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Old Feb 4, 2007, 9:16 PM   #31
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Thanks everyone. I really appreciateeveryone's different viewpoints.

Depending on what review I was reading, there were complaints about the white balance in incandescent on all three cameras, but it seemed there were more concerns about the Pentax there. I plan to use flash for at least some of my indoor shots so a small easy to use flash like the SB 400 Sarah mentioned would definitely be a plus. I am hoping that if I learn to use flash well I can avoid the harsh flash effect I get on photos of my toddler taken with my point and shoot.

Assuming I go with the Nikon, I change my mind every 20 min. about which one I like better. I like the larger LCD on the d40. They both are comfortable for me to hold. I hear a lot of complaints about the d40 on these forums butmany of themhave to do with lens choices/lack of compatibilty with older Nikon lenses. I'm not sure that would be a big issue for me since I don't think I'll need more than 3 or so lenses. I have two lenses from an old Nikon SLR but they are 10-15 years old and not top of the line lenses to begin with so I'm not sure I should pick the d50 just for the lenses I have. Price is almost identical on d40 and d50 with kit lens. Other than the internal focusing motor, are there otherimportant features that the D40 is missing relative to the d50?

Sarah, your lens suggestions were very helpful. I hopeNikon does put out a fast wide aperture lens for the d40.

Thanks again for all your input! Erin
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 9:00 AM   #32
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this has been a great thread! i love chewing the cud when looking to buy something and this thread has it all.

i am not ready (distinct lack of money) to buy a dslr, but, i am starting to look already. i currently have a canon g5 p&s and its great, really enjoy it. so much so, it is also putting me off making a dslr higher up on my wish list.


i would be interested to know which you plump for erin - and why you discounted some others, such as the olympus E500?
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 10:03 AM   #33
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I didn't choose the Canon because of the kit lens and I didn't choose the Olympus E 500 because of reviews stating image noise at high ISO and a small viewfinder. I only went to 3 camera stores (I haven't tried big retailers like Best buy etc.) but I couldn't find the Olympus to get a feel for it. I still haven't made up my mind but today I'm thinking d40. People are very helpful on this site and they are nice to newbies who have no clue (like myself). Erin
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 11:49 AM   #34
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Good Moring, Erin-

Well, I would agree with Dick, this thread has been a lot of fun for everyone. I teach digital cameras, so I always enjoy chatting about digital cameras, and it makes me alsostay current with everything now on the market. If you were wondering why I seem to just about have one of everything, that is the reason why.

What is nice about flash is that you can get the light that you need but you can also soften it (by bounce and diffussers) to get a kind of light that is not harsh, but instead, even attractive. Yes, it will take some practice to get exactly the kind of light that you want, but that is the fun of photography and taking photos.

I have a lot of experience with Pentax and even did an online flash seminar for them in the Pentax folder, where if you dig a little, you can find lots of sample flash photos. I would agree with Erin that WB on the Pentax can be a bit "iffy." That does not happen very often at all, and if you shoot RAW, it would not be a factor at all because you can essentially "re-shoot" the photo a second time on your computer by using all the adjustments that are available to you when shooting raw, and that includes adjusting WB.

The downside of shooting RAW is that it takes more post processing/computer time. As some folks, I have found in my classes, seem to want to minimize on post processing. Yes, it is another skill to learn, and I know some folks don't want to take the time learning editing software programs at the same time they are learning to be better photographers, but consider it, because even with oftentimes even simple post processing you can save some photos that you might otherwise toss out.

The train of thought I hear most often is that folks want to learn how to take good photos on the fly so as to speak. And that can be done, but there arealso the times when you are using your camera on a tripod and wanting to set up the "perfect" landscape shot as well, and that can be fun as well, getting everything just as you want it. Thus far, we have, due to Erin's desire for excellent photos of here children, sort have focused on taking, or preparing to take candid shots of the children and family events rather quickly.

As you can see from the fine photo examples that JohnG (a Canon 30D user, I believe), and Bill Drew ( a KM 5D, user)have posted in this thread. Children and family events do require some speed and a set ofphoto skills, alltheir very own, so that you can capture the funny expression or your 3 year old in Grandpa's hat, and the like.

Keep in mind that the skill set has to come first and then you can gradually increase the performance speed to get to the level that you desire. Initially, the best way to acquire that desired skill set, is to standardize things, by eliminating some of the variables. Like spend a month just becoming familiar with and getting the most out ofyour kit lens, or say for Erin, the kit lens and the flash as sort of a composite unit because she is focused on photos of her children and family. Most of those photos are going revolve around home and will be taken inside at this time of the year rather that outside. So this is a great time to focus on those kind of photos. The summer months will be here soon enough.

