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Old Feb 1, 2007, 12:31 PM   #1
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good performance (speed and photo quality) in incandescent lighting is especially important to me

mostly for family photos

thanks so much for your help! Erin
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 2:56 PM   #2
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potter99 wrote:
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good performance (speed and photo quality) in incandescent lighting is especially important to me

mostly for family photos

thanks so much for your help! Erin
?! under $600 including a 'fast' lens !?

...oh, to dream the impossible dream..............!

try used
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 3:16 PM   #3
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The Pentax K100d with kit lens can be had for under $500 after a $50 rebate at beachcamera.com

The extra $100 could buy you a used 50mm f/1.7 or f/1.4, if you don't mind manual focusing. Those lenses do great with indoor photos. And if you're a good shopper and patient, you'll still have enough left for a 135mm f/2.8 or f/2.5, or maybe a 28mm f/2.8.

If you don't think you need image stabilization, you can get the K110d for about $100 less, but the K100d with stabilization is a better deal.
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 4:44 PM   #4
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Erin,

I think you need to take a longer term approach to the problem. A couple posters have interpreted your needs to indicate a fast prime is required. The assumption there is that you don't want to use a flash. As someone who shoots both with flash and with fast primes, I would strongly suggest going the route of using a good external flash. It will give you MUCH, MUCH more leeway in your shots. Let's face it, even with a 1.8 lens, indoor shots with table-top lights aren't going to have enough light to get fast shutter speeds so your subjects will have to be still - fat chance with kids. A flash is a much better approach. It will freeze movement and it will allow you to take shots that have more than one person in it (for the prime-only crowd, try taking a shot of two people - one head slightly behind the other (think 1 kid putting the other in a headlock or tickling them) and get them both in focus with a 1.8 lens at 10' - it can't be done).

So, I'm going to suggest you buy a camera and kit lens and get an external flash. Now, you're still not going to do that for $600. $700-800 is more reasonable.

And, I'm also going to throw out a cautionary note - pay attention to what is being said about the pentax cameras. Yes there is anti-shake in the body and yes any lens ever made for pentax will work and you can buy them cheap used. But, you have to be the type of person that A) likes to shop for used gear and B) likes to focus manually. I spent years with a manual focus SLR and I don't miss it one bit. Maybe 1% of my shots do I want to focus manually on. So, while the cameras pentax makes are great you also have a very limited auto-focus lens selection compared to say Nikon or Canon. Other people don't mind manual focus lenses and shopping for quality used gear - to them it's a small price to pay for quality optics at a low price. Just something to keep in mind.

Whatever system you decide, I would be very careful about going the 'fast prime' route - it's great for portrait shots but not useful when you have more than one person and they aren't posing nicely for you. A good flash will give you MUCH more latitude in the types of shots you take. Just my opinion as someone who shoots a lot with both methods.
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 6:08 PM   #5
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Pentax cameras can use external flashes as well. A Pentax film camera I ordered off Ebay for $24 with shipping includes an M 50mm 1:1.7 as well as an external flash. Can't say if it's the best flash available, but they're certainly out there.

Also, manual focusing isn't that difficult on a Pentax since it has focus assist that will beep and blink the AF point when it sees something in focus. I also find the AF on the Pentax kit lens more accurate than the Canon XT, so that helps as well.

If you want to use a flash for most of your photography though, you don't really need a DSLR. Just about all digicams include a flash, and many of the better ones can accept external flashes. You can get a nice ultrazoom for well under $600.

Personally, I just prefer the look of photos taken without a flash. Occasionally I'll use the built-in flash at a dimmer setting for a fill light, but mostly I like things to look how they look to my eyes.
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 7:38 PM   #6
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Corpsy wrote:
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Personally, I just prefer the look of photos taken without a flash. Occasionally I'll use the built-in flash at a dimmer setting for a fill light, but mostly I like things to look how they look to my eyes.
Not disagreeing, but how exactly do you accomplishnot using a flashindoors with a shot with multiple people in it?


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Old Feb 1, 2007, 8:38 PM   #7
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Monx and Others-

You should be aware that Erin has TWO threads running simultaneously. If you don't see it here. Please look in the other and LONGER thread.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 2:18 AM   #8
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JohnG wrote
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Not disagreeing, but how exactly do you accomplishnot using a flashindoors with a shot with multiple people in it?
I don't take that many photos of groups, but in that situation I suppose I'd tend to use shorter focal lengths as they have greater depth of field. Getting further from the subject also increases depth of field. If that isn't enough, I wouldn't hesitate to add a bit of flash. If I find that I'm always having trouble taking indoor shots in my home, I'd probably invest in some brighter bulbs.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 6:48 AM   #9
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Erin,

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about - these are shots you absolutely will not get by using the 'fast prime' method. And they're all family shots in typical households.














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Old Feb 2, 2007, 8:49 AM   #10
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Erin-

Please help me out a bit, won't you? Why are you running two simultaneous threads? Several folks have mentioned using a hot shoe mounted flash on your DSLR camera, and That is a good idea.

However, the Sigma flash for the Pentax K100D costs about $150 plus shipping cost. For the Nikon who has done a much better job with sophisticated flashes and small flashes, you could use the SB-400 which is their most automated flash that works very well with the D-40 and the D-50. It vsells for about $130 plus shipping.

Well, you probably have popped into brain overload, based on how much info we have all fed into your original post. Please don't be concerned, just take your time in deciding and understand that all three of your three possible DSLR cameras will produce excellent results.

This is also the time to re-think things if you feel that the cost is mounting upwards too quickly. There are point and shoot cameras with a much smaller budgeted expense that might also handle your requirements, and give you more calmness and peace of mind.

I have attached a photo taken in a very dark garage where I added just the camera's built-in flash, NOT an expensive external hot shoe mountedflash. Keep in mind that as long as the camera to subject distance is less than 12 to 14 feet, the camera's built-in flash will fill the bill nicely.

MT/Sarah


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