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Old Dec 23, 2006, 2:37 PM   #1
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Hi,

First post here...I'm ready to upgrade from a Canon A700 to my first dSLR and would appreciate your advice/suggestions.

I'm a relative SLR novice, with just a little experience years ago with a Minolta x700.
I plan to use the camera for general use(portraits, vacations, etc)., astrophotography through my Orion ED80 APO with Sirius-EQ mount, and for indoor/outdoor sports photography (mostly youth/high school volleyball, baseball, basketball, etc. ).

I do not mind spending up to $2000+ including lenses, but (much) less would be better. Considering two approaches: 1) buy a lower-end camera while I learn and wait for the dSLR market to evolve a bit more, or 2) buy something that meets my longer-term needs rather than expecting to upgrade soon.

I have narrowed down to the following as a short list:
Nikon D50 or D80
Olympus E500
Pentax K10D

I like the price point of the Olympus package with two lenses, but concerned that it will come up short for astrophotography and low-light action sports.

I like the Nikon D50, but concerned about lens cost for a good IS solution. Also, low pixel count for astro usage. The Nikon D80 solves the pixel count problem for astro usage, but no IS in body concerns me if the industry moves to in-body IS.

That leaves the Pentax K10D as a camera that seems like it would meet my needs for a long time, and minimizes and protects an investment in quality lenses assuming Pentax stays competitive -- combination of 10MP, dust removal, in-body IS, good (maybe not great) high ISO performance, mirror lockup for astro usage, makes it a front-runner for now. I like the idea of in-body IS since I do not have a stable of lenses, and I'd like to protect any large investment I make in lenses. Water resistance is a nice bonus. Number of lenses that are well-integrated are fewer than for Nikon, but choice seems to be sufficient and growing, and I can get some modestly priced Sigma and Tamron lenses that have excellent reviews. In terms of lenses, for about $750, I estimate that I can get a good prime for portraits, and both 17-70'ish - and 70-300'ish zooms. Pentax solutions (18-55 and 50-200) with good reviews available for much less.

I like the Canon brand, but I like the high end Nikkor lenses better due to their excellent lens performance, and at the lower end, no in body IS is a showstopper for me. Nikon D200 was interesting, but no in body IS or dust removal and high cost scared me away.

Any input and suggestions much appreciated!
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Old Dec 23, 2006, 10:29 PM   #2
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Any DSLR you purchase will be somewhat "outdated" within a few years.

I bought a Canon 20D a few years ago, and now you can get virtually the same image quality, low light performance and responsiveness for half the price now.

Whether you buy Pentax, Canon, Nikon or whatever, you will likely end up with an investment in lenses that exceed what you paid for the camera body.

I've invested in four or five Canon compatible lenses (Tamron and Canon) so obviously my next upgrade will be to another Canon, assuming my lenses will still be compatible.

Some of the low priced DSLR's do not have good low light performance. They get pretty noisy at 800 or 1600 ISO. Steve's reviews here generally will give you an idea of the low light performance.

If I were in your shoes, I would buy the best DSLR I could afford; best image quality, best high ISO performance, and most responsive (ie little shutter lag).

Then I'd worry about lenses later and buy them as I can afford them.

Personally I'm a Canon fanatic and if I could afford it I'd look at the Canon 30D, or if I couldn't afford that, look at the Rebel XTi.

You did mention you have an investment in Pentax lenses (will they be compatible with a DSLR??), and maybe that will affect your buying decision.

So good luck in your decision!

-- Terry
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Old Dec 23, 2006, 11:57 PM   #3
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Thanks, Terry...I appreciate the feedback.

First, just to clarify, I do not currently have any SLR lenses.

Yourresponse amplifies what I am thinking -- that I'd like to either a) minimize short-term investment in lenses until I have a better idea of my long-term needs, or b) make sure I make a good long-terminvestment without breaking the bank. Since there seems to be a split between IS in lensesvs. incamera bodies, I'm hesitant to spend a lot on Canon or Nikon IS lenses. If I go with the Pentax solution, I feel I may be able to have my cake and eat it too...I can get modestly price lenses with excellent optics (no IS needed since the K10D has IS built-in).

Since I made my original posting, I did see this thread thatI interpretto make a case for a Nikon or Canon body plus expensive high speed lenses for sports shooting:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=87

I'm hoping good Pentax/Sigma/Tamron lenses with the Pentax K10D would suffice. At the root of my preference for the Pentax solution is my current desire for IS, coupled with a concern that Canon and Nikon will be forced to put IS in their cameras soon, based on economics, especially as body-based IS improves?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old Dec 24, 2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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I'm personally not too hung up on IS.

For sports, you need really fast lenses.

I'm not sure what sports your interested in, but if you're shooting subjects anywhere from 10 yards to 50 yards away, I'd recommend something like a Sigma 70-200 F2.8 lens.

I believe that lens goes for about $800 US dollars.

