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Old Dec 27, 2006, 3:57 PM   #1
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I'm undecided about getting a dslr (looking at nikon d40 or d50) or an advanced digital cam (canon s3is). I'm mainly going to use it for landscape photos and taking close up and everydaypics of my 16 month old son, don't really want to go over $600. Also, the nikon's come with 18-55mm lens, want to know if this is enough range for me, also i have a slr nikon n50 with a 35-80 something (don't remember) lens. Please help me out, i would really appreciate it.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 6:57 PM   #2
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Well, for $600 you could get an entry level DSLR, but with only the kit lens you might find yourself limited.

I think that if you are willing to spend more at a later date, I'd go with the DSLR. If you arn't, then just stick with an advanced digicam (Take a look at the Kodak P712, Kodak P880, Canon S3IS).

The 55mm is okay for landscapes, your kids and should work for close ups depending on the lens. However, if you plan to shoot any wildlife that will bother you. I love wildlife (mainly birds) shooting and even with 432mm zoom I was running out and so I bought a teleconverter.

If you plan on getting really serious in photography, shell out the money for the DSLR, if not, the Advanced Digi-cam should be fine.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 7:28 PM   #3
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I think the 18-55mm kit lens is fine for your stated purposes. It is equivalent to a full frame 28-80mm, so you get a good wide angle (28mm) for landscapes and a short tele for closeups/portraits. If you are into portraits you may also want to get a cheap 50mm f1,8 prime great for indoors and blurred backgrounds (limited dof). On a D40/D50 your 35-80 becomes a 52-120mm useful whenever you need the extra reach.

And very important: if you want functional AF on the 50mm prime and older lenses get the D50 which has an AF motor integrated in the body (the D40 doesn´t).
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 9:52 AM   #4
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Thank you both for all your help, i stuck with the canon s3is and if later on i come into some money i will definately be looking into the D50, fo now if i need to take better quality pics I always have my film nikon n50. Thanks again.

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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go DSLR you will never look back.
you will find yourself limited because you can not take a decent picture indoors or because you P&S can not focus fast enough.
there is a tremendous difference in the focus speed between d40 (amazing camera by the way) or any other DSLR and any P&S.

I bought a top of the line P7S two years ago , sold it after 2 month and got a used Canon 300d instead ... I can not be happier.

my buddy just got a d40 and he can not believe how much more of a camera it is compared to his point and shoot one.

I was at a camera store the other day and someone was looking at a sony P&S .. I suggested he just try a DSLR ... you know what he said after a few minutes with d40 ... he said ... now this is a REAL camera!
I am not a salesman ... I was there trying some lens....

just go and test wich one works better for you and which one takes better pics easier. you may regret you got a piece of s#$% camera because you find that you can not focus and take a priceless shoot of your kid because your P&S can not focus and release shutter the moment you press it ... a DSLR would ... and that's a difference between taking and missing a shot. and don't even get me started on the picture quality differences....
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 10:49 AM   #6
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Get a Dslr mate, I have a Fuji S9500 and it just isn't fast enough to capture my 2 year old, at that age they don't stop to say cheese so you need something fast and responsive to record those special moments. Indoors is rubbish and the auto focus can take time to get its act together.

My next camera will be a DSLR, just have to work on the Mrs first.

buying a Bridge camera was a BIG mistake!

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 11:09 AM   #7
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yeah ... what mansell says ...
bying a high end consumer P&S was a big mistake for me too, and I realised that very fast and got a DSLR as I mentioned before

you will miss all the great shots because you will be waiting for the P&S to start first, then focus then release shutter ... which will take up to 5-10 seconds. how many 2,3,4,5,6 year olds will wait that long?

with DSLRs you can turn it on and take a shot in less then one second. that;s the difference ...
and that's what one can sell to their Mrs.
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 11:39 AM   #8
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I'll chime in here as well. I had (still have) the Canon S1 IS. It was a nice camera, but then I decided I wanted raw files and more pixels, so I bought the Kodak P850. It was a nice camera, but I still wasn't satisfied with all the different shots I wanted to take, especially low light. I saw the Pentax *ist DL rebate deal last summer so I sold my 6 week old P850 and bought the DL for less money. I couldn't be happier. A dSLR has really increased my enjoyment of photography. I used to dabble in all the manual settings of my bridge cameras, but now I use and understand most of those settings on my dSLR. Of course, it still has an extensive AUTO section that makes taking a nice shot very easy. My wife could care less about photography, she just wants a nice snapshot. I'll put it in one of the AUTO modes and give it to her, and she's set.

I personally like Pentax, but there are deals to be had in the entry dSLR market. They all take great shots, and I think you'll have more fun.

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 12:17 PM   #9
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A year ago these DSLRs started at near $1000. Now, with some available with kit lens for half that, it makes less sense to compromise with a bridge camera.

Still, with a DSLR, you normally should expect to spend twice as much on lenses as you do on the camera. So you have to decide how tight your budget really is.

Best low cost options:
K100D - $500 after rebate with kit lens
K110D - $400 after rebate with kit lens

The 18-55 kit lens covers a 28-82mm equivalent range. About what you would get from a small compact. You most likely want more zoom, and should add the Pentax 50-200mm, which also has a $50 rebate (only until 1/9), which would be about $180 after rebate.

The only difference between the above 2 cameras is that the K100D has SR -shake reduction; a very useful feature not available in most entry level models. But if the budget is very tight, it's also a good camera for $100 less without it.

E-500 - $625 with 2 lens kit (14-45 and 40-150).

This package covers the 28mm-300mm range for right near your target price. For what it is, it's tough to beat at that price, but there are some drawbacks. The sensor, while much larger than any digicam, is a bit smaller than other DSLRs. Because of this it's not quite as good as others at higher sensitivities, which you would need for the best low light shots. It also has a darker viewfinder than most, so be sure you test it out before buying. For the price, it's a much better option than a digicam, but you may have less flexibility than some other systems if you want to attempt more challenging areas like sports, wildlife, or lower light shooting in the future. On the other hand, the lenses alone in that package are worth $300. And it's one of the best entry level models in it's features and controls.

D40 - $575 with 18-55mm kit lens.
Purests will complain about what's missing. No auto-focus motor means only a select set of lenses with in lens motors will focus. Other lenses, including most of the primes you would want to consider, must be focused manually. There are also less convenient controls on the body, forcing you to use menus to make adjustments. But, this new model is targetted at beginners, with good menues, and easy to use. And if you prefer the ergonomics of the smaller size compared to the older D50, it may be a good choice.

D50 - $550 with 18-55mm kit lens.
Some will say that despite some improvements in the newer D40, this is still the better camera--what they took out to cut costs may be more valuable than what they added. Image quality will be similar. Ergonomics are a bit different.

The above two again cover a 28-82mm equivalent zoom range. In this case, the Nikon 55-200mm for about $180 would be an option. But I might instead look for the Signma 70-300mm APO for maybe $190. Either way, we're near the $750 range for our total.

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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The S3IS should suit you fine overall because the close-ups are pretty good, indoor shots work well, and the super-zoom will be great for sports a few years down the road.

The Pentax is a great value option and will probably be much quicker from power-on to first shot. Exposure is better and the quality of your pictures will be better also. Also, you can add zoom lenses in the future, so it is expandable.

In either case, whatever solution you decide, take tons of pics because the key to good pics is trial and error, and familiarity with your new toy!
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