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Old Apr 18, 2007, 4:48 AM   #11
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Ok... Thanks for explaining!
I guess I could elaborate a bit...

Both Pentax and Olympus have nice entry level bodies with good full feature sets, good build quality, and have packages available with decent kit lenses. The E-500 is on the way out, but the two lens kit can be found for around $600. That's still a pretty good price for what it is. The Pentax K100D is available with two lenses (adding the 50-200 to the kit) for just a bit more after rebate (about $650). And the K110D for less (about $570). With any of these, you could sell off the so-so standard kit zoom and replace it with the next step up, Pentax 16-45 f4, or Olympus Zuiko 14-54 f2.8-3.5, and still get in under $900. Finally, I believe the E-410 coming out this month will sell in a 2 lens kit for around $900 as well.

So, I think there's a bit more bang for the buck on the low end with Pentax or Olympus. But in the long run, there are also advangtages to investing in the Nikon or Canon systems, such as a wider range of lens offerings, and more higher end lenses especially. And in particular for something like sports shooting, there are beter options available from Canon and Nikon. So if that's the direction you want to go, that's where you need to start. But you can't really take advantage of those opportunities without expecting to spend some money in the future, either.

And some of this is personal preference, but I would rather have any of these cheaper or older bodies (including the D50 and XT now as well), despite some flaws, and have some budget left for a good lens than have the latest entry level Canon or Nikon, but have only the kit lens for over a year.

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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:24 AM   #12
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I'd opt for a Pentax K though..... (be it 100 or 10D) over Olympus. (K10D myself)

At a 2x crop factor Olympus is basically a high end P&S with interchangeable lenses.
(My Fuji S-7000 was a 6mp 2x FL factor camera)

Also a LOT more choice of lenses for Pentax... virtually any ever made (even Canon and Nikon, or Olympus can say that) and some of that great old glass can be picked up still relatively cheap on ebay IF YOU DON'T LEAP AT THE FIRST THING YOU SEE.

Even some of the recent past PENTAX AF lenses. (Generally better than the cheap SIGMAS and TAMRONS that would still cost more new, than good/better old P glass)

Except for the 70-300mm SIGMA I bought new I havenot spent over $100 AND AS LOW AS $20, for decent used Pentax lenses... actually so far only 1 over $100. ... At the end of this week I will be up to 6 lenses, and that wouldn't count the ones I have already resold (or returned in the case of B&H used... finding better on Ebay soon enough after... nice B&H was closed 8 days for Passover that I couldn't even request a RMA during), after getting something similar, but better.


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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:45 AM   #13
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I'm going to be shooting a variety of things: sports, people, indoors, outdoors, nature, etc. I'm probably not going to need a mounted flash, yet.
Meph - as you can see, there are people representative of every system and they are very happy with their system. Here's the thing though: given your price restrictions, you're not going to get a DSLR and lens that fits all your stated needs. Sports requires an expenditure of money (how much depends on what sport). Nature COULD require an expenditure depending on what you mean by nature - landscape you can get buy with kit lenses but if by nature you mean wildlife or macro then you have to spend some money.

I understand completely having a fixed budget, so I'm not saying - go pull more money off the money tree :G. I'm saying you need to either re-evaluate what you plan on shooting OR you need to develop a plan for how you're going to acquire necessary gear over the next few years.Then pick the camera SYSTEM that best matches your long term needs - i.e. one that has the lenses you think you'll need or the flash or in-body IS - whatever is important to YOU. This isn't like buying a digicam - the beauty of DSLR systems is that if you make smart decisions you don't end up replacing lenses you just end up adding and filling gaps. If you choose the wrong SYSTEM for you now - you may end up starting over again in a couple years.

Once you've decided on the SYSTEM you want to buy into then I agree with ken's advice - buy the least expensive body you can in that system and save the rest for your next lens purchase.


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Old Apr 18, 2007, 8:15 PM   #14
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Hayward wrote:
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At a 2x crop factor Olympus is basically a high end P&S with interchangeable lenses.
(My Fuji S-7000 was a 6mp 2x FL factor camera)
Hayward,

Do you check facts before posting information, or just post anything that comes into your mind?

I believe the S7000 uses a 1/1.7 sensor. The Olympus DSLRs use a 4/3 sensor. The multiplier for the Olympus is indeed 2x.

If you examinethe information closely, the Fuji has a 7.8-46.8mm f2.8-3.1 lens and the multiplier is 4.5x yielding a 35mmequivelent 35-210mm. There is no P&S camera that comes close to 2x.

