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Old Mar 20, 2007, 6:26 PM   #1
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I am in the market for a new camera. I currently have a Canon Powershot A520. A very nice camera and for the first 9 months of my sons life just what I needed. however I am now missing shots left and right! Its slow to "start up" the delay between shots is awful and the slow to take the picture is a problem when I hit the button. His eyes are often closed, or he is a blur running off to the next adventure. I need a way to catch this kid in action! I took a basic photography course years ago in high school (yes it was over 10 years) and learned how to use a camera but would have to do some serious reading to be any good at it again. But I am really afraid that SLR is the only way to get a digital camera fast enough.

My husband would like to stick with SD cards, however i am lusting after The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. Does the type of card affect speed?

Thanks for any help
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Old Mar 20, 2007, 7:20 PM   #2
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perhaps consider the D40. A well reviewed and affordable DSLR which seems a nice logical step up from the A520. The camera can apparently take a shot .6 of a second after being powered up. Steve's review is:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...nikon_d40.html

I know how sluggish the A520 is, not so much the first shot but subsequent ones - especially if you were foolish enough to have left the flash on!

As for SD cards, the premium ones can be written/read much faster than the cheaper ones. A quality brand like Kingston etc. should serve you well. Avoid generic SD cards like the plague!! Things like burst mode or video will be impacted upon by the quality of the card. The D40 is also compatible with the new SDHC standard which will further boost performance.

Happy hunting
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Old Mar 21, 2007, 1:14 AM   #3
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Digital P&S cameras work slightly different than your old film cameras. You're experiencing one of those differences with all the missed shots - shutter lag. When you suddenly depress the shutter button completely, the camera needs to take an exposure reading (and also focus if the camera auto-focuses). As a result of this reading, you get that slight lag between the button depression and the actual shutter exposure.

You can reduce this shutter lag significantly with a small change to your shooting habits. Most, if not all, digital P&S cameras allow you to half-depress the shutter button. This half-depression forces the camera to pre-meter for exposure and to pre-focus. The difference between the half and full depression is that the half-press will not trigger the shutter; by holding the button halfway down, the camera will do the metering/focusing and WAIT for you to then fully depress the shutter button. When you actually fully depress the button, the shutter should respond almost instantly as all the measurements have been taken beforehand.

So by getting in the habit of half-depressing and preparing, you can reduce those missed moments.


Another thing that reduces continuous shutter exposure is the little LCD review. If your P&S camera immediately displays an image of the shot you just took, the camera will NOT take another picture until the review is done. This can really kill continuous motor drive shots, as review times can be set to 1-2 seconds. If you disable this photo review feature, your camera should be able to take continuous shots much faster.

On a similar note, using the LCD to frame your image can also slow down photo taking. When you take the exposure, the LCD usually turns off to aid with battery life. Once the exposure is done, the LCD needs to power back on; the camera may delay the next exposure a bit until the LCD is ready.


In summary, by using the optical viewfinder instead of LCD for framing, half-depressing for pre-exposure & pre-focusing, and not using the quick review option, you can maximize the response time of your digital P&S.

EDIT: Unfortunately, there isn't really anything you can do to speed up the startup time.
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Old Mar 21, 2007, 1:36 AM   #4
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widdletigger wrote:
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I am in the market for a new camera . . .
Quote:
. . . My husband would like to stick with SD cards, however i am lusting after The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. Does the type of card affect speed?

Thanks for any help .
.

Sounds like you found what you want. Don't fight it.



SD & CF are both fine. Cards are cheap now, don't compromise because of that.

Best.


:|


ps. WELCOME!!!


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Old Mar 21, 2007, 5:07 AM   #5
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I was in the same boat as you a while back, I found my Fuji S9500 wasn't up to the task of keeping up with our 2 yo, and the S9500 isn't actually that slow in P&S terms.

So after a few months of trying to convince the wife I eventually purchased a DSLR, I haven't looked back since.

I will never go back to a P&S as my main camera again, the Fuji is sold but I still have my old Minolta Z2 which takes great outdoor good light shots.


You cannot put a price on your Childs memories!







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Old Mar 21, 2007, 7:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for all your help everyone.

Illuminati, If I were new to cameras I would have found what you told me an eye opening bit of news. But I do half depress the button and all that stuff. Even with the button half depressed yesterday I missed the shot of him playing with daddy's hat. He had managed to shut his eyes and get his hand half way up to take it off. Now part of the problem is kids are QUICK! But if my camera did not have that hesitation I might have caught a better shot.

