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Old Aug 8, 2007, 9:06 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a new camera. Many years ago, I had a 35 mm SLR. I took a photography class and had a darkroom in my home where I developed my own film and b&w photos. Then, when the digital cameras came out, I started using a point and shoot. I've had a couple of different ones over the years, but I'm just not able to get exactly what I want. So I'm thinking about a DSLR. Here are my thoughts and I would sure love to hear your opinions.

The type of photos I like to take include: my children playing, portrait type, outdoors, indoors, low light, fast action, and close up.

I do use the video mode on my little P&S. It's nice to add little clips to my website to show family that lives out of state and never gets to see my kids.

I would like a nice zoom so I could get back farther. With my current camera, it has a 3x zoom and I feel like I have to be right up on the subject, in the way. I love natural shots taken from a distance. Not 40 feet, but just far enough back that I don't disturb the subject and can get really natural shots. Whether this is an animal, or my kids playing, etc.

I'm thinking about getting a more advanced P&S - such as the Kodak Z712 IS. I've been looking at it because of the IS, big zoom, and additional lenses that I've heard can be purchased for it. I've heard that it does ok in low light. And it's supposed to be able to go fully manual?? It's not as small as many of the P&S out there, but it's not near as big as the DSRL's. When we go out, I always have so much to take with me that the small size is convenient. Seems like a very nice camera.

And I'm looking at the Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm lens. I would love to have NO shutter lag. I've been able to put my hands on this camera and it is so amazing!!! It is THE camera for me. And after seeing it, the Kodak seems so cheap and dull. However, it is a lot of money. I'm not a professional and I'm just wondering if it would be too much camera. Not that I wouldn't LOVE it though. The size concerns me a bit. I also don't really want to get back into having to carry multiple lenses with me, external flash, etc.

I did look at the Nikon D40 and D40X but I just wasn't as impressed by how it felt in my hand, reach of controls, etc. Other DSRL's that I have looked at include the Pentax, Sony, and Canon. It's starting to get overwhelming. My 35mm film cameras were Nikon and Pentax. I do have lenses that I used then, including: Albinar 75-300mm; 2x teleconverter; Nikkor 24mm wide angle, 52mm, some filters, and a Nikon speedlight. Not sure if any of these would be good to have nowadays or not. It's been 15 years ago since I used those cameras and lenses. I'm just thinking a DSLR is a bit more than I want. But I want more control with manual settings.

Well, if you have read this far, THANK YOU!! I know I'm trying to compare apples to oranges and it's really quite a broad spectrum of cameras that I'm looking at. I guess the bottom line is, would I be unhappy if I went with the Kodak Z712? Would it be enough of a step up from my current camera? Would I regret spending all that money on the Nikon D80? Is a DSLR more than I really need, especially for the money?

One more question that doesn't really have an impact on my decision, but I was curious as to if there was a camera with video mode that could take still shots at the same time as shooting a video??

Thank you in advance for any input you can offer to help me make this decision.



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Old Aug 8, 2007, 9:36 PM   #2
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Amy, let me say first of all that I have never used either the Kodak camera you've been looking at, nor the D80, but A d80 was one of the cameras I considered earlier this year when I bought a Pentax K10d.

Still, I feel very confident in saying that you're going to wind up with a strong camera regardless of which way you go. I own a Fuji s6000fd in addition to the Pentax, and it's a wonderful camera for all-around shooting, much like the type you talk about.

A few things to consider:

1) you mention you like to use movie clips. That option wouldn't be there should you go the DSLR route. Going with the P&S ultra-zoom from Kodak, or other manufacturers, would allow you to still be able to do that.

2) Using a P&S ultra zoom would keep you from having to frequently change lenses. This is the biggest reason my wife likes to use the Fuji camera, rather than the Pentax. This is someimes a real advantage when you're not only tryng to shoot kids, but to supervise them at the same time. It might not be as big of a deal for you because of your experiece with film SLR's.

3) Of all the DSLR's a handled but didn't buy, the D80 felt best to me. There were two or three reasons I went with the K10d instead. The Pentax camera has image stabilization built into the camera body. This means you don't have to buy more expensive IS lenses. It also means thatI could buy older Pentax manual focus lenses and still have IS when I use them. The fact that you already have a selection of Nikkon mount lenses would be a good argument to go with Nikon. (Check on whether your older lenses can still be used--I don't know enough about Nikon mounts to know for sure if they can.)