I have both the Olympus and the S7000 and the manual for the later is in my lap right now.
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Old Apr 19, 2007, 12:47 AM   #15
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OK, I've been zeroing in on the Nikon line as the way I want to go. I've looked into the used market pretty extensively at places like Nikonians.com and fredmiranda.com that have pretty busy For Sale forums. It seems like I might be able to get ahold of a D40 kit for approximately $400, with the kit 18-55mm lens, which leaves me plenty of room for a reasonable (used) second lens. What would you all suggest? I'm interested in both telephoto and macro lenses, although my experience with SLR macro photography is pretty thin, and I would guess that it ends up being a third lens, after a telephoto. I'm starting to get outside of the realm of my knowledge here, so what do you all think I should be looking for? Specifically, what brands of lenses besides Nikkor, and what apertures should I be looking for in a telephoto?

Thanks so much for all of your help so far, especially, JohnG, Ken, and Corpsy. It's so tempting to want someone to just *tell* me what to get instead of viewing it from a larger perspective.
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Old Apr 19, 2007, 8:04 AM   #16
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Meph wrote:
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Specifically, what brands of lenses besides Nikkor, and what apertures should I be looking for in a telephoto?
Well, herein lies the problem with the D40 camera. One of the cost cutting measures Nikon took to get the price down on this camera was to remove the focus motor from the camera. So, the D40 and D40x are only capable of autofocus with Nikon AF-S and AF-I lenses and third-party lenses with focus motors - which is currently limited to ONLY Sigma lenses with HSM designattion (which stands for hypersonic motor - their lens focus motor). it's why you need to be very careful when you decide to go with the D40 / D40x - you lose out on the ability to use a lot of reasonably priced alternative lenses and you're forced to use the more expensive AF-S or Sigma HSM lenses. They're great lenses but you have less of a choice.

Having said that, there are still choices. the right choice depends on your subject matter - i.e. what do you want to shoot. Telephoto usually means 150mm or longer. That's a BIG range of lenses / costs. So, you would need to be more specific about your shooting needs. If you don't know yet what your true subject matter will be, I would suggest sticking with just the single kit lens of any camera you buy until you get a better feeling for what your true needs are. Otherwise, you will get people trying to convince you to buy the lens that worked for THEM - which may be different than what your needs turn out to be. You should always let your photography NEEDS drive your lens purchases. Don't just buy a telephoto because someone tells you that you need one. Especially when money is tight.

Just my .02
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Old Apr 19, 2007, 3:10 PM   #17
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fldspringer wrote:
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There is no P&S camera that comes close to 2x.
There are some Sony R1s out there, but I just can't see spending the money on one. Might as well get a DSLR and spend less.
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Old Apr 19, 2007, 8:17 PM   #18
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meanstreak wrote:
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fldspringer wrote:
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There is no P&S camera that comes close to 2x.
There are some Sony R1s out there, but I just can't see spending the money on one. Might as well get a DSLR and spend less.
I didn't know any manufacturer did that at all (that size sensor). I stand corrected . I guess I haven't been up to speed on neither Sony nor the P&S market.I'm sure the sales were a bit low and I agree, DSLRs would be an easy choice at that price.

Thanks for the info.
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Old Apr 19, 2007, 9:51 PM   #19
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fldspringer wrote:
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meanstreak wrote:
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fldspringer wrote:
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There is no P&S camera that comes close to 2x.
There are some Sony R1s out there, but I just can't see spending the money on one. Might as well get a DSLR and spend less.
I didn't know any manufacturer did that at all (that size sensor). I stand corrected . I guess I haven't been up to speed on neither Sony nor the P&S market.I'm sure the sales were a bit low and I agree, DSLRs would be an easy choice at that price.

Thanks for the info.
It was a decent product with a great lens. Great picture quality but not much zoom power without adding on a Tele adapter. Once Sony got into the DSLR market, I think they had no choice but to stop making it. Last year I know someone who bought one at discount for around 700 dollars against my advice. He claimed where he was going to use it dust would be an issue. He could have just bought a DSLR with a lens in the same zoom range and kept the lens on most of the time. He's happy with it or so he says. I've seen some of his pictures and he doesn't do the camera justice.
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Old Apr 20, 2007, 1:43 AM   #20
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Alright, so after having gone and gotten to handle most of the cameras I'm interested in, I'm just as far away from making a decision as I was before I posted here (although I am now far more knowledgeable thanks to you guys). I was really disappointed with the kit lenses for almost all the cameras I tried out (D40, XT, XTi), especially when I compared them to the lenses that come with the D80 and 30D. Particularly the manual focus on them is incredibly difficult to control and, possibly due to demo units, loose.

So I've pretty much set my mind on getting a used body-only, and then investing in a higher quality lens. This is where I need help. What lenses would you all suggest to pair with a D50, XT/XTi, or *cringe* D80?
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