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Old Jan 10, 2007, 7:39 PM   #11
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Hmmmm...it was a jpeg when I sent it to myself at home. Maybe when I resized it, I accidentally changed its format. Let me try again (if you can stand looking at this picture again!!)

I am usually about 50 feet or so from the stage, depending on where I manage to get a seat, sometimes a bit less.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 7:59 PM   #12
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here is a shot of a play 40 feet away very dark auditorium. No post processing. Just reduced to 800px
Camera: Canon 300d, Lens: Sigma 24-70mm EX, Flash: Promaster 7500dx
you can buy all these for $700-800 as the Camera and lens can be bought used (that's what I did)
ISO 400, f8, Shutter 1/200

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Old Jan 10, 2007, 8:06 PM   #13
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this is a 100% magnification crop of the image above
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 8:40 PM   #14
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here is a link to look at

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=9

a comparison of a Fuji S6000fd and my Canon 300d

the difference is less obvious but still there.
the conditions are - kids and cats indoors
I have posted only a few pics ... I got TONNS of great quality pics taken indoors

and since you posted outdoors images - here is an outdoors shot dirrectly from my Canon 300d for comparison. No postprocessing - just resize. I should note that outdoors shots with plenty of light are not so greatly different between my Canon 300d and modersn P&S
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 12:35 AM   #15
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Great auditorium pictures--those are the kind I can olny wish to take at this point (and with the S2 probably never will, considering my wretched auditorium shot is taken at about 10 in the morning--not as dark of a time as the picture would lead you to believe).

So is the 300D a predecessor of the XTi? When you say to buy them used, do they still come with any leftover warranty?

LOL, it seems I was originally trying to decide between 3 superzooms, and now I've managed to get myself into a different dilemna...which one of 3 entry-level dslr's? D50 vs. K100D vs. XTi--who knew I could analyze a decision this much? I guess it would come down to which one would be easiest for me to learn but still take the pictures I want, and which one I could afford to get lenses for to shoot my various situations?


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Old Jan 11, 2007, 1:53 AM   #16
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Some ideas:

1. A cheap one (not ideal, but ok) - the Fuji S5200 is not bad at up to ISO 800. At full zoom its maximum aperture is f3.2. You can get this camera online for less than $250. Downside - picture quality is not as good as a DSLR's. Also it has no IS.

2.A pentax K100d has built in IS. If you bought that with the kit lens online, it would cost less than $560 shipped. You could get a Tamron or Sigma 18-200mm lens (equivalent to 27-300mm because of the crop factor) for 350 bucks. This camera takes usable pictures at ISO 1600. However, neither of the lenses I mentioned are particularly "fast" (low f-stopped), which means they are not ideal for really low light.

I have the Fuji S9100, similar to the S6000fd except it has 9 megapixels vs. 6 for the S6000fd, and isn't as good at lowlight images. It's pretty good up to ISO 400, ok at 800. However, I think theS5200 gives you more bang for your buck in low light at full zoom.

You need to set yourself a budget that you feel comfortable with. If it's over $600, you can start to consider DSLR's.
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 9:20 AM   #17
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Tallis wrote:
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So is the 300D a predecessor of the XTi? When you say to buy them used, do they still come with any leftover warranty?

LOL, it seems I was originally trying to decide between 3 superzooms, and now I've managed to get myself into a different dilemna...which one of 3 entry-level dslr's? D50 vs. K100D vs. XTi--who knew I could analyze a decision this much? I guess it would come down to which one would be easiest for me to learn but still take the pictures I want, and which one I could afford to get lenses for to shoot my various situations?

300d is actully a predecessor of XT which is a predeccessor of XTi. 300d was first announced in August 2003.
I bought mine used with extended store warranty that was passed on to me.
The lens - sigmas warranty is 6 years as far as I remember, but I may be wrong.

I would not get a sigma/tamron 18-200mm lens ... they are very poor quality, horribly slow focus that hunts in low light and you will not get shots like mine with these lens ever. At least I could not get any half decent shots of anything at any focal length.
May be I am too demanding though.
I just tested a few lens yesterday for my own use and Sigma 18-125 is not so amazing but alright, and Sigma 17-70mm is quite decent. fast enough focus to do stage shots, it is also f2.8 at the wide ens and 4.5 at the tele.
Though - if you notice - the shot I posted above was taken with f8 apperture.

the important component here is my flash. It adds the necessery light to the dark environment.

at shutter speed of 60 or 200 that my flash works on there is no need for IS.
IS is only needed at shutter speeds below 1/60 for me - thus it makes no difference if I have it or not.

I think if you are allowed to use flash, you should get a camera that can have external flash. Flash saves the day for me each time. I would not have made shots like that with built in flash from that distance.

You can decide what camera you want while testing them at the camera store. Before the performance - buy it and you can return it if it does not do what you want it to.
Perception of quality is very individual and what seems great for me can be unacceptable for others and vice versa .

as I said before - go to a camera store and test the fujis and canons and a bunch of DSLRs. You will get a much better idea there then reading what we have to say

if you are looking at DSLRs - consider Canon XT, Canon XTi and Nikon d40.

forget about dust shaking , IS and other stuff ....
dust shake sensor on XTi has no impact if you only use one lens and never change. and even if you do ... dust is rarely a problem. no reason to buy a XTi only because it has more megapixel that you do not need and dust reduction that you do not need.
IS is a nice feature if it works and you use it in your shooting conditions .... you are much better of with better quality high ISO on canon cameras then poor ISO performance on Pentax that no IS can resolve, especially a not so great IS that pentax has.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 4:18 PM   #18
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More answers, more questions.

