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Old May 10, 2007, 6:25 PM   #1
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Hi, new member here and first post. FirstlyI apologise, because no doubt this question has been posted a thousand times, but here goes.

I am looking for my first DSLR and I fully appreciate it is a minefield and after doing the usual research I am just as 'lost' as when i first started, however if I give you my requirements then maybe someone will point me in the right direction. When it comes to a quite a large financial outlay on a subject I know little about then I am a big believer on taking advice from those in the know.

Ihave a little digital camera experience mainly with compacts soI am not a total beginner. My currect compact is a Canon 900ti which i use for ebay pics and everyday family snaps howeverI am looking for something more proffesional mainly for portraits and photographing my 2yr old son, playing sports etc. Iam also into fishing in a big way and like making large prints (A3) of trophy shots. In these respects I am mainly interested in speed and image quality.I admit that most of my camera usage (to start with) will be in daylight with nothing too technical required.

I appreciate that more pixels does not necessarily mean better image quality, however the current batch of 10mp SLR's are now within my budget and those are the models which I am most interested in. As mentioned I have done a bit of research andI have also done the touch and feel test at my local Jessops store. I knowthatthe first couple of months of my new cameramay be in the Auto mode howeverI want the ability to expand. I hate paying for something that is good at one thing and crap at another evenif I hardly ever use the other, if you get my drift. I want something thats capable of covering all bases even if it takes my many months to use all the functions or only if I use some functions very occasionally.

I have narrowed it down to the usual suspects. Canon 400d. Nikon D80. Sony a100. I've also read about the Olympus 410 and 510 and Pentax K10d, but must admit I've not seen or held these last three cameras.

I know the Canon produces good results butI found it small and cheaply built, where as the Nikon felt solid and proffesional. The Sony was somewhere in between. As a novice I am obviously taken with the signaturefeatures of some of the cameras such as the anti-shake and anti-dust system on the Sony. Although I really liked the D80 it worries me that it did not have anti-shake and anti-dust. I dont want the expense of buying a Nikkon VR lens when the Sony basically does it for free.

The reviews on all these cameras are relatively speaking quite good however where Iget lost is when the reviewers start mentioning noise at high ISO and colour fringing and image softness and no internal sharpness and better to shoot in Raw etc etc. I know roughly what they mean, but my question really is :

-WOULD I NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE

-IS ONE CAMERA CONSIDERABLY BETTER QUALITY (IMAGE) THAN THE OTHER

- WHICH CAMERA IS FUTURE PROOF

If I print an A3 photo from all three camera wouldI be completely dissapointed in one as opposed to another. I do know what noise at high ISO means but would I notice or is it just ultra critical pro's whomention this.

At time of writing I am slowly edging towards the Sony a100, however Ican be swayed.I have also seen higher end cameras such as theCanon 30d or D200 comingright down in price. Is it just overkill if I even consider these two models.

Sorry this is long winded, but I hope you understand my dilema. Any advice would be much appreciated. Cheers Brian






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Old May 10, 2007, 6:38 PM   #2
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esox008 wrote:
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- WHICH CAMERA IS FUTURE PROOF

If I print an A3 photo from all three camera wouldI be completely dissapointed in one as opposed to another. I do know what noise at high ISO means but would I notice or is it just ultra critical pro's whomention this.
None of these cameras are future proof. Camera bodies come and go but lenses tend to stay. I suggest you put more weight on the whole system including lenses than features of a specific body.

I believe you would notice a difference between the three bodies you mentioned. I believe the D80 would have the worst print quality of those three. Sure, I'm going to get beaten up for saying that.

Looking at D80 output, it seems to have less noise than other 10mp bodies. In fact, I find it quite noticeable at higher ISOs. The lower noise is a treat.

The D80 also has less detail than other 10mp bodies at higher ISOs. I believe they have traded detail for lower noise by implementing more aggressive digital noise reduction in camera. As I understand it, this in camera noise reduction is not adjustable.


If you care about print quality, I would think the Nikon D200 and Pentax K10D would be the two best cameras for print detail, of the models mentioned in your post.

The Sony A100 is a pretty solid camera too. If you can accept the current system limits on the lens front and believe in it long term, it might be the way to go.

The Canon 400D is built on a lower level than any other dSLRs I've ever seen but it has the benefit of the Canon system of lenses and accessories which is pretty much the best there is.

I know nothing of the evolt cameras but quite a few people are saying good things about them. Lens availability is extremely limited but very good things are being said about the lenses that do exist for the 4/3 system so, depending on your needs, you may be content with the available offerings.
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Old May 10, 2007, 9:08 PM   #3
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Tom Brown wrote:
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The Canon 400D is built on a lower level than any other dSLRs I've ever seen but it has the benefit of the Canon system of lenses and accessories which is pretty much the best there is.

How much do you know about the XTI? Go down to Canon dslr, check the threads about the XTI/400D how those guys tested the camera, including me, so far I only know half of it.
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Old May 11, 2007, 2:03 AM   #4
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Best thing to do is just jump in, get something and start shooting.

Money spent on good lenses lasts longer than that spent on camera bodies, which now need to be regarded as having a finite life, much like a PC. I would suggest that you mentally amortise the body over 3-4 years. Lenses are likely to last for 10 years or more if well treated.

