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gadget_sa Jan 27, 2010 12:04 PM

Contemplating moving up to DSLR
Hello all,
New to the Forum, but not the site... it's fantastic. Lots of advice, tips and some great pictures being shown.
A little about me: I have had a Canon S3is Bridge camera for the last four years or so.
Cracking little thing which has served me well and now sadly has gone to camera Heaven - it died!
I am not a Pro, nor an amateur, just a keen photographer that likes to take lots of pictures.
What do I shoot?
Lots of Family & Holiday snaps obviously.. but I like to (try) be a little creative in my shots.
Lots of Indoor/Lowlight shots at home and at parties. I also like to get out early doors or late evening to try and get some different shots with different lighting.
My daughter Horse riding, and my son at TKD.
Landscapes and the unusual are always appealing.
My little Canon as I said has served me well, at least as well it could given it's limits even with my (little) knowledge of overiding in manual mode.
So I'm in the market for a new camera.
The Wife said go for compact - she likes the "Grab & Go" factor.
I wanted a Bridge as i like to use the Viewfinder.
My son is also doing Media Studies and wants to learn more on Photgraphy.
My Daughter couldn't care less and just "yawns" when i start talking or looking in windows!!
I have tried the Panasonic TZ7. Hated it and wasn't overly impressed with it's picture quality.
Canon SX200is - nice little unit, taken some reasonable shots, but lacks continous mode and I hate that FLASH popping up!
Panasonic FZ38 - took some reasonable pictures with it. Didn't like the noise coming through at anything over 400. Also very "Plastic" feel to it. Almost toy like.
Canon SX1 - BIG MISTAKE. Anything over 200 was really pants!! Even when i took it back to the shop the guy wondered why I was sold it!!
I haven't really had any hands on proper with these.
Had a fiddle with Olympus E620 and quite liked it.
So I'm looking at that one, plus Panasonic G1 or Sony.
Why these?
Important to me are:
1. Carrying - I don't ever think I'll get anything more than keen - so I don't think I'll be investing in big lenses. So Ideally I would like to keep the bulk down and get something similar to the Canon SX1 Bridge.
2. Viewfinder/Liveview - I will mainly use the viewfinder.My Wife won't use the VF. She wants Live View as she will only use the screen. Something about smudging her make up! LOL
2. Lowlight Shots - I mainly print up to A4 with the occasional REALLY good shot bigger.. but so far thats rare.
3. Continous Shot (FPS) - With my daughter riding, it would be great to be able to get some jumping shots.
But then if i get a good camera do I need this feature... if i pan correctly I should get it right... shouldn't I?
4. Zoom - As above. I need to get in close.
I have chosen these mainly because of the Liveview Feature supposedly being better than other DSLR's.
Also the Panasonic and Olympus are both nice sizes.
The Olympus supposedly having good kit lenses and a Twin Kit which would cover my Zoom issue.
The Sony is larger, but I think still manageable. But which Sony? I am being told I should get the A500. Wouldn't the A380 suffice?
My budget (in GBP) has crept from 300 initially to 400 for Bridge and now I'm up to 600 and I don't really want to go any higher (well not too much - ssshhhhh).

So all that said... Is DSLR right for me?? Or is there something I have missed in the Bridge or Compact department that would suit me??
Sorry it's waffled on, but I figured get it all out in the open and see what sticks!
Thanks for reading and i look forward to some sound ideas and advice.

Hards80 Jan 27, 2010 12:41 PM

well for your needs, i definitely believe a dslr is a great choice as you speak of enjoying lower light moments, action shots, etc. this is really where the dlsr will shine for you.

the problem becomes your budget here. as you are asking alot out of a camera, especially with the zoom, this will add a 2nd lens and invariably drive the prices up and beyond your budget as outlined.

with the live view being a priority, i really think the Sony's would be a great choice. as they offer a 2nd sensor allowing them to use the fast phase detect AF in live view. obviously the best choice would be the A500/550 because of their larger viewfinder and faster overall performance. but on a budget the A330/380 could work, just keep in mind you will be using a pretty small viewfinder as compared to most dslrs. however coming from an evf, and liking the smallish vf on the olympus 620, it may not be a big problem.

just some initial thoughts after reading through your post. i am sure some others will weigh in with their opinions soon and we can have a nice discussion to help get you in your right bit of kit.