I wouldn't rush out and buy a ton of lenses.

You could just go with the kit for a month or two until you get used to the cam, then buy one more lens, use that for a while, and then buy another.

Rather than making IS "in the body" your prime concern, check out image quality, especially at high ISO's as your primary concern.

A poor sensor with image stabilization, in my mind, is somewhat worthless.

All things considered, when your buying a DSLR, your buying quality and size (MP's) of the sensor, as well as buffer size and processing power to get the responsiveness.

User friendliness of the body is good, but my experience is you can get used to just about anything.

Quality lenses can make a big difference as well. Don't skimp on lenses. Buy the best quality you can afford (ie. it should hurt a little when you make the purchase .

Quality remains long after the price is forgotten.

I sweated tears when deciding to fork out $1500 for a Canon 20D a few years ago, but I have to say it was one of the best purchases I have ever made in my life.

I fall more in love with the cam every year, and have always been glad I bought it.

How many purchases can you say that about?

Good luck!
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Old Dec 24, 2006, 12:13 AM   #5
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I happen to have the Pentax K100 and K10, and love them (yes, I'm partial to Pentax). I have both the kit lens and the DA 50-200 and they are both well worth their cost, though I don't use the kit lens that much - I also have two faster manual prime lenses (24mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.4), originally purchased in 1980, that I use more often.

I'd put my money first into lenses. I also have one top-of-the-line lens (an A*300). While I know that the DA 50-200 and the A*300 are different animals, there's an extra quality to the green star (Pentax's designation for their top lenses) lens that the DA 50-200 doesn't match. So if it were me, I'd buy the bestlenses I could afford and a less expensive camera. A mediocre lens will only give you a mediocre picture, no matter how good of a camera it is on. However, a top quality lens on a "lesser" camera, like the A*300 on the K100 will givevery goodresults.

P.S. To give you an idea of what this combination (A*300 and K100)can give you, this thread has several pictures I took one day (includes one picture taken by the kit lens on a DS): http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...ighlight=pismo.

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Old Dec 24, 2006, 12:31 AM   #6
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Thank you, mtngal and Terry...

I agree that pumping a little extra into lenses is a good investment...precisely why I want to be careful to buy into a vendor that is on a path I have confidence in. In addition, if I have confidence in body-based IS, then I can get quality lenses for less than IS lenses, and invest in the optics rather than in the IS.

Terry, the Sigma lens (70-200 2.8) you suggested do not support Pentax as far as I can tell. I was thinking about a Sigma 24-70 2.8 lens for indoor shooting (basketball, volleyball, etc.) and very puzzled about the best longer zoon lens.

Dave


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Old Dec 24, 2006, 12:35 AM   #7
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I didn't know what sport your shooting.

Typically people use an 80mm lense for those sports, or a zoom that puts 80mm in the middle of the range.

The Sigma 70-200 is more for outdoor sports.

Will you be able to shoot court-side or from the stands?

If your shooting from the stands you might need a 70-200.

Courtside you could get away with an 85mm prime lens.

I have the Canon 85mm F1.8 prime for "court-side" photography.
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Old Dec 24, 2006, 12:45 AM   #8
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While the E-500 is a nice value with good kit lenses for the price, you should rule it out if you want to shoot any indoor sports.

I'd suggest you take a look at the D70s two lens kit:

http://steves-digicams.pgpartner.com...sterid=8262269

The Nikon 18-70 and 55-200 are a good pair of lenses to start out with. You will then want to add a good fast prime for your indoor sports.

The D50 kit is also good, but if you want the 18-70 lens, which is better than the 18-55, you aren't really saving any money getting the D50 rather than the D70s. The kit is a good enough value that even if you decide you want to upgrade to a newer body like the D80 in the future, I don't think you'd regret the purchase. The lenses alone would likely cost almost $500.

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Old Dec 24, 2006, 1:00 AM   #9
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Following on Terry's and Ken's feedback (thanks!), does anyone have a suggestion on what a good corresponding set of Pentax K10D-compatible lenses would be for indoor and outdoor sports shooting:
1) Fast prime for indoor sports
2) Something like a 17-70 zoom
3) Something like a 50-200, or 70-300 zoom

A lot of people suggest starting with the Pentax 50-200 zoom lens and the Pentax 18-55 kit lens as solid starter lenses.

I'd rather invest the $300 up front in the right lenses if I will need it initially for action sports anyway, rather then buy one set and then replace soon with another set.



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Old Dec 24, 2006, 1:14 AM   #10
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Actually I wasn't thinking so much of sports when I suggested that two lens kit, just that it's a good general purpose set. They're not particulaly fast lenses though, just good sharp lenses. If you're going to need something like the $800 Sigma 70-200 f2.8, mentioned above, anyway, you might want to skip the 55-200 kit lens. That Sigma lens is available in Nikon, Pentax, Canon and Minolta mounts, and it's probably not a bad choice in any of them if you are serious about the sports shooting.

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