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Old Feb 2, 2007, 9:54 AM   #11
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Excellent examples, JohnG-

I am guessing, but I do believe that most of the wonderful photo examples that you posted are exactly what Erin is looking for in her photos.

I think that she could begin by using the camera's built-in flash and then add an external flash when the budget allowed. What do you think?

Have a great weekend, everyone.

MT/Sarah

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Old Feb 2, 2007, 10:11 AM   #12
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mtclimber wrote:
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I think that she could begin by using the camera's built-in flash and then add an external flash when the budget allowed. What do you think?
Sarah - thank you. Yes, she could begin with the built in flash. However, I don't have the same confidence you do in built in flashes. The internal flash on my 20D is pretty powerful compared to most digicams but still not a quantum leap better.Also, there are 3 MAJOR problems with an internal flash (whether digicam or DSLR):

1. Redeye (many red-eye reduction pre-flashes don't work well - especially if people aren't looking directly at you when the red-eye pre flash goes off)

2. Can't diffuse light to soften it

3. Can't bounce the flash to remove shadows and reduce stark images.

So, if a major reason for buying a camera is indoor family photos, for that type of photography, the flash systems of the DSLRs are a big selling point. Just based on my own experience, adding an external bounce flash was a 1000% improvement over the built-in.

It's why I think for the stated goals of internal family photos, if the OP is going to buy a DSLR, she'll get a better ROI by keeping the kit lens and investing in a good flash 2(and here I mean ETTL style flashes like the Nikon SBs or Canon EX flashes - not auto flashes). Rather than investing in 2.8 or faster lenses that won't be capable of capturing most 'family' shots anyway. And again, this is coming from someone who spends90% of their shooting time using 2.8 or faster lenses so I'm fairly familiar with their capabilities and drawbacks.

But in the end I still agree - you could START with just a basic DSLR and kit lens and just plan on adding the external flash as the next purchase. But I promise the OP, once you've used a good external ETTL bounce flash you'll never want to go back to using a built-in again.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 11:28 AM   #13
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Good post, John-

I certainly agree with you. However, I was just attempting to get a way for Erin to begin, while staying within her budget. You just cannot beat an external flash.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 11:42 AM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for all the very helpful input. I have a lot to consider! Sarah, sorry about the two threads. This is the first time I have posted to a message board and I didn't realize the confusion it would cause.

I am interested in delving more into photgraphy. I enjoyed using our old 35mm Nikon SLR when I had more time to mess with it. I like the feel of a bigger camera compared to my Canon Powershot. I eventually want a dSLR but I might be happy with a better point and shoot in the meantime. Do I get the dSLR now and grow into it or do I get a better point and shoot and wait a couple years on the dSLR. Any suggestions on which point and shoot to consider?

I like the suggestion of adding an external flash to one of the dSLRs. I really need to learn more about the various flash options. The discussion is a little over my head there so I will do some research and come back to reread this thread.

Here is an excerpt from a dpreview review that might explain some of my current frustration with my Powershot a520:

My only complaint about the flash is that there is a noticeable delay between pressing the shutter and the picture being taken, due in part to the preflash burst used to calculate exposure. This can mean some of your social shots lack spontaneity, as you have to ask your subject to 'hold still for a minute'. Add to this the 7 seconds or so between shots when using flash and you've not got the best social camera in the world.

Additionally my daughter is very fair and she looks really washed out on a good number of the photos. I have to edit out the redeye on almost all the photos of my daughter. The indoor photos I have taken of her with the old 35mm Nikon are usually better than the Powershot andthe Nikononly has the fill flash and 35-80mm lens. They are sometimes a little dark.

Again, you guys are so great for helping me out! Erin
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 11:46 AM   #15
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I also wanted to mention that the photos posted by John and others were very helpful. That is basically what I'm looking for. Erin
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 12:11 PM   #16
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Erin-

I think most of us understand your position quite well. If you want to discuss other point and shoot options, we are ready to help with that topic as well.

Your Canon A-520 is slowed down between flashes because it only has 2 AA size batteries, rather than 4 AA batteries that would make the flash recycle time a good deal quicker. So another camera could overcome that problem at a much lower cost than a DSLR camera.

Take your time and think through all the possibilities, then let us know. We will always be here to help and to act as an informational resource for you.

Have a great weekend.

MT/Sarah


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Old Feb 2, 2007, 12:29 PM   #17
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Sarah, Thanks again. I will take some time to think about it. Have a great weekend too! Erin
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 9:16 PM   #18
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I also do not like flash, though I suspect that is mostly due to my not really knowing how to use it. Might figure it out someday, but until I do I will continue to shoot a lot of available darkeness shots. Sometimes they work out even though the grandson really doesn't sit still very long.

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Old Feb 3, 2007, 12:33 AM   #19
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Bill-

With all due respect, Nikon has probably done the VERY BEST job with flash, that really does work quite well. For example the Nikon SB-40 works quite well with the Nikon D-40.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 3, 2007, 7:05 AM   #20
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I have a KonicaMinolta 5D so the Nikon flash isn't a real option. The old Sunpak 383 auto thyristor does a credible jobl bounced with a diffuser but just doesn't suit my taste. Sometimes needed just to get any photo or to avoid having the scene through the window from being blown out.
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