A DSLR will give you far more flexibility in shooting and, I think, higher quality. However, because you will want a selection of lenses, remember that you need to factor in the cost of lenses you will want to add to the camera into its total cost. A P&S doesn't have that expense. As far as your questions, only you can answer them well, but you are asking the right questions. By the way, I agree with your assessment of the D40. I thought it felt really cheap.
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Old Aug 8, 2007, 11:42 PM   #3
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Amy, Just a thought or two.. For me, the transition from film to digital was, well, cautious. I used 35mm slr for thirty> years before buying a digital camera. The choice between a p&s and a dslr was easy in 2002, I could not afford a dslr then, they were very expensive by today's standard. Making that choice now would be a no-brainer. If you really want the best IQ and most control over the final image, as well as decent low-light performance, the dslr will give you the tool. If your nikon lenses are as recent as you say, they may work on a nikon dslr, and if they are AF lenses, they should autofocus on all but the d40.

If you're not on a tight budget for the new camera, and are "waffling" on your decision, keep it simple at first. I have a nikon D50, the 18-55mm kit lens, which is a very good lens, a 70-300 tamron which is surprisingly good and takes sharp pics at 300mm hand- held, and am about to add a macro lens to, hopefully, satisfy my lens lust for awhile. A year ago, I paid 800 us for the camera and two lenses. Things are getting better all the time. A decent p&s would have run me about 500 at that time, so I opted for the d50, and have been happier than a pig in slop ever since. Anyway, sorry for getting so long here, good luck with your choice. Robert


One more question that doesn't really have an impact on my decision, but I was curious as to if there was a camera with video mode that could take still shots at the same time as shooting a video??


Check out the Canon S3 and S5
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 12:16 AM   #4
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i also went through this decision process this year - not once, but twice. the first time i wanted a camera with as many manual controls as i could get, but i wasn't ready for a dslr - i felt like it might be too much camera for me. i got a fuji S9100, and while it has many great features and is SO much fun to use, the low light performance isn't all that. the video is pretty good, and so are pics at ISO 80 and 100 but noise starts to creep in at ISO 200.

i still like using it, but it gave me the taste, so i decided i wanted a dslr. i read about 'em, went and found them in stores, researched lenses. i probably would have bought the canon 350D (digital rebel xt) but i found that - despite my small hands - the digital rebels were pretty uncomfortable to hold and the longer i hold them, the more uncomfortable they get. this applies to the XT and the XTi.

so i took a long look at the D40 and the K100d, but i wanted ISO 100. checked out the K10d, and came very close to buying one - they have a lot of features, are comfortable to hold and well built - plus you can buy old pentax lenses for them if you don't mind focusing manually. but in the end, i went with the canon 30D and i love it. if the rebels had been comfortable, i'd have probably gotten one. it didn't turn out to be too much camera for me - so why not try the Nikon D80. go to the store and hold it. try the settings and adjustments.

i've never seen a camera that wasn't a dslr that didn't get grainy at higher ISOs - but on the other hand, being able to shoot videos OR pics is very cool. and with the nikon or the canon, one must buy stabilized lenses if you want IS.

so i guess the big question is what is the most important to you - low light, being able to shoot videos, long reach or convenience? the kodak seems okay, although the canons S3-IS and the A570 IS both seem pretty cool, and the S3 and the Z712 have the long reach AND IS. hey, i really love the manual zoom on the fuji's, for that matter.

btw, i'm currently shooting birds with a 55-200 lens, and although i want something wider, it's working out well.

good luck with whatever you choose - i think digital photography has so much to offer, it's a great time to buy a camera
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 6:28 AM   #5
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pcake, your experience almost exactly mirrors mine, except we wound up making slightly different choices for the same reason. I went with the Fuji s6000 because of its low-light performance (I use it to shoot soccer under stadium lights, and short of spending a grand to buy an f2.8 long lens, it would be tough to beat.)

I loved the feel of the Canon 30D, but like you didn't like the feel of the Rebels because I have large hands. The cost of having to buy image stabilized lenses was the only thing that steered me to Pentax over the 30D.

For amy, the bottom line is that it would be hard for her to make a bad choice whichever way she goes because the quality overall in this range of camera is so high.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 7:38 AM   #6
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Like you I was pretty much looking at a D80 but the prce is what got me looking at other options (including the D40x). I loved the feel of the D80 over pretty much anything else I put in my hands... and then i found this site and a whole new slew of questions arose.

I ended up getting a Pentax K10D, it's a little more than I'll ever need I think but it gives me plenty of room to grow and I just couldn't find anything else out there that had as much to offer than the K10D for the money. Bang for the buck, the K10D has to be top of the heap.

I love the feel of the K10D, it's like it was made for me... it fits like a glove! I can change some settings without looking now, still learning too :-)

It comes down to what works for you, what feels the best. If you've picked up the K10D and still prefer the D80 then go for the D80. If your happy with it, you'll use it more and that's what you want right?
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 12:10 PM   #7
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Thank you all so much for the input. You don't know how much you have helped. My DH is done listening to me... he doesn't have any idea about cameras and simply tells me to get what I want. But it's not just that simple.

