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Old Aug 10, 2007, 7:46 AM   #1
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Hi Everybody - first post in the forum.

I am needing to replace my old Canon Powershot G2. I have previous experience with a Nikon SLR and have enjoyed the creative aspect of that work, along with (checmical-based) dark-rooming. The G2 was fabulous from a convenience point of view, but the quality was.... well, not all that wonderful compared to my SLR and slides etc.

So my dilemma now, is which way to go forward? The ease of an all in one camera, or the potentially higher quality output of a d-SLR? I'd be very happy to stick with the Canon stable as I'm familiar with the controls and software, but it is not absolutely essential. Also, I do not have heaps of money to throw at this right away, although I could spend more over time.

I understand that no matter what other factors exist, the size of the image capture device is going to be a crucially limiting factor for photo quality, which is quite important to me. Purple lines (chromatic abherrations seem to be present quite consistently on the Canon Powershot S5 samples I have seen) and the low light performance is nothing to shout about. But it seems to be a neat package.

The EOS400D/ Rebel XTi looks to be a great piece of kit as well (not overly big compared to it's direct rivals) but a good price step up just for the basic outfit, and the potential of finding myself on a never ending journey of chasing more expensive equipment to supplement perceived gaps. It's also a bigger camera, potentially less likely to be taken out and used (more inconvenient), but the picture quality in the samples I have seen look absolutely gorgeous. And of course, it opens a way forward into more advanced digital dark-rooming techniques like HDR which could be quite rewarding.

Maybe all I really want is a good UltraZoom but with a much bigger CCD/ CMOS, but hey, I don't see anyone making those....? There's probably not a right or wrong answer to any of this, but I'd love to hear the comments of those of you who have either used similar bits of equipment and can compare, or to understand any insightsyou could offer. Can someone help mje find a way forward - much appreciated!
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 8:38 AM   #2
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Firstly welcome to the forum, hope you find the information here very helpful..... also you will find everyone very friendly.

What sort of photography do you do and think you might want to do in the future as this could have a big affect on the decision.

You are right, a dSLR is not as convenient as a UltraZoom which is a pain and for me I sometimes wish I had one, however I know for what I do I would not be happy with the quality especially in regard to creative ability in depth of field control. I also shoot a lot of sports so I need very fast lenses in regard to both aperture and focus speed which again you could not get on a UZ.

Now one of the immediate things that will be different is the zoom range so if getting a dSLR you will want 2 lenses to get similar results to a UZ or one of the 18-200mm options or similar. If you really want ultimate control and the possibility for creativity to grow as you learn then dSLR is the best option, if you are looking for good quality results and convenience then go with a UZ.

My father was a fugi digicam user but since switching to a dSLR he has really felt that his photography is improving more as he can be more creative the lens options at his disposal.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 9:24 AM   #3
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A warm welcome to you, tricky-

The choice of camera formats is really a matter of personal choice. In fact, many DSLR users, myself included, use a point & shoot as well as a DSLR camera. There are just times when you do not want to take along a large kit, and you grab the point & shoot and go more lightly. Or at times I will carry both formats because I desire to take video clips as well at times still photos at an event.

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Old Aug 10, 2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments so far (& welcome!). Sarah - yes, the ideal situation would be to be able to reach for the kit that took my fancy or was packed in my suitcase that day. A luxury option I don't have right now but that's fine.

As for the type of photography I do, well I would characterize it principally as "people & places" although in the past I have done some sports too. I think my main dissatisfaction with photography in say the last 10 years, is that the equipment I've used just hasn't merited too much effort beyond pont & shoot.

In previous years I worked alot harder at my photography and found much more reward from creativity. So i guess at least one of the issues I'm banging around in my head is if I invest the extra money to go the SLR route, will I reap the benefit from it? So this isn't necessarily a technical issue. And I guess you don't have to carry all the kit with you all the time.

