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-   -   Sony a230 or Pentax k2000 ? (

anthony_b Aug 25, 2009 6:23 PM

Sony a230 or Pentax k2000 ?
Which of these two entry level units would be more suitable for a newbie like me. I'll mostly be shooting photos of the kids at the parks,beaches and family events.

TCav Aug 25, 2009 7:14 PM

For what you say you want to do, I don't think it makes much difference which one you choose. They are both very capable cameras. What I think is most important for you to decide is which one you like. If you can't comfortably hold the camera, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll miss some shots and be disappointed with the camera.

mtclimber Aug 25, 2009 7:33 PM


TCav gave you a good answer. Either the Sony A-230 or the Pentax K-2000 will do a good job. But I am going to be the "devil's advocate" here.

Just suppose you could get the image quality you are looking for in a point and shoot, super zoom camera, would you still be headed for a consumer level DSLR camera with multiple lenses? Perhaps it is a matter of camera technique? IMO, the DSLR camera is not always the ultimate solution.

Just a few thoughts. Tell me what you think?

Sarah Joyce

AndySX Aug 26, 2009 5:52 AM

I agree with both previous posts, but in addition to what mtclimber said; these cameras won't exactly slip in your pocket and your requirements don't exacly scream DSLR.

I suppose it depends on what your expectations are of the resulting images. A compact will be fine if your just going to be making regular 4"x6" prints, but if you'd like to use the images for canvases or large prints then an entry level DSLR wouldn't be a bad choice.

I'm looking at the A230 to make my jump from compact to DSLR, my brother owns an A200 and loves it but is looking to move up to something better. I can get some brilliant results from my IXUS 860 IS (with CHDK installed) but even at ISO 80 the noise and fringing is plainly visible at full resolution.

If you're interested you can find a few examples of the IXUS here:

You may also want to look at the recently announced Canon S90 when it's released, it should give G10 performance in an IXUS form factor which sounds really promising :)

Hope thats been of some help.

JohnG Aug 26, 2009 9:09 AM


Originally Posted by AndySX (Post 995201)
A compact will be fine if your just going to be making regular 4"x6" prints, but if you'd like to use the images for canvases or large prints then an entry level DSLR wouldn't be a bad choice.

Here's where I'm going to disagree. When you talk about KIDS, you are often talking about fast moving and often spur-of-the-moment shooting. Try to take those photos for a week with the best digicams and then do it with a DSLR. There's a big difference. The on-time or wake-up time of DSLR is faster, focus time is faster and shutter lag is faster. With kids you can't pre-focus in many instances. A friend has the Canon SX10 - a top notch superzoom camera. And I have countless friends/relatives with various pocketable digicams. Every one of them struggles with getting the photos - especially indoors where it seems to take about 2-3 seconds to take a photo - during which time the child has invariably moved. With a DSLR (and flash in low light) you easily have sub-second response.

NOW, I would agree with your statement when you're talking posed shots vs. shots of them playing. In good light, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a 4x6 from a DSLR vs. a good digicam (assuming deep dof in the DSLR shot).

Now, having said that - there are a couple downsides to a DSLR:
1) size / weight
2) changing lenses
3) depth-of-field. With the larger image sensor and longer physical lenses, a DSLR photo has shallower depth of field. This means less of an image is in focus. So when the focus is on an object OTHER than your intended subject, the resulting photo with a DSLR looks worse. Because the digicam has deeper DOF, the image is more forgiving if you focus on the wrong thing. This causes many newbies a lot of consternation. To many of us, that shallow DOF is a good thing. But to people that just want to point-and-shoot it can be frustrating.

So, whenever you're talking kids, a DSLR still provides a very tangible benefit - even at 4x6 prints. But you do have to deal with the downsides. AND, most importantly - the camera is still just a tool. You have to know how to use it properly. For example, if your subject is moving and you don't enable the DSLRs focus-tracking and don't have a high enough shutter speed (or flash) you'll still get poor shots. So, the DSLR definitely has more potential - but it is NOT a magic point-and-shoot. You have to know how to set it up in challenging situations (low light, moving kids etc) to get the right results. Left in full auto you can get great results in easy shooting situations but in tougher situations (which is why most people buy a dslr vs. a digicam) you'll still get poor results until you learn principles of photography. It is NOT a matter of "how do I use my camera" - no more than driving is about "how do I use my car". How long do you study a car manual? Not very long. That's the big secret - photography is the same way. Want to take good photos? Learn photography.