I happen to be in the Canon system, but I don't like the feel of the XT/XTI body - I jumped straight to the 20D, the 30D is now quite reasonable in price. Canon has some advantages over the others, particularly at the high end, but if you don't anticipate wanting large-sensor body then the other manufacturers are just as good or better at any given time.

Nikon is great, I like all their cameras from the D50 upwards. I'm not too keen on the Sony but there are some fabulous Minolta lenses around and the new very expensive Zeiss lens range suggests that there is a lot more to come from Sony in the body area, they plan on making themselves a major player.ThePentax K10D is probably the best value mid-range camera at the moment, and Pentax are bringing out some very nice new lenses, plus you can use the old ones. Olympus is a small player, but they also have some good lenses and their small sensor (4/3) is not usually a disadvantage that matters. And of course Leica/Panasonicare now in the 4/3 system too so the lenses available for 4/3 are very nice indeed.

So what does that all mean? It means you can't really go wrong. The best thing is to go down to a store and try to hold them all. Of the ones you were thinking of I would definitely go for the Pentax K10D.
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Old May 11, 2007, 7:12 AM   #5
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I just want to say that 400D is a very good model. I think it would be a good choice as your firs DSLR. My first DSLR was 300D. I've learned everything about photography with that model. 400D is a little bit similar, so I think it worth trying it!
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Old May 11, 2007, 7:35 AM   #6
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peripatetic wrote:
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7I happen to be in the Canon system, but I don't like the feel of the XT/XTI body - I jumped straight to the 20D, the 30D is now quite reasonable in price. Canon has some advantages over the others, particularly at the high end, but if you don't anticipate wanting large-sensor body then the other manufacturers are just as good or better at any given time.

7So what does that all mean? It means you can't really go wrong. The best thing is to go down to a store and try to hold them all. Of the ones you were thinking of I would definitely go for the Pentax K10D.
Have you seen the XTI with the BG-3? It feels comfortable, I can shoot with the XTI upside down, you have no idea where the flash came from.

Can the K10D use AAs? No. Have you seen the lens mount of the K10D compare to the XTI mount?

Do you know the Picture Style of the XTI can set four different kind of b&w or four portraits or four different styles of landscape?

Out there on the field the XTI shoots at will.


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Old May 11, 2007, 8:09 AM   #7
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All of your choices will give you good pictures - there's no real stinkers on your list. If you look at various POD collections, you'll find samples taken with all of the cameras you are looking at.

The differences come in for some people who have specific issues - such as wanting a higher fps rate for certain sports (Canon has the lead here), or doing mostly high ISO shots (the Sony and Evolts seem to have more noise, an issue with some people). If you are shakier than others you might want to look at image stabilization options (Sony and Pentax have it in-camera, while Canon and Nikon have stabilized lenses) and what it will cost you.

As far as the battery issue - I have both the Pentax K10 and the K100. The K10 has a proprietary battery, while the K100 has AA. It isn't that big of a deal one way or the other - I just have more sets of AA batteries and have to charge them far more often. My personal preference is for the K10.

Finally, buy the best lenses you can afford, and get a less expensive camera. The most expensive camera with a mediocre lens on it will always give you mediocre pictures. An outstanding lens with a camera that has fewer bells and whistles (so less expensive) can give you outstanding shots.
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Old May 12, 2007, 7:25 AM   #8
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esox008 wrote:
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I have narrowed it down to the usual suspects. Canon 400d. Nikon D80. Sony a100. I've also read about the Olympus 410 and 510 and Pentax K10d, but must admit I've not seen or held these last three cameras.
I will not go iinto the others, but you really need to SWAP the SONY A100 and Pentax K10D considerations. Even if you don't compare the detailed revies just look at the "best" rankings here at Steves.

Being many way seen as equals (both having body IS/SR) I'd take the Pentax over the SONY anyday. (Oh and did .... very happy K10D owner), even though had once owed a film Minolta.... SONY just bought their way into as it was failing.... at least though they were smart enough to not try their own proprietary SLR like everthing else SONY).

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Old May 14, 2007, 6:32 PM   #9
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Maybe think about waiting a few months and looking at the olympus e510. I find pentax has the nicest viewfinders around for a low/mid range dslr. That feature alone makes themsuch a joy to use. I personaly use the olye500 and like it very much. I especially like how u can go through all the settings from WB and flash power, to image size and sharpness (basicly everything besides which way the focus wheel turns) all on one screen. just my two cents
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Old May 15, 2007, 10:03 AM   #10
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Hayward wrote:
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I will not go iinto the others, but you really need to SWAP the SONY A100 and Pentax K10D considerations. Even if you don't compare the detailed revies just look at the "best" rankings here at Steves.

Being many way seen as equals (both having body IS/SR) I'd take the Pentax over the SONY anyday. (Oh and did .... very happy K10D owner), even though had once owed a film Minolta.... SONY just bought their way into as it was failing.... at least though they were smart enough to not try their own proprietary SLR like everthing else SONY).
You suggest the K10 over the A100 but fail to mention why. Looking at the rankings here is just simply not enough justification to buy one camera over another.
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