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Old Jan 6, 2007, 7:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I relate to the person having nightmares about camera choices. Here's my story:

Learned SLR basics about 10 years ago off an old $20 Minolta SRT102 from the flea market (one I could use without fear of breaking) andmade themistake of upgrading 3 yrs ago to a Nikon N65 instead ofmaking the smart moveto digital. A short year later I got sick of spending money to shoot and develop18 out of 24worthless shots and bought a Fuji Finepix S3000. (mainly driven by the most zoomfor the money at the time.)

While the Fuji hastaken some reallylovely shots, anda fewamazing close ups in good light, the shutter lag and its fear of focusing have finally driven me to want yet another camera upgrade a short two years later. (I think we can at least say I did my best to be happy with the Fuji. I knew it would be my "tide me over" digicam so am not particularly unhappy that I bought it.)

Now I am in the same boat as many others, trying to decide between an advanced super macroP&S like the Canon S3 or Sony H5. Or to make the move to dslr Now that you can get a dslr with lens for less than $600 it is clearly worth considering.

I am certainly not an accomplished photographer, nor do I realistically have gobs of time or money to devote to equipment and learning. However, I do have more than a passing interest in capturing beautiful images. I enjoy macro/closeup photos of bugs, the inside and textures of flowers and plants, all kinds of birds, (I would love to be able to fill the frame with a bird in flight) Fireworks, lightning, and night cityscapes would be a treat too. And since I live in coastal Florida where photoops are endless, I am sure there are many other images that are waiting to be captured

I set out with the idea that I really "needed" a dslr, but when Ilook at the galleries on this site, and see some absolutely gorgeous shots taken by Point and shoots, I get so confused!!! Some of these photos are just the kind that I want to learn to do.

On the one hand, I could spend the extra money on a dslr and end up not seeing photos much better than what I would get out of a good p&S and still have to spend more for additional lenses to get the macro and zoom of the P&S. Or I could be completely smitten with my choice after the first day and devour all I can of the creative offerings of the camera and know that I have finally bought a camera that I won't outgrow for a long time, and the quest for the right camera will have finally come to an end. (my husband sure hopes so. I am driving him a little nuts...)

On the other hand, I could say fine, I'll just go with a super zoom, get my macro, get my zoom, save some money, and save the fuss and expense, and fear of dust from changing lenses andlearn to get the most I can out of it, and then end up just as frustrated with shutter lag, capturing moving subjects,and low light performance as I am now, and kick myself from here to the moon. Or, I could findtheadvanced P&S tobe totally acceptable and in line with my time and abilities, and be happy as a clam. (after all, the Fuji kept me pretty amazed forat leasta little while before its limitations started gnawing at me.

So there you have it..... my whole pathetic story. What we have here is a bad case of analyisis paralysis, something I am rather good at....

I am sure there are some opinions out there that may help me reach an "ah ha" moment in my quest for the right camera.

Thanks for any help.
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 10:14 PM   #2
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As you have discovered, there is no objectively right or wrong answer to this, only individual preference. I haven't really looked at the H5, but it sounds like a camera I would have been interested in before I bought a dSLR. Over a year ago I was happily shooting lovely pictures with a Sony F717(advanced p&s). It developed maintenance problems so I replaced it with a Panny FZ30. I didn't get along with that camera at all - I never figured out how to get any of those wonderful pictures that others were taking with the same camera. I ended up selling it for a loss and bought a dSLR. I'm now happily snapping lovely pictures with the dSLR and having a great time re-discovering all those reasons why I had loved shooting with a film SLR. I wouldn't go back now.

It's entirely possible that you'll get something like an H5 and be as happy as I was with the F717. On other hand, you could end up being unhappy like I was with the FZ30. The only way to find out is to buy a camera of some sort and use it. Be prepared either way. I look at the expense/loss of the FZ30 as a learning experience. If you really want the most flexibility and want to get more into photography, then get the dSLR straight away.
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Old Jan 7, 2007, 5:34 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Thanks for your input, Mtngal. Funny thing happened this afternoon while I was obsessing about what camera to upgrade to. (well....quite embarrassing too...)

I was thinking about how limited my S3000 was with nothing but zoom , macro and portrait... What an empty mode wheel compared to other cameras!Then.... I noticed an "M" mode on the wheel........ what?where did THAT come from,I wondered? Then I got this red faced sneaky suspicion I ought to take a look at my owner's manual. (Wow, what a concept! I've only had the thing for two years!!)

Well, you guessed it! All this time, those other modes were hiding in the menus that I never seemed to run across in my travels. And sure enough, the directions for how to find them were right there in the book the whole time! (yes, I ammost decidedlyan idiot...)

I found out I had 4 shootingmodes plus 2 frame continuous shooting (pathetic, but it's at least there. ) aperture priority and white balance options, as well as a few other features. Still quite limited but it isn't as much of astrippy as I was blaming on it. So I just came in from the backyard, playing with my newly discovered menus! And yes, I did take a fewslightly moreartsy photos than I thought I could.

Now, having admitted to my stupidity, I am still thinking I want to upgrade, since the camera is still clearly limited. (only three aperture settings and no shutter priority) But I think I will cool my jets and spend a little more time playing withthe option menusso that I can get more in tune with making selections other than macro and automatic. I think that time spent will position me better to make a more informed decision about my next camera. And, I might end up keeping the Fuji as my macro camera if I go with dslr since I won't be able to afford the good macro lense right out of the gate.

I guess a case could be made that I should stick with crayons! But I promise, I will fully study andbecome proficient witheach one of my current digicam's capabilities and features before moving on. And, with any new camera I may purchase, I pledge toembrace andcomepletely understandevery little last bell, whistle, instruction, button, knob, switch, menu, tech alert, add-on feature, and any scrap of info on, under over, or near it, so long as we both shall live. so help me, George!(Eastman.. that is....).

Thanks again for your comments.

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