Dick asked why not the Olympus E-500 two lens kit? Yes, it is available at Costco and it is quite a bargain when you consider that with the Zukio 14-45mm kit lens, coupled with the Zukio 40-150mm telephoto can cover a focal length (in 35mm ters)of 28mm to 300mm which is a nice spread with justtwo lens that are both very good optically. Yes, remember to keep in mind that the Olympus multiplier is 2.0 not 1.5 or 1.6 that we see on other DSLR cameras. That is because Olympus does not usethe APS-C sized imager like Canon, Pentax, and Nikon. Olympus has a different and somewhat smaller imager. That is the reason why Olympus E-300's and E-500's show noise at high ISO settings. Olympus DSLR cameras have gotten better with the noise problem in recent years, and yes, we will soon probably see some new and exciting DSLR cameras from Olympus this Spring or Summer, but that is where they stand right now. Think ofit this way. You sort of have to fine tune your camera selection process, so that you get the proper camera/tool for the job that you individually want to do.

Every single one of the consumer level DSLR cameras on the market today will do an excellent job of taking photos. The shopping and discussing that is being done in this thread is part and parcel of the "fine tuning" process that everyone has to go through to get the camera/tool that works the very best for them individually. Cameras are very much like automobiles, there is not a "one size fits all" approach.

Also keep in mind that these are consumer level DSLR camera that we are discussing in this thread, these are not the DSLR's in the upper end of the Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, or Canonlines, so there will be fewer bells and whistles. However, each of the cameras we arediscussing are very, very capable DSLR cameras. Just understand there might not be a dedicated button on the back of the camera for some of the functions that you might desire to change. Instead you willhave to use your menu to change some functions.

And I also want everyone to know that I am not anti-Canon either. I just recently sold my 20D and stil own my XT model. I just wish the grip on the XT and XTi was more like the grip on the Canon 20D. The camera (in this case, the XT model) is technically fine. I just wish it had a bit better kit lens and a muchbetter grip. I neverfeel as if I have 100% control of the XT when I am demonstrating with it. Therefore, I keep a wrist strap on it, and that wrist strap has saved the day and my CanonXT several times for me.

So I have used this post to sort of recap a bit for the folks who have joined the thread in mid-stream. I hope that it has not been too boring. I also want to commend Erin, as well. Erin, you are taking your time in making your very important decision, and are delightfully open to learning as much as you can about each of the consumer level DSLR cameras, so that you make the proper decision for yourself. that is excellent.

I have also attached a sample photo showing how the lighting from an external flash can be tamed and softened to get the kind of light that looks a bit better to me.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 5:18 PM   #35
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In response to something Sarah brought up about photographers who want to shoot good photos "on the fly" and don't want to spend time post-processing; seriously check out Google's Picasa. It's a great image viewer that supports nearly all image formats, including RAW. It works great with my Pentax RAW files, so I assume it works as well with Canon, Nikon and Olympus cameras. It's fast and easy, and allows you to do quick adjustments without saving over the original images, and is especially handy with RAW because it has a very nice white balance tool (not as good as Adobe's, but still useful) that can correct an image almost instantly.

I'm very big into Adobe Photoshop and I like using Bridge, but Picasa is always my first stop after a photo shoot because it's just so fast and easy and a quick way to sort out the keepers.
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 5:56 PM   #36
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corpsy-

I am glad that you posted about Picasa. That is always a good option for folks because it is so quick and fast.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 6, 2007, 8:45 AM   #37
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Thanks so much Sarah and corpsy. Sarah, your overview of some points to consider in choosing and getting started with a new dSLR were excellent and helpful. I liked your ideas aboutthe best way to aquirea desired skill set. I can see how narrowing your focus in this regard can prevent a person from getting overwhelmed with info. Everyone's sample photos have been great in demonstrating the effect of various techniques. Corspy, I will definitely check out the Picasa program. I enjoy the post processing aspect and am currently experimenting withthe PSP Photo XI software but I won't always havethe timesoPicasa sounds like another good tool for me.

The dSLR is going to be my birthday gift from hubby(he said I can get anything I want - a dangerous statement, don't you think:G?. All he asks is that when he brings home his new "toy" to park in the garage, Ibe equally understanding!) Our second child is due right after my birthday in early March so sleep may trump post processing for a little while :-). Having the option to do a little post processing for some of my pics and delve deeper for others sounds good to me.

I am still leaning toward the d40 but have not made a definite decision. I have so much to learn I think any of these cameras could keep me busy for a long time. I haven't hada photography course in over 10 years (and it wasn't digital, although many concepts apply) and I need a refresher of the basics. Can anyone refer me to a good website or book that might help?

Thanks again, Erin
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Old Feb 6, 2007, 11:35 AM   #38
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Erin-

I would definitely recommend the new Scott Kelby book, "Digital Photography." It is really focused on DSLR photography, and it does make the assumption that the reader has a fairly good understanding of basic photography.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 6, 2007, 1:06 PM   #39
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Thanks Sarah. I will check that out. Erin
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Old Feb 6, 2007, 2:58 PM   #40
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Erin-

I would definitely recommend the new Scott Kelby book, "Digital Photography." It is really focused on DSLR photography, and it does make the assumption that the reader has a fairly good understanding of basic photography.

MT/Sarah
I got this book for Christmas and it's a great resource. Very user friendly.

Russ
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