compromise by using a higher ISO setting with most of my lenses (save for the 50mm f1.7 smc pentax lens - that i got for $30! - but 50mm isn't ideal for sports or action either!). i don't have an external flash, but it is at the top of my priority list. while the on camer flash on my pentax *istDL is better than most point and shoots (i would say 20ft effective range, listed as 30ft in the manual), it isn't well suited for larger venues. it did ok at a wedding i was at last week (more intimate, smaller group) but at a larger wedding it would not suffice. but that is true across the board for dslrs as well.

My point is simply that an in camera image stabilization engine is more valuable to your average consumer than the ability to upgrade to lenses that cost in the thousands of dollars. the pentax also has a slightly slower 'frames per second' rating, so it is not the first choice for action photography. but if action photography may take up 5% of your overall photos, it will more than suffice.

JohnG Sep 25, 2006 12:31 PM

OK guys - I think I didn't get my point across. I understood action was not the OPs need - I also understand 300mm prime lenses are not in most people's futures. My point was simply: When you look at your photography needs, do they require IS? For the only stated example - wedding receptions - IS is not a good solution - a good external flash is. For that need, the right tool is a good flash not IS.

I still put 'IS' in the same category of 'megpixels'. Megapixels is at the top of most entry level buyers as well. And, as stated - it isn't as important as people think. Same with IS. It may or may not be important.

Of the other state purposes, the only one that in my mind benefits substantially from IS is the night shots (depending on what you're doing). Party shots fall in the same category as the wedding - use a flash - this is a situation where IS and/or fast prime lenses are poor solution (IS still will have slow shutter speeds andn fast prime won't have enough DOF for party shots).

The portrait work, inside or out, is going to benefit the most from flash, tripod and if you want shallow DOF the lenses.

So, for your stated needs I would factor in the purchase of a flash into your buying decision. Unless a large portion of your shots wll be the nighttime outdoor type, I think both cameras you4 are considering will easily meet your needs provided you buy a flash. If the nighttime shots will encompass a good amount of your shots than the IS is an important feature so that camera has a decided edge.

So, I suggest handling both and selecting the one you feel most comfortable using.

Edvinas Sep 25, 2006 6:05 PM

First of all I want to say that both cameras will take great pictures. Currently most DSLRs are capable to take superb quality pictures, usually just during pixel-peeping of 100% crops you're able to see small difference.

However K100D and Rebel XT are very different cameras with their strong points and weak points.

Here are subjective (who knows maybe whet it is a strong point for me is a weak point for another) of both cameras. I assume you're going to buy camera with a kit lense and use it as main lense quite a while.

IMHO decisive aspects:
+ Much better kit lense. It is considered that Pentax 18-55 kit lense is one of the best 18-55 kit lenses: very sharp, non rotating front element (big plus if you are using CP filters), focus doesn't change when you zooming, Quick-Shift system. Contrary, Canon's lense which comes as a kit for their DSLRs probably is the worst kit lense of all DSLRs. Cheap, all plastic (yes, plastic is even used for for lense elements). It will not allow to get even close to what Canon Rebel is capable of. If you decide to go for Rebel, get it with better quality lense.

+ Ergonomics. For me K100D is much better. It is comfortable to hold in hand, good grip, convenient layout of controls. When I was looking for DSLR, Canon Rebel XT was the main candidate. However it's grip was so awkward and inconvenient for me, Rebel XT does not have top LCD display, so it was enough to hold it in hands for half a minute and I knew: this camera is definately not for me. You *must* handle both cameras before you buy.

+ Build quality. K100D build quality is superb, quality materials used, camera feels robust and solid. Rebel XT is so plastic, squeeking and "cheap" that in the beginning you can think that they gave you not a camera but some kind of non working camera mock-up.

Important stuff:

+ K100D has better viewfinder. For me viewfinder in DSLR is very important.

+ Spot metering. K100D has it, Rebel XT doesn't.

+ K100D use AA size batteries. It is very convenient when you travel. No need to charge batteries. Rebel XT uses proprietary battery.

Not so important:

+ in body anti-shake.

+ K100D has 11 AF ponts, 9 of them are cross-type. Rebel XT has 7 AF points, and just one (am I correct?) is a cross type. Cross type focussing point means that it can focus to both horizontal and vertical lines.

+ Pentax lenses are cheaper than Canon lenses (considering you compare the same quality and zoom range lenses).

Not really important:

+ K100D uses SD memory cards, XT uses CF cards.

+ larger LCD (2,5'' vs 1,8'').

Rebel XT strong points:


+ Faster AF. AF of Rebel XT is quicker, especially in low light. Quicker doesn't necessarily more accurate ;)

+ larger buffer. 14 JPEG / 4RAW images in continuous shooting vs 5 JPEG / 3 RAW of K100D.

Not so important:

+ noise is a little bit lower at high ISOs (noise is very important but difference between K100D and Rebel XT is so small, that it is not so important).

+ Canon has bigger selection of lenses (lense selection is very important factor, however Canon has advantage in super expensive pro lenses which I'll never buy, in budget sector there's no advantage so, it is not so important).

Not really important:

+ 8 megapixels (I doubt you'll notice difference between 8 and 6 megapixels in printed or resized for screen photo).

I want to emphasize that all the above is based on mine picture taking style and preferences. You may think just opposite :)

WidjayaMan Sep 25, 2006 6:53 PM

Thanks a ton Edvinas, those are exactly the opinions I'm looking for! Seems like this one prefers the K100D.

As is with many other electronic equipments, sometimes new and lower priced means that its just a lower quality product while the older models deliver a better performance. Well it seems like the K100D is one exception.

And I'm very glad that you mention your opinion about their stock lenses, because yes it will be a while before I invest in additional lenses. In fact a flash might come first.

I couldnt find a K100D in my local circuit city today, but I did play around with the XT and wasnt terribly impressed with its build and its plasticy feel.

Now if others have more opinions to add, I would love to hear them! :)

monx Sep 25, 2006 8:47 PM

I must agree with john here. A external flash is way overlooked! I used to do a lot of indoor shooting ( receptions , private parties )at iso 1600 with widest aperture, until i came across a cheap flash with a turnable head ( bounce ). All of a sudden i got excellent shots in crappy lighting, with high shutter speeds ( 1/300 and up ) at iso200 and a lense stopped down to f8.

Shooting flash against the ceiling eliminates the dreadfull "animal caught in the headlights effect", plus the lighting from most external flashes feels more smooth.

IS is great, if you are not allowed to use flash, so is iso3200! But if you have the possibility i would definately recommend spending a little cash in the flash department.

( my flashis manual, the camera only triggers it nothing else. You basically have to set the camera and the flash as two independent units, but hey what can you expect for 30$ worth of flash.- The result though, is excellent )

JeanneB Sep 25, 2006 9:13 PM

WidjayaMan wrote:

I couldnt find a K100D in my local circuit city today, but I did play around with the XT and wasnt terribly impressed with its build and its plasticy feel.
I felt the exact same way about the XT when I held it. I took a chance and bought the K100D site unseen from beachcamera and it feels great in my hands, very solid compared to the XT, it feels more like the D50 to me but slightly smaller (which was perfect for me since the D50felt alittle too bulkyin my hands). I haven't been able to use the camera much, I've only had it a little over a week, but I'm very happy with it so far.

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