I think my budget could be around $700ish right now, and if I needed additional lenses I could buy them after the pain of the initial purchase wore off. :-) I've basically come to the realization that what I need is an entry level DSLR, not a superzoom, if I ever want to shoot in this auditorium. I am going to be in it for the next 5 or so years, so why buy a camera that I know will disappoint me from the get go?

One of the other parents who was shooting pictures the same day of the shot I posted above has the 5200, and she couldn't get a decent shot either. She said she was not impressed with its performance in that area.

I tried to go down to our camera shop today, but they closed at 3pm. So a few more questions for you...1) will any of the 3 dslr cameras I am thinking about be able to use an external flash? 2) what exactly is the difference between the D40 and the D50? the former has no AF lenses? 3) is there anything at all that can be done in auditorium that does NOT allow flash photography? The dance recital is held in a different, larger auditorium where I'm usually in the 10th row, but they absolutely do not allow flash photography.

Also, I looked at my community college offerings last night, and they don't have a single digital photography course. They do have some online courses though--do you think it would be possible to learn what I need to know in that kind of format?

And again, thanks to everyone for the continuing help.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 10:00 PM   #19
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with no flash it gets a little bit more expensive on the lens side of things
in my oppinion if flash is not allowed you probably need a camera that can produce acceptable images at high ISO (sensitivity). You would probably need to shoot at ISO 1600 or even 3200. It gets noisy at these ISO levels though still much better then what you got right now.

When you want to upgrade from the kit lens - the lens becomes the biggest expense. You'd probably want the one that can have maximum apperture of 2.8.
The lens I got is Sigma 24-70mm EX 2.8. which costs arround $400
there is a Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 that costs $350 and is also considered very good if not better then the Sigma I got. Canon equivalent of these lens costs over $1000.
Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.5 may be another choice.

Without knowing the conditions it is hard to say what settings you'd need on your camera but most likely you need ISO 800, 1600 or 3200.
Use shutter 1/60 or faster so that you can hand hold the camera and still capture the motion.
and whatever apperture that allows in enough light with the shutter and ISO settings above. (Nikon d40 can set the apperture and ISO automatically, on Canon you have to set ISO manually)

Having said what I said before ... I think that a Nikon d40 is a great camera with an amazingly low noise levels at high ISO and a very good kit lens. You can not go wrong with it and it does amazingly well at ISO 1600 which is probably the highest you want to go anyways.

A buddy of mine just recently got a d40 which is a DSLR but is as easy to use as a P&S. He loves it and can not stop taking pictures with it. It has a 6mp sensor which is more then you ever need anyways. The kit lens on all cameras are probably a bit not long enough. The Canon's kit lens is very poor quality. You may add a longer lens later. Something like Sigma 17-70mm ($380) is a good choice, there are other lens too. I just recently investigated all the choices I mentioned above so I know the cost and quality.

So even though I am not a Nikon user - my vote goes for Nikon d40.
Pentax k100d and Canon XT are also the options.

http://www.digitalreview.ca/Content/...0D-K100D.shtml

As for the photo courses ... well I'd start reading some photography basics online.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/shutteraperture.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40...uide/index.htm - a very good guide to Nikon d40 very easy read and teaches you some stuff.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/d200...d40-5d-xti.htm

You can browse Ken Rockwell's web site as it's a very easy read. He oversimplifies some things and that's exactly what you need . He is Nikon biast though. I learned a few things from his site.

Here is the link I learned a lot from. there are several VERY short articles with examples that explain the basics very well: http://www.photozone.de/4Technique/index.html


As for the flash - and DSLR can use an external flash. Many P&S cameras can use one as well.
When the time comes to buy one - ask the question here and you will get a few oppinions. You would probably end up spending arround $200 for the flash. It is a waste of money to buy anything cheaper then that and in most cases you don't need the more expensive ones unless you have specific needs.

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Old Jan 13, 2007, 10:01 PM   #20
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Tallis wrote:
Quote:
1) will any of the 3 dslr cameras I am thinking about be able to use an external flash? 2) what exactly is the difference between the D40 and the D50? the former has no AF lenses? 3) is there anything at all that can be done in auditorium that does NOT allow flash photography? The dance recital is held in a different, larger auditorium where I'm usually in the 10th row, but they absolutely do not allow flash photography.
Some answers:

1. Any DSLR allows an external flash.

2. The D40 is really a very stripped down DSLR - IMO it's more of a gimmick - aimed at digicam shooters that have bought into DSLR hype. Personally, if you're thinking Nikon I would say stick with the D50.

3. If flash is not allowed, this means you have to shoot at a high ISO (1600 or 3200) and you need a lens with a wide aperture - 2.8 at least, possibly 2.0 or 1.8. If you can get in the first 5 rows or so, something like the Sigma 24-70 would be an OK fit. But if you're further back then you need something more like the 70-200 2.8 ($800 for the Sigma version of this lens) or a prime lens (prime means it's fixed focal length).

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