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Old Oct 6, 2006, 11:38 AM   #1
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I have an older Canon S30 now. I like it, it takes good pictures, its prints up to 6x8 are great, when the camera gets the exposure and focus right. I'll say that it gets the photo right between 50-75% of the time. When it's wrong it's not terrible, just not perfect.

My biggest complaints about the camera are its poor low light performance, and more importantly it's oversaturated color (I like my photos to be more true to life).
Again, I like the camera just fine, but I've taken 1000s of pictures with it, so I can really pin point what I'm looking for next.

I've decided to start looking for a replacement camera, and here's my list of requirements:
  1. Better focusing/exposure accuracy.[/*]
  2. Good low light performance (and by that I mean indoors, not asking for the impossible).[/*]
  3. Quicker recycle and focus time than I have - this camera is ~4 years old, I think things have changed a lot since then.[/*]
  4. GREAT in-camera color/picture accuracy. The LAST thing I want to do is post process my photos in photoshop or the like. I don't mind red eye reduction or cropping, but I do not want to mess with color, sharpening, etc...[/*]
  5. I've been thinking I want to experiment with a wide angle lens.[/*]
Primarily, I like to take pictures of my family and friends. No sports and no serious nature photography. I aspire to take artistic candids, but I'm still learning. Oh, and I like to make plenty of prints.

Here's where my camera research has led me:
At first I was dying for a Canon G6 (a few weeks before the G7 was announced). I still love my canon, and this camera gets top marks. Then I was sure I wanted a Kodak P880, for the great color and wide angle lens. Most recently I've been eyeing the Fuji S6500FD.
And always stewing in the back of my head is the Pentax K100D. My older film camera was a K1000, and I have the standard Pentax/SMC lens, which is amazing. The huge drawback to this dSLR, is that untill I get an AF lens, I can't hand the camera to my wife for her to use in P&S mode (she has no desire to learn).

So I'm trying to keep this purchase in the 3-500 range, and used is just fine with me.

Any suggestions, cameras I've missed?
thanks!
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 12:22 PM   #2
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I know some people might come in here later onto recommend you the Pentax K100D. The Pentax K100D is not a bad camera at all, just keep in mind that it is a dSLR. A dSLR requires more than one lens; unless you can get an all in one lens, which will usually result in poorer image quality. (It is usually the case that more zoom degrades the lens quality in certain ways)

You can check out the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-R1 fix lens pro camera; it is an interesting camera>>>

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/r1.html





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Old Oct 6, 2006, 1:37 PM   #3
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digraph wrote:
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And always stewing in the back of my head is the Pentax K100D. My older film camera was a K1000, and I have the standard Pentax/SMC lens, which is amazing. The huge drawback to this dSLR, is that untill I get an AF lens, I can't hand the camera to my wife for her to use in P&S mode (she has no desire to learn).

So I'm trying to keep this purchase in the 3-500 range, and used is just fine with me.
Your list does sound like you would be happier with a dSLR than with one of the fixed lens cameras. The K100D is a nice camera (I have one)and if you were to buy one with the kit lens, you would have an AF lens for your wife, along with somethingfairly wide-angle, morethan what you have with your "standard Pentax/SMC lens" - I would guess that it is a 50mm 1.7 or something like that (and if that's the case, is IS a very nice lens!). The kit lens doesn't add that much cost to the camera, though the combination is running $601 on B&H's website today, so it might be out of your price range.

Just my opinion, but any budget dSLR will give you better photo quality than any of the fixed lenses. Your old K1000 was a whole lot better than a Kodak Instamatic, as well as being a whole lot bigger and more complicated, and so the dSLRs are over the fixed lens cameras. If you can afford it and are willing to accept the sacrifices you make, get the K100D.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 2:15 PM   #4
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Quote:

Just my opinion, but any budget dSLR will give you better photo quality than any of the fixed lenses. Your old K1000 was a whole lot better than a Kodak Instamatic, as well as being a whole lot bigger and more complicated, and so the dSLRs are over the fixed lens cameras. If you can afford it and are willing to accept the sacrifices you make, get the K100D.


I don't think thatthe image qualities of the R1 is worse than a dSLR. In fact, the R1's Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* optics is higher in quality than most gooddSLR lenses.

And it has always been said (by professionals) that the "lens" is the major factor in image quality. (I think this shouldn't be surprising)

Next part: "But fix lens cameras have tiny image sensors..."

The R1's large APS-C size CMOS imager is as large as the ones found on dSLRs.

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Old Oct 6, 2006, 2:16 PM   #5
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I use a Sigma 18-125 for my primary lens and it is great. To see an example log on to http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=105269&forum_id=80. I use a Pentax *ist DL camera. Put the camera on "auto", use the zoom ring and she will be set.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 2:48 PM   #6
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Here's a few thoughts. Sounds like you want a camera where you can adjust saturation and such in-camera. I would look for a feature like that.

On the exposure front - that one's tougher. There are two challenges:

1. Determining what the exposure really needs to be.

2. Camera having the ability to achieve that exposure given the limitations imposed upon it (max aperture, min shutter speed), etc..

Point #2 is a fact of life. every camera has some limitations and you already know that ISO ability and flash range on a digicam are limiting factors to achieving proper exposure. The flash is really the biggest one - most digicams really only have flashes useful for about 5-7 feet (despite what the manual says).

