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Old Aug 4, 2007, 12:12 AM   #1
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As a beginner to digital photography I already decided to go for the brand-new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ 18 super-zoom as soon as it is available.

Now I'm confused again, because a friend of mine who is a Nikon-fan, told me to
purchase either the Nikon D 80 + the amazing 18 - 200 mm VR lens or the Nikon
D 200 + the 18 - 70 mm kit lens.

It seems to me that the two Nikon's I mentioned are indeed outstanding cameras
especially the D 200 with its alloy body and wide feature range and that they both
would not disappoint me.

Anyway, I need some advice from experts out there.

Thanks in advance!!!


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Old Aug 4, 2007, 1:54 PM   #2
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I've read that the D80 is a D200 in a plastic body, and there's a lot to be said for that.

Personally, I'd like the D200 for the CF cards (vs. the D80's SD cards), the 5 frames per second (vs. the D80's 3 fps), and the bracketing of up to 9 shots (vs. the D80's 3), but I'd like the D80 for the programmed exposure modes (which the D200 doesn't have).

I'd be torn, but if I were a beginner, I'd go with the D80 for the programmed exposure modes.

But getting a dSLR as a first digital camera is like jumping into the pool at the deep end. You might be better off getting your feet wet with the Panasonic.
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Old Aug 4, 2007, 2:05 PM   #3
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The first question you need to answer for yourself is whether you want to deal with a dSLR or not. They are heavier, larger, and will end up costing you a whole lot more money than the superzoom. You get better pictures, but at a big price both in time spent learning how to use the camera properly and processing the pictures when you get back home.

Look at the features you get with all three cameras. Are you going to use the features that are on the more expensive ones? It sounds neat to have all these things, but will you actually USE them? I have the ability to take amulti-exposure picture on my camera and have never used it.

Then look at what focal length you are getting with the 3 camera/lens combinationsand what you might want. The 18-200 is supposed to be outstanding, is stabilized (a plus) but have heard that it's hard to find in-stock (B&H has them listed as out of stock at the moment). The 18-70 kit lens isn't as long - are you going to miss the range between 70-200? There's no universal right or wrong answer to that question - some people shoot mostly wide angle while I'd rather have the extra length.

If I weren't convinced that I would like carrying a slingpack with all sorts of extra stuff with me, I'd get the super-zoom. Just a FYI - I have a Pentax dSLR, and have no trouble carrying all kinds ofSTUFF around with me all the time. But you might not find that fun at all.
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Old Aug 4, 2007, 3:19 PM   #4
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You state that you are a beginner with digital photography. I think the more important question pertaining to your purchase, is "how experienced are you with a SLR?" There is no question that the D200 has a learning curve. If you have 35mm experience already, it is a big help. I have had the D200 for 16 months, and I LOVE IT!!! I was torn between the D200, and the Canon DSLR. Once the salesman started showing me all the advantages of the D200, the choice became easy. I have two daughters that play sports, so the 5 frames per second was important to me. Actually in good lighting, it is quite a bit faster than that. The D80 or D40 weren't even available when I got the 200, so it became a moot point.
I think what you should do is sit down and take an honest assessment of what you want to do with a DSLR, and what you need the DSLR to do. BTW, I went a less expensive route with the lenses. I purchased the Tamron 18-200 for half the cost of the Nikon. I know, you are going to say that it doesn't have the VR mode. But for less than $70.00, I bought a Manfrotto mono-pod that let's me shoot in near darkness. The VR gives you maybe a couple of f-stops, but it is no stedier than your hands. In fact, I went out this year and bought the Tamron 200-500 lens and with the mono-pod have gotten some great sports shots of my kids.
I will say this about the D200. I did not have a single second of buyer's remorse over spending that much money. The camera is everything they say, and more.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 12:40 AM   #5
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Hello, TCav, mtngal & JPMac13!

In the first place, please forgive me for not answering you earlier but we had some visitors over the weekend.

Regarding my recent post, please allow me to thank you for your very informative and kind suggestions and recommendations.

In the meantime, I made up my mind and decided to definitely go for the Nikon D 80
plus the Nikkor 18 - 200 mm VR lens which indeed seems to be a nearly unbeatable combination.

Once again, thank you very much and good luck to all of you!!

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