JimC Jan 27, 2010 6:10 PM


Originally Posted by gadget_sa (Post 1044881)
The Sony is larger, but I think still manageable. But which Sony? I am being told I should get the A500. Wouldn't the A380 suffice?

The A500 is a better bet for shooting at higher ISO speeds. It's going to have lower noise levels compared to the less expensive Sony models like the A380 (as well as higher available ISO speed settings if you need them). The A500 also has a faster frame rate compared to the A380, as well as a better optical viewfinder.

mtclimber Jan 27, 2010 8:38 PM

gadget sa-

Welcome to the Forum. Weare pleased that you dropped by.

I would with paper and pen make a complete list of your needs, in that way you will not leave anything out. Coming from a super zoom camera, like the Canon S-3 you are surely going to be purchase a second lens beyond the kit lens, and it is sure to be a telephoto. Really thing that one over well and actually determine long long a zoom will meet your needs.

Sony has very good Live View implementation, but I have the feeling that you will be the primary user of the DSLR. No offense intended, but it might be simpler and more cost effective to purchase your wife her own camera. That will allow you to more precisely target your own priorities, and avoiding purchasing features, that will get very little use in the every day operation of the camera.

With your wife have her own camera you can widen the DSLR camera selections that address your needs. I would prefer that your choice not be limited to Sony. The Panasonic G-1 has an EVF and a good LCD display for example, and that meets your needs and your wife's needs. However, that comes at a price measured in pounds sterling. You want to get the DSLR camera that provides your needed features at the best price naturally.

We will also have many new camera introduced/announced in the next 30 to 45 days, and that also has to be taken into co nsideration as you make your camera decision.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Jan 27, 2010 8:53 PM

thats a pretty good idea. to buy your wife her own compact.

then you can decide for yourself what dslr fits your needs the best. i really like the G1 and it fits all the needs except the horse-jumping and TKD, or action shots, as it is difficult to pan with an EVF refreshing.

and freed of the need for a perfect LCD to compose on, you can open yourself to all the current smaller dslr options.

shoturtle Jan 27, 2010 11:18 PM

I really would go to the shops to they out the size of the sony a550 or a500 before picking one up. It is a bigger camera then the a380, and allot bigger then the oly 620 and panny G1. In low light the sony has and advantage over both the G1 and e620. With the larger sensor size.

Yes the oly has the best kit lenses out there, and are very very good. The G1 can accept the oly's lens with and adapter.

I lean toward lighter camera's personally now adays, after carrying a canon Eos 1 for 15 years. Lighter fits my needs better.

gadget_sa Jan 28, 2010 7:19 AM


I just sat and wrote loads to your replies and it din't post it because it timed out!!

gadget_sa Jan 28, 2010 7:49 AM

Ok, lets try again...

So, firstly, thank you ALL for your responses overnight. I couldn't get on last night as the kids were hogging both PC's!!

I'll take each one of your replies and comment accordingly;

Thank you for agreeing that a DSLR is the way forward for me.
I thought it was, having tried numerous other cameras. I was just a little nervous shelling out the money in case i was being too picky with my finished shots and "pixel peeping" too much.
Yes my budget at this stage is lower than it could be, but it's doubled since November so i don't want to creep up too much further if ic an help it.
So you're another that favours the sony (for my choice) based on the LV. That seems to be what I am hearing more and more.
But as you then go onto comment, coming from a lesser camera would the "OK" VF, and smaller than DSLR sensor suit me? Yes i think they would. They will certainly be better than what i have had, and I'm sure although a smaller sensor, the results will still be better.