Having reviewed many many sample images now, I see the output from the Compact type cameras and I just feel sort of flat when I see the pictures. Somehow they just don't evoke the kind of excitement/ atmosphere/ dynamism that would make me want to lighten my bank account very much. Maybe I could save my money and go with something at the more functional end of the range and at least I wouldn't be telling myself I had wasted anything. Flip side, life's short, and when we are being creative, I think we are most in danger of really being alive :G

Sorry for rambling or being pseudo-philosophical. I'll try to end on a technical note instead! Any suggestions of a good "people & places" lens to go with a Canon DSLR, that doesn't necessitate bank-robbery before purchase?! :O Maybe there are more affordable DSLR alternatives to Canon? Thanks again for your help.


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Old Aug 10, 2007, 10:21 AM   #5
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Go on, be creative!!! Here is a shot I took last weekend at a wedding I covered, this is the sort of thing you would not be able to get with a UZ



Now as for a lens to get that is difficult as to be creative you want a wider aperture so a 24-70mm f2.8 is worth looking at, however it is not overly cheap and 24mm is not necessarily wide enough on a crop camera (in 35mm equivalent you are talking about 38mm) and you look at a starting price of about $500. A better option is to get a good wide zoom (the kit is OK but not great) and add a 50mm f1.8 for about $80, that will allow for nice portraits, check out the work OK Kenmck15 on his recent T-shirt stuff and others. I have one of these lenses but never used it in anger..... hmmm that will be lens buying addiction gone crazy, getting a lens and never using it!
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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tricky-

Another option might be a Pentax K-100, which is running around $(US) 450.00 with a simple but good inexpensive lens like the Sigma 18-125mm or the 18-200mm. That should get those creative juices flowing.

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Old Aug 10, 2007, 10:46 AM   #7
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All photography is a compromise of some sort.

You sound like your where I was about 18 months ago. My first ever post here on this forum was "what non-dSLR camera has a mechanical zoom?" because I loved my Sony F717, but it had developed problems. I wasn't going to consider a dSLR because I didn't want to drag around all that extra equipment (been-there-done-that, didn't think that's where I wanted to go). I bought one of the ultra zooms and was SO disappointed with it (though the person who bought it from me really liked it). So I reluctantly bought a dSLR and discovered that it really wasn't such a big deal to carry lots of extra stuff around, when the results were what I wanted. If you aren't willing to compromise the image quality for the convenience of having a P&S (and that's an answer no one but you can make), then the dSLR is probably where you want to go.

The good thing is that all of the dSLR cameras take great pictures, no matter who makes them. Canon has a large selection of lenses and a path to upgrade if you so desire later on. But they also offer lots for the person who isn't interested in such things, just wants to take nice pictures. Some people don't like the way the xti feels in their hands (I rather liked it) so make sure you handle the camera before you buy it.

One of the things you mentioned is that you had a Nikon film SLR. Do you still have your old lenses? If so they might work on the Nikon D50 or D80 - depends on what they are (not all old Nikon lenses do), which could save you some money initially. They may be more limited with the new D40 and D40X - if you have old lenses, ask the Nikon board people about the specifics. I ended up buying a Pentax dSLR for a couple of reasons, one of the biggest being I already owned several lenses and that saved me quite a bit of money. Anyway, just something to think about.

If you have your heart set on the Canon, and the ergonomics feel good to you, then buy it because you won't be disappointed with it.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 11:03 AM   #8
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Ahh yes, forgot about the old Nikon lenses. The fittings might work if I fancy a bit of manual focusing - at least I can remember what life was like before AF! I'm not tied to Canon by any means, they are more like a default option I guess. I appreciate the advice and different perspectives - it allows me to make more sense of my own thoughts.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 4:37 PM   #9
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I have to agree with Mark1616 and Sarah that the DSLR route offers the most options and the best image quality, but a superzoom can be a lot of fun and a much less expensive option for the range that the lens covers. For people and places outside my superzoom is great, and it does video. But for indoor people shots, my entry level DSLR with a 18-135mm lens and add-on flash thrashes the superzoom. Two pictures demonstrate this - first post is with the superzoom in good light from a bird hide. Sorry its a squirrel but it shows narrow depth of field. Sensitivity is ISO100. The second post has a picture taken at a party in a dark hall with the DSLR at ISO1600 with bounced flash from 40 feet away.


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Old Aug 10, 2007, 4:40 PM   #10
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Second post with the DSLR at ISO1600 - not much of a picture but it shows the low light capability since the hall was very dark but the bounced flash makes it look bright.
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