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Old Jun 26, 2006, 7:26 AM   #1
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Ok...We are looking to upgrade from our Sony F828. We have been pretty happy with it but find the shutter lag and shot to shot times lacking. Some of the things we like about the Sony include the awesome low light focus grid/beam, Nightshot/Nightframe, range of zoom, and build quality. We also like to use the movie mode a lot but if we have to sacrifice it to get the right pics, so be it.

However...We take loads of pictures of our girls indoors and we always seem to miss the moment. We shoot with the camera pre-focused but still always seem to miss. What we want in a new camera is that instantaneous shot to capture the exact moment. Logically that gets us to DSLR but I was playing with the Canon S3 this weekend and it seemed really fast (in the light of the camera shop at least!). I also like the built in image stabilization in the S3 and H5. Can anyone comment on these compared to DSLRs? I am just not sure I want to spend the money on the SLR and lenses!

On the DSLRs...I have some concerns about each:

Rebel XT: I find the handgrip to be small and screen to be on the small side (although the same size as my F828. I also have concerns about the flash used as the AF assist in low light, is that a distraction to young subjects? Does that slow down the picture taking process to lock focus? Does it work as well as a dedicated AF assist light?

D50: I like the way it fits in hand much better and screen is slightly larger. However it is only 6 MP vs 8MP (even though we only shoot the F828 at 5MP, it's nice to have options) and the lenses seems to be much more expensive.

KM 5D: Obviously the Anti-Shake is the big selling point. Anyone have experience with this camera, can compare to the others? Should the fact that KM is no longer in the biz be a deterent? How are the focus speeds vs the others, low light focusing? Do you miss a dedicated AF assist?

Finally, the topic of lenses inevitably comes up...I like the idea of an 18-200mm lenses. Anyone have experience with the Sigma or Tamron models vs the brand Nikon (very pricey!)or KM (I found the following on dcresource about the KM 18-200, "I found the 18 - 200 mm lens to be both slow focusing and noisy")?

I know this covers a lot of ground, thanks for your help...
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Old Jun 26, 2006, 9:53 AM   #2
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2sides wrote:
However...We take loads of pictures of our girls indoors and we always seem to miss the moment.
Can you be more specific? Your girls doing what? Are you using flash or not? And what is 'indoors' - your house?

If light is dim enough to require a focus assist beam then you probably need to be using flash (unless you have a DSLR with high ISO and a 1.8 or 1.4 lens).

Obviously a DSLR is going to be more flexible. But, if you're using flash you would want an external flash - not the built in ones on the DSLRs - those are pretty weak - just like a regular digicam. The focus assist beam on an external flash is typically a low intensity red light - very non invasive (as opposed to the burst from the on-board flash when using it as a focus assist).

But the key driver will be what you are shooting - so be more specific about what activities you're trying to capture.
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Old Jun 26, 2006, 10:00 AM   #3
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Mostly just sitting around in the house...We do use the flash on our F828 but the timing is the key issue, there seems to be a distinct lag between when the shutter is depressed and the resulting image (noticeable in normal light and outdoors too). I would really prefer not to use an external flash, we are not professional photographers and adding a cumbersome external flash to an already larger than "normal" (point and shoot) camera is something I don't want to do (plus it will add even more cost!). There must be a cam that can 'get the picture'.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Any input on the cams on the list?
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Old Jun 26, 2006, 1:34 PM   #4
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I just jumped on the dSLR bandwagon a couple weeks ago from the P&S world.

First a generalization :
The difference between 6 & 8MP should not be a major factor. I had several posters created from my 4MP P&S and they look fine to my snapshooter's eye. A photographer could probably pick apart the photo for a multitude of reasons but the point is - the end result is good enough to remind me of special events.

Looking at samples on this and other sites of the differences can drive you crazy. Once you get a cam you won't be doing the side by side comparisons - you'll be taking millions of photos and trying to work the cam better.

A dSLR is more work than a P&S but you are rewarded with images that are more photographs than snap shots - even if you just use the Auto mode.A dSLR will allow you to take photos without a flash that would be impossible with a P&S. JohnG mentioned the weak onboard flash of dSLRs - true compared to an add-on but compared to your current cam - it's better. If you are okay with flash pictures now, you will be with a dSLR.

What kind to get?
I first bought the KM 5D mainly for the in body image stabilization. I had no problem getting camera from a company that did not exist anymore. There are plenty of lenses and thrid-party add-ons available. Even though Sony will have their version coming out in a month, I did not want to wait and I did not want to spend $1000 to start - I still need extra memory, a bag etc...
One observation on this cam - it's loud. When you click the shutter - you really her the mirror slap. Not too big of a deal but I was surprised.I returned the cam because of the timing of the flash. Without red-eye reduction turned on it still did a micro preflash and it was enough time to give my wife and kids (main subjects) a chance to close or half-close their eyes. I tried a bunch of different settings but could not get a good, clean shot. Pity because the cam felt good and it was reasonably priced.

I now have a Rebel XT/350D and love it. I have no problem with the size - I am 6'1" and have fairly large hands but feel the cam is a good fit - I actually do not like the way the D50 feels and that is the main reason I did not get that model.I am really impressed with the continuous shooting of the XT - it seems faster than the KM did. Not sure if this is reality but it seems faster.

On the lens topic - I just ordered a sig 70-300 - There is so much debate over what is sharp and fast that I decided to just get something that had a fair amount of support. If it's not what I expect, I'll return it.

Overall I suggest you get what feels right and that you can afford with the extra's. All the entry level dSLR's have the same basic feature set and are capable of great image quality.

If you feel like waiting Sony will have their Alpha out soon and then Pentax will have their new model out in August/September time and that one looks good on paper - but if you want to capture good images now don't wait.

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