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Old Feb 19, 2007, 1:45 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, but I've been lurking a few days and reading a few reviews. I plan to get a digital SLR since I already have a point and shoot, but mainly this decision stems from wanting to get more serious with photography.

I wish to use this to capture nature shots (flora, hills, waterfalls,etc) when I go on hikes and also portraits.

So far from my understanding Canon 350d, Nikon d40, and Pentax K100D seem to be competing with one another.

What I'm wondering is which camera gives the best bang for the buck? I plan to spend around $600, so I'm wondering if there are any necessary accessories I need other than just the camera body (i.e. extra lenses to start with and etc). Any advice is welcomed.


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Old Feb 19, 2007, 2:55 AM   #2
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All three are budget cameras and for the most part perform very similarly, but each with it's own strengths and weaknesses, so "bang for the buck" depends on what kind of bang you want.

The Pentax has built in stabilization, which gives it an advantage in low light and telephoto shots, and saves you money because you don't need to buy stabilized lenses.

The Pentax also has the weakest processing, so if you plan on shooting mostly JPG you will probably get the lowest image quality out of it. If you shoot RAW, they all would perform about the same.

The Pentax also has the smallest buffer and can't do very long bursts of continuous shooting, so if you like action photography that could be a problem.

The Nikon has a reputation for it's cheaper lenses being above average quality.

The Pentax can use just about any lens ever designed for a Pentax camera, so you can get a lot of cheap used lenses, particularly if you don't mind manual focusing.

I believe the Canon has the best in-camera processing (IMO) for shooting JPG and would have the widest selection of lenses available.

I'm sure other people can provide more details on the specifics of these cameras. I own the Pentax myself, have used a few Canons, but don't really have any experience with Nikons.

As far as accessories, if you go with the Pentax you'll need to use AA batteries, so that means AA nimh batteries and a charger. I use the Sanyo eneloops myself and am happy with the performance I get out of them.

Some people don't like how small the grip on the Canon is, so if that's the case for you as well, you might want to get the battery grip which makes the body more substantial, easier to grip, and extends battery life.

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Old Feb 19, 2007, 6:40 AM   #3
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Corpsy hit a lot of the major high marks. The one down side to the Nikon not mentioned was that the camera cannot use some of the Nikon lenses - notably some of the better lenses because the camera does not include a focus drive. So, the vast array of Nikon lenses is reduced when you have this camera.

So, XT has a small grip and cheap feel, D40 can only use certain Nikon lenses (it is the only Nikon DSLR that has this restriction)and the Pentax cameras have the smallest slection of autofocus lenses of the 3 systems (as mentioned they can use any older manual focus lens you can find in the used market though). But all 3 will take excellent photos and are completely capable of meeting your needs.


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Old Feb 19, 2007, 8:30 AM   #4
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The Nikon D40 can use the non-autofocus lenses, you just have to focus them yourself
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 8:38 AM   #5
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wongg-

Tell us a bit more about your experience level and what kind of photos you really want to take, both now and in the future. That might be abetter way to approach this puzzle.

(1) What camera are you currently using?

(2) Because DSLR cameras are a bit inherently different, are you willing to take the time to learn how to make the best use of multiple lenses, manual controls, depth of fieldetc. The complexity of the camera increases as you leave point and shoot cameras and get into the DSLR realm.

(3) What type of photography are you interested in now, as well as inthe future? Landscapes, nature, street photography, low light level shooting? The kind of photography you do plays a large part in the DSLR camera selection process

Because you apparently do not have any lenses as yet, the fact that the Nikon D-40 can only use AF-S and AF-I Nikon lenses and Sigma HSM lenses is probably not that big a deal. So don't rule out the Nikon D-40 as yet until we get some more information.

Thanks for your help. I am sure we can do a better job of helping you when we know a bit more information.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 4:14 PM   #6
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Hi MT/Sarah,

Sorry for the late response, unfortunately, I'm one of the few who needs to work on President's day.

I am actually fairly new to photography, in that I have been using only the point and shoot functionality with my digital camera. To answer the questions you set-forth:

1. I am currently using the Canon A530. So far I have only made use of the automatic functionality of the camera with the settings such as (macro, portrait, motion, etc).

2. Yes, I am willing to learn to how to use a DSLR and the different photography techniques that come along with it. This motivation stems from question three,

and I actually plan to take night classes on photography to improve my technique so I can make better use of my camera and capture some beautiful photos I've seen in a few Popular Photography Magazines I have.

3. I'm currently interested in taking portraits of family and friends and places where I go when I travel. One of my activities I enjoy though is hiking so I decided to take my camera with me. I don't really like the way some pictures came out, but I'm not sure if it's because of the camera or my skill level. I wish to be able to capture the beauty of nature (i.e. close up flowers, waterfalls, hills, sunsets, etc.) so that I can have a piece of it when I go home.

It wouldn't hurt to be able to use the camera for family events though and portraits, so I plan to use this camera as a primary camera carrying it wherever I go.

Hope this helps, I want to thank you all for the help you have provided so far.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 4:20 PM   #7
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Not sure how much you know about cameras, but unless you already have lenses for these cameras, I would suggest buying the standard lens that comes with the camera. This will probably put you over $600, but you do need a lens for it to work. Lenses also have different magnifications on dSLRs than 35mm SLRs. Make sure you know what you're getting. (sorry if you already know all this... not sure how new to photography you are.)

As far as other accessories, I always buy a UV filter with my lenses, primarily to protect the lens. I'd rather scratch up a $10 filter than an expensive lens. A camera bag is always nice too.

Have you looked at the Sony A100? It's in that same range of cameras. A friend just bought one and loves it. I own a Canon 350D and have had no problems so far. I use it mostly for taking "digital slides" of my artwork, so I haven't shot much outdoors.

Good luck!

Natalie



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I plan to spend around $600, so I'm wondering if there are any necessary accessories I need other than just the camera body (i.e. extra lenses to start with and etc). Any advice is welcomed.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 8:54 AM   #8
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wongg-

Natalie has done a great job of prety well laying out what you will need. Perhaps if you are doing a lot of hiking, a small or compact DSLR would be your choice. The Nikon D-40 kit (with the Nikkor 18-55mm lens, which is an excellent lens) is selling for just $542. The Canon XT is selling for $569 with the Canon 18-55mm lens. Both cameras come with free shipping.

Beyond that you will need something like a Skylight or UV filter to protect that lens and a SD chip and you are in business. You probably already have the SD chip, and a camera bag that you can use.

Enjoy your new camera and post some photos when you have a chance. I have attached a photo taken with the Nikon D-40 kit lens, the Nikkor 18-55mm lens.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 24, 2007, 3:01 AM   #9
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Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late response. I just want to thank everyone for there thoughts and help. I have actually made my purchase today and can't wait to start trying out my new camera.

In the end, I decided to play around with the camera and the Nikon D40 just felt right.

Wasn't too bad of a deal either since I got it at Wolf Camera:
$600 but it came with a $50 gift card and 18 photography lessons. I also got UV protection filter for $15.

I'm going to post pictures of my hike when I get the chance. Again, wish to thank everyone for their help.

- Gary
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 11:08 AM   #10
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Gary-

Congratulations on making a choice of the Nikon D-40! It is a great camera and I am sure that you will enjoy it a lot. Post a few photos when you have time.

MT/Sarah
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