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Nu2DC Dec 14, 2009 11:10 AM

P&S Simplicity with DSLR Speed
My wife likes things uncomplicated. She wants a camera that is mostly automatic (P&S?) with zero shutter lag (donít we all?) and zero blurring during action shots (2 year-olds are seldom still). I canít see her switching lenses back and forth, at least not at this point. Perhaps if I can get her into a photography class down the road, maybe the lens-changing option may actually become acceptable. On top of all of this, we have a budget of $500 or thereabouts. A DSLR that meets these needs would be great; otherwise, I'm guessing a top-level IS P&S would be needed.

Our pictures are 90% or more of family and family activities, with a few distance shots, low-light shots, and probably no sports shots. However, small kids running around probably equates to the speed of sports shots, and that plus shutter lag are our biggest areas needing improvement.

Years ago we purchased an Olympus C-770 for our first trip to Europe. With its compact size and 10X optical zoom, it was a good choice at that time. However, with grandkids now in the picture, it canít begin to keep up with their speed. We have friends and family with DSLRís that take great shots quickly with no lag or blurring, but the cost, weight, and complexity put my wife off. What cameras would you suggest to meet the needs of this user?

mtclimber Dec 14, 2009 11:34 AM


As an experiment this past summer I purchased a Sony A-230 DSLR camera, and instead of the Sony 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera, I equipped it with a Sigma 18-125mm lens that I owned to given it more zoom and to overcome the need to change lenses.

Then I loaned it out to students in my digital camera classes for a week at a time to see how they liked it and responded to it as "their temporary camera." Their responses were 100% positive. They enjoyed the A-230's quickness and found that due to its smaller size and weight, it was an easy and fun camera to transition to with ease from their P+S cameras.

Then I took my turn with the camera, and even with many years of experience, it really was fun to shoot with a small, light DSLR camera, that was very much like a P+S Plus Camera with more features. I found that there was fun going to ISO 1600 with ease, and still have very good image quality, and even to ISO 3200 in a pinch.

So there is an example that is quite like what you are suggesting for your wife. You can often find Sony A-230 camera on E-Bay used at a reasonable price. So that might be a very good option for her indeed.

Finally, I surely do agree with you, that she will progress much faster and have a happier experience with photography if she were to take some classes at your local Community College.

Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce

TCav Dec 14, 2009 12:06 PM

The zero shutter lag, the low light, and the sports/action all point to a dSLR. The A230 that Sarah pointed out is a good choice. There are others, but the Sony and the Pentax K-x benefit from having image stabilization in the camera body, and good high ISO performance.

I suggest you go to a good camera store and try them on for size.

Hards80 Dec 14, 2009 12:12 PM

I think most of the entry level dslrs should fit your needs equally well. It may just be about finding the one that you and your wife feel the most comfortable with. If it is not a surprise gift maybe head down to the local camera store and get a feel of which ones within your price range you like.

For a small light in this price range dslr, check into:
the aforementioned Sony A-230
Olympus E520
Canon XS
Pentax K2000

If you can stretch your budget 50-100$ u can add:
Canon XSi
Pentax K-X
Nikon D3000

Nu2DC Dec 14, 2009 1:59 PM

Thanks to all three of you for your informative replies. I definitely like the idea of having the IS in the body vs the lens. I would think it would make future lens purchases (should she choose to expand) less expensive, correct? With the E520 being closed out (according to other threads), I would think the E620 would be more easily found and is often on sale with the lens(es) kit. What features and advantages does the 620 have over the 520, the Canon XSi over the XS, and the Pentax K-X over the K2000? Also, which of the Olympus, Canon, and Pentax mentioned also have the body-mounted IS? Thanks again.

mtclimber Dec 14, 2009 2:13 PM


That is one huge question. The E-620 is preferable to me because it has 1 full stop of extra dynamic range when compared to the E-520. That issue would probably not be an earth shaking difference to your wife at all. The E-620 also has a rotatable LCD screen, and more customization features than the E-520 does not have.

Currently the E-520 two lens kit is the biggest bank for the buck. But the most important issue, that you seemed to have missed is that you have to get your wife to a camera store and handle the DSLR cameras in which you are interested in right now. How a camera feels in hand and how a hand spans the controls and finds them easy to use is very, very important.

In my opinion, there is a real advantage to in body image stabilization that is found on Sony, Olympus and Pentax cameras. The Pentax Kx is better than the Pentax K-2000 camera because the Kx has 2 more mp and has much more ISO capability than the K-2000 model.

The Canon XSi is preferable to the XS model because of the expanded feature set on the Canon XSi.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Dec 14, 2009 2:19 PM

Yes, the E620 is preferable over the e520 for those reasons, just when i checked the prices it was quite a bit higher than the others mentioned.

Beyond the resolution advantage of the kx over the k2000 is a better autofocus system 11pt vs 5pt and better overall shooting performance due to sharing its image processing system with the more expensive k-7.

The Canon XSi beyond the resolution advantage offers a better autofocus system, 9pt vs 7pt (and much quicker, the 9pt canon af is quite good), faster shooting performance, and better ergonomics (the rubber coating on grip, etc, really helps)

Nu2DC Dec 14, 2009 2:46 PM

Thanks, Sarah and Hards. You're right, my next step is getting her to a store to hand-fit her choice, as well as look at the options and prices. Sarah, you mentioned finding the A-230 used on eBay. How lucky have you or anyone you know been in buying used cameras on eBay? I've bought a lot on there, but never used items. Also, the Sigma 18-125mm lens that you put on your loaner, did it require an adapter ring or did it mount directly to the body?

mtclimber Dec 14, 2009 7:24 PM


I have never had a used camera problem with items that I have purchased on E-Bay. I do however, look over the item carefully, I look at the sellers feed back score, and I look to see if there is a return privilege offered.

The Sigma 18-125 was offered by Sigma in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony lens formats, so adapter was required as I had the lens in the Sony lens format. So I mounted it directly on to the Sony A-230 DSLR camera.

Sarah Joyce

shoturtle Dec 14, 2009 8:08 PM

With the e620, k-x and the xsi you can just buy the body only and get a lens with greater range. You will not find to many body only for the k2000, e520, xs, A230 or A330 as the companys only sold them in kit form.

From what I have ready I would avoid the kit lenses and get the body only. And something like the following. This way your wife will not have to change lenses and have some reach.
sigma 18-125
sigma 18-200
tamron 28-200
olypmus 18-180
tamron 18-200

The sony and the olympus are the lightest, as weight may be a concern for you wife.

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