The D80's price is what is holding me back for the most part. The other things I'm considering when making this decison include the convenience of the P&S compared to the DSLR. I like the video mode of the P&S, the big zoom and IS on some of them, and some offer more control with manual settings. I also like the idea of not having all those accessories (lenses, etc). But, on the other hand, I haven't been happy with the P&S IQ that I've had over the past few years. For every 50 I take, I like about 5 of them. I am annoyed with shutter lag, low light awful photos, and not having the option of zooming farther or getting the close ups. I have looked at the Pentax online, but the store was out of them the day I went to look.

So if yo don't mind, I'd like to ask more questions about the Pentax. What are the differences between the models? I'm guessing about the same as other brands with different models. I see there is a K100D (6.1MP); K110D (6.1MP); and the K10D (10.2MP). Besides the MP, do they all have IS built into the body? Does that mean, regardless what lens you have, you have IS? Even the lens doesn't have VR? Can the IS be turned off?

Is there a nice variety of lenses for it? I've only seen the kits that include 18-55. I've seen a Pentax 'DA' 50-200 f4-5.6 ED zoom. Does anyone have that? And a zoom flash? Which flash do you have?

What about batteries? How does it do? And it takes SD cards?

I see that the K10D is "dust proof" and weather resistant. Is that something that I should highly consider when deciding on a model?

How is the software that comes with it? Is it pretty easy to download the photos?

The price isbetter for the Pentax... Pentaxwas one of thefilmslr's I used and was very pleased with it.

So, back to my main concern is that if I should get another P&S (even a more advanced one), would it be a big enough step up? The Kodak Z712 is supposed to have IS, a big zoom, some manual settings, and have lens options for wide/macro and tele. Sounds like a happy medium. But, I just wonder if it would give me what I wanted. I'm thinking it wouldn't be long before I was right back here discussing the same thing.

Thank you all so much. You have really given me some great advice and a lot to think about. I'm not in a hurry, I just want to try to learn all I can and think about every option before I buy something.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 12:56 PM   #8
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Amy-
The differences are that while the K100D and the K-10 have IS built into the camera, the K-110 does not have any IS at all.

I carry in my purse/camera bag both a Canon S-3 and a Pentax K100D with a Sigma 18-125mm lens mounted on it. That makes a nice combination for me. The S-3 gives me the long zoom when I need it as well as an excellent video capability. The K100D gives me a wide angle capability as well as a low light level/High ISO setting capability. I have attached a K100D low light level shot made without flash indoors at ISO 800.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Aug 9, 2007, 9:08 PM   #9
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As was pointed out, the K110 does not have IS (Pentax calls it SR), but it's otherwise the same camera as the K100. My advice is to get the K100 - the K110 isn't enough cheaper to justify skipping the SR. Right now there are a number of good deals on the K100 because Pentax has announced the K100 Super - an updated version of the K100. The only difference between them is the Super offers support for Pentax new line of lenses that have in-lens focus motors (they call it SDM) and their dust removal system.

I have a K100 and a K10 (and use both all the time). My opinion is that the dust removal system isn't terribly useful. The new lenses (designated DA* lenses) are awesome (I have one) but are expensive. So my opinion is that it's not worth waiting for the Super unless you are planning on getting one of these top quality lenses right away. Better to buy the current K100 at a lower cost (and the new DA* lenses do work as a regular AF lenswith the current K100, you just don't have the super quiet motor).

I'm also a fan of the 6 mp sensor - I get very similar image quality from my K100 as I do with the K10. The K100 has less noise at higher ISO so it is better in low light. The K10's weather sealing is definitely a plus at times (I don't mind taking it snowshoeing) and it has more controls on the camera body instead of in menus. And it's 10 mp are useful for birding. But for most pictures I use the two cameras interchangeably - I keep different lenses on them (i.e., a long telephoto on the K10 for birds and a wide angle or a macro on the K100 for landscape/other nature). The K10 is bigger and heavier than the K100 - make sure you handle both cameras before making a decision.

If you still have some of those old Pentax lenses (you mentioned you had used a film Pentax), they will all work with any of the Pentax dSLRs - I'm still usinga couple oflenses I bought in 1980, and with the K100 and K10 -they arestabilized, a big plus in my case as I'm not as steady as I once was. The DA 50-200 lens is well thought of and its not that expensive. I probably sound very luke-warm about it because mine has a problem I haven't been able to solve, and it was never as good as my new DA*50-135 (which is also something like 3 timesthe price, too!).

Good luck with your decision.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 10:19 PM   #10
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Harriet-

The REAL ISSUE here is that we really do live in a compatibility world. I would love it if I could carry my K100D and my Canon S-5IS and hope to be able to share the same flash between them. But, that is REALLY not the case at all. My flash will work only with my Canon XT and my Canon S-5IS.

Isn't it time that we got beyond issues such as that? I really do think that time has come!

Sarah Joyce
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