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Old Oct 28, 2005, 6:25 AM   #1
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I went to Best Buy last night to have a look at some of these cameras I've been reading about. Now I already know that BB has this thing about carrying lower cameras and then when you hit $400 immediately suggesting a dSLR. But when that Canon Rebel XT got into my hands, oh my! It felt so much better than the Fuji 9000 ever did! It's just right, sweet! Oh my! I don't know if it's a disease or if I'm in love. So all I want to know is, is this insane? If I buy a dSLR (which of course I'll need help on, definitely want this under $1000 total for a useable set-up), will I be able to learn enough in two weeks to take better pictures than I would have taken with a p&s, say a Fuji S5200 or the Oly uz?

My question points so far about dSLR's:

-dust-Should I be leaning toward the Oly E300 because of this?

-image stabilization-I don't envision myself hauling around a tripod, though I suppose I could bend on that. I don't want to have to spend $1000 for an IS lens just to get a decent picture. We're talking entry level dSLR here, not professional.

-auto-focus-Does the auto-focus on a dSLR work worth two cents, or will I need to tweak a lot? And if I do some learning about how to use it and tweak, will it still be no-brainer enough on auto to give my husband good results?

-how do I learn how to use it? Are there any good books, websites or videoson introductory photography? I like to learn and am willing, but it seems too last minute for me to find a class.

-what do I buy?

-again, is this insane? Should I just buy a no-brainer p&s and be done with it?

-Will a dSLR meet my needs for spontaneous, existing light pictures indoors (incadescent, in the homeschool room) or will it take me a long time to get focused, need lots of extra flashes or attachments, etc?

BTW, just to explain my seemingly schizophrenic approach here, I think what I always wanted was a dSLR and I just didn't know it. I want instant response time, good existing light shots, non-existent shutter lag, and the ability to get shots I can dream up. The fuji 5200/9000 walk me close to there (especially with response times), but honestly, I haven't seen any pictures from there I like. The color never does anything for me and the dynamic range just isn't there. Also noise is still an issue. I spent quite a bit of time looking at gallery shots of the Fuji S9000 and Canon G6 on dcresource and the dynamic range on even the G6 just blew the fuji out of the water. Please don't take offense, you who use and love your Fuji's. I'm just saying what I'm seeing as one who's trying to jump in and buy something. And that's what has held me back from buying, that I like the functionality of the fujis but not the pictures. And of course the pictures are the point. But will an entry-level dSLR give me what I want or am I better off going p&s?

Thank you!
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Old Oct 28, 2005, 7:13 AM   #2
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Don't worry the "disease" you have is not life threatening. DSLR's are truly a beautiful thing. They trump P&S cameras in every way except portabililty and price. However, there is a learning curve in capturing great images with a DSLR. Do you understand how things like ISO, aperature, and shutterspeed affect exposure?? Are you familiar with any photo editing software (as DSLR images have less in camera processing and almost always need adjusting)? If not, I recommend taking a class or at the very least getting a book explaining the basics of photography.

To answer some of your other questions--

1. I'm not convinced the OLY's dust removal system works well enough to give it the nod over the Canon. In addition the OLY uses a smaller sensor which results in more noise at higher ISO's. Also lens selection is quite limited (although good in quality) and not as readily available on the used market. Also, make sure you handle this camera as it has a non traditional shape.

2. Auto focus works great. There are several AF modes that you will have to learn how and when to use. You can always switch to manual focus in tough spots. IS is nice, but it is expensive. KM has Anti-shake built into its bodies, making all of the lenses stabilized. IS is not neccessary...photographers took great images for many years without IS. Just remember the 1/focal length rule and you'll be able to avoid suffering from camera shake.

3. There are plenty of good books (check out Amazon for titles), magazines, and internet forums availble for learning, too many to list. Also, experiment...that's the best way to learn after picking up the basics.

4. What to buy?? Canon makes a great camera. So does Nikon and Minolta. You already have felt the Canon and like the way it feels. Truthfully, I don't think there is a bad DSLR on the market.

5. Nothing beats a DSLR in startup and focus time or low light performance. The ability to use high ISO's makes it able to to capture images P&S cameras can only dream of.

Good luck with your choice!!
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