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Old Dec 18, 2006, 7:58 PM   #1
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I am looking at buying a DSLR camera and lens for under $1000.

I will mostly be using the camera for outside pictures of kids, more candid shots than formal portraits. I will also use it for landscapes.

I have a older 35mm Sigma SLR camera with a couple of lenses. Can these be used with any other brand or only a Sigma camera? I think I already know that answer:sad:.

What would be the best camera to buy?

Should I buy a body with a lens included or buy the body and invest in a better lens? What would be the best lens to purchase.

This will have to be my camera for a long time so I want to make a wise selection. Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old Dec 18, 2006, 9:33 PM   #2
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There are sooooo many good bodies under $1k right now that it really all comes down to personal preferences. I.e. button locations, fit, etc. I went with the D50 over the Canon XT and XTi mainly because of how it fit my hands and the locations of the buttons. I also prefer SD cards because both my laptops have built in Sd readers and I didn't really want or need 10mp. Heck, I've made great 8x10 prints with a 2mp camera in the past, and seeing how I don't own a photograph larger then 8x10 in my house anything over 4-5mp is really just gravey for me.

I liked the though of the image stabilization in the body of the Pentax but I was turned off by the use of AA's and the poor battery life. I got over 800 shots with my D50 on the very first charge with lots of use of flash. I also didn't like how long it took the Pentax cameras to start up, the D50 is on as soon as you flip the switch.

I went with the D50 instead of the D40 because I prefer hard buttons to the menu system of the D40 and I like the top mounted info LCD that the D40 lacks. The lack of built in AF drive motor was huge for me since I wanted the 24/2.8 prime and the 50/1.8 prime.

I went with the D50 intead of the D70 because I thought the pictures I got out of the D50 just looked better to my eye then the D70 in jpeg mode, and I shoot mainly in jpeg mode. The D50 also had better high ISO performance which was a biggie for me.

The truth be told every camera I listed takes fantastic pictures. With good glass I could have been happy with any of them in the long run. I could easily list 3-4 features of all the other cameras on why I liked them better then the D50.
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Old Dec 18, 2006, 11:38 PM   #3
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Under $1000, you've got plenty of good choices. I use the Pentax K100D and love the shake reduction. I can use any Pentax lens ever made (some really good bargains out there) and they're all image stabilized now. BTW, I get over 600 shots, (some with flash) on my AA rechargables - well over 1000 if I use CRV3's. Also, I've yet to miss a shot because of any "delay" turning on the camera. All dSLRs are ready to take a picture before you can get itto your eye and snap a shot. If there's some specific need you have, you may find one camera is better at that particular area than some others. However, I think any camera you buy in this price range will give you great results and lots of fun.

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Old Dec 19, 2006, 7:43 AM   #4
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mitobito wrote:
Quote:
I am looking at buying a DSLR camera and lens for under $1000.
Currently Pentax K10D is clearly the best between DSLRs under $1000.

JinE wrote:
Quote:
I liked the though of the image stabilization in the body of the Pentax but I was turned off by the use of AA's and the poor battery life. I got over 800 shots with my D50 on the very first charge with lots of use of flash. I also didn't like how long it took the Pentax cameras to start up, the D50 is on as soon as you flip the switch.
Are you talking about those cheap alkaline AAs? Use Lithium AA and you'll get up to 1000 shots per set. Use rechargeable NiMH AAs and you'll get ~500 shot per charge. I wouldn't call that poor battery life.

Startup isn't bad either. You just need to switch off welcome screen (in custom settings) and then startup is instant.

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Old Dec 19, 2006, 12:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice I hadn't considered the Pentax so I''ll take a closer look.

The Nikon 50is one I had considered.

With the Pentax and the Nikon, are 6.1 mp enough to get a nice looking 8x10 with some cropping?

No one mentioned the Olympus Evolt500, I thought that might be a nice option since you can get the body and two lens packagefor a reasonable price. Anyone have any experience with this camera?
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 12:50 PM   #6
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Edvinas wrote:
Quote:
mitobito wrote:
Quote:
I am looking at buying a DSLR camera and lens for under $1000.
Currently Pentax K10D is clearly the best between DSLRs under $1000.

JinE wrote:
Quote:
I liked the though of the image stabilization in the body of the Pentax but I was turned off by the use of AA's and the poor battery life. I got over 800 shots with my D50 on the very first charge with lots of use of flash. I also didn't like how long it took the Pentax cameras to start up, the D50 is on as soon as you flip the switch.
Are you talking about those cheap alkaline AAs? Use Lithium AA and you'll get up to 1000 shots per set. Use rechargeable NiMH AAs and you'll get ~500 shot per charge. I wouldn't call that poor battery life.

