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Old Jun 7, 2006, 11:04 AM   #1
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I simply must get the book Paradox of Choice because I spend far too much time researching and not enough time doing.

Anyway it's time to move up from my 4MP Kodak 7440 for two reasons:
I need better image quality
I need zoom

Subjects - kids in the house, kids playing sports, vacations - Would like to explore the art of photography more.

So fine, that part was easy enough to decide - now which do I choose, Ultrazoom or dSLR?

I have read enough to know the basic differences and caveats for both styles - if you were in this same boat why did you choose what did?

My (irrational) concerns involve the following:
Is the DSLR too much camera? Maybe but the the image quality and options are wonderful. And I do have posters printed quite often - imagine how much better they would look with a DSLR comared to my 4MP P&S. I used to shoot 35mm with one of the original Canon EOS Rebels so I am familiar with the process.

Am I addicted to the live view? I haven't framed a shot with the eyeview in years.

The Ultrazoom seems to have everything in one package...except lens options. I used to love that there was an optimized lens for every occasion.

Obviously I have gotten along fine with a P&S for years but I have the photo bug back. Getting one type of cam doesn't mean I can't get the other if it doesn't work out but money and time are valuable commodities and I'd rather make the "right" choice now.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 11:30 AM   #2
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Well, for action and sports there is no choice - DSLR absolutely. Response time, burst rates, focus speedsand low light performance simply are no competition between the two. General shots of kids moving is tough enough for a non-DSLR - once you get into sports shooting there isn't a good superzoom that can come close to competing across a variety of sports. The only reason NOT to go DSLR is if you don't want to put the time into it to get the good results. Since you've already used SLRs you know what's involved. IMO, a superzoom is not a good option for YOU - you'll hit the limits of it pretty soon and end up wanting the DSLR in no time anyway.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 11:35 AM   #3
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How big are your posters?

If I wasn't sure, I would go with the point and shoot superzoom. It's a less expensive mistake to make, if it turns out that it's not what you want.

I would consider the Panasonic FZ7, The Canon Powershot S2 or S3, and the Sony H5. The Pansonic FZ30 (8 megapixels) is also the favorite of some.

All have 12X optical zoom. All 4 have image stabilization. The drawback for all of them, however, is that they have noisy images at high iso's. In other words, they may not be ideal for lowlight shots unless you are using a tripod.

If you go the DSLR route, you will probably end up spending a lot on lenses. If you want to buy a stabilized lens, you will spend a lot more. The lower end camera bodies alone aren't much more than the camera I mentioned above, but LBA (lens buying addiction) is hard to control sometimes.

I am sure you will get lots of additional feedback from other forum members.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 1:44 PM   #4
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dandy35 wrote:
Subjects - kids in the house, kids playing sports, vacations - Would like to explore the art of photography more.

For the "art of photography" I would say a DSLR is the better choice: wide angle kit lens (ultrazooms lack real wide angle), cheap fast 50mm prime for portraits (blur backgrounds) and so ...

I also certainly donĀ“t miss the lcd live preview and the push button zoom of digicams. I much prefer composing/framing with a real optical reflex viewfinder and a manual zoom ring.

For action sports I understand that Nikon/Canon are the better choices because of fast AF with USM lenses. (I have KM)

Hope that helps.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 1:48 PM   #5
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There are pros and cons to both types.

The DSLR will be larger and heavier for the same focal range and brightness. But, it's got the ability to shoot at higher ISO speeds with lower noise and/or more detail than you'd get with a non-DSLR model using a much smaller sensor.

If you need the ability to shoot low light sports (night sports, indoor sports), you really need a DSLR model with a bright lens and ISO 1600.

If you'll be shooting mostly in good light, an ultra-zoom model can be a good choice, since it's smaller and lighter for the same focal range.

As a general rule, the DSLR models will be better performers in areas like autofocus speed/reliabiility, cycle times between photos, number of photos in a burst (buffer size), write speed to memory cards, usable ISO speeds, etc.