So, point number 1 comes into play. Even with the best equipment, determining a correct exposure is difficult in many situations. The key is understanding how your camera meters so you know when to override the camera's metering system. For instance on my Canon 20d, I know that in general the canon metering system is biased to protect highlights - so if there are bright areas anywhere in the frame the camera will want to underexpose. I also know that if I'm in an evaluative meter mode that bright object can be anywhere. If I'm in a center weighted mode it obviously has less affect (but still some). So, by understanding how my camera meters and what it's going to do, I know when I need to apply EC (or, if shooting manual, over or under expose). What's my point, you ask? My point is that even DSLRs have metering issues. So, anytime you're doing everything on auto mode you're going to run into mis-metered scenes frequently. So, if proper exposure is a hot button, just be prepared - every camera is going to give you some issues.

You might say, I shot film and I don't remember this issue. But, my guess is - if you still have film shots you probably did have issues - under/over exposure wasn't as pronounced because film had more dynamic range. But, the issue was likely still there - it's just with digital everyone takes 100 times more photos than they ever did with film and standards have gone WAY WAY up.

SO, my advice - find a camera that allows you to set sharpening, color and saturation in-camera so you can reduce the need for those activities in PP. And if you take a lot of flash shots, get a camera with a hot shoe because the built in flashes on most cameras - dslrs included really do stink.

Hope that's helpful!
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 3:45 PM   #7
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The R1 is definitely an interesting camera, but since the topic of wide angle lenses was listed as one of the criteria, I thought thatits lens, limited to 24-120, wouldn't meet his needs as well. The kit lens at 18-55 would be wider, and he'd have the option of using his own existing lens from the K1000.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 4:12 PM   #8
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mtngal wrote:
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The R1 is definitely an interesting camera, but since the topic of wide angle lenses was listed as one of the criteria, I thought thatits lens, limited to 24-120, wouldn't meet his needs as well. The kit lens at 18-55 would be wider, and he'd have the option of using his own existing lens from the K1000.
An 18-55mm kit lens on a DSLR with an APS-C size sensor would not be wider.

It's the other way around.

An 18-55mm kit lens on a DSLR using a Sony APS-C sensor would have the roughly same angle of view that you'd have using a 27-83mm lens on a 35mm camera.

For those DSLR models, you'd need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5 to see how the angle of view compares to a lens on a 35mm camera. It's actually closer to 1.53x but most people round it to 1.5x

The lens on the Sony DSC-R1 starts out with a wider angle of view, since it has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-120mm (same angle of view as you'd have with a 24-120mm lens on a 35mm camera).

The actual focal length of the lens on the DSC-R1 is 14.3-71.5mm. With this model, if you want to see what focal range you'd need on a 35mm camera for the same angle of view, you'd need to multiply the actual focal length of the lens by about 1.68

As with most digital cameras with permanently attached lenses, the marketing specs show a "35mm equivalent" range (24-120mm in the case of the Sony DSC-R1).

To match the DSC-R1's angle of view on a DSLR like the Pentax, Nikon, Sony or KM DSLR models using a Sony APS-C size sensor, you'd need to use a 16-80mm lens.

Interestingly, Sony has announced that they will be shipping a 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Carl Zeiss Lens in Minolta AF mount, which would allow Sony or KM DSLR models to get the same angle of view you'd get with the DSC-R1 in a high quality zoom (equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera):

Carl Zeiss 16-80mm AF Lens for Sony Alpha and KM DSLR models

The Sony DSC-R1's lens starts out at a wider angle of view compared to the kit lenses you find with most DSLR models (same as you'd have using a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera, or a 16mm lens on a DSLR with an APS-C size sensor like the Pentax, Sony, KM or Nikon DSLR models).

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Old Oct 6, 2006, 7:53 PM   #9
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I have the Pentax *ist DS and I have to admit those 50mm lenses are really nice(much like a 75mm portrait lens due to the crop factor). For wide angle the Zenitar 16 is a cheap but good option... now I'm only really going to address one of your concerns. I use only SMC-M lenses on my DS and personaly enjoy them much more than AF lenses, but if anybody else uses the camera I make sure to set the aperture at what I think will be appropriate and tell them to hit the AE-L button before taking a picture(which sets the shutter speed for an appropriate exposure). I kinda have to be there to make sure their photos get exposed correctly though. If your lens is an SMC-A version you will be in luck. The camera works fine with all of the exposure modes with the SMC-A lenses. The only thing that wont work is AF, and most people can figure out how to manual focus. You do have to keep in mind the 1.5x crop factor though, which means a 50mm lens has a fov of a 75mm lens on your old K1000, and a 28mm lens acts like a 42mm, and so on.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 11:49 PM   #10
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Quote:

but since the topic of wide angle lenses was listed as one of the criteria, I thought thatits lens, limited to 24-120, wouldn't meet his needs as well.
O, I see; so this topic was also interested in wide angle lenses huh? :roll:

The R1 have a 24 mm F/2.8 equivalent wide angle at the wide end. That is so far the best combination I could find so far.

Quote:

I thought thatits lens, limited to 24-120, wouldn't meet his needs as well.

O, I see; I am surprised tohear that one of the best focal lengths, such as the 24 - 120 mm equivalent lens of the R1 can be limiting. :?

Did he said he wanted a mega-zoomfocal length? If not, nothing beats the 24 - 120 mm focallength of the R1's lens;and itis as good quality as the higher end dSLR lenses. (One that passed thelens test with flying colors)





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