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Old Feb 22, 2007, 5:25 PM   #1
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My old measley Coolpix 990 has served me well but I just need something with more zoom, and I am SO tired of trying to press the button 1/2 second BEFORE the shot lines up! I thought I wanted a DSLR because I loved my old film Nikon SLR so much, but now am reading about the 12x zooms with stablization -- how much better would it be to not have to carry the big, heavy, fragile lens around "just in case"?

I am a hobby photographer, lots of animal portraits both inside and out, hence the need for shutter speed and responsiveness. Frankly, the 3.2 mpix resolution hasn't been a big problem for me, but maybe I just don't know what a difference more pixels would make in my editing capability. I tend to mostly use Jasc Paint Shop Pro for adjustments; I have Photoshop Elements but just haven't gotten the hang of it.

Any suggestions on something that will get me lots o' zoom and responsive and quick to recover and that doesn't take a long time to learn to operate?

Thank you!


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Old Feb 22, 2007, 7:06 PM   #2
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Canon S3 IS.Check out the review here. My brother got one a month ago. Easy to use. Lots of features. 12X optical zoom. 6 megapixels. Can be gotten online from reputable etailers for around $350. Looks fairly sturdy.
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Old Feb 22, 2007, 7:46 PM   #3
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Why would anyone want to upgrade from a nice camera like a Coolpix 990? :? :-)

I've still got an old Coolpix 950 that I use from time to time. I had a 990 years ago, too. But, I sold it. I should have kept the 990. I liked that camera. lol

Yea... they're slow. The last time I used my 950 at a birthday party (I like the swivel body for parties since I can get better candids shooting from waist level with it), it seemed *very* slow compared to newer models. But, it does help you to work on your timing. LOL

Your 990 is a really good camera. Keep it for closeups if nothing else. It's a classic. Steve used old Coolpix models (950, 990, 4500) for most of the closeups you see in the camera reviews here since their macro modes are so good.

As for the "Super Zoom type cameras, you may want to start your search with the
models you'll find in that category in our Best Cameras List

The Canon S3 IS mentioned is in the list.

Check the review conclusion sections for each model (the last page before the sample images in each review). That's where you'll find information on startup time, focus speed/accuracy, cycle time between photos, etc.).


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Old Feb 22, 2007, 7:54 PM   #4
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Have you read Steve's reviews of 6-7 and 8-10 MP 12x IS zoom cameras? Most of those will have way less shutter lag than your previous cameras. At this point I think the Kodak P712 has the least shutter lag but several others from both Kodak and the other major manufacturesare very close.
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 7:47 PM   #5
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Wow, thanks, folks! Those are some terrific recommendations and I will check out the cameras. The vote to keep the 990 for macros is great, too, now that you mention it. Otherwise, dh would have been wanting to sell it on ebay for sure...

I appreciate your help! (and the power coming back on here in Iowa so I could see it!)


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Old Feb 25, 2007, 8:28 PM   #6
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We were lucky. Only out for about 20 sec.
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 8:32 PM   #7
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Good for you! It was 18 long hours, here, near CR. I would have SO been toast on the prairie of my ancestors. What a wimp. All I can say is that the DSL modem is definitely going on the generator circuit!
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 7:50 AM   #8
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I'd like to give a vote to the DSLR if the lag is a problem, If your subject is moving that is. Point and shoot cameras have two "lags" to contend with. The shutter lag is one, but the one that drives me nuts is the video lag for the viewfinder. The result is a photo that isn't as you thought you composed. Keep in mind I'm talking moving subjects with these comments.

DSLR cameras eliminate one of these lags because you actually are seeing through the lens, therefore no video lag. Shutter lag is also VERY short.

If you enjoyed a SLR in the film days, your going to LOVE a DSLR. They are a great tool. Hold the shutter button down and take a series (2 or 3 frames per second for entry level cams) of a moving child and simply delete all but the special ones.

There are lenses that have extended zoom capability with DSLRs, but you may have to buy a body and a separate lens. I bought an Olympus E500 and the two lens kit (28mm - 300mm reach in 35mm terms) for around $650 and I love it. Remember that your not going to be putting it in your pocket and video is out the window, but if you enjoyed SLR before. Oh the other downside is that there is fever associated with DSLRs where your never quite satisfied with your setup and there will always be another lens, flash, filter, or other toy you will desire.

Greg
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 8:12 AM   #9
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You make a compelling argument, Greg. I do hate the viewer lag. Been there and done that with the fever. Lugging the fragile lenses has always been scary for me, asis changing them on the fly. Funny that yourdigital setup is about what I remember paying for myXD-11 setup (mumble mumble) years ago. (I finally remembered the model and now realize why I couldn't find it on the Nikon pages... I WANTED a Nikon but couldn't afford it so got the Minolta with Nikon lenses. It was a great camera. I wonder if my ex still has it????)

How about stabilization? I always had a problem with that on the SLR with my biggest lens -- does the DSLR "help" at all with software?

I do miss the autowinder shots on my SLR -- continuous shots just as long as I press down on the button, not some x-second video file that I then have to wait FOREVER for to save.

Dang it, now I'm all indecisive again <g>. Thanks for the thoughts!

--Kristi


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Old Feb 26, 2007, 8:26 AM   #10
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prairillon wrote:
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How about stabilization? I always had a problem with that on the SLR with my biggest lens -- does the DSLR "help" at all with software?
Naw... But, you can shoot at higher ISO speeds with a DSLR. So, that helps keep your shutter speeds up.

But, you really don't want to go any higher than necessary with ISO speed.

Now... you can get a camera model that has a mechanical stablization built in that moves the CCD to compensate for camera shake, based on gyro sensors that detect camera movement. That way, any lens you use is stabilized.

One model is the Sony DSLR-A100 (a.k.a., Alpha 100).

I currently shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, and the new Sony was based heavily on my camera model (basically, it's a 5D with a higher resolution sensor and few new features). Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera assets last year and their DSLR models can use any Minolta Autofocus lens (and Minolta manufacturered about 16 Million Autofocus Lenses).

Some of the Pentax DSLR models have a similar stabilization system (where any lens you use on them is stablized). These models are the Pentax K100D and Pentax K10D

Note that Canon and Nikon do not have DSLR models with stabilization built into the camera body. But, they do offer some stablized lenses. Instead of the camera moving the sensor, these lenses have gyro sensors built in that move optical elements in the lens in response to camera shake. Nikon lenses with VR (Vibration Reduction) in their product name are stabilized. Canon lenses with IS (Image Stabilization) in their product name are stabilized.

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