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Old Jun 7, 2006, 3:13 PM   #6
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"Subjects - kids in the house, kids playing sports, vacations - Would like to explore the art of photography more."

For the first half, buy an ultra-zoom or other digicam and be happy. For the second half, you'll never be happy, but you might as well start thinking long-term if your serious. This means a dlsr and all those mega-bucks accessories, though depending how long it takes you to really get serious you might still get a few years use of of an ultra-zoom before needing to toss it aside for something better. Then again, you do lose money in that process. Its a gamble, each bet has different odds and like vegas they largely balance out... except for those few suckers bets. (Which seems to be anything cheap. Cheap never pays.)

There are pros to going digicam, small, cheap, light, cheap, and simple. A dslr is a system, the camera is about 1/4 of the amount you will spend by the time the dust settles and your credit card cools off. Aside from size weight and cost, you really need to be more interested in photography to get more out of a dslr. But if you really are interested, a digicam wont do (at some point anyway).

The viewfinder on an slr is way better. I had an ultra-zoom camera and loved the live preview, I really did, but you couldnt pay me enough to go back now.

A dslr works faster in every way. They are always ready to shoot, and keep shooting, and make changes, and shoot.... digicams are more like using windows on a slow pc.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 4:32 PM   #7
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What I can add is that I was stuck with the same choice. Since buying an *ist DL (dSLR) I have found that the ability to use high ISOs is much more valuable than the zoom. I am also attached to my optical viewfinder, I don't think I could go back to using an LCD to frame shots.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 5:42 PM   #8
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It also depends on just what type of quality/detail you want the camera to capture. I was a very happy Sony F717 owner and didn't feel a need for anything else until it started developing problems. Then I bought a Panasonic FZ30 and was disappointed - it wasn't the camera for me at all. The quality of the pictures weren't quite as good as the Sony and certainly didn't have the dynamic range (ability to capture detail in both light and dark).

For your kids playing sports outdoorsit would be fine, but when you start pushing the limits you'll need a dSLR. I sold the FZ30 after a month and bought a Pentax DS (I had never gotten rid of my 20-25 year old Pentax 35mm camera equipment and all of it works on the DS - saved me quite a bit in lenses!). Ialmost always used the viewfinder on the Sony (couldn't keep vertical lines straight otherwise) so transistioning to the dSLR wasn't that big of a deal.

It really depends on what you want to compromise on - image quality or ease of use/expense/weight. When it came right down to it, I wasn't willing to compromise quality.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 6:17 PM   #9
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Well I have a Canon S1IS and have taken over 10,000 photos and really like most of the features but I need to go with a dSLR now because of the better quality and more control.
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Old Jun 9, 2006, 9:39 AM   #10
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I have a Canon A70 and wanted to move up. Was going to go A700 for smaller point and shoot and big lcd but love shooting with an optical viewfinder mostly.

I looked at the Sony's and the Canon's ultrazooms and read mixed review on the Panasonics(didn't see any locally) and ultimately bought a Pentax 1stdl. I paid only $464 shipped. Add a 1gig card, screen protectors, lens cap holder and I spent all told about $510.

Takes 4 aa batteries as well as 2 other types. It is barely bigger than the Canon S2 and weighs only a little more it seems.

I love the big 2.5" lcd for review and I did a test last night of ISO 3200 and was shocked that there was less noise at 3200 than my A70 at 400....a lot less noise.

I didn't like the small lcd's on the Canon or the low res color viewfinders. I find the viewfinder to be pretty easy to focus manually if I have to on the Pentax. Though it isn't as big and bright as an old 35mm film camera.

It was for me a no brainer at that price point and all the features it offers. I am shocked at how clear the photos look compared to my Canon A70. Just tons of detail and sharpness.

Circuit City and Ritz Camera have the Pentax 1stdl's. I couldn't find them anywhere else. Try one at least.
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