I say all this because there are a number of frustrated new DSLR users out there. They're frustrated because they expected the DSLR to be a magic point-and-shoot camera. It isn't.

anthony_b Aug 26, 2009 9:33 AM

JohnG and Sarah, thank you so much for responding. Sarah, you made a good point, if I can get the same image quality from the Panny FZ35 I would go for that instead (even though carrying a bigger camera would not be a big deal for me). I would just hate to have buyers remorse after laying down money on a camera if it doesn't meet my expectations, and I was just assuming that with a dslr set to "auto" I would get better IQ in various situations. IQ is the most important thing for me (I'm more of a Home theater guy, and I'm always the first to jump into HD, lcd/plasma, blu-ray), so getting the best image displayed and printed would be the ideal situation...When it comes to prints, the most I would do would be 8x10.

I also, forgot to mention that the entry level slr's are about the same price these days as the highly regarded p/s cameras...I know that down the road slr users would get extra lenses, but for my needs that would not be a concern at this time

TCav Aug 26, 2009 9:53 AM

The advantage of a P&S digicam is that you don't have to customize it; the disadvantage is that, if you want to, it's tough or impossible.

The disadvantage of a dSLR is that you have to customize it; the advantage is that it's not tough and rarely impossible.

mtclimber Aug 26, 2009 11:10 AM

Finding the Really RIGHT Camera
Good Morning, anthony_b-

As you might have read before, I shoot with both digicams (point & shoot cameras) and DSLR cameras. Quite honestly stated, they each have their advantages and disadvantages. IMO it comes down to selecting the best camera that fits your shooting style and the expectations you sincerely have for your images.

So at the end of the day, we are very much like shoe fitters in this Forum. Our job is to find what is most comfortable for the OP (anthony_b) in this case. When a poster says their expectation is to get "WOW" level image quality, while shooting a DSLR camera in the fully automatic mode, makes me listen a lot more carefully. Why you might ask? Because one of the inherent advantages of a DSLR is the fact that a DSLR produces those great images when the photographer makes use of all those DSLR features to essentially tailor, or customize (as TCav mentioned) the DSLR camera exactly to the photo environment. A person, sincere as they might be, shooting in the full automatic mode with a DSLR camera, does NOT do that.

When you are shooting a DSLR camera in the fully automatic mode, you are essentially making that DSLR camera, a larger, heavier, and in most cases, a more expensive point and shoot camera. It is like purchasing a Lexus and then just coasting down hills and never using the engine, the air conditioner, and the many other features that make that Lexus what it really is.

In the last 12 to 18 months, we have all read about point and shooters who envisioned a DSLR as the absolute silver bullet in terms of obtaining the "WOW" level in image quality. The continuous stream of "WOW" images did not occur after they had their DSLR cameras for several months. They were let down and disappointed, JohnG mentioned that fact.

Andy also raised another important point, a DSLR is the better answer, if you are to going to make large prints and exhibition prints. Today, less that 25% of all photos taken are ever printed. Large canvases and large prints represent less than 2% of all the photos taken.

I would prefer to address the problem from a different direction, if that would be acceptable. Let's take an in-depth look at which cameras you have used in the last 24 months and attempt to determine, with your assistance, anthony_b, why the cameras used did not produce the desired image quality for the subjects you were shooting. Then knowing that, we can do a much better job of spec'ing out what the next camera really ought to be, based anthony_b's evaluation of the photos actually taken, anthony_b's experience level, and exactly what steps should be taken next, in terms of planning, equipment, and how the photos are shared with family and friends.

What do you think? I think that we might get a better fit.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

anthony_b Aug 26, 2009 11:26 AM

Sarah, I totally understand where your comming from. But, if I can get a DSLR for the same price as the P/S and then in the future have the opportunity to learn and get more out of my camera, do you think I should still perhaps go with a p/s ?....I understand that maybe both cameras (p/s and slr) both set to auto would give me similar results but in the long run, I can always learn more about my new slr, right ?...My gripe is low light performance, I couldn't tell you the model numbers of my cameras at this moment, and I'm also unable to upload images now becuase I'm on my co's network...:D

TCav Aug 26, 2009 11:38 AM

Up until now, your stated requirements have been generic, and in that case, a P&S might do just as well for you as a dSLR. In your last post, you added another requirement when you said "My gripe is low light performance ...". That's the relm of the dSLR. You can use large aperture lenses, and, in general, you can get away with higher ISO settings.

That's the "customize" part I mentioned earlier.

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