JimC - another tick for the Sony A500 - based on higher ISO's and lower noise (and 5fps), but again, would I not see these improvements anyway with a lesser model?
As i said, A4 is really as big as I'll go most of the time.... but then saying that, will I print bigger if i know I'll get better results? Maybe...

Sarah (mtclimber), I have done as suggested.. a couple of times now, listed the important and non important items to me.
I then analyse the list after reading reviews and switch bits do the other side...
If I'm honest, too much reading is confusing and hasn't helped me.
For us both it would be Size, LV, VF, Zoom, FPS, Lowlight

I have actually just started to contemplate buying the Wife her own little P&S for exactly the reasons you and Hards80 state - so i can concentrate on my own needs more... but again on analysing that, i still think I would want to keep the small base.
The only thing i could potentially forget is the LV.
I don't want to be lugging a large bag around if i really don't have to.

Then there is the upcoming new models... do i take a chance and miss the current prices and deals in the hope that either something new is released in my budget or that the other prices fall further... decisions decisions.

Shoturtle, I am planning yet another visit to my largest retailer tomorrow. I have prewarned them so they can get the cameras charged. I have been there too many times and found nthing charged which has wasted my time!!

The A500 is VERY well spec'd against the others, but if it really is tha much bigger it may have to be sidelined. Like you, I want to keep things in perspective. As i have said, I'm no pro, nor even amateur... just keen and want clean shots.
I now know that a DSLR is going to give me this.
Some better than others yes, but I'm pretty sure even the lesser Sony or Oly E620 will provide me with better than my S3 results.

Guys this has been very useful reading... so thank you all.

I'm still undecided and hopefully a trip out will help, but if i had to list in order the camers that are in my budget as I stand now, i think it would be:

Oly E620 - 599 for twin kit, Grip and second battery.
Sony A330 - 399 for Single lens or 509 for twin, although i don't think the second lens isstabilised which tells me to go for the single lens option and spend 200 on the decent zoom lens.
Sony A380 - 499 for single lens - but what am i getting for the extra 100? More pixels is all that i can see.
Panasonic G1 is at 489 with single lens and the sony A580 is at 549.
The latter two there would be definite purchases at a later date for a decent second zoom lens.

I have also been reading that really, the cameras that come with one lense will probably suffice me for now, at least until May (trip to France and Horse shows start) by which time i could save for a decent second lens.
Ah well, heres hoping for a succesful afternoon out tomorrow.
Thanks again folks.

JimC Jan 28, 2010 8:00 AM


Originally Posted by gadget_sa (Post 1045202)
Sony A330 - 399 for Single lens or 509 for twin, although i don't think the second lens isstabilised which tells me to go for the single lens option and spend 200 on the decent zoom lens.

All lenses are stabilized on any Sony dSLR body, including 25 year old Minolta Autofocus Lenses (they can use any Minolta Autofocus lens ever made). Sony dSLR models use a sensor shift type of stabilization system Sony calls SSS for "Super Steady Shot". IOW, for the small price difference, I'd probably opt for the 2 lens kit if you go that route (and it would be stabilized, thanks to the camera body based stabilization system)


Sony A380 - 499 for single lens - but what am i getting for the extra 100? More pixels is all that i can see.
Right, the A330 is 10MP and the A380 is 14MP. They're virtually the same otherwise.

gadget_sa Jan 28, 2010 11:30 AM

Thanks JimC,
I must have missed that somewhere in my reading... so the Sony body, like the Olympus E620 is stabilised?/

I have just noticed something else I had missed - which could be a real turning point...

The A330 Twin Lens Kit is 609 on Jessops site... and that includes a Sandisk 8GB Memory Pro Duo card!!
I can then claim back 60.00 against the Camera Purchase and another 50 cash back for the second lens.

That makes the A330 with Sony DT18-55 mm f3.5-5.6 lens, Sony 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 A lens and a Sandisk 8GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card all for 499.

Am I missing something here??

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