Startup isn't bad either. You just need to switch off welcome screen (in custom settings) and then startup is instant.
I got over 1000 shots on the rechargeable battery on my D50. No need to buy expensive CR3's or lithium AA's. My experience with the voltage drop over time with NiMH's makes me not like them as an option, gotta keep a set in the charger at all times and I'm sorta lazy and have a tendency to forget that type of thing.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 2:44 PM   #7
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The Pentax K10D might arguably be the best body currently available for under $1000, but the Olympus E-500 is one of the best values if you want the total package for under $1000. Especially if you get the two lens kit for under $650 (no reason not to get the 2 lens kit here!).

http://www.jdpower.com/util/ratings/results.aspx?study_id=901&vertical=Electronics &v1=$600%20or%20more

It does have it's limitations, however. It's the weakest of the current DSLRs in its high ISO performance. At anything much past ISO 400, image quality will fall short of the others (though at 800 still really isn't bad). If you plan to do any serious sports, action, or much low light shooting without flash, you might want to look at other models, particularly Canon, which is the leader in this area.

Another advantage that Canon and Nikon have is that, as the market leaders, there is lots of equipment available. In many places you can find photo shps which will rent Canon and Nikon gear. If you ever needed a pro quality lens for example for a special event of some sort, you might be able to rent a $3000 lens for the weekend for under $50. They also have extensive collections of lenses, including many good options from third parties. And, thye also have the best intermediate and pro offerings in camera bodies, and likely will be competitive in the future as well. So if you expect to eventually move up to that level of equipment, it might make sense to start of with a Canon or Nikon system for a smoother upgrade path.

On the other hand, on a budget, the Pentax and Sony (Konica Minolta mount) models also have the advantage of a good number of good quality older lenses available in the used market. And both the K100D and Sony Alpha have in camera stabilization systems.

The Olympus, however, is a newer system designed from scratch to be optimized for digital. As a result, there are no older film lenses for this mount, and while the new lenses are very good quality, there is a limited selection. There aren't as many good prime lens offerings as Canon or Nikon. And there is not yet a good affordable longer zoom (past 400mm equivalent) which would be suitable for example for birding (though there are models on the way).

But for most users for whom the entry level DSLR may be as much camera as they'll ever need, the E-500 offers very good value. It's build qaulity, ergonomics, controls, and ease of use are all very good, but there is also alot of customization available. It also has very good in camera jpeg processing. The smaller sensor also means not only a convenient lightweight camera, but also longer equivalent focal leghths from smaller lighter weight lenses that are a bit easier to handle. And those are the best quality kit lenses you'll find in an under $1000 package.

I'll add that another good choice for under $1000 with a high quality kit lens is the Nikon D70s, currently available with the excellent Nikon 18-70 f3.5-4.5 for about $800. I think that's the current best buy in the Nikon and Canon camps.

And also consider the Pentax K110D, which for only $420 after rebate is a solid offering which would leave you plenty of room to splurge on quality glass, or other accesories like external flash and tripod.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 2:46 PM   #8
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6 mp is great for printing up to 8x10, and some people have reported good results with even larger. I wouldn't know since 8x10 is as big as I've ever printed. Recently I posted two essentially identical pictures, one taken with the K100 and one with the K10 (the 10 mp camera). I took the full framed picture and reducedthem down to fit here - I could not tell the difference between them (if you are interested in them, let me know and I can re-post them). While printing isn't quite the same thing, it almost is.

I would also recommend the K100, and I'd recommend it over the K10 for someone either just starting out with a dSLR or for someone who's not going to be printing large posters or doing a huge amount of cropping (you can crop a fair amount from a 6 mp picture withoutlosing quality). It's an easier camera to learn how to use (the K10 has more features and so has a bigger learning curve in the beginning). It's quite a bit less expensive, which will leave you money to invest in additional lenses. I'm very much a firm believer of getting the best lens you can.

I happen to like the Pentax kit lens, it's well worth the little they charge for it. If you want something longer, then get the DA 50-200 to go with the kit lens - that will cover most situations. You can decide later if you want a faster lens of some sort, or something longer or a macro or (the list can get endless).
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Old Dec 20, 2006, 12:32 AM   #9
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A note about use of AA's... the Pentax manual for my DS claims 500 shots with NIMH rechargeables, but I've been hearing a lot of good about the Sanyo Eneloop batteries. If you consider Pentax, consider the Eneloops too. They hold their charge and last longer too I think. If you shoot in really cold weather buy a set of non-rechargeable Lithium AA for backup.
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Old Dec 21, 2006, 4:40 PM   #10
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I'd go for a K10D...

Here's why I would buy one if I had the money:

+ Manual focus confirmation
+ Metering with older lenses, great for experimenting with different types without spending a fortune
+ Nice chunky body, with vertical grip
+ Weather sealing
+ Shake reduction
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