From 9 months to 14 months I have only a handfull of pictures of my son worth printing. Id hate to go on for the next year or 2 till he understands "smile for the camera" never getting a good shot. And even then ill still miss those "moments" Im sure there are faster point and shoots out there, infact I know there are but is it really worth it for us to buy a third? (I have an older olympus as well) That is why I started looking into SLR's. I guess I only questions weather I needed one because 1) alot of sites discourage people who don't have alot of experence from gettign them 2) they are large, but really as a mom my camera is never "put away" much any more.


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Old Mar 21, 2007, 7:57 AM   #7
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widdletigger,

In addition to shorter response times in DSLRs you also get a variable "depth of field" which is not readily obtainable with the P&S (except for the larger Fuji types). Controling the depth of field can have striking results, adding to the number of print worthy pictures you take.

I recently purchased my D50 DSLR after being a P&S for a long time and I really missed the control the SLR cameras give you. Though setting up manual shots was much easier on the 35mm SLRs, it is offset by the instant gratification ofdigitals. I agree with mansell, I won't go back to the P&S as a main camera.

Good Luck!

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Old Mar 21, 2007, 8:11 AM   #8
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widdletigger wrote:
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Thanks for all your help everyone.

I guess I only questions weather I needed one because 1) alot of sites discourage people who don't have alot of experence from gettign them.
Good heavens! I think back to the days when I only had experience with instamatic cameras. My (then) boyfriend gave me a 35mm SLR, a Pentax ME (not quite as manual as a K1000, but only because it had a light meter and could set its shutter speed). I had never thought about getting an SLR, and didn't particularly want one, but I figured that since I now owned one, it might be a good idea to figure out how to use it. I read the manual, bought a couple of books and some film, anddiscovered a life-long love for photography that continues, over 25 years later (and I'm still using a couple of those lenses with my Pentax K100).

Don't let your lack of knowledge at the moment stop you from getting a dSLR, as long as you are willing to spend some effort to learn how to use the camera correctly. All of the entry level dSLRs have auto modes that make many of the decisions for you so you can concentrate on taking pictures while you figure out how everything works. Since you took a photography course way back when, you won't have that much trouble figuring it all out, so don't let that stop you from getting one, IF you are willing to invest some time into reading the camera's manual and playing with the camera to see how to get the best effects out of it.

As far as the pros and cons of SLRs - there are many pros and cons, and only you can decide if the extra size, weight, time for learning thecamera's function,and additional things to think about are worth it to you. Some will say "no way!" and some will say "no big deal, lets go for it!" But don't let lack of knowledge stop you from what you WANT to do.
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Old Mar 21, 2007, 4:21 PM   #9
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mtngal wrote:
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As far as the pros and cons of SLRs - there are many pros and cons, and only you can decide if the extra size, weight, time for learning thecamera's function,and additional things to think about are worth it to you. Some will say "no way!" and some will say "no big deal, lets go for it!" But don't let lack of knowledge stop you from what you WANT to do.
This is it in a nutshell. Size, weight, cost and changing lenses are the drawbacks. Otherwise, after15 minutesyou'll find a DSLR can be just as easy to use as a point and shoot. Now, what you WILL find is that a DSLR is NOT a magic solution. While it's not more difficult to use, it also doesn't guarantee better results in all situations without knowing how to use it. You will find that your photos improve along with your level of knowledge about photography. So, you can pick one up and see SOME immediate improvements over a digicam but to realize the full benefit you really do need to learn more.

I completely disagree with folks that say - "buy a bridge camera before a dslr and learn photography on the bridge camera". To me that's rubish - why spend the $300 on something if you already know you are going to replace it AND you can afford the DSLR. If you don't know if the size / weight / lenses are for you that's completely different. But the advice to learn on a digicam and "buy a DSLR when you're ready" is just a waste of money to me. You can learn just as easy on a DSLR as you can on a digicam. BUT, you also have to remember a DSLR is simply a tool. And, you have to have the right tool for the job. Buying a dslr and kit lens isn't going to get you great shots of little johnny playing basketball or shallow depth of field portraits.


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Old Mar 21, 2007, 8:37 PM   #10
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A dSLR is really nice in many ways, but before you get to hepped up about it, look at the weight of the camera, lens and battery - typically a few pounds. Hang something of that weight around your neck and walk about for a few hours - you might change your mind.

If the weight doesn't upset you to much - go for the dSLR.
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